Monday, September 29, 2014

"....I'd Rather Be Fat."

Okay so if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen this picture that I posted recently.

I saw this and just about fell out of my chair laughing. Not only is the cat’s face hilarious, but it definitely reflects how I feel about salads. Now, I do have to say, that I would actually choose to eat a salad over “being fat” or sliding back into a lifestyle where I don’t care about what I eat.

However, salads have never been my favorite food. Sure every now and then I’ll have a hankering for one, or I’ll come across a super dressed up, fancy, delicious salad. But as a whole, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of salad. And on my journey towards health, they haven’t been a major part of my diet. This could probably be due to the temptation to literally cover the thing in salad dressing, thus defeating the purpose of the salad in the first place.

Like I said, every now and then I like a salad, but for the most part, I get my five servings of daily vegetables in other ways every day. Yes, I said FIVE. I know, I thought that was a lot too at first. I went from eating a veggie maybe once a week, to eating five servings every single day.

And all without salad!

Want to know how? I’m going to share a few of my quick substitutions, tips, and favorites on how to get my five servings of veggies in every day.

Put the “salad” in my smoothie! Yup, you heard right. Get that spinach in your blender and give it a whirl! Spinach and kale are incredibly nutrient dense and good for you. They pack a powerful punch. So instead of munching on a bowl of spinach like a bunny, I put about two cups of spinach in my morning smoothie with a serving of fruit, and either my Shakeology, or some Greek yogurt. Add some ice and water, blend, and voila! It will be a green color (or brown, depending on your fruit choice), but trust me, you can’t taste it. It’s delicious, and so good for you!

Start making one or two veggie centered meals a week. This will help you ease into it, and incorporate more veggies while expanding your cooking repertoire! Try a veggie stir fry, home made veggie and bean burger patties, eggplant or zucchini lasagna…the list goes on and on!

Make your pizza crust with a veggie! You heard right again. I actually do this a lot of different ways. You can make an actual “crust” with cauliflower, which is fantastic. I have also sliced up zucchini to make pizza “slices” and pizza “boats”, and I have also used slices of eggplant as a “crust” for pizza. Give one a try, it’s pretty easy and super tasty!

Pasta sauce made from a veggie. I have come to LOVE cauliflower. I never knew you could do so much with it! This is now my go to white pasta sauce because I know it’s a whole lot healthier than alfredo sauce, tastes amazing, and gets me a serving of veggies. I use this to top spaghetti squash as well.

Speaking of spaghetti… One easy substitution that we love is spaghetti squash! Especially now that it’s the squash season of the year! If you have never tried it, I definitely recommend trying it. Really easy to cook, tastes great and you can top it exactly like real spaghetti.

Sub out your potatoes for this! Here’s another fantastic use of cauliflower. When you would normally serve mashed potatoes (which don’t have nearly as much nutrient as cauliflower) cook up your cauliflower, “mash” it in your food processor with your choice of seasoning and spices (my favorite is garlic), and serve! It’s super good and you’re getting veggies!

Snack it up. Pre portion out your favorite veggie to eat as a snack. My favorites are carrots, cucumber slices and red bell peppers. You can grab some hummus to dip them in as well for a super delicious treat!

There you have it. Just a few of the ways that I like to “dress up” my veggie servings every day. Give a few a try! Find the vegetables that you like to eat and then look up different ways that you can make them! You will probably be surprised as to just how many ways there are to use your veggies in your diet.

Let me hear from you now, what’s your favorite way to eat your veggies?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Couple That...

Finish this sentence!

"The couple that _____________ together, stays together!"

While you can fill that blank with a variety of answers, let me be clear in saying that marriage is not simply held together by one single activity done together. It's an intricate, deep and complex covenant in life.

But, there is absolutely some validity in the fact that doing things together as a couple can bring you closer together. Whether it's a shared interest, the interest of one, or something entirely new to both, it can be a wonderful bonding experience. Today I'm going to fill in the blank with "the couple that sweats together, stays together!"

I have to give my husband props because when I came to him in January, laying my heart out and telling him that I wanted to workout, that I had to get healthy, he listened, and he supported me whole heartedly. He did the entire ten week program of T25 with me to support me, keep me motivated and keep me going while I made exercise a new part of my life.

That motivation, support and accountability meant the absolute world to me, and was the key that I had been missing the whole time when I had attempted to do different work out programs before. I had no accountability, no real motivation, and so I fell off the wagon time and time again before. But not this time!

Zach and I pushed play every day for ten weeks, and at the end I was so incredibly proud of both of us for going through the program and finishing strong. He stood by me, encouraged me, let me cry and spill my heart of why I wanted to get healthy, and helped me push play every day. That accountability was the key to the change in my health that is still continuing now.

And that is why I am passionate about accountability. That is why I lead challenge groups every month. That is why I invest my time, heart, sweat and tears into my challengers and these groups. Because I know the power of accountability and motivation, and it is life changing. Truly. My husband is the inspiration behind my coaching, and the reason I am passionate about helping others- because of his choice to help me and keep me accountable.

