Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Top 10 Tips for Sticking to a Cleaner Eating Lifestyle (not Diet!!)

It's never hard to find your reason for WANTING to learn how to eat cleaner and healthier: lose a few of those pounds you put on over the holidays, summer's around the corner and it's time to get bathing suit ready, or you know you're in for a crazy couple of candy laden, cake filled, chocolate covered months this Fall as we dive right into the holidays full force.  The biggest issue is actually DOING it and learning how to stick to your guns.  So with that being said, here are some of my top 10 tips to help you get there!


1.  Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Decide where you want to start with your healthy eating.  What do you want to start incorporating into your diet?  Likewise what do you want to see out of it?  Are you the kind of person that responds better to small changes made over time (as most are) or are you a cold turkey kind of person and need to totally remove yourself from all temptations at once.  Figure out what works best for you and write down what your goals are.

Try to determine a realistic timeline.  What do you want to accomplish this week.  In 30 days where do you see yourself, same with 60 and then 90.  Re-evaluate as you go along.  Are you doing better than you thought?  Do you need to switch things up to accommodate changes in your life?  Whatever it is write your goals down and make your expectations realistic for you.   Focus on one thing at a time, give it your all and don't let this process overwhelm you.  If you find that happening, sit back, take some time to relax and refocus yourself.  YOU CAN DO THIS!

Keep your goals visible.  Put them on your phone, write them on a post it and stick them on your fridge.  Make sure they are ever present in your mind and you'll be less likely to slip up until they become second nature!

2. Plan Your Meals

Sit down once a week with blank plan similar to the one to the left and fill in what you (or you and your family) will be eating for the week. Figure out a list of healthier foods you enjoy and what you can take on the go for those moments you need to grab something in a hurry or can't sit down to a meal.  Give yourself a couple of snack options to choose from if you feel you need to switch it up every so often.  Once you've figured out your plan, create a grocery list and go shopping.  STICK TO YOUR LIST!  When you start to deviate off course you are more likely to end up getting things you don't need or that aren't good for you.


3. Enjoy What You Eat

This is a big one for me.  Clean eating DOES NOT have to be bland! Do you have a few favorite meals you enjoy.  Try Googling clean eating versions of them so you aren't having to give up everything you love, just recreating it!  Get on Pinterest and create a Clean Eating Board.  Look up recipes every so often and "pin" them so when you're stuck for meal ideas you have options to choose from or create a recipe "bookmark" in your web browser.  A file in your email will also work if you prefer to email yourself recipes.  When you enjoy what you are eating and know that you are fueling your body with the healthy nutrients that it needs instead of all the crap available at our every beck and call you'll be a much happier person!


4. Get Rid of the Junk!

1st of all, stop buying and cooking food that's junk for you.  Do an overhaul of your cupboards.  Get rid of the cookies,cakes, chips, donuts, pop, frozen instant microwaveable meals, ice cream, candy and in general so much of the food that has no nutritional value for you.  A good note to consider, if you look at the ingredients list and can't pronounce most of the words, it's probably not good for you!  Don't be afraid to get this stuff out of your house.  If you aren't eating it, your family probably shouldn't be either and I PROMISE there are other great tasting options out there for you all.




Keep healthy snacks handy. Check out Chocolate Shakeology if you have a raging chocolate sweet tooth like me, or would like to make some delicious at home fudge pops for your kids that actually have some nutritional value to them!





5. Portion Control


When you carefully monitor your food choices you are more likely to decrease the amount of food you actually eat.  When we don't pay attention to our portion sizes it's very easy to overindulge.  Using a smaller plate can also help you with your portion sizes.  Studies have shown when we're presented with a large plate we ultimately feel the need to fill it.  Here are some great guides you can use to determine portion sizes when you don't have measuring tools handy!




6. Realize that Life Happens!

Despite all of our best efforts at planning sometimes we just have to realize that life happens.  It's messy and unpredictable and if it kicks you off track for a meal or a day don't beat yourself up!  Be flexible and realize that tomorrow is a new day.  One bad meal doesn't have to ruin your entire day.  Try to carry healthy snacks around with you to help avoid temptation if you need something in a pinch and as you learn more about eating clean you'll be more equipped to evaluate menus and learn how to make smarted choices.  For upcoming events, try to plan ahead and if you know there won't be choices you are comfortable with eat before you go when possible so you don't arrive on an empty stomach ready to grab whatever is near.  For me, I try to keep about an 80/20 balance.  80% clean 20% not clean to allow for some of my favorite foods but also these unplanned situations, so find your balance and what you are aiming for.  You can try to plan your "cheat" meals around upcoming events you know you have to attend.


