Ok, so if you’ve been around these parts before, you know by now that I have a tendency to exaggerate. I am pretty sore, but not from Couch to 5K, at least not all the soreness. I realized last week that three days a week of exercise was not really enough for me to accomplish my goals. I’ve also been tracking my food intake using the Spark People app, and I’m just not seeing the kind of results a person with my particular level of patience likes to see. I needed to ramp things up–like yesterday!

I decided to take one of the classes my gym offers. I remember how much I loved kickboxing back during the periods when I actually used exercise to lose/maintain weight somewhere in my 20s. I found a class, Cardio Kickboxing, and it was being offered on my rest day from C25K. Perfect. I did absolutely no research whatsoever on the class, just showed up when it was about to start.

I should have known something was off when people were grabbing a ton of hand weights before class started. I’ve taken quite a few kickboxing classes at a gym and at a karate studio, and I’ve yet to see one that uses hand weights.

Ever the trooper, I decided to stick it out and stay for the class…

Workout Barbie bounced to the front of the room and mic’d up. I already knew I hated her. I don’t know if it was her completely tan and toned body, her tiny shorts, or the fact that she took two minutes longer than necessary to talk to a front of the class wanna-be Barbie clone. It could’ve been both, but my hatred only grew as she didn’t feel it was necessary to keep normal numbers of reps for each exercise. We were going to do however many she needed in her workout that night, whether that was 50 on one body part and four on another.

I did the best I could and modified when needed. It helped that some of the fittest people around me couldn’t keep up with her moves. I realized early on this was about me and my goals, not anyone else. I stayed for the whole class and will probably go back next week. Not because I liked it, because I know I worked muscles in there I can’t work on the treadmill and probably don’t know how to work on my own.

No Bad Workouts

It did make me so sore that I feared I was not going to be able to run. Honestly, I could barely walk the first two days after the class. I gave myself the same permission as last week to repeat weeks that I knew I could do. I still wanted to try though, just to give myself a chance to push through.

I have been dreading week 5 since I looked ahead and saw that Day 3 did not have walking intervals. WTF?! How could we go from walking/running intervals to just 20 minutes of running. What couch warmer could really do that? THIS GIRL! Apparently.

I did it, but I will say I’m so happy to see that week 6 goes back to intervals. Week 7-9 do not. I didn’t really think this out before starting. My goal is not really to run a 5K, but just to get moving. I wonder if I can just do the last two weeks of the toughest intervals and still consider myself a graduate? Something to think about.

Who else crushed their workout goals this week? Do you find yourself more motivated when you are sharing with others or just doing it on your own? I would love to hear from you!

 

xoxo,

Marisa

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C25K Week Four: I Ran, I Cooked, I Rocked It

by SimplySharpe on June 11, 2013

I still remember the first time I went “running”. My Dad, an avid runner, asked if I wanted to tag along with him. I was 13yrs old and temporarily living with him and my Stepmom. It was a typical South Florida day, HOT AND HUMID. I’m not even sure I had the proper shoes or clothes, but I was thrilled he invited me with on his run. There were no iPods back then. I may have had a Sony Walkman, but I didn’t have any way to attach it to my arm or wrist, so I decided against lugging it with me. Plus, my Dad promised to go at a pace that would be comfortable so I assumed we’d just chat.

…and we were off. We got about two blocks when I told him, “Go ahead. Save yourself! Can’t breathe. Shin splints. Possible cardiac arrest!” I should probably mention my Dad is a cardiologist and appreciates my flare for drama. He went on without me while I cried my way home, mortified to not make it more than two blocks. I had walked miles around the neighborhood, but never ran.

