Sunday, December 29, 2013

Keep it simple in 2014!

SO many times in my past around this time of year I would say, 
"Okay when January 1st gets here I'm starting the _____ diet and going to lose weight and get healthy!"

But these days I realize it could have been much more simple.  All of those years of deprivation until I gave in and binged until I couldn't button my pants...whew!  It was like I had no grasp on BALANCE and how it could be.  I would find a "diet" that felt right for me at the time, would get 110% motivated and I'd be off to a great start...but wait, what about dinner with friends on Friday night at that birthday party on Saturday that'll surely have delicious cake and ice cream?  I could control myself, I was stronger than the cake!  I AM STRONGER THAN CAKE.  I'd repeat over and over...but wait chips and dips...I AM STRONGER THAN THE CHIPS AND DIPS.  Over and over...
I'd do great right?  Avoid the foods and head home eating my scheduled (tasteless) meal and I was on a roll.  I had overcome the temptation.  Once.  A few weeks would pass, I was losing weight and focused. But wait, I'm a teenager and I shouldn't be worried about all of this, I should be enjoying my life with friends.  I'd head out to dinner and BOOM!  I'd blow it not even knowing why.  I'd get comfortable, find my favorite items on the menu which were usually the highest in fat or deep fried :( and instead of indulging only a little, I'd eat the entire plate along with bread or chips and a dessert.  WHAT?!  But why?  Surely one person doesn't require that much food in one sitting?  I wasn't starving and on the verge of death before that meal, was I?  Ughhhh.   But wait after feeling guilty could I justify eating that huge meal?  Of course.  I was young and it wasn't fair for me to go without while all of my friends and family were enjoying these same meals, right?  Of course :(  
My head would hit the pillow at night and I'd tell myself, "It's okay tomorrow will be different, I'll start over and succeed."
Only tomorrow kept repeating itself over, over and OVER AGAIN...

Today my life is much different and it works.  Sure I have tough days where I want to settle back into my old ways BUT I've worked entirely too hard to give up and revert back to my unhealthy way of life and what example would I be setting for my children?  They NEED to know what healthy living is and why it is so important.  It doesn't matter our age, gender, lifestyle or struggles...BEING HEALTHY IS IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF US.  We want a good quality of life, don't we?  Not to be bound to our homes and unable to enjoy playing with our children.  We want to have the stamina to travel, go on vacations and play a game of soccer with our kids don't we?  YES.  When I was an unhealthy child, I could barely keep up with my friends which only made me lose focus even more.  I would lose self-esteem and feel worthless so I'd repeat the patterns that brought me to that place over and over again and I felt like I had no way out.  EVER and for a child or teen that life can be tough.  

BALANCING our lives from day to day can be challenging and the same goes with our diet and exercise.
It's challenging, we're busy, life gets in the way and we must learn to roll with the punches. 
I focus on BALANCE every day.  It's not about PERFECTION but more about finding what works for you and your family.
I plan most days before they happen, especially when it comes to food.  If I don't plan ahead, I realize that I'm much more willing to let temptation get the best of me.  
If I plan it out, even if only in my head...I take on the day with a positive and healthy attitude. 

If I'm attending a party, dinner with family or friends or having to eat on the go then I PREPARE. 
I make sure I pack healthy snacks in the car and I look up the menu before I arrive at the restaurant.  If it's a birthday party or at someones home, I know what they are serving so that I may plan accordingly.  If I know it's something I wouldn't particularly eat, I eat at home before we arrive or I pack foods that I want to eat instead.  YES this can be annoying but somehow instead of being frustrated these days with it, I find it satisfying that I'm choosing to put my health first.  I know how hard I've worked throughout the week and don't want to blow it on curly fries, ya know what I mean? 
If I attend a function and decide to give in a little more when it comes to my eats, I realize that tomorrow will be better, it's a not-so-perfect meal and it does NOT mean that I've blown all my hard work and I have to start over...NEVER.  It's BALANCE.  Good days, bad days, good eats, bad eats, good workouts and poor workouts...BALANCE!  

For me personally, I had to get to a place where I appreciated the process and the journey.  Instead of finding myself frustrated with having to plan ahead and constantly think about my foods and workouts, I take it as a privilege that I know how to take care of my body.  

I no longer "blow my diet" or "start over on Monday".  

I work toward my goals always, practicing and working to find BALANCE and you can too!  

Some options that work for me throughout my day,
1/4 c frozen berries and handful of almonds.  How simple and satisfying. For some reason I prefer my berries frozen but either way it doesn't matter.  

1 slice sprouted bread topped with one slice low sodium turkey bacon and ground turkey with scrambled eggs.  This was all prepared ahead of time in my fridge so I heat and eat!  BOOM!
And yes this is a meal for me-small yet BALANCED with a small clementine orange this day, but any serving of fruit would be great!  
Below is fresh string beans with a little garlic powder, onion and TJ's coconut oil spray.  Slice chicken sausage (apple chardonnay flavored from Trader Joes) and some lowfat mozzarella cheese.  

I just layer those ingredients on some whole wheat NAAN bread, pop in the toaster oven and enjoy like "pizzas"!  I make plenty of these to last throughout the week and prepare my kids version with my Bisquick pizza dough made with flaxseed and same toppings!  Quick, simple and BALANCED. In our house we call it PIZZA NIGHT but with way less fat and calories than the versions I used to order and we'd find ourselves eating FAR too much breadsticks, soft drinks and pizza when we did it that way.  This way we get that satisfying meal that tastes great but makes us feel good too.  
This is the NAAN bread- 

Go To workouts!
It may not be ideal but it works.  If it's raining and you can't get out for a walk or run, your favorite group fitness class is cancelled or you have a kid home sick from school...nothing better than a workout video!  
You can't go wrong with Jillian Michaels-effective and affordable!  
I also recommend Bob Harper's Ultimate Cardio-BURNS CRAZY CALORIES!
(Both can be purchased at WalMart and Target stores)

and I know we must be doing something right when I pop in my workout videos and my boys RUN upstairs, put on their workout clothes and join in!  We kept seeing who could perform them perfectly, see how many we could do in the amount of time given and so on.  If you make it fun, they'll wanna join in more often!  While you're working out, explain why Mom and Dad do this...we are taking care of our heart, staying healthy, staying strong, etc!  With my boys I quiz them on healthy fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy and grains!  THEY LOVE IT!  
WALL SITS!  All he cared about was knowing that his favorite athletes perform this exercise and he was ALL OVER IT!  
Ya know even with my background and struggles, degree, experience teaching health and physical education to children and my work in cardiac rehab I STILL cannot guarantee that my children will appreciate a love for healthy living as I do.  BUT I do know that they have learned BALANCE from an early age and will continue to learn about it for years to come. They respect and know that treats are exactly what they are called "treats" and that exercise and eating healthy are the way things SHOULD be for everyone.  I strive to find balance for them as well.  We cannot take all unhealthy things away from them and we do not have to expose them to all unhealthy things just because.  We don't eat chips straight from the bag but I will pack "junk food" on occasion in one-serving portions in their lunch.  They will not know to sit with a bag of chips in front of the TV as I did as a kid.  They will know that grabbing 3-4 portions of mashed potatoes is not OKAY and that deep fried foods are not BALANCED but that doesn't mean they will never have them.  

