#Barillain60 Pasta Review Part Two #FitFluential


PART TWO!
A fellow runner, FitFluential Ambassador, blogger and great friend Charlene Ragsdale and I had the opportunity finally, in our busy schedules to have a Barilla pasta party. Couldn’t have happened on a better day for me, so to see her show up at my door with a bottle of wine… I knew it would be a great night!
I cracked open the wine and we dug in to the pasta dishes as we caught up on life and our running.  I tried the Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato Basil sauce, Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara, and Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara. In case you missed Part One of my #Barillain60 review, it’s here.
Again, I love how convenient these meals are and that the sauce and pasta are separate. I added some fresh parmesan cheese to my dishes, because well… I am a cheese addict. 

These three dishes also did not disappoint, hearty sauce with chunks of tomatoes and veggies:
Here are Charlene and I before our 3rd round of pasta last night… man do I have some carbs to work off now!!
Knowing there is a quick, easy, and healthy option that tastes good out there, makes me happy. I know that when I am on the go for 14+ hours some days, I have options that won’t throw me off track in my journey to be healthy.
Thanks Barilla!!
*FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own. 

Product Review: New Barilla Microwave Pasta Meals

PART ONE: 

When I was given the opportunity to try out pasta dishes, I was beyond excited! I often tell people that ask me why I run “so I can eat all the pasta I want”.  I LOVE pasta.

Me, enjoying the Tomato Basil Penne Pasta Barilla in 60!

Barilla introduced microwaveable pasta dishes that cook in 60 seconds. I’ve cooked them in 2 different microwaves, and that held true.  The meals are all under 350 calories, so they won’t destroy a calorie budget for those watching what they eat. If you want a more complete meal, they are easily “dressed up” I have added a side salad and cheese, or even a piece of chicken or chicken sausage. But, on their own, they are great.

                                                                 My flavor choices.

To say my life is busy, is an understatement. I work full time, just bought a house, go to school part time, work out, and volunteer regularly. With my work, I am not always in my office at my desk, I am often out at various locations, where I may have access to a microwave, but not always a fridge. The old standby of PB&J gets old quick. To be able to grab one of these meals, keep it in my work bag, and heat it up in 60 seconds… fit my hectic life perfectly. These are now on my grocery list, and a staple in my household. There are nights I get home after work/school and being out for 12 hours and I don’t want to cook a meal. I just pop one of these in the microwave, chop some lettuce, and I have dinner in no time flat. Love it!

I have tried the penne pasta with tomato basil sauce and the whole grain pasta with spicy marinara. Both were full of flavor. The pasta cooked perfectly (I like mine slightly al dente) and no part of the pasta or sauce was dried out, or over cooked. I really liked how the sauce is separate from the pasta, so that you can control the amount of sauce that goes on your meal, so if you don’t like your pasta swimming in sauce, it doesn’t have to be. In both sauces you could see chunks of tomatoes and the spices in the sauce. The flavor came through in every bite.

I love how the Spicy Marinara flavor had only 320 calories and 11 grams of protein! So, it’s not just an all carb meal that will leave you hungry shortly after you eat it. 

If the remaining products taste like these two – I will love them all!  Stay tuned – I have a very fun plan for my next blog review for Barilla microwave meals.

Want to read what other FitFluential Ambassadors are saying about this product – follow the Twitter Hashtag #Barillin60 – lots of great comments!

Let me know if you try these products and what you think of them…

*FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign.  All opinions are my own. 

Week 3 Update: Hitting the Restart Button

Hello everyone! Another week has gone by, and it’s time for an update on the 90 Day Contract.

