My Favorite Month: October

October is my favorite month of the year!!  The weather turns cooler, the leaves change colors, football season is well under way, apples are ready for picking, pumpkins are ready to be carved, and my birthday is on the 16!  I love October!

In September I….

September Goals Recap

  • September Mantra “Plate Produce First” — I’d like to say that I lived this one out, but I really didn’t. 
  • Rock the house on my 15K training program! — Neal and I have been doing awesome!!  Only missed 3 trainings all month! 
  • Read The Flexitarian Diet (Dawn is amazing by the way!!) — Sadly I haven’t touched it.  Maybe after this semester.
  • Be productive with graduate work on weekdays in order to enjoy the weekends with Neal and friends. — Yes, I’ve done a really good job with graduate school… though I have a lot to do this weekend! 
  • Have my first giveaway on Coffee Cake and Cardio! — Amish Market Giveaway!!  I loved it!
  • Try one new recipe each week — Week 1 Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, Week 2 Mexican Turkey Meatloaf, Week 3 Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake, Week 4 Panzanella Salad with Salmon

October Goals

  • Lose 10 pounds this month as I continue my biggest loser challenge (be down to 214 lbs by November 1)
  • Lift weights 2 times a week
  • Continue to try a new recipe each week
  • Continue our 15k training
  • Enjoy my birthday and the festivities, making wise food choices along the way!
  • Read 1 non school related book (First Family)

What are your October goals?

Weight Watchers CORE Plan

Biggest Loser Challenge Week 1

  • Starting Weight: 226.6 pounds
  • Week 1 Weight: 224.8 pounds
  • Total Weight Lost: 1.8 pounds

Woop Woop!  1.8 pounds lost!  A great first week.  Last week I really focused on counting my calories and feel good moving forward.


As I wasn’t able to type up my weekly plan yesterday it game me the opportunity to look at what I ate on Monday without a plan.  Without my plan I ate a lot of carbs and didn’t incorporate any green vegetables into my diet.  This is one of the reasons why I love planning out my meals ahead of time as I’m able to balance my diet out.  My diet is not perfect by any means, but I do strive to balance what can often be unbalanced (carb heavy).

Workout Breakfast Lunch Dinner Plans
Monday 4 mile run Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Leftover brown rice with corn and beans, apple, cashews Leftover brown rice with corn and beans, granola Monday Night Football: Redskins vs. Cowboys
Tuesday Weight Lifting Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, apple Leftover chili with 1 slice cornbread Salad of some sort Biggest Loser and Graduate Work
Wednesday 3 mile run Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Lunch at work (salad bar) ? Happy Hour/Dinner with Becky and Dana
Thursday Weight Lifting Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, apple Leftover chili Salad with oven roasted salmon Graduate Work
Friday 30 mins easy Bagel thin with pumpkin spice cream cheese, banana Salad with oven roasted salmon ? Graduate Work

This made me think about my diet when I lost 50 pounds back in 2006-2007.  As a Weight Watchers member, I decided to go on their CORE plan instead of counting POINTS.

The Weight Watchers CORE plan 

Meat and Meat Substitutes

  • Lean beef, lamb, pork and veal (loin or round)
  • Ground beef (7% fat or less)
  • Organ meats fresh, frozen or canned
  • Poultry – Chicken and turkey, no skin
  • Ground chicken or turkey, once a day only
  • Fish and shellfish, fresh, frozen, or canned, any variety as long as it is not packed in fat or oil
  • Tofu, any type
  • Frozen veggie burgers
  • NO deli meats or hot dogs

Eggs, Dairy & Cheese

  • Whole eggs or whites
  • Eggbeaters and other egg substitutes
  • Fat-free milk, cheese and sour cream
  • Soy milk and soy cheese
  • Plain fat-free yogurt


  • Any fresh, frozen or canned fruit (no added sugar; canned must be packed in water or juice (not syrup)
  • No juice
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • No Dried fruits


  • Any fresh, frozen or canned veggies (includes corn, beans, and lentils— see below for potatoes)