I tried a couple more times over the last hundred years or so–I feel old–but it never took. For one reason or another (pain, laziness, excuses, etc.), I have never been able to run. As I mentioned in the previous post, hubby and I started the Couch to 5k recently. It’s been awesome doing walk/run intervals and increasing from week to week.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue with the crazy knee pain I was experiencing. We are in week 4, which is 16 minutes of running. I have never ran that many minutes in the same day/week/month/year. We actually did week 4-Day 1 on Sunday, and I had to walk 1:45minutes during the last run. I was bummed. My knees buckled under me and my ankle felt like it was going to snap. I had already given myself permission to start repeating week 3. I’ve read a ton of blogs/forums about this program, and the best recommendation is that you repeat the weeks you need to, and go at your own pace. I was ready to repeat. I mentally prepared myself for this, but I decided to try and decrease my speed first. I also forced myself to stop singing along to every song I listen to and focus on my breathing.

GAME CHANGING!

I made it through the whole workout feeling awesome! I remember looking over at my hubby and noticing he was making it through, too. We rocked this one!

What better reason than running the longest amount in my life to cook myself the most perfect post workout meal–zucchini pizza boats! I’ve been seeing these everywhere from Pinterest to Facebook. They looked delicious and simple–two of my favorite things!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Quick and easy recipe:

– Preheat oven to 350F

– Cut zucchinis in half (long way)

– Scoop a bit of the insides out

– Lightly brush zucchini with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle in some seasoning like garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning

– Spoon in some pizza sauce (I used Classico Four Cheese Marinara because that’s what I had on hand)

– Add the toppings of your choice (I used mushrooms because I love them!) and cover with mozzarella cheese

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes — that’s it! Low calorie, delicious and nutritious!

 

xoxo,

Marisa

 

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Here We Go: Couch to 5k

by SimplySharpe on June 5, 2013

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this publicly, but like many women, my life has been a constant battle between me and the scale. The scale tends to win. There were a few years I was like Rocky and the scale was all of his much better opponents, but still he won in the end, despite the serious ass kicking he got. Those were the starvation years.

I’m 5’6 (and 3/4) and used to weigh in around 135. That was still with a lot of restricted eating though. I’ve never been naturally skinny or small. I’m a curvy girl, and that’s okay by me, and thankfully, my hubby.

I’m pretty sure I take after my Dad’s Mom, who was a gorgeously round woman. From what I remember, she had really great cheekbones and an extremely large bosom. She also had beautiful blue eyes, which I did not get. I was only lucky enough to be in the same space with her three or four times in my life. She lived in South Africa until she went to heaven. I got most of her features with the exception of my Mom’s full legs, and my Grandfather’s forehead. I’m like a walking doll of family body parts.

After years and years of poor eating/starvation/diet pills/yo-yo dieting, I finally got to the weight I was happy with. Then I got laid off. Then I married someone with the worst eating habits I’ve ever witnessed, and that was followed by a series of depressing events: I lost my dog, my other Grandmother, whom I was very close with, went to heaven, followed by a layoff, a series of bad jobs, topped with two pregnancy losses. Add the fact that I like the taste of food, and you get a girl who is much heavier than she used to be.

Blah, blah, yada, yada, there’s no good excuse…

Since I’m not currently pregnant, I decided it was time to take charge of the situation. I had seen a few friends posting about the Couch to 5k app on Facebook. It sounded like the perfect program for my current fitness level. Lord knows I’ve spent a lot more time on the couch lately! Luckily for me, my hubby has packed on some pounds too, so he agreed to do the program with me.

Well, we started our journey on May 18th, and we just finished week three today. If you clicked on the link above, or are familiar with the Couch to 5k program, you know that the program calls for three days a week, with a rest day in between and two rest days after each week. Today is only June 5th, so obviously we skipped some rest days. I also ran through a lot of the walks on the first two weeks–oops. I thought we were crushing it until last week when my knees felt like someone went all Goodfellas on them. WORST PAIN EVER! Still, I pushed through today’s workout. And moving. Moving hurts.

It May Not Be Easy, but It Will Be Worth It

Last night I watched an episode of Extreme Weight Loss and it blew my mind! The girl, Meredith, was over 300lbs and was running like it was her job. She mentioned she was having knee pain, and it turned out she has a small tear in her meniscus. I have no idea if my knee has a real problem other than carrying too much extra weight and pushing it harder than the program asks for, but I’m taking a page from her book and pushing past the pain. I’m still trying to understand how she lost 80lbs in 90days, but since I don’t have the luxury of her controlled environment, or cutie pie Chris Powell to train me, I do have some serious motivation. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT!

