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Thursday 3/31/2011: A funny thing happened in yoga today... Yes, I pulled a Chelle. Total dorkage. :-) So we're in tree pose and I'm good there. No problem. then she tells us to take that bent leg and cross it over the standing thigh, above the knee. Ok. Then bring your hands to heart and begin to lower, like chair pose. Um. Ok. Then, once you're there, take your hands to the floor on either side of your standing foot (yes, you're still on one leg) and curl your toes (of the foot resting across your standing thigh) around your upper arm. Really?? Yeah, really. I actually got this one, and was quite excited until we switched to the other side and as I wrapped my foot around my arm, I got an ab-charlie. OMG! Let's just say I wasn't graceful as I came out of that pose, pushing on my ab trying to get it to relax.

Oh, but that's not all...

Then as we're doing our final floor moves, we go into boat pose. Boat Pose VariationAgain, no problem. I actually like this pose (though I don't always do it with my legs straight). Now, reach up and grab your toes and pull your legs apart (like in happy baby) - but stay balanced. Next, straighten the legs as you press them out to the sides. Hey, I'm game. I get hold of my toes, straighten my legs (ooooh stretch!) and let them open to the sides..... and roll backwards. It was like "Timberrrrrrrr". Down I went. Still holding the pose, though! Giggles throughout the class. I'm not done yet, damnit! I roll back up and re-balance, stretch out again, and... rock backwards... Grrr. Ariel informed me later she's calling this pose "Rock-a-bye Baby". Brat.

Ah Yoga.

Last night I attended my first "Muscle" class. As I rushed from the office after quickly changing into my gym clothes, I drove straight to the gym, parked, ran inside and into the classroom.... no Tabitha. ?? I'm a few minutes early, so maybe she's off doing something. Nope. No Tabitha. After awhile I ask someone if I'm in the right place for Muscle class... yes. Tab's teaching, right? No. Dagnabbit!!! I was at the wrong location! I went to the Shea Mountainside, while Tab was teaching the class at the Bell Rd. Mountainside! Argh!! But, I thought, what the hey, I'm here, I'll take the class. I will only say that I have been very spoiled having Tabitha as my teacher - she's good. Really, really good.

After, I grabbed a sweatshirt and headed to the bowling alley to cheer on the guys, and eat my dinner (chicken wrap). Home again, I ate my last snack (protein bar), to hit my calorie intake and it was time to crash. Wiped out.

Morning came too early today, up at 4:30 so I could have coffee with Bill before he left for Vegas. Then yoga and my subsequent dorkage at 6:30. After work tonight, I'm back in the gym for back/biceps & abs... maybe some cardio. We'll see. Dinner tonight is - drumroll please.... chicken! LOL! But I'm trying a new recipe, and hopefully it'll be yummy :-) I'll also be adding a starchy carb to my dinner (baked sweet potato) as I'm doing Legs at 6am tomorrow and need the carb-fuel. 

Show update... So, I think we've got this set now. Because of the nature of the Musclemania event (perfect for my 19 year old daughter, but not for my 40 year old shy self), I will be aiming for the August OCB show. This is a more... refined... event. Less "diva", more business. I'm competing in Figure. Ariel will stay in the Musclemania show in September (Bikini division). While we're not necessarily competing in the same show, this is still a "together" journey. This places me at 21 weeks out (starting sunday), and Ariel at 23 weeks.

My diet prep has had me building muscle these last weeks (1800-1900 cal/day with 40% protein, 35% carb, 25% fat). As of Monday, I'll be dropping to 1600 cal/day. Is it bad that I find that a relief? LOL! 1800-1900 cal is a LOT of food for me!

Because I need so much protein, I've been researching ways to utilize my protein powder, especially for my snack 3 option... like puddings (mix protein & water - not so good), mug-muffins (protein powder, egg white, water - just meh, needs fudge, lol)... but the recipes I find on the bodybuilding sites that do look interesting, all have Splenda. Now, as a clean eater, Splenda is on the NO list. It's artificial. Sure it's zero cal and no glycemic impact, but it's not clean. It's simply not a part of my lifestyle. Sure, I could replace with a natural sweetener, but when I'm watching every bite, can I justify adding sugar/sweeteners to my pre-contest food? I know all these bodybuilders (and fitness icons) eat clean, they're very outspoken about it... so what's behind their use of Splenda? I had the opportunity to ask Jamie Eason (fitness girl extraordinaire!) about this.

Question for you, Jamie - Can you share your perspective on Splenda & products like it? I know you eat clean, and a lot of your recipes include Splenda... is it a matter of the end (no added sugar) justifying the means (artificial/chemical product)? Or is there another reason? Thanks for your insight, I really appreciate it! :-)

Hey Chelle! I get this question quite often. There is a difference between eating to be healthy and eating to be lean. Some competitors will choose to eat Splenda over the natural low cal sweeteners because of the carbs that the natural varieties add to their food. Yes, Splenda is a chemical and has been processed but there are not enough studies to show that it is harmful. It's really a personal choice because many feel that with the junk that they have finally eliminated from their diet, it is certainly the lesser of evils. Personally, I no longer compete, so I try and use more of the natural stuff, just out of personal preference but when out and about, I will typically opt for Splenda over other options offered. Hope that answers your question! :)

It does, thank you!! My 19 year old daughter and I are making our foray into the competition world this fall (bikini for her, figure for me), and I can see the benefit a product like Splenda has in a competition diet, but wondered if it was justifiable. I appreciate hearing your viewpoint on it. :-)

Sure thing, Chelle! I love that you and your daughter are both doing it!! That's the coolest!!! I really can't wait to see the results! I hope you'll keep me posted!

So... Jamie certainly gave me something to think about. I in no way have decided to use Splenda, or any other artificial anything, but I like knowing why others have chosen to incorporate it. It helps me form my big picture, and provides more insight when I'm making my own decisions. I thought you guys might be interested in her response, as well.

Moving on... Food today:

Chelle's clean eating cooler contents for Thursday March 31, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon, and 1/2 grapefruit.  
Snack 1 -
2 hard boiled eggs, 2 whites only and an apple   
Lunch -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed asparagus with the other half of my grapefruit and a string cheese  
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 1/2 cup blackberries   
 - 6 oz chicken breast with steamed cauliflower/broccoli and 4 oz baked sweet potato topped with 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

Today's numbers: Total intake: 1876 calories; 39% protein, 36% carb, 25% fat.

Note: No coolers for Bill & his dad today.

Note 2: Ariel's food today: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon; Snack 1: 5 oz grilled chicken, apple, 24 almonds; Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed veggies w/ 1/2 Tbsp butter; Snack 2: 3/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple; Dinner: 5 oz chicken breast with 2 cups steamed green beans. Snack 3: protein shake. Approx 1700 cal.


Wednesday 3/30/2011:Clean granola recipe! I finally got the recipe up for the absolutely incredible granola our family has been enjoying :-) When I attended the Arnold Sports Festival, Tracey (my roomie and fellow forum member over at gave me a jar of her homemade granola... positively addicting! After wrangling the recipe from her :-) I have been making it at home ever since. It's got a great protein boost from protein powder, and I love to add it to my plain greek yogurt. My whole family loves it! I even had to make a double recipe this week! Yum!

Workout last night... my hubby surprised me and was waiting for me when I arrived at the gym! Yay! I love working out with him, but it's not really mutual, lol. He's not a gym-rat, so it's hard for him to enjoy the time sweating and straining - for me, it's life-blood :-) We did upper body - Chest & Triceps (I'm doing shoulders separate this week with Tab). By the time we left, my triceps were trying to crawl up my arm and onto my back to escape :-)

Here's what I did...

Dumbbell chest press 12 with 15 lb db's, 10 with 20 lb db's, 8 with 22.5 lb db's, 12 with 20 lb db's (no rest between, then straight into the flyes)
Flyes - 3 sets of 12 with 15 lb db's (dumbbells)
Straight bar reverse grip pull-downs - 12 at 30 lbs, 10 at 20 lbs, 8 at 45 lbs, 6 at 50 lbs, 12 at 40 lbs - then straight to a bench for 15 tricep dips.
Cable crossovers - 12 at 20 lbs, 10 at 25 lbs, 8 at 30 lbs, 12 at 20 lbs then straight to a bench for my Dumbbell pullovers
Dumbbell pullovers - 12 with 15 lb, 10 with 20 lb, 8 with 30 lb, 12 with 20 lb
DONE!! My muscles were whimpering.   :-)

Tonight I have a new class to try. Tab is teaching a Muscle class, I have a feeling I will be feeling that one! :-)

Food today...

I'm completely out of my Beverly Ultimate Muscle Provider (protein powder), and had to sub with Jay Robb - blek. My oatmeal was quite the bland bowl this morning. Then, just to add insult to injury, lol, my grapefruit was bad :-(  If you haven't noticed by my daily food... I LOVE me some grapefruit! It's like candy to me. I had to sub a fruit & fiber bar from Trader Joe's (totally clean, btw), but it's just not the same. Hopefully my new protein powder will arrive today, and I'm checking my grapefruit before I leave the house tomorrow! LOL!

NoGii protein barAnyway, here's my cooler today, it shows everything, including dinner, except my NoGii protein bar. These are almost clean. It's hard to find a clean protein bar, but compared to the others, this one is a gem. I don't often use a bar or other meal replacement, as my diet is all about whole foods, but when I need help, this is currently my bar of choice. Dinner (pictured) is a wrap - high fiber, low carb tortilla with mustard, chicken breast (5 oz), spinach, shredded cabbage, sliced peppers and feta cheese (after class I have to head to the bowling alley, so dinner needed to be portable). If you look at my numbers, you'll see that I have a whopping 52 grams of fiber today. Know what that means? I'm drinking a boatload of water today! LOL!

Chelle's clean eating cooler contents for Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon, 10 almonds and a Trader Joe's fruit & fiber bar (clean).  
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs, 2 whites only and an apple   
Lunch -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed asparagus  
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 1/2 cup blackberries   
 - 5 oz chicken breast on a low carb/hi fiber tortilla with spinach, cabbage, peppers, mustard and feta. 
Snack 3
 - NoGii protein bar

Today's numbers: Total intake: 1819 calories; 40% protein, 36% carb, 24% fat.

Note: No coolers for Bill & his dad today.

Note 2: Ariel's food today: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon; Snack 1: 5 oz grilled chicken, apple, 24 almonds; Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed veggies w/ 1/2 Tbsp butter; Snack 2: 3/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple; Dinner: 5 oz chicken breast with 2 cups steamed green beans. Snack 3: protein shake. Approx 1700 cal.


Tuesday 3/29/2011:   Woohoo! Amanda Latona, first place Bikini March 2011Amanda Latona took 1st in the Musclecontest Pro Bikini Championship! It's her 3rd pro win  :-) You might remember that I had the opportunity to meet her at The Arnold in March. She is truly as beautiful inside as out. She's long been one of my physique role-models, and is well-deserving of her win.

She scored straight 1's across the scorecard! A unanimous win!



You can catch her BSN blog here:

or her Muscle & Fitness Hers blog here:

Bitch Creek BeerWhen I did my grocery shopping on Sunday, I came across a display and simply couldn't resist getting one. And it's a good thing I only got one, because it wasn't very tasty, but the bottle was totally worth it, lol! I meant to post this yesterday, but forgot.

Next up... driving a rental... can I just say that the Camry is very different from my Hyundai? Lol. While it handles great and has power, I really miss my wheels (or Romper II as the kids call it). The gal at Hertz was fabulous and helped me work out the tangles with the other insurance company, to get me out of a compact (what???) and into a properly sized vehicle. Seriously though, I can't wait to get my car back (they're fixing the damage from the 2 incidents - neither of which was my fault, let me point out!).

I took Bethany to the doctor today for a sports physical, and realizing it would be snack time during the appt, I took my cooler with me. Before going into the building, I pulled out a baggie of chicken and an apple and tossed them in my purse. Bethany was cracking up, and I said, "hey, when it's time to eat, it's time to eat". She responded, "I know mom, but really? How many other people can say they have chicken in their purse?" Ok, she has a point. Lol!

Back at the office, I'm ready for lunch :-) so I'll give you a quick view of food today, then I've gotta heat stuff up and get back to work...  (fyi, you can click on the photo to go to the cooler page with the nutrition ratios)

Chelle's clean eating cooler contents March 29, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs, 2 whites only and an apple   
Lunch -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed Zucchini & Yellow Squash & 1 tbsp coconut oil, with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 1/2 cup blackberries   
 - 5 oz chicken breast with 2 cups steamed green beans. 
Snack 3
 - NoGii protein bar

Today's numbers: Total intake: 1913 calories; 39% protein, 36% carb, 26% fat.

Note: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, strawberries & a serving of granola (clean, homemade).

Note 2: Ariel's food today: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon; Snack 1: 5 oz grilled chicken, apple, 24 almonds; Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed veggies w/ 1/2 Tbsp butter; Snack 2: 3/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple; Dinner: 5 oz chicken breast with 2 cups steamed green beans. Snack 3: protein shake. Approx 1700 cal.


Monday 3/28/2011:   Sunday Food Prep done :-) My protein powder should arrive soon (good thing because I'm now out!). Other proteins for the week are Chicken, Ground Beef (lean, for tacos/taco salad), hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese. Grains: brown rice. Veggies: Zucchini & yellow squash, broccoli & cauliflower, asparagus, green beans and my salad stuff: spinach, cabbage, peppers, carrots, onion.  Fruit: apples, grapefruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas & blackberries. Fats: string cheese, oils.

Family menu:

Sunday (last night): Bacon burgers with sweet potato fries (yes, they're both clean!)
Monday: Taco Salad (lean ground beef seasoned w/MrsDash Southwest Chipotle & canned tomatoes & chilies over shredded lettuce for the family, cabbage & spinach for me & Ariel, drizzled with greek yogurt & sriracha sauce).
Tuesday: Balsamic glazed chicken with baked zucchini
Wednesday: Wraps (bowling night & the kids are with their grandparents)
Thursday: Cheese stuffed chicken (from Oxygen magazine) with steamed broccoli & cauliflower and baked sweet potato.
Friday: Oven bbq chicken with steamed green beans and potatoes
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday - Bill's birthday dinner! Enchilasagna & Salad.

Food for Ariel and I... grilled chicken breast, brown rice, steamer veggies, cottage cheese & pineapple for her, greek yogurt & granola for me, apples... the usual cooler foods.

The plan... Ariel will be kicking it up a few notches this week. Her training intensity will be high, and she's currently at 1600-1700 calories/day... that might go up to 1800 by week's end. My calories remain at 1800/day, and one change made to my training this week is to pull shoulders out of the chest/tricep workout and do them on their own. Here's my plan:

Monday: Total Body Conditioning Class (pm)
Tuesday: Yoga (am)  Lifting: Chest/Triceps (pm)
Wednesday: Muscle Class (pm) & Cardio if time
Thursday: Yoga (am)  Lifting: Back/Biceps/Abs
Friday: Legs & Cardio if my knee can handle it
Saturday: Cardio then Shoulders
Sunday: Rest (maybe light cardio)

Ariel is still doing fantastic with her total lifestyle change. She's sticking to the food plan and training routine, and she's already displaying nice toning. The first week, she lost 5 lbs, which while we know it's mostly water weight, was a little frustrating. We'll weigh in & do the measurements and such to see where she's at now, but she's looking good. We've got a lot of muscle to pack onto her.

Ok... that's the update so far! :-) 

Here's today's food for me:

Chelle's clean eating cooler! Monday, Mar 28, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
4 oz beef with 1/2 slice each cheddar (medium) and swiss and an apple   
 -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed Zucchini & Yellow Squash with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 24 almonds   
 - 6 oz lean ground beef, 3 cups shredded spinach & cabbage with 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt & sriracha sauce & 1 oz feta.  

Today's numbers: Total intake: 1781 calories; 40% protein, 33% carb, 27% fat.

Note: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, strawberries & a serving of granola (clean, homemade).

Note 2: Ariel's food today: Breakfast: Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon; Snack 1: 5 oz grilled chicken, apple, 24 almonds; Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed veggies w/ 1/2 Tbsp butter; Snack 2: 3/4 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple; Dinner: Taco salad - 6 oz ground lean beef over spinach & lettuce w/greek yogurt drizzled on top. Snack 3: protein shake. Approx 1700 cal.

Happy Monday!

Sunday 3/27/2011:   Woohoo! :-)  Yesterday Tab and I were able to get together and have some girl-time. We had lunch at an AWESOME restaurant (Culinary Dropout) across from Scottsdale Fashion Square, and while the food was truly great, it was the dessert that tipped it over into absolute awesomeness... salted caramel custard. OMG! Each bite was a little bit of heaven! That, my friends, is what a treat is all about :-) We even skipped our usual Godiva at the mall (you know it was something special when I pass on Godiva!). As we were leaving, I was calculating how many times I can enjoy that particular treat before I knuckle down in my pre-contest food! LOL!

In the evening, Bill, Ariel, her friend Sam and I all hit the gym. It was back, biceps and shoulders for them, cardio for me. I walked them through the routine, oversaw most of it (form, form, form!), then dashed off to hit the elliptical. I did 20 minutes of medium intensity intervals (love my current cardio playlist!), then the stairmaster was calling my name. I debated (for most of my 20 minutes on the elliptical, lol), and finally gave in. I haven't been on the stairmaster since well before my knee surgery in December. It was one of the first things I had to cut when my knee became so bad. Post-surgery, I was warned to stay off it for "awhile", preferably months. I've been really good about following doctor's orders (this time, lol), but I have really missed my stair-monster. My rear end has really missed my stair-monster!

So after my 20 minutes, I headed over. Stared at the machine, continuing my internal debate... am I ready? Is my knee/quad strong enough? Will this set me back? Finally I climbed up and turned it on. The first few minutes were a challenge, had to find my stride, one that balanced the weight so my knee wasn't hit with undue stress. At the five minute mark I felt fantastic! I allowed myself 5 more minutes then forced myself off. I'm prone to take a good thing and overdo it, lol. Today, my knee feels great! Success! I will be working the stairmaster back into my cardio rotation, in small increments. Yay!! And yes, being the uber-dork that I am, I did indeed do a little happy dance on the machine - dangerous, I know, considering my lack of coordination, but so warranted! :-)

Today I'm hip deep in food prep. I knew I ate a lot of chicken, but with Ariel (and now Bethany) eating clean and on training-plan, we're going through a ton of chicken! And eggs, and protein powder! Lol! I love it!

I'm off to shop!
Happy Sunday!

Thursday 3/24/2011:   Well, no cardio last night. My knee has really been hurting (after wracking my brain as to how I could possible have injured it, Tab pointed out the weather changes we've had and I went "duh!"... the surgery fixed my knee for sure, but it didn't get rid of the arthritis! I'm having a flareup. Oy!) so anyway, I chose to rest it. Ariel and I did yoga this morning, and this evening I'll be doing Back/Biceps/Abs, and hopefully cardio afterwards. Tomorrow is legs (and hopefully cardio). Saturday is Ariel's back/biceps/abs day, and Sunday will be her legs day.

Food is straight down the line fully on-track. Including dinner (not pictures) I'm at 1806 calories with 39% protein, 31% carb, and 30% fat.

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Thursday, March 24, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
5 oz chicken breast with apple & 2 string cheese   
 -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed asparagus with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 12 almonds   
 - 5 oz grilled chicken, 2 cups steamed spinach with 1 tbsp olive oil.  


