BE PRESENT, GET OVER YOUR DAMN SELF AND ENJOY THIS TIME!

I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for the last few weeks, and I’ve been nervous to do it because I’m been scared that it was going to come across the wrong way or be judged or misinterpreted (not to mention it’s incredibly personal and embarrassing on some level), but I think the message is important, so here goes nothing.

I was thinking about the beginning of last spring/summer.  I was about 18 lbs heavier than I am now.  I had fallen into some bad patterns that involved too much wine (not to mention nachos and margs) and eating toddler leftovers.  Once I start into these bad patterns, it’s really easy to let it spiral. At the time, I had two 3 year olds and a 7 month old, and live in Charleston where it’s hot as shit.  It’s so hot that on most days it’s unbearable to go to the playground. If you want to be outside, the beach or the pool are the only options. Getting in the pool is definitely not optional. My children are too young to be in the pool without me. If they are in the pool, so am I. So there is no option to sit around hanging out in a cute cover-up like I’ve been able to do so many times in my non-mommy life. So, I spent the first half of the summer carefully placing towels right next to the pool edge, so I could cover myself up IMMEDIATELY upon exiting or taking off my cover up and seeing how fast I could get myself into the pool and covered up by the water.  If one of my kids had to go potty, they would have to wait for me to careful wrap a towel around myself just so I can walk to the bathroom. I realize that these are my own fucked up issues, but I also think that I’m not alone.

I started this program in June and feel like I got control over my life.  With hardly any sacrifices, I was able to find the balance between nutrition and exercise and living a normal, fun life.  I lost 9 lbs in my first round, and the difference in my life was way more than 9 lbs. For the first time all summer, I could be present with my kids who just wanted to have fun at the pool. I was able to stop thinking about MYSELF and my body and creating stories in my head about what other people were saying, and BE PRESENT with my time with my sweet girls.  The pool is their favorite place in the whole world, and I WAS FUCKING MISSING IT!  Missing the fun, missing this special time with them, because I was too busy in my own fucked up head worried that someone might take a picture and I may or may not make an appearance in the background. This actually brings me to tears as I write this, because it’s just sad…sad that I let those months go by feeling like that and didn’t do anything about it. Sad that my head was in that place to begin with when I have these three incredible little girls who are growing up way to fast that need their mama! It also makes me cry because I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. This time is way too precious and fleeting for that bullshit. I deserve better and they deserve better. Not to mention the fact that THEY ARE WATCHING (which could be an entirely different post).

Now this is where I was hesitant about posting this. This is NOT a “let’s get ready for bikini season” post.  This is NOT a post about getting fit or skinny or having a six pack. This IS a “let’s feel good in our skin and strong and and confident so that we don’t have to miss the fun with our children at the pool and the beach and enjoy our lives” post.  My hope is that I’m in the extreme minority here, and that most people are not fucked up the way that I am and can chase toddlers in a bathing suit without a thought in the world. I hope that most moms feel incredible no matter what size or shape or scars they have on their bodies from these little miracles that we created from scratch. I hope that we can all get over ourselves and just enjoy our time with our families and not look back at this time and wonder why we aren’t in any pictures. The message is to BE PRESENT, GET OVER YOUR DAMN SELF AND ENJOY THIS TIME! I wish I could have just shifted my mindset, but I was in a place where I had to get control of my life through fitness and nutrition in order to make this shift.  And because of that, I’ll be rocking my stretch marks and cellulite all summer long without a care in the world about what other people think.  This body is strong and this body can do AMAZING things, and I may not be in the size jeans I always dreamed of, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I’m not gonna miss another fucking minute.

gimme all the muffins…

I posted a few weeks ago about how egg muffins save me, well, I have found something that may be even better that I had to share.

Snack time is CRITICAL for me.  If I don’t have a healthy snack ready to go, I’m just setting myself up to make bad decisions later. If I’m not committed to eating every 3 hours, my plan goes to shit. This is one of the main reasons that it’s important for me to have all my food prepped for the week.  It’s so easy for mom’s to put themselves on the bottom of the priority list, and at 2pm be like, “Oh shit, I forgot to each lunch”, and then end up starving and desperate in front of a refrigerator, which is NEVER a good situation.

