Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tablet Time {New IPad or $540 Cash} Giveaway

If you recall, I entered a body transformation contest back in January and the top prize was an IPad2.  Over a week ago, the results were announced and I WON!  I was the top loser having dropped 10.6% body fat!  So, I thought it would be only fitting to participate in a giveaway for an IPad but this time we are giving away one of the NEW IPad Tablets just in time for Father's Day.  Yes folks, I have teamed up with Measuring Flower, I'd Rather Be Changing Diapers, The Anti-June Cleaver, Spring Coin and some other super awesome bloggers to bring you this amazing prize!

The Prize
 One incredibly lucky reader will win their choice of:

Prize Details
       New IPad Option:
- New IPad Tablet (16 GB Wi-Fi) in the choice of white or black.  Accompanied with a polyurethane smart cover in winners color choice. (dark grey, light grey, pink, green or blue)
- Optional: Two lines of engraving on the back of the tablet. (a maximum of 26 letters/characters per line)
      Cash Option:
- Entrants must have an active PayPal account to select the cash option.
- $540 will be sent as a gift to the winner via PayPal

How To Enter:
This giveaway is being run using a Rafflecopter form.  To use the form you can either log in using Facebook or enter your name and email address. Do not worry, all information is kept completely confidential and safe!  If you need more information in using the Rafflecopter form go here.

Giveaway Rules:
- None of the entries are mandatory.  You can enter as many or as few as you would like!    
- You must complete each entry exactly as stated, including providing extra info in the field, for the entry to count.
- You can perform each entry ONLY ONE TIME.
- Make sure you leave a valid email address in the Rafflecopter field.  The winner will be notified with this email address so it is important to claim your prize.
- If you already like/follow me or one of the other blogs, that entry still counts.

Giveaway Ends

Friday June 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST

 The giveaway is open to U.S. & Canadian residents only, and entrants must be 18 years or older. (Quebece residents are ineligible to enter, sorry!)
Good Luck and May The Odds Be Forever in Your Favor! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Skinny" Baked Banana Protein Donuts

This has to be one of my favorite recipes thus far, even my hubby loved it and was asking for more!  I have definitely been on a doughnut kick lately, having recently made the Skinny Baked Chocolate Donuts but I have to admit this recipe one ups it.  These donuts are so moist and BEST fresh out of the oven.  I topped mine with Nutella and that hit the spot!  You won't believe these are "skinny" after the first bite. Let us all make this tomorrow, June 1st in honor of "National Doughnut Day"!

1 3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 scoop protein powder
2 bananas
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup agave sweetner
optional: nutella (to spread on top)
1.  Preheat oven at 375 degrees and spray doughnut pan with non stick spray.
2. Blend all ingredients well and fill pan with batter.
3. Bake  for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  Stick with toothpick before removing from oven to ensure the donuts are cooked thoroughly.

Happy Guilt-free eating!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: My Big Bottom Blessing


"Imagine yourself standing in front of a mirror right now- completely naked.  Can you say that you love who you see? Believe it or not, I can." -Teasi Cannon

Teasi Cannon's book My Big Bottom Blessing pulled me in and sent me on a path of self reflection from the very beginning.  When I was first asked to review this book, I had preconceptions of a woman on journey to weight loss.  I was so wrong.  Matter of fact, the author (Teasi Cannon) is still 50 pounds overweight and OK with it.  She proclaims that she loves her big bottom.  This however bothered me a bit.  How can she write a book proclaiming it was OK being overweight?  Is that the kind of message I want to send?  But as I read on, I started to understand the underlining message; a very important message.  This book was a message about body image, loving yourself and building your self esteem.

"90 percent of high school junior and senior girls diet regularly, even though only 10 to 15 percent would be considered overweight."

Why is it us girls have such a poor body image of ourselves, especially as a preteen/teenager?  I know I did, I struggled with my weight since early adolescence and remember dieting as early as elementary school.  I hated the way I look, I felt like life was so unfair to have given me this burden of being overweight and I compared myself to all the other girls I encountered. As the mother to a little girl, my hope is that she grows up loving herself no matter what shape her body is and that is exactly what Teasi tackles in her book.

Her humor and honesty about her own weight struggles won me over.  Her self reflective question's at the end of each chapter really made me reflect on my own body issues.  Her "pep talks" empowered me and her message touched me.