Wednesday 3/23/2011:   Workout went well last night. Ariel is really sore today :-D Bill went with us, as he's learning her routines so that I can be freed up a bit schedule-wise. I upped my weights in parts of my routine, so I'm sore today too, lol!

Food... all in place and on track. Tonight is bowling, so after the gym, I'll be cleaning up then taking my cooler along to the bowling alley. I've got a wrap (chicken breast, spinach, cabbage & feta) that will be my dinner, and it's all ready to go. Today's calories including dinner and a post-dinner snack, hit the mark at 1795 calories with 41% from protein, 31% from carbs, and 28% from fat.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - Wed., Mar 23, 20111

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs + 2 whites   
 -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1.5 cup steamed zucchini with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 12 almonds   
 - Wrap (bowling night): 6 oz grilled chicken, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup shredded cabbage, & feta. 
Snack 3 
- protein pudding (protein powder mixed with water) with almost a 1/2 cup blueberries.  **Ignore the banana in the pic, I ended up cutting it from today's menu**

Note 2: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, banana, string cheese, and a fruit/veggie fiber bar from Trader Joe's - totally clean! 


Tuesday 3/22/2011:   Shiloh's home! :-D  New York was fabulous and she came home exhausted, lol!

Class last night (total body conditioning) was BRUTAL! Awesome! :-) I know, I'm sick. 6:30 this morning found Ariel and I in yoga, another amazing class. Tonight we're hitting the gym for upper body. Chest, Triceps and Shoulders. After, I'll do cardio, but she won't (she doesn't need it yet). Then dinner is Taco Salad :-) Yum! 

Food today is on the low end of calories again (I need to be closer to 1800, and I'm only at 1600/1700) but my ratios are nearly spot-on. My goal is 40% protein, 30% carb, 30% fat and today I'm at (including dinner) 38% protein, 31% carb, and 30% fat.

Chelle's Eat Clean Cooler, Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 2 hard boiled eggs + 2 whites & a tiny cucumber  
Lunch -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1.5 cup steamed zucchini with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 1 serving almonds   
 - Taco Salad: 6 oz ground beef (taco seasoned, lean) & 2 cups cabbage/spinach drizzled with 1/4 cup 2% Chobani mixed with sriracha sauce.    I've got that little banana & avocado there just in case, but looks like I won't need them.

Note: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, banana, string cheese, and a fruit/veggie fiber bar from Trader Joe's - totally clean!  


Monday 3/21/2011:   Happy Birthday, Tabitha!!!! Wooohoo!!!!

Other celebratory business today... Shiloh returns from New York! :-D  Her flight arrives around 7:15 this evening, so I'm hitting Total Body Conditioning from 5:30 - 6:30, then flyin' home to grab Bill and off to the airport we go! Bethany is going to class with me tonight, Ariel can't as she's working, but she'll be doing Yoga with me in the morning, then Chest/Triceps/Shoulders in the evening.

We had to switch shows.. the August show we were planning on cut the Bikini division, so we've moved over to the Musclemania show in September (the 10th). It gives us a couple more weeks. My prep right now is simply increasing calories and doing my regular routine (weights 3x/week, cardio 2-3x/week, yoga 2x/week, Total Body Conditioning 1x/week). Once we hit 16 weeks out we make major changes, but for now I'm just focusing on gaining strength, particularly in my lower body.

For Ariel, prep is also about conditioning right now. She has no real weight lifting experience, and she's underweight, so we're focusing on Chelle's new cooler! Yay!building up her strength and calorie intake. She's doing fantastic with her food and workouts. She's discovered that consuming 3,000 calories of junk food is a LOT less food than 1600 calories of clean food. Lol! Her previous food-lifestyle consisted of fast-food which is high calorie, but low nutrient. It's been eye-opening for her. When I asked her what was something new that she ate this last week that she really liked, top of the list was my oatmeal/protein powder mix :-)  Lol!

Bill is really excited for both of us, and the rest of the family is super supportive too, so it makes it easier for us to be excited. 

I finally replaced my broken cooler! Yay! Picked up a handy little soft Coleman that is the perfect size for me (plus it's really cool colors, lol!). And, best part, it was only $8!! Score!

Food today is a bit under my caloric goal, but it's all within my ratios. Currently, during this phase, my goal is to have 40% protein, 30% carb, and 30% fat from 1600 - 1800 calories.

Here's today's cooler contents... you'll note an avocado and bag of almonds - I may or may not use those to increase my calories, we'll see.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - Monday, March 21, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs + 2 whites & an apple  
 -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice/quinoa blend, 1.5 cup steamed zucchini with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 - 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & a small cucumber   
 - 5 oz grilled chicken breast & steamed broccoli (family is having spaghetti & meatballs w/garlic bread)

Note: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a fruit/veggie fiber bar from Trader Joe's - totally clean!  

My Sunday food prep was completed and we're ready to face the week. Proteins: grilled chicken breast, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt (2%), protein powder sliced grilled London Broil, taco meat (ground beef, lean, with seasonings, tomatoes & chilies), burgers, cottage cheese (4%).  Veggies: sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, cucumbers, colored peppers, salad bag, green leaf lettuce, shredded cabbage, baby spinach. Fruit: grapefruit, apples, cantaloupe, blueberries, pineapple. Grains: Oatmeal, Granola (homemade), Quinoa pasta, brown rice, quinoa. Fats: almonds, avocado, flavored olive oils, coconut oil, feta, sliced swiss cheese, string cheese, ground flax, and the yolks from the eggs.

Family meals this week are...
Sunday (3/20): Baked chicken w/honey glaze, smashed sweet potatoes

Monday: Spaghetti (quinoa pasta) & meatballs w/homemade marinara, salad & garlic bread.
Tuesday: Cheese stuffed chicken (oxygen mag, mar 2011) w/steamed broccoli & baked sweet potato
Wednesday: Bowling night, so I'll be having a wrap, while everyone else has leftovers
Thursday: Chicken Bites (Eat Clean Family book) & baked potatoes with steamed green beans
Friday: Bacon Burgers with salad
Saturday: Chicken Florentine (Clean Eating Quick & Easy cookbook) with salad.

And on that note... it's time for lunch! :-)


Shiloh & Olivia - Off to New York!Thursday 3/17/2011:   Last night we took Shiloh to the airport. She arrived in New York at 2:15 am our time, lol- and of course the kids didn't sleep on the plane. She and her bff Olivia were goofin off, showing their grumpy faces because I had the camera, lol. 

Bill, Shiloh & Chelle






Then Shiloh tried her "aren't I a sweetie" face - I think she was just anxious that I put the camera away.

This morning began, well, I was going to say bright and early, but we still don't have sunshine that early, lol. 6:30 am was yoga, and Ariel went with me. She's doing really well with the total change of food lifestyle, and sticking to her workouts. Very cool.

Tonight I'm heading back to the gym for back, biceps, abs and some light cardio, then tomorrow is leg day (scary!).

My food is all on track, and since Ariel is eating almost identical to me, so is hers. Here's my cooler today...

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Thursday, Mar 17, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit 
Snack 1 - 
4 oz chicken breast with 1/4 cup sliced peppers & 2 string cheese  
 -   4 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice/quinoa blend, 1.5 cup steamed broccoli with the other half of my grapefruit 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola & 1 small banana   
 - Beef stew (from Clean Eating Quick & Easy Meals bookazine) - the family gets whole grain bread with theirs.

Note: my fitday doesn't include dinner, as I don't have the nutritional data with me, but I'll be ending my day right around my goal of 1600 calories and 37% protein, 33% carb, and 25% fat.

Note 2: Coolers for the boys (hubby Bill & his dad): Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, banana, string cheese, and a fruit/veggie fiber bar from Trader Joe's - totally clean!  

Some of you have noticed the size of my lunches... yes, that's my largest meal of the day and generally proceeds my most strenuous exercise by a few hours. My standard dinner is post-workout and consists of lean protein & steamed veggies, around the same size as breakfast.

Wednesday 3/16/2011:   This day is just flying by! Last night I did my Chest/Triceps/Shoulders workout, and took Ariel along with me. She had already done a weights class, so I didn't want her to lift, but rather took the opportunity to show her how to read the workout spreadsheets, and go over form. This morning she's pretty sore, but excited because that means new muscle :-)  She'll be attending another of Tab's classes tonight, while I'm taking Shiloh to the airport (sniff, sniff - gonna miss my girl!). After, I'm headed to the bowling alley, so I'll be taking my dinner with me.

My computer is back up and running (yay!!!), so I've been scrambling to get everything done. I'm definitely feeling there's a lack in hours-in-the-day, lol.

Food today is solid. I'm right at 1600 calories again.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1600 calories

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit
Snack 1 - 
4 oz chicken breast with an apple & string cheese  
 -   4 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice/quinoa blend, 1.5 cup steamed broccoli  
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola   
 - (wrap not pictured) Chicken wrap (high fiber, low carb wrap) w/spinach & cabbage & feta; and a banana (airport and then bowling alley, dinner has to be portable).


Tuesday 3/15/2011:  I have an announcement...

Oy! When I got to work this morning it was to discover that my video card and/or motherboard had gone kapuey! Dagnabbit! It's now been taken away by my computer guru & friend, Ron, and should be returned to me, fresh as a daisy, tomorrow morning (please, please, please!). So no cooler photos today, but I can tell you that my food is nearly identical to yesterday, and I'll be logging in right about 1600 calories. 

I had Total Body Conditioning class last night... got my a$$ handed to me, lol! I absolutely love that class and was thrilled to learn that Tab will be teaching another Muscle class on Wednesday nights, too... I'll definitely be adding that one to my schedule!  I did push my knee too hard (boo!) and had to go home and ice afterwards. Still sore today, but nothing like last night. I'll be hitting the gym tonight for some weights and cardio. I think Ariel (my nearly 19 yo daughter) will be joining me, if not to work out, then to observe. 

Ariel has decided to compete in the Bikini Division of Bodybuilding! Tabitha and I will be her fitness & nutrition team. We're working on The Plan this week to help Ariel reach her goals. It's fun & exciting, but it's also a lot of hard work for everyone involved. 

Which leads me to my announcement....
  I'm competing too. I'll be entering the Fitness Model division, and we're both slated to cross the stage on August 28th. I know I can handle the discipline - exercise and food. I'm confident I can meet the challenge. But I am absolutely scared spitless. Lol. 

So why am I doing this? There's a lot of reasons/excuses not to, that's for sure. My belly area is my bane (loose skin, drastic stretch marks & scars), my boobs are nearly non-existent (not kidding, I'm a negative A), my lower body is weak due to my knee surgery & the lateral release, I'm 40, I'm busy, I have a full time job and a family, I'm shy - painfully shy... the list goes on. But...

When I was in Ohio, I had two key conversations with Tosca Reno that turned toward competition. The first, I blew off, explained I had loose skin and it just wasn't an option for me. She gave me this look that said, "We'll chat about this again." Lol. And we did. She encouraged me to try it. Suggested the Fitness Model division (it's softer physique than Figure, harder than Bikini). Told me that the leaning out & spray tan combine to hide a multitude of flaws including loose skin, stretch marks, scars, etc. Then she talked to me about poise, and that's where I started thinking. 

Let me give you a little background. I've always been shy. Most people who know me, even those who know me well, disagree. They're wrong. I'm truly painfully shy. I'm a bright & bubbly person, in small groups & one on one, but shine any kind of light on me and I freeze up in fear. I remember one event as  teen vividly... I was on Varsity volleyball (and had busted my butt to get there), and we had a home game. My almost-boyfriend at the time came to the game... when I saw him, I panicked. I actually begged the coach to bench me. That's just one example, and that fear has always been with me. While I've grown, I haven't outgrown that. I've spoken in public, I've spearheaded events, I've been very visible in the public eye (was a pastor's wife for 10+ years, doesn't get more visible than that, let me tell you), but I've kept that shyness... a shyness that really does hurt. 

Once I lost my weight, I pushed myself to do the Burlesque show (, and each class was a trauma. I did manage to get through it, I even enjoyed parts, and was thrilled to have accomplished it, but can't possibly imagine doing it again. I really don't know how I did it at all. And I get a tingle of fear in my belly when I think about it. I grew significantly through that experience. I did develop a greater appreciation for my body & the hard work I've put into it, and I did learn to feel more at home in my own skin. But it's not enough. I'm not done. 

At the Arnold, I loved my time on the booth. I loved chatting with people and listening to their stories. I felt perfectly at ease. Then they had the team climb up on the Oxygen stage for some photos. We took a few standards, then Tosca said, "Ok, everybody have fun" and they all began to goof and dance. What did I do? Yeah, you guessed it. I froze. I actually had tears in my eyes and wanted desperately to crawl off that stage and hide. I tried to recover, I tried to loosen up, but I know I was tense, I know I was rigid. And I know I allowed my fear to rob me of my joy in the moment.

It was at dinner that evening when Tosca spoke to me again about competing. She said, "It will give you poise."  As we spoke, I realized that it's ok to have fear, but it's not ok to let it control me. It's ok to be uncomfortable on stage, but it's not ok to be uncomfortable and show it... to be uncomfortable without the poise to hide it. As a filmstrip of moments ran through my head from the weekend, I recognized that Tosca embodies Poise. And I want that.

It's time to grow again. It's time to learn how to glow in the spotlight, and not just in the shadows. Throughout our conversation, I felt that Tosca truly believed I could do it. It's time for me to believe too. 

She threw down the gauntlet, I'm picking it up.

I know this will be a difficult road. I know I will struggle. I also know that when it is done, I will be a stronger woman, a better person. I hope to focus on the fun-factor of the journey and I plan to enjoy myself. The division in which I am competing, requires fluididty & personality. The athletes do not hold themselves rigidly in pose, instead, they strut across the stage with attitude and fun, showcasing their personalities and ease in the spotlight. In the competition I am registering for, they must also give a 30 second speech about fitness. There are two rounds, a bathing suit round, and a theme-wear round. And there is nowhere to hide. This is my time to show who and what I am, and what I can bring to the people around me. This is my time to shine. This is my time to make it happen.

I am 24 weeks out from the stage, and here begins my journey.


Monday 3/14/2011:   All my Sunday Food Prep is done, and Shiloh is nearly ready to board the plane to New York on Wednesday! It was a productive weekend, plus we had a great time hanging out with friends Saturday night (Shiloh won the dice game, lol!).

Family menu this week is:
Sunday: Chelle's meatloaf w/smashed potatoes & steamed green beans
Monday: Tacos (Taco salad for me)
Tuesday: Almond-crusted chicken bites (Clean Eating Quick & Easy book) with Sweet Potato Fries & Mocha Pudding (Quick & Easy book)
Wednesday: leftovers (bowling night)
Thursday: Beef Stew (Quick & Easy book) with Whole grain bread (none for me)
Friday: Shepherd's Pie (Best of Clean Eating book)
Saturday: Pecan Crusted chicken with steamed broccoli & mashed sweet potatoes

My off-the-cuff meatloaf & smashed potatoes were a hit last night, and we're trying several new recipes this week from some of the cookbooks I picked up at the Eat Clean Diet Booth at the Arnold :-)

The boys' coolers (hubby Bill & his Dad): Chelle's breakfast burritos, string cheese, hard boiled eggs & apple, plus a Trader Joe Fiber (fruit & veggie) bar.

Everything is prepped and/or cooked and ready to go and I'm back to routine this week, starting with Tab's Total Body Conditioning class tonight :-) Woohoo! Tomorrow is Yoga & Weights, Wednesday is cardio, Thursday is Yoga, Weights & Cardio, Friday is Weights & Cardio, and Saturday is Cardio. Sunday is Rest (and Sunday Food Prep).

Here's today's food (everything is pictured except dinner). Including dinner, I'm at 1598 calories, 37% protein, 32% carb, 31% fat.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1600 calories. Monday March 14, 2011

I've updated the Recipe Page with my Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes, and also the Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes :-)


Thursday 3/10/2011:   I can't believe it's already Thursday! Food today is on track, though my calories are a bit high and my ratios a bit off. I'm ready to spend some time this weekend getting my plan set for next week. Here's what I've got...

Chelle's clean eats for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not pictured is the rice/quinoa blend (half cup) that goes with my lunch. It's in the fridge here at work.

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, 1 small mashed banana plus a grapefruit.
Snack 1 -
1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/4 cup of granola (Thanks Tracey!)  
-   4 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice/quinoa blend, 1 cup steamed zucchini/yellow squash
Snack 2 - apple and 4 oz chicken breast 
- 5 oz chicken breast (I'll be clucking by the end of today!) with 2 cups steamed broccoli w/coconut oil and 2 string cheese.


Let's talk Travel Food :-)

I've spent my fair share of time traveling... driving from Scottsdale AZ to Coachella CA and back twice a month for years, then the various day- and vacation trips, and more recently to Ohio for the Arnold Sports Festival. In addition, I carry my cooler daily and it typically holds everything except dinner (and sometimes that, too!). Some days I have to leave the office to photograph a property, or run a variety of errands; that cooler keeps me on track and out of the fast food line.

You've seen on my Today's Cooler page, how my daily cooler works, and what Clean Eating looks like on an every-day basis. Today I wanted to talk about travel, and how to prep for it.

When I know I'm going to be on the road for an extended time (ie the Coachella trips... they take 4 hours out there, then waiting, then 3 1/2 hours home, repeat 2 days later), I pack my cooler. Typical travel eats include apples, grapes, string cheese, jerky (low sodium, no nitrates), sandwiches (for the family, because I generally don't do bread), wraps, raw chopped/sliced veggies, hard boiled eggs, granola, yogurt (greek), protein bars, and lots of bottled water. I'm not much of a shake girl, but you can certainly add packets (baggies) of protein powder to the list and just mix with water.

Packing for a road trip is really not much different than packing up my daily cooler, except that there's more food (more people). It's all the same stuff I normally eat, just with a focus on portability (and an eye toward saving the interior of my car, lol).

Packing for a flight and subsequent trip is significantly different, and more challenging. I spent a lot of time scouring the TSA website, Southwest Airlines site, and various internet traveler's resources to learn what I could bring with me.  Whether you're strictly carry-on or you're checking bags will make a difference, too, in what's allowed. Because I was carry-on only, here's what I brought with me:

  • Baggies of breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal (plain), 1 scoop protein powder, 2 tbsp ground flax, 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon. One baggie for each day (5 bags)

  • 1 baggie of sliced raw peppers (for my lunch)

  • 2 baggies of sliced raw cucumber (for snacks)

  • 1 baggie with 4 oz grilled chicken breast (for my lunch)

  • 1 apple

  • 8 protein bars (for the whole trip, as needed)

  • 1 qt bag of raw almonds

This provided all my food for the hours of flying & layovers, plus my breakfasts for each day of the trip. Once in Ohio, a Trader-Joes filled in the rest of my needs... chopped salad, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit. In my case, a refrigerator was not available in the room, but Tracey had brought a big cooler (yay!), so that worked for us. Most hotels will provide a mini fridge either automatically, or upon request, so be sure to ask. If one isn't available, go hard-core! Take that laundry bag they hang in the hotel room closet and fill it up with ice, place in sink and put your perishables in there, then wrap up/cover with a hotel towel. Check your ice often and drain/refill as needed.

We used the coffee maker in the room to boil water for our oatmeal, but plain hot tap water (or straight up coffee) will work, too.

I was able to chat with Tosca Reno about travel foods and learned that traveling domestically is radically different than internationally. Sometimes even those baggies of oatmeal aren't allowed, and fruit/veggies are absolute no-no's. It makes travel more challenging, for sure!

