smallworld beauty: health, fitness & beauty blog

Training and meal plan update!

March 15, 2012 About me, Diet, fitness, Health 8 Comments

In less than three months, my goal is to step foot on stage to compete in my first figure competition.  YIKES!!!

I guess it’s normal to be nervous, anxious and even doubtful, but all I can do is try my best through sticking to my diet, and following my fitness coach’s orders when it comes to training and getting the proper rest.

As of today :) I weigh 138 lbs (5’4″ tall if you’re curious)

My goal is to start losing 1 lb per week by sticking to an 1200 calorie diet and exercising.

Below, I’ll brief you on what my workout days are looking like, as well as what my meals are consisting of.

So let’s start with my workouts! (designed by Coach Lenny Graham)

I only work out three days a week for up to 90 minutes and rest the other days.

Mondays: Legs HARD

Wednesdays: Shoulders/ Back / Biceps

Fridays: Legs/ Chest/ Triceps

You are probably wondering where my cardio sessions are…. Well, so far, my body is transforming and coming along just like we were hoping, and per my coach, I luckily don’t have to do cardio yet. We will re-evaluate my progress in another week or so, and decide if we have to then. But so far, so good!

As far as my ab work out, I try to do them on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays on my own or after a workout if I’m not too exhausted. I always want to give 100% to my workouts, so if it means switching my schedule, then I will. Every work out counts, so being well rested and feeling motivated, definitely makes a difference in my effort and outcome.

What about Diet?

Eating clean is a key factor to achieving that sculpted physique that is needed to be noticed and even win a figure competition. To make sure I stay on track, I keep a food journal on www.Dailyplate.com.

Here’s an example of what some of my days look like:

Meal 1:

Oatmeal protein pancakes

(1/2 cup oats + 1/2 cup egg whites) Mix and cook on low heat in a pan.

I love them plain, but sometimes I’ll add some stevia and coconut oil depending on how I spread out my calories that day

 

Meal 2: Pumpkin Pie Shake 

1 scoop of Egg White Protein + 1/2 cup of Pumpkin Puree + 1 cup of ice + 2 cups of water

I can drink this all day long!

 

 

 

Meal 3: Grilled or poached 4oz  salmon +

1/2 cup steamed brown rice & lots of non-starchy veggies

I like to season my salmon with lemon juice and dill

 

 

 

 Meal 4: Grilled or baked 4 oz herb chicken with a medium sweet potato 

I love, love, love sweet potatoes! I like them baked or mashed with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

 

 

 

Meal 5: Lemon pepper 4 oz Flounder + 1/2 cup Fava Beans & Brussel sprouts

Yes, I adore these little cabbages!! I used to despise them, but after learning how to properly roast them, I can’t get enough.

I also grew up eating Fava beans and they trigger such happy memories with every bite.

 

See… my meals aren’t so bad :) I bet you thought I had to eat bland broccoli and chicken all day. I truly enjoy eating healthy and still allow myself a yummy cheat meal once a week. Believe it or not, I typically opt for mixed nuts or more brown rice lol

Oh! And I also keep steamed and cut veggies in the fridge at all times to munch on whenever I get cravings. I typically buy sweet red peppers, english cucumbers (small yummy ones), broccoli, mushrooms, eggplants, green beans, spinach and artichokes.

 

I hope you enjoyed my little update :)

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave a comment under this post.

If you’re a competitor or fitness expert, I would love to hear you tips to help get me to the finish line!

Thank you for stopping by my little Ol’ blog!

Love you!

Ghada

 

 

 

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BURGER KING DELIVERY! 5 options under 500 Calories.

January 19, 2012 Diet, Health, Healthy food concoctions, Other Leave a comment

Burger King has announced this week that they will be offering a delivery service which means that fast food will be even more accessible to people and their families.

Most people might be puzzled at why I would even promote their menu on my blog, but I am a realist when it comes to the average American’s diet.

Personally, Burger King would be one of the last places that I order food from, but I also understand that so many individuals LOVE them some BK! I also acknowledge that fast food is here to stay for a long time, so why not give my junk food lovers better options.

Trust me, I was once a BK lover back in my junk food-loving days so I know how delicious and addicting those value meals can taste….

Hypothetically…. If I was to call up Burger King to order some food, I would order from the following 5 options that are all under 500 calories.

 

These items should be ordered as a “cheat/ treat” meal on your Dirty Couch Day, because they may contain excess fat, sodium and preservatives. 

 

 

 

Tender Grill Garden Salad = 230 Calories

Dressing: Make your own at home. Lemon juice, Red wine vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar or even Mustard.

 

 

 

 

 

4 piece chicken tenders+ Side Salad = 230 Calories

Make your own salad dressing at home.

 

 

Fruit topped Oatmeal + Black Coffee= 270 calories 

Add skim milk and skip the cream. 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheeseburger + Side Salad = 340 Calories

Make your salad dressing at home.

 

 

 

Whopper Jr + Side Salad = 380 Calories

Make your salad dressing at home.

 

 

 

 

Whole Grain Ciabatta w/ Ham, Egg & Cheese = 380 Calories

Ask for no cheese and make this an even better choice.  Or Just turn it into Egg & Cheese.

