Banana cheesecake protein shake

Banana cheesecake protein shake

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Sometimes I sneak some not-that-“clean” food into my healthy-ish meals.

Because sometimes a gal just has to eat something that tastes like cheesecake but that doesn’t blow her macros through the roof. Am I right?

This Banana Cheesecake Protein Smoothie is a case in point. The sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake pudding mix in this recipe makes this smoothie thick, luscious and decadent … and that’s not a bad thing, in my book.

Try it! This was originally posted in 2011, but I updated it to make it even “cleaner” … except for the instant pudding mix. 🙂

Banana Cheesecake Protein Smoothie


1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Sun Warrior brand)
1 tbsp sugar-free fat-free cheesecake pudding mix
1 cup coconut milk
1 medium frozen, sliced banana
small amount of water (if needed)

Place first four items in a high-speed blender and mix well. Add a little water if it’s too thick. Drink. Yum!

That meltdown I had earlier this week 5/11/18

That meltdown I had earlier this week 5/11/18

So the other day I had a meltdown. It was long overdue, and even though it happened more than 48 hours ago, I am still not quite recovered from it.

That’s because of my general modus operandi for life, which doesn’t allow the “luxury” of a meltdown:

  1. I waited too long (more than a dozen years) to have the meltdown.
  2. Things to melt down about kept piling on because I waited.
  3. I had too much stuff to do to wallow in the ever-increasing pile.
  4. See No. 1 above, and continue the cycle.

There’s a big mountain of unfinished business to deal with now, and while I don’t think this will be a long job, it’s time to start shoveling through it.

Because my health is involved now.

The other night, hours after the actual meltdown, I had a headache so I took my blood pressure. I didn’t like the numbers I saw. At all.

Here’s the thing: even healthy people who theoretically do “all the right things” can get stuff wrong with them. I have decades worth of an autoimmune disease in my back pocket (which I have soldiered through pretty darn uncomplainingly if I do say so myself, because why would anyone listen?). But now I’m at the age where it has lots of ripple effects, including hypertension. 

If the past couple years have taught me anything, it’s that problems will continue to escalate until you decide to address the underlying issues. They won’t go away.

BTW, how weird is it I’m more scared of dealing with the health care industrial complex than I am of kicking the bucket?

Anyhoo, I realize I need to make some additional changes in my life … changes I’m not that excited about and will be railing against over the next couple days.  

Oh, fun!

5 things for Friday, May 11

1. I love sugar and it doesn’t love me. When you have an autoimmune disease that saps your energy, sometimes you crave quick foods that will give you a boost (SUGAR!). But in the long run, it actually saps your energy. Yet another reason to curse the design of the human body.

2. It’s hard to write lists and blog posts when you censor out a lot of tasty morsels because they involve other people whom you don’t want to burn.

3. I once had a married personal training client (someone I inherited from another trainer who attracted a different sort of clientele than my regulars) who used to frequent an “adult friend” website at least weekly. She told me she “met” a guy on that site, drove 50 miles to “meet” him in real life, engaged in an adult-friend encounter in the back of his vehicle, and drove home. My main question, among many: what is your self-talk on the way home from that encounter?

4. I have a lot of stories. So many. 

5. Is it bad I shared that one?


  • 4x through:
    • Leg press x 12
    • Leg extension x 15
  • Romanian deadlift with DB, 4×12
  • Alternating reverse lunges with KB, 4×10 each side
  • Single-leg hip thrusts, 4×15 each side


How to eat for fat loss over 50 (and every other age, too)

How to eat for fat loss over 50 (and every other age, too)

If you want to lose fat, you need to do two main things.

  1. Make your body better at burning fat.
  2. Require it to burn more fat.

It’s crazy how complicated people can make those two tasks sound. Trust me, it’s not that complicated. Yes there’s a ton of contradictory science but the basics of the above – and what I’m about to lay out below – haven’t changed and I’m guessing they won’t change, either. 

How to eat for fat los over 50 (and every other age)

The hard truth: losing fat is NOT a fast process, especially when you’re older. Just by virtue of BEING older, you’re a survivor. That means your body is smart – it’s lived this long and it wants to survive, so in order to do that it slows down your metabolism so you require less fuel.