I’m not killing myself over a number on the scale. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and that just does’t matter to me as much as fitting into clothes that work for my body. I miss my closet full of fancy jeans, but I’m considering getting rid of some of them since they were acquired during periods of bad habits. It’s all about being strong, fit and healthy, not skinny. Skinny doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’m happy with who I am. Happy eats skinny for breakfast.

What are some other iPhone apps that may be good for easing back into fitness? Anyone else doing the Couch to 5k program or completed it? I would love to hear your success stories!

xoxo,

Marisa

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You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

by SimplySharpe on May 28, 2013

Today has proven to be interesting in every way. It started off with my hubby’s phone ringing with work calls at 5am. Not that there is anything interesting about that, but it set a tone for the day: be prepared for anything.

I got a message from my lady doctor around 2:48pm that she had the results from our pathology of Angel Baby #2 and all of our blood work. If she wanted to leave a positive sounding tone in that message, she sure did a good job of hiding that from her voice. I love this doctor, too.

I took a quick five minutes when I heard the message to call her back from work. My anxiety was out of control, and I needed some answers. Immediately.

I got her on the phone right away, which shocked me since she was on-call at the hospital, and is usually hard to reach on those days. We’ve been called by this office before with bad news and they tend to patch you right through. I braced myself for the worst.

She started talking about having the results from my full RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss) panel and the pathology results. She paused for a second to ask me if I am okay. I think I said, “Yes.” In my head, I was saying, “I’m not sure yetCan we speed this thing up? Is there bad news? Is there a reason the words are not flying out of your mouth faster?!”

Then I heard her say, “Everything looks good in both of your labs.”

HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF!!!

I told her she probably could have said that on my voicemail. We talked for a little bit longer and she explained the loss was not anything we could have prevented. All of the testing showed there is nothing in either of us that gives them more information on things we can do to increase our chances of having a healthy baby.

Everything Will Be OK

That was the good and bad news. We are perfectly healthy based on all of this testing, we just have the world’s shittiest baby making luck. She encouraged me to keep trying, and come see her as soon as I get that plus sign on the pee stick. Seriously, like she could keep me away!

I was super excited from all this good news, so I decided to make hubby one of his favorite meals, parmesan chicken bake. I thought I was going to be even more awesome by trying to do the dishes before he offered to do them. I took the Pyrex cooking pan and started running cool water over it when all of a sudden I heard BOOM-EXPLOSION-SNAP-CRACKLE-POP! It took me a minute to process what was happening because my heart was beating so fast. The glass pan had fully exploded in my hands. HOLY SHIT! I really should have paid more attention in science class. Live and learn, friends.

Sometimes you get good news when you are expecting bad, even if it doesn’t answer questions like, “Why?” it’s still good news. Sometimes you make a bigger mess than you intend in the kitchen, but you take the good, you take the bad, and then you have…yeah, I know you’re singing along.

xoxo,

Marisa

 

 

 

 

 

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Today was hard. I refused offers to hang out with good friends so I can be home with my husband, prepared to cry all day.

I didn’t cry all day–that’s the good news–I still cried a bit, but that was to be expected.

on being strong

I used to feel bad on Mother’s Day because I rarely get to go “home” to FL to spend it with my Mom. Now that my Grandma has passed, I know my Mom has her own pain on this day. This year, I felt pain worse than any other.

Last week, I suffered my second pregnancy loss in a year. As much as I want to be a Mom, my body is fighting against me. This was supposed to be our year. My first child was due in January. I had almost started to recover from the depression after that loss, when we were dealt an another difficult hand–our second child was not going to join us either.

Why me? Why anyone? Why does this happen? WHY?!WHY?!WHY?!

I don’t have any answers. Doctors generally don’t even do any testing until after your third loss. Pretty crazy considering there are some simple blood tests that can be done these days.

