Tag Archives: yoga

Maximizing My Life with Jillian Michaels

25 Apr

If you follow any other DC-area bloggers, I apologize ahead of time because I’m betting you’re going to be overloaded with posts about Jillian Michaels’ ‘Maximize Your Life’ show from last night. I have only seen a couple of episodes of the Biggest Loser and I don’t own any of Jillian’s DVDs, so basically I’m the worst possible person to have gone to this show. Howwwwwever, my awesome friend Allison had an extra ticket and I had nothing else to do last night so we decided to go together.

No day is complete in Sara’s world without a ‘facepalm’ moment and mine yesterday was managing to lose the key to my lock at the gym. Guess who had to have her lock clipped and was subsequently late to her rooftop yoga session at the gym? Yup, I make myself proud. Luckily the people at my gym are rad and it was no biggie. After an awesome, arm balanced-filled yoga session on the rooftop (the weather was perfect and I started to get flying crow for the first time!), Allison and I walked over to Warner Theatre to maximize our lives.

IMG_2459[1]There were lots of different backgrounds of people there: thin people, overweight people, old people, kids – she really drew a wide audience. We got to see Melissa and Laney before the show started, too!

IMG_2463[1]Side note: the Warner Theatre has a grilled cheese bar. You choose between different kinds of cheeses and they grill the sandwiches for you. It was not lost on me that people were eating grilled cheese and drinking alcoholic beverages while seeing a show that was focused on losing weight.

IMG_2460[1]The Warner Theatre is a beautiful venue and I would definitely like to go there for a show soon – they had a good lineup of acts in the next couple of months so hopefully I’ll make it out there again soon!

IMG_2467[1]And then it was time for the show! Guys. Jillian Michaels is hilarious. Honestly, the best part about the show for me were all the entertaining, off the cuff comments she would make about the information she was presenting. She swears at the drop of the hat and gave the FDA “the finger” when she was describing the 56 different names that they came up with for sugar. I like her.

IMG_2468[1]Yes, I took notes at a Jillian Michaels show – I am a nerd. These were some of the key points I took away from her show.

  • Eat less, move more (can you believe that shit?): What was so great about this is that she prefaced this statement by saying, “I’m about to give you the Holy Grail of losing weight” and then followed it up by saying, “Can you believe that shit? It’s so simple, but I have made so much godda** money off of these two sentences.” And she’s right. The basic principle is SO simple. But she then went on to say that it was a challenge for myriad reasons and the second half of her show was about getting the motivation and support to make a big change in your life.
  • Turn on your bullshit meter: She used the example of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ spray, which says that each serving has 0 calories. Yet, when she called the company up after looking at the ingredients (which includes sweet cream buttermilk), they told her that each container contained 1,200 calories. The reason they were able to get away with calling it zero calorie was because each serving (1.25 “sprays” – WTF?) was .9 calories. Since it’s technically under 1 calorie, they can legally get away with calling it ‘zero calorie’. As Jillian would say, “bastards” (I told you she swears a lot).
  • When the better choice is there for you, take it: This is where she gets realistic. She knows that you can’t eat organic and clean all the time, but make the healthiest choices possible in your situation. If there’s a salad and fruit available at the roadside restaurant where you stopped on your road trip, choose those instead of fries or onion rings. You don’t have to act like it’s the end of the world if you can’t get your 100% clean food, but make better choices when they’re available to you.
  • If you want to be a vegan, go with God – but this bi*** wants a hamburger: She has a much more entertaining way of explaining all these things that most people already know. She doesn’t condone eliminating entire food groups or macronnutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) and believes in moderation. However, she also acknowledges that each person is different and what works for some people may not work for others. This is my home run motto because in all aspects of life, I believe that one thing may not work for everyone but everyone can find something that works for them. Be it your eating habits or exercise choices, it’s all just a matter of getting out there and finding what works for you.

The majority of the “information” section of the show were things Allison and I know like the backs of our hands (Basal Metabolic Rate, looking at nutrition labels, the Dirty Dozen, etc.), but Jillian presents it in a way that’s relatable and entertaining (I guess that’s why they pay her the big bucks).