Did this book make me happy with my big bottom?  Not really, I am happy with the progress I have made but it's still a work in progress.  Do I love my body?  Yes, yes I do.  I love it enough that I want it to be a vessel of health and this book has helped me redefine that.

Now for the fun part!  I am giving away a copy of the book to one of my readers!  Just fill out the form below and cross your fingers. Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Weight of The Nation: Children in Crisis

Tonight I watched part 3 of the four part documentary series "Weight of the Nation" airing on HBO.  This particular series "Children in Crisis" tackled the growing epidemic of obesity in our children.  I commend HBO for running such an eye opening documentary.  Sure we all know that obesity  is a HUGE problem in America but hearing the numbers are scary, especially when it concerns our children!  Hearing things like "today's generation of children may be the first generation to die younger than their parents" and "1/3 of children are overweight, this number has TRIPLED from the last generation of children."  See?  Scary.  Extremely scary.

This got me to thinking about my own children.  I would like to think that I am trying to raise my kids with healthier habits than I was raised with but am I doing enough? 

From the moment my children were off formula, I was VERY adamant about every little thing they put into their mouths.  Friends use to make fun of me because I would not let them eat candy as a toddler.  My kids have never even tried soda because I am so against it in our home but as they get older it is harder to shelter them from these unhealthy habits.  And I admit, there are even times when I turn a blind eye to what they are consuming and also contribute to some unhealthy habits.  Trips to McDonald's, little Debbie snacks in their lunches and frozen pizza for dinner are a few of the things I am guilty of doing. I always try to point out the unhealthy foods they are eating and inform them that eating too much of these "bad" foods will make their body's sick.  But am I wrong for contributing to this in the first place?  We consume food to fuel our bodies, not to be used as a reward.
Sometimes, I feel like I am punishing them with this mentality....

But will they really be missing out on anything if I do not let them enjoy a few "bad" habits from time to time?  This brings me back to the "no soda" policy.  Are my kids missing out from not having soda? No.  In fact, once at a birthday party Zach had accidentally mistaken Sprite for water.  He started spitting, rubbing his tongue and yelling "It's burning my mouth!"  I was happy and VERY relieved he did not like it.  Why can't I do this in all aspects of his nutrition?

For one thing, it does take time and is a little more costly to eat healthier but is it not totally worth it for our children's health?  I do not want them to become one of the statistics;  I do not want them to have to grow up with the weight and health struggles I had to endure.  I do not want to be just an example for my kids but a pioneer towards better health for them.  And I can, we all can.  Aren't our children worth it?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jalapeno Zucchini Chips

Recently, a friend of mine made hummus and brought it to work so I could try.  It was delicious and while I was eating it (with carrot sticks) I kept thinking how I would love to scoop it up with some potato chips.  Then I started craving potato chips.  Dang you, hummus for making me crave potato chips.  

However, it did get me to thinking... Recently, I had seen some different versions of baked zucchini chips floating around and I just happen to have some zucchini on hand.  Why not make my own awesomely healthy version of a chip?  My own zucchini chip with less the fatness and more the flavor!

Baked Zucchini Chips

1 Zucchini
Seasoning (any flavor that fits your fancy)

1.  Preheat oven to 225 degrees and line pan with non stick foil.

2. Thinly slice zucchini and arrange the slices on the pan.  Season.  I used a Jalapeno seasoning because I am from the South and I love hotness!

3.  I baked for an hour and then checked on them.  Some were completely dehydrated and "chip-like" so I removed those and continued baking the rest until they were done.  Thicker slices take longer to cook. of course, so I suggest trying to slice the zucchini as thin as possible.

These were great and totally reminded me of eating a chip.  I did not have any hummus to dip it into,that will probably be my next venture!  

Question: What is your favorite flavor potato chip? (I want to try to recreate different versions of the zucchini chip!)

Some websites I researched before preparing the zucchini chip on my own:


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh LARABAR, How I Love Thee.

I am UBER excited about these new LARABARS!!!!  Let me start off by saying, I have been a huge fan of the LARABAR since I was first introduced to them at bootcamp, Complete Fitness Results.  They had an entire box of the original bars on the shelf and I inquired about them after my work out one day.  I figured if the trainers were eating them then they MUST be good for you, right?  I was a little reluctant though because I have tasted some of these "healthy" protein type bars before and most taste like cardboard masked with chocolate.  But my trainer assured me that they were delicious and she was right! 