Miscarriages are too common. In fact, my Mom had three before having me and my two brothers. I wish more people felt comfortable talking about this topic. Personally, I’m not that comfortable with it because I feel like people expect me to soldier through. I’m doing my best–and by that, I mean I get out of bed every morning. If anyone understood how hard that really is right now, I would get some sort of medal for it. Or cookies. I like cookies.

I can say what gets me out of bed are the people who have been so selflessly here for me: My husband, my family, and my friends. I’m truly blessed by the people in my life. The outpour of love and support keeps me going, even though I also feel the pressure to put on a happy face. Sometimes I smile even when I don’t want to or when someone says something painful (like all the happy Mother’s Day wishes I got). There will always be well-intentioned people who say the wrong things at inopportune times. There is no handbook on how to handle this. Maybe I will get inspired and write one? A very tongue-in-cheek one–perhaps my next blog post? 😉

For now, I just hope that women who have also suffered a loss, or those who are struggling to get pregnant, have made it through this Mother’s Day knowing that they are not alone. Please feel free to reach out if you need someone to talk to. I’m here and I understand.

xoxo,

Marisa

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Cartoons, Rants and Other Rare Moments from Crazytown

by SimplySharpe on April 19, 2013

You know things are cray when a grown, currently childless, woman chooses to take a break from all the bad news by watching Sponge Bob Square Pants. That is exactly what I did at 8:00am this morning. I crawled in a pineapple under the sea to escape.

My day started with texts from the SIL letting us know she was safe (Thank G-d!), but her area was on lockdown and Harvard, where her hubby works, was closed for the day. Of course, I thought I needed to learn more and quickly turned to Twitter to find out news about the chaos that had been going on since the middle of the night.

Holy hell–someone spilled a ton of crazy-sauce on this week! Make.It.Stop.

warning-rant ahead

Monday I watched hours and hours of coverage of the explosion at the Boston Marathon which only led me to have nightmares about explosions. No one needs to see that much detail about such a horrific event.

I’m not sure if I have my rose-colored glasses on right now, but I don’t remember being able to see such graphic detail on the news when I was growing up. I thought it was out of respect for the victims, or maybe a network/program policy, but they didn’t show scenes with that much blood in the past.

It feels like the news is trying to compete with wanna-be citizen journalists on Reddit, Twitter and other social media channels. I thought what made the news different is they had to source their information before publicizing it? Now, they seem to be able to have hours of programming that consists of pure speculation to keep us entertained until the real facts are available.

Yes, I’m looking at you, CNN. What happened? You were the most respected news organization in the game. That all changed when you published false reports of arrests and suspects that didn’t exist.

CNN is not the only one who got it wrong; we are all guilty of needing to know too much. We are so hasty with our posting on public channels that we are likely hurting ourselves. We overwhelm ourselves with information that causes anxiety in our lives that did not exist before all this overindulgence of news. We glorify murders and sociopaths by giving them the fame they consciously or subconsciously seek. We also give copycat killers, terrorists, and uncaught suspects the opportunity to know more than they should. Why don’t we think before we tweet police scanner specifics? That can only help the suspect. As the public, we do NOT need to know what our police force is planning to do to protect us. Let the real news report these facts about the heroes that helped us through–only after it has happened.

We are essentially helping other people commit greater crimes by providing such detail on how each one is executed. We are giving crazy people more ammo! Thanks to the Senate failing us this week, we are also giving them easier access to guns. No one debates the right to bear arms for protection. What the majority wants is stronger measures to help limit access to someone who plans to go on a shooting spree by conducting background checks. Also, limit the sale of semi-automatic machinery. You just don’t need that much artillery unless you are military. I’m sorry, I don’t even want to tackle this issue right now. I’m too disappointed and know most of the world feels exactly the same way I do.

Basically, this week was rough on all of us. My thoughts and prayers are with Boston. Stay strong!

I’m starting a news detox effective immediately. If anyone needs me, I’m either pinning all the things or washing my brain out with cartoons.

