Thursday, January 31, 2013

healthy IS delicious!

To truly eat clean and keep it interesting, you have to find ways to make the healthy food DELICIOUS!  Nobody wants to live a lifestyle that's boring and repetitive!  Let's face it, you will not survive on turkey meat and broccoli for long, at some point you'll cave and want some tasty food.  
In our kitchen we've been changing things up and making our clean eats look and taste better than the fatty foods we're all used to!  The best of both worlds. The meal I made last night that I share later in this post, my husband and I both agreed that if I made it for a crowd of people they'd never suspect that it was less than 300 calories and VERY healthy!  Never.  

So my husband and I keep mixing things up with our workouts and our foods, trying new recipes almost daily and the things we've come up with are so good so I wanted to share them with you.  
Keep in mind if you want to make healthy changes in your life, you don't have to eat a diet like ours, but you do have to understand that what you eat has A LOT to do with your overall health.  A LOT.  It's a combination of clean eats and hard workouts.  
The results will amaze you, so keep at it!

Let's start with sweet potato ranch chips!  These are so good and very filling.  You make a big serving, store them in containers and add them to any meal.  Slice your potato with the skin into thin slices, spray a little cooking spray and sprinkle with small amount of dry ranch dressing mix. Pop in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes and then once slightly crispy, turn on your broiler and cook until crunchy or the texture you'd prefer!  ENJOY!

Don't forget our daily, green smoothies!  SO good.  My smoothies have been looking a little greenish-purple but it's because my favorite mix is the one with raspberries and blueberries which makes this funky color but who cares when it's yummy!

Lunch yesterday was this salad with so many flavors!  Again, SO good!  This one had lettuce, purple onion, broccoli, broccoli slaw, 1 boiled egg, 1/4 avocado, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  Plus a little spoon of plain Greek yogurt!  SO filling and tasted great.  

This salad combo or any salad combo is so easy when you're prepared.  If you chop all of your veggies and boil a bunch of eggs ahead of time, all you do is dump into a container for on the go or put in your plate to enjoy instantly.  Being prepared is so important because when hunger kicks in you need to have go-to foods that are easily accessible for SUCCESS.  

We are prepared with a lot of things in life, 
so why not stay prepared when it comes to the foods that we eat?!

chopped veggies!  That's all it is!  Lots of veggies.  I chopped 2 medium zucchinis, 1/2 yellow onion and 2 medium sweet potatoes.  I diced them up and sauteed in a pan with a splash of extra virgin olive oil.  Once they cooked down a bit, I added a little cumin and chili powder and then....
Here's the veggies cooking on the skillet- Mmmmm!

And here they are inside a FlatOut original wrap that's been toasted/broiled in the convection oven!  Oh yea!
 To make these, take your FlatOut-
(if you haven't tried these, you should TODAY! 9g fiber 9g protein and only 90 calories!  They taste great too and can go with ANYTHING! better than an low carb tortilla that we've tried too and you can't beat all that protein!)
Back to the recipe, take your Flat Out and broil until you can see I like mine almost burnt!  Ha!  Layer with veggie mixture pictured above, some drained black beans and a sprinkle of cheese.  Watch out because this was a family hit for all of us!  My boys LOVED them and didn't even realize how extremely healthy they were :)
I used one Flat Out cut in half for my husband and I, and a regular wheat tortilla for my boys since they don't need all that added fiber and protein!
I served these healthy quesadillas with none other than Greek yogurt, avocado and hot sauce!  SO good!  Let me know if you try because I'm sure you'll enjoy!  
*Plus this mornings breakfast was the veggie mix added to some egg for breakfast deliciousness!  

See, once you have your fridge and pantry prepped with lots of healthy ready-to-go options, the possibilities for meal ideas are endless!  

And a progress picture in my new workout gear!  YEA, I finally bought me some fitted capri pants!  I've wanted this style of workout gear for SO long and finally treated myself to some, along with some dri-fit shirts and lightweight dri-fit jackets!  
I'm seeing HUGE progress in myself physically and through my workouts.  My runs are more intense, my strength training has kicked into high gear!  
With my b-day being last week, we bought a workout bench, a barbell with 200lb weight combo including dumbbells. 
And another birthday gift- the new 2013 Nike Air Max's!  
Ha, these are not for running only for fashion but the former P.E teacher in me had to splurge and buy some "cool kicks!"

It's all about believing in yourself and what you're capable of!  Nobody is going to do the work for you and you may even doubt yourself at times, but PUSH THROUGH.  
Know you're worth it!  
Put your frustrations and discouragements into your workouts and your food prepping!  
Anger and doubt fuels a workout like NONE OTHER!  Trust me, I've dealt with a lot of it too, we all do at some point.  
Trust in the process of healthy eating and burning calories, IT WORKS!  
How are you staying focused this week?  How are you motivating others to adapt to a healthier lifestyle?  Part of the fun in healthy living is inspiring others to do the same for themselves and their family!  Being healthy is contagious so spread it like crazy :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Push It!

sweaty pic! today after an interval run in the drizzly weather!  FELT SO GOOD.
I think one of the coolest things about fitness is that you can PUSH YOURSELF further than you ever thought possible.  
You can go beyond your limits and continue to amaze yourself every day!  -Move It Momma
During my interval run today when I reached the "zone", I felt limitless.  Almost like I could do anything. I looked down at my watch and it said I was sustaining a 8:50 pace!  What?  Now that wasn't for a long time, but still...that's huge for me!  
Those little goals that I set for myself are meant to be crushed.  I hope you see that yours can be reached and exceeded too?  When you're at the beginning of a weight loss/fitness journey, the road always seems long and it's so hard to imagine what life will be like when you've reached those goals, but TRY.   Set small goals that are within reach before you lose focus.  
I always revert back to the happiest moments in my journey- When I stepped on the scale after 9 months of hard work, many years ago and I saw a drop of 78lbs, I thought NO WAY!  Look what I did, by myself!  It was all worth it.  My husband and his weight loss of 100lbs., he tries to imagine what life used to be like, but he knows he never looks back and continues down the path of success and healthy living.  When we both crossed that finish line of the half marathon last year, it was so much more than a finish line.  It was getting rid of doubt, no more saying we can't, because we DID and the hard work and dedication was proof.  Looking back, there were so many times in my life that I said "I can't" but all it took was pushing myself and I did the impossible by turning my life around from a junk food junkie to a advocate for healthy living!