My morning snack is taken care of with the egg muffins that we make every Sunday (we actually have to make 2 dozen to last us the week).  A few weeks ago one of my challengers/friends posted this recipe in our Accountability Group, promised it was easy to make and it has been my new obsession.  This is now my official afternoon snack, Oatmeal Muffins.  I make them on Sunday and eat them everyday at 3 right before my kid’s come downstairs from rest time (because I’m mean and don’t feel like sharing).

Oatmeal Muffins
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Ingredients:
-2 large eggs, lightly beaten
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 large bananas, mashed OR 2 cups unsweetened applesauce. (I used 6 applesauce pouches from Costco because that’s all I have on hand…haha)
-1 T agave nectar
-2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
-1 T ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

toppings of your choice: berries, fruit, nuts, pure maple syrup, chocolate chips

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin with spray oil
-Combine eggs, vanilla, bananas and honey in a large bowl. Mash bananas and mix well.
-Add oats, cinnamon and baking powder in a small bowl, then stir well and combine with banana mixture
-Stir in almond milk and mix well.
-Divide oatmeal evenly between prepared muffin cups and add toppings (I like blueberries the best)
-Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brown.
-Cool slightly and serve or save for the rest of the week.

Y’all, there are so easy and so good.

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Also, if you are going to get serious about muffins, you absolutely need to buy this $10 silicone muffin pan from Amazon.  This was gifted to me by my coach (best gift ever).  Believe me, I’m not someone who normally has bakeware laying around, but this pan is a must-have if you are going to make these on a weekly basis.

a true freaking miracle…

Something monumental happened last night. It was Super Bowl Sunday and I didn’t blow all my hard work on cheese, chips, dips, desserts and alcohol…A TRUE FREAKING MIRACLE!!! But here’s the best part, I ate some of the most amazing food ever last night, I just planned ahead, kept it clean but still ate foods that felt SO SPLURGY.  After Miles ate the dinner, he said “I feel like I just did something wrong”…haha!

We started with an app, because it is Super Bowl Sunday, after all.  We usually get chicken wings delivered to our house on Super Bowl Sunday, so we wanted something wing-like.  I stumbled across this recipe and it was incredible.  I mean, blue cheese dressing?  Is this real life?  I can eat blue cheese dressing and not blow all the hard work I’ve been putting in?  Umm, yes, please!!!

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Blue Cheese Dressing

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Ingredients
•½ cup low-fat (1%) plain yogurt
•2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
•Nonstick cooking spray
•6 cups cauliflower florets
•½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use
•½ cup hot pepper sauce
•⅓ cup rice vinegar
•1 Tbsp. cornstarch, gluten-free (GMO free)
•2 tsp. ground chili powder
•¼ tsp. ground smoked paprika
•½ tsp. garlic powder
•½ tsp. onion powder
•1 tsp. pure maple syrup
•1 tsp. olive oil

-Preheat oven to 350° F.
-Combine yogurt and cheese in a small bowl; mix well. Refrigerate until needed.
-Lightly coat large baking sheet with spray.
-Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet. Coat cauliflower lightly with spray. Season evenly with ¼ tsp. salt.
-Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
-While cauliflower is baking, combine hot sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch in medium saucepan; whisk until cornstarch is dissolved.
-Add chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, maple syrup, oil, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt; whisk to blend.
-Heat hot sauce mixture over medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside.
-Pour hot sauce mixture over baked cauliflower (on baking sheet); mix well.
-Return cauliflower to oven. Bake for 5 minutes.
-Serve hot with sauce.

That was just the appetizer and it was amazing.  We both were totally satisfied and not missing the wings at all!  Let’s be honest, for me, the wings are just a vehicle for blue cheese sauce anyway.

Then we made a recipe that one of my coach friends posted last week.  It was about as easy as it gets and INCREDIBLE!  This will definitely be a weekly staple in this house from now on.

Greek Yogurt Baked Chicken

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Ingredients:
•4 small chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
•1 cup plain Greek yogurt
•1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
•1 tsp. dried parsley
•1 tsp. onion powder
•1 tsp. garlic powder
•1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
•Salt and pepper, to taste

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the chicken breasts.
-Place the chicken in a baking dish, coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Using a kitchen brush (a spoon will work too), brush the Greek yogurt mixture over the chicken.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through (depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts).

Try these and let me know what you think!

