How to stop struggling and eat healthy already!

Eating healthy can feel overwhelming and complicated and challenging. I found an article on the Team Beachbody Blog that pinpoints the 7 most common struggles when it comes to eating healthier and I wanted to share with you today. Hope it helps!

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We are inundated with options on how to eat; low carb, organic, whole grains, Paleo, vegan, keto, body type…and so many more it can make you give up before you begin. Which is the best option and why are there so many? You’re only interested in what works and you want results sooner than later, right?

Let’s first understand that it isn’t going to be a “quick fix” or temporary change; it’s going to take some effort but once you get over some of the struggles and create your own balance…you’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes!

Let’s start from the beginning and keep it simple, ok? First of all, we are going to visit the 7 most common issues when it comes to healthy eating and how you can make it simpler to start now.

Issue #1: How do I eat healthy anyway?? 

I know it can seem overwhelming to start the healthy eating lifestyle if it’s something you’ve never done before. Which foods are healthy? How do you cook these foods?

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. You are definitely not alone in this area. When you start eating healthy, it’s normal to feel a bit unsure about some of the food choices and how they will taste. Will you like them? Will it be difficult to do? Where do you get the best products and how do you eat healthy when you’re eating out? It’s about starting slowly and taking it one step at a time. This is always the best practice to long term habits; as you have time to learn as you go and lessen the feelings that can overwhelm us when we are in a rush to do it all at once.

Start with a basic list of foods you can stock up on. (For my FREE 7 day Slim-Down grocery list and meal plan, click HERE) Then, each week, just add one new item or try one or two new healthy recipes until you start to find your groove. You’ll notice that you gravitate towards certain choices and once you eliminate (or cut back) on processed foods and sugary foods, your taste buds will be more interested in the natural flavors that healthy foods provide. I like to watch the cooking channel to gain some new ideas and browse through Pinterest or google for new recipes. The secret is to never get bored with your food selections so you don’t start to crave the unhealthy foods that you used to turn to.

Issue #2: But healthy eating costs so much more!! 

I know you’ve probably heard it before, or even said it yourself, “Fresh fruits and veggies spoil so quickly. Buying organic foods costs so much more. It’s just so expensive!”

Right? If you can’t afford to buy all organic foods, that’s totally fine! Be picky about the ones you spend more on.  Check out the clean/dirty produce list to help guide you to the best options. If you can’t afford to buy organic at all, choose the produce from the clean list instead.

Buying produce in-season can always help save money; and it tastes so much better too! Frozen fruits and veggies can also be easier on your budget and are just as healthy fresh choices (they are flash frozen at their peak of ripeness). Instead of using crushed ice cubes in your Shakeology or smoothies, use the frozen fruits instead. If you are tired of dealing with wilting raw spinach or kale leaves; add them to soups or use frozen spinach or chopped frozen kale instead.

I have a client who lives in Alaska and struggles getting in enough fruits and veggies because they have to wait for shipments to come to their area and purchase the foods before they are all gone from other shoppers! Talk about real struggles! But she gets it done with the frozen options and on a really bad period of low or no veggies/fruits, as long as she gets her Shakeology in – she is certain she is feeding her body the right nutrients to stay balanced. When there is a will, there is always a way! 😉

Issue #3: I hate grocery shopping! 

I totally understand this issue but have since come to terms with it as I’m a crazy coupon lady now! 😉 But for those of you who really do hate shopping, you have many options now! There’s online help to the rescue. Grocery stores deliver more frequently now and it’s easy as choosing the items from the online website. Amazon now provides a service with Prime Now and you can order on your phone or computer and schedule your groceries to be delivered at a time that’s best for you. Need I say more?

Issue #4: Unhealthy food marketing is everywhere now!! 

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All you have to do it scroll through Instagram or Pinterest and you’ll see crazy food recipes and pictures of double stuffed cookie dough pie dipped in chocolate or slutty brownie bars oozing with marshmallows – and so much more. The temptations can almost hypnotize us into feeling as though we need these items. There is never a shortage of candy, doughnuts or cookies at the office either. So what to do?

Why not start a new trend in your circle? Be the change you want to see in others. I find it so ridiculous the choices we continue feeding ourselves and the ones we love and yet, complain about our lack of control or our growing waist lines. We can take back control and provide healthier solutions in the office, home or at events. You can find healthy baked items online to take with you to the next birthday celebration, that next early morning meeting or during special get togethers. It gives you the option to eat better and not feel like you’re depriving yourself; and it also helps someone else make a better choice along with you.