Since then, I have been hooked on LARABAR.  As far as healthy variety bars go, LARABAR is one of the better priced ones but with my LARABAR obsession the price can still take a bite from my pocketbook.  I even tried recreating the bars on my own but it NEVER turned out the same; you would think it would be easy to do since LARABARs contain all natural ingredients.  LARABAR must add some sort of yummy fairy dust to each bar because there is just no replicating that kind of deliciousness!  Therefore, I buy them in bulk but it also means I only have tried a few varieties of the bars (cashew cookie, apple pie and cherry pie).  So, when LARABAR offered to send me some different varieties to review, I was all for it!!!

I was first sent some of the original varieties (cherry pie, pecan pie, coconut cream and key lime pie), the old tried and trues.  And of course, I loved them!  I had already had the cherry pie flavor, I eat it on a regular basis so I knew what to expect with it, deliciousness.  What I did not expect was how I would particularly fall in love with one flavor, the Pecan pie bar.

OH-MY to the GOODNESS!  Being from the South, Pecan pie is a staple on the holiday dessert menu and has now become my FAVORITE LARABAR.  I am telling you.. it is so good that when Thanksgiving rolls around I will now have a pecan pie flavored LARABAR for dessert instead of eating the fattening real pecan pie.  Yes my friends, if you are a fan of pecan pie, this bar will not disappoint!   And as if that weren't enough... a few days later I received another shipments of LARABARS, the UBER bar!

Unlike the original LARABAR, which blends unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices together into a mixture of yumminess, the UBER bar contains whole fruits and nuts mixed together to create a unique blend of sweet and salty (that sounded like a commercial!).  The texture gave me the feel of eating a granola bar but it did not contain any granola and tasted SO much better.  I was sent the apple turnover, bananas foster, cherry cobbler and roasted nut roll varieties.  I was particularly leery about trying a banana flavored bar, that just sounded weird to me, but it was excellent and my favorite of the four.  They were ALL very, very good and what I really appreciated was how they stuck to the originals by using less than 9 ingredients and containing ingredients I can actually pronounce.  Thank you LARABAR for once again exceeding my expectations.

Disclosure:  I did receive some free LARABARS for telling the world about how awesome they are; however all opinions are totally my own. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why Does My Scale Hate Me?

I have a love/hate relationship with my scale.  When I lose weight, I LOVE my scale. When I lose weight, my scale is my best friend.  When I lose weight, I twirl around the kitchen, dance with my scale, playfully hop on/off it and talk sweet nothings to it out of overwhelming gratitude.  Those are the happy times.  The rest of the time, I hate my scale!  Or should I say... My scale hates me.  You don't believe me?  Think I am crazy because I believe my scale has feelings?  Well sit back, listen and read on.

I woke up this morning being my usual chipper self with a big stretch and a smile on my face.

Like every morning, I start my day out making a pot of coffee and singing my "making coffee song."  I am one of those overly cheerful morning people most want to drop kick or punch right in the throat.

As soon as the coffee gets going and I tire myself out with my annoyingly cheery morning song... I hop on the scale.

I hate you, scale. 

I sulk to the bathroom.

Ah ha!  Maybe that is the reason the scale has not changed since yesterday!  Water weight!  That totally explains it.  Duh... I will go reweigh myself.

I gained, GAINED?!  Why do you do this to me scale? Why do you toy with my emotions like this?  Why do you hate me so much? Whyyyyyyyy.

I told you, my scale hates me.


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Weekend Full Of Bad Patterns

Ten years ago I had gastric bypass surgery.  You can read a more detailed account here: Gastric Bypass Surgery: What the Doctors Don't Tell You.  As a result of the surgery, I now have to deal with many health issues.  One of those issues being anemia, since my small intestines are now "bypassed" I can not absorb iron like a normal functioning person.  I have to routinely receive iron transfusions and because I want to diminish my "loss of iron"; last Friday I had an Endometrial Ablation.  Basically, boiling water is put into the uterus to destroy the lining and reduce or stop menstruation.  This was NOT FUN!  The way the doctors talked, it was like no biggie... I could even go to work the next day if I had to.  When I woke up from the surgery, I was only given Tylenol and a heating pad.  Only Tylenol and a heating pad for the WORSE CRAMPS EVER?  I was moaning in pain half the day.  My doctor is going to hear about this when I go for a check-up in two weeks!