If you're traveling, do your due diligence... research what's allowed, and what isn't. Research local grocers where you're headed. And if you're eating out once you arrive, go online and view menus - call the restaurants if you like, and ask how foods are made. The more prepared you are, the cleaner you can eat, and the closer you are to your goals.

Travel is not a reason to eat dirty - it's just a challenge, and we're bigger and stronger :-)


Wednesday 3/9/2011:   Yep.. I'm still flyin' high :-) Food today is solid (thanks to Shiloh doing my food prep for me on Sunday). I've also got dinner packed in my cooler since I'll be hanging out at the bowling alley tonight to cheer on the guys. Here's my cooler:

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Wed., March 9, 2011. 1500 calories

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 -
Apple-pear and 2 sticks string cheese  
 -   5 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice/quinoa blend, 1 cup steamed zucchini/yellow squash 
Snack 2 - 1 cup 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt (plain) with 2 tbsp ground flax & 1/2 cup sliced strawberries   
 - Wrap: high fiber low carb tortilla with mustard, 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cup shredded cabbage and sliced cucumber, topped with 1 tbsp reduced fat feta; and an apple & cucumber slice.

And now, we return to our previously scheduled program :-) The Arnold!

My camera went kerplutzy on me, so I have Tracey to thank for these pics!

So to fill in a few blanks from Friday... we walked (and walked and walked!) through the expo, and got the opportunity to meet a few celebrities...

Jen Hendershott (view her website)

Jennifer Nicole Lee (she signed her book for me)  View her website

A funny story about Lou Ferrigno... Sunday morning I'm in the booth early to help set up. The books had been stored under the tables, so I'm reaching down & grabbing books then setting them up on the table. The expo is empty (and cold!). I bend down under the table, come up with books and find myself staring at a midriff. A very large midriff. My eyes slowly travel up, and up, and up... to find Lou Ferrigno staring at me. No expression on his face. OMG! My eyes round as saucers stare back at him as my jaw hit the floor... after a moment he says, with that deep voice & accent, "Good morning". I think I managed to squeek out a "hi". He stared for a moment more then started chuckling. He patted the table in front of me (I'm still holding out those books, frozen), turned away, then turned back, chuckled again and left. Now, I'm not one to really be star-struck, I know very well these folks are people just like us, but for some reason, this just stopped me cold! Total deer-in-the-headlights moment! And as I'm watching him walk away, it suddenly occurs to me... CAMERA!!!  Sigh. Too late. LOL! So that's my "I'm a big dork" story :-)  Moving on...

Jamie Eason is as charming as she is beautiful! View her website.

Now for my next funny moment... Greg Plitt. You might know him from a wide variety of fitness magazine covers & spreads, or from Jackie Warner's Bravo TV show... WorkOut. I waited in line  to have him sign a photo for Ariel (my 18yo daughter). He wrote out a quick note as we chatted then allowed Tracey to take a pic. I said Ariel was going to have a cow when she saw this, and he stopped me and said, "Wait... Ariel really is your daughter?" then he looked down and read my badge and got the funniest sheepish look on his face. He said, "Give me that back" and took the picture then wrote "Listen to your Mom" on the side. LOL!

View his website (the intro video is totally worth the watch!)

And of course, Arnold. Tracey had to stand on a chair to get this shot! He was surrounded by security.

And the lovely figure competitors

This effectively brings me back to where I left off yesterday.

Saturday - our scheduled day on the Eat Clean Diet booth. Tracey and I began our day with clean eats and excitement. We had each brought oatmeal, and Tracey had brought fruit. I drank much coffee (probably more than was wise, lol, as I'm already a tad hyper). At the booth we were quickly amazed at the sheer number of people already lining up to speak with Tosca, have books signed and take pictures. And as we chatted with folks, heard their stories of challenge and victory, we very quickly became aware that these moments were extraordinary.

Before I get teary-eyed all over again, I must throw out a blanket apology to the fine people waiting in line. At various points throughout my two days on the booth, some of you became victim to my incredible equilibrium. Yes, that's right. My klutz went to Ohio with me. I lost count of the number of times I would turn and tumble into some poor unsuspecting visitor, or flat out bowl one over. Once I think I attempted to mow down an entire family. I am so sorry! If it makes you feel any better, I did come home with a whole new batch of bruises (most of which I have no idea how I got, LOL!). At one point, I had bumped some long-suffering folks a couple times and I finally just threw my hands in the air and said something about being the entertainment for the duration of their wait. <shrug> I am what I am. :-)

I was stunned by so many of the stories I heard. I was moved by the vast array of life-changes, both desired and achieved. It was humbling to listen to one women talk about losing 135 lbs, and another about regaining her health. One woman I chatted with turned to clean eating when her teenage daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Another gentleman was a recovered addict who used clean eating to get clean so that he could donate a kidney to his brother and save his life. One couple rediscovered their youth and are embarking on these amazing bike trips across the nation. Story after story, real person after real person... it was incredible.

I was inspired, motivated and challenged by these amazing people. And I was able to share my experience with those who were just starting out on their journeys. I'm vain enough to be thrilled that so many people just couldn't believe the before picture was me :-) Lol, but to be able to show those photos to folks who were just starting to hope that eating clean could change their lives... those pictures are proof it works, proof it does change lives - it changed mine.

A lot of what I do here on my website is share with anyone who is interested what transformed me. I show my food, my workouts, I share my thoughts and sometimes my rants :-) I try to be very transparent and open in the hopes that there might be something I've experienced or learned that can help someone else achieve their own success.  I'm passionate about fitness & nutrition, I'm passionate about helping others reach their goals and keep hold of that success. But I have to say that I have never before seen the absolute dedication, compassion, motivation and warmth that I saw in Tosca Reno, her team, and Robert Kennedy this last weekend. The work they do is changing lives and they take that responsibility very seriously. It was beyond words to watch Tosca visit and share with so many, rarely taking so much as a bathroom break! She gave and gave, with joy and verve! It was compelling.

Those two days of working at the Eat Clean Diet booth, alongside the awesome team & Tosca, listening to people share their journeys, has changed me. My view is wider, my passion & commitment to this lifestyle and helping others is stronger. To all of you who talked with me at the booth, to those who worked so tirelessly to make the event happen, to those of you who contact me here on my website, the forum & the Kitchen Table... Thank you. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for helping me continue to grow and evolve. You're helping to make me a better me.

The weekend left me with amazing memories, moments etched in tears and laughter, as well as some things to think about. I have some goals to meet, and more to strive toward. And I'm looking forward to the future with more joy and excitement than ever before.

(I'm also really, really happy to be back home with my hubby and family!! I missed them sooo much!!) 

Tuesday 3/8/2011:   4pm... more info from the weekend... So, you might remember that I made one of my books for the family for while I was gone. It had my itinerary, contact information, and a section for my daughter Shiloh (17). Shiloh was going to do my grocery shopping and Sunday Food prep for me, so there was a grocery list (yes, it was listed by store and department/aisle - yes, I am obsessive, lol!), along with a detailed directive on what to do Sunday (and how). I had also put a recipe in there that I hoped she'd bake for me :-) She did! Shiloh did fabulously with the shopping & prep, and she baked me clean cupcakes!! They were incredible!!! Absolutely crave-worthy and the perfect treat to cap off my Arnold trip! The recipe is from here:

Ok, I'll start with Thursday. And it was a very early start. My flight left at 6:15 a.m., which meant I had to be there by 5:15, which meant I had to leave home by 4:45, which meant... well, you get the idea. I managed to get it all into my two carry-0ns (I am a mean master packer!). When it came time to board the flight, I was trying to be an organized traveler.  Emphasis on trying. I wore my backpack (loaded and heavy!) and had my suitcase-carryon by the handle... I think I bapped everyone in an aisle seat in the head with that backpack, and in the shins with my suitcase,  as I made my way to the back of the plane. My constant refrain, "I'm so sorry! Are you ok?" had the crew in hysterics. By the time I settled into my seat, I just wanted to crawl under it. Whaddaya gonna do? Sheesh.

The crew, who is now delightfully amused by my lack of grace, is warm and friendly; chatting with me about where I'm going and what I'll be doing. It was a smooth flight into Chicago Midway and a large part of that was the truly terrific crew of Southwest Airlines. When we landed they invited me to join them at Potbelly's for lunch during my layover, but I was eating clean and had my chicken breast, raw peppers, and sliced cucumber ready to go, so I thanked them and headed on out (after everyone else de-planed - really didn't want to repeat the head & shin bapping).

I was facing a 2 1/2 hour layover, so I thought I'd head outside to see what could be seen and eat my lunch... but I couldn't figure out how to get outside. Yes, I am navigationally challenged. After wandering  at great length (while bapping unsuspecting travelers with my overloaded backpack and ankle-biter suitcase), I made my way to a security officer to ask for direction. He graciously directed me outside, then kept me company (I was completely unprepared for how very COLD Chicago is! HOLY COW!) before walking me right to my gate (it is possible he realized that without that assistance I might have missed my flight, lol). He kindly invited my husband and I to visit with him if we ever get to Chicago, and by the time I left Chicago, I felt I'd met a new friend.

Refusing to allow the possibility of getting myself misplaced in the airport, I purchased coffee (only my second gallon of the day, lol) and I planted myself at the gate to await my next flight. This leg of the trip also went smoothly, and when I landed, Tracey (Traweaver from the Tosca Forum) was waiting for me and away we went!

(pictured - the only view of Chicago I had, lol!  Also...finally got the whole carry-on situation organized... but man, it was COLD in Chicago! My fingers were numb by the time I finally got the backpack attached to the handle of the suitcase! ROFL!!)
My only view of Chicago My luggage - finally got the carryon stuff organized!

Tra and I headed to the hotel, then out for some shopping. We had a blast! And yes, we are both navigationally challenged, and yes we did get slightly misplaced (I prefer that to lost), but managed to finally get to Easton Town Center. Our last stop of the night was a Trader Joe's where we stocked up on more clean eats. Tracey had brought some hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, granola (that she made and is absolutely incredible!!!), sliced veggies and a super yummy hummus. We bought more eggs (one can never have too many hard boiled eggs, LOL!), some clean fruit & veggie bars (think fruit leather, but 100% clean!), a couple clean protein bars, and I grabbed a lemon to slice up into my water bottle.

Back in the room, we feasted on the above and enjoyed getting to know each other. Excited and exhausted, we crashed early.

Friday, we headed to the expo to pick up our badges.
Can you see how excited we are? With our shiny new badges, we headed into the expo to find the Eat Clean Diet Booth. They were ready for us and handed us our uniforms (adorable white tees & yoga pants, with super-comfy black sweatshirts, all emblazoned with "Get Stripped with Tosca Reno"  :-) AWESOME!

We wandered the expo and had so much fun examining the ingredients on various food products (only clean products accepted, lol!), watching the people, shopping for souvenirs, seeing celebrities, actors and athletes, watching the people, watching the people... LOL! Seriously, the things you see! We were on our feet for hours and loved every minute of it!

That evening we we enjoyed a lovely dinner with the Robert Kennedy Publishing staff. Robert is an incredible gentleman, and it was an honor to be seated at his table. We met the other two Ambassadors (Jill Holland and Allison Earnst) who are both incredible, beautiful women; and we chatted with the Eat Clean Diet team members (including two of Robert & Tosca's daughters). It was incredible. Tosca got us all up and taking pictures, including this one... clearly we were having a great time :-)

We headed back to the hotel at 12:30 a.m. (super late for an old lady like me! LOL!). Bright and early the next morning (and bless Tracey for getting us coffee!) we headed to the booth to work.

And with that, I've run out of time :-) I've gotta head out and hit the bank, the grocery store, and then home. I'll post more tomorrow.

8:30 a.m....  I'm home!!! Got back yesterday, late afternoon and spent some much needed time with my family :-) It was such an unbelievable experience, and I can't wait to share it all with you! Tosca is incredible and such an inspiration to me. She's indefatigable, and so very genuine & warm. Her husband, Robert, is the same! The Eat Clean Diet Team are such an incredible group of people! The opportunity was humbling, motivating, inspiring, and overwhelming... I spent the whole time storing up memories and moments that will be with me for the rest of my life. I was/am proud to be an Eat Clean Diet Ambassador, and so inspired by the wonderful people who shared their stories, and the staff & Tosca who do so much to change lives. Tracey was awesome, and it was such a joy to share the experience (and room) with her! Meeting Tracey, Jill & Allison was incredible, and they're truly beautiful amazing women.

I can't wait to share it all with you. I'll be posting over the next several days (I'm back at work and really need to catch up, lol!), but here's a few pics from the weekend.

Me and Tosca! Woohoo!

The lovely Jamie Eason

Me and Amanda Latona

Look! That's our slide in the slideshow!

Tracey ran the Arnold 5K... There's no stopping this iron-woman!

Clean eating breakfast in the hotel room:

Yes. I am an uber-geek.

Tracey, me and Jennifferr from the forum

Tracey, me and Laxmom from the forum

Eat Clean Women! Marilyn, Allison Earnst, Jill Holland, Tosca, Me, and Tracey

Robert Kennedy with Tracey and I

Had to do it :-) Me and Greg Plitt (my 18 year old daughter has a HUGE crush on him!)

The Eat Clean Diet Team!

Me and Tracey... we'd just gotten our badges :-)

And before I sign off... here's my food for today :-) I haven't had time to do my Cooler page or my fitday stats... but I'm right on track:

Some of you may not have seen my "before" photo... Chelle Stafford - Before photo, January 2007. 194 lbs.this was taken on January 1st, 2007. This was the end of fat me. The very next day, Bill and I signed up at a local gym. The personal trainer randomly assigned to me was Tabitha :-)  She kicked my ass, taught me what food was and how to eat it, and became my friend along the way. When I blew out my knee (the first time), she told me I had to get serious about my food and sent me to the bookstore to pick up The Eat Clean Diet, which had just been published.  Tab said, "This is what I've been telling you. THIS is how to eat."

Even with an injury (and an incredibly talented & creative trainer who figured out how to keep me motivated and working with that injury), by changing my food habits, I changed my life. I reached my goal weight and flew right past it! Through my new lifestyle, I've maintained a 72 lb loss for nearly 2 1/2 years. There's no going back for me.

Wednesday 3/2/2011:   It's Almost Here!!!! :-D  Last night I did my cardio, and this morning I did my last workout (chest/triceps/shoulders) and my last cardio! I'm done! Tonight after work, I'm packing up, then leaving the house at 4:45 a.m. tomorrow to hit the airport. Woohoo!  I received the final schedule in my email this morning (from the Eat Clean Diet Team), and I'm sooooo excited!! My trip book is all set (or as my family calls it, my anal-retentive book), and my boarding passes (I change planes in Chicago) are printed. I also did a book for the family (of course I did, lol) with my itinerary, directions for dinner prep, and more. Shiloh is graciously doing my grocery shopping and food prep for me on Sunday, because I won't be here, Agnes, Despicable Me - So Fluffyso full and detailed instructions for that are also in the book.

Anyone see Despicable me? Remember Agnes, "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"?  :-) When I say I'm so excited... think of that scene :-) Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!! Wooohoo!

Food today is lean & mean... I'm at 1411 calories in, ratios are: 35% protein, 34% carb, and 31% fat.

Chelle's clean eating food today Wed, March 2, 2011

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
3 oz chicken breast & 1.5 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers  
 -   3 oz chicken breast, 1/2 cup black beans with fresh (homemade pico de gallo) rice, 1 cup steamed zucchini/yellow squash  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 2 hard boiled eggs and a pear-apple   
 (not pictured)- 5 ounces grilled chicken breast, 2 cups steamed broccoli with coconut oil, and 1 cup sliced cucumber in red-wine vinegar & EVOO.

I doubt I'll be blogging while I'm gone, so I'll say See ya Tuesday!  :-) Wish me luck!


Tuesday 3/1/2011:   This morning is off to a rough start. See that coffee cup? See the coffee on the top of the cup? Know where the rest of it is? ON MY SHIRT. And in my purse. Nice, right? Oy! And my cooler kicked the bucket, so I'm using my son's cooler until I can replace mine. And my boss plopped a project in my lap yesterday afternoon... this is a project that should take 2 weeks. I have (had) 48 hours. I am migrating websites like mad, trying to get everything moved and ready before our old host goes bye-bye, plus all our emails... OMG. If I think about it, I have heart palpitations. This is not an easy task. It would not be an easy task WITH two weeks time. And I have to have it ready to go live by 5pm today.  I've got my "Calm Down, Take a Breath" playlist going, but it's not helping much.

Anyway. Yesterday I finished the day with Total Body Conditioning class (awesome!), and a solid dinner, then goofed with the girls for a bit, then hit the hay. This morning I had my 6:30 am yoga class (fabulous!), then 30 minutes of cardio. If I ever leave the office today, I have another 30 minute cardio session tonight. Then tomorrow morning is my last cardio before the Arnold! Nearly there!!!

I got an email from the Eat Clean Diet folks this morning, and when I saw it in my inbox, I actually thought, "Oh no! Here it is! They've realized their mistake and don't want me."   Actually, they wanted permission to use my profile picture in a slideshow. LOL!

Food today is nearly identical to yesterday. I'm a tad bit low on calories, but close enough to be ok with it. Including dinner (not pictured), my total intake today is: 1344 calories, with 35% from protein, 34% from carbs, and 31% from fat. 39.4 g of fiber.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - Mar 1, 2011

Contents:  Breakfast -   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. Snack 1 - 3 oz baked mahi mahi & 1.5 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers   Lunch -   4 oz baked mahi mahi, 1/2 cup black beans with fresh (homemade pico de gallo) rice, 1 cup steamed broccoli  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  Snack 2 - 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 cup sliced raw cucumber, and a pear-apple   Dinner - 5 ounces grilled chicken breast, 2 cups steamed broccoli with coconut oil.

Monday 2/28/2011:   Week 5 of Arnold prep is complete, and I'm into week 6, which is actually only 3 days, lol, since I leave at 6:15 am on Thursday. I can tell you one thing for sure... when I return home, I'm having a piece of Godiva and a glass of red wine. Nonnegotiable. Lol!!

I got in all my cardio last week (all 11 sessions!) - not too bad for a post-surgery knee/quad, eh? :-) My leg feels great!

I did do battle this last week with some major feelings of inadequacy, and after the Arnold, I'll post about that. I also learned something this weekend about emotional eating. I've battled it before, not so much in the last few years, but I had a realization this weekend of just why I don't battle it. After all, this would be a make-sense time to dive into a box of chocolate, right? With all the stress? But I have absolutely no desire to do so. The reason for that is that it wouldn't comfort me. It wouldn't make me feel better. That piece of chocolate (or box, lol) would only serve to make me feel like a failure. No comfort there! Knowing that a treat won't make me feel better, indeed, will only make me feel worse, kind of takes away the temptation, you know? So instead of treating, I focused on what needed to get done, and made it happen.

It was an incredibly busy weekend, and I'm nearly packed and ready to go! I'm so excited! I did my cardio this morning (30 min. intervals), and after work I have Total Body Conditioning class followed by another 30 min cardio session (steady state). I tell ya, I've been hitting the sheets at night and going OUT. FAST. LOL! I've got my food ready for dinner, and for the family I'm tossing some pineapple and teriyaki sauce on some chicken and baking. :-) I love easy!