Cereal and Grain

  • Cream of Wheat, oatmeal and such
  • Other whole grains, such as quinoa, barley, grits, cornmeal, couscous, etc.
  • All-grain cereal (puffed wheat or rice, shredded wheat, and all bran cereals with no added sugar) with fat-free milk or soymilk — Once a day
  • Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice OR potatoes (any variety)– Once a day

Fats, Oils

  • 2 teaspoons daily


  • Soups made out of CORE foods (lentil, split pea, french onion soup)
  • No cream based soups


  • Coffee (without sugar)
  • Tea (without sugar)
  • Diet soft drinks
  • Club soda
  • Seltzer (plain or unsweetened)
  • Water or mineral water


  • No-calorie sweeteners like Splenda, Stevia, or Equal
  • Seasonings and herbs, without added sugar
  • Fat-free salad dressing
  • Fat-free margarine
  • Fat-free mayonnaise
  • Extracts and flavorings

The key to the CORE program is learning to listen to your body.  All of the foods listed are “unlimited” except where noted (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and potatoes for example) so it really comes down to knowing when you’re hungry, understanding how hungry you are, and stopping when you’re satisfied.

A lot of people hated this program but I absolutely loved it.  It was quite the transition for me, as it removed processed foods from my diet… but was that really a bad thing?  Over the past 4 years I have incorporated processed foods back into my diet, like granola bars, peanut butter, bread, bagels, etc..  Processed foods are “easy” but I can’t say I need them or can’t live without them.

Here’s what a day on the CORE program looked like for me:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
2 egg omelet with diced mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers Salad with lettuce, pinto beans, diced baked chicken breast, salsa, and fat free sour cream Piece of fruit and/or oatmeal Whole wheat pasta with roasted tomatoes and ground turkey

As I move into week two of my Biggest Loser Challenge, I want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet and would like to begin limiting the processed foods I eat.  Obviously I have a pack of bagel thins at home (see meal plan) but I know that I can make healthy changes to the rest of my diet.

REMINDER: Today is the last day to enter the Amish Market Giveaway.  Instructions can be found here.

My Scaleless Summer

This summer I tried out a Scaleless Summer, where I put away the scale and focused on what I was putting in my mouth instead of focusing on the number on the scale.  I started out the summer weighing 217 pounds.  About a month later I went to the doctors and weighed in at 213, totally forgetting that I wasn’t suppose to look, but was really excited about my weight loss.  My plan to fill half of my plate with veggies before adding protein and carbs was working well and creating weekly meal plans on Sundays left me feeling great.  My workouts were all over the place, but I knew I was making some good decisions in regards to what I was putting in my mouth.

July was a really stressful month for me as I tackled 2 graduate classes, interviewed for a new job, rocked the house on my current job (at the time), accepted a new job, and went on a vacation with Neal to Florida.  Still, by the end of July I was feeling great and knew I had lost/maintain my weight.

August was another story though.  I love the summer, but with the heat comes lots of eating out (baseball games, happy hours, dinners with friends, etc.).  Although I love the summer, it can be a challenge to know how many calories I’m consuming each day.  In addition, I’ve really been struggled with overeating since August.  It could have been stress or it could have just been my inability to say no to the foods I love.  Either way I have consumed way too many calories in one setting on a number of occasions.

As of yesterday, I weighted in at 226.6 pounds.  I was honestly shocked to see my weight that high.  I don’t feel like I’ve gained almost 10 pounds this summer nor do I think I look like I’ve gained 10 pounds.  It could be muscle mass, as I do put on muscle rather easily and have boosted my workouts up.  Either way, 226 at the end of a scaleless summer is not where I wanted to me.

I have learned a lot this summer, both about my workouts, my eating habits, and about my mentality surrounding weight loss.  To some degree I feel that I have been on a 4 year plateau.  My weight has gone up and down during that time, and as of June I was 9 pounds from my lowest weight (209 in the summer of 2007).

I want to will defeat this plateau.  I want to will break 200 pounds.  I want to will love myself through the entire process.