When the pain started to subside is when the bad patterns began.  Why is it that I am so comforted by food?  I am sick, not feeling well... I eat.  They say feed a cold, right?  I take every advantage of that.  I laid in bed to re cooperate and ate even though I was not even hungry.  And I knew I wasn't hungry and I knew what I was doing was wrong but I continued to eat.  I guess I could use the excuse that since I was not feeling well it was easier to choose "not so healthy" foods to eat but I have no excuse for eating FOUR Skinny Cow Truffle bars.  Those things are SO delicious and it is hard to just stop at one but FOUR is a little ridiculous.  Bad, bad patterns.

And I would like to say the next day that I woke up and was back on track.  I started out with good intentions.  It was my little girls birthday and she asked to go to McDonald's for breakfast so I took her and my little boy and even brought a healthy breakfast with me. 

Then we went to Incredible Pizza Buffet with family for dinner.  And I did not even try to eat healthier.  I skipped the salad section!  More bad patterns.

Happy 4th Birthday to my Beautiful Bella

The next day was Mother's Day.  I met my mom and sister for brunch, it was an all you can eat brunch and I ate all I could.  Look at that pile of bacon!  I couldn't resist.  Well, I could but I did not want to.  More bad patterns.

I did choose SOME healthy options like the spinach omelet and fruit.  I think that made our waiter behind me happy.

While others chose the big cookie and chocolate mini pie.

But then I ate some of theirs as well.  More bad patterns.

Today is a new day and I will not let those bad patterns continue.  I easily could, I have before... many, many times and I know where that road leads me.  I do not want to take that road ever again.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Zaggora HOTPANTS "Inches Loss Challenge" - The Measurements

When I first started blogging my weight loss journey, I knew I would reveal "personal" things about myself if I wanted to create a blog that was truly a reflection of me.  What I did not expect was having to reveal ALL of my lumps and bumps for the world to see.  But I figure if I am to show the progress of the Zaggora HOTPANTS then it would only be fair to show proof (or no proof).  So here goes, my lumps, humps and bumps in all their glory...

I warned you... lumpy and bumpy.  The good thing about these HOTPANTS are (IF they work) they will surely be targeting my TROUBLED areas.  You see, I have the body of the extreme pear shape.  The top half of my body and bottom half are like two entirely different people.  If you were just to look at me from the waist up you might confuse me for a waif (well maybe not that bad) but my arms are super thin, my ribs poke out and my collar bone protrudes.  This is SO NOT the case for the waist down, my middle section is the LAST part to go.

And now about the HOTPANTS, when I put them on they reminded me of a diving suit.  They are tight, have a thickish material and are definitely HOT.  The worst part?  When I walk they make this funny swooshing sound.  Great, they accentuate my thighs rubbing together.  This is the very reason I never wear corduroys.  Seriously, are corduroy pants not the WORST for thick thighed people?  Not only does the sound of the thighs rubbing together echo for miles but the thick, rough material of the corduroy causes so much friction, I worry about creating sparks.  If I were stranded on a deserted island, all I would need are my thighs and a pair of corduroys and I could make my own fires!

Now for the dreaded measurements....
My Hips

My Waist

My Thighs

After my first work out in the HOTPANTS let me tell you... they are true to their name, HOT!  I was sweating so much the sweat was dripping down my legs and soaking my socks.  So, my new slogan for these pants are...  Sweat your socks off!  I like it.  Hopefully they sweat off a lot more than my socks though.  We will see... stay tuned!



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Skinny" Baked Chocolate Donuts

You must think I am a little nuts for using the word "skinny" and "donuts" in the same sentence.  Well, I am NUTS, NUTS for these DoNUTS. (Wow, that sure does sound like a good slogan, doesn't it?  I should trademark it.)  Not only are these donuts "skinnier" and delicious; they are also packed with protein and easy to make!  And the best part?  They are chocolate!!!  I am a chocoholic and am always looking for ways to curb my chocolate appetite without increasing my waist line.  These donuts certainly do the trick!  So without further ado, here is the recipe for "Skinny" Baked Chocolate Donuts!

Skinny Baked Chocolate Donuts

1 1/3 cup oats
2 eggs
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream tartar
sugar substitute equal to 1 cup of sugar
 `1/4 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees and spray baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Blend all ingredients (except for chocolate chips) together in a blender or food processor.  Blend until mixture is smooth.