When you look at your fitness and weight loss goals, do you feel like they are far out of reach?  Like even if you pushed yourself, they'd never be attainable?  If the answer is yes, then you better re evaluate your goals and what you want out of life right now.  You can be so much more than you are giving yourself credit for.  

Today I challenge you to push yourself further than you've ever pushed before.  
Maybe then you'll break that barrier of self-doubt.  If weight loss isn't your goal, pushing yourself works will all things related to health and fitness.  
Push yourself to get to the gym 3 days a week instead of 1.  
Push yourself to take the stairs at the office.  
Push yourself to remove soft drinks and junk food from your home.  
Push yourself to sign up for that 5K or marathon that you've always dreamed of completing.  
Push your family to be active together throughout the week and on weekends!
Change will take work and you must push yourself HARD but it's all worth it.  
Nobody ever regretted reaching a goal so whatcha waiting for?

Last night, as my husband and I were watching our favorite show, Biggest Loser we realized that many, if not all of the contestants have never believed in themselves for anything.  They've floated through life, not really living it at all.  And I may be wrong but when they are being pushed by those trainers, they find a new way of life.  It was such a great moment when Alex(sp?) started to cry with her huge weight loss for the week.  She said she was finally worth it.  No, she was always worth it, it just took her being pushed to finally see what others saw all along.

We are all worth it.  
We deserve to be the best we can be.  For ourselves and our family too.
So get out there and PUSH YOURSELF and know that I'm behind you 110% today and every day.

How will you PUSH YOURSELF?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wake up, America!

     It's no secret that I am extremely passionate about childhood obesity and the growing epidemic with today's youth.  It's frightening to me that our children are so unhealthy.  Now, this isn't all children by any means.  There are many families out there doing it right.  They are valuing their children's health and putting it as a family priority.  
     But when I receive the latest stats when it comes to sugary beverages that our children are consuming EACH DAY, you can't help but be frightened for the future generations...

About 70% of children and teens are drinking at least one soft drink or sugary drink every day.  
One in three consume at least THREE sodas or more per day.  
And if that's not enough, the statistics for adults and their consumption is far worse.  

     These sugary drinks are like second nature for some children.  They are easily available and always around. Look for the nearest vending machine or friends' pantry and there they are!  Now, not all children are overweight/obese so does that make it okay for those children to consume these beverages daily?  Absolutely not.  That amount of sugar is not good for any person or child and that's in one soda, not two or three.  
     For instance, on our cruise we would watch as children and teens would head to the "beverage station" (where you could fill up with water, milk, coffee, tea and sodas...TONS of sodas) they would get refill after refill and not think twice.  At that same time, we'd watch adults with a plate full of fatty foods filling a cup of soda, drink it at the station and then top it off to go with their meal.  Yikes people.  We all need a wake up call with this one.  
     Of course when you're drinking it, you aren't thinking about the sugar in each drink but maybe we all should?  
     I know for me, my issue as an overweight teen was never really soft drinks.  Did I drink them?  YES.  But I wouldn't consider the sugary drinks my real problem.  Of course I'd grab a DP with my high fat/high calorie lunch and not think anything of it but it was never an issue where I'd have to have one to function.  Just wasn't my red flag-I preferred over sized portions and chips!
     For my family, we don't bring soft drinks in our home.  If it's a special occasion or very rarely I'll ask my kids if they'd like a soft drink BUT since it's not something that's second nature in our home, they almost always choose water, milk or fresh-squeezed lemonade.  

**please keep in mind**     
I am not judging anyone for choosing to give their children these drinks.  It's your choice, we all have a choice for what we want for our children.  But I do ask you to think about it and understand the crisis we are dealing with when it comes to diabetes and obesity with our children.  
It's very alarming and it's only getting worse.  

Today's Workout: 55 minute interval training combining cardio and strength training!  
I was DRENCHED!  It felt so good!

Today's Smoothie:  1 c spinach 2 c kale, water, almond milk, ice, protein powder, blueberries and raspberries

Today's eats:  I did a lot of food prepping this morning, getting us ready for the week!  
2 zucchini, 1 can kidney beans-drained, 1 can black beans-drained, 1/2 onion-chopped.  
Saute zucchini and onion, sprinkled a little cumin and chili powder.  Dump beans.  
Serve with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt.  

I am so excited for Biggest Loser tonight!  I look forward to it each week and we watched last week's episode last night to get caught up from vacation!  
As for me, I've lost 10lbs now and although on vacation I didn't lose any, I also didn't gain any so I'll take that!  

And to all of us, 
Stay focused.  Stay on track.  Stay committed.  Go for what you want.  Life is too short to not be living it to the fullest.  When you fuel your body with whole foods, your body recognizes it and positively reacts!  We only have one life, one heart so why not take care of it to the best of your abilities to be there for yourself and for your family.  