 

 

 

Most fast food chains have been amazing with providing all the nutrition facts on their website so there should be zero excuses about not knowing what you’re eating.

Being aware of what is going in your body will not only lead you to making better choices, but better overall health and physique.

Enjoy your life, but make it quality!

Love,

Ghada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dirty Couch Sundays! Yes, you’re allowed to be a Couch Potato on this day.

January 15, 2012 Other 8 Comments

I have started the term “Dirty Couch Sunday” a while ago and somehow, it’s starting to catch on among most of my friends.

 

“Dirty Couch Sunday” is my favorite day of the week, where I take the day to recover, rest, relax and recharge from my week. I also like to save my cheat meal for this day.

This day can be any day, for example Dirty Couch Monday, Tuesday, etc. As long as it’s YOUR day, then that’s all that matters.

When it comes to building a beautiful physique, nutrition and exercise are key to achieving that. But another important factor that individuals forget to pay attention to, is proper rest and recovery.

Proper rest, recovery and sleep are essential in building muscle and promoting optimum weight loss. Over training and lack of sleep can lead to injury, and less visible results. Other side effects are fatigue, decrease in testosterone and Human Growth Hormone, and loss of muscle mass.

Not resting can counteract all the hard work that you put in at the gym, so make sure that you make the time and have yourself a “Dirty Couch Day!”

So what does a “Dirty Couch Sunday” entail?

1. Sleeping in. Depending on an individual’s lifestyle and eating habits, most experts recommend that people get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night  or else it could be harmful to overall health.  Personally, I try my best to get 7 each night, but on Sunday, I try to recharge and stay in bed and even get in up to 10 or 11 hours.

2. Stay dirty.I typically shower every night before bed, so I usually feel sort of clean in the morning.

3. Ugly pajamas ONLY. This is MY day… I want to be comfy and wear my MC Hammer sweat pants and sweat shirt, or off-the-shoulder 80′s shirt. The comfier, the more relaxed I’m going to be, so feel free to wear some fun, pajama gear on this day :) On Sunday, I typically roll out of bed slowly, brush my teeth, and drag my blanket or snuggie to the living room where I will continue to enjoy more rest.  Showering may lead me to feeling fresh and energized, and even cause me to decide on leaving the house and diverting from the original plan: resting and recovering.

4. Only mindless and boring TV allowed. The TV station/show that I decide on can definitely impact my rest. I typically look for light comedy (Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell movies are great!), or mindless TV shows that will cause me to close my eyes again and nap (History channel always works). I try to avoid any shows that require extreme concentration and adrenaline boost, because that can lead to disrupting my peaceful state.

5. Ready-to-eat food and beverage.  On this day, you do not want to be bothered with preparing meals. I usually have food prepped from the day before (grilled chicken, brown rice, veggies, or even prepared  sandwiches) or order delivery from a local restaurant. I also like to save my cheat meal for my Dirty Couch Days, so I might order pizza, or chicken picatta with whole grain penne.  Even a nice beverage is acceptable while lounging to enhance relaxation. Chocolate? Why not!

6. Nap and more naps! I would say that I probably nap 2-3 times throughout the day until my bed time at 10pm. Since you really don’t want to worry about the next day, I suggest prepping for Monday the day before. I usually get my gym and work clothes set aside on Saturday so that my Sunday can be interruption free! I also try to get any work done prior so that I don’t have to stress about anything on Sunday.

7. No interruptions please. If you have people to call, I suggest making all your calls within hours of waking. After that, turn off your smart phone, and stay off Facebook and Twitter. The world can wait! I usually call my Mom and Dad early to check in and say hello, and then turn off my phone.  I feel that this is MY day and I am going to be selfish and shut everyone out of my little bubble for the day. The more interactions with others that I have throughout the day, the more chances that I may be exposed to drama and could even shift and ruin my peaceful Dirty Couch Sunday :( I only have one day a week to recover like this, so I definitely cherish it. Your good friends and family will understand :)

So let’s go over “Dirty Couch Sunday” one more time.

It goes like this….

* Wake up from 10+ hours of sleep

* Brush teeth

* Grab your blanket and prep your couch/ sofa

* Grab your easy breakfast and head back to the couch (oatmeal, protein shake, egg sandwich etc)

* Find a mindless show

* Nap

* Wake up slowly and watch more TV

* Eat & drink

* Nap

* Eat & drink

* Watch a little more TV

* Get ready for bed

Yay!!! I love my DIRTY COUCH SUNDAYS!!!!

Do you have a “Dirty Couch” Day?

If so, which one is it?

What do you do to rest and recover?

Do you have a favorite TV Show?

What’s your favorite meal or beverage on this day?

I would love to hear!

xoxo

Ghada

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My 4 personal tips to being healthy and fit in 2012!

January 5, 2012 Diet, Healthy food concoctions, Love, Other 1 Comment

Happy New Year everyone!

One of the top New Year’s resolution for most people is to get in shape and eat better.

Yes, this is a wonderful lifestyle change for anyone, but most individuals start the year obsessing about their new diet plan and making it to the gym every single day, that it can become overwhelming and exhausting.

Extreme diet + over training = burn out and fail (from experience)

So what are my top 4 suggestion for 2012?

No, I’m not going to tell you to get on a strict “diet” and munch on romaine lettuce, or commit to 5-7 days a week at the gym, because I don’t even want to do that!