7. Be Consistent

It takes 21 days to develop a new habit so don't give up!  The more you educate yourself and try new things the easier it becomes and the more enjoyable!  Remember this isn't a diet it's a lifestyle change so hang in there!  It's all worth it in the end.


8.  Don't have time? Make it.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day and if you need to get creative with your time to make this work then so be it.  Telling me you don't have time to take care of your health is not a good enough excuse.  You need to rethink your priorities.  If you find brown-bagging your lunch difficult to prep everyday by things that are healthy and convenient to just throw together.  Fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts, tuna packs, baby carrots, individual packets of peanut butter (all natural if you can find it preferably).  Make a couple meals each week and portion out leftovers for lunch.  MAKE THE TIME.  Your health is the most important thing you have.  Take care of yourself and your body will thank you later for it.

9.  Stop Making Excuses For Yourself

You have to get over your own excuses.  Most of us have been so conditioned to believe in and succumb to our excuses rather than finding the will to find the way to get out of our situation, whatever it may be.  Take responsibility for your actions and don't let your excuses get the better of you because all they do is stop us from becoming all that we were created to become.

Addicted to chocolate?  Get it out of your house and try Chocolate Shakeology instead.  It'll not only help with your cravings but feels like a treat when your drinking it and is probably the healthiest meal you can put in your body.  Nutritious and Delicious! No excuses!



Think Healthy Eating is too expensive?  Get a Costco or Sam's club membership.  Pre-make meals and freeze ahead of time so you can buy in bulk for cheap.  Do some cost comparisons to see what you are spending ordering in lunch or getting fast food instead.  Your body and your wallet will thank you for it in the end.

Take control of what you can.  Do your best and forget the rest! 

10.  Celebrate Your Successes 

 

This is very important especially in the beginning of your journey or if you start to make drastic changes.  Share with friends and family members your successes and be proud of what you've accomplished, even if it doesn't seem like much to others at first.  Enlist their help in continuing to support you.  Every small step forward is still progress! Give yourself rewards (but not with food!).  Get a massage, treat yourself to a new workout outfit, put a money jar together and for every small success put a dollar in it then treat yourself to something you've been wanting for a while.  Regardless, don't undermine your accomplishments, each one leads you closer to your goal and pretty soon you'll be bursting with pride as you see and feel yourself transform.



Bonus Tip:  What is your Why?


Figuring out your ultimate reason for WHY you actually want to start this journey will be what fuels your fire throughout the process
  • Maybe you want to lose some weight and learn to eat better so you can be a better example to your kids, or your parents or someone in your life who you see spiraling down the wrong track health wise.
  • Maybe you want more energy so you can get out and play with your children more often or climb a flight of stairs without getting winded
  • Maybe you want to look in the mirror and instead of criticizing yourself be proud of what you've accomplished and who you've become in the process
  • Maybe you want to feel sexier for your partner, ultimately leading to you feeling better in your own skin
  • Maybe you want to run a marathon/complete an obstacle run/insert appropriate goal here and need to learn to discipline your eating habits
  • Maybe your scared of health factors throughout your family and don't want to be the next in line to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.  While some of this is out of our control, so much of what we do in our daily lives can make a HUGE difference in our health


Whatever your reasons, figure out your Ultimate WHY , write it down and don't forget it.





http://julianerussell.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_3830.html


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Shakeology

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Shakeology



This recipe literally gets me excited to wake up for breakfast every single morning.  It is mouth wateringly delicious!!

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
2 tbsp of part skim ricotta cheese
1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
Ice to taste



Blend and enjoy!  You'll be coming back over, and over and over again for more!!!



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Workout Wednesday mixed with Taco Tuesday!


Yesterday just started off being one of those days that I knew was going to go right!  My to-do list was a MILE long, but I woke up with a smile on my face and it stayed all day!

Also rocking a new shirt my lovely mother bought me for my recent 27th birthday with some awesome light blue skinny jeans to brighten up my day can never go wrong (American Eagle Jeans in case you are looking!) :-)



Month 2 of Insanity has been a struggle for me, emotionally and physically.  It's challenging which is great, it should be and I need a challenging workout but the mentality of the workout is what gets to me the most.  There are times when I know I can push harder and instead back away.  Not always, but sometimes.  Well yesterday I killed it (and today for that matter!)!!!  My heart was pounding, sweat dripping off me and my breathing was very laboured.  I kept telling myself you can do one more, one more than the last round, one more than you think you can and I pushed.  I felt great afterwards!  I know not every day is going to be like that.  We all have our bad days at work, or our days when we would just rather be doing anything other than working out (like sipping on some sangria outside during these last few precious days of heat and sun!) but you know what, when I get my workout done and I do it well, that sense of accomplishment is next to nothing.  A little Energy and Endurance powder certainly helps give me that extra boost too!  I can't go without it now, especially when I don't get my workout in until after a full day at the office.