And speaking of our hearts, 
On the same topic of sugary soft drinks, we must understand the effect that the sugar has on the heart muscle.   
Take a stand on February 1st for your family and make the commitment to make your home a heart-healthy one!  
The mission of Go Red for Women is simple, to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.  Heart disease still kills more women than all cancers combined.  
I am very passionate about this movement and always take pride in participating to show my support for my family and my grandmother-who lost her life to congestive heart failure several years ago.  
This year they are asking you to "paint your town red" to show your support and help others join in the movement and raising heart disease awareness and helping all of us become more heart-healthy!  
In a perfect world, I'd send an email to my family and friends and we'd all meet up, wearing RED and would walk/run a 5K together!  I'd feel proud that we did our part for heart disease and stroke BUT in all reality, people have other things.  We are all busy people, but I ask that this year you take the time on Friday, February 1st to show your support.  
Think of your own lives and see if there are ways you can make your family more heart-healthy? There's always room for improvement even if it's small steps?  Those count too, ya know!

When I think of Go Red, one moment sticks out for me,
    I was teaching P.E. and sent an email asking for staff and students to participate in this movement, I had included heart disease statistics and why they should take part.  Sadly, I didn't expect much from it but knew my fellow coaches would take part after much pushing from me!  To my surprise, I walked in on Go Red Day and EVERY.SINGLE. student and staff member wore RED!  I cried...and kept crying.  Woohoo!  We all stood in the shape of a heart after school and had one of our electricians stand on a huge ladder and take our picture from high was the coolest!  To this day, that picture is part of that districts main web page for our school!  How cool is that?  See, all things are possible if you just have a passion and share that passion with the world and those close to you.  


Sunday, January 27, 2013


The thing can set yourself up for failure and for success.  The choice is yours.  

When it comes to exercise, planning works well for me.  Like I always say, "if you bite it-write it!"
At night, I usually lay in bed thinking about the day ahead and when I'll be able to fit in the workout, I write it down and the following day, I make it happen.  Daily goals tend to work well because you focus on what you've accomplished and not how far you have to go!  
Then once it's "set" on my schedule, I won't be tempted to cancel!  

When it comes to food, planning is KEY!
It's all about planning out your daily/weekly eats.  This way you won't fail or fall off track.  If your fridge and pantry are packed full of proteins, veggies and fruits and not a bunch of processed foods, you'll stay on track and focused!  
Honestly, I was happy that today was back to normal eats!  I missed my planned out, six meals a day! 
My day started with 
Meal 1: plain Chobani, blueberries and Kashi!  Yum!
Meal 2: eggs and a string cheese for mid-morning!  I didn't take a pic but it sure was yummy!  

Meal 3: Apple, PB and cinnamon!  This snack is delicious, very filling and tastes like dessert!  Mmm!

Meal 4:  Green Smoothie!  Oh how I missed these!!!  This one was packed with almond milk, protein powder, kale, spinach, ice, strawberries and raspberries!  Soooo good!  

And we're meal prepping today too!  Look at all those fruits headed to the freezer for smoothies!  Grapes and lots of banana halves!  These will be perfect to pop into the Ninja for our smoothies!  Since we missed 9 days of the smoothie challenge, we're taking over on our own and continuing the challenge for weeks to come...probably for good!  I guess we've made it a habit and we're sticking with it!

My favorite part about eating super healthy?  Having even more energy to spend with my husband and my boys!  I was asked today at the Little League team meeting, to be Team Mom again!  It's a lot of the same kiddos from our team last year, same coach and I surprisingly know all of the players' families so of course, I SAID YES!  Ha!  I told myself I wouldn't do it again, but here we are again!  I made welcome goodie bags filled with Big League Chew, Cracker Jacks and peanuts!  Ahhh, I love baseball season :)  
As we were driving to the meeting, my son Jake asked me if all families exercise together?  I couldn't believe he understood that and wanted to know if the way we live our lives is the norm!  He asked if all families played basketball together like we do, if they rode bikes together, went camping together and played outside as much as we do.  Very cool that his mind is thinking in terms of what we do as a family and he notices how much we try and be ACTIVE as a family!  It may not seem like much, but it was like a HUGE pat on the back to me as a mother.  I hope my children see me making an effort to keep our family happy and healthy because as I've said before, 
the families that play together, STAY TOGETHER!!!!

I hope in the 9 days I was away, you all kept with your workouts and clean eating!  It's all about patience and staying focused!  You are in charge of YOU.  You have the control and the power to do amazing things.  Living your healthiest life can start can start right now.  Just put your mind to it and do it.  No more saying, tomorrow.  Do it today.  If you wake up and tell yourself you can, you will.  Set yourself up for success not failure!

How do you plan to succeed this week?

for me, I am headed to find some great home gym equipment tomorrow.  We are planning to rearrange our upstairs and turn our fourth bedroom into a home gym!  Woohoo!  We had been planning this for a while now, but on vacation we decided to really come home and make it happen.  Any suggestions and tips on great home gym equipment would be greatly appreciated!  We want lots of free weights, cardio equip of some sort and we have some other ideas that I'll share if we can make it happen :)  fingers crossed!

looking for great workout videos? I'd like to introduce Gaiam TV

I love a good workout video series! Don't you?  It's a great way to change up your workouts and a great way to mix things up on your non-running days, if you're a runner! I'm always searching for that series that really gets me going and excited to workout!  
How would you like to have access to some of your favorite fitness professionals 24/7?  

What is it?
Gaiam TV is the first streaming fitness video subscription service that gives you access to all things health, wellness, yoga, fitness and personal development!  For fitness lovers like myself, it's Netflix for the health and wellness industry!  It doesn't get any better than that!You will be able to train with top instructors like Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, Jillian Michaels-my personal favorite, Kathryn Budig just to name a few, all at the click of a button!  Very cool!  

