Monday, December 31, 2012

How am I gonna keep track of all this water?

It's been a long day already. Heck, it's been a long week!

Please excuse my short and to the point blog post today. I wish I had more time to make it fun, but time is scarce with the hubs home all day!

I thought I would share a trick with you about how to get in all your daily water. This is the ONE thing that I need the most help with. I try and try and try to get my 90ish ounces a day, but it doesn't always happen. So, before I give you my trick, check out my blog post about how much water you should be drinking in a day. If not, click HERE to read it.

Right now, I need to be drinking about 90 ounces of water each day. I have a favorite glass that a student got me that holds 24 ounces of water. I put three hair ties on it. As I finish drinking the glass, I move one hair tie up. That way, I can keep track of my water. See the hair ties? They are on the bottom of my purty glass!

I know my math is a bit off 24 x 3 = 72, not 90. So, I have a big glass of water right before I go to bed. Then when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I have another big glass of water. Those glasses are usually around 12 ounces. That's an extra 24 ounces of water at night!

Hope you enjoyed the tip!

Happy New Year!!!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

ChaLEAN Extreme - my review

I'm not gonna like. I've always hated cardio. Heck, I quit playing soccer in middle school because I hated running!

On the other hand, I've always loved lifting weights. I think lean muscle looks amazing on anyone!

When I talking with my coach, Dani, about what program would suit me well, she suggested ChaLEAN Extreme. It's a weight lifting program that also incorporates cardio on 2 of your 5 workout days. It's also nice because you longest workout is 45 minutes long! Talk about being perfect for a busy mom on the go with 2 kids in tow! As I finished the program today, I can say that ChaLEAN Extreme was (and is) my perfect program. I can't call it my soulmate workout because I haven't tried anything else yet, but it really was amazing. Below are pictures of my actual workout sheets. You can easily see my progress :)

The program consists of three distinct phases. First is the Burn Phase. All of the exercises are using two different muscle groups. For example, there's a sumo squat paired with a hip lift, a dead lift paired with a posterior fly, a dead lift paired with a row, and a squat paired with a calf raise. I loved the burn month. The exercises were challenging and man did I sweat.The goal is to completely fatigue your muscles in 10 - 12 reps of each exercise. Then you break the muscle down with an "extreme" set after a 10 second rest. Holy moly - it's intense! I started out with weights ranging from 5 - 10 pounds and by the end of the month my weights went up to 8 - 15 pounds.

The second phase is called the Push Phase. This was my ABSOLUTE favorite phase. We were lifting HEAVY weights and only doing 6 - 8 reps of each move. Each exercise only focused on one specific muscle group. I found it refreshing to be able to focus so hard on one specific area. I started the Push month lifting 10 - 15 pound weights and I ended the month lifting 15 - 30 pound weights. This month was all about pushing yourself to your limit. To be perfectly honest, I did just that! One warning about the Push Phase, you will EAT A TON of food. I was constantly hungry. I just made sure that the food I was eating was clean and nourished my body.

The third and final phase is called the Lean Phase. I'll admit, it was my least favorite. I think it was because all of the exercises are designed to make you really use your core. I felt off balance a lot. It was hard for me to focus on lifting well because I felt like I was going to fall. I pushed through and ended up really liking the workouts by the 5th week.

I did 5 weeks of the push phase because the program is designed to be 90 days. I really liked the set up of the first month which was working out on M, W, R, F, S and rest days on T and Sun. So, instead of changing up my rest days and repeating some of the cardio days, I just did 4 weeks of each phase and then an extra week of the lean phase. It worked out really well for me.

So, as you can see from my workout sheets, there are three days of lifting during each phase. The other two workout days are cardio/abs and cardio/yoga.

The first cardio video is Burn Intervals. In the video, Chalene lifts 5 pound weights the entire time. When she said that's all she was lifting, I thought she was crazy. She's always saying to "go heavy or go home". Well, 5's are about right for this particular workout! It is muscle endurance at its best! I think we did a bazillion bicep curls! There's no way I could have done more than 5 pounds with this workout!

Burn intervals is paired with Ab Burner for the first 6 weeks and then Extreme Abs for the last 6 or 7 weeks. Honestly - they are both really tough. This entire program is about how difficult YOU make it for yourself! I eventually got good at Ab Burner and then Extreme Abs KICKED MY BUTT! It is nuts!