Issue #5: I don’t have the time to eat healthy! 

This one is one I hear so often that I’m surprised it isn’t listed as #1! I know the thought of driving through the fast food chain drive-thru seems so much simpler than coming home and figuring out what to eat and how to make it. But can I share how much easier my life is (for me and my family) now that I’m meal prepping for the week on Saturday or Sunday? I even save so much money because I have all of the items I need on hand for the week in my weekly grocery store visit; instead of rushing back and forth when I realize I need one of this or that. All it takes is an hour or two on the weekend to meal prep and it saves you hours of time during the week. No more rushing around trying to figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner all week.

I create my weekly meals and write out the recipes, ingredients and head to the store. This all takes me about 2 hours max. I then spend time putting the foods away and posting my weekly menu on the refrigerator so I (and my family) know ahead of time what’s available and what’s being served. Need more help? Healthy meal planning is easier than you may think. In order to get started, Beachbody has some meal plans here to provide some great ideas.

Click here: Meal Plan Ideas

Or here: 90 minutes meal prep from start to finish

Issue #6: What if you make a recipe that doesn’t work for your family? 

This has happened more times than I’d like to admit but it’s true. I’ve made a recipe that I was sure was going to be a hit with the family; and even though I might love it, either the hubby or kids (or both) said otherwise. First of all, the ego is hurt but what about the food that’s left? It’s tempting to just go back to the choices they prefer and forget about cooking healthy forever! (melodramatic music, playing in the background)

But I have to tell you to stay strong and keep going. Try different foods or cook the foods in different methods. If you find you (or your family) won’t eat steamed broccoli, then try roasting it with some olive oil and salt sprinkled over. Just making some simple changes can do wonders for your taste buds.. and theirs!

Issue #7: You are fearful of missing out on the the decadent foods you love! 

When we feel deprived of foods (or anything, really), it makes us want those things more than ever. I recommend allowing your favorite foods every once in awhile; or at least a few times each month. If we focus on the feeling of being restricted, we cannot enjoy the healthy habits we are gaining. Eating healthy does not mean being absolutely perfect. That’s not possible. Choosing to eat healthy 80% of the time – allows us to enjoy some treats and “cheats” 20% of the time.

You can eat your pizza and brownies and cookies…just not every day!

What is your favorite treat that you don’t want to live without?

Free Yourself From Your Diet Forever

Have you ever been fed up with your weight highs and lows? Are you constantly searching for the next best way to lose the weight and keep it off?

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Ya, I’ve been there about a million times before too. It’s not a fun place to live and I decided one day to just stop living there.

Period.

I seriously decided that I had enough with diets and finally freed myself from the bondage they held over me. I fought for awhile on working out excessively for hours in the gym or running outside, to be the most shredded I had ever been…but then I realized that this type of intense living only fits the elite fitness competitors in their ON SEASON only. They have OFF SEASON weights and training periods too…and we tend to think that we need to look like the “perfect” (whatever that means) body day in and day out. Talk about fantasies!

This woke me up to being satisfied with feeling healthy, happy and then ultimately FREE from diets!

Wanna come? I’ll share how!

It won’t take long grueling hours in the gym, or even long hours working out at home. It won’t take starving your body or living off of carrot sticks and water. It won’t even feel as hard as you are imagining after you learn what works for your body and your life.

Bottom line? It’s actually kind of easy once you adapt to the changes and fire the old habits!

Now, in a few months time, the gyms and diet centers are going to be packed like sardine cans again. At least for a few weeks, or until everyone gets fed up with their all or nothing approach again. But guess what? That doesn’t have to be you this year! You can simply decide today that you are going to fire your diets forever.

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Think of what we are leaving behind: obsessing over calories and carbs or whatever the diet of the season is; watching the scale go up and down and up like a crazy bunny rabbit dance; losing 10 lbs (yay!) only to gain 15 back shortly after (BOO!) and thinking we are only worth as much as the size of our jeans.

It’s time to do the most crazy thing you’ve ever done and stop dieting forever.

Diets are now forbidden.   

I bet you are a bit terrified of this thought. Right? I know that I was. It felt like I was giving up on myself and the “control” I had on my weight. But there was never any control to begin with. It was actually a game of binge and purge over and over again. Which messes with our bodies, metabolism and minds and keeps us stuck in misery as long as we allow ourselves to be. Knowledge here is power, my friend. And today, you are going to be more powerful over your decisions than ever before.

My fear when I made the switch was that I would start to eat uncontrollably and the weight would skyrocket uncontrollably and then I’d be completely lost and ashamed.

That never happened.

It just didn’t. I stopped putting the focus on the scale, and — almost miraculously — my obsessive habits with food and my body started to melt away.

Granted, I was coming to the idea that balance, moderation, and loving your body were the key ingredients to a healthy, happy life — so I wasn’t starting from scratch.

But even so, it was almost surreal to me. It was actually working. I maintain my weight now, within a 5 lb range and never worry about holidays, travel periods or weekends anymore. I don’t even weigh myself at all so it’s amusing when I see someone after a few months and they say something like, “you’re soooo thin!” Funny thing is, I don’t lose weight anymore so this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been 150-ish lbs (give or take 5 lbs at a time) for well over 10 years now. (exception during my fitness competition period of 6 months that I dropped down to the 140’s but cannot live that extreme without shutting down my body again)

Maintaining my weight was the best decision I have made on my body ever. I have been a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for over 20 years and you’d think it would be easy for me…but not so much! I dealt with the same stresses, emotions, cravings and struggles as anyone else. Knowing better but still being stuck in diet mentality only made me feel more guilty over time when I was struggling much like my clients.  I knew they thought it was easier for me so I would have to pretend I wasn’t struggling…but one day I decided to just tell them. I told everyone.

It’s hard for me too! I struggle like you do too! So I don’t look like I struggle as much because I’m much closer to my goals but it’s freaking hard for me too! 

That felt so much better!

Step 1: Tell anyone and everyone what you are doing and stop pretending that you aren’t struggling. Ya, I know it sounds crazy and why would anyone care; but trust me on this one. You’ll not only be holding yourself more accountable than ever but you’ll also be piquing their interest to follow along if you succeed because I’ll bet you that 99.9% of the people you tell are struggling in their own ways too!

Step 2: Clean out the garbage in your head!  At first, I was tempted to return to dieting almost every single day. When my weight would fluctuate (for a million reasons to which I understood but for some reason thought the facts didn’t apply to me); or when I felt bloated after a meal; or when I saw a picture of someone more fit and shredded than I was; or when I found my super small jeans in the back of my drawer (a size I thought meant happiness to me but really wasn’t healthy in the long run).

The pressure to jump back on the diet bandwagon was almost deafening.

I’d see an image of my thighs and think, “ugggh”. I’d hear conversations around me on joining the next detox or “after the holidays” purge and need to reassess my mind again.

Our minds are full of the clutter we’ve allowed to gather over the past 10, 15, 20 or more years. It’s time to decide whether we are going to clean it out or allow it to control our lives forever.

Truth? It takes time to clean out. Just like it took time to learn. I know we are all about instant change and overnight success but those aren’t even real so let’s just grow up and realize the ridiculousness of those ideas.

Loving yourself; mind and body, takes time. But it’s on the journey of finding your peace and love that the beauty happens.

I look back at who I was before and am shocked at how much I don’t recognize her. I definitely remember feeling helpless, hopeless and unhappy with myself but I no longer feel the negativity of those past behaviors.

Step 3: Move more and stop counting the minutes.  This one was tough for me to do after being a gym junkie forever, and still loving hard core workouts. But it’s in those days that I really don’t have the energy to push to level 10; or when I’m traveling; or life is a bit more stressful or my schedule shifts, that I start to panic about my workouts and being “perfectly” perfect about the reps, weights, time and intensity. Yes, these will always be important to me but in times of my life that I can’t keep up with longer and harder training sessions…I just do something.

I upload apps on my phone to track my walks and runs. I head out for a 30-45 minute session and it ends up NOT feeling like a workout but I come home sweating and happier than ever. Or I’ll put my music on and run through a few short circuits at home and just have fun. No pressure to hit a certain range or push to new heights…it’s in these moments that just showing up is the key to success.

The funny thing is, when the stresses or travels would end, I’d be longing to get back to my “normal” routine again and my body didn’t miss a beat because I had been active in the meantime and it actually helped me become fitter or stronger in new areas. Talk about a win-win!

Step 4: Give yourself time.  This step may be the hardest to accept at first, but once you do, you’ll be surprised at how much you change in your body – just by changing your mind. For me, it happened slowly. I was already within 20 lbs of my goal weight so the losses were slower than those that have more to lose but I wasn’t in a rush. I kept telling myself that this was my new way of life and that this would be more meaningful than the fast losses from my past (which only lead to fast gains so I had to remind myself of that truth). I ate normally during this time, and that was a strange feeling! No more cooking different foods for my family any more. I ate in the 2,000 calorie range but didn’t really count calories after awhile. I never restricted foods and I eventually stopped following any certain “plans” other than finding new ideas and recipes along the way.

It was more about listening to my body, using common sense (I did know better by the way!), followed moderation instead of overload or deprivation and made choices that helped me feel balanced, energetic and happy. I still allow regular “treats” for myself along the way too but it’s funny how much the treats have changed over the years too! 🙂

 

I’ve maintained my weight now and never diet. I am now happy with who I am, where I am and my size and weight are no longer a secret! Go ahead and ask me, I’ll be proud to share!Trust me, it’s worth it! 

Should you try life without dieting?

I don’t know. I’m not here to make choices for you. That’s your job.

I’m here to share my story and hope that it influences you in a positive way.

For me, breaking up with dieting was my way of letting go of a lot of negative behaviors and mental patterns I’d built up over the years. So I stopped dieting, but I also did a lot of inside work so I could stop doing a lot of other things, too (like hate-talking to myself in the mirror, ugh).

So, really, what I’m asking you to do is start your own  journey. Make a commitment to be kinder to yourself. To consider that changes made out of love and respect last longer and work better than changes made out of hate. Work on bringing more joy and positivity into your life. Then see what happens.

If you need more help, feel free to message me today and we can work one on one to help you succeed in firing your diet mentality and reaching your goals forever too!

KathyProFitness@gmail.com 

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Gluten Free Craze – Have you considered it?

Have you considered going gluten free?

One thing that makes me crazy is when I hear clients decide to follow the newest and latest fads because they have heard someone say that it’s the next “best thing” out there.
Really???

Let me take you back…back to a time, (if you are old enough to remember)to the 1990’s – when it was popular to eat low fat and high carbs. Remember that awesomeness? Yes, I do too. :p
Since then, our obesity in the US became an epidemic.

Coincidence? I don’t believe so.

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Once that craziness ended, then it was all about the Atkins diet and that had been originally popular in the 70s!! Carbs became the “bad guys” as proteins and fats were the secret to our success.

Or was it?

It’s addictive to think we can just cut out one food group and live happily ever after and now this popular fad is “gluten”.

Let’s begin with what gluten even is:
It’s a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye.

It’s true that gluten can be bad for some people. But it’s not a “diet” phase in any way.

People who suffer with Celiac disease have discomfort and fatigue and gastrointestinal issues. There are other conditions were choosing to eliminate gluten containing foods can help reduce symptoms and discomfort.

This has lead to more gluten free products being sold and now, a new diet phase emerged.

People who remove gluten from their diets notice, at first, that they feel less bloated. This is usually believed to be “weight loss”, as the scale shows a drop (and why I don’t allow my clients to simply refer to the scale for success. It isn’t accurate most of the time).

 

Binge and Move On Already!!!

Bloating can release due to the initial removal of gluten from one’s diet since it contains less fiber. Fiber attracts water for digestion purposes and this may cause some temporary bloating. Take away more fiber, take away the bloat.

This is an example of what we think is happening (IE: weight loss) is really another cause altogether (less water in the body temporarily).

Now there are ridiculous amounts of foods being manufactured as “gluten free”. I have to caution you here because manufacturers will advertise foods as “gluten free” when they had never even contained gluten in the beginning! Don’t fall for these scams!

Let’s talk about what needs to happen to something in order to make it “gluten free”- when it contains gluten. It requires heavy amounts of processing. It’s during the processing phase, that many of the vitamins and minerals are lost and leaves many foods with very little nutritional value. As fiber is now lost, many B vitamins are also lost.

Gluten-free breads now contain almost 1/3 less the amount of protein as gluten options and instead contain twice the amount of fats and that is made mostly up of saturated fats.

So should you consider going gluten-free? Only if you suffer from symptoms that can be eliminated from cutting out gluten. Not for weight loss.

What are those symptoms? Do you suffer regularly from:

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Gas – Bloating – Diarrhea – Constipation – Foggy mind – ADHD behavior – Depression – Abdominal pains – Headaches – Bone or joint pains – Chronic fatigue – and some other symptoms that can be diagnosed by a physician. If you are worried about your symptoms, consult your doctor and ask them to run tests for a diagnosis. There is a blood test called the tTG-IgA that is the most accurate to date.

Otherwise, stop looking for the next food fad and eat to fuel your body and goals today!

What are some of the popular diets you’ve tried in the past?

Should you weight train if you want lose weight?

Too many women believe that the only way to lose weight is to do tons of cardio. They decide to start jogging or take aerobic classes five or more times a week. But what tends to happen? They notice their bodies get a little smaller but there are still those “flabby” and “jiggly” areas that aren’t changing.

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Have you been there too?

Cardio is part of the solution; but not all of it! In order to achieve long lasting fitness and goals you can be proud of; you MUST work on weight training and flexibility training too. If you are afraid to lift weights heavier than 5 lbs over time, you are missing out on the best fat burning methods around!

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When you lift weights, you shouldn’t focus only on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell us what is happening WITHIN our bodies at any given time. (which can seem confusing but trust me here!) I like my clients to focus more on picture updates, measurements and clothing fit. The size of your body will shrink as you build muscle and shed fat, but sometimes that scale won’t shift as you’re used to when you’re focused on dieting and cardio only. How important is the number on the scale when you look hot and tight in your skinny jeans, anyway, right?

Here are 10 reasons you should reconsider lifting weights in order to reach your goals….

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1. You will burn more fat. When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and long after your workout ends and you continue to burn fat for several hours afterward. During your cardio exercise, however, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

2. It will change the shape of your body. I always thought that my genes were the biggest reason my body looked the way it did. It’s not completely true. With weight training, you can slim down, create new curves and help change the “I’m over a certain age and my body won’t change much more” mentality. And ladies, you will not bulk up by lifting weights! We don’t have enough muscle building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men can. If we focus on eating a clean and calorie deficit meal plan, we will burn fat.

3. It helps to boost your metabolism. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. You’ll become stronger and feel more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

5. It helps to build strong bones. It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass, and to prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight. Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

6. It helps fight depression. You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, along with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.

7. Improves sports fitness. You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s cycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing…whatever sports you enjoy most.

8. It helps to reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis.

9. Helps get our hearts healthy! More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

10. Defends against diabetes. In addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.

Any questions?

Walking; What is it good for?

Does walking count as “real” exercise? To most of us who love higher intensity workouts, it may seem a bit wimpy. How does it compare to workouts that blasts fat in record time?

Not all walks are equal, obviously, but when you’re trying to lose weight and boost your cardio health, power walking may help you lose that weight for sure.

Walking for fitness is easy. First of all, it’s affordable. It’s also safe and easy to do and perfect for any level looking to take it up a notch or just gradually ramp up exercise intensity and frequency.

Do you walk regularly?

I know since I’ve been on my challenge of 45 minute fat burning walks this month, I have been feeling so much more energetic and excited about my fitness. There are days that a higher intensity workout feels draining to jump into; but with a simple and brisk walk outdoors, I rev my energy up to either pushing up steeper hills or challenging my pace per mile to end on a high like I hadn’t imagined with just walking.

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To maximize your results and avoid any aches and pains, pay careful attention to your form. Once you’ve made a habit of maintaining good posture and brisk strides, you’ll transform your body into a much more efficient walking machine — and you’ll burn even more calories!

Posture Tips for Walking Harder, Faster, and Farther

– Lower your chin parallel to the ground; don’t jut your head forward.
– Consciously draw your navel in toward your spine, and keep your back straight. (Think “tall” but not stiff.)
– Lift your chest and comfortably draw your shoulders down your back.
– As your propel yourself forward with each step, it may feel natural to lean slightly forward. Lean from your ankles, not your hips.
– Keep your elbows bent 90 degrees and don’t swing your arms too high or cross them in front of you.
– If you want to increase your walking speed, take smaller steps instead of wider ones.
– Most people automatically rotate their hips a little as they walk. If you don’t do this naturally, try to develop the habit to reduce the impact on your joints.
– Land on your heels with the front of your feet raised, rolling into the next step. When you land flat-footed, you create undue stress to your knees, ankles and feet.
– Finally, pay attention to how your walking shoes feel. Walking shoes wear out from the inside, so it’s not always easy to tell when you need a new pair.

And lastly, I’ve actually made my own game of walking and it is so much fun to push yourself this way (think of the Pokemon app and how it got people walking around in search of the next Pokemon!)

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To lose weight with walking and cross-training, pedometers and mobile apps can make walking more like a game. Since it might take a month or so for you to notice a difference in your weight, these apps can help you stick with it. For more inspiration, try these:

Does the thought of winning money motivate you? Pact is an app developed to monetize health improvement. Just sign up and tell the app your goals. You won’t get rich, but you can earn a dollar here and there.

Walk for charity! The Charity Miles app has paid out more than a half-million dollars to various organizations. It works for other activities too!

If you’re like a lot of people, music plays a key role in your fitness regimen. Use it to stay excited about your daily walk. Crank up the speed (and beats-per-minute of the music), and the pounds will fall off more quickly. Or try Spotify, which will create an instant playlist for you based on your music preferences and walking speed.

If music isn’t your thing, consider podcasts, audiobooks, or a walking mediation to keep you motivated to return to your walking workouts often. I use “Map My Walk” and focus on the minutes walked per mile and love mapping my routes every time I step outdoors.

Are you up to the walking challenge?

Back to reality- Day 2 of the #nosugar

I’m here and it’s day #2 of the NO SUGAR challenge and I promised you my recipe for the Mediterranean chicken I made for the family last night.

Do you struggle with family meals too? I recently began creating a whole week of meals on the weekends and posting it on my refrigerator so I don’t even have to think about dinners any more. I also write out all of the recipes and ingredients needed to create my meals and voila! Stress free family dinners that everyone loves!

Day 1 of the NO SUGAR went so good! It actually feels like I’m eating more than usual and still feeling lighter, less bloated and as though I’m MORE hungry (which is a good sign of a strong metabolism) throughout my day than when I am not watching every sugar add.

I don’t eat processed foods or artificial sweeteners any longer but I’ll occasionally have some cereal in my yogurts, or mindlessly snack on foods that the family has on had when I’m not being as vigilant to my intake. Little things definitely add up over time and this is why I find the 14 day NO SUGAR challenges a great return to where I feel my best and lose weight like no other without having to “try”.

Here are my meals for the day:

Breakfast: Protein Pancake –

I mixed 4 egg whites, 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 scoop Shakeology (the only thing I’ll allow on my no sugar but it does contain some stevia). I blended this up in my VitaMix and cooked it up like a huge pancake. I then topped it with 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (FAGE with nothing added) and 1 Tbls all natural peanut butter. (read your ingredients because most nut butters contain sugars and additives)

I usually like some berries on top of this pancake and when I’m not following the NO SUGAR (I feel like I should hashtag the no sugar slogan), I’ll add 1 Tbls of my fave strawberry syrup (a childhood obsession). But not now. I then had a cup of coffee with my 1 Tbls of 1/2 and 1/2 (yes, I pretty much measure everything; it’s become a habit now).

At 9am, I took my daughter to the ENT specialist where she finally had her freaking tonsil abscess drained. It was a scary issue after she was diagnosed with strep throat a week ago and then later felt the pain “change” to one tonsil and swell like a mutha! We had a “FUN” visit to the ER on Friday night (due to her doctor visit follow up on Friday where they warned us “not to wait the weekend but go straight to the ER to have this thing drained”…felt like Monopoly and unable to pass GO or collect my $200). The ER was absolutely NO help whatsoever as we told them upon our arrival what had been happening and that she more than likely just needed the abscess drained. They still had to take a CAT scan (I’m not arguing with being positive about the diagnosis) and we waited around for about 5 hours (which she was in excruciating pain from her ear being pressured by the abscess and unable to swallow or breathe normally) and they finally announced that she “needed to have the abscess drained” (DUH!) – BUT – there wasn’t an ENT in the hospital so they’d have to transfer her and not sure where that would be yet.

What?

Seriously, this was ridiculous and yet we were feeling nervous as they kept telling us if the tonsil swole any larger, it would probably start to cut off her breathing airways. YIKES! So, we waited. They put her in a room and gave her some morphine for the pain and antibiotic drip; along with steroids to help the swelling. Her doctor had prescribed antibiotics and steroids through the previous week as she fought the strep throat so this seemed harmless enough.

After a few hours of waiting, (which honestly didn’t feel as “life threatening” as they were making it out to be any longer); we questioned going home overnight and calling ENT’s in the morning. They advised against us leaving and threatened her life again from the swelling but honestly, our parental intuition overrode the fear and we checked her out and took her home. I slept in her room over the weekend and we called a few specialists only to find one who clearly knew what he was talking about.