For 2012… I suggest we all stop and smell the roses!

* SLOW DOWN & RELAX * EAT DELICIOUS FOODS * NO MORE BORING CARDIO * LOVE YOURSELF AND LIFE

1. Slow down and relax. Stop being so hard on yourself and take it easy. At the end of the day, you’re the only person that truly cares about your imperfections. I’m sure your friends and family love you regardless of how many dimples are on that cute butt cheek of yours! Yes,  I used to be that obsessive gym-goer and munched on bland veggie cuts, and I hated every minute of it. When I finally stopped stressing, extreme dieting, and living in the gym, I actually started seeing more visible results. Hmm…. I wish I would’ve known this before putting in years worth of torturous elliptical sessions.

 

2 Eat delicious Foods! Whenever a person approaches me about their new fad diet (examples Fat Flush/Lemonade Cleanse/ Low and No Carb/ Raw/ Special K Cereal etc), my advice is that I’m against anything extreme, and that they should consider eating “healthy, and well-balanced” meals all the time, instead. Life is short, but can also feel long if you’re miserable. Learning to eat healthy all the time, will make your weight loss journey easier and more enjoyable. And always treat yourself to a little bit of junk and desserts once in a while, as long as you are aware and moderate. When it comes to achieving a healthy weight, I like to suggest that individuals figure out their daily caloric needs, and then gradually start deducting calories for a healthy and realistic weight loss plan. Study after study has shown that the key to weight management is simple: Calories in vs Calories out. And yes, a calorie is a calorie, but I like to suggest that individuals eat “quality calories” from nutritious fruits, veggies, whole grains,(CARBS! YAY!)  lean protein, low fat dairy, heart-healthy fats and yes, even chocolate! Dark chocolate if possible of course :)

 

NO MORE BORING CARDIO SESSIONS. I remember those mornings when my alarm would go off and imediately felt exhausted from the thought of being on a boring treadmill or elliptical. Music helped a little, but the bottom line was that I disliked the workout. After years of trial, error and torture, I now can say that I only get on the treadmill for 3-5 minutes for a warmup before my 30-45 minute workouts. Oh… and I only work out 3 x per week vs 5-7 when I used to be obsessive. Working out should be fun, yet effective. Instead of an hour on the treadmill, I’d rather challenge my body through resistance training. No, I don’t look like the hulk lol. I feel more feminine and sexier than ever. I love my strong body. If you’ve never tried resistance training, ask a knowledgeable friend, look up youtube videos , maybe a fun workout video, or even hire a personal trainer to help you with putting together a fun protocol. You don’t have to keep them forever, but just enough to get you started. Also, try varying it up! Take a fun Zumba dance class, Vinyasa yoga, rock climbing, or even a fun walk with friends in your neighborhood. The key is to enjoy your workouts so that you can continue being active for the rest of your healthy life :)

 

Be Positive and love yourself and life. Oh, it’s so easy to slip into that dark place in your mind where life can get overwhelming, negative and depressing. At age 30, I have truly come to realize that my perception of any situation whether good or bad, can be controlled by my powerful mind. Practicing mindfulness and appreciation has helped me feel peaceful and more connected with everyone around me. When something bad happens, it’s easy to turn into a drama queen and make a mountain out of a mole hill. Being a drama queen is not only a waste of energy, but it can also affect others around you and push them away. I’m no Deepak Chopra or Eckart Tolle (spiritual dudes), but I try to live and face each minute as it comes and make the best of it. Of course, it’s not always easy and I have to find other ways to reach that peaceful place whether it’s through exercise, meditation, having a glass of wine or beer, or popping a xanax! Ha ha.. I really  don’t need xanax, but if you’re doc prescribes it, then I’m sure it’s well needed :) (Disclaimer: please consult with your doctor to see if you’re a proper candidate for anti-axiety meds before sampling).  Oh! And stop trying to keep up with the Jones’. Do I wish I was part of that worry-free, rich 1%? Of course!

But I’m also content with my fun and simple life. Appreciating what I have over what I don’t, is truly a priceless feeling. Everything I do, earn and achieve is for me, myself and I.

I hope you’re having an amazing start to the New Year and as a gift from me, please enjoy this fun and easy sample meal plan below to get you on a healthy track!

Love, Ghada

 

 

 

 

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Yay! Smallworld Beauty launches COCO BERRY CRISP. Your daily servings of fruits and veggies never tasted this good!

December 7, 2011 About me, coconut coco cream protein bars (sugar & gluten fre, Diet, Other 8 Comments

YAY! I’M SO EXCITED TO SHARE MY NEW BAR WITH YOU!

I PROMISE THAT YOUR WHOLE FAMILY WILL LOVE COCO BERRY CRISP


Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for stopping by my site and for all your support these last few years.

Coco Berry Crisp is my newest baby and I am so proud of it.

I consider myself a foodie, and feel that anything I eat should contain high quality ingredients as well as taste phenomenal.

Science has shown that people can utilize food to enhance  health, metabolism and mood!

Coco Berry Crisp is dipped in dark cocoa that is a natural mood enhancer, and contains 40 immune boosting anti-oxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body. Anti-oxidants are also amazing for achieving healthy, radiant skin.