So now, I'm paying it forward. If you feel like you are stuck in the place I was at the beginning of the year, wanting to get healthy, but not knowing where to start, how you were going to get it done, not wanting to fail (yet again), and feeling overwhelmed by it're the one I'm looking for. You're the one I want to help succeed.

And challenge groups are where we make all the magic happen! The motivation, the accountability, the knowledge, the goal setting. If you're serious about this, I have one more spot in my 100 Pound Challenge  that starts tomorrow. Comment or message me and we can get your journey to health started, and I will work with you to come up with a plan to make it happen!

So, are you going to be the one who makes the change?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

5 of My Favorite T25 Workout Moves

Exercise was not on my list of favorite things to do really at any point in my life. I knew physical activity was good for you, but I preferred to read a book, write, or draw. Not to mention I always felt discouraged because I wasn’t the same size as everyone else.

But despite my past misgivings, I have actually come to enjoy exercise and working out! Of course there are always days that I would rather do something else, and getting in my workout seems tedious and time consuming. But overall, because I have made time for health and fitness in my life, I enjoy it a lot more!

So today I wanted to share five of my favorite moves from T25 and share them with you. Give them a shot yourself at home and see what you think! They are simple moves, but effective. And boy when you throw them in the mix of a Shaun T workout, the sweat is going to start to flow!

1. Lunge Squat Progression. This is one that I still modify and take slower, but I love it! It’s much more fun to me than just doing normal squats or lunges (which I don’t generally like lunges all that much). So in a non-modified move, you are going to turn to your left and lunge, jump center and squat, turn right and lunge, jump center squat, then turn left and repeat. To modify it, you just take out the jump and rotate through the lunge, squat to lunge again.

2. V Hold. I have a love hate relationship with the V hold, but it is still one of my favorite moves, and through the workouts it progresses in various ways. But the basics of this move help your core and lower abs. You are going to sit and bring your feet up and create a “v” with your body. You can keep your hands on the floor or put them up in the air.

3. Speed and Agility. This is one of Shaun T’s moves that shows up throughout several of the T25 workouts, and I love it! It’s a quick move, it will get your heart rate going, and you’re working on being able to move quickly. He describes it as a forward and back jumping jack. You start with your feet center, then split your feet, right foot forward, left foot back. Jump center, then split your feet the other way, left foot forward, right foot back. Jump center, and do two “out and ins” with your feet. It can take a minute to get used to the move, but once you have it, it’s great!

4. Spider Lunges and Spider Static Stretches. I had never tried these moves before T25, but I love the spider lunges! At first I could not get my foot all the way up to my hands, but when you are consistently working your hip flexors, you become more flexible and can move farther. Start in plan position, then bring your right foot up to your hands, making your knee and shoulder touch. Take your foot back into plank position, and then bring your left foot up to your hands again the same way.

5. Alternating High Knees. This move is a great one to work your core and lower abs, and you can take it up in intensity as well. You can start out on your feet, bringing your knee up towards your chest, and alternating through. To progress up, bring it up onto your toes and keep the heel off the group. The next step up after that would be to have a high knee jog. This move is like a standing crunch almost, so when you bring your knee up towards you chest, you want to squeeze your core.

There are only a few of many of my favorite moves from T25! There are seriously so many great moves that really target problem areas in my body and really help me to get great results, and help me get stronger.

Have you ever tried any of these moves? Give them a try and tell me which one is your favorite, let’s see if we have some of the same ones!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Way You Feel About Yourself

Since February of this past year, I have embarked on a journey to lose over one hundred pounds, slim down and most importantly, get healthy. Some of you may know a bit about my story, but at the beginning of this year I began to realize that I was not in shape (and hadn’t been in a long time), I was getting weaker, and I was feeling awful.

I had no energy, I felt like I was dragging behind and couldn’t keep up with my husband or my friends, and I just wanted to take a nap all the time. Even before I left the country to go overseas for a year, I went to the doctor to get a check up and was told that my blood pressure was in that pre-hypertension stage. Where I almost had high blood pressure, but wasn’t quite there.

You know what I did? I ignored it. I thought “eh, that won’t happen to me.” And I kept eating what I wanted, didn’t want to work out, so I didn’t, and I just kept living. Well it caught up to me. While I didn’t go to the doctor after I came home from my time overseas, I’m pretty sure I passed that thresh hold of being in pre-hypertension to having high blood pressure. But I kept going.

Until I had that wake up call in January and knew something had to change, or I was going to be headed down a slippery slope of medical problems that could be severe and cut my life short.

We always tend to think “oh that will never happen to me.” And then we wake up and realize, it has happened to me. But we may feel powerless to do something about it, so we continue on in the way we have always gone.

There is a huge passion and fire burning in my soul to reach out to you that feel like there’s nothing you can do. I have such a strong, burning desire to help people who are on that hard slope towards medical issues, and I want to help you out.

Because it IS possible. There IS hope. There IS another way.