Burn It Off! is the second cardio day. It falls on Saturdays during the Burn Phase. To be very honest, this was not my cup of tea. Well, scratch that, I liked it in the beginning. But this is a workout you do the entire 90 days and I got bored with it. So, I ended up subbing in some TurboFire cardio workouts for it towards the end.

Recharge is a nice and short yoga session. It really stretches your muscles and is kinda the "reward" at the end of the week. I loved it!

All in all, as I finish this program, I have to admit that I love Chalene. She is amazing. She is motivating. She makes me want to workout! Just when I think I can't do it anymore, she says "smile when it hurts" and I smile. She tells me to say "I love it" when doing tricep pushups and guess what I say? Yup you guessed it - "I love it I love it I love it!"

In the end, ChaLEAN Extreme is an awesome program for anyone. Beginners to advanced can do it. I should know. I was an absolute beginner when I started the program. Now as I sit here typing this blog post, I am down 43 pounds and over 20 inches. I know the inches don't look like a lot, but I gained a lot of muscle during the past 90 days. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it :) As of Monday, I am moving on to P90X but I have a feeling that I will be seeing Chalene again in the future. I don't think I can stay away too long :)


Friday, December 28, 2012

A year in review - 2012

2012 was a BIG year for me. 

I did things that I never though I could do. I had a healthy pregnancy and gave birth to my daughter via unmedicated VBAC. I learned how to use my DSLR. I started my weight loss journey, became a beachbody coach, and lost 41 pounds. My hubby and I started "dating" again. I have been able to successfully breastfeed again. I started helping others in their weight loss/health journeys.

Without a doubt, my biggest accomplishment to date is the birth of my daughter. I felt so completely robbed when my son was born via emergency c/section. I felt like I had no choice in the matter. I felt like my body was broken. Then I found the most amazing group of midwives and they told me that I could do it. I wasn't broken. My body did work. Meredith (the midwife who delivered my daughter) is forever a part of our family. I couldn't have done it without her. She pushed me to find the strength I didn't think I had in me. 

Losing weight is something I have wanted to do for a REALLY long time. It was my hubby that pushed me to do it. He made me face the fact that I was gaining weight and I wasn't pregnant anymore. It hurt when he confronted me about it but in the end, he did it because he loves me. He wants me to be around for our kids.

Hubby confrontation was a blessing in disguise. I was really embarrassed that he said something to me. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. But I didn't. I signed up to participate in a Challenge Group that a friend was running. I began eating clean and drinking my Shakeology. I started pushing play every day - except Sunday - it's my day off.

Hubs and I also started dating again. We had been in a rut in our marriage. We were taking care of the kids but not taking care of each other. Something had to give. So, we decided to go out twice a month, just the two of us. Sometimes it's just grocery shopping. Sometimes it's dinner alone. Maybe sometime it will even be a movie - nah - they are too expensive! Our marriage has benefited more than I could ever imagine from these two little dates a month. We aren't mom and dad when we go out together. We are Kelly and Mike. Do we talk about the kids? Of course. Do we miss the kids? DUH! But do we also get to hold hands and laugh without interruption? Yuppers! It's amazing!

Breastfeeding my daughter has been amazing. I'm not knocking the formula peeps. To each their own. I'm just a girl who was bound and determined to nurse her babies. Thankfully, both of them have taken to it. So much so, that neither ever took a bottle!  That typically would be a problem, but I have been lucky enough to be off work for a while and don't have to return until April 4. So, we'll worry about the no bottle situation later. I'm not gonna stress about it now!
Learning how to use my DSLR was also a huge deal for me this past year. Photography has become a huge part of my life. I always have my camera with me. I love to capture special moments on film - or rather - SD card. In fact, this has become such a part of my life, that I'm planning something BIG for 2013 with it. Stay tuned for more details!

My last big accomplishment has been to start running my own challenge groups. I have been so blessed to help others on their weight loss journeys. I also have big plans for this in 2013. More details to come tomorrow!

I have some of my plans for 2013 set up, but others are taking some more time to write down. I hope to have them all laid out tomorrow so I can share them. The best way to accomplish your goals is to make them public so you can be accountable for them.