Coco Berry Crisp also contains plant protein from Hemp and Soy to help build and maintain muscle and suppress appetite.  Another great appetite suppressant is Fiber! This bar contains 5 grams to keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal.

For the last month, I have been sampling Coco Berry Crisp to most of my family members, friends and current customers and the response has been amazing! I have had comments like “this bar is addicting!” “It’ tastes like a candy bar!” “I feel full for a few hours” and “my husband hates protein bars but he LOVES this!”.

Testimonials and reviews are great, but taste buds differ from one person to the next and the only way to really understand how good this bar is, is to taste it yourself! And I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions!

You can order a box through our site by clicking here (free shipping)

or order 1 bar to taste before committing to a whole box by clicking here

CHECK OUT WHAT’S INSIDE! 

* 100% natural ingredients

* 100% of servings of fruits & veggies in 1 bar

* 100% of most of your daily recommended vitamins

* 40 anti-oxidants

* 10 grams of plant protein (hemp & soy)

* 5 grams of fiber

* less than 200 calories

* less sugar than an apple

* less carbs than a bowl of oatmeal

 

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Boost your Fiber! Boost your weight loss!

September 16, 2011 Diet, Health 3 Comments

Since I’ve started training, I have been submitting a weekly food diary to my trainer and coach, Lenny.

A few weeks ago, Lenny noticed that my fiber intake was a little low and asked me to add more fiber to my day whether it’s with whole grains or fibrous veggies.

Most people overlook the importance of fiber in their diet and only average 10-13 grams a day.  For great health, Lenny suggested I keep my fiber intake from 30 – 40 grams.

There are many benefits to having a fiber-filled diet including maintaining overall bowel health and normalizing movement, aiding in lower cholesterol, stabilizing blood glucose levels and my favorite, boosting weight loss efforts!

After Lenny brought the fiber issue to my attention, my next concern was to research my fiber options.

For the last few weeks, Lenny has asked me to maintain a 1400 calorie day which can be consumed pretty quickly throughout the day if I’m not keeping track.

To most people, a calorie is a calorie. But personally, I like to think of my calories as “quality” calories. If I’m going to eat protein, then I want it to be the leanest, high quality, most available protein for my body. The same goes with carbs, fats and now.. fiber!

Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and even seeds.

OK… so after doing a little research on high fiber foods, I decided to add the following items to my daily menu.

  1. Avocados: 2 oz of this creamy healthy fat is packed with 6 grams of fiber and only 100 calories.
  2. Black beans: 1/2 cup of this antioxidant rich legume contains 7 grams of fiber and only around 110 calories. It’s also a great source of plant protein
  3. Raspberries: 1 cup of this low calorie tart berry contains up to 8 grams of fiber! I started adding this to my greek yogurt and making it into a delicious mini meal that’s under 200 calories.
  4. Broccoli. I always eat broccoli but Lenny asked that I add two more cups to my day. 1 cup comes to 4-5 grams of fiber, so two cups makes it 10!
  5. Whole wheat pasta. After reading the labels, I noticed that certain enriched pastas contained up to 7 grams of fiber compared to 4 grams in brown rice.
Since Lenny brought the fiber issue to my attention, I have been eating 38-45 grams per day.
I definitely feel fuller and my bowels seem to be happy with me too lol.. Sorry… TMI… Love your body and your body will love you back! Love, Ghada
For more fiber-rich food options, check out the table below.
Category A of Fiber Rich Foods (more than 7 grams/serving)

 FOODS HIGH IN FIBER  AMOUNT  TOTAL FIBER (grams)
 Avocado  1 medium  11.84
 Black beans, cooked  1 cup  14.92
 Bran cereal  1 cup  19.94
 Broccoli, cooked  1 cup  4.50
 Green peas, cooked  1 cup  8.84
 Kale, cooked  1 cup  7.20
 Kidney beans, cooked  1 cup  13.33
 Lentils, cooked  1 cup  15.64
 Lima beans, cooked  1 cup  13.16
 Navy beans, cooked  1 cup  11.65
 Oats, dry  1 cup  12.00
 Pinto beans, cooked  1 cup  14.71
 Split peas, cooked  1 cup  16.27
 Raspberries  1 cup  8.34
 Rice, brown, uncooked  1 cup  7.98
 Soybeans, cooked  1 cup  7.62

Category B of Fiber Rich Foods (more than 3 grams/serving)

 FOODS HIGH IN FIBER  AMOUNT  TOTAL FIBER (grams)
 Almonds  1 oz.  4.22
 Apple, w/ skin  1 medium  5.00
 Banana  1 medium  3.92
 Blueberries  1 cup  4.18
 Cabbage, cooked  1 cup  4.20
 Cauliflower, cooked  1 cup  3.43
 Corn, sweet  1 cup  4.66
 Figs, dried  2 medium  3.74
 Flax seeds  3 tsp.  6.97
 Garbanzo beans, cooked  1 cup  5.80
 Grapefruit  1/2 medium  6.12
 Green beans, cooked  1 cup  3.95
 Olives  1 cup  4.30
 Oranges, navel  1 medium  3.40
 Papaya  1 each  5.47
 Pasta, whole wheat  1 cup  6.34
 Peach, dried  3 pcs.  3.18
 Pear  1 medium  5.08
 Pistachio nuts  1 oz.  3.10
 Potato, baked w/ skin  1 medium  4.80
 Prunes  1/4 cup  3.02
 Pumpkin seeds  1/4 cup  4.12
 Sesame seeds  1/4 cup  4.32
 Spinach, cooked  1 cup  3.98
 Strawberries  1 cup  5.94
 Sweet potato, cooked  1 cup  3.68
 Swiss chard, cooked  1 cup  5.04
 Winter squash  1 cup  5.74
 Yam, cooked cubes  1 cup  5.30