Food prep... yep, got it done! Proteins this week are: Fish: Cod, Mahi Mahi; Crockpot Chicken Breasts, hard boiled eggs. Complex (starchy) carbs: black beans. Complex Carbs (veggies): Cucumbers, broccoli, snow peas & cherry tomatoes, zucchini & yellow squash, colored bell peppers. Fruit: grapefruit

Additionals for the family... strawberries, bananas, blueberries, string cheese, potatoes.

I made up a Chicken Enchilasagna and stuck it in the freezer for while I'm gone (and threatened them that they better save me a piece! LOL), and I made up a batch of taco meat so they can have tacos while I'm gone, too.

Here's today's cooler, right on track. Including breakfast & dinner (which are not pictured), my total intake today is 1425 calories, with 33% from carbs, 38% from protein, and 29% from fat. I've got 37.3 g of fiber.  (remember my arnold-prep goal ration was 33% carb, 37% protein, and 30% fat for a total of 1400 calories, and I wanted to hit at least 30 g of fiber every day).

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Monday, Feb 28, 2011 - 1400 calories

Breakfast (not pictured)-   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
2 oz baked cod & 1.5 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers  
Lunch -   
4 oz baked cod, 1/2 cup black beans with fresh (homemade pico de gallo) rice, 1.5 cup steamed snow peas & tomatoes w/coconut oil  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  Snack 2 - 2 hard boiled eggs, and a pear-apple   
(not pictured) - 5 ounces grilled chicken breast, 1 egg, 2 cups steamed zucchini & yellow squash.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill & his dad  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 

Thursday, 2/24/2011:   I can't believe how the time is flying by! I leave for Columbus next Thursday morning! I'm doing well with my red-carpet prep routine. I'm keeping up and feeling strong.

I have a new playlist, to keep me from getting bored with all this cardio. Lol! I've tried it out a few times now, both with intervals and with steady-state, and can I just say... IT ROCKS! :-) Seriously! Music makes all the difference! One of the things I struggle with is steady-state. It's boring. I hate it. I much prefer the intervals! But... a big part of my lean-out process is made up of steady-state cardio - keeping my heart-rate between 135-145. Now, for me, that's waaaay low. My natural steady rate is about 150-160 (when doing cardio) with peaks up to 180+ (though I try hard to not go over that as it's a sure-fire way to bring on an asthma attack). To keep my HR between 135 and 145, I have to work at it... focus on my breathing, stay hydrated, and keep my movements fluid. Tabitha hears much bitching regarding how much I detest steady-state cardio.  She will be glad to learn that I have discovered music is the perfect tool for steady-state-success. :-)

Now ya'll know I'm the queen of the playlist. I have playlists for EVERYTHING. From workouts to sunday prep (ha! yep!) to parties to truly anything, I have a specific playlist just for it. But... a solid playlist for steady-state cardio has eluded me. I can't find music slow enough without putting me to sleep... and then I had my epiphany...

If you've ever really analyzed a song, you realize there are two separate beats. One is the fast paced bounce, the other is slower - I call it a primal rhythm (though I've no idea what the actual term for it is). Don't believe me? Try it out. Get on an elliptical, turn on your tunes and close your eyes. It may take a moment, but you'll hear it. It's like slow-dancing to a fast song. The reason I love my new cardio playlist (Thanks to AngieRoseD from the Kitchen Table who gifted me with some new tunes! YOU ROCK!) is that I can easily do either steady-state or intervals to the same songs.

For example -intervals - When the beat picks up, you pick up, when it slows, you slow. This is just basic intervals (I'm not talking about HIIT, just intervals), and it's an easy way to bump up your heart rate and increase your caloric burn.  These songs all have a fun beat that's easy to keep up with. 

Now, if you're talking steady state... here's where it gets tricky for me. I have to really focus - keep my breathing even and deep, keep sipping water (yeah, it makes a difference). I'll close my eyes and dial in on the music, feeling for that under-beat... the primal. Once I hear it, that's what I move to... gliding to the rhythm. Yes, it's a glide. Smooth movement, like dancing... hips and shoulders push up and out with each step, arms are loose on the handles, you're standing upright (not leaning forward) as if growing taller from the waist up (you'll feel your core tighten)... and just flow. Once you catch it, it's addicting. Very. I actually found myself enjoying my steady-state cardio this morning! Gasp! :-) Arnold Prep- Cardio playlist

Give it a try!

Note! I do not recommend the closing of the eyes portion on the treadmill! Yeah, I've gone there. Don't ask. LOL!

My cardio playlist is pictured. Click on it to be taken to my iTunes ping page (it'll open iTunes on your computer) where you can see my playlists, and purchase songs directly from iTunes.

Want to see my current weight lifting playlist? Click here.

So... wanna see how I started my workday?

The paper jam / fuser from hell

That, my friends, is the fuser from hell!  The sucker overheated late yesterday and had my print job so tangled and toasted I had to leave it out overnight to cool off! This morning I had to get out my special tweezer-tool and tweak it until I could finesse the paper out. Arghhhh!

But... I won.  He he he he :-)

Today's food... you can view the cooler here along with the fitday nutritional data. I'm dialed in at 1400 calories total (including dinner - not pictured), with a nutritional ratio of 38% protein, 32% carb, and 30% fat. Damn Skippy! Right on track! :-)

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Thursday - Feb 24, 2011.  1400 calories

Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 3 oz grilled chicken breast, 1.5 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers 
 -   4 oz grilled chicken breast, 1/3 cup brown rice, 1.5 cup steamed asparagus  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 3 hard boiled eggs, 1 just egg white, and a pear-apple   
 - (not pictured) 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, 2 cups steamed broccoli w/ coconut oil, 1 cup sliced cucumber in vinegar.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 

Wednesday, 2/23/2011:   Just a reminder.. If you've found my website/blog helpful, please give me a shoutout on the Women's Health Magazine Favorite Blog Contest! :-) Yes, this is a shameless request for attention, lol!  

If you choose to vote for me, my category would be Nutrition, and my blog url would be

Here's where you vote...

All right... here's where I'm at - 8 days until the Arnold! Woohooo! My knee(s) are doing good. My quad isn't giving me any trouble, but I am keeping at it with the foam roller after every workout and most cardio sessions. I'm still forming scar tissue, so it's important to break it up and prevent it from shortening the muscle where they cut it. Tomorrow is 10 weeks post-surgery. And I'm doing 11 cardio sessions this week - how's that for fast rehab? :-)

I've gotten some questions, so I thought I'd post my timeline if you're interested...

Week 1 (Jan. 24 - 30, 6-weeks post surgery): 1 total body conditioning class, 2 yoga classes, 1 cardio session (30 minutes HIIT), 2 weights sessions (1-chest/triceps/shoulders  2-legs).  Calories per day (intake): 1400 - 1600

Week 2 (Jan 31-Feb 6,  7 weeks post surgery): 1 total body conditioning class, 2 yoga classes, 2 cardio sessions (30 min each), 3 weights sessions (1-chest/triceps/shoulders  2-legs  3-abs).  Calories per day (intake): 1400 - 1600

Week 3 (Feb 7 - Feb 13,  8 weeks post surgery): 1 total body conditioning class, 2 yoga classes, 3 cardio sessions (30 min intervals), 3 weights sessions (1-chest/triceps/shoulders  2-legs  3-back/biceps/abs).  Calories per day (intake): 1400 - 1600

Week 4 (Feb 14 - Feb 20,  9 weeks post surgery): 1 total body conditioning class, 2 yoga classes, 1 Zumba class, 4 cardio sessions (30 min intervals), 3 weights sessions (1-chest/triceps/shoulders  2-legs  3-back/biceps/abs).  Calories per day (intake): 1400 - 1600

IN PROGRESS: Week 5 (Feb 21 - Feb 27,  10 weeks post surgery): 1 total body conditioning class, 1-2 yoga classes, 11 cardio sessions (30 min each), 3 weights sessions (1-chest/triceps/shoulders  2-legs  3-back/biceps/abs).  Calories per day (intake): 1400 max

To say that I'm thrilled I'm able to do so much after knee surgery would be an understatement :-) Added to that, I'm happy with my leaning-out process. I feel (and Tab confirms) that I'm making solid progress, and I'm right on track.

As you know, on Friday I cut out dairy, bread products, carbonation (I occasionally drink mineral water) and high-glycemic fruit/vegetables. I also boosted my water intake. I've cut all treats (including my sacred Godiva and red wine, and sucanat). These are temporary cuts. Once I get to the Arnold (or return from it), I'll reintroduce these items.

Here's why I cut dairy: the enzymes in dairy products cause a slight bloating. This is normal, and for the most part, un-noticeable. But we're talking about a serious event prep regimen here, so no dairy.

Same with the mineral water - carbonation... those bubbles cause bloating. Bye-bye.

Bread products - I typically don't eat bread. I do enjoy tortilla chips, corn tortillas, and the rare whole wheat low-carb wrap/tortilla. Any type of bread product is classified as a simple carb - and during this lean-out phase, those are banned. No simple carbs (this includes sucanat. I'm using zero sweetener - no agave, no honey, no sucanat, no nothing). Sweeteners have been linked (no matter how clean) to belly fat. Bye-bye. 

High glycemic fruit/veggies - high glycemic foods give you a quick boost, but they don't provide satiety. With reduced calorie intake, and increased activity, I need longer lasting fuel. You can view my coolers to see what I'm eating.

Treats - C'mon, really? What do I want more, that piece of Godiva and half a glass of red or to look smokin' hot in my clothes at the Arnold? No brainer.  :-) Treats gone.

And here's the bottom line... I can do anything for two weeks. That's all this is, that's all event prep should ever be (not talking about training for a figure competition, simply event prep). For two weeks I can drink my coffee black, I can live without strawberries, I can live without red wine and Godiva. It's just two weeks. Yes, there are moments when I feel it's the longest two weeks of my life, lol. But if I focus on how hard it is, I'm more likely to fail. If I simply do what comes next, and trust the process, I'm on a fast-track to reaching goal.

This goes back to what I said yesterday (and have said before) about motivation. It all comes down to just doing what comes next. Take the steps, because you know you need to, because you want to reach the goal. Don't think about how hard it is, or what you're "depriving" yourself. Keep the goal in sight, and focus on your next step.

This morning I did my 30 minutes of cardio. After work, I'll head back to the gym for my chest/triceps/shoulders workout followed by another 30 minutes of cardio. Throughout the day, I am eating clean from my cooler. That's today. That's what comes next. Tomorrow is a new day, and I'll face that when it comes.

I am not saying I don't struggle. I do. I am not saying it's not hard. It is. What I am saying is that I want the goal, and therefore am committed to doing what it takes. Are you?

Ok, moving on (soapbox sermon over, lol!)... Today's food. My cooler today includes everything from breakfast through dinner (bowling night, so dinner goes with me). Here it is:

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1400 calories. Wed., Feb 23, 2011

Breakfast -   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
3 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers  
 -   5 oz tilapia, 1/2 cup black beans with pico de gallo (fresh, homemade), 1 cup steamed zucchini  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 2 hard boiled eggs, apple   
 - 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, 2 cups steamed snow peas & tomatoes w/ coconut oil, 1 cup sliced cucumber in vinegar.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 

Tuesday, 2/22/2011:   3pm.. If you've found my website/blog helpful, please give me a shoutout on the Women's Health Magazine Favorite Blog Contest! :-) Yes, this is a shameless request for attention, lol!  

If you choose to vote for me, my category would be Nutrition, and my blog url would be

Here's where you vote...


Thanks!! :-)

9am...  Ok, have I mentioned that upping my activity this quickly is not easy? Did I mention the wall I hit on Sunday, when I had NO motivation to do anything, let alone lift, cardio, and my usual Sunday food prep? No? I didn't mention that I'm back on Aleve twice a day, and icing my knees when I get home from the gym? Huh. How'd I let that slip past me? :-)

Yeah. It's hard. I'm doing it, but it's hard. I'm doing everything I can to keep my knees healthy, and I'm pushing onward. That wall I spoke of that I hit Sunday... it was weird. I just hit full stop. Didn't want to do anything. And here was my opportunity to practice what I preach... Don't wait for motivation - push forward and let it catch up to you. If you wait for motivation, you will wait forever.

I pushed through, moved forward. I did everything I needed to, and yesterday still felt that wall. So I pushed through, moved forward. I did everything I needed to do (seeing a recurring theme here?), and when I woke this morning, I was ready to go. Motivation was back. I had an awesome & challenging yoga class this morning (Thanks Abbie!!), and I followed it up with a 20 minute cardio session (light intervals). After my workday, I'll head back to the gym for another 30 minutes of cardio followed by dinner.

My cooler is packed and on track. Including dinner (though it's not pictured) my total intake today is 1443 calories and right-on my ratio goal: 38% protein, 33% carbs, 29% fat.  Even with the extra activity, I'm not feeling deprived or hungry (so far). We'll see how that holds up as the week progresses. I am 9 days away from the Arnold, and determined to look my best :-)

Here's Today's Cooler:

Chelle's clean eating cooler Tuesday Feb 22. 1400 calories

And what you see is...
Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 3 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers  
 -   4 oz tilapia, 1/2 cup black beans with pico de gallo (fresh, homemade), 1 cup steamed green beans  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 2 hard boiled eggs, apple   
 (not pictured) - 4 ounces pork tenderloin, 2 cups steamed broccoli w/ coconut oil, 1 cup sliced cucumber in vinegar.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 


Monday, 2/21/2011:   Saturday was a rest day (except for the awesome fun hour of zumba!) spent scouring the malls for shoes for my dresses at The Arnold. Success! Now I just have to figure out the accessories. Sunday was Back/Biceps/Abs plus another 30 minute cardio session. Afterwards I did my grocery shopping then all my food prep.

Here's what I prepped this week:

Protein: grilled chicken breast, baked tilapia, roasted pork tenderloin, hard boiled eggs.
Complex Carbs (grain): brown rice, oatmeal
Complex Carbs (veggies/fruit):  broccoli, green beans, asparagus, snow-peas & tomatoes, black beans w/pico de gallo (homemade), sliced raw peppers, sliced raw cucumbers; grapefruit, apples, pear-apples
Fat: coconut oil, EVOO, ground flax seed

Today's cooler is lean & mean :-) Logging in with 1390 calories (including dinner - not pictured)), and an on-the-nose ratio balance of 37% protein, 33% carb, 30% fat. Right where I need to be.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1400 calories
Here's what you see...

Breakfast -   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs, 2 hard boiled egg whites & an apple  
 -   3 oz Chicken breast, 1/3 cup brown rice, 1 cups steamed green beans  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 3 oz grilled chicken breast, 1.5 cup sliced raw red/orange/yellow peppers  
 (not pictured) - 4 ounces pork tenderloin, 2 cups steamed broccoli w/ coconut oil, 1 cup sliced cucumber in vinegar.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 

Today begins my twice-a-day's cardio, final prep for the Arnold. This morning I got in 30 minutes of intervals, and tonight I have Total Body Conditioning class (1hr) followed by 30 minutes of steady state cardio. So far, my knee/quad is feeling great. A little stiff this morning in both knees, but that's the arthritis (and rainy, cold weekend).

Happy Monday!

Friday, 2/18/2011:   Cardio last night went well, and leg day went off this morning without a hitch :-) Woohoo! And, when I got home, I dashed up the stairs two at a time with NO PROBLEM! Damn Skippy, Baby! Yeah! I followed up my workout with oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax & cinnamon and 1/2 a grapefruit.

Food today is all on track. I drank my black coffee (it's an acquired taste I have not yet acquired, lol!), ate my breakfast, and packed my cooler. I'm in and out all day and wanted to be sure to have clean eats handy. In addition to my eggs, apple, chopped chicken, brown rice and green beans, I've got a Think-Thin protein bar and a protein drink just in case. Plus my trusty water bottle.

Today I am on a shoe search. I now have my dresses & backup outfits picked, but no shoes (I'm guessing my 8-inch Steve Madden's won't be the best thing for my knee, LOL!). As soon as I finish up some design work (trade show booth stuff), I'm shutting down and heading out. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 2/17/2011:   **Updated 3:30pm... Ok, Tab and I just had us a confab and have adjusted my target nutrients. Rather than the 40% carb, 35% protein and 25% fat, we're moving me to 33% carb, 37% protein, 30% fat. The idea is to protect my muscle as I add the extra cardio (so my body doesn't burn my muscle as fuel, the goal is to have it use fat). I'll spend the weekend working out out what that ratio looks like as actual food, then Monday it's on :-)

9:00 am... My knee feels good today. No problems last night with cardio, or this morning with yoga. Yay! :-)  This evening I have another cardio session, then dinner. Tomorrow will be leg day (shiver of fear, LOL!). 

My eats today are lean & tight... My total daily intake including dinner will be 1466 - 40% carbs, 36% protein, and 24% fat with 34 g of fiber.

Here's today's cooler (dinner not shown):

Chelle's clean cooler food Feb 17, 2011

Here's what you see...

Breakfast -   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus half a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs & an apple  
Lunch -   4 oz Chicken breast, 1/2 cup quinoa, 2 cups steamed vegetables  and the 2nd half of my grapefruit.  
Snack 2 -
 1 cup Chobani 2% Greek Yogurt (plain) with 1/2 cup blueberries.  
 (not pictured) - 4 ounces grilled chicken breast (may swap out for halibut) and 2 cups steamed veggies.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill and his dad: Sandwich (Whole Wheat bread w/sliced grilled chicken breast (from Sunday food prep), lettuce, tomato, cheddar, honey mustard), 2 string cheese, pear-apple, 2 hard boiled eggs.

I'm in the final stretch of my Arnold prep. While my food is always on track, I've been tightening it up a bit here and there. I don't do "cooler 1" (if you're familiar with Tosca Reno's cooler plans), but Tab and I have worked out a lean-out plan that works fabulously. I've done this plan for photo shoots and other special events, and now I'm utilizing it for the Arnold. I am not a body builder, nor am I a figure/bikini competitor so no amount of leaning out will make me look like them, lol. I simply want to present my best self. I can "lean out" all I want, but if the muscle isn't already there... neither will be the definition, the shape that I desire. This process is simply a matter of stripping away excess water (and hopefully fat) to show the hard work I've put in.

So what changes are in store?

After today I am cutting dairy & bread products, and reducing my sugars (including higher glycemic fruits/vegetables). All my starchy carbs will be front-loaded... ingested early in the day. For me, this means no more sucanat or fat-free milk in my morning coffee, no more greek yogurt, no cottage cheese, feta, etc. No wraps, no panko. No more treat meals. For at least the next week, my goal is to hit 1400 calories (my previous goal was 1600 cal/day) with 40% carb, 35% protein, 25% fat and minimum of 3o g fiber each day. I may adjust my calories during the second week.

My activity level will also be receiving a goose beginning Monday.  I'll be moving from 3-5 cardio sessions to 12 (2x/day, 6-days/week) - as long as my knee can stand it. That means I'll be in the gym doing cardio morning and night, in addition to my strength training, and yoga sessions. I am currently lifting weights (1 hour sessions) 3x week, plus one total-body conditioning class, plus 2 yoga sessions. Those 30 minute cardio sessions will be predominantly steady-state, but will include three 20-minute interval sessions each week. I might add a yoga session or two, but I'll see how it goes first. My knee is my first priority, and I won't do anything to jeopardize it, so if the cardio becomes too much, I'll adjust it.