BALANCE for all of us this year and while I'll work at it for the rest of my life, my hope is that I'm able to share my struggles with it to somehow help others find it in their lives as well!  

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Make the Commitment!

Will you join the movement with us?
Last year at this time, my husband and I decided to sign up for another 5K.  We had done too many to count and it seemed like one on January 1st would be something different!  We arrived and received t-shirts, BIB #'s and a journal.  A journal that would allow us to keep track of our goals for 2013. 

At the finish line, it was time to snap our picture and as I looked down at my phone pic, I started to cry.  Not sure why I was just seeing it but I had gained weight, let go even if only a little, of all the things I wanted for myself.  Of course I hadn't allowed myself to go too far back, to that dark place I had been for so many years BUT I had slacked off.  I had "finished" my journey which also meant I was losing sight of my health.  Sure I'm not obese in this photo and at this time I was getting an hour or two of exercise 6-7 times a week!  oh YES.  I'm sorry but we cannot overcome poor eating, even if we exercise EVERY day.  Vigorous exercise doesn't matter either, my workouts are tough, never easy but when I would come home and consume a poor diet, well...I just ruined all of that hard work and for what?  NOTHING.  
My eating has ALWAYS been a weakness for me.  Exercise comes very easily, the foods...not so much.  So many foods are linked to emotions for me and sadly that doesn't just disappear when we decide to get healthy.  Unfortunately it's a live and learn, taking one day at a time.  There are good days and bad days but we must WORK HARD to have more good than bad.  My foods had to change.  I had to STOP my ways of slowing creeping packaged carbs(a huge trigger for me!) back into my diet.  I was eating fruits and veggies BUT also many packaged snacks such as crackers, grains, whole wheat pasta, and tortillas and while these things are okay in moderation, I have a hard time stopping with just one serving.  As I say so often, if it's a trigger or a food that you have little control around, GET IT OUT!  I was preaching to all of you but wasn't following my own advice and knowledge.  Sad how that happens, isn't it?  I KNOW the facts, the things we must do to take care of our bodies but until January of 2013, I wasn't following my own advice 100%.  Of course I would workout and push myself HARD but the foods...ah not so much :(  

Something about that picture at the finish line clicked for me.  Yet again I had an AH HA moment. And I needed it, that's for sure.  I was back up to a size 12, which is nothing near the size 22 I had been at the start of my journey in 2001 but my weight was increasing, body was changing and that wasn't good.  I had to get back in control.  SUCH A HARD THING FOR ME TO DO ...TAKE MY LIFE BACK ONCE AGAIN.  As I say a million times, it's NEVER over.  It can never be over.  I will fight emotional eating for the rest of my life.  No day is easier but each day is worth it.  

Flash forward to night with my husband which means 
NO WORKOUT CLOTHES :)  ...(the picture taken below)

I cannot believe the transformation my body has made over the past year.  There are days where I wanted to quit, give up and just deal with being heavy the rest of my life BUT I am worth more than that.  My family deserves more than that and I deserve happiness, true happiness.  My husband thinks I'm beautiful no matter my size BUT he sees a difference in me, my confidence, attitude, overall health and I see it in him as well.  We have both struggled over and over again and we will continue to struggle BUT it's how we overcome those struggles that keep us going, make us stronger TOGETHER!  

We have just signed up for the Commitment Day 2014 race in our area...I suggest looking for one near you!  The entire meaning behind the race is SO powerful!  We are making the commitment to better health now and always!  We are committing to making this year GREAT!  That journal that we received at this race played a huge part in our success.  We would come home in the evening, write our goals, our foods and our exercise!  We had before pictures in there along with how we felt at that the race finish line.  We wanted to remember why we made the commitment in the first place and it worked!  Small steps in the right direction are worth celebrating!  Keep that in mind always.  Keep pushing, reaching and exceeding your goals for the New Year!  Start now and commit to NEVER QUITTING and NEVER GIVING UP!

My hopes for you and my fellow Move It Mommas that will be joining us locally, is that all of your health and fitness goals are reached THIS year!  I am here to always be honest, share the ups and downs and helpful motivation and tips along the way!  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

worth it?

There's not a day that goes by that I don't reflect even if only for a bit, on how far I've come.  The person that I have become vs. who I used to be.  
Of course there are days where I wish it didn't have to be work, or that I could for once not think about workouts, foods that I'm preparing, or goals that I'm trying to reach. BUT if I stop and think if the hard work, dedication and pain is WORTH IT?  ABSOLUTELY.  
I wouldn't trade those frequent days of feeling worthless, having no energy or little self-esteem for anything in this world.  I am a new, better person who is confident with who she is.  I share my passion for health and fitness with each of you because I want each of you to know that things can be different!  
The positive change comes with hard work and dedication!  
I have days where I have to talk myself into working out or preparing meals, I wouldn't be human if I didn't have those bad days but these bad days cannot compare with my former bad days filled with junk food binges, hiding snacks, and laying in bed feeling bloated and like I had been run over by a freight train.  Ugh!
Commit to that change this year!  Make this your year to shine brighter than ever before :)

I hope you all had a blessed and beautiful Christmas!
Mine started out with being thankful that my husband was OFF on Christmas morning-hasn't happened in years, drinking coffee with him while we watched our boys enjoy what Santa had delivered!  Oh Christmas through a child's eyes...nothing more beautiful! After gifts were exchanged and opened, Mommy headed out for a run!  Burned 475 calories before noon-not too shabby!

Part of the reason that 2013 ROCKED was because of these ladies...and quite a bit more that were unable to attend, you may have heard of us-The Move It Mommas?!  Whew I'm SO super proud of these women if I haven't said that enough.  
I was unable to make this race, the Santa Hustle 5K and half marathon but some of our group did make it out!  Woohoo!
I woke up super early that morning and ran FOR THEM.  I did 4.17 miles with them on the brain the entire time.  How my life has changed because of them.  How they push me each day to become better, more fit and more determined.  They don't even know how much they are changing my life, while changing their own.  They met up at the start line of the race as I has suggested but then around 8:50am-before the start time, I received a text of THIS picture...

I started to cry.
I'm not even sure why.  I was SO proud that they feel united, they are part of something and they are there for one another and I guess this picture proved that.  They met up, encouraged one another and took pictures!  They are losing weight, gaining a new outlook on life and making positive changes that will impact their future and their families.  Makes me cry just thinking about how proud I am.  They were strong, finished the race and had family support at the finish line! 
This picture is proof that by me sharing my passion is helping to pass that passion onto others!  Words cannot begin to express how happy that makes me.  
From day 1 of my journey I told myself to remember each step, the feeling, the helplessness, the sweat and tears...all of it and use it to help others that share these similar emotions when it comes to their health.  It's what I'm living now...through these women!  
One of my Momma's, Cristy (far left) posted her race photo a while later and she was smiling SO big!  It made me cry.  She, like myself was never a "runner", didn't really enjoy it and all of a sudden she's found herself enjoying it.  Isn't that what life is all about.  Sharing our dreams and passions with others to hopefully help change the lives of others as we have done to our own lives?  YES.  I wouldn't trade my former ways for anything in this world right now.  Although they caused hurt and many years of feeling helpless, I am able to use that to relate to others that may be struggling in similar ways and THAT is what keeps me going.  

My change since January 2012 when I thought my journey was over.  Oh how I had it all wrong.  It is today that I know my journey will NEVER end.  When it "ends", I have let go of my hopes, goals and health.  I must hold onto it, keep reaching and exceeding all things possible!  While having the background and degrees in health and exercise physiology that DID NOT prepare me for a life of healthy living, unfortunately.  It must be about SO much more than facts.  It must be about getting back up when life knocks you down.  About finding the strength to keep going when you have a major setback.  It's about knowing we are capable of FAR more than we give ourselves credit.  It's about taking that emotion that I used on food and putting it into my runs, workouts, and Move It Mommas!  Food used to act as a companion for me, even though I had the love of my life, a beautiful family and friends I still allowed that food to control me.  It was there for me when others couldn't relate or understand.  And it's not that they didn't try to help when I needed it, it was more that food couldn't judge me or let me down.  It was ALWAYS THERE, no matter what.  Those little debbies, pizza, fast food and pasta-it was there through my tough times with my father, the divorce of my parents, when friends let me down, when family would discourage me, when my 8th grade dance dress was too tight, or when people would say, "Wow you have such a beautiful FACE" was there.  And this progress picture is proof that my journey CANNOT end.  If it ends, I've given up and I don't want to ever give up and you should never give up either!  We are all worth more than that.  It's all worth more than giving up! 
And as for my Christmas?  
It was FILLED with workout attire, hoodies, a watch, tennis shoes and socks!  The people I love most know what I LOVE!  And I'm fixing to take off and run in one of my new, workout outfits!  Look at me...instead of an old t-shirt and pants I have an outfit that matches!  LOL!  It's the little things in life, right?!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tips for the New Year!

Another year of goal setting, plans for a healthy lifestyle and beyond...
I'm here to make that process a bit easier! 

  • Write out your goals and make them REALISTIC.  Instead of looking at the year and what you need to accomplish.  Focus on small steps, celebrate each one and as those attainable weekly goals are met-you will feel a sense of progress throughout the year!  If we look and the "finish line" seems out of reach, we lose focus and give up.  

  • SMALL STEPS make HUGE progress!
-Take things one day at a time.  Don't overwhelm yourself with where the road will lead or take you, just hop on and enjoy the ride!  
-Some weekly goals: Eat breakfast EVERY day.  Serve, small balanced meals and snacks with nutrient-rich foods.  Fill HALF of your dinner plate with fruits and veggies.  BE ACTIVE-a family walk, bike ride, or going to the gym.  Prepare, cook and eat together as a family several times a week-meals tend to be more balanced this way.  
Start thinking about it now before the ball drops on New Years Eve.  

  • Make healthy living a family affair.
-When working with your children on health and nutrition, do not focus on WEIGHT.  We want children to know that healthy living is a way of life, not about how much we weigh.  They should simply enjoy being active!  Don't allow them to sit in front of a computer screen all afternoon-they've done that most of the day while at school.  Give them a chance to play, run and BE KIDS!

-**Children should get 60+ minutes of physical activity a day and unfortunately most of that cannot be done in schools with PE and Health programs being cut short.  

-Kids need to play and be active, not workout so keep it FUN! 

-Let the kids help in the kitchen.  Chances are when the kids are involved in planning and preparing, they will feel proud and want to enjoy it as a family!  As they are trying new things, let them know how that particular food is helping their heart and body, it works!  

  • Don't expect results when you aren't committed to making CHANGE!
-We often find ourselves frustrated after a few weeks of trying to live healthier.  It's because we expect fast results from little work.  That's unfortunately not how it works.  For lasting results, it takes work, dedication and time.  Once you find yourself adapting to this new way of life, feeling better and having more energy-The rest falls into place!  

  • It's a journey, keep that in mind every day.  
-I am here to say it doesn't get much easier.  Yes it becomes part of your life and each day is a step forward for yourself and your family BUT it doesn't get much easier if you want to continue to challenge yourself!  We must keep pushing and reaching to keep making positive change.  It does NOT happen overnight, or with a magic diet or pill.  
It's finding your BALANCE through healthy eating, workouts and just moving and feeling good :)

  • STOP saying it's not fair and STOP making excuses.
-Before our journey begins, we think of all of the things that stand in our way and have stood in our way to stop our successes in the past, don't we?  
"Oh I lost weight but then my knee started to hurt, my car broke down and I gained all of the weight back"...and then some.  "I have back problems so working out is something I'll never be able to do", "The pills I take each morning make me feel sick, so I can't workout in the morning but I have to grab a quick breakfast before work then my stomach hurts from the fast food" and the list goes on and on.  
Bizarre but it's a good way to not let ourselves down, isn't it?
I think we believe that if we give all of the reasons that we can't do something, if we don't succeed-then we know why.  Helps us feel less like a failure.  BUT try not doing it this time around.  
Write down and give yourselves reasons why you CAN and why you WILL!
You deserve a happy, HEALTHY life so get out there and get it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

need help pushing forward to 2014?

If there's one thing I know, it's how to indulge around the Holidays.
I was the queen of baking a dozen cookies AND eating half.  
The one that would have 3-4 helpings on Christmas knowing darn well that I had stuffed my face the entire week leading up to it.  
I was the one that could justify fast food EVERY day of Christmas break because I was "taking it easy".  
UGH.  To have changed that mindset before now...
But the good news is change is about moving forward, letting go of the person that I once was, growing and helping others do the same.  
If I ask anything, it's to please not make the same mistakes that I did for so long.  The FEAST is not what Christmas is about.  It's about Christ, being with family and making memories that will hopefully last a lifetime-both good and not so good! 
Look past the food at the dinner table these next, few weeks.  

LOVED this quote and shared on Instagram this week...such truth, isn't it?
If you stay prepared this time of year, you will less likely want to give in to temptation.  It's TOUGH and you must stay motivated and tell yourself why you want to be healthy, EVERY SINGLE DAY.  It's a process and a lifelong journey, so buckle down and stay focused...
Plus if you get yourself moving, physical exercise most of the week-you'll want to focus on the way you feel and the progress you've made rather than moving backwards with your consumption of empty calories and fat or as I call it, mindless eating.  (I could hold a Masters degree in mindless eating-I do it VERY well)

Some snacks that help me,
Apple Cinnamon Rice Cake topped with 1tbs pumpkin cream cheese.  Yes it's the full-fat but it's delicious and TRUST ME-a much better option for a snack than pumpkin pie :)  Ha!