Dinner was, well AMAZEBALLS! I tried out a new recipe I found and loved it!

Healthy Chicken and Black Bean Tacos with Sweet and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries cooked in Coconut Oil.



I wish I could explain how tasty all this was but words have escaped me so all I'm going to say is you have to try this yourself!  Keep in mind this is heavier on the carb side from the wrap and fries so substitute the fries for something else if you are keeping your carbs light.  Maybe a salad or some type of veggie that you like.

Click here for the recipe!

Great workout, great food, great day!  Thumbs up all around here!




Healthy Chicken & Black Bean Tacos with Sweet and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries cooked in Coconut Oil





I got this recipe from http://undressedskeleton.tumblr.com/post/48304421609 but made some slight alterations.

Check her out for more recipe ideas:

Healthy Chicken and Black Bean Tacos


Ingredients

1lb of Ground Chicken
1 packet of organic seasoning or low sodium (I found Simply Organic Taco Seasoning)
1 large onion, diced
1 can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup low sodium salsa
8 whole wheat, low carb high fiber tortilla wraps
2 Jalapenos sliced
Shredded low fat cheese
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup natural Guacamole e.g. Wholly Guacamole (or own homemade)
Light Sour Cream
Shredded lettuce (romaine or iceberg)
Taco sauce (preferably light)

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 365 degrees and grease your baking dish with coconut oil or cooking spray.

In a nonstick pan, cook chicken on high until cooked through.  Add one tablespoon of water and taco seasoning (save 2 tablespoons of seasoning).  Remove chicken from pan and add onions, black beans and 2 tablespoons of leftover seasoning.  If it seems a little dry try adding a dash of water

Fill each of your whole wheat wraps with chicken, onion & black bean mixture.




Top with Jalapenos, salsa and shredded cheese. Roll wrap tightly and lightly brush with olive oil.  Repeat until all wraps are filled and put in baking dish.
 


Bake at 365 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.



Sweet and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

 

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp each of smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley and sea salt

Preparation
  • Slice sweet potatoes into VERY thin slices.
  • Add the sweet potato to a large bowl and microwave for 4-6 minutes.
  • On a non-stick baking sheet spread out microwaved potatoes evenly.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minute. Don’t let them burn.
  • While they are in the oven, heat a frying pan on high.
  • Add 1/2 cup of coconut oil to frying pan.
  • Remove fries from oven and add to frying pan with coconut oil.
  • Cook fries until they crisp and lightly brown.
  • Add all fries to a brown paper sack. Add all spices (rosemary through sea salt)
  • Shake to combine



My Early Morning Battle

This past week I had two VERY early starts for work.  Our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer breakfasts for 2 of our walks were held and since these begin at 7:30am our staff is asked to be there at 6:00am to help set up.  This means a 4:00am or 4:30am wake up call for Moi!

I'm not a morning person at the best of times so this is always a struggle for me.  One thing I remembered from last years experience was that I was STARVING.  I just cannot get myself up early enough to prepare a full breakfast and sit down and eat it before leaving the house, on any regular day let alone a super early morning.  

This year I had Shakeology and not only that, I had the knowledge, guidance and motivation to prepare ahead of time healthy snacks that I could bring with me too to help tide me over.



After getting up and dressed I made my usual favorite Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Shakeology and drank it in the car on the way to the breakfast. If there is ANYTHING that can put me in a good mood in the morning it's this chocolatey goodness!  Not only does it taste amazing but the nutritional benefits are incredible.  These are just some of the wonderful benefits of drinking Shakeology

  • Increased Energy and Endurance
  • It's good for the heart!
  • Low on the Glycemic Index
  • Digestion and Detoxification
  • Weight Loss

Not only does Shakeology offer these benefits but for me personally one thing that I've noticed is that I am a much, much happier person.  My mood on a daily basis has so significantly improved from where it was a few months ago.  I find myself smiling more and catching myself doing it then reflecting on why.  I'm just sitting at my desk at work, why do I feel so good?  I know that Shakeology has a lot to do with it.  Shakeology delivers powerful, cancer fighting anti-oxidants, vitamins, amino acids, prebiotics, and phytonutrients.  All of this is used to combat everything from weight gain to heart disease and knowing that I am putting these amazing nutrients in my body is definitely something to smile about! 