With Gaiam TV you will be able to customize your workouts based on style, level, duration and the instructor you prefer.  It's very user-friendly too!  I logged in and immediately started Jillian Michael's killer buns and thighs!  How perfect for those of us that can easily talk ourselves out of working out, this leaves NO EXCUSES!  You can access from your smart phone, tablet or computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

The best part?  The subscription to Gaiam TV has no strings attached!  There is no commitment and members are able to cancel at anytime!  The $9.95/month subscription fee allows you to stream unlimited content 
**but for my readers, Gaiam TV is offering a FREE 10-Day trial!!  Yes that's right, I said FREE!!!  
I bet you're loving me right now :)
Simply visit here for your offer!  

*This is a sponsored post from Gaiam TV.  I was offered free access to share my thoughts with my readers.  All opinions are 100% mine.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

We are home!

We are BACK!  
The trip was amazing!!  After 9 days with Mickey & friends to Castaway Cay-Bahamas, Disney World and Key West, we're home!  We were sad to leave but it feels good to be home and settled back into the routine.  The good news?  We were able to stick to healthy/clean eating while aboard the Disney Magic!  Yay!  The bad news?  A LOT of people on that ship did not eat healthy.  I've never seen so much ice cream cones, fried foods, rolls and soft drinks consumed in my whole life!  Yikes.  Now don't get me wrong, there were plenty of families like us, but there were quite a few that were not.  Sad.  
Did we stay focused?  YES.  
For our workouts, we woke up each morning and headed to the gym/spa.  It was awesome.  Spin classes, workout equipment and free weights.  The best part is that it all overlooked the water!  Getting your sweat on while looking at the water, can't get any better than that!
It was beautiful!  
If you've never been on a cruise before(it was our first), they give you a daily navigator which has all of the happenings for the following day.  It's usually in your stateroom after dinner each evening  We read the one that was for the 21st, my birthday and our day in Castaway Cay and we noticed it said "Castaway Cay 5K"!  We were in but figured it wouldn't be that many people but we were wrong!  We all met on the ship and they gave us our bibs and the route.
Pretty impressive group of about 150+ of us!  Pretty cool huh?  
The 5K took us all around the island and ended right on the beach, it was so cool!
The rest of the day we swam, played and did all of the fun slides!  SO MUCH FUN! We obviously needed more sunscreen because when we boarded the ship, we all had red cheeks and burnt shoulders!

I decided I'd take a few food pics since so many people are afraid that there aren't healthy options on vacations.  You just have to eat smart and think about what you're consuming.  
Yes, there's way too much food surrounding you.  
Yes, there will be temptations BUT you can avoid them and still have a fabulous time!
 Fruit and veggies are everywhere!  They are fresh and delicious and on most buffets and menu's...they were everywhere aboard the Disney Magic!  My husband and I both loved how fresh the fruit and veggies tasted with every meal!  We'd start with a salad and make sure we ended with fruit!

Yep, there's a whole wheat english muffin and you could request egg white omelets with all the veggies or have good old fashioned scrambled eggs!

Lots of turkey, chicken, fish, other seafood and veggies for dinner in most of the restaurants too.  This made it easier to make healthy decisions, especially when we filled up on fruits and veggies before the main course.  Also, we'd grab an apple and pb between meals to keep us full and less likely to grab for the unhealthy snack options.  Were there lots of unhealthy choices?  OH MY GOODNESS YES!!!  It was out of control with the cookies, popcorn, french fries, tacos, cheeseburgers, etc...
BUT you have the choice.  You can choose the oatmeal, eggs and fruit OR you can choose the donuts, pancakes and whipped cream right?  When it's all right there in front of you, you have the choice and we are happy to report that we made the healthy choice each time!  Don't get me wrong though...those crepes full of chocolate and strawberries did look tempting but I knew I'd have to pay for it when it was over and for me, it just wasn't worth it especially after we had worked so hard in the gym each day!

And this has nothing to do with healthy eating, but had to share a picture of my boys with Captain Mickey!  There was no shortage of fun on this trip :)

My mom snapped a picture of us right after the race at Castaway Cay!  I was drenched in sweat and not used to the hot temps lately sure made me appreciate the cooler temps in Texas this time of year.
It was HOT!

A great family trip!  We are ready to go again!!
We made it home today and were off the ship by 10am.
We spent the day shopping at the local farm for our fresh fruits and veggies and then had to do our grocery shopping for the week.  We food prepped this morning and afternoon and thankfully had our first green smoothie in NINE days!  We missed them!
We are back on a roll and ready to kick our eats back up a notch because although we ate very well on the ship, we know it wasn't quite as great as preparing at home!
I turned a year older on that trip, so here's to 33 for me!  I had a wonderful birthday with lots of pampering from the staff and characters.  And the best part?  My husband bought me a pair of shades that I had been wanting for quite a while...I was SO happy!

Hope you all had a great week and are staying focused with your weekly and monthly goals!
Stay focused and remember that we all have the choice of what we want out of life.
We saw so many families focusing their entire trip on the foods that they ate.  It doesn't have to be that way.  You can focus on being happy, enjoying time together, doing active things TOGETHER!  We spent a lot of time on the top deck in Goofy's wide world of sports where we'd play shuffleboard, ping pong, basketball, walk the track, and foosball with the boys!  It makes for a much more pleasant and happy vacation when you aren't in a food coma the entire time.  I remember trips that the "old me" would take.  I would think only about the foods, the restaurants, the junk.  I would be worried about where we'd eat each meal, every day. But why?  Only to get there and over eat, snack all day and then eat sad.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WE are responsible.

I am sad today.
I am sad because in only 16, short days I was able to lose 9lbs 
and look and feel like a leaner version of myself.  
16 DAYS!
Why hadn't I put the parts together sooner?  It's not like I don't know the right foods to fuel my body.  I felt like those "cheat" snacks/meals wouldn't make that big of a difference?
I kept telling myself, you're a 30-something who works out hard and runs 5-6 days a week, so if the food slacks off a little, no big deal? 