So that's the plan! :-) Does it seem extreme? It is. Remember, this is basically a Red Carpet Preparation plan... it's not an average or sustainable routine. I am prepping for a special event where I want to look my best. My sustainable routine is much tamer :-) and includes 3 weights days, 3-5 cardio sessions, and 2 yoga sessions. That's my normal.

But, the upcoming event does not call for normal, LOL!! Woohooo!!!

I've got that Europe song buzzin' through my head... "It's the final countdown!" Woohoo!!

Wednesday, 2/16/2011:   Knee is still a bit tender, but didn't Stubborngive me any twinges during cardio last night and the swelling is down. The pain Monday night was a good reminder that just because I'm ready to go full-speed, doesn't mean my knee is. You might think  I'd have that firmly in my head, being less than 9-weeks post surgery, but I'm dense like that, LOL!

Today's cooler includes everything... from breakfast through dinner. It's going to be a crazy day, and difficult to get everything done. I hope to not drop any balls. After work, I have my weight session (1 hr), followed by 30 min of cardio intervals, then I have to quickly clean up (get rid of the eau-de-gym) and dash to a parent meeting at the high school for Shiloh's New York trip (exciting!!), then get myself over to the bowling alley and hopefully catch some of the games before driving Bill home. Somewhere in there, I have to eat dinner. I packed a Chicken wrap anticipating the craziness of tonight. Total calories in that cooler (full day's food) are 1615.  36% from carbs, 38% from protein, and 26% from fat.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1615 calories. Feb 16, 2011

What you see is...

Breakfast -   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
5 oz pork tenderloin with 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes w/chipotle peppers  
 -   4 oz Chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed green beans 
Snack 2 -
 2 hard boiled eggs & an apple  
 - Chicken Wrap (Ole wrap, 4 oz chicken breast, baby spinach, shredded cabbage, feta).
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill and his dad: Sandwich (Whole Wheat bread w/sliced grilled chicken breast (from Sunday food prep), lettuce, tomato, cheddar, honey mustard), 2 string cheese, pear-apple, 2 hard boiled eggs.

I wanted to note that all the food you see in my coolers are part of my Sunday Food Prep. Those baggies of oatmeal/protein powder/ground flax/cinnamon - I make those up and toss in the fridge. The steamer bags of veggies are cleaned, chopped and tossed in the bags with a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash. The pork tenderloin - roasted on Sunday. The eggs - hardboiled, peeled and bagged in two's. The chicken breast - grilled. The rice, the mashed sweet potatoes... it's all done on one day then stored in portions so all I do in the morning is toss stuff in my cooler.

Yes, doing all the food prep on one day takes time. But it saves me HOURS during the week. It saves me time (and aggravation) as I'm packing my clean eats for the day, as I'm preparing dinner, and it has the added benefit of making healthy food available to the whole family whenever it's needed. Granted no one system works for everyone, but this has sure stood the test of time with me and my family.

Arnold Sports Festival**Update on The Arnold... 14 days until I'm on a plane and heading toward Columbus!! Woohoo!! I really didn't think I could get more excited, but with every communiqué from the Eat Clean Diet folks, I bump up a notch. Or two! I'm so excited and honored to be part of this great experience!

Tuesday, 2/15/2011:   Last night after work I headed to Total Body Conditioning class.. Awesome workout! Unfortunately, my knee protested the rest of the night. A huge disappointment to me, but I have to expect times like that. It gave me some real trouble in yoga this morning, so after cardio tonight I will be icing it like a popsicle, lol.

Dinner was fantastic, and I ended up having 9 people around my table instead of the expected 6, lol. The two lobster tails had to stretch, and I think everyone ended up with about a tablespoon or two of lobster. :-)  But there was plenty of the beef tenderloin (I used the maple-soy marinade from here), chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, snow crab legs and steamed asparagus. Dessert for me was a piece of Godiva :-) Yummy!

Today my cooler holds 1300 calories with 39% of them from carbs, 34% from protein, and 27% from fat. Right on track. With dinner, my intake will probably be right around 1500-1600 total calories.

Chelle's clean eating cooler - 1300 calories, Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

Here's what you're seeing:
Breakfast -
   Oatmeal w/protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon plus a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 - 
2 hard boiled eggs & an apple  
 -   5 oz Pork Tenderloin, 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 cups steamed green beans 
Snack 2 - 1 cup greek yogurt (2% chobani) with 1/2 cup blackberries  
 - (not shown or on fitday yet) Panko Dijon chicken (see recipe) with steamed veggies.
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill and his dad (not pictured): Sandwich (Whole Wheat bread w/sliced grilled chicken breast (from Sunday food prep), lettuce, tomato, cheddar, honey mustard), 2 string cheese, pear-apple, 2 hard boiled eggs.


Monday, 2/14/2011:   Happy Monday! My Sunday Food Prep went according to plan and here's what I've got for this week:

Proteins: Grilled Chicken breast, roasted pork tenderloin, browned ground beef, Tilapia, Halibut, Greek Yogurt & Hard Boiled Eggs

Veggies: Green Beans, broccoli, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, baby potatoes, orange & red peppers, zucchini & yellow squash, plus salad makings

Fruit: pear-apples, apples, blueberries, grapefruit, lemons (plus for the family there's bananas)

Fat: Avocado, EVOO, Coconut Oil, Feta

I love having it all done. There's just something about knowing that food is prepped and ready to go that allows me to face the week in a more positive way.

Food today is all clean & tasty :-) I've upped my pre-workout calorie intake so that I'm hitting the gym with a little more in the tank. Today (pre-dinner) my cooler contains 1340 calories (41% carb, 37% protein, 22% fat and 21.8 g fiber). After work I have Total Body Conditioning class, then I'm dashing home to make a "fancy" dinner for the family tonight. I've got a nice beef tenderloin marinating, and I picked up some snow crab legs to steam, and a couple lobster tails (big ones were just $7/each!) that I'll sauté, then serve all with Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes & steamed asparagus. It'll be a fun surf-n-turf valentines. Everything was on mega-sale, so it's nice to be able to treat the family. 

Here's my cooler for today (sorry about the fuzzy pic, I had to use my dinosaur-phone camera):

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Monday, Feb 14, 2011

Saturday, 2/12/2011:   I meant to post yesterday, but the day became kind of a blur, lol. However, it ended on an incredibly high note. Tab is now the new Athletic Director for Mountainside Fitness! Woohoo! Awesome!! I'm so excited for her, and so proud of her. It's a fantastic position, and she's absolutely perfect for it! Woot Woot!! Go, Tab!!!  :-)

We celebrated by killing three hours at the mall :-) Closed the place down, and didn't even buy anything, lol!  Well, godiva doesn't count.

My food and fitness are all on track (another woot woot!). Today I'm heading to the gym for Back &  Biceps , and some cardio after. Tomorrow I hope to hit a yoga class in the morning before I do my grocery shopping and food prep.  Dinner tonight is burgers and sweet potato fries :-)

Anyway, that's my saturday update :-) Yay Tab!!!  My bff is the Athletic Director for Mountainside Fitness. Oh yeah! Woot Woot!!  :-)

Thursday, 2/10/2011:   I find it incredibly fitting that I celebrated my 8-week Knee-Surgery anniversary by attending yoga class this morning :-) And I'm going back this evening for cardio. 8-weeks post surgery and I'm fully back into my routine. Granted, I'm not where I was strength-wise, but I'm fully present & accounted for :-) Awesome!

Here's the progression...

Knee Braces (2 months on both, an additional month on the right knee) To try to stabilize the kneecaps & reduce inflammation & pain Having exhausted other options, including physical therapy (which worked on the left knee) I had Surgery to fix the right knee (Dec. 16)
Knee braces post-surgery
Knee arthroscopy with chondral debridement patellofemoral joint and lateral retinacular release
To this... 8 weeks post surgery! Woooohooo!
8-weeks post knee surgery!

Food yesterday flopped on me. The stuffed pepper in my cooler for snack 2 was a no-go. I think the cheese was bad, so I had to toss it. :-( This left me at 850 calories pre-weight lifting & cardio. Grrrr. That was NOT the plan! I still felt somewhat full from lunch, so I kept on track and hit the gym. I did upper body and cardio for a total burn of 620 calories, then dashed home to inhale some food. I ended my day with 1261 calories (41% carb, 32% protein, 27% fat and 39 g fiber). Again, too low in calories, but not the end of the world.

Today, I have all my food but lunch in my cooler. I'll be heading to Red House for my clean mid-day meal (steamed chicken, veggies & brown rice). It's been a long time since I've eaten out for weekday lunch, and Red House is super yummy and uber-clean. Today's intake (pre-cardio and pre-dinner) is at 1222 calories (42% carb, 30% protein, 28% fat and 22.7 g fiber). Dinner will pop me up to my goal of 1400-1600 calories.

Chelle's clean eats for Thursday Feb. 10, 2011

Here's what you're seeing:

Breakfast -  1 cup greek yogurt (2% chobani) with 1/2 cup blackberries & a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 -
apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   
 -   4 oz Chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, steamed veggies 
Snack 2 -
 1 cup 2% Cottage Cheese w/sriracha sauce & 2 Dr. Kracker flatbreads  
 - coming soon (post-cardio)

Oh! And that new lipstick I mentioned yesterday? It's a keeper! Made it through the whole day, my workout, food/water, and an evening at the bowling alley. I am sooooo picking up more colors! :-) LOL!

Wednesday, 2/9/2011:   22 Days until the Arnold! :-) Yep, I'm still bouncing off the walls and giggling at odd (and mostly inappropriate) times. 

So yesterday was my official "rest day". Yoga in the a.m., then no lifting or cardio. I felt guilty! There's that all-or-nothing mentality again. But, I held firm. Had a solid dinner and ended my day with 1667 calories (35% protein, 35% carb, 29% fat and 47 g of fiber). Good nutritional prep for today. I'll be lifting & doing cardio after work. Wednesday is Chest/Triceps/Shoulders :-)  I have a love/hate thing going with the shoulder work. lol.

Anyone see the new study about eggs & cholesterol? Huh. Eggs are good for us. Who knew? (yes, that's snark). View the story here.

On to today's food... pre-dinner, my food is at 1103 calories (41% carb, 34% protein, 25% fat and 23.5 g fiber). That will jump up when I add in dinner, but I've got to get a handle on my lifting day nutrition. I need more calories before my workouts. Dagnabbit. I think I'm going to focus on more calorie dense foods on those days, since I don't want to necessarily add food (no point on forcing myself to stuff - ugh).

Here's my cooler today:

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Wed. Feb 9, 2011. 1100 calories, pre-dinner.

And here's what's in it...
Breakfast -
  1 cup greek yogurt (2% chobani) with 1/2 cup blackberries & a grapefruit. 
Snack 1 -apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   
 -   4 oz Chicken breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, steamed asparagus 
Snack 2 - 
steamed Stuffed Red Pepper  
 - coming soon

Confession. I have an addiction to red lipstick. Maybe it's the blonde thing, but I have a hard time passing up a red lipstick. I'm always searching for one that will a) look good, and b) stay put (does it get worse than red-lipstick-bleed/feather? I don't think so). New red lipstick!Because of this, I have a whole lot of red lipstick. The color has it's own set of shelves in my makeup box. My daughters have discussed an intervention. Well, yesterday I found a new one.  :-) I think I might have a winner! Maybelline's new Super-Stay 24 Color. It's a lip dye with an attached gloss. Generally, I've had bad results with lip dyes (I'm not going to talk about it), but this one is great! I lined and filled in with a red liner (Loreal Colour Riche in Always Red), then applied the Super-Stay in All Day Cherry. Through coffee, water bottle, and breakfast, it's right where I left it! Woohoo! :-)

I also have another color, more of a rose tone that I've been thrilled with. It really did last 24 hours!

My bff, Tab, started a discussion yesterday on a forum about music being motivation, and we started listing songs that move us - emotionally and/or physically. Now ya'll know I'm a bit crazy with the playlists, so this was right up my alley :-) Anyway, the discussion got me thinking about my music, and several songs popped into my head right away, with lyrics and beats that help me through my workouts and keep me motivated. I love songs that both move me and MOVE me.

One of my favorite lifting songs I'm listening to is Fix Me by 10 Years. View the lyrics here.  The chorus is "I'm fine in the fire; I feed on the friction; I'm right where I should be; Don't try and fix me." With pressure from family & friends to "just live a little" (meaning eat junk, stay out of the gym), that song is affirming. I am fine in the fire. I like the fire. I'm a better me because of the fire.

What about you? Do you build your workout/cardio playlists with songs that motivate as well as push you? Do you focus on beat alone, or do the lyrics help decide what makes it onto your list?

You can view my playlists here, and download them here (must have iTunes - this will launch a browser window then open your iTunes - or Ping me on iTunes - Chelle Stafford).


Tuesday, 2/8/2011:   Last night's Total Body Conditioning class was tough! Afterward, Tab and I hit the ellipticals for some cardio. My total burn was 637 calories. Which sounds fantastic until you realize that up until then I'd only taken in 1150 calories. Oops. Definitely boosting that intake. I got home and built myself a ginormous taco salad :-) 4 oz lean taco-seasoned ground beef on a (huge) bed of spinach & shredded cabbage, diced onion, 1/4 avocado, 2 tbsp greek yogurt & sriracha sauce. Topped the whole thing with a tablespoon of feta and man, that hit the spot! My nutrition for yesterday ended up being 1394 calories in with a ratio of 41% protein, 32% carb, and 27% fat. I also managed to get 36 g of fiber.

This morning I hit yoga (232 calories), and so far my food is all right on track. Before dinner, I will be at 1300 calories (ratios: 34% protein, 33% carb, 33% fat) with 31.6 g fiber. Here's my cooler today (there's a small bowl of greek yogurt w/blueberries there beside snack 2, that's a "just in case" snack - it's not included in my fitday calculations. I'll add it if I need it.).

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011. 1300 calories

Contents:  Breakfast -  Chicken Wrap (tortilla, spicy mustard, 4 oz chicken, baby spinach & shredded cabbage & a bit of onion, 1 tbsp feta & 2 tbs ground flax) and a grapefruit. Snack 1 - apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   Lunch -   4 oz lean ground beef, 1/2 cup brown rice, and shredded cabbage & spinach, 1/4 diced avocado and 2 tbsp greek yogurt w/sriracha sauce. Snack 2 - steamed Stuffed Red Pepper  Dinner  - coming soon

Oh... and if you need a good rib tickler today, check out Jen Lancaster's post on the Second American Revolution...  


(I love you, Jen Lancaster!! In a totally non-creepy, not-a-stalker type way, of course).



Monday, 2/7/2011:   Weekend recap... Super Bowl party! I wasn't much into the game but the commercials are always fun. Did you go online to watch the full GoDaddy one? Hysterical!!!! And my favorites were the Pepsi "Love Hurts", the Audi A8 "Prison Break" and Volkswagen Passat: Young Vader. If you missed them, you can view all the commercials here:

I was in charge of desserts for the party, and made Elana's Brownies ( - awesome! the recipe is here), and 2 batches of milk chocolate covered strawberries and one batch of dark chocolate. I'm not going to discuss how many dark chocolate strawberries I ate. Oy. Main meal was an incredible filet sliced for sandwiches.. I made lettuce wraps with mine and it was incredible! I won't mention how much of that I ate either. Lol. Then our host's mom was there and had made this sausage-cheese-bread thing... We'll just say yesterday was a cheat day and leave it at that. And no, I did not weigh this morning. :-)

It was a busy weekend, rushing here and there. I did my grocery shopping on Saturday, along with some food prep, but I'll be picking up the slack on that this week.

I found my dresses for the dinners at The Arnold, and I got a screamin' deal! Shiloh went with me (my 17 year old daughter), and we snuck out of Macy's expecting to be arrested, the deals were that good! Now I just have to find shoes & accessories :-) Sounds like a Lucy & Ethel Mission to me! Woohoo! Tab and I will hit the mall this weekend.  Oh... and one of the dresses I bought fits Shiloh, too, so she'll be taking it with her to New York for one of the Broadway shows she's attending. Gotta love getting double usage out of a purchase! Plus, we found 2 more dresses for her, a sweater & top for me... and for everything we paid less than the original price of one of my dresses! Crazy deals!

Today I'm looking forward to class tonight after work. Tab's Total Body Conditioning Class is amazing :-) And she and I will be doing some cardio afterwards, so I can cross that of my list, too :-) I'll post my total calorie burn on the Cooler page tomorrow morning.

I'm excited. I feel good, the knee is fantastic! Enough so that I forgot myself this weekend and dashed up the stairs at home, two at a time without even thinking about it! Well, until I got about halfway and my quad screamed "We are not doing this!" Okay, so I'm not quite ready to dash up two at a time yet, but I'm getting there! My butt, which through the enforced "rest" then surgery & recovery had decided to fly south for the winter, is slowly coming back north... maybe even enough to justify new jeans before The Arnold :-) Here's hoping! Woohoo!

Today's food is light but all on track. I need to boost my calories, but dinner should take care of that. I also need more carb... twist my arm :-) Before dinner, I'm at 1150 calories, with the ratios being: 39% protein, 35% carb, and 26% fat. I want to end up at 35% protein, 40% carb. The fat is right where I want it, at 25-26%.

Chelle's clean eating cooler for February 7, 2011. 1150 calories, before dinner.

Breakfast -
  Chicken Wrap (tortilla, spicy mustard, 4 oz chicken, baby spinach & shredded cabbage & a bit of onion, 1 tbsp feta). 
Snack 1 - 
apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   
Lunch -   4 oz Chicken Breast, 1/2 cup brown rice, and  steamed asparagus. 
Snack 2 - 
1 cup greek yogurt (2% chobani) with 1/2 blue & blackberries, 2 tbsp ground flax & grapefruit.   
 - coming soon
***NOTE: Cooler for Bill  - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, pear-apple, string cheese, and a healthier granola bar (has 12g sugar, but it's all natural). 

Happy Monday!

Friday, 2/4/2011:   Relationships are funny things. Well, people are funny, ergo relationships are, too.

Being the token male in our household nowadays, my husband is outnumbered. Even by the dog. An oft-lamented consequence of this are the odd conversations Bill get's sucked into. From the girls and their vast man-unfriendly chatter to my own TMI observations, Bill suffers through it all. Mostly quietly.

Just last night, talks led to Bill having a complete understanding of why I think I probably had too much fiber and asparagus this last week. Later, when a commercial for Breathe Right strips came on, I commented that I'd love to try them except I'd look funny, and we haven't been married that long (5 years in May, been together over 10). He turns to me in utter astonishment and says, "You can tell me that your pee smells funky because of asparagus, but you don't feel comfortable wearing a strip on your nose to bed??"


The other night, one of our daughters asked us a serious question, based on her own relationship "issues"... "Do you guys ever get sick of each other? I mean, when one of you is talking, do you just want to say, 'shut up! I don't care!'?"

She was stunned when Bill and I quickly and easily said, "Sure."
"What??? Nuh-uh!"

Let me backtrack a bit... Bill and I have a great relationship. Truly. We rarely fight (but when we do, they're doozies!), and we're very in-tune about most things. But we're also very normal. So yeah, we get annoyed, irritated, and downright sick of each other sometimes. Our daughter was honestly taken aback. Then we talked about handling those times, and that it's never okay to say, "Shut up! I don't care!" We discussed respect and honor, and appreciation.

It got me thinking. There's no man I respect more than my husband. He reciprocates. But we've both been in relationships where that was not the case; long-term relationships, where the other person sought only to tear us down. We each suffered, longer than we should have. We both eventually got out and rebuilt - ourselves first, then a new life with each other. I hope that our relationship serves as a model to our kids, of what should be, but also what is.