At these breakfasts we are offered the chance to eat breakfast once the guests have left and we clean up.  There is some fruit offered, which would be fine if I liked more than green grapes, bosc pears and apples!  I'm not a big fruit person.  The majority of what is offered is going to do absolutely nothing for me though.  Instead of eating food that will spike my sugar levels and leave me feeling bloated, tired, uncomfortable and hungry very soon later I had my own snacks prepared.  

Baked Chicken Strips (protein)
Bosc Pear (complex carb)

A great combination!

By the time we were allowed to eat these were a god send because I knew it would be so easy to give into temptation.  I followed these snacks up later in the day with healthy lunches, more healthy snacks and a healthy dinner.  1 good decision helps keep the ball rolling and I felt amazing at the end of the day knowing I had made good choices.

Preparation is EVERYTHING.  Taking steps to help prepare you in advance for situations you know are coming up, or even back up options for when your day takes a turn you don't expect.  Having snacks you can take on the go with you will help you in so many ways to avoid the tempting foods surrounding us that have only aided to our expanding waistlines.  



Stick to your goals!  I'm here to help you too and excited to be sharing my journey.

For more nutrition information, recipe ideas, support, motivation and guidance fill in the form below and tell me a little about what you are trying to achieve.  My next support group is just around the corner.

Fill out my online form.
There are tons of Wufoo features to help make your forms awesome.

 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweet & Sour Pork

I've been eating an awful lot of chicken lately and really felt the desire to switch it up with something other than fish!  I came across a recipe for sweet and sour chicken and decided to substitute the chicken with pork. Oh it was good!!!

Nice to switch things up once in a while!


Serves 4

Ingredients


1 cup each of red, yellow, green and orange peppers cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup onion cut into 1 inch chunks
4 medium pork chops, trimmed of fat cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp natural raw honey
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tbsp red pepper flakes
 1/2 cup pineapple chunks if you prefer (I chose without because I don't like pineapple but this would be good with it if you are a fan)
4 cups brown & wild rice (I use the individual Minute Rice servings)

Instructions


Marinade- Combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.  Whisk together.  Add pork cubes, cover and refrigerate for 30 mins or up to 8 hours.

Heat pan over medium-high heat, add pork cubes and marinade.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Add peppers and onion.  Cook for a further 5 minutes.  If adding pineapple add at this point and cook for another 2 minutes.  If not you can remove the dish from the heat and serve with cooked rice.




Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicken Scallopine

I got this recipe from Melanie Mitro's website and had to share.  If you haven't tried this you are missing out!

I get very bored, very quickly eating the same food everyday and if you've read a couple of my last posts you'll know that I cannot have bland food all the time.  One thing I've enjoyed very much about this journey is learning how to clean up my diet but keep it tasty too.  This recipe definitely tickled my taste buds!  



Ingredients

4-5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (thin sliced)
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp drained capers
2 tbsp whole wheat flower
1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions


1.  Begin cooking chicken in olive oil over medium heat in a large pan
2. When the chicken is no longer pink, add half of the lemon juice
3. In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, rest of the lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder and capers.  Whisk in whole wheat flower.
4. When the chicken is almost done cooking, pour sauce overtop and cook until slightly thickened.


I served this with broccoli and brown & wild rice



Sunday, August 11, 2013

My Weekend in Meals

So who said eating healthy had to be boring?  Not this girl!!
A little preparation goes a long way, and yes while life throws you curveballs and unexpected situations having some healthy meals prepared and snacks for on the go can make all the difference.

Friday


Started my day off with my little magic powder, Shakeology.  As usual I had the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe which is something I really look forward to.  It is amazing the energy this drink gives me.  Probably the thing I've noticed the most difference in is how I feel throughout the day.  My mind feels sharper and my mood is happier and I in large part give this drink credit for that.  Plus, aside from all the nutritional value packed into this gem of a drink it feels like I'm having dessert for breakfast, what could possibly be wrong with that!



For lunch at work I had Taco Turkey Casserole and my afternoon snack was Roasted Chickpeas.  Thursday night I had stayed up later than I would have liked and felt very tired in the morning so I forgo my early morning workout for some extra sleep.  I knew I'd have time to do it Friday night.

Friday I took some time to prep my meal plan for the following week so I could pop into the grocery store after work and get my shopping done early.  I love when my trolly looks this colorful, a good sign I've shopped pretty well for the week!


While I was shopping I made sure I drank my Energy & Endurance formula.  I always find afternoon workouts a little harder to get motivated for and gather the energy for and this just gives me the little extra boost I need to get my butt into gear and ready for what I'm about to put it through!  15 minutes before your workout and you are golden.  I really notice a difference.