What are your goals going to be for 2013?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012


As I sit here at my kitchen table, watching the snow fall outside, I am taking some time to reflect on the past 3 months.

  • If you would have told me that I would be sitting here, the day after Christmas, 41 pounds lighter than I was on Sept. 15, I wouldn't have believed you.
  • If you would have told me that I would actually LIKE working out each day, I wouldn't have believed you.
  • If you would have told me that I would be craving HEALTHY food, I wouldn't have believed you.

If you knew me a few months ago then you know that all of the above is true. I was fat obese and unhappy. I'm still overweight (no longer obese!) by my BMI measurement, but I am no longer unhappy. I have proven to myself that I can do this. I have proven to myself that I'm strong enough to make it through an hour workout. Granted, it might take me an hour and a half to do that hour workout because I have to pause the DVD every now and then, but I make it through!

I am REALLY proud of how far I have come. I am really proud that I made it through the holidays and didn't gain weight. I'm really proud that my family is proud of me! I'm proud that I have NO clothes to wear. Everything I own is too big!

Do you have ANY idea what it's like to have your 3 year old say "Mommy, I'm so proud of you! You look amazing!"??? I'm sure it was coached by daddy, but I don't care. He (and his sister) is the reason I'm doing this. I want to be around for his entire life. I want to see my kids go to grade school, high school, graduate, go to college, get married, have babies, and be successful in whatever they choose to do.

I was on a path that wouldn't have killed me today. Probably not tomorrow either. Heck, probably not even next year. But it would have killed me sooner rather than later. Now, my kids are stuck with me till the Good Lord says it's time to go, not my overtired, overweight, undernourished body!

As New Years approaches and the snow comes down, I can vividly remember making resolution upon resolution upon resolution to be healthy time and time again. I would resolve to go to the gym. Eat healthy. Go on a diet. Lose the weight. But the main problem was that I thought that as soon as I saw progress, I could let up. I would start up the bad habits again. I never really understood that my new habits ARE MY NEW LIFE.

I get it now. I live day-to-day. I don't plan for the future when it comes to my health and fitness journey. I can't. It will derail me. I have to take it one day at a time. Each day I make the small, tiny, seemingly insignificant decision to eat well and push play. It's all those small, tiny, insignificant decisions that are slowly adding up to the story of becoming me.

So my plan for today is to sit here, drink my green tea, watch the snow come down, and enjoy my little family. For soon enough, the beautiful, fresh snow will be gone and my little family won't be so little anymore.

Wouldn't you LOVE to never make the resolution to get healthy again? Wouldn't you LOVE to be confident in your summer clothes? Well, guess what??? The work happens NOW while it's snowing outside. And it's not all about exercise. It's almost MORE about what you do with the OTHER 23 hours in your day. There's a saying that I love and I live by it now - "abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen." There's no way that you can get rid of that belly fat with a poor diet. But that's part of my plan. I will help you to eat right, motivate you to work out, pick you up when you have fallen (it will happen - it still happens to me!), and celebrate with you when you succeed.

When you are ready to take your life by the horns and say "this is not me. I am ready for my outside to reflect my inside." let me know. I want to help you. I want you to be in this happy place with me, ready to take on the world in ways you never thought possible!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Cookies

So, here I sit. 1:11 pm on Christmas Eve. Kids are napping. I'm showered and ready to go. Presents are wrapped for everyone and under the tree (except for the Santa gifts).


How could I forget? My kid's gonna kill me! If I don't do this one little thing, Santa might not show up!


We've got the milk covered (0% cows milk for Mr. Claus and unsweetened almond for the Mrs.) but THE COOKIES?!?!?! I completely over looked them! Do you have ANY idea how important Santa's cookies are to a 3.5 year old?

According to Wy, the big dude won't show up if his treats aren't laid out!

How did this EPIC mom fail happen? AHHH - ok - time for damage control!

So, I did some searching, found a recipe I thought looked good and tweaked it for us. Let's just say, that the dough is OUTTA THIS WORLD. I can't wait to try a cooked cookie!