It comes down to the fact that WE are responsible for ourselves.  I am responsible for keeping myself in check.  Nobody else is going to do it for me, 
I have to do it and want it for myself.  And you must do the same for you.  No more failed diets.  No more saying you'll start on Monday!  START NOW!  
If you need any help, suggestions, guidance 
please email me anytime!

there's NO excuses for any of us!  that means YOU too!!  
And our children too.  They watch, they consider us their role models-the ones they look to for guidance and if we're showing signs of healthy living, our hope is that they will mirror those actions, right?  Even if you aren't overweight, healthy eating and exercise SHOULD be a priority with your family too.  

And the foods are about 80% of it.  I am proof of it.  Even if you are a healthy eater and workout, as I pretty much was-the foods need to be perfect in order to burn calories efficiently and it will create the leanest version of yourself!  

Is that a booty back there?  Wow.  I haven't seen a booty on my back side in years!  
Seriously it's sad, people. The squats, lunges and interval training must be doing my booty good!  
But there's MUCH more work to be done :)

Daily eats! 
I figured I'd share with my readers so that you can get an idea of what our daily routine looks like...*and make sure you're drinking plenty of water!  Like lots and lots of water!  keep it at your desk, on your counter, somewhere close by!

1-2 eggs and 2 protein pancakes!  These were tasty but next time I'll probably add a little cream cheese to the top or some sf syrup.  
you'll need:
1/2 c oats
1/3 banana
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp vanilla
2/3 scoop vanilla protein powder
Mix and pour, cook as you would regular pancakes and BAM!  
Breakfast is served...a high protein breakfast, that is!

Snack Time:
Quest Bar was nice enough to send us 3 sample boxes of all of the flavors.  
A tip with these low carb, high protein bars?  Put them in a bowl or plate, microwave for 30 seconds, top with a little PB and you've got high protein dessert!  WARNING:  it's delicious!  
*Our fav's so far-chocolate peanut butter, chocolate brownie and apple pie!  Yum Yum!

Low carb/high fiber wrap
broccoli slaw
avocado hummus - Makes 4 servings,
1 avocado
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
extra virgin olive oil
squeezed 1/2 lemon
Mix until consistency you prefer!
A little Plain Greek Yogurt and a cheese stick.  

*Snack was one of my simple green smoothies which I look forward to every day!  
Have you tried one yet?  Those of you that have emailed me or contacted me on Instagram-
you are doing tremendous, keep up the hard work and it will pay off in a HUGE way!  Stay focused

Broiled chicken-this is a great alternative to firing up your grill and it gives the same flavor in half the time and hassle.  I suggest preparing quite a bit of this and having it for meals all week. I'm thinking salad toppings, chicken wraps...the possibilities are endless because this chicken is THAT good!
Broiled Chicken- marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts in ff Italian dressing with a little pepper.  Set broiler to low(mine has high/low settings).  Set rack about 5-6 inches from top of oven.  Broil on one side for 10 minutes, then flip and another 10 on opposite side until chicken is cooked all the way through.
You'll get that chargrilled look right out of the oven!  SO good!  We all ate this up and my boys kept saying it was the best chicken EVER!  It was seriously delicious.  Very tender and juicy!
Homemade sweet potato fries- so good and SO easy!
slice and peel sweet potato into thin slices.  
Spray pan with cooking spray
Toss "fries" in extra virgin olive oil, pepper and garlic powder or any other seasoning you'd like!  Then spread on baking sheet.
Bake at 425 for about 20-30 minutes or until crispy.  I tossed a few times while on pan to get even cooking.
Steamed Cauliflower- Saute a little turkey bacon and onion in a pan, add head of cabbage sliced thick.  Steam until soft or texture you'd prefer.  

If you get creative in the kitchen, you'll be amazed at how fabulous clean, healthy cooking can taste.  As I've said before, the last time I was really strict with my foods, I failed after a while because it consisted of turkey patties, tuna, brown rice, egg whites and kashi cereal.  Now that we've expanded our food choices by A LOT, we are finding that this way of eating and lifestyle is something we can continue for a lifetime of health and happiness!

And please PLEASE keep in mind, my husband and I are working out HARD. 1-2 hours of cardio and strength training. 6 days/week! And just another pic so I can see the progress I am making :-) its a great idea to snap photos along the way. Seeing is believing and your body will transform before your eyes! START TODAY if you haven't already!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meet my friend, Theresa

Her and I were inseparable growing up.  Wherever Theresa was, I wasn't far behind.  We spent the night at each other's houses at least once a week, talked on the phone for hours and had the BEST times!  There was honestly never a day that went by without us seeing or talking to one another.  We went off to college, met our husband's and although we don't live close to one another these days, we keep in touch as often as possible.  And of course best friends always find a way of staying together...and now it just happens to be our love for health and fitness!   

I was a bridesmaid in her wedding (this photo was soon after I lost majority of my weight!)

 And with her busy life, putting her children first and allowing life to get in the way...
she put on weight.  
I never thought she was heavy or needed to lose weight, but when she started clean eating and putting in lots of time at the gym...
She has made an incredible transformation!! 
I am so proud of her and all of her hard work has truly paid off. 
She has recently started the Labrada Lean Body Challenge and is doing great and going strong!  
You can read more about it on her blog, She Waddles Like A Duck.  where she shares great recipes and tips.  

Theresa says, 
"My name is Theresa and am a wife to a supportive and loving husband and a stay at home mom to two amazing children.  "She Waddles Like a Duck" is a phrase my son used all too often (and still does at times) describing the way I walked!  I had no idea what he meant until I set out on my fitness journey, lost weight, began getting fit, and was finally able to walk instead of waddle!  I have acquired a love for fitness and am here to share with you my journey from being an overweight duck to a fit momma!" 