3.  Spoon mixture into each doughnut cup and bake for 10 minutes.  Stick with toothpick to make sure donuts are done.

4.  Remove from oven and immediately add 4-5 chocolate chips to the tops of each doughnut.

5.  Lets the doughnut cool completely before removing them from the pan or they will break apart.

Makes 24 donuts
57 calories each (7g Carbs, 2g Fat, 4g Protein)

Happy Guilt-Free Eating!!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Zaggora Hot Pants "Inches Lost" Challenge

Sometimes as a blogger companies contact me to review their product and write my thoughts about it.  This was not one of those times.  This time I actually contacted the company.  Weird, huh?  Let me take you back about a month ago...

I was browsing Groupon (love me some Groupon) and I saw a deal from Zaggora for weight loss HOTPANTS™.  Well, you know anything that has the term "weight loss" in it catches my eye so I took a look at their website.  These pants intrigued me.  As a Scientist, I started to wonder how the pants worked.  Ah ha!  An entire page on how the Zaggora Hot Pants work.  

Apparently these "HOTPANTS™ contain Celu‐Lite™ technology which maximize the results of your workout by heating those areas covered by the HOTPANTS™.  Celu‐Lite™ technology reflects back the heat naturally generated by the body to promote deeper warming of your tissue leading to higher levels of perspiration and therefore breaking down the fat and toxins that contribute to the appearance of cellulite."  Wow, that is a lot of ™'s, these pants must be legit, right?  And they were even tested at a University, My Gosh!

I was still skeptical. 

I continued to browse their website and came across a Challenge.  A 2 week and 2 month challenge to wear the HOTPANTS™ (it's fun using ™ hehe) while working out and watch yourself losing inches!  What you are challenging me Zaggora?  Game on.  Me and challenges go together like chocolate and milk, rice crispy and treats, and some other cool stuff that goes together.  (Help me out: comment below with other cool stuff that goes together)  So, Challenge on Zaggora, Challenge on.

Regardless if these pants actually turned me into a HOTPANTS™ Momma, I figured it would be fun to blog about the challenge.  Then it hit me... (Duh!) I should have asked them about reviewing the product since I am a blogger and bloggers do that kind of stuff.  So, I contacted them and told them I was planning to take their challenge and report my results.  They seemed enthusiastic about it and even offered to send me a free pair of pants AND a 10% discount coupon code (AMANDATAYLOR) for my readers.  Since I had already purchased the Groupon, I asked if I could receive a free pair for a giveaway (because I love you all oh-so-much). They obliged.

And last Friday I received THE™ package!

The Zaggora company is located in the UK so it took a few weeks to arrive.


Let the Challenge begin!

If you want to take the challenge yourself and purchase a pair of Zaggora Hot Pants, just use the 10% off discount coupon code (AMANDATAYLOR) or you can wait and try to win a pair from my upcoming giveaway!

My Beginning Measurements.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Make the Pledge and Win Success

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I wish I could lose x amount of weight"... I would probably buy an island and blog from the beach daily.  After I hear "the wish" comment I usually start to hear "the excuses" of WHY I can not lose the weight.  "I am so busy", "my husband keeps terrible food in the house", "I just don't have time to exercise because I work full time and have kids."  OK, most of these excuses are ones I use to say.  But that is just what they are, EXCUSES.  I am tired of hearing and making excuses.  Let us start turning those excuses into goals.  People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.

So, I want to start something new.  I want us to make a pledge right here and right now.  Set a goal for yourself, you can set a short term and a long term goal.  It can be anything... eating healthier, start an exercise plan, train for a run or losing weight/inches.  After you set your goal, share it here in the comments or with me privately (go to my contact form and title the subject line "My Pledge".)  Once your goal is set, I will PERSONALLY check up on you, help you along the way and cheer you on! (so remember to leave me your contact information!)  I will also post updates, big accomplishments and maybe even a personal interview when you reach your big goal!

So, stop making excuses and start DOING.  Share this with a friend... let's all do it together!  "When he took time to help the man up the mountain, he scaled it himself."

My Pledge:  "I hereby pledge to start strength training twice a week, along with metabolic training twice a week.  I will lose 10 pounds by July,  35 pounds within a year and keep it off."

Now it's your turn!