Thanks for letting me rant.

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A few Sundays ago, I officially started my mission to sneak veggies into the hubs diet. I knew I had my work cut out for me since he already inspects his food for visible consistency issues or foreign colors, leaving me little room to hide anything.

Some of my foodie friends suggested pureeing veggies and adding them to everyday meals like meatloaf and pasta sauce. The same friends tell me that I can’t buy a food processor from Target, which means I’m still without a food processor because where else would I buy one? I think starter appliances are made for clueless cooks like me! Also, I love Target, and the food processor research gives me a good reason to be there more often, but I digress…

Since the first Sunday supper veggie sneak mission was a bust {read more here}, I thought I would try to something new: bribery. Just kidding, my hubby may be picky, but he’s a grown man, and he was willing to try something new if I promised not to poison him. And if we could have ice cream for dessert — bonus!

I pinned these broccoli bites many months back that seemed fitting for the mission.

Broccoli Cheese Bites

I love finding recipes that have only a few ingredients. I tend to be forgetful when I grocery shop, so the simpler the better. These broccoli bites have four ingredients I already had in the house:

– 3 eggs
– 16 oz. of broccoli (bagged or fresh florets)
– 1 and 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
– 1 cup of breadcrumbs

Super simple directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
3. Form into small patties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Place in oven for 25 minutes, turning over once at 15 minutes.

Let them cool and enjoy!

Oh yeah, my hubby only ate one. He didn’t hate it, but he didn’t exactly love them either. I think it’s a texture thing for him? I loved them! Super easy and delicious. They felt like a real treat to me since I would never cover broccoli up with anything. I highly recommend them for a picky eater of any age.

What are some other sneaky ways to cook broccoli for picky eaters? I think cheese and breadcrumbs is as good as it gets, but maybe someone out there in blog-land has fried broccoli in cheese and bacon grease, and wants to share the recipe with me?

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Picky Eating, Sunday Supper and Spaghetti Squash

by SimplySharpe on March 24, 2013

There is a serious struggle in my house to stay healthy while making a meal both the hubby and I can enjoy. This is mostly because he is the pickiest eater on Google Earth. I’m not even kidding, he makes most toddlers look like experimental foodies! His unique diet of mayonnaise, meat, butter and bacon has somehow sustained him for 30 something years, but I’m looking to keep him around for triple that amount of time.

I know I am good at playing the nagging wife–often–but I really love him, and I miss fitting in my cute clothes. I’ve done a decent job of finding things that aren’t totally smothered in cheese that he will eat. I credit Pinterest (YES-again!) for finding a ton of easy, almost healthy dinners that he has willingly tried and not yet died from.

One thing that I see, and frequently pin, is recipes for spaghetti squash. I’ll be really honest…I had never even heard of spaghetti squash before I joined Pinterest. I don’t know how no one had mentioned it because with the amount of pins and re-pins on there, it’s clearly a winner.

I finally found some at my local grocery, and could not wait to test out one of the recipes. Only thing is, I planned to not tell the hubby and let him think I was making him pasta, which I rarely make, because it’s pasta. Tonight was the perfect time to test this sneaky little experiment since he is busy watching Ultra Music Festival on live stream, and not paying attention to how long it would take me to make dinner. {Insert sneaky laugh}

There are a few recipes, but I found the easiest one from My Blessed Life. Also, I am in awe of her Photoshop skills, but that’s another story for another time. Right now, I’m all about making some faux sketti for the hubby!

Honestly, it gets no easier than step one:

Spaghetti Sqaush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, step two is pretty dang easy, too. Wait about five minutes and then:

Spaghetti Squash Halved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so the only part that took effort was de-seeding these suckers. The seeds are baked in there, and I wasn’t sure if I was ruining the spaghetti squash by repeatedly stabbing my fork in there for seeds before making the faux sketti. Good news, I was not. There are tons of good stringy pieces in each half:

Forking Out some Spaghetti Squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s pretty much it. Three easy steps to spaghetti squash.