I was in a bit of a Mexican mood for dinner so I made some pretty clean Chicken Fajitas which were delish!!



Saturday


One of the greatest joys of my weekends is the ability to sleep in and not be woken by an alarm clock (also one of the great reasons I enjoy no longer having to make it to a class to workout).  I can get up at my leisure and believe me I take full advantage.  Saturday I got up and immediately got my workout in!  No excuses.  Pushing play everyday!




I decided to switch my breakfast up today and instead of having my shake made healthy eggs benedict.  This is absolutely a favorite breakfast of mine and it's nice to chance things up every once in a while.

I still had my Shakeology but for a snack instead.

I attempted to make Almond Parmesan Crusted Tilapia for lunch but realized I didn't have almonds or almond meal and the grated parmesan cheeses.  Instead I improvised and ground up some peanuts with romano as an alternative.  I also threw in a little Italian Seasoning, just for kicks!  The results was surprisingly delicious!  I served it with wild & brown rice and broccoli.

Finally for dinner I had Chicken Fajitas again while I watched the Steeler Game!  Go Steelers (although, not a great way to start things off this year boys!)


Sunday


Gotta love lazy Sundays!  Sophie and I enjoyed another sleep in today!



Kicked my day off with my Shakeology in bed watching some "Say Yes To The Dress".  Love Sunday marathons especially since they collide with my "Rest Day".


Made Mini Pita Pizzas for the first time for lunch and my goodness were these little suckers good!  I can't wait to have them again this coming week.  Highly recommend if you are having a pizza craving!




This afternoon I decided to go over to my friend Darius's restaurant "Cuisine 16" for a little birthday celebration.  One of my very best friends and our birthdays are 3 days apart.  His on the 9th and mine tomorrow on the 12th.  We celebrated with a couple of glasses of red wine (literally just 2 for me) and some delicious Tilapia and Black Rice.  Highly recommend this dish if you are visiting his place!

 

When I got home my appetite had kicked back in again.  My eating schedule is a bit off today from sleeping in!  I decided to have a steak salad.  I needed to use up the steak and I didn't want to have any more carbs that close to bedtime.  It was truly delicious.  I made my own balsamic vinaigrette and I don't think I'll ever go back to store bought (I haven't found a healthier version that I like anyway and this was super simple to whip up!)



So that's my weekend in meals!  I hope if you are stuck for ideas this will help you figure out some and not only that but to realize that yes, eating healthier can taste well.  My meals may not be 100% clean yet but they are light years better than what I was eating and I feel all the better for it.

On that note, I'm waking up tomorrow a year older and this gal needs her beauty sleep!  Goodnight y'all!





Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fit For Fall Challenge Group!






Are you tired of being tired? Tired of starting a fitness program and giving up? Tired of losing motivation to reach your health and fitness goals? Tired of not fitting into that bikini/dress/pair of pants? Tired of not finishing what you started and tired of giving into your excuses? Do you want 2014 to be the year that you make these changes and finally get healthy? Why are you waiting to make that New Year’s Resolution OVER 4 MONTHS away.  Start NOW.  Right NOW, this very minute.  What are you waiting for?  Make the commitment that this is the last time that you give up on yourself.  By New Years Eve you’ll be celebrating the whole new person you’ve become!

Join my August 26th Fit For Fall 90 day Challenge group and let me help you reach your fitness goals.  This group will take us right up to the week of Thanksgiving and not only help prepare you for the holidays but help start you on a path towards a healthier lifestyle and a happier you. Through fitness, nutrition and peer support and accountability I will provide you with daily tips and motivation to keep you focused on reaching your health and fitness goals.



You will benefit from being part of a small group of hand-picked motivated individuals who are all working together to help each other reach their goals.  You will develop friendships, trust and comfort in sharing both struggles and successes.  Together we will pick the perfect workout program for your fitness level, and TOGETHER we will get you the results you are looking for!!!  

As your coach I am always available via text, email or phone to answer questions about diet, nutrition and exercise! 
This month we have 3 fantastic BeachBody Challenge packs available: T25, Body Beast and TurboFire


What does the Beachbody Challenge Pack Include?
They are the complete package offering total support for achieving health and fitness goals.  Each customer pack includes:
  • A choice of one Beachbody fitness program
  • Shakeology Home Direct
  • A 30 day trial of Team Beachbody Club membership
  • Free Shipping

T25

 

This new 25 minute a day, 5 day a week workout from Shaun T is a roaring success among Beachbody fans.  




TurboFire

 




Body Beast






Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions.