Even with the Best Laid Plans…

Today kicks off Week Two of the new job!  Woooooo!

And…. to make it an even more interesting week, we’re heading on a whirlwind three days of travel.  They’ve described it as a “grinder” and I think they’re about right.  While I enjoy travel, I’m not looking forward to the next three days.

Our party of four will be traveling to Boise on Tuesday morning, to Salt Lake City on Wednesday morning and back to Denver on Thursday morning.  While these are my usual stomping grounds, I’m much more used to traveling on my own and being a little more leisurely in visiting these cities as opposed to the back-to-back nature of our trip.

Our days will also start together around 5am and end at about 10pm.  No time for working out, and barely any “me” time.  It’s just two days… I can do this.  I honestly can’t wait for Thursday and Friday!

So… let’s talk about last week’s plan.  Remember it?  The one that I carefully put together prior to starting the new job.

Very quickly, I realized this plan wouldn't work.

Breakfast was on plan… but lunch?  Well, lunch was the best I could do and not so bad.

Things got a little hectic around dinner time though.  Excited to be home and available to see friends… I ate out on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.  Eeks!

I also skipped the gym every night except for Monday.  Double Eeks!

This week is going to be tricky as well, due to the long days.  So, I’m counting on myself to make good choices when I’m eating out and on the road.  I’ll pack snacks for the airport, and try to drink a LOT of water.

Workouts this week will have to be Sunday (done), Monday, Friday, and Saturday.  Not ideal, but what can you do….


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My First Workout Injury

So, just when I get all excited about it and decide to start posting about my awesome workouts… I get injured.

Well, it’s not quite as bad as it looks.  I mean, my skin hasn’t turned orange like Snooki, but it’s still so disappointing. 

So, you might remember my WOW post on Wednesday.  I’ve gotten into my workout GROOVE finally.  I’m even tallying how many days I workout this year.  That was all before I hurt myself.  Here’s how it happened.

Picture it:  Marriott Workout Room, 6pm

I started out my workout last night on the recumbent bike.  This is a new trick of mine when I’m traveling.  I take my iPad with me and catch up on all my favorite blogs while I’m biking about 11 mph.  Brilliant, right?  30 minutes is gone in NO time!

Afterward, I work my way over to the treadmill to walk and listen to music/watch TV for the next 30 minutes.  And, tonight was the night I had planned on doing my VERY FIRST OFFICIAL Couch to 5K workout.

I walked my first 5 minutes and ran my first 60 seconds.  Then, when I brought myself to a stop.  SOMETHING WAS PINCHING.  OUCH.  SOMETHING WAS OH-SO-HURTING in the hip area.  What the heck?  I continued walking until I got to 10 minutes on the timer and then I had to stop. 

Walking hurt, let alone running.  My first injury.

I did what any girl would do in my position, I text my besties with the news.  Angela immediately text back with stretching suggestions and even called me to walk me through the most amazing of stretches that “hurt-so-good.”  A gymnastics coach, she’s got experience helping the wounded… she diagnosed me as having an issue with my hip flexor.  Honestly, I didn’t even know I had one.


I took my ibuprofen, completed my stretching, and received my scolding for not stretching pre-workout.  I actually got that scolding from multiple people + the promise of stretching workouts that I should use in the future.  Good times.

Thankfully, I woke up this morning amazed that the pain had lessened (Thanks, Ang!) but knowing that it could NOT be a workout day today.  This pain must heal so I don’t have other problems.  And, I’ve got to learn these new stretches that the ladies recommend.

Now, today has been tough.  Knowing fully that I was NOT going to workout tonight, I’ve felt so guilty about extra bites of food.  Example:  I had 2 potstickers in the concierge lounge tonight and a square o’ cheese and an apple and I couldn’t resist a sugar-free hot chocolate.  Normally, I wouldn’t even stress on that due to working out adding more calories into my daily allowance.  Today, not a good idea (especially with a weigh-in looming.)

I’m hoping to be all back to normal by tomorrow.  Sigh.

The NTTC Lesson of the Day:  STRETCH those muscles, people!  It’s important!

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Healthier Cake (AKA “Diet Cake”)

The year I graduated college, I spent about 8 months on Weight Watchers and lost a LOT of weight.  I got down to my all-time smallest during this round of WW.  I had great support from my leader and friends and was 100% committed to the program – – two ingredients that assure success with any weight loss program, if you ask me.

I remember my 22nd birthday rolling around and being VERY disappointed.  I mean, birthdays had always been associated with indulging and gooey chocolate cake – – my definition of CELEBRATING.  It definitely wasn’t the first time in my life that I had been “on a diet” on my birthday, but it was the first time that I was determined to lose and was willing to make a birthday sacrifice in the name of weight loss. 

What I didn’t expect was a cake to be delivered to me as my birthday present!  My dear friend Linda made me what she called “diet cake” for my birthday.  What an AWESOME present it was!

Unknowingly, Linda chose to make a lemon cake with lemon frosting which I had never had in my life.  I’ve mentioned before that trying “new favorites” have been key to my losing weight… and this was just another example.  While it wasn’t a gooey chocolate cake, it was a REALLY good lemon cake… unlike any I’d ever had!  That made it even better.  This was the only way that I’d ever had lemon cake, so I didn’t miss all the extra fat/calories/etc that would have went with a standard lemon dessert.  BRILLIANT!

Linda’s original recipe exchanged the oil and eggs with applesauce and, like this recipe, can be used to make ANY flavor cake.  When my birthday celebration rolled around this year, I figured it was time to bring back this old favorite.

