December 19, 2014

Setting New Years Resolutions

Merry Christmas everyone!!!  Hope you're all enjoying this wonderful time of year!  I myself am so incredibly stoked to spend a few days with family next week!  Following Christmas, is my GOLDEN birthday!  29 on the 29th!  WHAT?!!  (Feel free to make a big deal about it.  I know I will be!) 

I know.  The end of the year is crazy for me!  Because then two days after my birthday is another one of my favorites... New Year's Eve! This New Years will be two years since I started on my path to better health.  On New Years Eve of 2012 I bumped into an old college roommate at Emilie and Dave's party.  She had lost a ton of weight since I had seen her last (weight she had gained because of Grave's disease).  She looked happy, healthy, and I was so motivated from seeing her.  I knew that if she could overcome her struggle, I probably could!  So January 1, 2013 is when I started my weight loss journal, created an exercise plan, and began reading about nutrition and healthy cooking.  Though I've had plateaus and moments of weariness... I've never looked back. 

I'm all for treating any day like January first when you need to.  If you have an off day or an off week or several off weeks, I'm all about taking the next moment to say, "No, this is what I want.  I deserve it.  I'm doing it."  But you have to admit... there is something about the ACTUAL January first that is so empowering and full of possibilities!  It's the time to make: RESOLUTIONS!  I've come up with a list of ways to make practical resolutions, keep things simple, and stick to the promises you've made to yourself! 

Nutrition Resolutions:

Don't say: "I'm never going to eat sweets again!"  Because honestly, would you be able to do that?!  Of course not.  You're human.  You're going to have times in your life when you need to indulge.
Try this: "I'm going to make better food choices!"  You can keep it simple by creating the goal to make better choices overall.  So if you normally buy whole milk, start buying 2%, skim, or even a non-dairy variety like almond or cashew milk.  If you normally buy white sandwich bread, switch to whole wheat or Ezekiel bread.  Instead of drinking soda with lunch and/or dinner, replace it with lemon water!  When you go out to eat, try a lighter menu item, replace your fries with veggies or fruit, and skip the soda!

Don't say: "I'm going to eat more veggies."  Because this is not a specific enough goal to actually see a difference in how you feel.
Try this: "I'm going to be sure at least half of my plate consists of vegetables at dinner time."  By making a resolution like this, you are being more specific and making a promise.  It will also help you with your meal planning when you know you have to incorporate those veggies. 

Fitness Resolutions:

Don't say: "I'm going to exercise more!"  When it comes to getting in activity, specific goals are good.
Try this:  "I'm going make sure I exercise for at least 30 minutes, three days a week."  By scheduling your workouts and being specific about how much you'll do, you're making a promise to yourself.  You still have wiggle room in case something comes up one day, you can substitute another day.  You also give yourself room to increase the intensity and length of your workouts as you get stronger.

Don't say:  "I'm going to lose X-amount of pounds."  This can create a lot of pressure and will most likely make you a slave to the scale. 
Try this:  "I want to fit into size-X jeans."  This kind of a goal can give you more leeway.  When you start to exercise you will build muscle.  So though the scale may not budge, your clothes may start to feel better or looser.  Water retention can also mess up numbers on the scale, so it's much better to go by the way your clothes fit.  I know this was a big goal of mine.  To get into a size smaller than I was in high school by the time I got to my reunion.  I did it!  And it was a small thing, but such a huge victory!!

Overall, really sit down and think about what kinds of resolutions you want to set for yourself.  Write them down, put them somewhere you'll see them, create a wellness journal!  The most important part of setting resolutions is to think about what YOU WANT.  Two years ago, I got to a place where enough was enough.  I knew I didn't want to keep living the way I was living.  So I set realistic goals for myself that I knew I could accomplish if I stuck to them!  I'm here to tell you that you will NOT achieve your goals if you don't stick to the resolutions you set for yourself.  No one can force you to.  It has to come from within you because it is FOR YOU and you're worth setting goals for.  Make your goals/resolutions a priority and there's nothing you won't be able to accomplish!

Happy New Year brave ones!!

My Resolutions for 2015:

1. Fit into a certain dress that is currently hanging on my wall.
2. Finish my half marathon in April.
3. Complete Big Shoulders 2015 in under 1:30:00
4. Get to One-derland
5. Achieve my healthy goal weight by my 30th birthday.

December 9, 2014

Video Series: Staying Motivated

I don't know about all of you out there, but I've had a hard time staying on the ball during this holiday season.  The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the temptations to eat unclean foods are through the freakin' roof!  So for the benefit of others who need that kick back into motivation (including yours truly) I put together my tips for staying motivated on your journey to health and happiness. 