I am interested in reading about other attendees’ experiences, especially if they are more familiar with Jillian Michaels and her workout DVDs. If you have written about your experience, let me know so I can add your link to this post!

Allison and I ended up leaving at intermission because it was almost 9:30 and we both had early wake-up calls and we’re grandmas.

IMG_2465[1]Since we could walk part of the way together before splitting off to go our own separate ways, we had a good half hour or so to chitchat about the show and life in general on our way home. I told her about blackberry bushes and how shocked I was that people pay money for blackberries in the grocery store (they grow like weeds, literally, in Seattle) and she told me about cranberry bogs, which are all over the place in Massachusetts. I honestly had never heard of them before and I always wondered why Ocean Spray commercials showed people standing thigh deep in a pond full of cranberries. You learn something new every day!

It was great to see her before she leaves on her big vacation to Miami, especially since our weekly lunch date didn’t happen this week. That girl is seriously wonderful. One of my very favorite things about blogging are the connections I have made with people online that have turned into friendships – the HLB community is the best.

Food for Thought: Do you watch the Biggest Loser or own any of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs? Are you Team Jillian or Team Bob?







Plaid by Post

5 Mar

Good morning, darling readers! The sun is shining here in Washington and it is g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s. I left my house at 6:30 this morning to get to yoga and the sun was already up! I’m going to enjoy this until daylight savings time starts in a few days and we are back to morning darkness.

After my three mile run at the gym last night, I got to my doorstep and found this:

IMG_2137[1]My grandma had told me to keep an eye on the mail this week, but I totally forgot until I saw this box! You guys know how much I love mail, so I did a little happy dance and brought it inside.

tinafeyLove you, Tina ❤

What was inside (hint: not writing/read stuff, as the box would suggest)?

IMG_2138[1]A handmade robe!!! Grandma made me a gigantic, pink polar fleece robe a few years back (that I still wear to this day!), but this one is shorter and for warmer months when it gets a little chilly.

IMG_2142[1]I just love the pink and blue colors (great minds, Grandma!) and I am pretty much going to rocking it all over the house.

IMG_2148[1]The question is, can I get away with it at work? If anyone has figured out how to successfully wear yoga pants and bathrobes at a law office without being frowned upon by your co-workers, please contact me immediately.

My grandma is better than your grandmas. Just kidding, I’m sure they are darling, wonderful people – it’s in the Grandma Rule Book.

Yoga was wonderful this morning and was much more vinyasa-y than usual, so I worked up a bit of a sweat. Luckily, my desk is in Siberia, so I don’t have to force my post-workout stench on anybody. There’s a Pilates class at my gym tonight, but it doesn’t start until seven, so I may go to the yoga class at six to kill time before Pilates. Overkill? Maybe. But it’s either that or go home and stuff my face, so it’s not like I am interfering with huge plans. I lead the most exciting life.

Confession: I have never been to a Pilates class. Does that get me kicked out of the healthy living blog club? Was I ever in the healthy living blog club?

shunAnybody else remember Charlie the Unicorn? Just me? Okay then.

I think I’ll quit while I’m not too far behind ahead and call it a day. I promise there will be a normal fitness-related socially acceptable post tomorrow.

Ciao friends ❤

Food For Thought: What do I need to know about Pilates ahead of time so I don’t look like a total n00b?

Matchbox and Mail

31 Jan

Has this week been dragging for anybody else? No? Just me then.

The bipolar weather, coupled with a terrible night’s sleep has left me in a weird mood today and I am so ready for the weekend so I can reboot. I did manage to make it to yoga yesterday, though! Because my friend Lucy is in town, I have been sneaking my workouts in at lunch so we can hang out as soon as I finish work.

Yesterday’s class reminded me of how badly I need to incorporate regular yoga sessions into my week – my muscles were so tight! My hips were especially bad – I couldn’t even stack my knees on top of each other during double pigeon, much less bend over.

double_pigeon[ source ]

After work, Lucy and I met Stef and some other high school friends for dinner at Matchbox. They have a couple of locations in DC, but the 14th Street location recently opened up in November. Known for their pizza and sliders, the restaurant is spacious and warm. I loved the exposed brick and the tall ceilings.