I did very well on exercise this week. I ran 7 miles on Sunday, had row practice on Monday, then… things got crazy for my week. I was already out of the office all week doing research, so that adds a little crazy. Then, my uncle came to town and obviously wanted to meet up. I had planned to sneak in a run Tuesday evening before having dinner with a friend and doing my normal spin class Wednesday night. Well, my friend canceled, and my uncle could get together for dinner Wednesday with his conference schedule. Rather than saying screw it like I normally would… I did some thinking and rearranging. I made it happen. I found a spin class Tuesday night, so headed to that right from work. Got up early Wednesday morning and got my 3 mile run in. Rather than 2 days of nothing, I had 2 days of exercise. BAM! Thursday remained my day off with work and school. Friday I called for date night and went out for some much needed fun with my hubby. We went to the DaVinci exhibit at the Venetian… thanks to Groupon, we got discounted tickets, free photos (1 ea) and drink coupons for the Bourbon Room. Apparently this is a bar modeled after the movie Rock of Ages… a nice time warp back to 80’s hairband days. So, anyway… no exercise Friday.

This is us, painting the Mona Lisa. He looks thrilled to be having a tourist moment…..

Then… Saturday, Kristin and I started our endeavor into Double Header Saturdays: 8 am spin, 9 am yoga. Followed by breakfast. It was a blast! I ran this AM too, 5.75 miles.

Eating went well overall. Friday was my off day, I had pizza, some drinks… but other than that, I stuck within my calorie budget and healthy. Even with being on the road. It was great to know that with a hectic schedule that usually deters me, I was able to persevere and stay on track.

Which… is interesting, because, my weight did go up a bit…. but, body fat percentage and measurements all dropped. So, all in all, I am losing the fat… and that is what matters.

Here’s this week’s measurements:

Weight: 179.8 (+1.8)
Body Fat: 37.8% (-0.5%)
BMI: 29.5 (+0.2)
Chest: 37.75 (-1)
Waist: 34.5 (-1)
Hips: 43 (-0.75)
Thigh: 25.75 (-0.25)
Bicep: 11.9 (-0.10)

So…. overall, I feel I am on track. Will have to increase my strength training. I am looking for a few workouts that involve my body as the resistance vs. lifting weights (yawn….). This week will be a challenge: Monday, I travel to Reno for the day, 6am flight out, get back at 5pm. Tuesday, AM eye test appt,  work, dinner with a friend and spin class.  Wed, AM run, work, Komen meeting. Thursday… work, class. Saturday: spin, Komen event, local event Bite of LV…. whew. I am tired just typing it all!!

How are you all doing with staying fit and motivated?

Product Review: iFitness Belt

I was recently given the opportunity to try out an iFitness (as of August 2013, Fitletic) belt for running. I have tried several different belts, and never found one I was happy with. One held 2 full bottles in the back, I bought this when I was a newbie runner and thought it would be great to have all that water. Not so much… it just bounced around and the belt was all over the place. My next option, was small, so didn’t hold everything I needed on long training runs or a half marathon. To make it worse, it would not stay put. When trying to run a half marathon, having to rearrange your belt all the time is extremely frustrating.

I had emailed with and met the wonderful staff at iFitness at the San Francisco Half Marathon. I knew a couple friends that had the iFitness belt and raved about it. So, they offered to send me one to try out.

They sent me the double pouch based on what I normally carry with me, that has toggles I can attach to hold the race bibs. (and it has a green zipper, need I say more?)  At first look, I could tell this belt would be different. The wide belt was made of a thick elastic and was sturdy. The two pouches were large enough for my iPhone and had a small key pouch. With 2 pouches, if I don’t put my phone in one there is a ton of room for fueling options, without it getting bulky.

Since I had no races in the immediate future, I decided to wear this on all my training runs even the short distances to really get a feel for this with different levels of items in the belt. This belt did it’s job and then some. Once I found the best position for it on my body, it stayed put the entire run. The pouches were easy enough to open up while running to get things in and out of them. I actually lost my armband for my phone/running app so was able to put the phone in a pouch and run my headphones up. Still worked great.

It can take a couple tries/adjustments to figure out the best fit/place for it on you. I am curvy, so I wear mine below my hips with the pouches just below my bladder (less pressure there when running the better) and it stays put. I pull it snug and have had no issues.

I love that if I choose to, I can add on water bottles for race days. I love that it doesn’t move. I love the ease of opening the pouches while moving. The toggles for race bibs is a great addition as well.

If you are looking for a belt, or have had many and just not found the perfect one… try iFitness. They have some that have gel holders on the belt, single pouches, and the water belt add-ons. You can find them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.  If you do let me know!