This past week I focused on counting calories.  It was really helpful to see how many calories I had been consuming and to focus on what it takes to consume the proper amount of calories needed to lose/maintain weight (1533 calories for me).  I didn’t count calories during this weekend’s getaway to Cleveland and I honestly regret it.  I feel like I’m back at a point in my life where my habits are not good habits.  Until I create lasting healthy habit, I need to always be focused on weight loss and what I’m trying to learn/implement.  Here’s what the weekend looked like sans counting calories/thinking about weight loss…


  • coffee at Jill’s
  • food samples at the market
  • cup of soup and a slice of bread at the Souper Market
  • 1.5 mini cannolis
  • 1 medium mate latte
  • 2 PB and J sandwiches (which I had packed for Friday but didn’t eat then)
  • 1/2 of Porky Cheese sandwich at Melt with fries
  • 1 more bite of a cannoli


  • coffee at Jill’s
  • soy chai and raspberry scone at The Root Cafe
  • Other half of Porky Cheese sandwich
  • Diet Pepsi, yogurt covered raisins, and honey wheat pretzel rods during road trip
  • cranberry orange scone and soy chai from Starbucks
  • 3 slices of banana bread at home (from neighbor)

Sunday was pretty bad, as I could have made so many different choices.  Take the banana bread for instance, my super sweet neighbor brought it over when I got home last night and because I was too tired to cook dinner, I just opted to eat the banana bread.  The banana bread would have been a perfect addition to my breakfast … over the course of a week.  Instead I ate it in one night.  (I’m being honest here guys)

The Scaleless Summer was not a loss by any means.  I rekindled my “love” for running and have started training for a 15K with Neal.  I also learned a lot about my body, my portion sizes, and what it’ll take to lose weight and create healthy habits.   Over the past three months I have learned what my two main issues are in regards to my eating… 1. Eating when I’m not hungry 2. Rare binge eating sprees.  As Neal said though, “it’s nothing I can’t conquer”.

Yesterday I jump started my quest to break 200 pounds with the start of The Biggest Loser.  I consumed 1599 calories and burned 984 calories at spin.  I really felt great yesterday and stuck to my meal plan.  The only thing I added was carrots and hummus after work and a salad with my pizza.  This morning Neal and I ran 3 miles in 33 minutes and I burned 569 calories.  Again, I feel like I do a great job of planning but for me the key is sticking to my plan and not binge eating.

Here’s to a happy and healthy fall!


I Want To Be The Biggest Loser

Staying motivated is an extremely important part of losing weight.  Back in 2006-2007 when I set out to lose weight, I had loving friends and family around me to support me, but my biggest motivator was actually the show The Biggest Loser.  Tonight, season 12 of the Biggest Loser, Battle of the Ages, starts.  Over the next 3-4 months, we will watch as these contestants work their butts off, literally, in the quest to win the battle over obesity.



As The Biggest Loser starts tonight, I hope to rekindle the motivation they gave me 5 years ago and to set out on a journey with them again.  I want to continue aspects of my scaleless summer, focusing on how my body feels and really looking at what’s on my plate.  In addition, I will continue to track my calories online, eating 1500 calories each day.  Starting today, I will weight myself every Tuesday morning along with the Biggest Loser competitors!

Starting Weight: 226.6 (I am shocked to see it in the 220’s)

My goal, for some time now, has been to break 200 pounds and I know I can do that!!  I want to lose more body fat and to get into even better shape.  I’m not too far off and I know I can reach this by the end of the year!  Who’s with me?

This Week’s Plan







Off– sick

Oatmeal with fig butter and pumpkin butter

Butter lettuce with northern beans, mozzarella cheese, fat free balsamic dressing

Chicken burger with ½ slice of cheese, ketchup, mustard and chips with salsa

Resting and graduate work


Spin AM

Banana and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood Pre-Workout, Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter post-workout

Leftover salmon and asparagus, apple sauce

Homemade pizza (cheese, onion and bell pepper)

The Biggest Loser


3 mile run

1 egg, 2 egg whites, English muffin,  laughing cow cheese, and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood

Leftover salmon and asparagus, apple sauce

Leftover homemade pizza

graduate work


Spin AM

Banana and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood Pre-Workout, Oatmeal with pumpkin butter and peanut butter post-workout

Progresso light soup

Gnocchi with light alfredo sauce

graduate work


30 min run

1 egg, 2 egg whites, English muffin,  laughing cow cheese, and Orange Dreamsicle SuperFood

Progresso light soup

Dinner at Nats game

Nationals baseball game with Team in Training buddies



Breakfast at Amish Market

Lunch at Iowa game


Amish Market with my Aunt, Iowa vs. ULM game


4 mile run

Protein bar pre workout, post workout ??



plenty of graduate work (big paper to write)

I hope that each of you are having an amazing week and are enjoying premiere week!