Category C of Fiber Rich Foods (less than 3 grams/serving)

 FOODS HIGH IN FIBER  AMOUNT  TOTAL FIBER (grams)
 Apricots  3 medium  0.98
 Apricots, dried  5 pieces  2.89
 Asparagus, cooked  1 cup  2.88
 Beets, cooked  1 cup  2.85
 Bread, whole wheat  1 slice  2.00
 Brussels sprouts, cooked  1 cup  2.84
 Cantaloupe, cubes  1 cup  1.28
 Carrots, raw  1 medium  2.00
 Cashews  1 oz.  1.00
 Celery  1 stalk  1.02
 Collard greens, cooked  1 cup  2.58
 Cranberries  1/2 cup  1.99
 Cucumber, sliced w/ peel  1 cup  0.83
 Eggplant, cooked cubes  1 cup  2.48
 Kiwifruit  1 each  2.58
 Mushrooms, raw  1 cup  1.36
 Mustard greens, cooked  1 cup  2.80
 Onions, raw  1 cup  2.88
 Peanuts  1 oz.  2.30
 Peach  1 medium  2.00
 Peppers, sweet  1 cup  2.62
 Pineapple  1 cup  1.86
 Plum  1 medium  1.00
 Raisins  1.5 oz box  1.60
 Romaine lettuce  1 cup  0.95
 Summer squash, cooked  1 cup  2.52
 Sunflower seeds  1/4 cup  3.00
 Tomato  1 medium  1.00
 Walnuts  1 oz.  2.98
 Zucchini, cooked  1 cup  2.63

 

 

To read more about fiber and its benefits, click here to visit the Mayo Clinic site.

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Tarot Card Reading? How about a coffee cup reading by my Mama! Read what her predictions for me were….

September 2, 2011 About me, Love, Other 5 Comments



When I was young and my family lived in Kuwait, I remember that my parents were big on family and friend gatherings.

At least three times a week, people would stop in for Black Tea, Turkish Coffee and dessert, all in that order.

The men would sit in the living room puffing on cigarettes and taking turns story-telling, while the wives sat in another area to chat about the latest gossip. OMG… TMZ had nothing on these desperate house wives!

I remember sitting there among my mom and her friends and pretending like I didn’t understand what they were talking bout, so that they would ignore me and let me stay. Like most kids, I was always intrigued by adult talk.

A typical gossip session usually ends with a coffee cup reading by hers truly, my Mama. (A coffee cup reading is similar to reading Tarot Cards). I used to be so amused at how these women got sucked into everything my mom would say as if she was Miss Cleo. Speaking of Miss Cleo, what happened to that woman?!  

Even though I never fell for my mom’s hocus pocus, I loved to see the intensity in the women’s faces when my mom revealed their great futures. The big smiles on their faces were so worth it and my thought was if it made them happy, then why not go with it?

Anyway… so typically, after drinking your cup of Turkish Coffee, residue from the coffee grinds remain on the bottom. A person is then supposed to turn over the cup on the saucer and let it dry. When the cup is completely dry and ready, then the “psychic’ will evaluate all the designs/images in the cup and deliver the person’s reading.

Last weekend, I decided to weather Hurricane Irene in Lancaster, PA with my parents.

We spent most of the time on the balcony watching the rain come down and sipping on Turkish coffee.

As I took my last few sips, that’s when all the memories of my childhood flooded back in my head.  I figured since my mom was right in front of me, then why not have her read my cup.

So after a few minutes of letting my cup dry upside down, my mom grabbed the cup and started her psychic reading..

So here’s what she saw in my cup:

 I see two whales meeting and a victory sign. Whales can be interpreted as strength.

There are lots of fish which signifies something big is coming your way but I also see difficulties. Once you overcome the difficult part, it will be smooth sailing after that.

There is a mountain and someone is standing on it, which could mean that you will be victorious.

Someone is thinking of you a lot and you’re ignoring him too much.

I also see two doves. Maybe you will meet a peaceful guy and your relationship will be effortless and easy.

There is a message on the way and it is very important, but it will be a while until you receive it.

There is someone, a friend that is very envious of you but you understand and still love her and treat her well.

A person is giving you a torch to hold. It could mean victory, wealth or love.

There is someone who is watching and following you. He feels hopeless that he will never have a chance but he sticks around and waits.

A close friend is going to get pregnant soon.

I see the numbers 8…1….4… in arabic

I see that you’re going to get a big hunk of money. Maybe from winning the lottery, selling your business…

Your life is a little cloudy right now but it will clear

A relationship looks promising and near

 

Just when I thought my reading was over, my mom said that to finalize the session, I must press my thumb in the center of the cup and handed back to her for the final reading.