Her and I can relate to each other so well, especially now that we basically eat the same foods and workout hard!  She has found a love for lifting weights and pushing herself beyond her limits, so she can teach me a thing or two!  I wish we could be workout buddies :( We are able to share healthy recipes but most importantly we are there for each other.  You see, some people don't wanna hear your healthy eating, working out blabber but to us, it's NOT blabber, it's the facts of life and staying healthy and fit!  She wants to live better for her family and for herself and there's NOTHING that should come before that...ever!

So if you're putting yourself last, STOP and start giving yourself the credit you deserve.  Take time to take care of yourself on the inside and out!  Make healthy eating a priority.  Make trips to the gym or a workout in your living room a part of the daily routine!  It will feel awkward at first, but trust me your family needs and wants YOU healthy...and your kids, husband and family members will hopefully see your healthy transformations and want in on it too!  
Stay tuned and watch for a possible collaboration from both of us coming soon...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

seeing IS believing...

*I would like to say thank you to my readers (family too!) who have emailed me asking for help on their journey to fitness and health.  It is my TRUE passion to help others reach their weight loss and fitness goals. I am so thankful that so many of you somehow relate and gain hope and are inspired by my words and actions.  We are all on a journey, together.  I am here to make that road seem easier and although it will be one of the hardest things you've ever done, every drop of sweat and counted calorie will be worth it!  

We are on Day 14 of clean eating and the green smoothie challenge, which is so hard to believe!  It is my husband and I's wedding Anniversary too, so what a great day!  So much to be thankful for.  I had forgotten how wonderful it felt to fuel my body with only the key nutrients and not dumping those empty calories in there like they were hot cakes!  Whoops!
As for me, SEEING IS BELIEVING!  I am starting to see a true transformation of myself taking place.  Both on the inside and out.  Honest.  
*After a great Bob Harper workout, Ultimate Cardio Body + Glute Challenge...whew!
 For me, I am taking progress pictures every few days so that I am able to truly "see" the new me as it happens.  It helps me focus on how far I've come rather than become frustrated at the journey ahead of us.  And I'm sure those pictures will be shared when appropriate, but as for now with me and my insecurities, I'm just not quite ready to reveal that part of myself.  Soon...very soon.  

So often we dwell on the long battle ahead instead of focusing on where we've been and how far we've come.  Aren't we all guilty of that at some point?   We should all try and evaluate each day as a stepping stone in life and I believe it will help us all stay focused on living our healthiest life!  

Watching those children last night on the Biggest Loser, I felt so much compassion for them and I started to cry.  I'm not even sure why.  I think partly because of all of the obstacles that faced them every day just by simply walking into their own kitchen.  Their home should be a safe place, not a place where they felt overwhelmed and threatened.  It was a constant battle with food.  How awful.  I hope America will see how badly our children need us and want help.  They want to be healthy.  They want to fit in and do things that normal kids and teenagers do.  How sad that our obesity rate in children has tripled and so much of America isn't sure how to deal with it.  
I hope that all of us, not only the people that struggle with weight or the ones who have overweight children...I hope we ALL watched and our eyes opened a little bit more to the crisis in our nation.  
What did you think about last night's episode?  

Last night's dinner was phenomenal and the best part?  Both of my children, yes even my picky 3 year old ate it up!  My husband said it was incredible and ya ready for what it was?
Turkey Meatloaf, edamame and cauliflower "mashed potatoes"!  
The entire meal, served on an appetizer plate was to.die.for good!  
Ready for the recipe? 

I made mini meatloaves this way we'd eat our portion and be done!  
Woohoo, no overeating allowed!

Cauliflower "mashed potatoes"

1 head cauliflower, rinsed and cut into florets with part of stems attached.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil with 4 cloves of chopped garlic.  Add cauliflower pieces.
Once cooked-about 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  I mashed with my potato masher and added extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbs unsalted butter and garlic powder-it wasn't quite enough garlic flavor without it.  Maybe next time I'd add more chopped, fresh garlic. Also i added 2tbs neutfchael cheese for creaminess but dont think it needed it!  
Once mashed, I sprinkled with black pepper and served!  Yum, Yum, YUM!  

Turkey Meatloaf-
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt
2 slices whole wheat bread of choice-cut into cubes
2% milk-1 cup
1 egg
1 clove garlic, chopped

Mix turkey with onion, garlic and sprinkle with pepper and sea salt.  Soak 2 slices of bread cubes in 1 c milk and allow to absorb, about 4-5 minutes and stir around a bit to saturate bread.  Drain remaining milk off bread and then add bread to turkey mixture.  Add beaten egg and combine.  I used a fork to really get the moisture into the meat.  When forming loaves, do not mash the meat together.  Form with a fork or spoon and lightly form loaf, this allows moisture and will keep the meat from drying out...this is a big step, don't MASH!  It made five mini loaves.  I topped with small amount tomato paste-no salt added just for added flavor.  I put oven at 400 for 35-40 minutes or until cooked.  Served with steamed edamame, and my mashed cauliflower.  
My children never knew the difference...never even asked.  I PROMISE!  

Throughout these 14 days, automatically my children have improved their diet.  Not that they ate terribly and they have always only had water and milk as their drink choices on most occasions  
BUT they are eating more fruits and vegetables, probably because it's what stuffed in our fridge in massive quantities!  Ha!  My husband and I have noticed a change in our moods, our behaviors and in our workouts.  It's incredible when you put all of the pieces to the equation together, at the same time.  It's like your body begins to work at ITS BEST.  amazing.  