Thanks, Linda Lou, for making such a special cake for me and for creating a cake I could celebrate with years later!  I’ve adapted it slightly over time based on recipes I’ve learned from fellow “losers”, but credit you eternally for teaching me that substitutions can make EVEN cake healthier!

Diet Cake

Adapted from a recipe from Linda “G-Money” Dohnal

1 cake mix 
1 can diet soda
1 jar whipped frosting

Choosing your Cake Mix-Soda Combination: 

Sugar-free cake mix isn’t required, but it was something I wanted to try.  Also, the soda doesn’t give much flavor to the cake, but I usually match it up by color.  You can really use any combination, but here’s a few I recommend:

Yellow Cake + Diet Sprite

Chocolate Cake + Diet Coke or Diet Cream Soda

Devil’s Food Cake + Diet Dr. Pepper

Red Velvet + Diet Coke

Funfetti + Diet 7-Up

Lemon Cake + Diet Sierra Mist

1.  Mix cake with can of soda.  Cake mix batter will be foamy to start, but will lessen as you combine it.
I decided to make 1/2 a cake because I didn’t want leftovers.  
Yay for Food Scales!
Can you see how foamy it is? 
Mix it up, just as the box says….
2.  Pour batter into a greased cake pan.  Bake per cake mix instructions.
I made a 9-inch round with my 1/2 a cake.
Let your cake cool before you start frosting it.

3.  Top with your favorite frosting and enjoy!  I used whipped frosting because it had significantly less calories than the standard jars.  You could surely make your own frosting or skip this step, but I wanted easy frosting!

And… that poor cake looked so flat, so I decided to make it a layer cake!  I cut the round in half and layered it with frosting.

Note to Self:  Must buy a knife with a serrated edge.
The sprinkles were a nice touch!
Warning:  Taking 1/2 a cake to any party leaves you wide
open for all the “did you eat the other half?” jokes…
I took the cake to my friend Deb’s house where we were celebrating my birthday with a beautiful dinner. (Yes, I insisted on bringing my own cake!)  Deb made an awesome filet au poivre and accompaniments from Cooking Light – – YUM!  Such a treat!  Thanks, Deb and Matt!
The cake was a huge hit and everyone seemed shocked that it was made with soda.  Try it, and then tell people after they eat it.  I promise, they won’t even know…


Seriously, why ever make it the other way again?? 
Pretty sure I just heard some GASPs all the way here in Salt Lake City.

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Two Airport Finds and the Truth About the Salted Caramel Mocha

I traveled this week again, spending some time in Salt Lake City, then off to Helena and then to Bozeman and then back home again.  Phew! 

A Pretty SLC Sunset as I took off for Helena

I had a pretty fabulous food find in Bozeman airport, which inspired today’s post and made me remember how much I liked a snack I found at Chicago Midway!  Sharing both ideas with you today!

Best Vending Machine EVER

FRESH HEALTHY VENDING!!!  I googled to find out more information and found a LOT!  Rather than the usual crap you see in vending machines, this one is stocked full of tasty healthy snacks – – Terra Veggie ChipsPirate’s Booty, Raw Almonds, Naked Juice…. All on the healthy side!  This is the first time I’ve seen this vending machine, but I’m certainly determined to find more.  If you’re traveling through the new and improved Bozeman airport… stop by this guy!  I MAY have had Pirate’s Booty for my snack today…. I just love that stuff!  


Last month when I traveled to Chicago for the weekend, I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find this deliciousness on the A Concourse right near gate A1.  It was at a news stand/food shop right next to the gate.


VERY fresh and HEALTHY choices… I ended up buying a little container that had sliced cucumbers, sliced peppers, and baby carrots + a container with about 2 Tbsp. of lowfat dill dip.  BEST.  SNACK.  EVERl  As I ate it on the plane, I seriously thought it was brilliant and couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t thought of packing something tasty like this when I catch planes.  If I flew through Chicago more often, I wouldn’t have to pack it.  Hmmmm…

I confessed my obsession with this hot, tasty beverage earlier in the week and was determined to find out the stats.  Well, I had a heart to heart with a barista today, and I think I’ve figured it out.  

First of all, here it is paired with a delicious Venti Ice Water (0 cals):

Notice all the specific modifications on the cup – – I’m so high-maintenance!

As a reminder, here’s how I order my version of the Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha (AKA SCM):

No Whip
1 Pump Skinny Mocha
2 Pumps Toffee Nut
I picked up the handy “Nutritional Information” brochure in Bozeman this week per a barista’s recommendations.  She said I could basically “build my own” latte using it.  She also confirmed that the original Salted Caramel Mocha comes with 3 pumps mocha + 3 pumps toffee nut.  That’s a LOT of pumps and a lot of extra calories…. BEWARE!
Not quite able to figure out the calories on my own, I had to go back to Starbucks today for more (ahem) research.  Since I was there, I went ahead and got another SCM in the name of science.
In speaking with this Denver barista, he helped me understand that the base latte I should use in calculating the calories is the CAFFE MOCHA.  In essence, the drink is a CAFFE MOCHA with a few extra items.  And, the tall mocha has THREE PUMPS of mocha in it.  My version of the SCM collectively 3 pumps of syrup.  We have a match!  Toffee Nut does, however, have less fat and calories than a pump of mocha syrup, so I adjusted the stats accordingly.
So… Grand total of the estimated calories:  160 calories, 1g fat.  Keep in mind, the usual Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte I get is only 90 calories.   
You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to bring this latte into your life, but I honestly can’t go without it now that I’ve tried it.   Sigh.

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