What TV shows have you been looking forward to watching this fall?

Here’s my fall DVR line up:

  • Castle
  • The Biggest Loser
  • The New Girl
  • Modern Family
  • Law and Order: SVU
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • The Office
  • Pan Am

WOW– that’s 7.5 hours of TV… I’m thinking a few of those shows are going to have to give.

Cereal Wars

I have learned so much about myself these past two days, just from counting my calories on  Yesterday I started out the day consuming way more calories than planned and learned a lot about the effects of buying foods that tempt me to overeat.

Yesterday I consumed 2150 calories total and burned 464 calories at the gym (30 minutes of spin), bringing me to 1686 calories.   Here’s the breakdown…

  • Breakfast – 930 calories (sadness)
  • Lunch- 490 calories
  • Afternoon Snack- 200 calories
  • Evening Snack- 230 calories
  • Dinner- 300 calories

Over the past two days I have received some amazing comments and advice from my readers and I’ve just got to share some of them…

“When I have a realistic plan of what I’m going to eat for the day it takes away the fear that Im not going to have enough food to eat that may lead to a binge” – Laura

“Portion control is hard for me too – one trick I used is that when I cook at home, I try to estimate how many portions the dish makes before I start eating, and then I just limit myself to one. The rest go into Tupperware!” – Esther

“That’s why Clean Eating has saved me. If it’s more then three steps removed from it’s original form, it’s off the plate.  As you can imagine, very few of those cereals make the grade. I don’t’ even like to think of what’s making it ‘Magically Delicious’.” – Holly

“I LOVE CEREAL. But, I rarely buy any kind other than Smart Bran (for the fiber) and Kamut or Millet Puffs (1 cup= 50 cal, no sugar). I have no concept of portion control when it comes to cereal- and really- 3/4 of a cup is a serving? Are you kidding me??!! Who would ever eat 3/4 cup of cereal?? So, with the cereal I DO buy, it’s perfectly fine to have 2 cups of it.” – Lauren

“Even if i don’t eat it, I’m thinking about not eating it, or how much I can maybe eat later, then I’m like. screw it, I’m eating it. I’ll show that box of cereal who is boss!” – Holly

“As for your morning, don’t worry about! Just take a deep breath and realize occasionally you might eat a few too many Lucky Charms. Life’s too short to beat yourself up. And don’t starve yourself for the rest of the day because you’ll make yourself more vulnerable to overeat later.” – Sarah

“Starbucks’ website has great nutrition info with breakdowns by size & add-ons.” – Liz
“First. I have a rule when it comes to cereal and that is “there will always be 2 bowls”. And I love Lucky Charms. I think you’re doing such a great job on your healthy eating . When I drink starbucks drinks (other than my two usual caffeine fixes) I always get the tall size because they are all under 300 calories. Just a little tip.” –Maren

And the comment of the day award goes to Holly

“I think at the end of the day if it’s a food that takes up time and conversation and second guessing, I rule it out. I’m not being snarky, this really is how I got rid of a lot of stuff (that like you I bought myself).

I’d realize that I’d just had a twenty minute conversation about something I ate and why and how bad I felt when I could have been talking about something that would make me feel good. Or listening to something someone else had to say.

I’d be like WTF? did I just talk to three people about how I ate this box of Frosted Flakes? Really? Given a healthy dose of perspective, I begin to see what I was allowing to influence SO much of my time was, well, it was a freakin’ Frosted Flake.

That was when I really got how we allow food to permeate every aspect of our lives. It’s food. It doesn’t really make me happy, or sad or fulfill me. Maybe making it does, sharing it does, but it’s food.