December 8, 2014

Educate Yo-self!

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  Today I wanted to talk about how important it is to educate yourself on what you are putting into your body.  I've recently become a huge fan of health and wellness documentaries, not only because they are extremely eye opening, but because I truly feel that educating myself on food and nutrition helps me to stay motivated, eat clean, and encourage others. 

So this morning I wanted to share with you the top three nutrition documentaries that I've watched over the past couple of months.  They are powerful and will scare the pants off you.  But for me, they have been so motivating to eat cleaner. All of these can be found on Netflix.

1. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
This was one of the first documentaries I ever watched on nutrition and health.  Joe Cross is a successful businessman from Australia who comes to the states to attempt to heal himself of his poor diet, illness, and addiction to bad food.  Along the way not only does he succeed, but he changes the life of a trucker, who in turn pays it forward in his community.  It's a powerful testament to how small changes can impact so many.

2. Forks Over Knives.
This film is powerful.  It opens eyes to the severity and cost of the obesity epidemic sweeping our country.  It advocates for eating fewer animal products, processed food, and more plants!  It emphasizes how important nutrition is for everyone.

3. Hungry for Change.
This documentary is by far, my favorite.  I can even go as far as to say it is LIFE CHANGING.  This documentary pulls together authors and experts to address the issue of diets, chemicals in food, and the cause of the epidemic of obesity and lethargy in our country.  It's powerful and eye opening.

December 7, 2014

Clean Eating Pancakes

If you're anything like me, you sometimes just want a big stack of pancakes.  Actually this recipe was created this morning after reading a message from my dear friend, Heather.  She was stuck at work over night on a big implementation for her project team.  And she sent me and our friends a message stating that all she wanted was a giant stack of pancakes. 

Now pancakes are not a super food.  They are filled with processed flours, sugars, and frankenfoods that you just don't want to put into your body.  So Heather, these are for YOU!

Almond Coconut Pancakes
Clean Eating
6 PPV per serving
Serves 3

1/2 C almond flour
1/2 C oat flour
3/4 C almond milk (plain, unsweetened)
3 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp stevia
3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine ingredients in a bowl and wisk together.
Heat non stick pan on medium heat.
Let sit for a few minutes while the oat flour absorbs the liquid. (make yourself a smoothie or something!)
Use a 1/3 or 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop batter onto the hot pan.
Wait until the surface of the pancake bubbles, then flip.

Serve with sliced fruit, real maple syrup, applesauce, or honey!

December 5, 2014

Awkward Awesome Friday!

Good morning Brave Ones!  Happy Friday! Are you all as happy for the weekend as I am?!  
I give you your awkward awesome recap for the week!

*The house with the for sale sign I saw while running in Lombard last weekend while visiting mom.  Not only was the house a strange color of pink and green... but the yard was littered with countless plastic Santas.
*Trying to find time to do all the things I want to do.  I just have too many interests and not enough time to effectively pursue all of them.
*Having to break the news to my floor at work that I am leaving them.  No, you will not be getting a replacement.  No, I don't know why they're changing floor support.  No, I will not miss that job.  But thanks for the concern.
*Blind dates.  It had to be said.  Even if they turn out well, just. so. awkward.   (or maybe I'm just awkward)
*The TV shows I get addicted to.  I hate you Netflix, you ruin people's lives.

*I get to see my BESTIE tonight!! {insert happy dance}
*Getting to know this guy over the past couple weeks.
*My sissy is coming home in February!!!  {insert even more spectacular happy dance}
*I start my new position at work next week.  Good bye lonely boring days by myself!  Hello busy days surrounded by fun people! (oh and I gets a raise...)
*I got to meet this girl finally two weeks ago.  She is even more adorable in person that I'd imagined.  
*My new Ninja baby (high speed blender) that I've been just having way too much fun with.  Thanks Uncle Frank!

December 2, 2014

Video Series: Undo the Overwhelming

I know I've posted now, three videos in a row.  Sorry not sorry!  My tips for getting started down the road to better health and how to avoid those overwhelmed feelings as best you can!

November 25, 2014

...Tuesday Tube...

Happy Tuesday Brave Ones!  It's been a while since I provided you with a Tuesday Tube.  One of my Team Fight to Finish girls, Julia wrote a blog post yesterday about self acceptance after an emotional run she had.  She was listening to this song while running through her home town.  Read her amazing post here.  She's a gem.  And enjoy this video which will make you smile and help you to appreciate all that you are!

November 22, 2014

Video Series: An Unexpected Journey

The first in my video series documenting my ideas, motivation, tips, and my own journey to better health!  Please leave me feedback for what you'd like to hear about!

