Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

Do you allow mistakes to take over? I know I do. It's embarrassing to admit but sometimes I allow them to take over for weeks at a time, chopping away at my self esteem. It's not intentional but I have a hard time letting go of them. What happens is, I make a decision to do something, I realize it wasn't the best decision & then I make more mistakes trying to fix that original mistake. And I end up getting in over my head. I am sure you can relate to this. Recently, I made a decision to do something that would hopefully give my workplace a better quality of life but what I didn't realize at the time was that I was breaking a new company policy in order to so do. I was mad at myself for not knowing. I spent weeks in a cycle of mistakes, one leading to another and eventually I received a write up. Write ups are my nemesis, they take me down a road, that includes a relentless inside voice telling me I am not good enough. Which in turn, leads to me to more mistakes because my self esteem has been chopped away at until there's not much left. I realize I have to stop this cycle. What I am going to share with you is how I working towards breaking this cycle.  

I am reading a book right now, called Lean Habits For Lifelong Weight Loss: Mastering 4 Core Eating Behavoris To Stay Slim Forever by Georgie Fear. I am completely in love with this book. What she is teaching me is priceless. A fitness journey is not just about losing weight or trying to change the way our body looks. What we really need to do is change the way we think about things & step outside our comfort zone. They don't call it a total transformation for nothing. In the first chapter Georgie addresses this issue of what she calls "slipups" and puts them into perspective. Of course, she is referring to slip ups in our eating habits but it can easily be applied to any part of our life.

Here's how it goes (this is the before): Screw up - feel bad about it so I screw up more - feel even worse about myself - keep screwing up - divine intervention or serious wake up call - get back on track for days or weeks at a time. Sounds familiar right? It's how I have always dealt with mistakes. It's how we all deal with mistakes, sometimes. But it's time to change that. My eyes are now opened and ready to tackle these mistakes in a better way. I just didn't have the tools to do so until now. There are 5 stages to dealing with "slip-ups" and as we progress into each new stage, we are teaching ourselves how to stop and think about these potential "slip-ups", let it be ok & get back on track without making more mistakes. Most importantly, we should be able to accept that we are not going to nail this 100% of the time. We are going to mess up but it's ok.  For me, that's the hardest lesson because I am such a perfectionist. A perfectionist, who needs to also teach herself to release that word from her vocabulary because it's not reality.  Here's are the steps to take to work through "slip-ups":

Stage 1: Screw up - feel bad about my screw up so I screw up more - feel even worse about myself - remember I don't have to keep doing this - get back on track without waiting for divine intervention or rock bottom (maybe the next day).

Stage 2: Screw up - feel bad about my screw up so I screw up more - see where this is going - remember I don't have to keep doing this - get back on track (possibly the same day).

Stage 3:  Screw up - start to feel bad but realize it was just a mistake - realize I can stop now without making the situation worse - get back on track right away.

Stage 4: Start to screw up - realize (perhaps halfway into it that I don't really want to do this but doing it anyway) that I don't have to keep doing this - abort screw up and get back on track.

Stage 5: Consider screw up - remember this never works - decide otherwise.

If we can change the way we think about the "slip-ups" and revamp our approach, aiming for Step 5, more often than not, we are making progress. No matter what the scale says or how we feel about those skinny jeans. A fitness journey is about becoming the best version of ourselves. In this book, she hands us the steps above so that we can see that there's a better way and we can stop the cycle of continuing to beat ourselves up. And for me, this is how I am finding my peace of mind with my mistakes. As I have practiced these over the following weeks, I have been able to better control my internal reactions, alter my perceptions of my own fitness journey & realize I am making progress. I don't need to be so hard on myself or eat 5lbs of kale at every meal to be successful. Success is found anytime we step outside of our comfort zones, this book it taking me outside of mine and it's helping me become a better version of myself, one day at a time.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Goals: Marriage, Fitness & Friends

Goodbye 2015!!! I am thankful for our time together but I am ready to move forward, thrilled to be facing a new year with new possibilities & lots of hope. I am ending this year, knowing that God handed us more than we thought we could ever handle but he brought us through the fire and we are still standing. We started off the year very excited about deciding to start a family, after more than 10 years. But unfortunately those dreams were put on hold, after 2 back to back miscarriages. Exhausted mentally & physically, I immediately went into a stressful promotion at work that lasted for another 3 months. Then we went into the retail Christmas season insanity. The list could go on but let's move forward. 