I am hoping this journey continues to take flight, especially with us leaving on Friday for vacation.   There is a running track, workout facility, spa and many healthy food options so we should be good to go while making memories with my family :)  Wish us luck because although we'll keep on track with most things, our smoothies will take a back seat since we aren't bringing our blender on the ship!  Ha!  And while we're gone, I will be turning 33 years old...Boo.  I mean, a year older is not a huge deal but it's still another year older.  We will be in Nassau, Bahamas on the day of my b-day so I'm sure I won't have time to be depressed about it!  I'll be laying on the beach, soaking up some better weather than what's been here in Texas lately!  

Monday, January 14, 2013

healthy by CHOICE

Each day is a choice.
   If you start the day off with healthy options and a NO QUIT attitude chances are, the positive attitude with stick throughout the day.  Surprisingly one healthy choice leads to many more...
For instance, if you fill your pantry and refrigerator with healthy choices you are more likely to make better decisions when it comes to breakfast.  It will need to be quick because let's face it, life is busy.  

   Now you've made that one, positive choice for breakfast.  Not so hard, right?  You've hopefully fueled your body with high fiber and protein, so you will feel fuller longer and on your drive to school, work, errands, etc you are now armed with the choice of saying no to the fast food restaurants on every corner.  

   Let's face it, we can choose not to stop regardless but with our bodies being nourished the right way, we won't want it.  If you are like me, there are triggers in life that we must CHOOSE to avoid.  They are put in front of us daily.  Some of us have a sweet tooth, when the challenge presents itself and we aren't prepared, we'll fail.  For others it's simple carbs(this is me) breads and crackers.  I want to eat just a few but usually after 2-3 minutes, I lose control.  I have the choice to not keep those things in our home and then for my special treats, I'll buy a small portion and indulge every once in a while. It's what works for me.  

I think with healthy goals, losing weight, etc we all begin with good intentions.  Don't you? The hard part is staying with it and not allowing one of the following to take place,

Example 1:  You are rushing to work, running late as usual, whoops-you forget breakfast.  So you fuel up on coffee, thinking it'll hold you over until lunch.  WRONG.  You walk into the break room, office lounge and yep, there's a dozen donuts, some body's leftover birthday cake and it's all calling YOUR name.  Am I onto something?  Your body is hungry, so you figure one piece won't hurt.  Uh Oh, now that ONE bad choice has probably messed up the day, wouldn't ya say?  You figure one piece of chocolate can't be bad since you already blew it with the piece of stale, office cake.  And downward spiral here we come.  Another attempt failed.  
Example 2:  You are restricting yourself to every temptation that there is, so your breakfast is 1/2 cup of some odd-looking form of "diet" food.  You manage to keep your cool and stay focused.  Lunch arrives and you've got rabbit food consisting of carrots and celery, no protein and not near enough for one human being but you say, it's okay I can do this.  An hour after lunch you'd eat your hand if it was physically possible.  You are STARVING.  You will reach for ANYTHING that will fit into your mouth.  You tell yourself you'll eat 12 potato chips just to hold you over until you can get some good food and get your calories back in order but your good intentions of 12 become 55 and 55 become dumping the crumbs from the bag into your hand.  *This would be where I failed most times which is why I'm able to elaborate so well :(

  The point is, you can't expect to starve yourself and make positive choices too.  If you nourish and feed your body correctly, you will not become near as vulnerable when you are around things that trigger your temptations.  If you choose to start the day off positively, those choices will STICK.  A healthy, balanced breakfast turns into a great lunch and then after work, it turns into wanting a great workout whether it's a simple walk through the neighborhood, taking the stairs in your office or pushing yourself beyond your limits and having one of those memorable workouts. The choice is always ours to make.  
Don't let yourself slip by being unprepared.  It's a domino effect either way.  You choose which way you want them to fall.  So many times people set themselves up to fail before they've started.  

Be Prepared.
 My breakfast for today was thought of and written down before I woke up.  This way I walked into the kitchen on a mission.  Grabbed the Plain Greek yogurt, my granola and a handful of frozen blueberries!  
Whew, one positive choice...check.  

And a few of yesterday's eats, 
Day 12 and I'm down 8lbs.  

Green Smoothie #12
2 c spinach
1/2 c kale, both mixed with water first.
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 banana
almond milk 
10 blueberries

You see, I love working out and was eating semi-healthy but not CLEAN.  Those trigger carbs that are so hard for me to control were slipping back into my life really quickly and too often.  If it's a choice I have a hard time taking control of, I need to limit it and keep it under control by adding more protein, vegetables and fruit.  

*By preparing all of these into single servings ahead of time, I make the healthy choice every time.  It's in there to grab and go when I'm hungry so there's no room for error.  

Bob Harper kicked my booty yesterday with his Ultimate Cardio Body Extreme Weight Loss!   I was drenched and loved the strength training, cardio intervals in this workout!  I suggest trying it and don't be intimidated.  Do what you can and set small goals for what you want out of the workout.
Thumbs Up, Bob.  

Yesterday's lunch. This was all prepared and portioned on Monday so I grabbed a portion of the turkey mixture, warmed it up a separate bowl.  I dumped the portioned lettuce, kale, carrots and broccoli slaw into the other dish, dumped the turkey mix on top and enjoyed a salad that satisfied!  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

easier every day.

Any lifestyle change will take some getting used to.  
That's what makes the journey so incredible.  
After a while you forget how the "old you" functioned before finding the "new you".  

Whether it's increasing the amount of exercise you do, eating healthier for you and your family, losing weight, gaining muscle, dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart doesn't matter the reason. You've decided to change and the dedication it will take may seen overwhelming at first, 
but it gets easier every day.    
The key is to stick with it, don't quit and push yourself hard.  
Be responsible and accountable for YOU.  
If people discourage you along the way, find people that ENCOURAGE you.  