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup organic honey
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine all other ingredients except chocolate chips (PB, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla) in a medium mixing bowl. I melted my coconut oil in the microwave before adding it to the other ingredients. It formed back up once it cooled.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until all the flour is absorbed.
  5. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the chocolate chips to the dough.
  7. Using 2 spoons, drop the cookies onto a greased (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet. Each cookie should be approximately 2 Tablespoon of dough.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, let cool for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. I had to cook my cookies a bit longer (8 minutes longer) because my oven is weird. 

So, cookies are DONE baking now. Time for the true taste test. The first batch I baked were way too big. They were about the size of golf balls. You can see them in the back of this horrible cell picture. They took too long in the oven. My second attempt was much better. I made them ping pong sized and they came out great. Trouble is, I cooked them just as long as I did the big ones, so they are a bit dry :( Next time I'll know better!

These cookies are nothing short of DELICIOUS! They are even husband approved - and if you know my hubs - that's a HUGE deal!

Wishing you and yours the Merriest Christmas!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bathing Suit Bodies


It's cold. It's snowy. It's dark.

Who in their right mind is thinking about the summer right now? Most of us are thinking about staying warm, wearing big sweaters, and drinking some hot chocolate - right?

Well, that's what I used to think about during the months of Nov. - March. Then April would hit and I would say "OH CRAP! I have to wear a bathing suit in a month or two!".

Well, not this year! I am taking charge of my life. I WILL be comfortable in my bathing suit at the beach on June 29th. I WILL be comfortable wearing shorts and showing off my legs. I WILL NOT hide from pictures at family reunions. I WILL put the time in RIGHT NOW to make the difference.

Summer is only 6 short months away. Heck, that's not even enough time to grow a baby! I should know - I grew one last winter!

Here's my plan to hit my next goal (lose another 28 pounds):

  1. Make the commitment to change.
  2. Apply the Slight Edge daily.
  3. Push Play every single day (except for Sundays - they are my day off!)
  4. Eat REALLY clean.
  5. Drink 1/2 my body weight in water DAILY! (this is a non-negotiable item)
  6. Continue on my personal development path by reading (at least) 10 minutes a day.
What are YOU going to do to make yourself bathing suit ready by June? Wanna join my challenge group? I only have 3 spots left and they will be gone quickly! Message me on Facebook or send me an email (you can find both in my business card at the bottom of this blog post) to reserve your spot today!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Good day at the office

Every now and then, we have our bad days. I have been having more than my share lately. I've been in a rut with my eating. I'm ready to start a new workout program. The scale isn't budging because I'm lifting such heavy weights. But I think what's really getting to me is that I feel like I'm not helping enough people meet their goals. 

I want to do MORE!

Then, out of the blue today, I got a Facebook message from one of my challengers. It went something like this:

"Hey girl just wanted to share something with you. To add to the loveliness of my husband 
being gone right now, my daughter and I are sick  We have been dealing with it since 
Monday so I decided to go to the dr today. She has an ear infection (her first one ever) and I have some kinda of sinusitis/ respiratory crap. Anywho, what I am excited to tell you is that when I stepped on the scale at the dr I realized it had been awhile since I had weighed myself AND I have lost 10 pounds since starting this challenge so I wanted to thank you! I have def reached a goal and will keep on toning."

I can honestly say that this made my day! I helped someone to feel better about themselves! Seeing my challengers reach their goals makes me THAT MUCH MORE determined to reach mine!

But wait - it gets better!!!

As I was putting my daughter to bed, I got a message from a different challenger. She was telling me last night (indirectly through a FB post) how she has lost 3 inches in her waist. Well, tonight she measured her chest and she has lost ANOTHER 3 inches there! 6 inches in 7 weeks! And she's not even doing the full TurboFire program! She's doing the starter program! I honestly can't wait to see her results when the challenge starts in January! Oh, and her husband is doing the program with her and has lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks! AHHHH!

Guess what - I'm not done!!!

As I was typing out all of ^^^that - I remembered a conversation I had with yet a DIFFERENT challenger. She said that she's rocking her workouts and eating as well as she can. She's drinking her Shakeology every day. She said that she's down about 10 pounds and OTHER PEOPLE are starting to notice the difference in her body. Talk about becoming a more confident person! When other people start to tell you that they see you making a change, man does that lift the spirit!

So, at the end of the day, I need to stop worrying. I AM helping people. I AM making a difference. I might not hear from my challengers every day, but they are out there, doing their thing. Putting one foot in front of the other. Making good choices. Making a change for the better.