I’m not saying this is true for anyone else or making a judgment call or anything like that, just sharing my WTF?! moment when I finally got that I had better things to do then manage Frosted Flakes. I was like, ok, FF, you win, I won’t buy you anymore. The Cereal War was over.”

They are all right!  Holly’s right!  The Cereal War is over… I don’t have to allow myself to be consumed by my favorite foods.  Should I have more self control, sure, but I know that bringing sugary foods into the house will tempt me to overeat… just as I shared with my nutella binge.

I’m so thankful for my readers and the advice they’ve given me these past two days.  We can truly learn so much from one another and I want Coffee Cake and Cardio to be a forum for that.  If you ever have questions that you’d like me to answer or ask on my blog in which readers can respond to, please do not hesitate to e-mail me!   I am also eager to blog about topics that are important to you, so again, please don’t hesitate to send me topics you’d like me to write about.

Well, I’m off to run 2 miles with Neal before the work day starts and then tonight I’m going to a crocheting class with Liz! I can not wait to tell y’all all about it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday and as always, thank you for reading Coffee Cake and Cardio!

Effects of Living in a Healthy City

Washington, DC is a beautiful city and although it is often known for its wild traffic, it is also one of the healthiest cities in the United States according to the 2011 American Fitness Index report.


The top 10 healthiest cities, according to the 2011 AFI report:

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Boston, Mass.
  4. Portland, Ore.
  5. Denver, Colo.
  6. San Francisco, Calif.
  7. Hartford, Conn.
  8. Seattle, Wash.
  9. Virginia Beach, Va.
  10. Sacramento, Calif.  (source)

When I moved to Washington, DC in 2004 I quickly noticed how healthy the city was.  The city was full of beautiful trails, like the WO&D trail, 4 mile run, and Capital Crescent trail, which citizens took full advantage of.  Friends were invested in cycling, running, yoga, crossfit, frisbee golf, and NAKID kickball, all of which were new to me.

Running along the Potomac River


The fitness lifestyle of those living in DC was the polar opposite of what I had lived in San Antonio, Texas.  I can’t even tell you were a trail exists in San Antonio, aside from the sidewalk along the Riverwalk. This is not to say that San Antonio doesn’t have citizens looking to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s more that the city doesn’t scream fitness and healthy living.

When I lived in Texas, social gatherings were centered around food.  Mexican food, Texas BBQ, 24 hour fast food, and gallons of sweet tea.  I was by no means happy with my body weight when I lived in Texas, but the city I lived in did not support my desire to lose weight.  Washington, DC on the other hand motivates me to lose weight, to be healthy, and to try new fitness programs.  Instead of meeting up with friends at 10AM for breakfast tacos I am meeting up with friends at 7AM to go for a run and follow it up with an iced coffee.

A well known 24 hour fast food restaurant in San Antonio


You can also visually see the difference between Washington, DC’s citizens and those in San Antonio and even Las Vegas.  I was shocked when I arrived in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and to see vast amount of overweight people living in the city.  I had forgotten how fit DC was compared to other US cities.  It’s easy to compare myself to others in DC, as it is a very fit city, but I have to remember where I have come from and how much weight I have lost already.  I grew up in a city where obesity was acceptable and a part of the culture.

Now I will say that I often see the negative effects of living in a healthy city.  Yesterday morning in spin class there were 2 women who could not have weighed more than 100 pounds.  They were so incredibly skinny and struggled to keep up with the instructor.  There is also another woman I see at the gym every morning, who works out on the elliptical for hours at a time.  One morning I arrived and she had 92 minutes clocked on the machine and continued to work out for the 40 minutes I was on the machine.  It makes me sad to see these women who feel the need to lose that much weight or who work to maintain such a low weight.

I have learned that living in a city that embarrasses fitness is extremely important to me, but I also want to be as healthy as possible in my quest to be fit.  It is tough to live a lifestyle that isn’t openly accepted by those around you, as it takes a lot of willpower to go against the norm, so I commend those who live in cities like San Antonio and live a healthy lifestyle!

What city do you live in and how would you rate its fitness level?  Does the city you live in affect your fitness and lifestyle?