Thanks iFitness for a great running belt!!

*Although I received this product for this review, the opinions are mine and not influenced by iFitness.

Week 2 Update: Hitting the Restart Button

It’s that time again…. time to check in with an update. I am doing well with adding in more exercise. Not quite up to the goal of running 3 days a week again, but, getting there. I ran Tuesday, did spin class Wednesday and Saturday and ran 7 miles this morning. I keep scheduling something for Thursday night, and honestly, after working, then 2 1/2 hours of class, by the time I get home I am exhausted and hungry. I think I need to switch that day to my off day.

This coming week I have row practice Monday, a friend visiting Tuesday (and a run scheduled) spin class Wednesday, Thursday off, short run Friday, spin class followed by power yoga on Saturday and a long run Sunday.

Eating has been going very well. We had company Wednesday night, that brought pizza and beer. I knew this plan ahead of time, so planned out my eating for that day, and the day before and after. I came home from spin class and first made and ate a salad before having pizza. I only had one beer. Honestly… not devouring pizza was HUGE for me. That is one of my weaknesses. Seriously. I thought that was a great sign of progress. I had a lot of leftovers from the weekend and Monday which gave me options throughout the week for lunch or dinners on late nights, keeping me eating healthy.

In all the moving and unpacking, I found the receipt for a spa package I bought forever ago but never used. It was a vibration, infrared sauna and facial. The vibration thing was weird… you basically stand on this board that vibrates at different speeds for 10 minutes. Then, 30 min in the infrared sauna (I swear I was sweating the rest of the day!) and then, a facial. It was SO nice to just relax.

Still no green smoothies… I must get to that. Trying a new dinner recipe tonight, and did last week as well. Also…. made zucchini chips and homemade jam. ALSO… found a recipe for homemade pumpkin spice syrup. Not quite Starbucks, and I used stevia instead of sugar, which made it a bit too sweet… need to cut that next time. It is tasty. Now… what to do with the extra pumpkin….

Measurements: MORE GOOD NEWS!
Weight: 178 (-3.2)
BF%: 38.3% (-1.5%)
BMI: 29.8 (-0.5)
Chest: 38.75 (-0.25)
Waist: 35.5 (-0.5)
Hips: 43.75 (-0.5)
Thigh: 26 (-0.25)
Biceps: 12 (same)

Progress continues. Amping up the cardio with the spin classes has helped. I am loving this class, and twice a week is even better! I am a little more than excited to have a spin/yoga 2 hr calorie killer Saturday.

Anyone have a green smoothie recipe they like?

Weekly Update: Restart Button

I have decided to do weekly updates on this journey… it will help keep me on track and motivated, and you can all make sure I do what I say.

So… here is how it went:

Saturday: 4.13 mile run, 1 mile walk with dogs and hubby
Sunday: 2 mile walk with dogs
Monday: 20 min yoga, 1.6 mile walk with dogs and hubby
Tuesday: 90 min Regatta rowing practice, 0.5 mile walk with dogs and hubby
Wednesday: 60 min spin class
Thursday: 1.5 mile walk with dogs and hubby
Friday: 3.3 mile run, 0.5 mile walk with dogs and hubby

NOT BAD AT ALL! So… today is a day to be unpacking and arranging the house, and of course, walk the dogs. Tomorrow, a long run. The seats in spin class hurt everything… so, rather than avoid it, I bought a cushioned gel seat cover to try. I am going back this Wednesday. Am keeping an average pace of 11-11:30 on my runs… not my best, but I am okay with that right now.  Going to add in some strength training this week!

Eating: I did good. One day I had a donut at work, but counted that as my morning snack, and adjusted the rest of the day.  My daily average intake was around 1255 calories. I am making healthy choices, less oil, nothing fried…. and feel good. Took my supplements every day too.

RESULTS:
Weight: 181.2 (-2.8)
Body Fat: 39.8% (-2%)
BMI: 29.8 (-0.5)
Chest: 39″
Waist: 36″ (-1″)
Hips: 44.25″ (-0.25″)
Thigh: 26.25″ (-0.25)
Bicep: 12″ (-1″)

A stellar first week if I do say so myself. Going strong through this week and have my workouts in my schedule already along with meetings and homework.