We made it through & 2016 is right around the corner. I learned a lot about myself & how I want to live my life in 2016. I am not making any new years resolutions, those never last. What I am doing is making a list of goals that I want to accomplish in 2016. Then I will refer back to this list, as needed to be sure I am on track. Here they are & in no particular order...

Save Money 
This is needed so that we can take more vacations & have more time that it's just the 2 of us to do things we both enjoy. We rarely get time together & I really want us to focus on us & this is a great way to invest in our marriage.  

Become a CPT (Certified Personal Trainer)
Finish studying & get certified no later than April 2016

Keep reading this book!! I love it & highly recommend it anyone who is tired of dieting and wants to learn about the freedom in not having to do so. The mindset of this book is so laid back that most of the effort just comes from reading. Once we have the tools, that Georgie gives us, we can do everything in this book, pretty much without thinking and definitely without stressing out.  We will continue to practice habits 1 & 2, for about another week. Habit 1: eat 3 to 4 meals a day, with no snacking in between. I didn't realize it but I don't need those snacks. I gave them up & never looked back. It was a no-brainier.  It has saved us money too, not having to buy snacks anymore, love that!! Habit 2: wait 30-60 minutes before eating, once hunger arrives. I have enjoyed hunger actually coming in & saying hello I am here. I was eating so often before that I never allowed myself the opportunity to get hungry. She goes into more detail about this in the book but this is very common. Most times, we don't allow ourselves to get hungry because we are scared, that's me. I viewed it as a bad thing but since reading this, it's freed me to realize hunger is actually a good thing. I will continue to share my experiences with you, as we move into future habits.  

Create Deep, Meaningful Relationships with Others (and with God)
We will never regret the effort we put into our relationships. I want to spend more time, either in person or over the phone with people that I care about most. Text less and love more, great motto!!! Texting is only going to be used to get info to someone if needed but it's not my main form of communication. I want to spend more time face to face & less time on devices. 

More Self Compassion & Less Negative Self Talk 
I need silence my inner critic. This is going to be hard but I can do it. I have always operated under a perfectionist mind set, when it comes to myself. But I am done beating myself up, over not being perfect. It is time to accept who I am, I am not perfect & that should come as a relief. God accepts me for who I am & it's time I start doing the same. I am 38 yrs old, I am a Christian, I am a disgustingly positive person with a very spunky personality. My face rarely allows me to hide what I am thinking. I stand up for people & what I believe. I am the kind of person you want on your side because and I will drop what I am doing & rush to you if you need me. See, that's a good start, more of that to come. 

Schedule Workouts 4 Days per Week 
I want to get back into my workouts, about 30 to 60 minutes & 4 days per week. I want to set aside that time for myself, it's very important. I will be blocking off my time each week so that I know exactly when I am going to be working out. I am committed to taking care of myself & feeling good. Hopefully setting aside this time will help me refocus. There will be times when I have to go easy on myself & listen to my body when it tells me that's enough. It's ok let our body's win, in those times. 

I will probably add to this list as more things come to mind but for now, I am happy with this. I don't want to overwhelm myself, which is easy to do when your brain is constantly going 90 mph, as mine does. 

Happy New Year, 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Do You Have Post Christmas Scale Panic (PCSP)?

Ok, so PCSP is not a real disorder but I thought it was cute, because we all do it. Let's dive right in, what I am about to share with you, may blow you mind. It will also free you, as you move forward into the new year. After a recent conversation, with a family member on Christmas Eve, I realized that this valuable information needs to be shared. And what better time, than post Christmas indulging.