Finally!

He first warned us to get her off of the steroids immediately as it was more than likely causing more swelling with the antibiotics. He asked us to come in on Monday morning and he’d fit her into his schedule. (there are still awesome doctors out there!) So yesterday, she and I went to see him and as scared as she was; and as much pain as she was in…he was so kind and calming and ended up doing the procedure in his office that the ER doctors told us was “impossible” to do in her situation.

She is back at school today and feeling like a million bucks! A little sore in her throat still but totally pain free at last!

Whew!

So anyway, after the appointment, I had a shakeology shake with 1/3 cup of oats, water and ice blended in. I watched my daughter during the day because her body was fevering on and off due to the infection being drained but overall, we rested and I bought her a milkshake to celebrate!

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For lunch, I made myself a veggie scramble with eggs, zucchini, cilantro, onions and cheese. I topped it with some home grown cherry tomatoes and it was fabulous! I allowed myself an apple later with some peanut butter and this was my “treat” that made me feel special! LOL

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Here’s my dinner, as promised (complete with the recipe) and if you’d like, I can share my meal plan ideas and recipes along the way to help out your family (or even just your own) weekly meals.

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MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN RECIPE:

Chicken breasts

Garlic powder

Diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)

Artichoke hearts

Small Jar Kalmata olives

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

oregano

basil

salt and pepper

Method:

Season chicken breasts with seasonings and brown in olive oil heated up in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pan. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. Add seasonings and simmer over low heat. (I put it in a large sheet pan and put into over at 350 for 30-45 minutes)

Serve over veggies or pasta.

Now it’s time for Day 2 of the #nosugarchallenge

New week’s goals

It’s a new week and I’m making a commitment for the coming 2 weeks to post daily about my progress in all areas. I like to write my blog posts more often and it seems like I get on track for a bit and then off again. My goal is to share a bit of my world with you in the next 2 weeks so you can glimpse what I struggle with and where I succeed at. My hope is that this inspires you to keep going every day; week and month…even when things are going as “perfectly” as you hope they do. 🙂

I didn’t sleep very well last night due to my daughter’s recent bout with strep throat and now an abscess on her tonsil. You’d think by that last sentence that my daughter was a young girl, right? Well, honestly, she’s 20 years old and when my little girl is sick this momma is going to overdo it on worry, care and soup making. lol

Chicken Enchilada soup

I had also planned to train my bootcamp group of ladies this morning at 5am before our appointment at 9. Since I was waking up every hour on the hour, to check on my daughter (yes, I slept in her room!); I heard a strange dripping sound around 3am and wondered if our sprinklers were stuck or mis-programmed.

No sprinkler issues whatsoever…it was actually raining. 

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In Southern California? That is absurd! LOL So I messaged the bootcamp ladies and we agreed to postpone this morning’s workout for tomorrow since we’d be outdoors in the wet and slippery morning. I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail…so here I am, writing this blog and drinking my coffee before I get my 5:30 workout done in my living room. I’m also kicking off this week with a NO SUGAR challenge for 2 weeks.

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This is my 3rd round of the NO SUGAR challenge this year and I have to say that I’m actually looking forward to this more than ever. I realize that even though I’m a healthy eater who choose “clean” foods about 90% of the time, when I cut out all of the sugars completely; I feel lighter, more energetic and immediately drop any extra “bloat” or weight that can creep up at any time of day or night. You know what I’m talking about, right?

I may or may not go through withdrawals because I’ve done this more than once this past year and each time it gets easier to do. I’ll share with you why you should take on a challenge such as this soon too (even now!) and why sugar is one of the main reasons for our obesity epidemic and all of the health issues rising up in our lives.

I’m drinking my coffee with 1 Tbls of half and half. Yes, there is cream in it but no sugar! 🙂 My tip for you today is to cut out the crappy coffee creamers that are filled with awful preservatives, sugars and things that aren’t even in my vocabulary. Use cream, half and half or milk instead. You’ll thank me later.

My workout is going to be from Beachbody’s Master Hammer and Chisel. I’ll be doing Hammer Power today and you’ll have to see how it went in tomorrow’s post.

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Today’s big plans:

workout at 5:30am

Dr. appt at 9am

No sugar all day

Dinner plans: Mediterranean Chicken with pasta (for the family- I’ll stick to the chicken and veggies)

Want the recipe? Check out tomorrow’s post!