I see a BIG DIAMOND. Maybe someone will propose to you

Ha ha…  Even though I knew that there was no truth behind this cup reading, it definitely made me feel warm and happy to hear some of those things, especially about the love parts :)

If you want my Mama to read your cup, take a pic of it and email it to me! There is no charge, but maybe a little donation for her time would be nice.

Love,

Ghada

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Training/ Diet update!… Read more about my progress and what’s on my menu this month!

August 30, 2011 About me, Diet, fitness, Health 2 Comments

If you’ve ever watched Basketball and watched the NBA commercials that end with 

Well, that’s exactly how I feel every waking morning.

If you’ve been following me, I have been training with my fitness coach/nutrition expert, Lenny Graham for the last few months to prep for my FIRST fitness show.

OMG…The reality of this whole thing hasn’t even kicked in yet!

Everyday, I take a few minutes to browse through my favorite fitness mentors’ blogs and sites to follow their progress, admire their physiques and maybe pick up a few tips and suggestions to help with my training and diet.

Then I take a look at myself in the mirror and freak out! Ha ha.. not really, but I feel that I’m far from where my body should be to even compete among all those gorgeous bodies.

Just when I start doubting myself, my coach will say something to boost my confidence level.

If we continue to go the way we are going G, you’re gonna be Killer!

To hear words like that, come out of Lenny’s mouth definitely gives me a new found boost of motivation to take it to another level. As crazy as it sounds, I feel like his cheering words somehow recharge and fuel me with more muscle powers and somehow I am able to lift harder and heavier. I’m such the shy and timid girl outside of the gym, but Lenny definitely brings out my strong woman alter ego, which he calls SUPER G. I love Lenny this BIG!!!!

For the last few months, I have been reporting to Lenny Tuesdays and Thursdays around 7:30 am.

My session starts with a 5 min warm up on the treadmill, then I grab my large bottle of water and gum and head to the weight room to get served the intense Lenny treatment.  On Tuesdays, we usually concentrate on lower body, my curvy hips and sometimes core. On Thursdays, we usually workout my upper body like shoulders, chest and back, biceps and triceps. The workouts are never consistent and depending on my progress and what needs improvement, then Lenny will decide on what we’re doing that day. So far, I am beyond pleased with every muscle and tone in my body. On the other days, I usually workout at home or with my little brother Yousef in Lancaster, PA when I stop by to visit my parents.

“Dude… your arms are getting jacked! And your butt is huge! In a good way. Now, you’re making me want to compete with you! You’re gonna do awesome.” 

Those were the words that Yousef blurted out at the gym during our session.   I was really taken back and touched when he said that. Just like Lenny, Yousef has been my support system cheering me on every step of the way. He’s definitely my little BFF when it comes to sports and business. I can call him at any minute of the day and freak out about an amazing idea or deal that I just made, and he genuinely gets excited back! OMG!!!! 

A little bit about my little bro Yousef, or you can call him Jo, he’s a fitness freak like myself and he’s constantly at the gym. He trains at Power Train Sports in Lancaster, PA where a lot of professional athletes train. So, he’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to getting in shape or even helping me prep for a fitness competition. He’s actually joining me this weekend for my Sunday Bootcamp that is also run and instructed by Lenny.

This will be the first time that they both meet one another so I’m really excited! I love to introduce people I love to other people I love :) Sharing is caring.

“So how much cardio do you do?” I get asked this all the time when talking about training and my answer is “NONE” 

The only form of cardio that Lenny allows me to do is a light warm up at the beginning of each workout and Boot camp on Sundays. Since we are trying to build muscle on my body, cardio can counteract all our hard work and even shred down more muscles and we don’t want to do that. Lenny prefers that I lose body fat through my diet, and that’s exactly what I have been doing.

Ready for my diet? 

If you’re thinking that I’m eating bland chicken and broccoli all day, then you’re wrong. Check out the pretty picture below! This is what my counter typically looks like after an afternoon of grocery shopping.

 I usually prep my food for the week on Sundays. I like to create cute little tupperwares with the perfect portions for my days to come.

Here’s what my recent days have been looking like: 

6 am: Pre-workout meal: Oats + egg whites + 1 egg and coffee

7:30 am WORKOUT

9 am: Post workout meal: 4 oz grilled fish + 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup veggies

11 am : Non-fat Plain Green Yogurt + 1 cup veggies

1 pm: 4 oz grilled chicken + medium sweet potato+ 1 cup veggies

4 pm : 4oz grilled chicken + 1 cup veggies

6 pm: 4 oz fish + 1 cup salad/ green veggies

Everyone is different when training and dieting, so my diet may not be suitable for other bodies. Depending on your goals, I suggest consulting with a nutritionist or trainer. Remember, my goal is to build muscle and get lean for my contest and Lenny has been guiding me week by week. When it comes to competing, diet is just as crucial as training. Fueling your body properly will help me get to the finish line looking amazing like all the other pros. Well, I’m going to be an amateur for the first show lol but I’ll take it!

As far as the next 4 weeks, Lenny and I are meeting 3 days per week plus sneaking in some sprints on the off days. As far as my diet, the only thing I have to tweek is to add a juicy lean steak for breakfast to prevent any possible muscle loss, and add a few more cups of fibrous vegetables to up my daily fiber to 25-30 grams to maintain healthy bowel movements.

