Monday, October 20, 2014

Calorie Swap in 3 Simple Ways

Weight management is all about healthy and smart substitutions. If like me you are trying to improve your health by shedding extra weight, you might enjoy these 3 simple substitutions that easily replace a big number of calories in your daily allotment.
I love good coffee and I can't deny

I enjoy a lot of cream in my coffee. I know that if I want to my calories to count, I need to watch my cream intake. I learned to use Almond milk instead of cream and I learned that this particular brand displays their calorie count for me to see and 30 calories for 1 cup sounds really good. I usually use half of that with my first cup of coffee and go from there. Compare that with 1 teaspoon of my favorite creamer which has 35 calories for 1 Tablespoon. Almond milk will give me less calories and more cream.

I learned that making Homemade Vegetable Soup does two things: I get a mouth full of nutrients and I get satisfied. I'm not a sandwich for lunch person but I think that in the nutrition arena, vegetable soup would win most battles. I've used it in many seasons of life and it always, always helps me to stay healthy. I take the simple approach of making a big batch with a mix of fresh and frozen veggies. I season it to taste (usually not a lot of salt) and I enjoy it for a long time. 

I often plan dinner ahead of time. No matter what we are having, my strategy is to practice portion control. When dinning out, I follow the advice my doctor gave me: Salad is your main course, and everything else is a side dish. I like the idea of getting filled with veggies and enjoying the other foods in moderation. 

I hope these 3 tips have given you an idea on how to swap calories in simple ways. What are some calorie swaps that have worked for you?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Seven

  1. Recovery • Last Sunday around this time I was well into the Chicago Marathon, which means I am now recovering from it. Ice bath and movement plus rest are working wonders. It also means that I experiencing a mix of Cloud 9 and sadness. Like giving birth, recovering from a marathon can bring some mixed feelings. One thing is for sure, God blessed me to accomplish a big thing and for that I am thankful.
  2. Alone • There was no one to hug me when I finished the marathon. I had to fly home in order to get a hug from my husband and kids. I went to Chicago by myself and I don't think I will be doing that again. It was an interesting experience and I can relate to people who accomplish something big and don't have friends or family to celebrate with them right then and there. I thought about the many international students who graduated from my school and whose families were far away. I will be intentional about being that hug at the finish line for someone who needs it.
  3. Reality • I hit the floor running once I got back from the marathon. My husband’s help has made it possible for me to get back to reality. I'm blessed to be married to Zeke, he's a great husband and father. Reality is sweeter and more joyful with him. Oh! He won the choice award at our church's Missions Banquet bake off! He made his famous "pumpkin surprise" cupcakes. I'm so proud of him!
  4. Faith • Coming back to reality is interesting because when I'm recovering from a marathon I am forced to answer the question "who am i without racing?" My time with God and Bible reading are fundamental because I am reminded of who I really am in Christ. I find that my faith in the Lord Jesus helps me not to develop amnesia in these kinds of seasons. I am God's child and that's who I am with or without racing. I will reflect more about "identity" in future blog posts.
  5. Projects • Now that I am in between marathons I have time to revisit my current projects. I want to do more writing as well as reach some of the goals I set in the beginning of the year. It is true that I need a mountain to climb. It's actually exciting to work towards goals.

  6. Kids • We are 39 days away from Thanksgiving and 66 days til Christmas. The school year is no longer new but we are steadily adapting to our new normal. Weekends are the most fun because we don't have strict schedules and playing is non-stop. This weekend we enjoyed the park and writing with chalk in the side walk. It is still quite hot in our area and we needed quite a bit of mosquito spray but we had fun.
  7. Meds • I'm getting some extra help with my rest because I'm taking antibiotics. Thank God for the advances in medicine, those things kick in super quick! Thank God for extra time to rest because the Houston Marathon is in 90 days. I have learned that fresh legs are better than perfect training schedule.

This week I learned that when real life kicks in, God is my foundation, my family is the lovely place I belong and I can't put rest in a pill so I just have to do it. Have an amazing week dear friend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014 Recap

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Thank you God, Zeke, kids and everyone who helped me!
Hello! I answer all your questions about the Chicago Marathon in  this video!
Here are the Questions:
0:12 - What motivated you to complete a marathon?
0:39 - Have you always been a runner?
0:58 - What was the most challenging thing in preparing?
1:44 - Did you have a person to encourage you?
2:04 - How much water did you consume?
2:42 - Compare the Chicago & Houston Marathons
5:23 - How well prepared were you for the marathon?
6:44 - Which was the hardest mile?
7:59 - Would you do anything different?
9:30 - What was your time?
11:31 - How did you feel when you finished?
13:22 - How many marathons do you have on your list?
14:40 - Would you do Chicago again?
14:57 - How was the Course?
16:59 - What’s your next goal?