While my vanity won't allow me to wear a strip on my nose to bed (I do however remove my makeup, lol), and my respect won't allow me to cut him down, I have other foibles.  I am a self-proclaimed bitch. In my house, I am Queen Bitch. My screensaver on my phone says "You say 'bitch' like it's a bad thing." I'm human, and so is he. Where I am Queen Bitch, he is King Asshole. We accept that about each other, and realize that moods pass, funks fade, but what we have together stands the test.

My kids have come to view Bill as their dad, and they couldn't have a better man to look up to, and look out for them. (I mean really, it makes a statement, doesn't it, when the boys come to call and Dad suddenly decides to clean his sword collection?) Our family has seen some terrible times, and some amazing times, too. Through it all, we continue to build onto our foundation and create a better family... despite ourselves. :-)

We don't have a perfect family, but over the years we've truly knit our "his & hers" into a solid "ours". We might be louder, and more sarcastic than the average family (I say this because I've seen the shock on the kids' friends faces during various dinners, lol) but I'm proud of us. I love what we are together, and who our kids are becoming. And frankly, snark rules!Yep! I'm a goof!! :-) My family loves me anyway!

We accept each others quirks (and multiple personalities - ya'll would love my Jimmy & George... They're a hoot! LOL!). We love each other regardless. Even when I embarrass my family :-) Which is a lot.  Ok, it's more often than not. It's one of my joys in life :-)

So, in closing... Bill, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for telling you about the asparagus, I might try the strips, and thank you for sharing my life. I love you.

Bill and Chelle photo collage (yes,this was pre-weight loss!)

9:00 am...  30 min. Cardio intervals - check. Abs - check. Stretching - check. Total calorie burn this morning: 375. Breakfast - check. :-)  So far so good. I've got a ton of stuff to accomplish today, so I'm glad that my cardio is done. I hope to get leg-day in later on. I've got mega work, plus an abundance of errands. Please, oh please, let me get it all done!

So, my crazy hunger lasted yesterday through dinner (leftover Panko chicken & steamed asparagus) and then suddenly it went away and I felt over-stuffed. ??? LOL! Then this morning, I'm on the elliptical, mid interval, and my stomach starts growling! Oh, not this again! Hahaha! So today I'm upping my calories, my goal is to increase by 150-200 and see how I feel.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, 2/3/2011:   Today is 7-Weeks Post Knee Surgery!! I got my workout in last night, though Tab was unable to join me :-(  I followed up an hour of weights with 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical than dashed home to clean up, grab food and head off to the bowling alley. The knee/quad feel great! I had yoga this morning, and did pretty good through that, as well.  :-)

This morning I received the initial schedule from The Eat Clean Diet for the Arnold Sports Festival.  Yaaaayyyy!!!! I am excited beyond words about this opportunity! Tonight will be The Budget Summit (lol!) and Bill and I will be figuring out what goes where. Shiloh has her New York trip the week after I return from Columbus, and we want to make sure that nothing gets spread too thin, and all the important things are handled.

On another note... it appears that my metabolism is kickin' into a higher gear. With the downtime/rest prior to surgery, then the recovery, I had adjusted my caloric intake to match the lower activity. As I've increased my activity in the last three weeks, I've boosted my intake as well. Today... I'm starving! I ate breakfast and had to eat my snack an hour later! I'm eating lunch and considering how long I have to wait until my next snack... LOL! Looks like it's time for another calorie intake boost! :-)

See Today's Cooler for my food/cooler contents.  

Wednesday, 2/2/2011:   Reflections on the scale...

Yesterday I talked about my 4-pronged lifestyle (clean eating, strength training, cardio training, and flexibility training). I wanted to expand that a bit and discuss how that lifestyle reflects on the scale.

I reached my goal weight in October of 2008, and I've maintained it ever since (within a 5# fluctuation). I've maintained my weight through various injuries, downtime, and surgery. Those four prongs are the keys to my success. While my weight has stayed static, my body hasn't. It has continuously changed. During those downtimes, it's gotten softer; during active times it's firmer, leaner & tighter. But the times when my body looks its best are not necessarily reflected by the number on the scale (and I'm not even going to address the cruel body fat percentage the diabolical Tanita tells me I have). If I get hung up on the weight, I lose sight of the body.

This month's Oxygen magazine carried an article by Tosca Reno (Raising the Bar) that addressed our relationship with the scale. It's nice to know that women with amazing bodies also dread stepping on that instrument of devastation. It's crazy the hold it can have on us. We use it to gauge our progress or our maintenance, and too often we use it to beat ourselves up. don't step on it, it makes you cry

I see women every month in fitness magazines who are my height, similarly active, but weigh so very much less than me. Sometimes it messes with my head (which then receives a smack from Tab). I have to remind myself that each body is different. I hold my weight differently from the next woman, who holds hers differently from the next. The numbers on the scale are NOT the bottom line.

While the scale does provide a service, it cannot be relied upon solely for proof of effort or success. When you're losing weight, the obvious goal is to lose weight... that WILL be reflected on the scale. The scale can help keep you accountable and on track. But there will come a time in your journey when it's no longer about weight. It's about shape. And when you're working to change the shape of your body, understand that the scale may no longer be your friend, but there are other ways to measure your results.

How do your clothes fit? How do you feel? Are your measurements changing? These are precisely the elements that I have adopted as part of my lifestyle BEYOND the scale. They keep my perspective clear and focused on what matters most in what I perceive as my “IDEAL ME”. It is a constant challenge (and many slaps on the head) each day to keep my focus in this direction, but ultimately I know that by doing so I will keep from pining over a number that no longer defines the way I feel or look.

10am:  I had the best Chelle's clean breakfast wrapbreakfast wrap today! LOL! I picked up some new tortillas this weekend, for the family's breakfast burritos and decided to try one this morning. I just wasn't in the mood for oatmeal or any of my other usual meals. While not strictly clean, the tortillas are fabulous... full wrap size, 71 calories, 5 g carbs, 12g fiber (what??! really!), and 8 g protein. [Ole Mexican Foods, High Fiber, Low Carb Tortillas] They're soft, and didn't tear. Plus it tasted good :-) Inside it, I spread some spicy mustard, baby spinach, shredded cabbage, onion, 4 ounces of sliced chicken breast, and a tablespoon of feta. Serious yummage! All for just 227 calories! Added a grapefruit and had a moment of breakfast-zen. Lol! :-)

Today's cooler is packed full of healthy clean eats...
Chelle's clean eating cooler February 2, 2011
Breakfast -
  Chicken Wrap (tortilla, spicy mustard, 4 oz chicken, baby spinach & shredded cabbage & a bit of onion, 1 tbsp feta).
Snack 1:
 apple & 2 hard boiled eggs, with a mini cucumber.   
-   Leftover Panko/Lemon/Dijon Chicken steamed green beans and a half cup of brown rice.
Snack 2 - 1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Chobani) with 1/2 cup blueberries & blackberries, 2 tbsp ground flax.  
Dinner (post-workout)
 - Chicken wrap (like the one for breakfast - heading to the bowling alley after my workout, food's gotta be portable).

Tonight after work is gym-time. Today is Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (they're quivering in fear already, mwaha-ha-ha-ha!) plus cardio, and I'll be joined by the very best gym-buddy, Tab. :-)

After that, I'm heading (after I clean up, lol) to the bowling alley. It's league night, so I'll meet the guys there and cheer them on. I'll pack another wrap to take with me, so I'll have my post-workout fuel taken care of. Then tomorrow morning is yoga (yippee!).

Tuesday, 2/1/2011:   There's a very serious matter to discuss today. A dastardly villain has stolen January! I hear the cry everywhere I turn, "Where did January go?" Weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ensue. Yes, my friends. January is gone. It is lost to us forever. Welcome to February.  :-D 

Last night's Total Body Conditioning class was awesome! Burned 372 calories. This morning I enjoyed the privilege of Yoga :-) Another 273 calories gone. And... And!!! I was able to do Child Pose! Woohoo! I can kneel with only minor discomfort, none if I'm careful! Yay! While I'm not where I was, I'm able to do and hold the majority of the poses (but it isn't always pretty, lol), and I'm feeling wonderful!

Unfortunately, last night my knee did swell after class, but Aleve and Ice have helped that. I'm getting stronger and I'm so grateful to a wonderful surgeon and physical therapy team!

There are 4 aspects, or prongs if you will, to my lifestyle... 1) clean eating 2) strength training/weights 3) cardio, and 4) yoga. Clean eating changed my life, the rest shaped my body (and continues to shape). If you follow my daily coolers, you can see what clean eating looks like, so I'm going to address the other 3 prongs. Why do I do all three (weights, cardio & yoga)? What do I get from them? Well, to bring it to a really basic level... I get strength, endurance and flexibility.

Weight training builds strength. It builds muscle which more efficiently burns fat (always a good thing) and gives the body definition (ie, a distinction between butt and thigh; shoulder and elbow; boob and belly).

Cardio training builds endurance. It increases cardiac and pulmonary health. I can go farther, last longer in daily living because of the endurance I build with regular cardio. Not to mention immunity benefits!

Yoga training builds flexibility. Where strength training "shortens" muscle tissue, flexibility training lengthens it, giving that nice lean & toned look. Further, by lengthening the muscle, you're less prone to injury (think flex not break). The combination of strength & flexibility training is unbeatable. Add in that cardio and it's a no-lose situation.

If you're looking to change the shape of your body, I encourage you to utilize all three methods. You'll be astonished at the benefits. I say it often... eating clean will take you to a healthy weight and keep you there; exercise will shape that healthy weight.

Happy Tuesday!


Today's Cooler! Here it is :-)

Chelle's clean eating cooler for Feb 1, 2011

And Lunch... This is a stuffed pepper (lean beef, brown rice, mushrooms, tomatoes & Mrs Dash) with steamed green beans and a grapefruit. Recipes are here.
Lunch! Beef/Brown Rice Stuffed Red Pepper & steamed green beans, with a grapefruit

Monday, 1/31/2011:   Update: I've added new music to the Workout Music page :-)

Sunday food prep complete. My Counter of Chaos reigns supreme. Lol!  I took some pics...

Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep Sunday Food Prep

Just for giggles, I wore my heart-rate monitor while doing my food prep. In 4.5 hours I burned 935 calories! Next week, I'll start it when I leave for the grocery shopping and see what my total burn is. I know it's silly, but it was a good reminder that just going about my day burns calories.  :-)

So... my food prep. Proteins this week are the ever-present Chicken breasts, plus I boiled 2 large chicken breasts and shredded them (for chicken enchilasagna), browned ground beef (mixed with mushrooms for moisture & extra nutrition) - the beef went toward breakfast burritos, 2 cups set aside for the chicken enchilasagna, and another 2 1/2 cups toward my stuffed peppers. Grains: seasoned brown rice (Mrs D Southwest Chipotle) mixed with crushed tomatoes. Veggies: Asparagus was on sale for $1.99/lb (yay!), broccoli, the previously mentioned peppers, zucchini & yellow squash, artichokes, green beans, mushrooms, and a variety of salad greens. Fruit: bananas, apples, blueberries, blackberries, and apple-pears! Was so excited to find them in a 4pack for $2.99! Woohoo!

Meals planned:  stuffed peppers for my lunches, breakfast burritos for the family, then dinners of: last night's Bacon Burgers, Chicken Enchilasagna, Panko Lemon/Dijon Chicken w/Mac-n-Cheese light, Easy Pizzas, Tacos/Taco Salad. All the recipes can be found here.

Ther's also a couple pics of my dinner up there, a little fuzzy (sorry!). I had planned on making bacon burgers but couldn't find my bacon bits (found them this morning, oops!), so I mixed the ground beef with some clean bbq sauce, added 1/4 cup panko crumbs - very tasty! We used the leftover bacon from making the breakfast burritos to top the burgers, along with clean pepper jack. The family used buns, but I prefer mine wrapped in green leaf lettuce. And the sweet potato fries were super yummy, too!

My clean eating cooler today:
Chelle's clean eating cooler Jan 31, 2011

Breakfast: a bowl of leftover burrito filling :-) Eggs, beef, potato, brown rice, tomato & hot sauce.
Snack 1: Apple-Pear and 2 hard boiled eggs
Lunch: Steamed stuffed pepper (beef, brown rice, mushrooms) and steamed asparagus & a grapefruit.
Snack 2: 1 cup greek yogurt (2%) with ground flax & fresh berries
I've also got a 4 oz piece of chicken breast for just in case. :-)
Dinner: Easy Pizzas (see recipe page)

Oh! And Saturday night's anti-cake food? I picked up strawberries & kiwi :-) Everyone said the cake was fabulous (picked one up at Whole Foods), but I was happy with my fruit.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 1/29/2011:   Ok, leg day, done! My first leg day post-surgery. Went well. Had some issues, but that's to be expected. Basically I took a physical therapy session and tweaked it into a workout. I burned 542 calories. Strangely, my gym doesn't have ankle weights (really?) so I had to get creative. I took a red resistance tube and a 12 lb body bar, looped one end under the bar and used that to hold it in place while I wrapped the tube around my foot to create resistance for my straight leg lifts. Worked out pretty darn well.

Had an issue with my squat touches though. You stand, one foot on a step, the other held flat footed hanging. Then you lower that hanging foot to touch the floor (flat footed), but you don't move your hips. The only movement your hanging leg gets is from the bend (squat) of the leg on the step. This is a challenge for me. After the first couple were brutally painful, I switched my step for a small yoga block. I did fine on that, though it wasn't fun, lol. I was really disappointed to have to switch from the step to the block. But I had to keep reminding myself, I'm rehabbing. It's ok. I'll get there.

My session on the leg press went really good, and I think next time I can up my weight on that. Post workout I had a bit of chicken breast and a few clean pretzel sticks, not much but enough to refuel (I was on the run). Now I've iced, I've hydrated, I'm refueled and overall feel pretty good :-)

Tonight we're hanging out at my father-in-law's house to play pool. I'm in charge of picking up a birthday cake for a friend, so I'll have to find something for me, too... maybe some fresh fruit. I could have the treat and eat the cake, but honestly, I'm not much for cake. anyway. I'd rather have the fruit.

Speaking of treats, Bill and I had our date-night last night. We went to our favorite place, Blue Adobe (mexican food). I tried the special, Ancho rubbed salmon. It was... "meh".  Just ok. My "treat" (other than restaurant food in general) was a Sangria Margarita. Serious yummage.

Tomorrow I'm hitting the gym in the morning for back & biceps, some abs, and cardio (no HIIT for sure!) After that, it's grocery shopping, then my usual food prep and chaos. :-)  I'll plan out my menu for next week later this evening.

And on to my favorite topic, lol, The Arnold! As it turns out, I'll be rooming with Traweaver! Yay! And... she's driving in, so she's bringing a cooler for the room! If we don't get that fridge I requested, we're still set! She's also doing some protein prep, and will bring hard boiled eggs and such in the cooler. We'll hit up that market and have clean eats throughout the weekend! This is going to be so much fun!

Many of us have people in our lives who aren't exactly supportive of our clean eating and exercise lifestyles. It's hard, I know. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you've read about my own struggles with such people. I've learned to not let them affect me, hurt me. Even so, I have to say that I'm really, really looking forward to the synergy of being in the same physical space as others with like-lifestyles. People who "get it" and don't hassle me over working out, or eating clean. That sounds a little silly, doesn't it? But I'm looking forward to no one looking at me funny when it's time to eat, or when I pull out my cooler for a clean snack.

I'm off to prep for this evening. Gotta plan out those eats :-)


Friday, 1/28/2011:   I'm continuing my research for my trip to the Arnold. Neither of my hotel rooms has a refrigerator (booo), but I've requested one for the room I'll be in the longest. Hopefully, that'll come through for me. I found a fabulous market just steps from the Convention Center. It's called North Market, and looks to be a cross between Whole foods and a Farmer's Market. Awesome! I'll be able to walk over from the Expo and pick up some clean eats for my travel cooler.

I'm taking one of the guys' coolers with me. My trusty igloo playmate won't be the best choice for this trip, and a collapsible one will fit nicely in my carry-on.  I'll be able to refill it daily with clean food (hopefully from that market). With any luck, I'll have a mini fridge to fill, too.

I'll be packing my oatmeal/protein powder/flax in baggies, so breakfast will be a no brainer. Southwest and TSA assure me that I can take along fresh fruit, too. I don't want to make protein powder my go-to source for that trip, so I'll be looking for a clean lean protein at that market. If all else fails, I'll take a taxi to the nearest Whole Foods and see if they'll grill me up some meat. Hmmm, maybe I'll put in a call to be sure they do that. Mine here does, but that's no guarantee they do. Ok, that's on my to-do list.  :-)   I want to avoid relying on restaurants, as I have no control over the sodium. How much would it suck to show up at this amazing event, and get sodium bloat? No thank you! Lol!

I also need to find an outfit for the special dinner we've been invited to (Traweaver and I). While I'd love to hit the mall (and Nordstrom, Bebe, Guess), that's really not in the budget, so I'll be heading over to My Sister's Closet and My Secret consignment shops. They've always got amazing evening/dinner wear. Then of course, I have to find shoes. Oh dear, shoe shopping. Okay, twist my arm. I'll do it. LOL!

My workouts are going well.. I'm so very glad to be back in the gym! My quad did end up swelling some after Wednesday's cardio :-(  but icing it helped. Yesterday was Chest and Triceps. I'm a 36-hour girl... I hit the peak of my "sore" 36 hrs post workout. The way I'm feeling right now, I doubt very much I'll be able to lift my arms tomorrow, lol! I'll be moving my arms like T-Rex :-)  Today will be my first "Leg-Day" post surgery, so wish me luck!

No cooler today, since I work from home on Friday's, but food is all  similar to my previous days. Greek Yogurt, tenderloin, veggies, etc. I love that I don't really have to think about it, I can just reach in and grab what I need from the fridge. :-) Planning clean burgers for dinner tonight. Mine will be a lettuce wrap (I'd rather have oven fries than a bun ANY day! ).

So today... work, lift, cardio, car damage estimate, and hopefully a foray into the consignment shops :-)   Happy Friday!

Thursday, 1/27/2011:   I have amazing, fantabulous news! Ok, it's amazing and fantabulous to me! LOL! I had an incredible opportunity arise and I'm so excited about it!! Can you tell?  :-)

I'm going to the Arnold Sports Festival! And... (drum roll please)...

I'll be joining the Eat Clean Diet Team in their booth at the Expo to help spread the clean eating word! Woooohooooo! I'll even be wearing an "Eat Clean uniform"! If I were any more excited, you'd be peeling me off the ceiling! :-) I am thrilled, and honored to have been asked to actually represent the Eat Clean Diet.

Further, one of my forum friends Traweaver, is also "representing", and I'm very excited to meet her face-to-face. She'll be running the Arnold 5k. I'm hoping I'll be able to do so, as well. It'll depend on how it goes with my knee/quad. Either way, I'll be there to cheer on Traweaver :-) 

My flight is booked, my hotel is booked... well, hotels. One hotel only had my first night available, and the other only had the rest of my stay, lol. I'll take what I can get! Next I'm finding the nearest grocery (preferably a Whole Foods) to stock up on hotel-food.

Are you attending The Arnold? If you are, please let me know and come say hi!

The Arnold Sports Festival, March 3-6, 2011 in Columbus, OH.