So that’s my latest update for you guys!

Overall, I’m in love with this whole journey and I can’t wait for what the next month is going to bring. I am two months out right now, so I definitely feel crunch time and I’m so determined to win! Winning for me, just means competing period. Whether I place first or last, being on stage is going to be a huge prize in itself. Yay!

Thank you all for following little Ol’ me and for all your support.

Love,

Ghada Abuhakmeh.

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Oh Dad… 4 blocked arteries!!! Geez… Read how his lifestyle lead to bypass surgery..

August 27, 2011 About me, Diet, Health, Other 1 Comment

My father was already dealing with insulin shots every morning to treat his Type 2 diabetes, blood pressure pills, prescription diuretics to reduce swelling and even prescription probiotics to treat his lack of good bacteria in his intestines.

Just when we thought that we had every health issue under control, then comes the worst health news of all!

After a scheduled stress test and some other check ups, the doctor informed my parents that four of my dad’s arteries were 90% blocked and that bypass surgery was necessary.

Of course my parents tried to downplay the health issue and my dad even tried to decline the surgery completely, and started munching on salad in hopes that it would reverse this mess.

My brothers and I teamed up and convinced both parents that going through with the surgery would be the best decision for his health.

Even though the doctors warned that the surgery was going to involve weeks of recovery and pain, the payoff would be so worth it. Post surgery, my dad should expect to see improvement in breathing and blood circulation, and many more added years to his life.

My mom had to think about that last one, but then agreed that the surgery had to be done.

My mom and I admitted my dad on August 17th at 5:30am to Lancaster General Hospital, one of the top heart surgery programs in Pennsylvania.

After checking in, the administrative lady walked us to the elevator and escorted us to the first floor where my dad would get suited up and ready for his scheduled surgery.

At 7:30 am, a cute and calming anesthesiologist walked in to give us the run down on every pill, prick and pain killers that my dad would receive prior to surgery. Of course, he then followed with the disturbing possible outcomes, and one of them included “loss of life”.

My mom didn’t like that one too much and asked him to retract that statement and promise her that he would stay alive. His response was “I will do my best”… It also didn’t ease my mom when he introduced himself as Dr. Keller, which sounded like “Dr. Killer” in my mom’s ears.

If anyone knows my mom personally, her head always envisions the worst scenario! I had to be the positive voice in the room to counteract the death visions she was creating in her worry-wart mind. Geez…

At 8 am, Heart Surgeon Dr. Jeffery Cope walks through the curtains dressed up in a nice brown suit and jacket and initialed his name on my dad’s chest and legs, similar to how farmers tag the cows before butchering. Yup, and there goes my mom’s head churning again… “Chill out woman!”

By now, reality of what was going to happen was definitely kicking in, and my only choice was to breathe, calm my mom down, and trust and hope that all will be OK.

At 8:15 am, the heart team that would be assisting Dr. Cope came in to introduce themselves and explain more details about the surgery. They mentioned that the surgery was scheduled to start at 9:30 am and probably end around noon.

Since he was going to be heavily sedated, they gave us a rough estimate on his waking and that was going to be around 6 pm that evening.They also warned that he was going to be hooked up and plugged up to so many tubes and IVs and that he was going to look a bit scary and not to worry because it was normal. They assured us that he will be under great care in the Intensive Care Unit where he will be placed for a few days.

When the heart team was done with their disturbing run down, they gave my mom and I a pager that would go off/vibrate when the surgery was completed.

My mom and I kissed my dad and waived him goodbye as the team wheeled him to surgery.

My mom and I found a comfortable area and lounged around and talked about life. Finally around 11:30 am, one of the cute nurses on the team came up to us to deliver the news. She said that the surgery went very well and that they were in the process of cleaning him up and moving him to ICU. She then asked us to report to a private room where the main surgeon would personally give us more details.

About 15 minutes later, Dr. Cope walked into the room in his medical scrubs and congratulated us on my dad’s surgery. He said that he did really well and that he was already up in ICU and being taken care of. He did say that he still had a breathing tub in his mouth and that it wasn’t going to be a pretty scene and that we should probably wait a few hours until they pull it out and he starts waking up.

My mom and I decided to run home and freshen up and return a few hours later before he wakes up.

My mom quickly showered, made some food, vacuumed, did her hair, packed her overnight clothes and beat me to the hospital.  I decided to wait for my younger brother Yousef to get home from work before heading over. Yousef got home around 5:30pm, ate a few bites of dinner and then we he to Lancaster General to see dad.

My mom met us at the Elevator and walked with us to the room and there her was..

My heart dropped to the sight of my dad hooked up to a breathing mask, heavily sedated and hooked up to IVs. All the beeping monitors and high tech devices didn’t ease me either. I could see that he was somewhat aware of his surroundings so I said hello and stood at the edge of the bed and massaged to let me him know that I was there for him.

If anyone knows my dad, he loves to be rubbed and massaged. Yousef also stood on the front end of the bed and rubbed his hands for extra support.

The next morning, my dad started to speak a little more and by day 3, the staff had him walking around the hospital. According the the ICU crew, my dad was recovering very well and fast.