 

 

freaky shit…

Some freaky shit happened to me this morning.  After a life changing leadership retreat over the weekend, I left feeling totally inspired, refreshed and excited about my life and my community on so many levels.  I also got 3 FULL DAYS away from my kids, which NEVER EVER happens. I needed a break, and this weekend away with this incredible tribe of leaders in our fitness community was perfect.  Anyway, I left the weekend and woke up on Monday morning and made a few new commitments to myself. So, I called my business partner/success partner and told her these new commitments because it makes all the difference in the world to write it down AND to tell someone. I know that she will hold me accountable and support me along the way.  One of these commitments was that I was going to put away my scale. With a very disordered eating past, the scale has been a part of my daily life for as long as I can remember. I’m way past weighing myself every day (or multiple times a day) like I used to, but I think about the number on that scale DAILY. In my current situation, I’m pretty comfortable with the number on the scale, so it’s actually keeping me from making my nutrition as tight as I would like it because I’m okay with the number. So, yesterday I called her and said it was time to put the scale away, and that I wasn’t ready to get rid of it forever, but that I was going to put it high on a shelf in my closet where I wouldn’t use it. We made a plan that I would send her weekly pics/measurements so that I could have a way to measure results while I’m working towards my goals.

Well, this morning, I was rushing out the door to get the girls to preschool (which seems like an Olympic sport), and I was ripping a shirt off a hanger to put it on, and I knocked over a ceramic flower (random, I know) that was on the shelf underneath, which slammed into my glass scale and shattered into a million tiny pieces.

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HOW FUCKING FREAKY IS THAT!?!?!?!? If that isn’t a sign that I need to pay VERY CLOSE attention to, I’m not sure what is! I’ve had this scale for 10 years!  I’ve thought about it everyday of my life for 10 years, and then yesterday I declared that I need it to not be in my life, AND NOW IT’S GONE!?!?!?  It makes me panic a little, and it also makes me feel completely and totally free.  I don’t think I would have ever thrown it away myself, but it’s clear that it what I needed to do. Sometimes shit happens for a reason, and you just have to make sure you’re paying attention.

kale and chicken nachos…

Okay, first two things.  First, the more you cook, the better/less awkward you are at cooking…who knew?!?  I’m starting to feel a little big better about my kitchen skills in the last few weeks. Secondly, meal prep will save you so much time and energy it’s freaking crazy.  Seriously, I can’t imagine not having all this food prepped every week.  It’s all so convenient and ready to go for me and the whole family, so when mealtime comes around and I have 3 hungry kids, I literally have 5 options that are READY TO GO.  If you are not meal prepping, that’s just insane.  It takes 1 hour, one day a week and it saves you so much time, energy and stress in the long run.

Now, to the topic at hand…THE MOST EPIC DINNER OF ALL TIME.  Y’all, nachos are my kryptonite, and basically how I survived the first trimester of both of my pregnancies.  I FUCKING LOVE NACHOS. And until one of my coaching friends posted a pic of her kale nachos recently, I hadn’t even considered trying to make them healthy and plan approved. I just used what I already had ready to go, and it was so easy and quick and not much clean up because I had basically already prepped everything. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just assembled the meal the way I wanted to, which is how I roll.

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Kale and Chicken Nachos

So, I started with the kale-
-Buy the washed and cut kale from the grocery store
-Cover two pans with foil (so you don’t have to clean them later), spray the foil with olive oil, put the kale on (IN A SINGLE LAYER), spray the kale with olive oil
-Add salt and garlic powder and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350.
-It should be crispy and chip-like when it comes out, if it’s soft, it’s not ready

-From there, I added sautéed onions and salsa chicken (which was already prepped in ready in the fridge) to a pan, just to warm them up.
-I put the chicken/onion mixture on top of the kale, and I added shredded cheese on top of the chicken and onion mixture immediately so that it would get a little melted
-Topped with black beans, plain Greek yogurt, green onions and cholula

You could add ANYTHING that you normally like on top of nachos. I portioned everything out according to my plan, and I used what we already had in the fridge, and it was INCREDIBLE! This is definitely going to be added to the weekly rotation!  You’ve gotta try.  It seriously tasted just as good as regular restaurant nachos!