Today's Workout:  3.5 miles intervals.  30sec spring/30sec jog
Whew I'm a sweaty mess but it was 70+ degrees today!

Today's Smoothie:  Day 11 and going STRONG!  
2 c spinach blended with water
1/4 c almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 c blueberries
 *remember this smoothie is replacing one of six, small-balanced meals that are 
high in protein and low in carbs.  

And a few recipes I'd like to share since we've been experimenting in our kitchen this week!  Ya know when my weight loss journey started nearly 12 years ago, I was clueless when it came to cooking.  I mean CLUELESS!  I would prepare a turkey patty or chicken breast in my trusty, 'ol George Foreman Every.Single.Night!  seriously.  I would warm a side of veggies to go with it and chug my water.  That was close enough to homemade for me.  Today, I've definitely improved my cooking skills so creating healthy meals that actually taste good excites me!  
I love it and most of all, I love sharing them with all of you, so here we go!

Baked Chicken- 2 ways, easy for prepping!
 On the left: Dip chicken in extra virgin olive oil.  Make a dish of 1/4 c wheat breadcrumbs, 2 tbs Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of garlic powder or finely chopped garlic.  Dip in that mixture after the oil and place on baking sheet.  (you'll see in the picture above, it barely coats the chicken-just enough to really flavor it well)
On the right: Dip chicken in extra virgin olive oil and then sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper.  
(We used Penzey's spices which makes an excellent lemon pepper.)  
Bake both at 375 for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  

I baked A LOT of these and separated them into containers to easily add to salads, wraps, etc!  
*When things are easy, you'll stay on track and won't grab for those unhealthy snacks!

Today's Lunch:  
hard boiled egg :)  Salad mixed with lettuce, kale, black beans, kidney beans, chick peas and a sliced up mozzarella cheese stick.  

and for a recipe that I created today which was OH so good, 

Move It Mommas Chicken & Sausage Italiano

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into cubes
1 lb deer sausage-it's what we had, but you can use any lean sausage or chicken sausage would probably taste great too!
1 c grape tomatoes
1/2 c Plain Greek yogurt-I used Chobani
3 cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil

Saute garlic and olive oil in skillet.  Cook cubes of chicken until cooked through and remove from pan and set aside.  Cook sausage and set aside.(I cooked meats separately in pan with garlic and olive oil because I'm paranoid and don't like my meats mixing!!) 

 In skillet add 1/2 c water and 1 c grape tomatoes and allow to simmer. Once tomatoes reduce a bit, add 1tsp cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce along with pepper and 1/2 Greek yogurt and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add meats and simmer another 20 minutes.  

Serve with whole wheat pasta or pasta of choice.  I measured single pasta serving and topped with meat mixture and sauce to make sure we were getting right portions and put the leftovers away so that we were not able to go for seconds!  Served with sauteed fresh string beans!  Yum!  The boys ate this too and it was delicious.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

A beautiful day in more ways than one

Day 10!!! We are 10 days in with our smoothie challenge and clean eating and I feel AH-MAZING!!! No lie! Preparation is definitely key to success, being able to open our fridge or pantry and grab a pre portioned snack that's ready to go HELPS tremendously. I'd choose a few days a week to prep your meals. It is working for us without allowing the meals to get boring, repetitive and it keeps them fresh when only preparing 3-4 days at a time. But I'm sure other ways work well too.

If you are trying this smoothie challenge with us, keep in mind that this is meant to replace one of six, small balanced meals. Meaning high protein/vegetables and fruits, small amount of complex carb(fiber-rich). Use a smaller plate that way your mind thinks you're filling up on more foods and raw foods will always leave you feeling fuller longer as opposed to ANY processed food. WATCH OUT for reduced fat, fat free, chances are they e added something in there to compensate for the fat, which sometimes makes it far worse and WATCH PORTIONS! Most items need to be fist-size or size of a deck of cards, no larger.

Here's breakfast from today and since I had this meal three hours ago, it's time for my smoothie which this time I'm adding romaine lettuce with the spinach to expand the leafy greens I'm consuming in these smoothies. And those are frozen grapes pictured! Delicious and so refreshing! If you've never tried frozen grapes, I suggest you pop some in your freezer right now. A great snack for kids too!

With my runs, I feel unstoppable, my workouts are much more intense and my husband and I have both LOST 7lbs!!!! Crazy right? And we were healthy eaters and watched our diet beforehand so imagine the results for those that have never w improved their diet or those who do not exercise regularly. Their results would probably blow ours away!!

An important reminder: NOBODY is responsible for yourself except YOU! Hold yourself accountable. Do not allow others to discourage you or tell you a lifestyle change will be too much work. It IS hard work, it takes dedication and focus but it can and will be done and worth every second. See the thing is, you'll never regret a healthy life...ever! You'll never regret losing weight, you will never regret setting exercise goals and reaching them! You will not regret crossing the finish line of your first race. I get VERY emotional with each race crossing the finish line of so many obstacles through life that held me back...I send it all away! The regrets, the fear, the intimidation...all of it!

What is your main goal and focus this coming week?!
Mine, to stay on track with our foods, workouts, spend some great quality time with my family on this rainy, upcoming weekend! Means time for lots of snuggles in our pj's!!

And I have been asked by many of you about how our boys are adapting to this new way of eating? They are both drinking the green smoothies, while our picky three year old refuses for his to be "green" I just sneak in more berries to make his look different! Their foods are what we are eating but I jazz theirs up a bit by adding cheese, a tortilla, bun etc. our boys have always eaten healthy foods because it is what they know. They are used to steamed edamame for snacks, whole wheat bread as opposed to white. We are their parents and they won't know what we don't buy. I mean of course kids need treats and fun things BUT when they understand those foods are treats, they'll treat them as such and not expect it daily.

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