I am so proud of all of my challengers and specifically these three ladies and my lonley gentleman :) I'm not sure that they know it, but they are making a HUGE difference in MY life. They are pushing themselves to do things that are WAY out of their comfort zone and they are making progress! Their tomorrow is HERE! They are taking charge of their lives and not making excuses anymore. 

So, to my challengers, I just have to say:

on making your dreams come true


for inspiring me to do more!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lentil Soup

There's something about cold winters nights and warm soup. I can't get enough lately! This savory classic is low in fat and high in protein. It's a vegan soup recipe will warm you up and lean you out.

(makes 4 servings)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-1/2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. uncooked lentils, sorted and washed
  • 5 cups fat-free vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)


    1. Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot. 
    2. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and cook over moderate heat until onions are limp. 
    3. Add lentils, broth, and water, and bring to a boil. 
    4. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are very soft.
    5. Stir in more warm water if soup becomes too thick.
    6.  Pour soup through colander, catching liquid that drains off in a large bowl. 
    7. Return liquid to soup pot. 
    8. Puree 1/3 of lentil mixture in food processor or blender or through food mill; return to pot.
    9.  Stir in remaining whole-lentil mixture. 
    10. If desired, season with salt and pepper. 

    Serving details w/o cheese:
    (1/12 of recipe)
    Calories = 165
    Protein = 11g
    Fiber = 12g
    Carbs = 27g
    Fat = 2g


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

10 Ways to NOT gain the holiday weight!

In years past, I have always found myself reaching for my "fat" pants in December and January. It's hard to stay on track during the holidays. Everyone has parties. There's tons of good yummy food. My clothes are way less revealing than my summer clothes. Heck - it's even hard to get in a good workout because my life is so busy. 

But this year is different. I'm making time for ME. I will be a priority. I will not let all my hard work go down the drain. I will not wear my stretchy pants. In fact, I'm gonna wear my tight pants. That way, I can't over eat!