 

the shift…

I went on a run today.  I haven’t been running at all lately, and it’s on my list of things to do…start running again. It’s a ridiculously beautiful day in Charleston, and I just decided it was a good opportunity to go for my first run of the year. For probably the first time ever, I didn’t have a heart rate monitor going, I didn’t care how far or how fast I was going, I didn’t even consider how many calories I was burning.  I just ran because I WANTED TO RUN. This is such a major shift for me.  I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to reprogram my brain to think that a quick 30 minute workout was enough for the day when I first started this program. I would finish my workout and feel like I need to go on a 6 mile run or hit up a spin class. I finally let myself trust the process and the mental shift has been incredible.  I just enjoyed my time outside.

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It got me thinking about another shift that has happened.  I haven’t looked at the calorie content or added up calories in my head in 6 months.  For so long, I let my life revolve around nutrition labels and calorie counter websites.  And now I get to just focus on eating clean, delicious food. I could not be more thankful for this new relationship with food, and I wish that I could show all the calorie counters in the world that there is another way.

 

 

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egg muffins for the win…

I’ve been trying to post some of my favorite, easy, must have recipes lately, but they’ve all been dinner. I feel like I should post the one recipe that truly keeps me on track everyday. It’s the most important part of my meal prep every single week…EGG MUFFINS!

The mornings are definitely the craziest time of day for me. We wake up before the big girls are allowed to come downstairs, and we get our workout in first thing. After everyone is awake and breakfast is served, Miles and I both have the most delicious superfood packed protein shake that has ever existed. It tastes like Reese’s Cup milkshake, and I literally wake up dreaming about it. I never thought I would be a “shake person”, but it’s delish and perfect for our morning routine. It makes my life so much easier to be able to drink a shake while the craziness is happening.

Getting everyone to the car and out the door with the right bags, waters, snacks/packed lunches, back up outfits, ponytails, etc. is what turns me into a crazy person.  It’s like I’m the Tasmanian Devil (remember that guy?) spinning around my house like a tornado getting everything ready. And inevitably, no matter how organized I think I am, they walk out the door with shoes on the wrong feet and shirts on backwards, and I’ve just had to learn to LET THAT SHIT GO!  Anyway, as I’m rushing out the door, it’s almost time for me to eat again (I have been up since 5:30, after all), and this is where I get into trouble.  So many days, I would just rush out the door not even thinking about the fact that I’m going to need to eat (because I didn’t use to put myself very high on the priority list), and it would lead to me being starving, hangry and make a poor choice by eating the quickest thing I can find, which is usually some kind of processed bar at Starbucks or Whole Foods. For me, being unprepared and making poor choices leads to making more poor choices. So, being prepared and have these ready to go has completely saved me.

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They are good cold, so I literally just throw them into a baggie, throw them in my diaper bag and run out the door.  They are so so so freaking good. We make 2 batches, 24 muffins during Sunday meal prep and then Miles and I are both set for the week.

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Egg Muffins

Non-stick cooking spray
12 large eggs
Sea salt
Bell Peppers- chopped
Green onions- finely slices
Spinach- chopped

1.) Heat over to 375 degrees
2.) Coat muffin tin with cooking spray
3.) Place large eggs in bowl, whisk to blend, add salt and pepper as desired
4.) Add spinach, bell pepper and onions, mix well.
5.) Pour mixture evenly into muffin tin
6.) Back 15-20 minutes, insert toothpick and make sure it comes out clean

And DONE! 12 amazing egg muffins.  Perfect for on the go.  If for some weird reason I am eating them at home and not on the go, I love to put Cholula on them.  Also, I use peppers, spinach and green onion, but you can put whatever you have and need to use in your fridge. These seriously keep me on track all week.  You’ve gotta try and let me know what you think.

 

healthy general tso’s (not kidding!)…

I don’t even know what to say about what just happened at my house.  We just made General Tso’s Chicken.  Did you hear that?  GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN!!!!  It is maybe one of my favorite foods of all time, that I haven’t had in years. Never in a million years would I think that with my cooking abilities that I could make General Tso’s Chicken!  I would never order it off a menu because it’s never gluten free, not to mention it is an extreme splurge.

As part of my New Year’s resolution, I decided that I want to cook one meal a week…like really cook using a recipe and cook, not just put together a simple meal.  So, we are starting the year off with a fucking bang, because I don’t know how any recipe is ever going to top this one…EVER!