You’ll have more success if you incorporate these tips into a lifestyle instead of a short-term “thing” … the upside: you’ll feel better every day, have more energy and an improved mood. Plus you’ll notice huge changes in your skin and hair, and in the way your body moves and feels.

1. Make your body better at burning fat

Your body’s preferred fuel is glycogen, which is basically sugar/carbs. If there are readily available carbs in your system, it’ll burn them. If you take in too many carbs/sugars, your body will store them.

But here’s the thing: once your body runs out of carbs, it’ll use other fuel sources (including stored fat!) to fuel everything you do, from breathing to dashing up the stairs to retrieve your glasses.

Do you need to cut out all carbs? Go into ketosis? Should you go buy test strips? How about a fancy blood monitor?


The best bet for long-term success is to create a sustainable lifestyle. Any diet or program that requires you to buy or do (like test for ketones) a lot of extra stuff to support it isn’t going to give you lasting results unless you are a highly motivated/obsessed person. I competed in figure competitions for four seasons so I know this firsthand. 

Your diet shouldn’t run your life. Your diet should fuel your life.

Instead do this: Eat real food. I’m talking about more veggies and fruit, healthy fats and proteins, occasionally enjoy some fiber-rich complex carbs but watch your portions — legumes, quinoa, beets, rice, etc. 

Note: wine IS carbs. All of them. So watch your intake.

Your body has a harder time burning fat when it’s under stress, too – remember, it wants to survive, so if it feels under attack, it’s likely to engage in a series of hormonal responses designed to help with that (like burning less fuel). Some stress in life is inevitable and even good for you, but too much is bad all the way around.

Your body can feel stress from: too little rest or sleep, poor diet, autoimmune disease (which have huge impact on your body’s intricate hormonal systems), financial/business/work/family/relationship issues, some medications/drugs and/or overuse of alcohol.

2. Require your body to burn more fat.

This has two components … eating and moving.

First, the eating. You need to let your gas tank get a little empty so you can switch on your reserve (stored) tank of fuel. The key to that: Watch your portion sizes. The amount of fuel you take in DOES matter if you’re trying to lose fat (even non-carb intake).

Second, the moving. The more you move, the more fuel you burn. Studies repeatedly show that when it comes to fat loss, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can have more of an affect than your workouts! NEAT calories get burned when you are just moving around during the course of the day.

And when you do work out, make sure you train with intensity — listen to your body but be sure to push yourself just a little bit at least a few times a week (i.e., strolling at 2 mph on the treadmill probably isn’t going to give you the results you want). And lift weights a few times a week. As we age, we lose muscle. Not only do you need muscle to remain strong and vital, but it also burns a little more fuel over the course of the day than your body’s other parts.

Avoid this rookie fat-loss mistake (which we all make): If you think you “deserve” a high-calorie, sugar-laden treat because you worked out and/or were busy all day … and fat loss is your primary goal … be careful not to undo all the hard work you put in by overfilling your tank.

Remember: fat-loss is primarily a diet-related phenomenon.

5 Things for Thursday, May 10

1. I have 14,386 unread emails, most of them trying to sell me something.

2. Yesterday I cried for the first time in a long time. Like, an ugly awful dizzy-making cry that I was worried would never stop. See the stress note above? Crying helped. I think. Maybe. Although I did end up fighting a migraine for the rest of the day. #oversharing

3. Also yesterday, my dog met the 3-pound dog that lives next door. The two of them bark at each other many times a day, and I thought a meeting would help. Poor Bella (the little dog) was so timid and scared. But this morning? No barking.

4. External validation. Some of us need more of it than do others. That’s OK.

5. Why do I share my workouts below? So you can steal them if you want.

Bonus No. 6: I now have 14,396 unread email messages.


Quick cardio day

  • 15 minutes elliptical
  • 15 minute treadmill running intervals
  • Adductor/abductor machine, 3x:
    • 20 abductions (press out)
    • 15 adductions (press in)

Oh hey Wendy why did you only do that one machine? Two reasons: my lumbo-pelvic-hip complex has been really tight/cranky and these movements seem to help, and my leg workout last week didn’t hit these accessory muscles very well.