Here's the scenario, so you over indulged at Christmas & then you stepped on your scale to find your weight has gone up, right? I know mine did. First of all, do NOT panic, this is normal. Anytime we indulge for any amount if time, it could be 1 day or on a vacation for 10 days...we are going to gain water weight. It's just that, it's water retention. Years ago, my mother came back from a 10 day vacation in Rome and her water retention showed up in her legs & ankles, she was crazy swollen. Same thing happened to my sister, after their trip to Hawaii. We were all shocked, we had no idea what happened. Now I get it!! It's just water retention. That extra water weight will go back down fairly quickly, so there's really no need to panic and restrict calories. If you have been on a cycle of restricting calories, as a natural response to this that's ok, it's normal. But it's actually counter productive and can cause our bodies to go into starvation mode and that has implications for our metabolism, which we don't want, like permanent weight gain. Basically,when we restrict calories below what is needed to support our daily activities, it can cause our bodies to hold onto the calories we are consuming, store them as fat (aka, starvation mode) and then we see that scale go up again & the cycle continues. We know that nobody wants that. So I want to encourage you to relax, don't stress & if you want to test this information, please feel free. You can track that weight and watch it go back down. Weigh at the same time every morning, until it returns to normal. Then you can see for yourself just how quickly your body resets itself, automatically. Meanwhile, here's what I recommend:

1. Stay hydrated by drinking approximately 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water per day
2. Return to your normal meals
3. Eat 3-4 meals a day with no snacking in between
4. Wait 30 mins to 1 hour, once hunger arrives to confirm you are in fact hungry

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!!!!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Baked Chicken Pesto: Food Is Not The Enemy

Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon pre-made Pesto
Sliced Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese (is naturally lower in fat, then regular cheeses so it's a great choice)

1. In a greased baking dish (I use coconut oil spray because there are no calories or fat) place chicken and season with garlic powder, salt & pepper. 
2. Then layer up, about 1 tablespoon of pesto & slices of tomato. Place in a preheated oven 375 & bake til internal temperature reached 165 degrees. 
3. Sprinkle with cheese, the last few minutes  

Thanksgiving is over & the mere thought of eating anything else turkey is making you want to punch things, right?! Yep, us too! So, here's an easy meal that will help reset your taste buds. Plus, I am excited to share one of my many ah-ha moments with food and how it changed my life. And hopefully it will change yours too.

Recently, my sister broke her Lisfrank joint in her foot and not even in a cool way, she was walking into my niece's room and just twisted it then fell to the ground. It's the main joint in our foot that holds everything together. And breaking this, means you are totally screwed, no walking at all for like 2 months. So family and friends teamed up to provide her with some meals on wheels, since she couldn't stand & cook. It was my turn and I needed a simple dish that the kids would eat & this was perfect. I was so excited to see the end result in a picture she shared on Facebook (I had to leave so couldn't be there in person to see the final product). There's always someone who mistakenly thinks I put things out there, for other's to judge. Sharing my love of food is just who I judgement required. Then a good friend, commented that she thought my dish was unhealthy. There is was, someone openly judging what I put lots of love into. And in reality the dish was actually the exact opposite. Confession: I was immediately met with the decision to either be the bigger person & let it go or take it super personally & inbox her on how to make her own choices & own them. I decided to be the bigger person & let it go. I realized that she was not & may never be in the same place I am with food. And being kind to those we love is way more important than being right. But what I can do is use this opportunity to share what I have learned & hope that it helps you.

The word unhealthy has a negative impact so let's throw it out of our vocabulary, right now. And let's focus on the fact that food is meant to be enjoyed. One way to lead a healthier lifestyle is to change the way we think about food. Using the terms unhealthy or bad implies that we are merely victims of our choices. And that is not true. We are empowered to make our own decisions and we are the one's who are held accountable for our choices. Food in itself doesn't have power over us. This dish above is actually healthy because it has olive oil in the pesto, a healthy fat that keeps us feeling full longer and lean protein, which is great for muscle building.