TWO THUMBS UP for Cheesecake Factory-Skinnylicious menu!  
Woohoo, somebody has done it right.  
I have stayed away from this place for a LONG time because my former self would order a grilled chicken club-stacked with sourdough bread, mayo, avocado, tons of melted cheese and a heaping pile of FRENCH FRIES :(  Ughhhh....and of course no meal is complete there without cheesecake, so a slice of Original and strawberries please!  So in a matter of minutes, I had consumed well OVER a day's worth of calories and fat.  Sad but true, I'd leave feeling not overly full :(  Whew.  
I decided to conquer my fears and know that I CAN DO THIS.  Mind over matter so we walked in. The menu had changed A LOT but found an insert that said, "Skinnylicious" and I started to browse.  Whew the choices!  
I went with the Turkey Burger and side salad:
I opted for half the bun and light on the Skinnylicious vinegarette as well.  VERDICT:  It was AMAZING!  Full of flavor, very juicy and filling.  It was delicious.  I was so happy to know that healthy choices even at a place where my temptation used to get the best of me.  It felt fabulous and I practiced self-control.  A HUGE victory to be celebrated and I did.  
I think often times people do not believe me when I say that I have a food addiction.  Every where I go, food is placed with a memory for me.  A place where I let my food intake spiral out of control.  It was like the bread basket would hit the table and I was there, waiting with my knife full of butter :(  Oh such sad truth.  But I feel that being honest is part of the way I am able to help others.  I want you to 100% know that each step is work, nothing comes easy and it never will.  BUT is it worth fighting through the bad days?  YES, it definitely is.  ALWAYS.  So Cheesecake Factory did not control my life that day!  I am proud to say!!  
Each step on your journey is worth a celebration, big or small.  It's part of the reason you will get to that finish line-conquer your goals and fears!  You will not allow food to take over your life, or a busy schedule, a physical disability, a disease, poor health, your age, your children...NOTHING!  Whatever your obstacles may be, right here and now...

Another meal idea that's so simple, it should be illegal!
In a skillet, combine 1/2 onion and 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic-chopped, 1lb turkey or we used deer sausage and 1 lb lean ground turkey.  I browned the onion, garlic and ground meat first, then added the sausage once the meat was cooked through.  To that mixture add garlic powder and 2 bags of frozen, vegetable gumbo mix!  Sounds silly but it has carrots, onions, peppers, okra, peas, beans, corn...just enough of all of the flavors!  We served this mixture with 1/2 cup brown rice pasta and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  

The other day, no food was prepped so that means find something that'll fuel my body-sort of.  6 Ritz crackers with a Eating Right 30calorie garlic cheese wedge, 2 slices lean low-sodium roasted Boars Head turkey.  1/2 apple topped with PB and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Effortless and tasty.  

Sweet tooth?
Try a handful of almonds, few mini chocolate chips and a few marshmallows.  Grab and get OUT OF THE KITCHEN!  Enjoy on the go so you are not tempted to go back for more.  Moderation and portion control MUST be practiced for success!  

Another lunch idea that was DELICIOUS,
Move It Momma Greek egg salad: 2 eggs boiled, chopped and then add 1tbs plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 tbs mustard.  I served on 1 slice of Trader Joes Sprouted bread, toasted.  With a clementine orange and apple.  Yum!  

DO NOT WAIT FOR 2014 to get your act together!  Do it now!
The hardest part for me was the concept of "starting over", or "I'll start again Monday".  I had to change my way of thinking and know that every choice is another day of my journey.  Good or bad, I take it and move on.  I had a bad day of eating and no workouts-GREAT! Move past it and make tomorrow better.  BUT I must keep moving forward after working so hard it's silly to stop when the road I'm traveling on keeps going.  
EVERY DAY is hard.
EACH DAY I must wake up determined and willing to make the best choices for my health and the health of my family.  
You should too.
I am here to make that road easier, to give you tips and ideas to keep you fighting for your health.  But you must put in the hard work.  Nobody can do that part for you.  But focus on the feeling of conquering a goal-that feeling of victory.  Nothing can replace that feeling.  No supplement, diet pill, no fast food meal, slice of chocolate cake or Dr Pepper...NOTHING!  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


We should all live life PASSIONATELY, wouldn't you agree?
For most of us motherhood takes on a whole, new meaning of the word PASSION. 
We put our families first and we do EVERYTHING to make their lives better.  They're sick, we take care of them.  They are hungry, we feed them.  They want to have FUN, we make sure they have lots of it...this one is SO much fun isn't it?  
My point?  When we give 110% to our family are we leaving any PASSION for ourselves?
Throughout life, we must remember to take care of ourselves, live our lives fully and PASSIONATELY as women, mothers, wives, daughters, nieces, granddaughters and so on... 
We should enjoy the steps to better health.  Embrace it and have fun with it.  If working out and healthy eating wasn't fun and adventurous, we'd never succeed with it.  If we turn things around and allow it to give us the push, drive and desire we're looking for...well, just hang on because your life is about to knock your socks off :)  

After all, it's the main focus of The Move It Mommas here locally.  I decided to share MY passion and look where these past 16 weeks have taken me.  Or taken US I should say...I'm no longer going at this alone.  I've got my troops!  My strong, passionate, beautiful, dedicated MOMMAS right by my side...ALL OF YOU, who have followed my journey, seen its ups and downs, my victories and struggles but through it all you have stood by me and somehow found a way to relate and find strength through my honesty. 

My journey is far from over.  It never ends.  If it ends, then we find ourselves falling back into those old habits.  I am so fortunate for my degree in health and exercise physiology, my health education and physical education teaching background, my work in cardiac rehab and my work in prevention of childhood obesity, my Ambassadorships with many fabulous health and fitness organizations across the country!  HOWEVER they only brought me so far on this journey. It must be about SO much more than the facts.  It's about more than helping a person perform exercises or try new, healthy foods.  SO much more than the "eat this, not that".  
It must be about HONESTY, taking every day as it comes, celebrating the SMALL victories, learning to overcome your weaknesses, and most importantly about 
SHARING YOUR PASSION!  Others want to know it can be done with hard work and dedication.  They want to SEE it within others and I always make sure to share my faults just as often as I share my successes.  It's important to me.  
I need you all to see that a girl who would HIDE her Quarter Pounder and french fries, Cheetos and Little Debbies CAN overcome those food addictions, those obstacles that stood in my way-waiting for me to fail can turn her life around by choosing to not allow food or inactivity to control my life.  
One of my Momma's gave me the opportunity to venture into a huge dream of mine, speaking to women about health education/healthy living and my weight loss story!  Not even kidding, when asked I was quite overwhelmed because after the day I graduated college, I said MORE THAN ANYTHING, I WANT TO SHARE MY PASSION, REACH OTHERS, CHANGE LIVES AND SHARE MY WEIGHT LOSS STORY SO WOMEN KNOW EACH STEP, EACH POUND, EACH GOAL REACHED IS POSSIBLE IF YOU "NEVER QUIT" so I did it!  I LOVED it.  I loved sharing my story, the story of my Move It Mommas and how they are changing their lives EVERY day, my husband and his success, my boys and my struggles with finding that healthy balance. It was that moment for me, one that I won't forget.  
A moment to know things are coming full circle.  
If we work hard, NEVER QUIT and keep pushing...the sky is the limit!  And if we have PASSION about what we believe, others will gain confidence in knowing THEY CAN DO IT TOO :)
And of course, use the fuel from those that think you CAN'T.  It works too.  Sad but true.  I like using the "haters" comments and lack of support to fuel me through my workouts and daily struggles with food.  Put your game face on, conquer your fears and commit to a better life!

Who wants some recipes?!  Okay since you asked nicely :)

Move It Momma Chicken Noodle Soup
You'll Need:
2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
bag fresh carrots-peeled and chopped
5 celery stalks-chopped
1/2 onion-chopped
1 cup brown rice pasta

Bring 4 cups water to a boil.  Add chicken and allow to cook.  Once cooked through, dice and set aside.  In broth add celery, onion and carrots-whatever other veggies you'd like.  Allow to cook through then add brown rice pasta and cook on med-high heat for 7 minutes until noodles are tender.  
ENJOY!  LOVE this recipe because it only makes a one-pot mess :)  Who doesn't love that?  It's hearty and delicious, especially served with a fresh side salad or other fresh veggies.  
*My husband suggests adding chopped, fresh garlic to the mix...up to you!

Breakfast idea for the kids...
PB and Jelly(well, sort of) oatmeal
Plain, instant oatmeal -if you want the easy version :) if not, quick or reg oats cooked on the stove, plain.
2 Strawberries chopped, or fruit of their choice.
1 tbs PB
YUM!  They will have a perfectly balanced meal before heading off to school!

Move It Momma Crusted Chicken
You'll Need:
Combine 1/2c whole wheat Panko, 2 tbs whole wheat breadcrumbs and 4 tbs flaxseed meal.  In separate dish, add 2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Lightly Dip chicken in olive oil and then breadcrumb mixture.  Place on sprayed Pyrex(I used TJ's Coconut Oil Spray), heat oven to 425 and layer chicken-with pieces touching and Bake at 425 for 35 minutes until lightly browned on edges.  
THIS IS DELICIOUS!  My boys call it their favorite chicken and I serve ours with 1/2 c long grain brown rice before 4pm (after 4, I serve with veggies only) and a side salad.  Boys with a whole wheat/high fiber grain and veggies.  Simple and can be made in bulk for easy grab and go meals.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

reviews from the Momma's perspective

Since I'm always being asked to review products, I decided I'd try and bring the products to my boot campers.  They are busy mom's trying to balance a healthy way of life, so what more could the companies ask for?  I think they are liking my idea because the Momma's are in for some FUN reviews in the next few weeks so stay tuned.  I'm so happy that most of them have responded so graciously with enough product for all of my ladies.  This way they are able to go home, test the product out for themselves and share their feedback with myself and the group.  So far, they've loved getting the shipments as much as I have :)  (told ya these women were INCREDIBLE!)

Our first product is Crispy Green- Crispy Fruit-
After a tough workout, we gave them a try!  A great snack of dried fruit, containing no other ingredients!  They loved apple, banana and pineapple.  When we had our kid-friendly workouts over Thanksgiving break, we tested them out with the kiddos and they also gave these tasty treats, TWO THUMBS UP!  Yay for Crispy Green.  Getting it right on flavor and packaging, perfect for healthy snacking on the go.  I also had some of the Momma's order more online immediately.  Affordability is also a factor and I think these are very reasonably priced.  I like keeping these in my car for after school sports and activities.  A MUCH healthier option than grabbing a bag of chips.  I suggested a serving of these along with a low fat string cheese or other lean/low fat protein source.  Paired for the perfect BALANCE.  
for more info visit their website:

Next Up: NEVA activewear.  I absolutely love this product and what they stand for.  It fits perfectly and is made from high-quality materials.  I have used it when running, doing my outdoor workouts and on the go while running errands!  I love the color and the arm length-sometimes I buy hoodies and they are baggy and not great for working out.  I will definitely recommend this brand to my Momma's as well as family and friends!  
NEVA has a desire to empower women through activewear! In South Asia over 500 million people survive on less than $1.25/day.  Less than 1/3 of South Asia women work due to lack of education and opportunity.  Helping these women will change their lives and the lives of their children for years to come.  
The hoodie they sent for me to review is sky blue and I LOVE that "Be the CHANGE" is hand-stitched in hot pink :)   I couldn't agree with this statement any more, whether dealing with their cause or myself trying to impact lives around here.  We must ALL BE THE CHANGE if we want to improve the world and share our passion, right?!  
A few words from NEVA:
"NEVA is a higher standard of activewear to make you feel fit, inspired and confident—not only in yourself, but also in your purchase. NEVA employs talented artisans in South Asia, who would otherwise be jobless or underpaid, to hand embroider every NEVA piece. Earning 10 times their typical wages, these women and their children have income for food, electricity, healthcare and education."

a perfect example...

For me and my former self, I have major issues relating EMOTIONS to FOOD.  
It's sad that it will actually consume me, take over and the mindless eating begins.  My old ways, I'd binge out of control until that emotion was "coated" completely.  Problem is, it never solved the problem only made it worse because the cycle of feeling awful and not fixing or dealing with the problem would occur over and over again until I fell into rock bottom, would lose a little, stress and gain it all back-and then some.  Not a way to live.  
I fight this battle EVERY, SINGLE day so unfortunately it doesn't just magically go away, we must find ways to deal with it positively and not destructively.  

STRESSFUL time of year for all of us, isn't it?

For me, my son has had some medical concerns that started in MAY and are still going on.  We are working with a great hospital in Houston so I feel confident knowing they are doing all possible to handle it HOWEVER it's my son.  It's scary and I'm worried non-stop.  I tend to worry too much about too many things, it's just the way that I am :( but when it's your children, that worry meter goes WAY up doesn't it?  Eeek.  I also tend to think the worst of the worst when it comes to medical issues, only because I watch too much TV and read too many stories of the "less than 1%" ya know what I mean?  
I am 110% a person that lives life with passion to HELP others, to be there for people and obviously to help people and their families GET HEALTHY.  I have a huge heart that's willing to go the extra mile whenever needed and for that, I feel hurt.  My husband, children, family and friends are my life! These "Move It Mommas" have changed my life even more.  Ya know that quote, "surround yourself with people that want the best for you, not people that want to hurt you" it's true and I think that too often, we think we want what's best for others but then it comes to a point where we put on the brakes and want a little less for them?  I sure hope I'm not that way, but it's how I feel I'm being treated at times.  The Mommas are giving me more fight and determination to help the World!  Sounds silly but I truly have dreams of helping those who were lost, just as I was and as they change, they will change others and together we'll CHANGE A NATION!  big dreams but not giving up!  Who's with me?  

