Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blogger Spotlight: Andrea @ Thin Thighs & Sweet Potato Fries [Part 2]

Part 2 of my interview with Andrea 

Q. What are your top 3 fitness tips/advice?
1. Count calories-Counting calories gets such a bad rap and I will never understand why. In fact, maybe I should reword it as “pay attention to calories.” Then maybe it will be better received. J This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to keep a food journal or pull out a calculator and track every morsel of food you eat (although, I’m not gonna lie, I’ve done it at times), but if you simply make a point of at least reading food labels or looking up the calories in what you eat, you will be amazed at some of the calorie bombs in your life you didn’t even know were there! Then by slowly eliminating these foods I promise you, you will start to see changes, even if you never set foot in a gym. But you can’t eliminate high-calorie foods if you don’t know how many calories you’re eating in the first place. So pay attention to it.
2. Do a pantry/fridge makeover-You can’t eat what you don’t have! This might sound rudimentary, but it works. Try replacing junk food in your pantry with healthier foods. I’m not saying you have to go from donuts to apples in one fell swoop, but there are healthier
3. Exercise in groups (and if you can’t find one… create it!)-This was key for me. I got over my intimidation and fell in love with running by running with a group of ladies I work with. We got together three mornings a week, running at our own individual paces, but just making sure to stay within sight of each other, and it worked out beautifully. There are typically running groups in every city that anyone can join and they can usually be found with a simple Google search. If running isn’t your thing, start a DVD exercise group. Get a group of friends or coworkers together, find a gym or even a basement, and pick a day of the week to do a DVD program like P90X or Insanity together. It’s like being in a fitness class and it creates an instant network of people to keep each other accountable. Plus, it’s much more fun than doing it by yourself, which means you’ll stick with it longer. If you live in Charlotte, ask me about NC Fit Club! **end shameless plug** J
alternatives for everything. Once you get in the habit of not keeping bad food in your house, eventually you don’t even miss it.

Q. How do you maintain a healthy diet and consistent exercise regimen?
I say this all the time, but maintaining a healthy diet is a proactive process. Since day 1 of my weight loss journey until now, I always pack my breakfast, lunch, and all snacks and take them with me to work. This way I’m in control of what I eat and there are no last minute fast food lunches or 3pm trips to the vending machine when I’m suddenly craving a snack. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have my slip-up days, but as long as the majority of what I’m eating is good for me, slip-ups aren’t as big of a deal.
As far as fitness, while I don’t belong to a gym, I am lucky in that I have a fitness center right onsite at my job and am able to take classes during my lunch hour each day. This has been a HUGE benefit to maintaining a workout routine! I also live in an apartment complex with a fitness center that I take full advantage of. I realize, not everyone has these resources though. I also simply try new things because more than anything, it’s important to keep it fun, otherwise you won’t stick with it long. So as I mentioned, I tried out and discovered a love for running, I do workout DVDs, I’ve taken dance classes, and I even recently went on a nature hike which I loved! It’s all about getting creative and finding what works for you.

Q. What advice do you give to busy moms on the go related to healthy eating and exercise?
As far as fitness, “get it in, where you can fit it in!” Maybe you don’t have an onsite fitness center at work, but you can go for a walk or run during your lunch hour. Or look into fitness classes offered at community centers and churches. Often times, these classes allow you to bring your children with you. I went to a Cardio Funk class at a local church recently and it was filled with moms, dads, kids, name it!
As far as healthy eating, there are so many quick and simple ways to provide your kids with healthy foods. When it comes to healthy and quick, I love Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers, brown rice or whole wheat pasta dishes are also quick and easy to make. For breakfast, I love Hodgson Mill whole wheat pancakes and use Quick Whites for a simple egg white omelet.  One of my faves for dinner on a busy night is a baked sweet potato. To prepare it,  pop a sweet potato in the oven on 425 degrees for 30 mins (or nuke in the microwave for 6 minutes), then add a little cinnamon, a dollop of healthy butter spread, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. It’s delicious. The majority of the meals I make take 30 mins or less. I also love Trader Joe’s frozen foods section. You can get lots of quick, healthy finds there.

Q. Healthy eating is expensive, what tips can you give to help people stay within their budget but also eat well?
A. Healthy eating can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. What primarily makes healthy eating so expensive, in my opinion, is the fact that fresh and/or natural products tend to spoil faster so you find yourself at the grocery store more often. That’s why my freezer has become my best friend! I load up on frozen veggies from Wal-Mart for about $1.99 a bag and use them frequently in stir fries, sandwiches, or with a little low fat cheese as a side dish. I also freeze my whole wheat breads, and even fruits that I’ll later use in smoothies.  I always keep frozen chicken breast tenderloins and frozen shrimp on deck as well for when a dish might need a little added protein. Again, I also recommend keeping cheap staples like instant brown rice and whole wheat pastas in the house. I stock up on sauces and marinades from Trader Joe’s (which are also quite inexpensive) and I experiment with ways to create something new.

Q. What is your all time favorite healthy recipe?
This is probably a silly choice, but if I had to choose, I would have to say banana oatmeal. I learned this recipe from a fellow healthy living blogger (though I’ve added my own spin on it over time) and I have been eating it for breakfast nearly every day since. You simply prepare a bowl of plain oatmeal, then cut half of a banana into the bowl and mush it into the oatmeal until creamy (the riper the banana, the better this will taste!).Then slice the other half of the banana on top. I like to add fresh blueberries and sprinkle a little cinnamon as well, but this is not necessary. That’s it. You get a yummy, all naturally-sweetened bowl of oats!

Q. What is you all time favorite exercise?
A. While running is of course a close second, I have to say ZUMBA! I’m addicted! Sometimes when I’m doing it, I forget I’m exercising!

THANK YOU Andrea for taking the time to answer these questions! You've given me alot of great tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle!

You can reach Andrea by visiting Thin Thighs & Sweet Potato Fries and/or by emailing her: Andrea at thin-and-sweet dot com


  1. Great, great interview. I really enjoyed reading it. I am going to try to start counting calories again. I've put on so much since the summer, I feel bad because i worked very hard before the same. but bad eating habit has left the sign on my stomack :(.

    Happy Holidays. -

  2. Thanks so much for asking these questions, Alex, and giving me a chance to answer them! I really enjoyed sharing some of the things I've learned and I truly hope your readers find it helpful!


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