Simply Sharpe's Spaghetti Squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I’m still hoping to pass this off as pasta, so I used my hubby’s favorites–butter and fresh shaved parmesan cheese. I’m smart enough to taste it first to see what he might think.

Damn good thing I did! Also good, he has leftover pizza in the fridge so his Sunday supper is saved.

There is no way he would believe this was pasta, not even if I claim it’s just al dente.

Sigh, at least I liked it enough to eat both servings. Don’t judge, I’ve heard it’s only a measly 42 calories per cup. :}

Do you cook for anyone who is a picky eater? What are your tricks/tips to get them to try new foods? “Pretty please?” only works sometimes in my house, usually when the food isn’t green.

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Nothing Tastes as Good as Love Feels

by SimplySharpe on February 14, 2013

…but I baked anyway.

Who Loves Cookies-Simply Sharpe

 

We don’t really do much for Valentine’s Day in our house. Not because we are cold hearted humbugs or anything — we just believe love should be celebrated everyday — not just the day we are expected to make a big deal about it for consumer spending purposes. That being said, I couldn’t resist making some treats for my sweets this year. It took me 35 years to start cooking, I’m not missing a single reason to do it!

I found a cute, simple recipe for brown sugar blondies with pink, red and white M&M’s. I know it’s late to post ideas, but you could easily use this recipe for any holiday. I noticed Target already has Easter M&M’s on display, so adjust as needed.

Valentine's Day Blondies

Brown Sugar Blondies

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup M&M’s

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

– Melt 1/3 cup butter. Add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and mix well. Cool slightly.

– Add egg (beaten) and vanilla and blend well.

– Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well. Mix in 2/3 cup M&M’s.

– Spread in 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan.

– Sprinkle 1/3 to 2/3 cup M&M’s on top. (I was rushing to be done in time to watch Nashville and forgot this step. You can tell from my picture they are not as pretty in pink, white and red as they should be. Don’t be like me. Make better blondies.)

– Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Store in airtight container at room temperature.

I would love to hear how you celebrated this Hallmark holiday. What heart shaped food did you make? Do you have Valentine’s Day traditions or maybe you celebrate Galentine’s Day?  Either way, I hope everyone feels love today and everyday. It’s the best feeling in the world!

xoxo

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It’s My Birthday: I’ll Blog if I Want To

by SimplySharpe on January 26, 2013

Be Where You Are

Today has been one of the best birthdays I’ve had in years. I let myself take the weekend off from dieting and enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, a massage at my favorite spa, some shopping and will soon be getting ready for a dinner that my hubby planned all on his own.  I let myself get lost in birthday love on Facebook, which really is the most amazing thing, and I wish it happened more than once a year.

If you had asked me about my birthday last week, I did not want to do anything. I wanted to wallow. I wasn’t upset about getting older per se. It really has more to do with how my age affects my fertility. I’ve been pretty silent on this subject because I was not sure I wanted to publicly grieve the loss of our angel last year. I’ve been doing my best to suffer silently and pretend everything is okay.

Some days, things are okay. I know that G-d has a plan, even when I don’t understand what it is. This knowledge did nothing to comfort me on January 18th, the day I was supposed to give birth to my first child. I thought I would be spending my 36th birthday holding the best birthday present in the world, a healthy baby boy, but G-d had other plans.

Instead, I’m holding my hubby tighter and taking time for  some much needed introspection. I feel very good about the big changes I began making last year and will continue to make progress on this year. I have learned so much about what things matter and what things I need to let go of. I have overhauled my entire life and finally understand the true meaning of gratitude.

I thought I was a thankful person before, but I have never appreciated things as greatly as I do today. I think that is what happens when you experience great loss. You learn how much every little thing means in a way that many other people may never understand.

My birthday wish is to find a way to apply all this learning into helping other people who are silently suffering. I know in time this will come true. Today, I just wanted to write something about how special my birthday was with a little more detail than I was comfortable sharing. I believe in dancing outside my comfort zone, especially when I least want to.

Thanks for reading.

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