As I am learning through my own fitness journey that when we label things as unhealthy, it starts a chain of events. That chain of events is called the binge, guilt, restrict cycle, I am sure you are familar with it. Here's how it goes, we think to ourselves, oh that looks so good but I can't eat that. Then we restrict ourselves from it, right? But we still crave it. And when cravings are not satisfied, we will go in search of something that will take it's place. But what happens is, we end up eating something else with way more calories than we would have consumed in the first place. And then the guilt sets it. I have done this for decades. I have even been on the opposite side, where I labeled so much as unhealthy that I was actually starving myself because I was eating hardly anything. Thank goodness, I broke that cycle. And finally, a new world opened for me, I learned to give myself permission to eat whatever my body was craving or wanting at the time. And I stopped restricting foods that I thought were unhealthy/bad. Now that doesn't mean I sit down & eat an entire tub of ice cream but it does mean that if I'm craving it, I can eat a sensible amount & not feel any guilt at all. It's a wonderful and freeing discovery. Give yourself permission to have those foods you crave, whatever it is (chocolate, chips, a slice of cheese, ice cream, etc). Food is happiness & when we learn to embrace our decisions, something amazing happens. 

If we acknowledge that certain foods are unhealthy, all we are doing is promoting the idea that we are the victims of our own choices. And the binge, guilt & restrict cycle continues. Instead we should be owning our choices & holding ourselves accountable. And by doing so, we learn to leave the guilt behind. And then there's no reason to binge or restrict. This teaches us how to truly embrace food, in a positive light & the way it was meant to be. And when we learn how to make our own choices & own them, it will flow over into our everyday lives. It boosts our confidence, it's empowering and it teaches us to lead by example. Hopefully more will follow, especially younger generations.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why I Decided to Become a Personal Trainer

Welcome back, it's been a while, I know. We all get busy & that's ok but I am back. And I gave the blog a fresh new look & an exciting new mantra. So, I am thrilled to share that I am in process of becoming a Personal Trainer. And this is how it happened. 

There's something that happens within us that we can't always explain. We look in the mirror or we step on that scale & we say to ourselves, I want to make better choices that will have a positive impact on my quality of life. And in that instant, what seemed impossible is now possible. WARNING: this is a scary place for some, it's where life altering events occur, it's where the real work begins and sedentary lifestyles end. You get it, you want a better quality of life for yourself. I wish I could bottle it up & give it to you. But in order to get it, you have to be willing to work for it. Those who fail don't fail because they couldn't do it, they fail because they didn't come in with the right mind set. They just wanted a quick fix, a crash diet or something that wouldn't hinder their current lifestyle. Well, that's not how this works. It's cliche but nothing we do in life that is worth anything, comes easy. You have to show up & be ready to work. The hard part is not making the decision, the hard part is following through & not giving up. But you don't know where to start. You ask yourself...what do I do first? How will I stick with this? Who's going to hold me accountable? And then the excuses follow, like I don't have enough time or I am too tired or ice cream is so good. I have been there, I get it.

My decision to become a personal trainer, didn't happen over night. It was a natural progression that began as a child. It grew out of deep desire to inspire others & enhance my own quality of life. That's the only way, I could teach other's how to do the same. It grew inside me as a child, who watched her parents support our family, while doing exactly what they loved, while inspiring me to not give up and keep looking for the same. So here's my story.

I was a dancer for more than 15 years but gave it up as I entered college because it was too demanding. At night I dreamed about being welcomed back into my studio with open arms but unfortunately that never happened. Fast forward to college, when I graduated in 2008, with a BBA in Hospitality Resort Management. However, I quickly discovered that the quality of life I wanted just wasn't there. I ended up working long hours, into the overnight shift & trying to take a day off was meet with constant interruptions from my cell phone, oftentimes at all hours of the day or night. I spent 17 years, taking care of other's in an environment that was unhealthy for me. But I knew it was time to walk away. Next, I decided that Sales & Catering would lend a better quality of live but again, the long hours dragged me down. Finally my love for nutrition & healthy cooking lead me to rejoin Pampered Chef this past year. It's a great way to channel my intense love for food but it still didn't satisfy my need to inspire & change lives. I kept praying & trying to figure out what I was in search of.