[ source ]

We decided to order the sliders as an appetizer, and they came in one huge mountain, topped with onion strings.


They were topped with a choice of either gouda, mozzarella, and gorgonzola cheese.

Our server, Lavonna, was so friendly and made us feel at ease. She asked us if it was our first time dining at the restaurant (it was) and explained a little bit about how their pizzas work (you can mix and match), as well as what their specialties were. She was attentive without being overbearing – A+ for service, Matchbox!

I ended up ordering the grilled veggie sandwich, which included marinated portabella, roasted red peppers, zucchini, pesto-ricotta spread, and a side of fries. It came in two large pieces of focaccia, so I ate one and boxed the other up for lunch today.

While eating, a huge downpour started outside and we, neglecting to bring umbrellas, ended up looking like drowned rats upon arrival at home.

I had two packages waiting for me when I returned, though!

IMG_1976[1]One was a totally random package from my dad and stepmom, which was chock-full of sweatpants and other cozies to last me through the winter. Much appreciated, though I don’t know if they will get much use if DC keeps posting 70+ degree temps in the middle of winter.

The other was a much-anticipated order from Amazon.

IMG_1975[1]I have been a follower of Zuzana’s YouTube channel, where she posts free workouts every week. She is the founder of BodyRock.tv, but started her own channel after awhile called Zuzka Light. These DVDs were just made available and are convenient for when you don’t have an internet connection or want to watch it on your television.

I love that her workouts are quick, but super efficient. I know that Gina’s a big fan of her and just ordered the DVDs as well.

Each DVD comes with 12 workouts, as well as an accompanying calendar to keep yourself accountable for your workouts. The DVDs are designed in order of difficulty and are meant to be used chronologically over the course of three months.

IMG_1966[1]There is also an area at the bottom of the calendar where you can put a before an after photo, as well as monitor your measurements throughout the course of the DVDs.

I am hoping to incorporate these workouts, along with yoga, to shake up my exercise routine. I still intend on going to my beloved Body Pump classes, but want to surprise my body and do something different for a little while.

Food for Thought: Do you have an exercise routine? If so, what does it include and how often do you switch it up? If not, how do you decide what you’ll do for movement each day?


Back on the Wagon

27 Nov

Good morning, sunshines! It’s not sunny at all over here, actually. There was a light mist when I left the house this morning, but I didn’t have to wait for the bus in the rain, thank goodness!

After all of the Thanksgiving festivities over the weekend, it felt good to get back on the healthy eating wagon. Lunch was all about plant power and I loaded my plate with an assortment of veggies, an apple, and fatayer (a Middle Eastern flatbread).

The plate looked so pretty with all the bright colors of the vegetables and filled me right up, thanks to all of the fiber. As I explained to my mom on the phone last night, my stomach was not super copacetic with all of the rich, heavy Thanksgiving dishes. After several months of clean eating, I could definitely feel the effects of the butter and starch-heavy foods I had been consuming. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuffing and mashed potatoes and all the other Thanksgiving yummies, but meal after meal of said yummies definitely took a toll on my body and I was more than ready to welcome the veggies by the end of the weekend.

I headed over to the gym right after work to get my Pump on. Now that the sun is setting so early, it is dark outside by the time I leave the office and it feels much later than it actually is. Luckily, I walk straight to the gym and don’t have any time to talk myself out of a workout. If I had some down time at home before my classes, my gym attendance would drop faster than the Hope Diamond into the ocean (I’ll never let go, Jack!).

I was pretty eager to get to class so I could get my sweat on and also to test out my new kicks!

The shoe is the Nike Dart 9 women’s shoe and there is a similar men’s counterpart, as well. It’s meant to be a cross-training shoe and designed for low mileage (20 miles a week, or so). Since I’m not a runner, I don’t have to be especially picky about my shoes and I picked these because they were lightweight, breatheable, and came in a cute color. Priorities, right?

We had a substitute Body Pump instructor in class who had only been teaching for six months or so. He was a good teacher and definitely gave a good workout, but you could tell that he hasn’t really come into his teaching “style” yet, as he felt very technical. I felt the burn on the arm sets and the triceps and biceps got quite the workout!

By the time I walked in the door to my house, I was majorly craving some protein and threw together a quick tuna and garbanzo bean wrap. Grape tomatoes and Persian cucumbers were on sale at the grocery store, so now I have way more of each than I could possibly wanted. Maybe some cucumber tzatziki sauce is in order this week?

1 can of each garbanzo beans and tuna, a Persian cucumber, a handful of sliced grape tomatoes, a slightly-larger-than-necessary piece of feta cheese, and a drizzle of EVOO later and I had a ridiculously easy salad to wrap up in a whole wheat lavash. PLUS leftovers for lunch! Love that.

This morning it was back to the yogurt bowl, BUT I mixed it up by tossing some thawed frozen berries in the mix for a pop of flavor and color.

Frozen berries are really the way to go – they’re significantly cheaper than fresh berries and they’re accessible all year round. Plus they’re so versatile! Heat them in a saucepan with some sugar and you’ve got a great berry sauce for pancakes or French toast, toss them in frozen with some yogurt and soy milk for a quick smoothie, or thaw them out and put them in your cereal.

I haven’t decided which workout I’m going to do today – I have the option of yoga, boot camp, Zumba, or Spin. I love that the gym offers so many classes for us to try, it’s impossible to get bored!

Food For Thought: What is your favorite shoe for running or cross-training? Do you use different shoes for each?

Have a wonderful day!!


Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

26 Nov

Hello!!!! How I have missed all of you! Like many, I took Thanksgiving and the subsequent weekend off of blogging and blog reading so I could spend time with my loved ones. As you know, Stef and I didn’t go home for the holiday, but managed to create a wonderful Thanksgiving of our own with a friend who was also staying in town.

To recap, I’ve created a fun little collage of some of the weekend highlights.

Do you see that gorgeous turkey in the middle? It was made by yours truly! I am so, so happy it turned out well! It was an 11.5-pounder and all remains of it had disappeared by Saturday at lunch. We went hard on the leftovers, as evidence by my pictures. It is safe to stay that I am Thanksgiving food-ed out for awhile – until next year, at least! We had a wonderful meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes,  and cranberry sauce. We kept it very traditional, but didn’t want to make too much food, since there were only going to be three of us. We managed to fit in an apple and a pumpkin pie, though.

After eating ourselves silly on Thursday, Stef, my roommate, and I spent most of Friday up in the forests of Rock Creek Park, where we fit in a good 4-hour hike. It was a brisk day, but the sun was out and I thoroughly enjoyed getting my body moving after being sedentary for most of the week. I had a great time hiking through the woods and leaping from rock to rock across creeks – it brought out my inner Pocahontas!

It was so nice to spend a long, long weekend with Stefano, after only getting two days out of every week together. It never ceases to amaze me that we still have so much fun together after this many years. We spent a lot of time watching Scrubs, taking walks around the neighborhood, and we each bought a pair of new running shoes! Neither of us are huge shoppers and we definitely didn’t get in on the Black Friday madness, but we did manage to take advantage of some sales that were going on through the weekend.

It has been six (YES, six) years since I have had new running shoes and I would say that I was looooonnng overdue. I’m not a huge runner, so I didn’t ever put that many miles on the shoes, but they have been around a long, long time. After accidentally stepping into Rock Creek during my rock leaping (okay, so my Pocahontas could use a little work), I decided that it was finally time to retire them. It is the end of an era.

Speaking of running shoes, I am so looking forward to getting back into my regular gym routine this week. Last week, I hit Body Pump on Monday and yoga on Tuesday. Aside from our long hike on Friday, I stayed away from exercise because a) I was worried about some knee pain I was experiencing and b) I was busy prepping for Thanksgiving. I haven’t spent this much time away from the gym since I moved to the city at the beginning of July. It certainly felt strange, though I constantly amaze myself at how easily I can fall into a routine of sitting around the house, doing nothing. 

Today it is back to the Pump and I am excited! I’m hoping my knee pain doesn’t flare up again. If it does, I think a doctor’s appointment is definitely going to be on the books.

Wishing you all a VERY happy start to the week!

Food For Thought: What is longest amount of time you have gone without exercise recently? On an unrelated note, did you participate in Black Friday? Any good finds?



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