Chicago Marathon Series

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hyatt Regency O'hare Review

The key to a great trip is where you rest. A good hotel makes the trip of a lifetime even better and this was my experience at the Hyatt Regency O'hare. The check-in process was quick and effective. I was surprised to see my name on the TV screen! It said 'Welcome Cintia Listenbee!" What a nice touch! I found the room to be very cozy.  
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I think they arranged this room well.
I stayed in a King Room on the 7th floor. I know, although it was in one of the higher floors the water pressure was heavenly! I also had a chance to eat at the O'H American Grill restaurant. I got a Cobb Salad and it was delicious! They also have a variety of mini desserts for a great price. 
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My meal at the O'H American Grill
The Hyatt Regency O'hare is a very well designed hotel. I appreciate the fact that they put a lot of thought into the design of the hotel. From the moment you arrive you will have a pleasant visual of the beauty of the modern design. 
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I love the overall design of the Hyatt Regency O'hare
The main reason why I visited the Hyatt Regency O'hare was to run and recover from the Chicago Marathon (video recap tomorrow). 
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Comfort is a priority at the Hyatt Regency O'hare
I found the location of the hotel great because it is really close to the Blue Line which took me straight to many downtown attractions such as the Navy Pier. I also took advantage of many amenities they offer such as the boarding pass print station and the shuttle to O'hare.
Chicago is a fantastic city and the Hyatt Regency O'hare is a great place to stay. I appreciate their hospitality! Enjoy this super quick video tour of the hotel and grab the discount at the bottom of this blog post dear reader.

Disclaimer: Hyatt Regency O'hare provided me with a stay in their hotel in exchange for this review. The honest opinions in this review are my own.

• As a gift to YOU, the Hyatt Regency O'Hare is offering a great Discount from now til December 30th! Go to this link and enter the Code: OHFUN
• Disconto pros meus leitores: de agora até dia 30 de Dezembro vá nesse link e na parte do Code, escreva OHFUN para um disconto no hotel Hyatt Regency O'hare.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spirit of Chicago Cruise from Navy Pier Review

It wasn't the best day to be outdoors but I proceeded to downtown Chicago for the cruise I was looking forward to attend. Chicago is a great city and one of the best way to see it is to take a cruise from Navy Pier on board of the Spirit of Chicago. I chose to take a cruise after the Chicago Marathon because I honestly did not wanted to do any more walking but I still wanted to take in more views of this beautiful city. I took the Blue Line into town and noticed that the city was getting ready for its Columbus Day parade. 
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Bands getting ready for the parade
With one more bus to go, I started asking for directions on how to get to Navy Pier. Because of the parade all the buses got rerouted and surprise, I lost my bus card to add to the excitement. Every person who gave me directions was super friendly especially the city bus drivers. I'm thankful for all the generous people of Chicago. The rain added to the traffic confusion. My cruise ticket said that boarding was going to start at 12 pm but I was still out in the rain waiting for a bus that would take me to Navy Pier. 
I thought about giving up and said a prayer. I told God I would give Him all the praise for getting me on board for after all, Spirit of Chicago Cruises leave promptly as scheduled. The bus showed up with 18 minutes til it was time to leave.
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A photo from the bus as the parade is about to start
When we arrived at Navy Pier I asked one of the guards how to get to the south side of Navy Pier where the cruise booths were located. He told me I was at the North side and Spirit left from the South side of the building then I needed to take a left. I started running in the same legs that had finished a marathon in less than 24 hours prior to that moment. When I saw the booth I screamed "Spirit of Chicago, please don't leave!" The friendly attendant checked me in and I marched to the boat as they practically rolled carpets and closed doors behind me. I was the last person on board and glory be to God, I made it in! 
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It was a rainy, foggy day but a good day indeed!
Remember I told you it was raining when I got on the bus? By the time I got in, visibility was close to zero which meant, no Chicago Skyline view. As I looked at that fog that covered the city, I thought to myself, isn't this a clear "word picture?" Some seasons of life feel like a fog. I have experienced that kind of fog many times before. The life lesson is that when you can't do anything about the outside weather, you can only be responsible for the climate inside of you. 
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View from above. Spirit of Chicago has room for a large crowd.
The crew of the Spirit of Chicago did just that, made sure that the atmosphere inside of the boat was one of joy and celebration. When I came in, the person who greeted me was sensitive enough to notice I was a bit out of breath and overwhelmed. Their hospitality and friendliness gave me a sign that I was in for a fun ride. After I was seated I went to the Buffett line. 
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Lunch on board. I loved how they arranged the food!
The staff kept emphasizing that this was a new menu their chef was trying out. I found the food selection to be of good diversity. I was very impressed with the number of vegetables in the buffet. I noticed two types of fish, a chicken meatball, a salad bar, a couscous based salad and a kale salad as well as a delicious pasta side dish. There was also a big side of broccoli (I told you they had a lot of vegetables). 
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My plate: I was hungry and it was all delicious!
The Spirit of Chicago has a DJ on board and he kept us very entertained with a great selection of songs. They also had giveaways during the course of the cruise. The dessert selection was also really diverse. I enjoyed having fresh fruit (watermelon, pineapple and cantaloupe salad) as one of the options. 
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Dessert time. There were more options, I just couldn't eat it all!
It was fun to see some of the guests dancing on the dancing floor. I passed on dancing because I was a little sore from running the marathon. The atmosphere of the cruise was one of joy and celebration. I had the sense that the guests were aware that the crew was not responsible for the weather but they did everything they could to ensure we had an enjoyable time. The next time you walk into a "season of fog" in your life, remember that while you can do nothing about weather conditions, you are totally and completely responsible for your inner climate or attitude. 
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Spirit of Chicago
I'm thankful that the Spirit of Chicago cruise reminded me of that life lesson. Friends, if you are in the Chicago area at any time, please stop by the Navy Pier and take a cruise with one of the Entertainment Cruises. You can find more information about these cruises here.
It was a great cruise!
* Disclaimer: Entertainment Cruises send me a ticket for the Spirit of Chicago Cruise. The honest opinions in this review are my own.