Here's a few tips I found to help you get through the holidays WITHOUT gaining those few extra pounds!
Scale and a Christmas Hat with a Measuring Tape
  1. Travel smart. Many people find themselves traveling during the holiday season, but that's not an excuse to eat unhealthily and avoid exercise. Plan your meals in advance, and pack snacks when you are either on the road or in the air. Good travel snacks can include nuts or dried fruit. To help you be a happier traveler, get a good night sleep before you leave to increase your mood and alertness. Eating a heavy meal before traveling can make you sleepy, so eat a small, low-fat meal before you head out the door.
  2. ZZZZZZZ. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule and get a full night's rest (7 - 8 hours!) as often as you can. If you fail to get a good night sleep, it can affect your immune system and make you grumpy the next day. No one wants to travel with a grouchy person, so do everyone a favor and get some shut eye. Sleeping well can also help you reduce your calorie consumption, because it inhibits the release of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin while promoting the release of leptin, another hormone that limits hunger. And keeping that hunger in check is a good idea when you find yourself surrounded by holiday goodies.
  3. Man Drinking WaterHydration station. Staying hydrated is important in our daily life and becomes even more important when you're stressed, as can so often happen during the busy holiday season. Stress can have a negative effect on your immune systems. Drinking plenty of water can help by flushing toxins out of your body. For that very reason, choosing water instead of holiday beverages like eggnog and hot spiced cider is especially important, even though it can be challenging.
  4. Caution with cocktails. With the holidays comes the drinking of alcohol, so make sure you have at least one glass of water in between each drink. Remember that one gram of alcohol has seven calories, and yet it yields virtually no energy or health benefits. Calories from alcohol can add up quickly, so be mindful of how much you are drinking. If you do indulge in eggnog, which is super-high in calories in its traditional form, try making it with fat-free half-and-half substitute mixed with fat-free milk, and ditch the egg yolks for egg whites. Also, drinking may reduce inhibitions under the mistletoe, which is good, but it also reduces inhibition at the dessert buffet, which is bad.
  5. VeggiesFighting temptation. The holidays are filled with temptation, and it's your job to stop it in its tracks. Holiday parties can be troublesome with the surplus of fatty foods and beverages. You might be unaware of how much you are consuming and might eat because it is there, rather than eating because you are actually hungry. Eat a healthy meal before you go out, so you're less tempted to munch on empty calories. Be aware of what you are putting into your body whether it's cocktails or shrimp cocktails. The office can also be a place where temptation lurks. Try to avoid going into the break room and grabbing those cakes, cookies, and other holiday dishes and treats people leave lying around at this time of year. Be the first in your office to bring in a fruit or veggie platter or other healthy choice to share. And if you are having a chocolate craving that just won't go away, blend up a serving of Chocolate Shakeology - PROBLEM SOLVED!
  6. 'Tis the season for lots of television. Holiday movies, shows, and sporting events are in abundance during this time of the year. While you're watching TV, make time during commercials to do some exercises that do not require any equipment. Remember some of the exercises you do from your workout program? Superman/Banana? Squats? Pushups? Good, well  do some of those routines during the commercial breaks. Other options can range from standing up during some of the program to sitting on a stability ball (which uses more muscles than just sitting down on the couch) to doing jumping jacks, lunges, or ab work and beyond. Be creative and fight the flab that can come with being a couch potato.
  7. FruitMake recipes healthier. Most recipes can be made healthier without compromising the recipe. Think more whole grains—and less sugar, fats, and salt— while cooking and make sure that there are mostly healthy dishes to outweigh the naughty ones. Use the half plate rule—half of your plate should be filled with veggies or fruit. Healthy food that's good to incorporate into your meals includes: white meat turkey (limit the gravy), sweet potatoes, cranberries, pomegranates, pumpkin, pecans, collard greens (limit the fat), nutmeg, cinnamon, and red wine. These items can spice up any meal while making it healthier and more delicious. Please don't fall into the mentality trap of thinking that if you exercise, that allows you to eat whatever you want. 
  8. Out of sight, out of mind. When food is placed on the dining table, it's much easier to grab a second helping. So make it harder: Keep the extra food away from the dining room. If you leave it in the kitchen, out of sight, it forces everyone to think about getting up to grab another helping. Here's a tip: If you still feel hungry after your first plate, wait for 15 minutes and drink a full glass of water, then decide whether you want more food.
  9. Dried FruitEat smaller amounts more often. Instead of starving yourself all day so you can overindulge in that one, giant meal, have smaller meals throughout the day. I know that at family holiday gatherings in particular, it's asking too much to resist the lavish aromas of the kitchen, so limiting your portion sizes is important. Have a little bit of everything while preparing the meal throughout the day, then eat a sensibly sized portion when dinner rolls around. If you're still hungry after that, then eat more vegetables and fruit.
  10. Stay active. Regular exercise can help with so many of the challenges you face during the holiday season. It helps you cope with the stress of traveling, because exercising releases endorphins that help boost your mood and energy. At the airport, if you have time, walk beside those moving sidewalks instead of standing and letting them carry you to your terminal. During your flight, walk up the aisles as much as possible without making the other passengers crazy, or do shoulder, abdominal, calf, ankle, or foot exercises while you're seated. If you're traveling by car, take frequent breaks, get out of the car, walk around, and get some fresh air. If you're staying home for the holidays, get the family involved! Depending on the climate, go ice skating, hiking, sledding, skiing, biking, surfing, or walking the dog. And go for a walk together after your big meal—it'll help you all digest better.
Now, I love the holidays as much as anyone, so I'm not asking you to deprive yourself of any holiday cheer. I'm just asking you to be aware of your body and the temptations and pitfalls it faces this season. Because the holidays have a way of testing your self-control, it's a good idea to have a plan in place well in advance for dealing with them. That way, you'll have a better chance of remaining on your regular regimen of exercise and dieting. You can even make it your New Year's resolution to keep a healthy lifestyle and continue working toward your goals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TurboFire Chili

If you are in the mood for some good old comfort food, then this is the recipe for you! It's hearty, healthy, and yummy! What a way to end the day on a chilly winter evening! It's even hubby approved!

(makes 4 servings)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey (I use turkey breast)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz canned black beans, drained
  • 8 oz canned pino, chili, or kidney beans, drained
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 package Lawry's Chili Seasoning
  • 4 oz low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • I add some extras to mine to make it my own. I like sliced mushrooms and extra corn!