Meanwhile, I began my fitness journey in May 2014. It was a real shocker, as a former tap dancer that I found myself at 137lbs on a 5ft frame. But it can happen to anyone. I knew I had some work ahead of me but I was very determined. And 5 months later, I dropped 22lbs while gaining some bad-ass girl muscles. I essentially became my own personal trainer & I loved everything about it. It was fun trying to figure everything out on my own. Sure it wasn't easy but that's why I loved it. It didn't hit me immediately but I had I found success in working out & leading a healthier lifestyle. As a bonus, my confidence began to reappear and the person that I always wanted to be, slowly came out. Then in July 2015, post 2 miscarriages...I realized how much my body had been through. And I felt like I had lost almost everything I had worked for, for the last year & a half. But that wasn't true & I quickly realized that I was getting a second chance. I already knew how to get results so I got re-motivated and got back in the gym. And today I continue to prove to myself that hard work & determination are the keys to success!!!

When it finally hit me that my own fitness industry had completely changed me & it had brought out everything I had ever wanted. Additional, I had accomplished things I didn't think possible. I changed the way I looked, I was in charge of my own body composition. I showed up, I did the work & I was committed. It's not that hard. If I can do this, so can you. It brings out who we really are, it promotes self worth & I will guide you every step of the way. My PT certification should be complete by early 2016. And I am excited to get started in a brand new industry!! One that's rooted in supporting individuality & quality of life.

Let health & fitness WIN!!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sausage Balls Gluten Free

We did our Christmas in July party, last week. And I wanted something classic to share with friends. This is my gluten free take on a classic holiday favorite. They are light, fluffy & beyond delicious, This probably made more than 40 balls & every time I shared them they were devoured instantly. ENJOY!!

Note: I used my Pampered Chef cookware to make this dish & I am providing a link to my website for anyone who might be interested in getting any of their fantastic products. I love Pampered Chef & becoming a consultant was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If you would like to join my team, host a party or place an order...please let me know!!!!

If you are interested in placing an order, here is my Pampered Chef website Order Here

1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon Legg's hot pork sausage seasoning
1 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese
1 8 oz container whipped cream cheese (you can use regular too)
1 16 oz box Gluten Free Bisquick Mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise (this is approximate, you just need enough to bind it all together)

1. In a large bowl, add first 5 ingredients & mix by hand. Give it time to come together.

2. Add your mayo, a little at a time until to binds it together. It takes time so patience is a must.

3. I used my Pampered Chef Medium Scoop  to measure them out

4. Bake on Large Stoneware Bar Pan at 350 degree for about 20 mins or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cashew Sour Cream Sauce

Recently, I cooked our first all vegan dinner from my new "Oh She Glows" cookbook by Angela Liddon. It's Sweet Potato Enchiladas with a Cashew Cream sauce. And when I told my husband what we were having, he laughed & said "ok" (in a very distrusting voice). Then I told him I was making this Cashew Cream for sour cream...again it didn't go well.  Trying to fed meat lovers vegan food, feels a little like a taking a road trip with no destination...nothing will ever be good enough but I realize I am not the first person to do this & I won't be the last. Besides I don't give up that easily.

So, I placed the cashews in the blender, while he's over there poking fun & acting like I am about to serve him something crazy weird. But he's playing along & he's helping me so I don't dare say anything. And before we knew it, we had made the sauce. At first taste, we both quickly discovered the solution to cream sauces for anyone looking to cut out fat!! I am probably the last person on the planet to discover the Cashew Cream but at least I know NOW!! And now we use it for everything. No more heavy cream for alfredo, no more waiting on a sauce to come together, this is how food should be done. It's quick, easy & tastes great!!!! And best part is, it's so versatile.  If you want a garlic cream sauce, just add minced garlic. We have even added a Pesto to this & made a Pesto Cream sauce, while we were in Destin on vacay & it was amazing!! 

1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/2 - 3/4 cup water, as needed
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 2 hours (overnight or up to 8 hrs if possible)
2. Drain & place in the blender.
3. Add water, lemon, vinegar, and salt and blend on high. Don't be surprised if you have to stop every once in a while to scrape down or add a touch more water to get it going. Blend til smooth & ENJOY!!

Recipe credit: Oh She Glows


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