November 13, 2014

Taking Stock IV

Taking Stock:
Making : myself get in the pool despite the cold weather.
Cooking : lots of eggs on busy nights.
Drinking : h2o
Reading: nothing right now.  Any suggestions?

Wanting: to freaking get to Onederland!
Looking: forward to my trip to Traverse City with my TFTF girls next weekend!!!
Playing: too much Maroon 5
Wasting: time being bored at work.  Ready for my role change please!
Sewing: nothing at the moment.  Sigh.
Wishing: I could afford to go back to school

Enjoying: boot and scarf weather!
Waiting: to visit my sister until I reach Onederland.
Liking: the fact that I get to see family in a couple weeks!

Wondering: if winter is going suck as bad this year as it did last year.
Loving: living with Katie and our zoo. 
Hoping: to be able to get certified soon as a health coach.
Marveling: that I'm entering into the last year of my twenties in a little over a month.
Needing: a vacation.

Smelling: chlorine... all the time.
Wearing: size 12 jeans.  *happy dance*
Following: a lot of raw vegans on YouTube.  Got to get ideas on how to eat more veggies, right?!
Noticing: lots of good changes in my Insanity workouts.  Rocking my V-sits, tuck jumps, and soccer drills.
Thinking: about too many things.
Bookmarking: challenge group recipes and workouts.
Opening: up to the idea of change.
Giggling: over the fact that I still get sucked into teenage TV shows.  Bad Netflix.
Feeling: thankful.

November 4, 2014

...Health & Happiness: Setting Goals...

Happy November brave ones!  Can you believe the holiday season is already here?  Maybe it's just as I get older but I feel like every year they sneak up on me and I'm just not ready!  This weekend was great.  I got to party it up with church folk at our family fall festival.  My costume was epic, if I do say so myself.  Then Saturday I got in a great workout before spending the whole morning with my WW gals.  Delicious food, good and candid conversation... couldn't ask for more.  Then I got to see team Rappls for a late lunch and ended my day with some Anne of Green Gables and an extra hour of sleep!  Sunday I spent a lovely morning at church, then made some tasty homemade marinara, and then more church.  I've also had some time to catch up with some of my fellow new coaches today and I have to say I'm sad to see our mentorship month coming to an end.  But I'm so excited to have four awesome new friends who are as passionate about health and fitness as I am.  And I can't wait to meet a big handful of them in just a few weeks! 

Yesterday after talking with these ladies and having lunch with my small group leader, I started really thinking about goals.  Sometimes setting goals can be so daunting that we shy away from it.  I know that when I first set out on this process to better health I was so daunted by the end goal.  So daunted, that I didn't even know what the end goal really was.  I still don't!  No, really.

I'll explain.  The end goal of MY journey is to be at a healthy weight.  I don't have a particular number or pant size in mind though.  The reason for that really is because I've never been at a healthy weight.  I was a chubby kid.  I was an overweight teen and grew into an obese adult.  So for me, the idea of being at a healthy weight is completely foreign!  But even for those who were once at a healthy weight and are no longer that way, looking at the end goal can be really overwhelming.  And sometimes, looking at that end goal can even deter people from puttig forth the effort because it's just too hard.

Here are a few things that I've learned about setting goals:

1. Start small: I've talked before about tackling the daunting task of losing weight and/or creating a healthier lifestyle.  The easiest way to start out is to create small goals.  Try to put the end result out of your mind for a while.  For example, try buying a pair of jeans a size smaller or setting the goal to be able to do ten push ups or to be able to run for 15 minutes without stopping.  Each small goal is not only going to get you closer to your end goal, but it's going to fuel you motivationally!

2. Track: When I first started out, the first thing I did was create a weight loss/transformation journal.  Everytime I got a small victory (2 lb loss, new fitness milestone, new small goal accomplished) I wrote it down.  I also collect articles, photos, and advice that inspires me.  I write/glue/tape them into my notebook so that when there's a day that I'm feeling low, I can pull it out and see what I've accomplished and remind myself where I'm headed.

3. Speak Up: Tell people about your goals.  I don't know how many people I've talked to recently about my goal of getting to Onederland.  I'm only 20ish pounds away and I'm soooo close!  For me, that's a small goal at this point because of how much I've already accomplished.  But I've told close friends about it so that they can keep me accountable, check in, and celebrate with me when I finally crush it.  I will always advocate for the power of accountability.  Relationships with others that are working towards similiar goals is a huge key to accomplishing them.

So with that, here are a few small goals that I've set for myself:

*Get to Onederland by my birthday. (December 29th)
*Be able to do 10 regular push-ups by New Years.
*Select a half marathon to train for in the Spring.

Stay strong braveones!

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