  1. Brown turkey breast and drain any excess fat. 
  2. Place all ingredients, except for cheese, into a slow cooker. 
  3. Cook 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high.
  4. Top with 1 oz cheese and ENJOY!

Serving details w/cheese:
(1/4 of recipe)

Calories = 386
Protein = 36g
Carbs = 33g
Fat = 13g
Fiber = 8.5g

Serving details w/o cheese:
(1/4 of recipe)

Calories = 338
Protein = 29g
Carbs = 33g
Fat = 11g
Fiber = 8.5g


Monday, December 17, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Granola

I don't know about you, but I'm ALWAYS looking for new snacks. I get bored easily doing the same thing week after week after week! I was in the grocery store last week searching for something new and I came across the prepackaged granola. I was SHOCKED to see how much sugar is in each serving! I refuse to eat a ton of sugar because it's horrible for you!
So I searched, and I searched, and I searched and finally I found this AMAZING little recipe for homemade apple cinnamon granola! And the best part??? There's NO SUGAR ADDED!

How completely amazing would this be mixed with 1/2 cup of plain 0% greek yogurt??? NOM NOM NOM!


(makes 16, 1/4 cup servings)

  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or 100% pure maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, dried, unsweetened apples
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Heat honey and oil in small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until oil has melted. Add extract; set aside.
  4. Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
  5. Combine oat mixture and honey mixture, stirring until oats are evenly coated with honey.
  6. Place on prepared baking pan, spreading in a thin, even layer.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is light golden brown and crunchy.
  8. Cool granola completely (it will get crunchier as it cools).
  9. Add apples, raisins, and walnuts; mix well.
There are many different variations of this granola. Some healthy additions include unsweetened shredded coconut, sulfate-free dried apricots, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried unsweetened berries, hemp seeds, etc. You can store cold granola in an airtight container for up to a week. 

Serving details:
(1 serving = 1/4 cup)

Calories = 81
Carbs = 10
Fat = 5
Saturated Fat = 3
Protein = 1
Sugar = 7
Solium = 38
Fiber = 1


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers

Every once in a while, we just want some food that is going to take us back to our childhood. What better food than chicken fingers?! Remember those days, sitting in the cafeteria at school, eating those delicious, nutritious, good for you morsels of chicken.
Wait a minute! 
Are we talking about the same chicken nuggets? The ones I ate in school were disgusting, fried, additive-and-filler-packed ground chicken parts. No thanks!
Here's a great, wholesome, healthy alternative to those processed hunks of random chicken parts! Enjoy!
(makes 4 servings)

  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko® bread crumbs (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Directions:
    1. Combine honey, Dijon mustard, and rice vinegar in small bowl; mix well and chill.
    2. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray.
    3. Place eggs and water in medium shallow bowl; beat lightly.
    4. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture; set aside.
    5. Combine bread crumbs, almonds, sea salt, and black pepper in large resealable plastic bag and shake to combine.
    6. Working with a few pieces at a time, lift chicken from egg mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl, and drop into bag containing bread crumb mixture. Seal bag and shake to coat; repeat with remaining chicken.
    7. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown, turning once halfway through.
    8. Serve with prepared honey mustard dipping sauce (if desired).

    Serving details:
    (1/4 of recipe)

    Calories = 300
    Carbs = 19
    Fat = 11
    Protein = 31
    Sugar = 5
    Cholesterol = 154
    Sodium = 508
    Fiber = 2


    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    10 Popular Diet Tips to IGNORE!

    I found this great article on the website and just had to share it with you! Take the time to really think about all the bad diet advice you have gotten over the years. How has it hindered you?