Meet Tosca Reno at the Arnold:

Change of plans yesterday, Tab couldn't join me at the gym, so I did cardio (hiit) instead. We'll do our lifting tonight that we planned for yesterday (just swapping days). My knee did ok, though I may hold off on further hitt for a couple weeks. Just a little "hurt" this morning, but I am so not going to push it! Steady state will do me just fine until my body is ready for hitt.

This morning I had my 6:30 a.m. yoga class :-) I am LOVING being back in yoga!

Today's food is all posted and on track. Here's my cooler (the only thing not pictured is the brown rice, which is leftover from yesterday's packet and currently in the fridge).
Chelle's cooler today - 1280 calories not including dinner.

Breakfast -  1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Chobani) with 1/2 cup blueberries & blackberries, 2 tbsp ground flax  
Snack 1 -   apple & 2 hard boiled egg whites (*see note).   
Lunch -   4 ounces pork tenderloin, 1 cup Brown Rice, 2 cups  steamed zucchini & yellow squash and a grapefruit. 
Snack 2 - 
4 oz pork tenderloin and 1/2 cup baby carrots.  
Dinner (post-workout)  - coming soon
***NOTE: Coolers for Bill & his Dad - Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a serving of Newman's Own Organic Pretzel sticks.  
***Note 2: why only the egg whites in snack 1? I'm trying a new nutrient ratio, so I'm reducing fat, and that was the easiest way to do so, today.

Wednesday, 1/26/2011:   I am deliciously sore! :-) Woohoo! It feels so great to be back to my favorite activities! I have no pain in my knee or quad from the exercise I've done this week, so I'm moving forward. Today after work I'll be hitting the gym with my workout buddy, the WGT (World's Greatest Trainer) Tab, and we're doing upper body. I'm excited! :-D

I tried a couple new recipes last night, and they were both hits. You can find them on the recipe page. The Lemon-Dijon Panko Chicken was super tasty, and the Mac & Cheese Light was surprisingly full of flavor (no butter, no cream - hence the surprise, lol). I'll be having some of the chicken for my dinner tonight, post-workout.

Today's cooler is posted, and pre-dinner I'm at 1285 calories.
Chelle's daily cooler contents - 1285 calories

Nakki, our 4 year old boxer, has been super cuddly lately. Last night she decided to be Shiloh's couch buddy...
Shiloh Jacoby and Nakki

And on another note... I think my car is cursed! Last week, somebody swiped the side in the parking lot. It was horrible to walk out to my car after work and discover the damage. We called the insurance company and they sent me over to get an estimate. Technically, it's a hit and run, which means I get to pay for it. Well, the deductible anyway. I was stunned to discover it was $1,500 worth of damage! I'm only responsible for the $500 deductible, but YIKES!  Then, the shop can't start work until March (which gives me time to come up with the money, lol) because they're overrun with all the hail damage repair work (we had a heinous hale storm a while back). So I'm stuck driving around with a scraped up car. :-(

Well it gets worse. I'm driving home last night, and I'm in line stopped at a light, waiting to turn right, when an elderly gentleman in a very large beige car decided to drive out the apartment driveway (on my right) without looking first. Yep. He got me. Drove right into my passenger rear. He felt horrible, I felt horrible that he felt so horrible. And my car is messed up. I filed my claim, my insurance company is talking to his insurance company, and I have to go back to the body shop for another estimate. <sigh>.
My car mash :-(

Tuesday, 1/25/2011:   One word... Awesome! I did Tab's Total Body Conditioning last night (way fun class!) then did yoga this morning! Woohoo! My knee feels great! My quad feels great! Yay! :-)

Today's food is up on the cooler page. I'm at about 1200 calories before dinner, and here's what it looks like (the half cup of brown rice is in the fridge, it's from yesterday's packet):

Chelle's 1200 calorie cooler

Breakfast - 1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Chobani) with 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 tbsp ground flax 
Snack 1 -
  apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   
Lunch -  6 ounces pork tenderloin, 1/2 cup Brown Rice, 2 cups steamed zucchini & yellow squash. 
Snack 2 - 4 ounces chicken breast with 1/2 cup baby carrots  
Dinner  -  Panko Dijon Chicken w/ steamed veggies & healthy mac-n-cheese.  I've also got a grapefruit to work in somewhere today.

Monday, 1/24/2011:   Happy Monday! My Sunday Food Prep and The Counter of Chaos were completed yesterday :-)

Proteins prepped were easy, I used the pork roast from Saturday's dinner and sliced it up into 4 ounce portions and bagged them. I also boiled my usual 18 eggs, peeled and bagged. Other proteins are my Chobani 2% greek yogurt, and a few handy tuna packets for emergencies.
: this week asparagus was on sale ($1.99 lb), and I also got broccoli, zucchini & yellow squash. All were chopped and placed in steamer bags with Mrs Dash.
: Apples, bananas, peaches ($1/lb), blueberries & blackberries. A friend gave me a bag of grapefruit, so I was lucky and didn't have to buy that ;-) 
Grains: I'm using the Seeds of Change packets, and I have an Annie Chun's sprouted brown rice packet, too.

Family dinners planned include my healthy & clean pizza, panko dijon chicken with a clean mac-n-cheese & steamed broccoli (I'll let you know how the macaroni turns out), orange chipotle chicken with steamed asparagus, chicken & bean sandwiches with homemade tomato soup, and everyone's favorite bacon cheeseburgers and oven fries.

My daily cooler food is simple, per usual. You can view them daily here. Today's looks like this:

Chelle's clean & healthy cooler food Jan. 24, 2011

Before dinner, I'm at 1200 calories. When I add in my dinner, I'll be right around 1400-1500. Right where I want to be :-)  

Breakfast -  1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt (Chobani) with 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 tbsp ground flax & half a large grapefruit    Snack 1:  apple & 2 hard boiled eggs.   Lunch -   4 ounces chicken breast, 1/2 cup Brown Rice, 2 cups shredded cabbage & kale with dressing of 1/8 cup greek yogurt & 1 tsp sriracha sauce.  Snack 2 - 4 ounces pork tenderloin with 1/2 cup baby carrots  Dinner  -  Clean Pizza. (I use a Alvarado Street Bakery sprouted pizza crust, homemade pizza sauce (low sodium), reduced fat mozzarella, applegate farms pepperoni and a ton of veggies).

The guys ( my hubby and his dad) have the following in their coolers: 1-Chelle's breakfast burrito,  2 hard boiled eggs, apple, string cheese, and a serving of Newman's Own Organic Pretzel sticks. 

On another note, the fitness & nutrition world lost an icon. Jack LaLanne died yesterday, at the age of 96. One of my favorite Jack quotes is this:

"It's a lifestyle, it's something you do the rest of your life. How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it."


Saturday, 1/22/2011:   Our family said goodbye today to a dear friend. One thing commented on repeatedly at the memorial service was that no one ever heard John complain. 8 1/2 years of cancer, over 100 chemo treatments, over 200 radiation treatments. He never complained. John firmly believed that life is a gift, and should be lived to the fullest. He did that. Every day. His life taught me much, and his absence is deeply felt.

I have often found myself getting lost in the details of life, sometimes forgetting that "gift". It's easy to allow myself to be overwhelmed, and hard to let go. John's lessons have helped me over the last couple years to adjust to my new lifestyle, and deal with personal stresses. His health has made me appreciate my own. His outlook has helped me reshape mine.

Four years ago, I began a total lifestyle change. It started with a desire to lose weight, to get healthy. It evolved into a passion for nutrition and fitness. That lifestyle change rebooted my life. The process wasn't easy, wasn't fast. I learned new things, I lost friends, gained more.  I live a fuller life than I did before. Clean eating and fitness, these have made my life infinitely better. Respecting and nurturing my body, my health have led to a greater appreciation for the vast experiences life has to offer.

The way John fought his war helped me fight my battles, changing the way I view them. When my body is hurt and worn down, I don't have to drag myself out of bed... I get to. When I'm tired and unmotivated, I don't have to go to the gym... I get to. When it's easier to order pizza, I don't have to cook my family a nutritious meal... I get to. When faced with opposition and rejection, I don't have to allow it to hold me down or break me... I get to find inner strength and peace. In my small way, I can apply the lessons of a great man.


Friday, 1/21/2011:   Awesome day! Had my Lucy & Ethel time at the mall with Tab :-) Lots of fun! We did however break pattern and found ourselves discombobulated for quite some time. You see, when we go to the mall, we always start with lunch, then go to Godiva, and our trip always ends in Sephora.  This time we started with shopping and browsing, hit up Sephora, then got lunch an hour or two later, and were just in general quite turned around. Lol.  We didn't really recover until we found our way into Godiva.   :-D

Today held another awesome event for me. You might remember that way back when (March 2009), I was interviewed on a podcast by my friend, Arlene Pellicane. Arlene is a motivational speaker and author, as well as a fantastic woman. Her book, 31 Days to a Younger You has just been released and I'm in it! How cool is that???  :-)  In her blog, she's currently highlighting the "days" of the book through the month of January, and today was Day 21... and there I am! Before and after photos, too!  Check it out!

And check out her book, too! :-)

Thursday, 1/20/2011:   Did you know you can subscribe to my blog? Do you want to? :-)  Until I finish copying my older posts to the new blog, I'm double posting here and on the new one... but the new one offers a subscription by email for those who want. Check it out:

How crazy is this? I've got a chest cold that moved up into my head! What?? Head colds that develop into the chest, yes, reverse? Never heard of that! <sniffle>  Oy.

Food is up on the Cooler page. I'm at 1250 calories before dinner. Right on track :-) Dinner will be Pork Loin with steamed asparagus. Yum! That'll bring me right to my target of 1400 calories. Here's my cooler contents (minus dinner):
Chelle's cooler - 1250 calories

Wednesday. It's a day of the week, NOT a special occasion.  Last night was bowling night... while I don't bowl right now (knee), I do still go hang out with my guys. While there I found myself watching what people were eating and drinking, and thought back over my Wednesday-Bowling-Night-Food Evolution.

When I began my weight loss journey, I was already spending every Wednesday night at the bowling alley. It's league night.  For my group that meant pizza, fries and beer. Lots of beer. This was something my beleaguered trainer had to work around while trying to teach me about good nutrition and kicking my butt in the gym. 

I justified my pizza, fries & beer by saying it was bowling night, like it was a special occasion worthy of a treat/cheat. It wasn't. It arrived every week. That's not special. As I progressed, I (slowly) realized that my Wednesday night bowling debauchery wasn't helping me progress. Especially when added to my weekend cheats (which were allowed).

Wanting to get healthy & lose the weight more than I wanted the crappy food, I cleaned it up in stages. First, I quit drinking beer (on Wednesday nights). Yeah, I took a lot of ribbing on that from the guys. Still do, actually. I stuck to diet soda, then moved on to pure water (usually with lemon in it). Then I swapped the pizza for a grilled chicken wrap, and eventually dropped bowling alley food altogether in favor of my handy cooler.

It happened over time, not overnight., but cleaning up my midweek habits helped my long-term goals get realized. Nowadays I do enjoy a rare bowling alley treat, but it's certainly not a habit. Last night, I had my cooler-dinner of leftover "breaded chicken" with a string cheese & raw red pepper sticks. Then I swiped a few of my daughter's french fries :-)

There's nothing wrong with treats. My point is to examine when we're treating ourselves, and with what. Is it really an "occasion"? Or is just an excuse for self indulgent & destructive food behavior?  If that's the case, then it's time to take control. Put "Wednesday" back in it's place. Plan your food, eat clean, and watch yourself progress.

What are some easily portable meals/snacks you can take along for weekly events? Anything that doesn't require heating up will work! Wraps, sandwiches, salads, yogurt, chopped veggies, fruit, cheese... there are tons of options!

My cooler truly goes with me everywhere. School track meets, Parent Meetings, Bowling night... even midnight movie premiers! People who know me always ask, "What's in there today/tonight?" and often want me to share! Real Food tastes great, and it's portable :-)

  Clean Meals Clean Meals

Wednesday, 1/19/2011:   No gym/cardio last night. What a day! Yeesh! I got hit out of nowhere by a chest cold yesterday, and by bed time I sounded like a dying frog. Today it's much better, hopefully it'll be gone quick! I'm drinking LOTS of tea, lol. Soon as I get this thing out of my chest I am ready to do my cardio! So very ready!

For so long exercise has been my me-time, my stress-relief. While I did keep up with my once a week full body workout class right up until surgery, that was all I was doing for weeks. Then post-knee surgery, nothing but physical therapy and home exercises. I've really missed my gym time, and I'm so excited to get back to it. Can't believe I got hit with a chest cold! Lol, just my luck!

Food. Food today is awesomely on track. I'm working my calories back up and if I eat everything, I'll hit my goal, ending my day with  1440 calories and ratios of 35% protein, 33% carb and 32% fat. Nice. (As I increase my activity levels, I'll adjust my calories as needed.)

Chelle's clean and healthy food in her cooler

Today is bowling day, so after work, I'll be rushing home to pick up Bill and head to the bowling alley. I'm not bowling, of course, but Bill is. I haven't decided when/if I'll go back to rotation. My ball release is from a pretty deep lunge on my right leg. I know I can't do it now, but not sure if I want to do it after I finish healing. We'll see. It is nice, though, to just hang out. :-)

Tuesday, 1/18/2011:   1st Exercise class since knee surgery! Last night I attended Tab's Total Body Conditioning class and it went great! There are, of course, things I can't do (yet), but with modification the class was a success for me! It does make a HUGE difference that Tab's such a great teacher, too :-) After class, I went home and got dinner on the table (another experiment turned success), then used the foam roller on my leg (IT band and lateral scar tissue) then did my daily kneecap manipulation and massage. I woke this morning wonderfully sore (not too much) and excited!

With any luck, I will hit the gym after work to do some elliptical work, then home for dinner. The only thing that might interfere is I have to call my insurance company to send out an adjuster. Someone hit my car yesterday in the parking lot :-( I'm not going to think about it because it makes me mad/sad. Moving on... I hope to attend Yoga on thursday morning! :-) Progress is awesome!

Food yesterday was great. If you didn't know, I log all my food daily and post it on Today's Cooler. The log includes photos. Often, I'll include my info (calories and nutrient ratios). Today's food is up, and here's what it looks like. Chelle's clean eating food for the day

I've updated the Recipe page with last night's "Breaded" chicken, Cheesy Rice, and a guiltless microwave protein cupcake with fudge sauce that must be tried. Trust me, you'll thank me later.  :-)


Monday, 1/17/2011:   Sunday Food Prep and The Counter of Chaos were completed yesterday :-)  At one point, my youngest came rushing in asking asking what smelled so good and could she eat it "right now!". Lol!

Here's the dinner menu for the week:

 Sunday dinner - breakfast burritos (the family insisted, lol).  I'll explain below.
 Monday dinner - Clean "breaded" chicken with steamed broccoli and cheesy (clean) brown rice.
 Tuesday dinner - Maple Soy Glazed Beef with steamed green beans and mashed potatoes (I'm also mashing cauliflower as an alternative for me).
  Wednesday dinner - leftovers/bowling night
  Thursday dinner  - Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Chipotle smashed sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus.
  Friday dinner - Pizza (yep! It's clean!)
  Saturday dinner - Tacos (yep, those are clean too!)

Breakfast/Lunch/Snack foods - The boys wanted breakfast burritos this week instead of sandwiches so I made several batches yesterday. I froze all but a dozen, and those served as dinner last night. The scent of the bacon was too much for my family and they wanted then NOW! LOL!

Here's what I prepped:

Protein: Baked chicken breast, browned 2 lbs of lean beef for tacos. Settled the London Broil into it's Maple-Soy marinade, and another batch of chicken breasts in low-fat buttermilk to prep for breading. Additional proteins: Greek Yogurt (2% Chobani, plain); Lowfat Cottage Cheese.

Veggies: Steamer bags for my lunches: broccoli & cauliflower; zucchini & yellow squash; snow peas & cherry tomatoes; green beans.  Steamer bags for dinners: green beans; asparagus; broccoli; cauliflower.

Fruit: Gala apples; bananas; grapefruit; oranges, blueberries, blackberries.

Grains: Brown Rice.

I wanted to address broth. Specifically, the sodium in broth. I use broth every week in my food prep. I use it in the crockpot and in my grains prep. If I make any kind of pasta for the family, I use broth in that. Cooking with broth is an easy way to increase flavor, and if you're not careful, hijack your sodium intake. There are many low-sodium broths available, but... be careful to read the labels.  What are you looking for? First, the ingredients... if you see chemicals, put it back on the shelf. Second, sodium.

So how much sodium is okay? Not much! The FDA has changed the dietary recommendation of less than 3500 mg/day to less than 1500 mg/day! That's huge! If you're eating out, you can easily get your whole day's supply of sodium (and waaaay more!) in just one meal!  If you're cooking, it's unfortunately easy to do the same.

To take control of your sodium, be sure to track all your sodium sources. For instance, if you're doing my crockpot sunday chicken (see the Food Plan page)... you would add a carton of low sodium chicken broth to 6-8 chicken breasts and cook.

If I use a store brand available to me, here's what I would be looking at...
Kroger brand Low Sodium Chicken Broth: 580 mg/sodium per 1 cup serving.
Kroger brand Chicken Breasts: 320 mg per 4 oz serving

Now, cook the brown rice in that same "low sodium" broth, and who knows how high that will go! Add 1/2 cup of creamed corn and we've just added 460 mg more! Remember, we're looking to ingest less than 1,500 mg/day - not per meal.

Now, by reading labels, I've chosen these brands as my go-to's...
Pacific Natural Foods, Low Sodium Organic Free Range Chicken Broth: 70 mg/1 cup serving.
Fresh & Easy Market Chicken Breasts (no hormones/additives): 10 mg per 4 oz serving (contains only what is naturally occurring in chicken).

THAT'S why it's important to read those labels. Yes, the Pacific broth is more expensive (Kroger: $2.29; Pacific: $3.99). But that 510 mg difference in sodium makes it worth paying more. The chicken... is cheaper at Fresh & Easy! I pay $1.99/lb for clean chicken breasts! I don't know what prices are like where you live, but for me, that's a screamin' deal! You might not have a Fresh & Easy Market, but look around and watch for the sales. And above all else, read those labels! :-)

Here's an awesome slideshow about hidden sodium and what you can do about it:

Happy Monday!

Thursday, 1/13/2011:   Today was my 4-week post-knee surgery doctor appointment. And the doctor said...

Shock and Awe!


Ok, his face said that, not his mouth. Lol.  What he did say was that he was astounded at my progress! I have "no" swelling (the lateral release causes extreme and long term swelling which I do NOT have), "amazing" range of motion, and even my scars are beyond excellent! At one point he was at a loss for words!  I am released from physical therapy, and have no limitations on my activity! He said I was months ahead of where I "should" be! Yay!!!!! Obviously, I must exercise common sense (stop if something hurts), but I'm cleared! Wooohoo! AND I don't have to take the daily Aleve anymore, either!

Oh, I am banned from the leg extension machine for life (because of my patella condition). But I can live without that. :-)

So, one might wonder... why was/is my progress so different from most patients? I believe it's a combination of having an incredible surgeon, fabulous physical therapists, I did the home exercises, and I provided my body with high quality fuel (lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.  I believe these are why I had/have such outstanding results.

Time for the shout-out :-)  Taking their place in my book next to The World's Greatest Trainer (Tabitha Citro), are:

Dr. Richard Martin (aka The World's Greatest Knee Doctor/Surgeon) and Matt & Angela, at AZ Bone & Joint.

Tad Pieczynski (aka TheWorld's Greatest Physical Therapist) and Group at Physiotherapy Associates 

I am very thankful.

Wednesday, 1/12/2011:   My knee is feeling great. I handled the heels yesterday just fine :-)  Of course, I do have a desk job, so I'm not walking around in them all day, but still! My physical therapy appt is at 4:15, and then doctor tomorrow at 9. Cross your fingers!

So... let's talk "girl".  (sorry guys, this one isn't for you). Due to financial constraints, my hair coloring appt is now 4 weeks overdue (can you say roots?). As I was looking in the mirror this morning, I decided to not focus on what I don't like right now (again, roots), and chose to focus on what I do like... I was putting on my makeup and was reminded of how much I love my foundation brush, and my eye shadow brush, my eyeliner... and it occurred to me that many of the girly products I own, I never would have found on my own (Thank you, Tab!!).

I've never been a girly-girl. Tom-boy Chelle, that's me. Then Tab introduced me to the golden, sparkly mecca of Sephora. [cue trumpets].   Over the last few years, I've discovered some fabulous products and tools, and thought I'd share those with you if you're interested. And of course, any products & tools YOU can recommend to ME would be appreciated, too!   :-)

I'll start from the bottom layer up...

The POREfessional


the Porefessional by Benefit
It took Tab a full year to convince me to try this, but once I did, it became a staple in my beauty-box. It really does minimize the appearance of pores. It's got a smooth & silky feel, and doesn't clog up my skin.  $28 at Sephora


Eyeshadow Primer Potion


Concealer/Shadow Base by Urban Decay
It really works! I was Doubting Thomas on this one, but the product proved itself! My eye shadow lasts all day!
$18 at Sephora  (I also really love their eye-shadows! Sin is a favorite!)


Professionnel Platinum Air Brush #55


The Sephora Professional Platinum Air Brush #55 
This brush makes applying foundation easy! I love it!! I've had mine for 2 years, clean it regularly, and it's still in perfect shape! An excellent investment!  $34 at Sephora


Close Up: Real Life To Red Carpet Eye Tutorial ($110 Value)


Lorac: Close Up Eye Tutorial
This fabulous kit includes eyeshadow, primer, eyeliner, dual mascara and an awesome double ended brush. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Santa put this little beauty in my stocking this year :-)

The tutorial includes photos & detailed instructions to create a "natural" look, a "cat eye", and "smoky eye". 
$36 at Sephora

Benefit's Boi-ing (I use #2 in the spring, fall & winter, and #3 in the summer). This, my friends, is the holy grail. Boi-ing. It will cover anything. And everything. It is amazing. Second only to Makeup Forever's Full Cover Concealer (which runs $30, nearly twice the price!).  
$18 at Sephora


LE CRAYON KH&#212;L - Smoky EyeLiner

Le Crayon Khol Pencil by Lancôme

The Black Coffee pencil is my absolute favorite. It goes on super easy, and lasts forever. (I also really like their lip liners and juicy tubes lipgloss... and their eye makeup remover is the best I've ever tried.)
$24.50 at Sephora or any Lancôme counter. 


Ojan Rub-out Dry Cleanser (Hair)
This is awesome stuff and they sell a little one ($10) that goes perfectly in my gym bag. You just spray, spread it through your roots, wait a few minutes, then brush it out. Done. My girls love this too, and I had to get them their own for Christmas. $10 or $24.50 for the large bottle. Available at Sephora.

As to the rest of my makeup... what I wear depends on my current cash-flow situation, lol. When there's extra money, I love Lancôme and Makeup Forever foundations. If there's itty-bitty monies, I buy Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse. [fyi- if you like Maybelline, here's a GREAT place to purchase at a discount!]

So there's my girly-girl favorite products list :-)

Tuesday, 1/11/2011:   Physical Therapy went fantastic! They increased my weight on the leg press, added new exercises, and are pleased with my progress. My assessment was great, and better than expected. Shoes with heels! Post-Knee-Surgery progress!I have one more session tomorrow, then my doctor's appt is on Thursday morning. I was also given the go-ahead to ease back into heels (yippeeeeee!), but cautioned to go a little at a time. I pulled out a pair today with a solid wedge heel and lots of support, and had no problem with them! So far, so good! I know it's silly, but I really miss my shoes! LOL! And yes, my trusty sketchers are in my purse, just in case.

Food today is on track. I haven't done fitday (my nutrient breakdown & ratios) this week since I can't figure the info on my breakfast  bowl (it's the leftover filling from the batch of breakfast burritos I made Bill and the kids on Sunday).

I'm about to vent. It will be short, I promise. But I must. There is someone in my life who is a plague. This person lives in a world which revolves completely around themself. This person has done more to damage significant persons in my life than should be permitted, let alone continued. I have had to sit back and watch this person wound, over and over again, those to whom I would give my life to protect. I have had to deal with this person and their petty, selfish tantrums and abuse for too many years. This morning, this person has once again struck, THREATENING ME WITH LEGAL ACTION. Are you freaking serious? How is it this person is not fully aware that such an action would only hurt them, and would result in thousands and thousands of dollars in arrearages paid to ME, or jail time. I am ok with jail time. I am so ok with jail time.

Ok. I am done. Thank you for letting me vent. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, 1/10/2011:   Happy Monday! A new week has begun. What will you do with it?

I had a busy weekend. Friday was fun & (clean) pizza with Tab and her hubby, Saturday was re-assigning offices at work & moving MUCH furniture, then Sunday was my normal shopping and food prep.   Sunday's Food Prep included:  Protein chicken breast baked with (clean) bbq sauce, crockpot'd 5 chicken breasts; defrosted some cooked shrimp; browned & seasoned 2 lbs of lean ground beef; scrambled 12 eggs; hard boiled 18 eggs. Veggies: Zucchini & yellow squash w/Mrs Dash & 1/2 tsp coconut oil in steamer bags; broccoli & cauliflower w/Mrs Dash & 1/2 tsp coconut oil in steamer bags; Asparagus in steamer bags w/Mrs Dash; Snow Peas & Cherry Tomatoes w/Mrs Dash & 1/2 tsp coconut oil in steamer bags. Fruit: Apples, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, blueberries & blackberries. 

The baked chicken... half I sliced up for lunch meat, and half I chopped for my lunches.  The crockpot chicken I then shredded and used 2 cups  for Chicken Enchilasagna (pre-made for Thursday's dinner) & set aside the rest for other uses as needed.  The ground beef... used 1 lb with the Enchilasagna and the 2nd lb with scrambled eggs, brown rice (spanish style - clean), potatoes and diced tomatoes for a couple "breakfast bowls" for me and a dozen breakfast burritos for Bill & the kids. I also pre-made the bacon burger patties for tonight's dinner.  When I get home tonight I'll put together the sweet potato fries. I would have done it yesterday but I forgot. Oops!

Clean Eating - Healthy BBQ Sauce Grandma CoyoteI found a new BBQ sauce at Whole Foods this weekend (they were doing tastings) and it's incredible! I used the mild sauce on the chicken, and we're using the hot & spicy tonight on the burgers. They also have a no-sugar version! Check them out and see if it's available in your area. Grandma Koyote's BBQ Sauces.

Today at 5:30 I have my physical therapy, with an evaluation. I've been doing my exercises, plus stretches. Since they added squats to my routine at the office, I've also added them to my home exercises. I'm still feeling no pain in the knee (yay!), and the lateral of the quad is still coming along. I do the massage and foam roller daily to try and keep the scar tissue from "shortening" the muscle. I'm still able to do Dancer pose, down-dog, up-dog, and can almost get into full child's pose. I think as soon as I can do that, I'll be able to go back to yoga!

Yoga Poses - Dancer  Yoga Pose - Down Dog Yoga Poses - Up Dog Yoga Poses - Child Pose

On a very sad note, Friday evening our family lost a dear friend,  John. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this incredibly difficult time. John will be deeply missed.

Watch John's amazing outlook on life and cancer - CNN

Friday, 1/7/2011:   Welcome to the Weekend! :-D  My eats today have been low-key, I picked up a chicken wrap at Whole Foods while I was doing some shopping and noshed on that. Lots of water today, and that's a good thing :-) Tonight I've got some serious fun coming my way, Tab and her hubby are coming by for pizza and kinnect. It's going to be awesome! And yes, the pizza is clean :-)  I use these great crusts from Alvarado Street Bakery (I get them at Whole Foods), then mix up sauce from Tomato Paste, Olive Oil, Mrs Dash (tomato & basil and garlic & herb), then add toppings... Applegate Farms pepperoni and chicken italian sausage, veggies, mozzarella and sprinkle Mrs Dash over the top then bake. Super Yum! The other pizza (I'm making two) will be heavy on the veggies (red pepper, zucchini, broccoli, onion, mushroom) and using chicken from Sunday's Food Prep instead of pepperoni/sausage. Suddenly I'm hungry! LOL!

sweet italian sausage
af pepperoni Tomato Paste

Thursday, 1/6/2011:   Catch-up for yesterday... Physical therapy went awesome! I'm making big strides in my rehab, and Monday they'll do an assessment :-) I've graduated from the NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) and don't need it anymore (yay!). 

Taco Bell Hard Taco FrescoFrom there, I went to the bowling alley to watch the guys (league night). Given the choice of not eating or eating take-out, I chose the lesser of two evils. I had 2 Taco Bell hard taco frescos, and while they're not clean eating, they're were better than not eating at all. My calories yesterday ended up at 1203, but my ratios left a bit to be desired. Rather than my goal 33/33/33, I had 29/33/38 (29% of my calories were from protein, 33% carbs, and 38% fat). So while I did hit my calorie goal, I should have had my trusty cooler with me rather than doing Taco Bell.

Today I forgot to toss my grains in my cooler (oops!). I do have errands to run at lunch, so I will pick up a Seeds of Change microwave packet of grains to give my nutrition a boost. I'm struggling to eat all my meals, often skipping snacks or dinner. I'm just not hungry. I've decided to not force it. The food I'm eating (with the noted exception of last night's TB) is all whole, clean and solid nutrition, so I'll listen to my body, and increase as it's called for.

Food has been updated on the Cooler Page (including my nutrition ratios).

Wednesday, 1/5/2011:   My calories yesterday ended up on the low side (under 1200). My activity is low, and my ratios are good, so at 1144 I consider it close enough. Today if I get in all my cooler meals and snacks, I'll be at 1161 calories,  plus dinner. Food for today is up on the Cooler Page.

During my physical therapy exercises last night, I was doing my lying quad stretches (see photo below). This exercise has been consistently difficult and painful for me because of the lateral release (which is also why it's so important, lol). Well... last night I was able to touch my heel to my butt! Wooohoo! I was also able to do down-dog and up-dog! Slowly but surely, I'm gonna get back to 100%. Hopefully more surely than slowly :-)

Tuesday, 1/4/2011:   Physical Therapy went really well last night. I'm really hopeful that I can get back to my regular routine soon. My therapist said he has no doubt the doctor will release me for regular activity, since I've progressed so rapidly and so well. The kneecap is moving freely, the quad is healing and building strength (though it exhausts really fast), and my movement is all ahead of schedule.

They're painting areas of my office suite, so my office is full of fumes. Ugh.

My food for yesterday is updated, and today's is all in and logged. You can view the Today's Cooler page to see all my food & nutrition ratios.

I've also updated my music page. I'm so ready to use that November list that I haven't been able to yet! Lol! View the Workout Music to see all my playlists.

I'm making updates here and there to the website, getting ready for the big move to the new URL (  I've been busy copying my entries here over to a new blog (an actual blogger blog) so that's been crazy-time consuming, but it should make it easier to search for topics. I'm currently done from current through mid-July... such a long way to go!

This raises a question that I wanted to ask you all... what are you looking for in a new website from me & Tab? What would you change? Add? I'd love to have your input and feedback! All the recipes, workout music lists, the food plan, blog/journal, Tab's tips... it'll all be there (free like it has been).

Email me with your thoughts :-) 

Quick pic... here's Today's cooler contents:
Chelle's cooler contents - healthy eating

Monday, 1/3/2011:   Back at work! My trusty cooler is by my side, and I've already had breakfast (1 cup greek yogurt, 2 tbsp ground flax, and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries & blackberries) and just began Snack-1 (2 hard boiled eggs & an apple).  Lunch is super yummy... I stuffed two small red peppers with a blend of ground beef, mushrooms, brown rice and seasonings, then topped with a bit of feta. View the Today's Cooler page to see all my food & nutrition ratios.

My knee is doing great, and the swelling continues to diminish. I have physical therapy today at 4:15, so I'll be leaving the office early. I would LOVE to go to Tab's full body conditioning class tonight, but I'm not doing anything until my doctor gives me the OK. This time. Lol :-)

Let's talk about goals. Did you make any New Year's Resolutions/Goals? Are you keeping to them? Through my journey to lose weight, and keep it off, I've learned that success or failure come down to the answers to two questions:

What Do You Want?   How Bad Do You Want It?

Yes, it really is that simple. And that complex. If you (I, we) have a goal, and you want it bad enough, you will do what it takes to reach and keep that goal. Period.

Four years ago yesterday found me signing up at the gym ready to change my life. Or I thought I was. I wasn't. I was ready for baby-steps, but not great big ones. 8 months later when I blew out my knee the first time, I was ready. Despite my injury, I got what I wanted because of how bad I wanted it. I reached my goal weight because I was willing to make the dietary changes required. I wanted it that bad. Bad enough to dump fast food, soda, dessert, fatty food, french fries, pizza... because I wanted to reach goal weight, and I wanted it that bad. I can't begin to tell you how many times I woke early (and still do) for a workout I had no motivation for... but I asked myself, "How bad do you want it?". And I got up. Got moving. Got it done.

Today, 2+ years into maintenance, I've learned how to make fries, pizza, dessert, etc in healthy & tasty ways my whole family enjoys. I can enjoy the rare soda or occasional cheat/treat meal. The point isn't the food to eat or not eat, though that's part of how to reach my goals. The point is what do I want, and how bad I want it. What will I do to achieve my goal? And what won't I do? These determine whether I will succeed or fail. 

So, 2011 is here. What do you want this year? And how bad do you want it?


Sunday, 1/2/2011:   9:00 am... Happy New Year! We spent a quiet holiday at home. Bill was sick, so we watched several movies (both Transformers, GI Joe, Stealth, Star Trek - yeah, we're sci fi geeks, lol!), watched the Times Square ball drop with the kids, and that was about it. Yesterday was also very quiet (nice!).

I did my physical therapy exercises last night and had another woohoo moment. Normally, I do most of my exercises, then do the foam roller before I can do the donkey kicks. The foam roller helps break down the forming scar tissue on my quad where it was cut. I've had to work on that part of the quad before the exercises because without doing so, I have very limited range of motion and it's very painful.  Last night, I did the donkey kicks just fine! I did the foam roller last with some stretching, then thought... hmmm. I wonder... Can I? Should I? (Ok, when did the "should I" ever stop me). So I tried it.

Dancer Pose - Yoga

And I did it! I held dancer for 5 seconds! Woooohooo!!! That pose stretches the quad, and puts a lot of strain on the area that was cut during surgery, so this was a huge victory for me! I know 5 seconds doesn't seem like much, but to be able to do it at all, let alone hold it, was real progress. Yay!

Today I'll be doing my usual Sunday Food Prep (another yay!), and tomorrow is back to work!



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Recent Topics...



I have an announcement...
view journal entry 3/15/11


Travel Food - Eating clean on the road
view journal entry 3/10/11


Arnold Recap Pt. 2
view journal entry 3/9/11


Arnold Recap Pt. 1
view journal entry 3/8/11


The power of music to keep me from cardio-boredom
view journal entry 2/24/11


Arnold Prep
view journal entry 2/23/11


Reflections on the Scale
view journal entry 2/2/11


My 4-pronged Lifestyle
view journal entry 2/1/11


I'm Going to The Arnold, and I'll be in the Eat Clean Diet Booth!!
view journal entry 1/27/11


My friend's book is out!! And I'm in it! Wow!
view journal entry 1/21/11


Wednesday: It's a day of the week, not a special occasion...
view journal entry 1/20/11


Sneaky Sodium & Label Reading
view journal entry 1/17/11


4-week Post-knee surgery update
view journal entry 1/13/11


My Favorite Beauty Products
view journal entry 1/12/11


Will You Succeed or Fail in 2011?
view journal entry 1/3/11


2010 posts

Click to View July through December 2010.


Topics listed below:



Chelle's 2011 Goals...
view journal entry 12/31/10


Photos, knee post surgery (not gross, I promise)...
view journal entry 12/31/10


Chelle's Breakfast Burritos...
view journal entry 12/21/10


view journal entry 12/02/10


Holiday Eating...
view journal entry 11/23/10


Knee update...
view journal entry 11/17/10


Dangerous Soy products...
view journal entry 11/11/10


Eulogy to The Perfect Pair of Jeans...
view journal entry 11/08/10


Changing Life
view journal entry 11/01/10


Dining Out tips
view journal entry 10/28/10


1st day of physical therapy for the knees...
view journal entry 10/27/10


2-Years of Weight Maintenance!
view journal entry 10/25/10


My Hero, John Cossman on CNN
view journal entry 10/20/10


view journal entry 10/13/10


Pain & Denial
view journal entry 10/7/10


My first Zumba class
view journal entry 9/27/10


Changing it up
view journal entry 9/20/10


Healthy Heroes
view journal entry 9/16/10


What?? Lil' Ol' Me?
view journal entry 9/16/10


Finding The Ease in the Pose
view journal entry 9/7/10


Sentinels of Freedom - Tech drive for Soldiers
view journal entry 8/31/10


Struggling with the Clean Eating Lifestyle
view journal entry 8/17/10


School Lunches?
view journal entry 8/5/10


I Have a Hater! LOL!!
view journal entry 8/2/10


Epic Fail - Confession
view journal entry 7/19/10


Dealing with limitations
view journal entry 7/14/10


Part II: The Great Yoga Debacle...
view journal entry 7/4/10


Book Review! Cookbook...
view journal entry 7/1/10




Older topics

Click to View June back through April 2010.


Topics listed below:


The Great Yoga Debacle...


Book Review! Jackie Warner...


Dealing with Rejection...


Vote! Are you interested in...


Is Rihanna Right About Body Image?


What are you afraid of?


Calorie counting... good or bad?


How do your rivals describe you? 




Older topics

Click to View March back through January 2010.


Topics listed below:



Updated total weight lost! I've lost a total of 71 lbs!! 


Coconut Oil Challenge - The Beginning...  


Lipo-Dissolve... there ARE NO SHORTCUTS...


About starting over...


New Food Plan Info and Cooler Photos!




Topics from 2009 Journal Entries...
Click here to read


Fun with the Bosu!


Why I  should ALWAYS have a goal...


More Women's Health Mag. News!!!


Birthday & New photos

What I've learned this year.


Day one as a non-smoker


What I learned from my burlesque show 


Show Time 




Failure and Compromise 


Facing my fears 


Coming Clean Emotionally.


Get out of your comfort zone.


New Book for Men.


Switching up the routine.


Don't let injury derail you.

Easter Treats and holiday survival


New books & tools


Newsworthy Newsletters

The Biggest Loser - Food as a game.


Podcast Interview

I had the opportunity to be part of Arlene Pellicane's podcast for her website Losing Weight After Baby!  View journal entry


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