In my former days:
I'd eat through these stresses.  EAT A LOT.  
I will use life's bumps in the road to fuel my fire.  It sounds a little silly but it works.  Almost as if we will prove to ourselves that we've got what it takes.  Sometimes we find people who doubt our capabilities and instead of allowing that to derail us, we should instead use it as motivation.  
Determination and motivation can be SO powerful when your heart goes into it!  

Bumps in the road used to send me into a deep depression which caused eating, weight gain and sadness. NOT ANYMORE.
Bumps in the road will now send me into a workout EUPHORIA!!!  Ha!  If my workouts and eating habits these days indicate my stresses then I'd say there's quite a bit fueling me at this point!  

MY hope for myself and each of you is that you find passionate people that want what's best for you and your family.  NOTHING LESS.  Find what makes you happy and find people that want you happy and healthy.  Right?  It's a process that will last a lifetime, change your life and the lives of the people around you.  Go big and set your goals each day, each week...never losing sight of what matters!  NEVER.  

Can't wait to share our 1st annual Christmas party pictures with all of you.  We had a BLAST and if I haven't said it enough, these women are changing my life.  They always tell me its the other way around but I don't believe them.  They are committed and so wonderful to me each day.  I feel like I've known them my entire life...crazy how that happens.  God sure is watching over me and surrounding me with positive, beautiful and STRONG women :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

find YOUR drive and determination!

THE OLD ME -my 21st birthday 2001

 -thank you DeltaLabs for the feature...I'm fortunate to be part of such a beautiful company that focuses on strong, powerful WOMEN!

When I tried losing weight a million times, no matter the plan the outcome was always the same.  I’d lose 20-30lbs, feel great and then have a bad day, rebel from eating cabbage soup and it was back to bags of chips and fast food for me.  The weight would come creeping back on and before I knew it I had let myself down again…

     I noticed that my weight was an issue early on in my life.  I was taller and larger than most of my classmates, but realized that when other kids were playing and having fun, I was worried about food.  Always wanting to know when it was time to eat and what we were having.  My life was CENTERED around food.  My family gathered around food.  It was someone’s birthday, we ate….anything we could turn into a celebration and we’d EAT.  If I was hungry, instead of a light snack I’d have 3 course meals just like the adults.  While other children were enjoying childhood, I was worried about being the last one to finish my laps in PE or why my pants were too tight.  By the time I got the junior high, my weight was noticeably more than my classmates, I would stand in the snack bar line 2-3 times just to grab that last snack.  Was I hungry?  Absolutely not but I was trapped.  It only got worse as I grew older.  Yes I fit in and was a popular kid but I was smiling on the outside while feeling empty inside.  By now I had accepted that I was the “fat girl” and just tried to fit in my using my bubbly personality and it worked…for a long time. 
    Standing in my bathroom at 21 years old, I didn’t recognize myself.  I was addicted to fast food and yes I call it an addiction because I would eat one meal while watching the time pass until I could get my next.  It was like a drug to me, short-lived but felt so good as I indulged.  Sad isn’t it?  How being dependent on food can be just as painful and self-destructive as a drug?  I was a 21 year old college student, weighing 245lbs, in a size 18 and helpless.  This was my life.  I had accepted it.  Or had I?

If I wanted to CHANGE, the kind of change that would last…I had to do something drastic.  I had to change my way of thinking.  See for so long I felt like life was unfair.  Why did I have to diet and exercise to lose weight, while others stuffed their faces with chips and soft drinks and looked like Barbie and Ken?  Why??  It was when I stopped asking Why and started LIVING that my life truly changed and I never looked back....

I've shared my story a million times, reflecting a little more each time I tell it.  A part that I tried to erase from my memory seems to be the biggest FUEL that I need to keep going and fighting forward.  I was 21 years old at seemed to be at rock bottom, or so I thought.  Sitting in my college apartment, I received a call and it was from my childhood best friend.  She was SO excited and had some great news to share...
She was ENGAGED!  I was so happy for her and we both screamed with excitement.  Then she asked me to be her bridesmaid and of course, I said YES!  Why wouldn't I?  She was one of my closest friends, we had so many childhood memories and now this was the next step in her life.  Months passed and it was time for bridesmaid dress shopping!  Eeek.  This was the first wedding I'd stand in.  I arrived at David's Bridal, with many "skinny" girls all around me.  
She chose a beautiful navy dress that seemed to flatter all figures, so we tried them on and with none available (large enough) for me to try on, they took my measurements.  I sat in the store, short of breathe and just waiting for the SIZE they'd order for me....a 16?  Maybe an 18 right?  The lady came back in my dressing room and said, "Ok Ms. Louviere we've ordered you a size 22 and your dress with arrive soon."  
My heart sank.  A 22.  A girl who struggled with weight for so much of her life had actually let go.  She had given up and decided this was how her life was going to be forever huh?  Through the years I'd bounce between a 12 and 14, gain and lose here and there, try diets-lose weight-I'd get lazy and fail.  Over and over and OVER again.  This was proof.  It was out of control for me.  I stayed in that dressing room for hours.  I was embarrassed, disappointed in myself.  Just sick about it but what was I to do?  
First thing I stopped at my trusty McDonald's and grabbed lunch.  The kind that coated those emotions I was feeling and it worked, temporarily as usual.  Felt awful afterward and moved on.  But then came that night where I found myself in front of my bathroom mirror, crying.  I couldn't stop crying.  This was my life and I did not know how to change.
THAT WAS IT.  ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH, I HIT ROCK BOTTOM AND IT WAS TIME TO START MY JOURNEY...FOREVER!  Boom!  I reached deep down, thought about EVERY person that doubted me, the people that hurt me and made me feel worthless in life, the people that didn't think I could change-heck, I didn't think I could change.  I started by BELIEVING I COULD.  Don't ask me where it came from, I just did.  My first time at the gym, I cried.  I was embarrassed and intimidated.  What a scary place for a lost girl trying to find her way.  I gave fast food a rest.  It was something I depended on in my worst hours and it was time to quit.  I reflected on driving through a fast food joint at least once a day...ONCE A DAY?  That's horrible, but it was the truth and once I admitted that to myself, I moved on.  Started using my frustrations and emotions in my workouts instead of on food.  That was a HUGE milestone for me, since food played such a big role in my obesity.  I had to practice SELF-CONTROL and I still work on that daily.  
The good news?  I lost weight and it came off quickly.  I was feeling better, gaining my life back.  I was fighting for what I wanted and that felt so good...MUCH better that the temporary fix I'd get from food.  MUCH BETTER.  By the time the final dress fitting rolled around, I had lost over 70lbs and gone to a size 8!  WOOHOO!!!  Crazy things happen when we find determination and FIGHT! 