    By Kara Wahlgren

    If you've ever tried to lose a few pounds, you've probably been inundated with diet tips. But take them all with a grain of salt—some advice may sound legit but can actually derail your diet. Here are 10 tips you don't want to follow.
    Crackers with Spread
    BAD ADVICE: Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods
    BETTER ADVICE: Don't believe the hype. "They usually use fat and sodium to replace sugar, and sugar to replace fat—or chemicals to replace both," says Denis Faye, Beachbody's nutrition expert. And Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the upcoming book, The 1:1:1 Diet, adds, "Removing fat from a food makes it less satiating, so you ultimately may end up eating more." Stick with the original versions, and watch your portions or better yet, eat more unprocessed foods.
    BAD ADVICE: No cheating ever!
    BETTER ADVICE: Relax your diet rules, and you'll be more likely to stick it out long-term. "If 80% of your diet is tight, then 20% can be a party," Faye says. "It keeps you from getting stressed—and stress is a huge obstacle in weight loss." Just plan your splurges ahead of time so you're not giving in to every temptation that crosses your plate.
    BAD ADVICE: Stop snacking.
    BETTER ADVICE: Choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. "A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable," Batayneh says. Skipping a snack can cause your blood sugar to dip, leaving you moody and famished—and more likely to overeat at mealtime.
    BAD ADVICE: Don't eat fruit—it's full of sugar.
     Man Eating GrapesBETTER ADVICE: Let fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. "Yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs," Faye says. "But sugar itself is not the enemy. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; it's also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar. I've never met a human being who got fat because of bananas." When you're craving sugar, there's no debate that a handful of grapes is healthier than a hot fudge sundae.
    BAD ADVICE: If it's organic, it's good for you.
    BETTER ADVICE: According to the USDA, organic food is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients.1 The problem is that many people assume organic foods are all low in calories, too, which isn't necessarily true. Don't get us wrong—we'd rather eat food that doesn't resemble a science experiment. But, Faye cautions, "You need to use common sense. If it's bad for you with conventional ingredients, it's still bad for you when it's organic." A cookie is a cookie, no matter how all-natural it is.
    BAD ADVICE: Calories in, calories out—it doesn't matter what you eat.
     Salad with CakeBETTER ADVICE: What you're eating matters. Compare a 100-calorie candy bar to 100 calories of avocado—the latter is packed with nutrients and has healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. Or compare 50 calories of spinach (about seven cups) to 50 calories of ice cream (about two tablespoons). To feel full when you're cutting calories, look for foods loaded with water and fiber, like veggies or broth-based soups. Plus, "Hormones have a huge impact on our health. Junk food can trigger bad hormonal responses that, over time, can lead to all kinds of problems, including weight gain," Faye says. Occasionally, someone will pop up in the news claiming they lost a ton of weight while eating nothing but Subway®, Starbucks®, or Snickers® bars—but don't put too much stock in those success stories. "When you go that route, you're not educating yourself," Faye says. "It's like the teach-a-man-to-fish adage. If you give someone a gimmicky diet, they might lose weight for now; but provide them with knowledge, and they can be healthy for life."
    BAD ADVICE: Try XYZ Extreme Diet—it works for everyone!
    BETTER ADVICE: Find a plan that works for you. Gender, age, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle can all play a role in weight loss—so even if a fad diet has worked for others, that doesn't mean you'll get the same results. "There's no single diet that works for everyone; our biochemical needs are different," Faye says. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition consultant to find a long-term eating strategy that is tailor-fit to you.
    BAD ADVICE: When in doubt, order the salad.
    BETTER ADVICE: Choose your greens wisely. Leafy greens and vegetables may be virtuous, but not if they're slathered in creamy dressing and topped with bacon, candied nuts, croutons, deli meats, or cheese. "Fatty fixings can add hundreds of calories to your meal, and sometimes contain more calories than that juicy burger!" Batayneh says. Saladcan be a healthy choice, but order dressing on the side and limit the add-ons.
    BAD ADVICE: Don't exercise—it'll only make you hungrier.
     Woman Working OutBETTER ADVICE: Get moving—an hour-long workout isn't going to make you suck down calories like Michael Phelps. "Exercise isn't just for losing weight—it improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your bones," Faye says. You might feel hungrier while recovering from a grueling workout, but that doesn't mean you're going to pack on pounds. "As long as you're eating clean, your body is amazing at self-regulating," Faye adds. "It should crave the calories you need to fuel your workouts, not to get fat."
    BAD ADVICE: Treat yourself for a job well done!
    BETTER ADVICE: Rethink your reward system. After an intense workout, you may feel like you've earned a cocktail or cupcake. But splurging after every workout can quickly undo all your hard work. If you've been good all week, go ahead and grab a guilt-free beer on Friday. But, Faye says, "Don't let every workout become a Pavlovian thing where you need to eat cake afterwards." After all, the best reward for a killer workout is getting one step closer to the body you want.