Will it be easy? No. Will it be free? No. Will it be hard? Probably. Will you want to quit? Most likely more than once.

But you know what? IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT.

I wish I could reach through the computer screen, sit with you over a cup of coffee and pour into you, fill you with hope and SHOW you that there is another way. Don’t get sucked into the lie that it won’t happen to you, because chances are, you might be facing huge medical complications and bills down the road because you ignored the signs now.

Don’t let that be you. From the bottom of my heart I desire to give people hope and show them what I have learned, because it is truly life changing.

Yes, the journey is painful. Yes, I invest in my health now. Yes, I deny myself of some things I over indulged in before.

But let me tell you, even though I have not reached my goal in health, I have never felt more alive. I have more energy, more joy, more discipline, more zeal for life than perhaps ever before.

Getting physically healthy has helped me get on track in all areas of my life. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally. It has touched every area of my life.

So let me ask you this…what is your health worth to you?

Are you willing to make a little sacrifice right now to gain more energy for your spouse, your family, your job and your life? To get a more positive outlook and perspective? Are you willing to move forward, even when you feel like quitting?

Or will you sit down where you have always sat, giving in to the instant gratification mentality of our culture, only to find yourself facing more serious (and expensive) problems down the road?

I hope that you hear my heart in this. It is not a blog to cast shame or guilt on anyone. Truly, it has just been burning in my heart to show people that there is hope. And though it can be hard, the journey is not as impossible as you think.

I encourage you today to think about where you are putting your health on your list of priorities. Are you investing in it now, or are you putting it off until later down the road? Be brave. Take the leap you need to take today.

And know that there is support and help and accountability for you here! I love to help others find their way, set their goals and reach them. If you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Making Marriage Pop

Being married over nine months definitely does not make me an expert in all things marriage. I feel like I’m learning something new every single day. There’s always some new facet about Zach that I learn, some quality and characteristic unearthed in him that makes me love him even more. Of course we have our days where we miscommunicate, it’s a struggle to get on the same page, and we have our bickering.

But I have found that marriage is one of the most beautiful, hard, precious and wonderful things I have experienced. It has stretched me, grown me and God has used it to show me new sides of his face.

As Zach and I have started sharing and living life together since our wedding day in December, we have found certain things that help us communicate better, stay connected, and growing closer to one another. And while we have only been married 9 months, these are things that we hope to carry on until the Lord takes us home, and things that you can try in your marriage as well.

Here is a short list of some of the things we regularly do in our marriage to keep things popping!

1. Compliment each other. Words of affirmation are near the top for both of our love languages, so it is important for us to build each other up with words. But even if words of affirmation don’t “fill your love tank” it’s always nice to hear a compliment! We have made it a habit in our nightly ritual before we go to bed to give a compliment to the other from the day, and then pray before falling asleep. It’s a little thing, but it means the world. 

2. Kiss for 10 seconds, AT LEAST once a day. Remember how when you were dating it was hard to resist a kiss from your special someone? Well keep those flames alive in your marriage and give your spouse a smooch they’ll remember all throughout the day! Really, we all have ten seconds, and it can draw your hearts together.

3. Set aside a date night every week. Just because you are married does not mean you stop dating or pursuing each other. The opposite should be true! We need to be studying our spouses, continuing to learn and pursue their hearts. Your date doesn’t have to be extravagant, but set aside that intentional time with each other.

4. Play together. Whether it’s your favorite board game (ours is Scrabble), taking a hike (we love the mountains!), walking around town, or grabbing some water guns and having an all out water fight, don’t forget how to play with your spouse. Don’t forget how to laugh and have fun with each other. Laughter is some of the best medicine around, especially for marriage!

5. Grow together. Find something that you both can learn together! Currently, Zach and I are going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and learning how to be good stewards of our money. Whether it’s something like that, or reading through a book together, or listening to something together, find time to grow together individually and as a couple.

6. Ask each other questions.  Every now and then Zach and I will ask each other questions. Things like “how can I love you better?” and “what’s one thing I can do for you this week that will really mean a lot to you?” Learning to communicate is so vital and important, and you need to check up on your relationship every once in a while to get on the same page, and be honest with one another.

7. Set a goal together and go after it! I love goals. I love to set them, and I love to reach them (who doesn’t?)! When I married Zach, I was used to setting goals for myself, but since we got married we have learned that it is important to dream together and set goals together! So every few months we sit down over coffee and write out our dreams and goals. We dream big, and we also set goals realistically. It could be as simple as our goal of going to an apple orchard this fall to pick apples, or all the way up to something like paying off a credit card entirely. Goals and dreams are important to set and reach together, just as much as individually!

There you have it, just a few of the points that I have picked up on over the past nine months in our marriage. I feel so incredibly blessed by the man God brought me to marry, and I am thankful for the relationship that we have. Learn to appreciate what God has given you in your spouse, and build them up in that!

Take some of these ideas and try them yourself! And I want to hear from you, dear reader! What’s one of your marriage tips?