...the rest of my journey can be found here.  

Don't let the start of your journey pass you by!  Start NOW.  Find the drive and determination you've been waiting for.  Reach within and grab it!  Start LIVING :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mizuno Wave Rider 17

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.  

I have been a Mizuno fan for a while now.  After making my way through pairs of the other brands, I found my Wave Creation 13's and I was sold.  The comfort, style and performance of these shoes cannot be matched by competitors, in my opinion.  
When I was asked to wear-test these Wave Rider 17's, I was thrilled to try a neutral shoe with a different style.  The Wave Rider will be an ideal shoe for a wide variety of runners with just enough cushion for long distance running.  

When I opened the package my first reaction was WOW!  Love the colors.  Very bright and stylish but when it comes to proper running shoes, we must focus on the performance rather than the look :)  Pink, yellow and grey!  But hang in there if pink is not your color, they offer plenty of color selections and they all look great.  
My first test run in the shoes?
I honestly feel like Mizuno is a step ahead when it comes to style, performance and durability.  I was able to PR my 5K Turkey Trot race in these shoes so that definitely helped with my thoughts on the product :) but it was about performance and comfort for me throughout my run.  I have now tested them out at least 6 times, on long distance runs, speed work and cross training.  They met and exceeded my standards when it comes to shoes, so I would definitely recommend these as a great, neutral running shoe.  

These shoes retail at $114.99 and will be released on December 5, 2013.
Be on the lookout at a store near you and if you are looking for a stylish shoe, a great performance product and so much more-I suggest you give the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 a try!  

While I received the Mizuno Wave Rider 17 as a sponsored post on behalf of FitFluential LLC, all opinions and thoughts are 100% mine.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Buckle down and LETS DO THIS

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  
Hope you enjoyed the time with family and friends.
It's a tough time to be focusing on eating right and exercise right?
Busy time of year surrounded by cookies, hot chocolate, plenty of good foods, parties and chilly weather BUT it does not mean you get to throw all of your hard work out the window.

Your strength begins to really show as we reach this time of year.  Last year we were writing down New Year's Resolutions right?  Uh oh, have we forgotten what all we wanted to achieve?  Hope not.  So many times we use this time of year to bulk?  We know the first of the year is right around the corner and temptation will be everywhere, so we fuel up on empty calories and take some time off from our workouts.  
Uh oh, here comes that two steps forward, three steps back.  Have I mentioned it before?  
It was something I battled for YEARS.  
Seems like I'd get ahead only to fall behind months later.  
From experience, it's no way to live.  

My suggestions?  
Don't wait for the New Year to set health and fitness goals for yourself.  Take each step as it comes and focus on BALANCE throughout the Holidays.  This way when January 1st rolls around, you'll be prepared and ready to step it up even more.  The great thing about our health is that there's always room for improvement.  We can challenge ourselves in so many ways so keep things interesting and exciting!
Be prepared.  Especially at parties.  Don't show up on an empty stomach with your eyes bulging out of your head ( Oh I know this feeling all too well )  Balance your meals throughout the day, have a lean protein and fiber-rich snack beforehand and choose wisely when it comes to the appetizers and main entrees!  Drink water before the adult beverages and foods and make sure to get in some great workouts on those days too.  PLAN AHEAD.  
Create non-food related family activities!  Have the family play a game of football in the backyard while the food is cooking rather than all gathering around the kitchen table and munching on empty calories for HOURS.  Go for a family walk, play kickball, or hide and seek!  Keep it simple and FUN!

Move It Mommas Pumpkin French Toast
You'll Need:
Sprouted Bread-I used TJ's brand
1 tbs TJ's pumpkin butter or any other brand
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
splash of Almond Milk-Unsweetened Original

Combine ingredients with beaten egg until mixed well.  
Dip bread into the mixture on both sides as pictured below.  
Heat skillet on medium heat and place bread onto heated skillet.  Allow to cook on each side, flipping occasionally.
Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and no sugar syrup with scrambled egg/egg whites :)

Quick and Healthy snacking doesn't have to be difficult!  Keep it SIMPLE.
Light String Cheese and 1/4 cup berries.  This takes seconds to prepare or pack on the go leaving NO ROOM FOR EXCUSES!  

Thanksgiving leftovers turned HEALTHY!
handful of raw veggies dipped in my Greek Ranch dip ( in recipe section at top of site)
Mixed greens topped with handful of sunflower seeds, smoked Turkey without skin, dried cranberries 1/2 serving and a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar for dressing!  

Same outfit 34lb difference.  
Pants of the left are size 10  right a size 6!  A fun, little comparison to show me once again how far I've come.  I celebrate the little victories and YOU SHOULD TOO.  Be proud of every step you make toward better health.  It can be baby steps or leaps-your choice but always keep reaching new goals and setting yourself up for success.  
You never know your limits so keep trying, NEVER QUIT! 
The COUNTDOWN to Christmas in ON!  
What goals have you set for yourself this week?  This month?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Trot...and SO much more!

It started with a few Momma's saying they'd like to run as a group and THEN? 

As you can see, the picture taking was THE most fun! But we did actually run...after more and more pictures! 

And after pictures, the race began ;) 

We took off!!! 
It was 5K time and I hadn't run a 5K in over a year so I knew I wanted to run a PR race but wasn't focused on it, I just wanted everyone to burn calories and have fun! 
It was at that moment that I realized MY journey has now become so much more. And being the emotional person that I am, I started to cry as I ran. It's not only about my journey or my husbands's about ALL OF THESE WOMEN. They have found inspiration through me, just as I have found it through each of them. They all have their own story, struggles and goals. They each have reasons why they want to be healthy and reasons why they have become part of this group. This group of amazing, strong and beautiful women...Momma's to be exact! 

I FINISHED STRONG! I PR'ed!!!! Fastest 5K I've ever run at 29:18! I'm not fast now either but my first 5K ever was in 49 minutes and fastest before today was 33:27 so I was very proud of myself as I crossed that finish line today!!! 

After crossing I also immediately ran to the side and started cheering for my fellow Momma's. Ya see what I have started is changing my life. Sure I have huge personal goals but I also have goals and hopes for each of these women. I knew today as I was super proud of myself, I was also equally proud to share this morning and race with these women. 
For some it was their first race, others hadn't run in years and for some it was just another milestone to check off the list...
Whatever the reason, we did it TOGETHER-What I always wanted when I started my journey years ago. I NEVER wanted others to go at it alone-ever! It can be a lonely road and tough at times so I wanted to make sure that I could be there 100% for others that shared similar struggles with their health. TODAY, at this race, I felt like my dreams and hopes are coming true each day, in these women. I am inspired more than ever. We cheered for each other, pushed one another, and celebrated together!!!!! What a beautiful feeling. 
As each of them finished, I felt so PROUD. And although they thank me(not sure why, they push hard and do the work each day!) I must thank them for sharing their journey with ME. It is truly changing my life and I believe that I was given my past struggles to share and help others. I feel EXACTLY where I need to be and I hope they sincerely know how much each of them have impacted my life today and every day! 