Pushing that boulder, 5/9/18

Pushing that boulder, 5/9/18

There have been many changes the past five months including these three biggies:

  • I’ve stopped training clients in person.
  • I took a new job in an old career.
  • I moved. 

It all happened very quickly. During all of it, it felt like I was pushing boulders uphill — tedious, scary and never-ending. Plus, I was unable to see beyond the boulder in front of me. 

But even though it felt like a never-ending task, it wasn’t. I’ve made it to the top of this tiny hill and I can see the landscape a little better, but is this the hill I wanted to climb?

This recent climb has been hard and humbling. Lonely. Quiet. It’s made me contemplate the nature of friendship, of connection with others, expectations and reciprocity.

I’m learning that sometimes — not always, but sometimes — it isn’t you (or me). Sometimes it is them. Sometimes it is hard to let that go, because sometimes it’s less painful to shoulder the blame.

5 Things for Wednesday May 9

1. I like how cardio makes me feel. It’s not always “cool” to like cardio … just like it’s cooler to like pizza than broccoli. But the truth is, nothing lifts the spirits quite so much as getting the heart rate up for a little while (see workout below). And let’s face it: if you’re worried about being cool (because why does that even matter?), you aren’t.

2. Dancing with the Stars athletes edition … so much fun.

3. Based on my viewing patterns, I think maybe my next personal trainer continuing education classes should be dance related, yes? I miss teaching group ex.

4. When something makes you feel anxious, do you rush headlong into it, do you sit and analyze or do you back away? What do you do when you aren’t sure you can trust your gut (because, contrary to popular belief, sometimes your gut gets bad programming and you can’t trust it).

5. I want to stay home from work this afternoon and play with the flowers that are in full bloom in my yard.


  • 15 minutes Arc trainer (elliptical), 160 strides/minute pace
  • 10 minutes Stepmill with skip-a-step intervals
  • 15 minutes treadmill incline and side-step intervals
  • 5 minute Arc trainer cooldown
  • Core sequence, 3x through:
    • 10 Roman chair back extensions
    • 10 kettlebell wood chops each side
    • 12 bench v-ins


The Next Step 5/8/18

The Next Step 5/8/18

The other day I realized I need to figure out what to do with this blog. It’s been lying dormant here on the internet, giving me website shame. Things have changed, a lot, since my last post. So much. 

And I’ve been listening for far too long to the experts who told me what I had to do in order to have a blog … even though it’s likely I’ve had a blog for longer than most of them have been old enough to own laptops. Plus, there’s been a great deal of business and personal betrayal, which has made me pull back on sharing basically anything. I’ve been figuring all that out and what it meant and means.

For my entire life I’ve tried really hard to color inside the lines because on a survival level I want to fit in and be a good girl. But the truth is, that’s probably not me … I get bored, I check out, I slip out the side door. So I am going to do an experiment, replicating what I did back in the days when I enjoyed blogging. Because as I’ve been musing on this blog’s future, I realized the officialization of blogging (the rules, the must-haves, the systems) is part of what killed it for me.

For a while, I’m just going to write about stuff that interests me. Stuff I find fun or helpful or “aha.” If it sticks, I’ll keep the blog. If it doesn’t, cya later gator. 

If you followed my old forever-archived blog, you know I love lists. 

5 Things for Tuesday, May 8

1. Bingeing on The Next Step on Hulu. How did this happen? And why?

2. Life is better when you have a goal or something to look forward to.
3. Sitting all day at work sucks. Fastest way to effortlessly gain weight ever.
4. Trying to turn that above thought around, into how efficient my body has become at storing energy. It’s built to survive.
5. Being able to “borrow” e-books from the library is pretty awesome.

  1. Workout

        • 15 minutes on elliptical
        • Upper body circuit (nursing a bad shoulder)
          • 4x through:
            Cable row, 10
            Straight-arm pulldown, 10
            Triceps pressdown, 15
          • 4x through:
            Dumbbell chest press, 10
            Rear delt raise, 12
            Biceps curl, 15
        • 15 minutes on treadmill, incline intervals.