Today is my last day to try a green smoothie, so that will happen. I’ll let you know what I think!

Hitting the Restart Button!

Well, it is September 1st. As promised, I have my 90 day contract with myself all done, and will include it in this post. I slept in today, and honestly, with all the moving we’ve done the past 2 weeks, I needed that. I will get a run in this weekend, I am planning for tonight, but if we start moving more boxes around, it may end up tomorrow, but it will get done this weekend, and it will be at least 4 miles. I am going to yoga tomorrow morning too.

So, here is my contract. In it, it discusses taking my weight and measurements, which I did this morning. We aren’t talking about previous numbers, how much I gained, etc. This is day 1 of the new way of life. My goal: 155 lbs.  This will happen. My measurements will be posted at the end of the blog post. Thank you again for your support!

I have chosen to enter into a 90 day contract with myself to focus on my health, eating, exercise and mental/emotional well-being. There are three main parts to this contract: eating, exercise and self care. Although both eating and exercising can fall under self care, the goal of separating them is to identify key areas that need to be addressed.
This contract is binding and witnessed by Jennifer Hoser. I agree to report progress on this contract publicly on the Sole Sister on the Run blog, twitter and facebook accounts.
In order to succeed at this, support is vital. I am listing a few of my supporters here: my husband, Jennifer H, Charlene R, Kristin B, Kristina B. Thank you in advance for supporting me in my goals.
Section 1: Healthy Eating
1.     I will eat at least one fruit or vegetable with each meal. Dinner will consist of 50% vegetables at a minimum.
2.     Meats/Proteins will consist of fish, ethical chicken, nut butters, beans
3.     I will reduce my grains intake to no more than 2 servings daily
4.     I will reduce my intake of fried foods
5.     I will minimize processed foods
6.     I will follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time I will eat healthy, 20% of the time, I will have a treat, without going overboard.
7.     I will reduce my alcohol intake
8.     I will prepare meal options in advance so that they can either be placed in the crockpot to cook or quickly prepared/reheated to increase my healthy eating when time to cook is limited
9.     I will eat vegetarian one day a week
10.  Snacks after dinner will be low/no carb and minimal calories
11.  I will drink at least 3 green smoothies per week
12.  I will try one new recipe a week
Section 2: Exercise
1.     I will run at least 3 days per week
2.     I will begin swimming at the gym 1 day a week
3.     I will do yoga a minimum of 2 days a week for 60 min, and mini yoga routines throughout the week at home
4.     I will bike or take spin class 1 day a week
5.     I will do a total body workout (strength training) 2 days a week
6.     I will walk my dogs daily (hey, this counts as exercise!)
7.     I will do a plank a day
Section 3: Self Care
1.     I will take 1 day off a week. If anything, a small yoga routine for grounding
2.     I will schedule in 1 hour daily school time
3.     I will schedule in daily time for SGK volunteer work
4.     I will read non-school books nightly
5.     I will use the gym facilities at least 3 days a week
6.     I will focus more time on my blog and running personality
7.     I will review my commitments and determine which ones I want to continue with
8.     I will make time for friends
9.     Hubby and I will do weekly date night or day
10.  I will lose between 15-21 lbs by 12/1/12
11.  I will take my weight and measurements Saturday morning, and weekly thereafter on Saturday mornings
12.  We will eat out less
13.  I will start putting money into a savings account
14.  I will determine my career goals and pursue them
I, Angela Wozniak, agree to give 100% at honoring this contract. I promise to be honest with others on my progress and struggles.
Signed,
Angela Wozniak
Measurements:
Weight: 184 lbs; BodyFat: 41.8%; BMI: 31.3
Chest: 39″; Waist: 37″; Hips: 44.5″; Thigh: 26.5; Bicep: 13″
 I started my morning with an egg white, feta and veggie omelet and sandwich thin with 1/2 T butter, and black coffee…. now, on to some unpacking….