WOOHOO!!!!! WE ALL DID IT TOGETHER!!!!!! Whew, I hope these ladies never leave my side! I'll sure never leave them ;) Stay tuned, I have big plans for these ladies in the future. 
Share your passion and do what you love. Help others, inspire others and it'll change your life forever. 

Today I am thankful for my husband, boys, pup, family, friends, blog readers, fellow FitFluential friends AND MY MOVE IT MOMMAS!!!!! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

heart health WITH the kids

I had the pleasure of working with my Move It Mommas AND their kids today! 
Yes it was freezing cold (we're pathetic here in TX) but we pushed through.  The kids were excited and enthusiastic about exercise and that makes me HAPPY! 
Very proud of each of them!! 
As a child that was overweight and inactive most of my childhood, I cherish the moments where kids WANT to be healthy, exercise and learn more about taking care of their bodies and heart.  Our children desire to live healthy lives but if all they are exposed to is junk food and TV then what message are we sending?  Be that role model for them...they deserve it more than you know. 
I can remember being a child in PE and dreading the running, sit ups, relays and pull ups.  Eeek.  I was terrible and I knew that the entire class would be able to perform far better than me.  So here came the foot hurts, stomach ache, headache, whatever would work.  Unfortunately most of the time I'd be able to get out of performing the activity, which did NOT help me at all.  So I'd sit and watch my friends be active while I watched from the sidelines...oh how that would be such a key part of my former life.  The sidelines.  I recall walking into my 8th grade dance (in a dress that was poofy and 80's LOL) standing there all alone while my friends were asked to dance time and time again.  Whew it started so young.  Although I wasn't "HUGE", I stood out.  I was tall, broad shoulders and overweight...geez, not a great combo for middle school.  I felt awful and rejected so to cover that emotion, I'd eat.  And eat and eat.  I just remember so often being uncomfortable in my own skin.  I was unaware of how to change, to be better so I simply continued to self-destruct.  Some may say being overweight is not the end of the world and that's SO true.  It's not.  BUT when it takes over many aspects of your life and causes you to stop living then YES it is a bad thing.  That was me.  And it only got worse throughout the years.  Sure I'd try Weight Watchers, Quick Weight Loss Centers, grapefruit diet and the cabbage soup diet.  I'd lose a few pounds, some times quite a bit and then as soon as I'd have a bad moment, mood or emotion...BOOM! Here came that cycle all over again.  Ugh. 
So YES children and teens struggle with self-image, weight issues and self-esteem just as much as least I did and I know I wasn't alone. 
I honestly believe that my mom tried her best but being a single Mom that worked full-time, she could only control so much.  When I was home alone, the binging would start.  I had nobody telling me different so I would continue the pattern.  My mom would come home, we'd eat dinner and I'd have seconds and thirds-knowing I had already consumed far too much food BEFORE dinner was even served :( 
Then I believe she didn't know how to help without hurting my feelings.  Ya know when you tell a child OR an adult they are unhealthy or they need to lose weight, it tends to send the opposite message and the person sinks deeper into that hole...not always but it develops an insecurity that no child should deal with, or even an adult.  Funny thing?  I remember EVERY, SINGLE time in my life that someone called me "heavy" in some way.  Call me sensitive but it hurt.  Each time, it pushed me further down.  These days to stay positive, I still use those moments to reflect and grow.  I am 99% sure that none of the people that said those things to me MEANT to hurt me but it did.  More than they'll ever know.  Be careful when talking with your kids about being healthy.  Stay positive.  Make it FUN and for the whole family! 
Today I spoke with the children about their heart and how to take care of it. 
Heart health is SO important for these children as they grow.  We do not want to be raising smart, UNhealthy children so expose them to exercise and healthy eating NOW!  Never too late.  And if your child does not have issues with their weight, we still must TEACH HEALTHY LIVING because our outside apperance doesn't always follow what's happening on the inside of our bodies.  I worked with many heart patients that seemed in great health and they proved me wrong. 
I watched my grandmother battle heart disease-congestive heart failure and it left me wanting to know why?  What happens with heart disease and how can we prevent it?  So after college, I teamed up with American Heart Association, raised money and supported as much as possible to raise heart disease awareness and prevention!  At some of the schools I taught, we'd dedicate a day to heart disease.  We'd exercise and talk about prevention and warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.  So I'd like to share some AHA facts and a delicious side dish you might consider serving to your family on Thursday. 
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Portable fruits and vegetables

If it’s portable and preferred by your kids, pack it. Laska suggests cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, fruit slices (such as apple or pear) and any kind of whole fruit that packs well. Strive for a variety of color and textures to keep it interesting. Try making a fruit salad for a special treat.

Individual dips

While fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins and nutrients, they don’t always fill you up. Choose a dip that complements the fruit or vegetables, such as individual packages of hummus (or homemade hummus) or peanut butter (choose peanut butter with no added sugars or added salt). We recommend these heart-healthy snack options:
  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low fat or non-fat plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole grain crackers (choose crackers low in sodium, saturated and trans fats) or slices of grilled low sodium tofu (a soybean product) to dunk into low-sodium vegetable or tomato soup.
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds, crushed whole wheat cereal and sliced banana to mix into low fat vanilla yogurt (no added sugars) to eat with a spoon like a sundae.
“For some kids, dips make fruits and vegetables more appealing. They can also provide a contrast in nutrients so you’re getting a protein or healthy fat along with the fruits and vegetables to make the snack more satiating,” says Laska.

Whole-grain salads

If you and your kids are able (and willing) to take along a plastic container and fork, whole-grain pasta salads are a great way to mix things up. Choose brown rice, whole-grain penne, couscous or other items and load it up with your favorite vegetables or even fruits. Check out this recipe for a Brown Rice and Black Bean Salad or this Couscous and Fruit Salad.

Talk to your kids about what they want

When you involve your kids in their nutrition decisions, you’ll get valuable input, enthusiasm and a chance to talk about food choices. Ask your children what they like, take them shopping with you and let them help pack at least part of the lunch. “Just having your child be a part of the process can help the acceptance of the lunch and ensure that you’re giving something that they’ll eat,” says Laska. “It can also be nice family time together, where you’re providing conversation around health and healthy foods. I would definitely encourage that.”
Learn more ideas on how to pack a healthy school lunch at
Asparagus Sald with Lemon Garlic Dressing
You'll Need:
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk or fat-free milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 medium garlic clove, minced
24 medium asparagus spears, trimmed
Poppy seeds (optional)

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 34
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg
Sodium 10 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g
Fiber 3 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 3 g

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, buttermilk, lemon zest, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. In a large saucepan or skillet, pour in enough water to barely cover the asparagus. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water and drain well. If desired, cut on the diagonal into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Add the dressing, tossing gently to coat. Lightly sprinkle with poppy seeds.
    © American Heart Association

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