My dad spent a total of 7 days in the hospital and then sent home to recover there. The hospital arranged a daily nurse visit for the next few weeks to make sure that his wounds are healing properly and help him with his overall recovery.

I’m actually sitting next to my dad now as I’m writing this and asking him questions about his status.

It has been 10 days now since the surgery and his complaints are typical. His chest feels very sore and tight, but that’s because they sawed his whole rib cage open to get to his heart so I would assume that’s a normal healing pain.

As far as his energy level, he’s definitely feeling very drained from all the pain killers that he has to take, and he can’t wait to stop taking them so he can have more stamina.

Since the surgery, my dad’s appetite was drastically decreased but yesterday was the first time that he felt hungry, craving quantities of food. And yes, some junk food too but it’s way too soon for that.

Overall, he is doing amazing! Of course, now he’s so against fatty foods, smoking and anything that is unhealthy. He’s even talking about going to the gym with Yousef and I when he feels more mobile.

So……….Now that I told you about how well the surgery went,  let me back track and tell you a little about how my dear father’s lifestyle habits lead him to four blocked arteries!

Below, I have listed a few of the many lifestyle habits that may have contributed to my father’s heart surgery:

BAD HABIT #1 : SMOKING


My father’s little rebel-ass started smoking at age 13 and averaged two packs a day. And by age 30, he was up to 5 packs!

“ According to the American Heart Association, more than 400,000 Americans die each year of smoking-related illnesses. Many of these deaths are because of the effects of smoking on the heart and blood vessels.”

Smoking can raise heart rate and blood pressure, irregular heart beats and tightening of the arteries.

BAD HABIT #2 UNHEALTHY EATING

By the age of 30, my dad was a successful restaurant owner in Kuwait, and enjoyed cooking and eating anything and everything from fatty pieces of red meat, fried foods and the sweetest of butter enriched pastries and desserts. There was no such thing as calorie counting or diets to him back then.

A diet full of saturated fats is a sure way to cause plaque  build up in the arteries, which then leads to heart disease.  My dad’s unhealthy eating also induced diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

 

BAD HABIT # 3 LACK OF SLEEP

If you know any restaurant owners, you know that they live, eat and breathe their business and it can be quite stressful. Throughout most of his life, my dad worked from sunrise to past sunset and he had poor sleep habits.

Stress and lack of sleep can alleviate blood pressure and considered a risk factor in heart disease.

BAD HABIT #4 NO EXERCISE

Other than heading to the market or going to the Butcher’s to get some fresh meat for the restaurant, I never saw my dad engage in routine physical activity like walking or resistance training.

Exercise is very beneficial in keeping most health issues at bay like diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Exercise can also help strengthen heart muscles and lessen the risk of heart disease.

In the United States, more than 60 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. About 2600 people die every day of cardiovascular disease. Cancer, the second largest killer, accounts for only half as many deaths.

Even though I only mentioned 4 bad habits, there are many other contributing factors that can lead to heart disease such as heredity, gender (males are more at risk than women), obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure, age and even alcohol.

“So Baba! (Dad in Arabic) What did you learn from all this?”

He answered in Arabic, but I will translate…

“When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. You eat all the lard, fat and junk food and think nothing of it. You smoke and drink and stay up all night partying and not realizing that it will impact you eventually.

Then you age, and then you notice that all the unhealthy things that you engaged in are slowly and surely starting to affect your health.

Then… you end up diabetic like me and needing every pill under the sun to keep your health in check.

So, I say…take care of yourself now while you’re young and keep up with your doctor visits. You can’t put a price on great health”

I patted him on his shoulder and gave him a sarcastic smile and said

“Well said Baba… too bad they had to saw you in half for you to realize this!

When it comes to harsh events, my family copes by making fun and laughing because it’s just easier to deal.

And when it comes to achieving good health, I lead by example. I never like to preach and tell others what to eat or do, but I’m always the happiest to guide someone when they ask.  So ask away please!

At the end of the day, everyone is the master of their own body and only they can make a change to better themselves.

I wish you all love, happiness and good health.

Love,

Ghada :)

 

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A way to a man’s heart is through this Summer Arugula & Citrus Salad

August 16, 2011 Diet, Healthy food concoctions, Other 1 Comment


In the last post, I showcased a delicious tasting menu that I was lucky to enjoy at Pepperoncinis Sotto of Phoenixville, PA. One of my favorite dishes of the menu was the refreshing, yet comforting Arugula salad. This salad was so good, that I had to try to remake it at home.  This may not be the exact recipe, but I thought it came really close!

Ingredients:

Citrus Vinaigrette 

  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola/ olive oil
  • Salt n Peppa
Salad
  • 4 cups Arugula greens
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup sliced radish
  • 1/2 cup halved Kalmata olives
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 oz shaved parmesan or to your liking

Preparation:

  • For the Salad prep, toss the first five ingredients in a large bowl and mix
  • For the dressing, you can either purchase already made citrus vinaigrette or make your own by mixing all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.
When you’re ready to have a bite of this refreshing salad, scoop some salad mix into a large bowl, drizzle your sweet and citrus dressing then top it off with some shaved parmesan cheese.

I like a little more protein with my salad, so I usually throw in a few ounces of grilled chicken, sardines or even grilled calamari.

I love this salad because it’s packed with nutrition, flavors and textures!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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