Here’s my little disclaimer:  I’m a nightmare in the kitchen, so if I can cook something, so can you…simple as that. Here’s the recipe:

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Healthier General Tso’s Chicken

1 lb chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T paprika
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup liquid aminos (I used Bragg’s)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 T sesame oil
2 T Sriracha OR 2 T Tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T agave nectar
1 tsp cornstarch

for serving:
Crushed Peanuts
Green Onions, sliced
Brown Rice
Bag of frozen stir fry veggies
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum or parchment paper (because no one wants to clean a pan)
  2. Mix flour, garlic powder, in paprika in a gallon size bag.
  3. Dip chicken strips into egg white, shake off excess and put in bag. Shake to coat. (this makes it quicker!)
  4. Place coated chicken strips on parchment lined baking sheet and bake chicken for 30 minutes.
  5. While chicken is baking, combine remaining ingredients into a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring to a light simmer. Mix cornstarch with 1 tsp water and mix into the sauce, stirring occasionally until it thickens, about 5 minutes (add more corn starch to thicken it up).
  6. Mix cooked chicken into the sauce and serve over brown rice and stir fry veggies.

So, let me be honest for second.  Miles was with me in the kitchen and he was the one who cut the raw chicken and dipped it in the egg whites.  I’m not into handling raw chicken…it’s make me wanna barf. However, I think if he wasn’t here, this meal was dank enough that I would have forced myself and dealt with the gagging.  It was THAT worth it. We used all tomato paste because I just can’t deal when I feel like my mouth is on fire.  Next time, we might do a few drops of Sriracha. I, of course made it as easy as possible and bought steam bags of brown rice and stir fry veggies, because who wants to clean to extra pans?  And obviously, I lined the baking sheet so I didn’t have to clean that pan either.  Also, the meal prep was a little spaced out so you could clean as you go.  It really wasn’t too complicated and the clean up was totally fine.

I don’t know how to say it enough…MAKE THIS! I am still sitting here in total shock that this could possibly have been a plan approved meal!

 

 

happy new year…

I know it’s so cheesy and cliche, but New Years is my favorite time of year!  Maybe it’s a requirement to love New Years if you are a fitness professional. Anyway, I really LOVE the idea of starting with a clean slate and anything being possible.  We got home from family vacation late Saturday night, so no New Year’s partying for us, and woke up feeling incredible (which is not usually the case on New Years Day).  We spent the whole day getting organized, cleaning out closets, food prepping and setting ourselves up for success for the ENTIRE YEAR.

Through my coaching community, I’ve been working through a program called “Living Your Best Year Ever” by Darren Hardy (you can purchase on Amazon if you’re interested), and it’s been pretty incredible to get really clear and focused on my goals and how to reverse engineer them for 2017 and to spend time reflecting on 2016. It’s definitely not something I would have done on my own, so it’s awesome that my team was doing it.  Because let’s be honest, I pretty much die of FOMO every time I miss out on anything, and doing this personal development with the group was no exception.

I have a jam packed Challenge Group that started today full of people who are excited and ready to change their lives, and that energy is absolutely contagious. So, being pumped about 2017 is kind of an understatement.

I’m starting my year off with a 3 Day mini cleanse, nothing crazy and you can still real food and you won’t eat your children, but just a nice little reset for the New Year (especially after lots of vacation splurging). This is not a normal part of my programming, but I’m doing this as part of my Accountability group, and so far it’s pretty awesome (easy to say when you’re only half way through your first day, ha!). I’ll keep you posted on the results.

What do you do to start the year off right?

 

there is an easier way…

A big thing happened for me last week.  I pulled out a stack of pants that haven’t seen the light of day for 4 years.  These are my pants from when I was in the best shape of my life, before I had the twins.

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When I wore these pants, I lived at the gym.  I was training people/teaching yoga and spin full time, and I was working out at least 2 hours a day on a very strict regimen.  I was counting calories, not eating grains after lunch, limiting alcohol and no dairy (or at least attempting not to eat dairy).  I almost gave away these pants in between pregnancies because I just assumed they were never going to be an option again.  I told myself that my hips must have broadened because of the relaxin during pregnancy and never going to go back to normal, and that I will never be able to dedicate that much time and energy to my fitness again…so goodbye, old jeans, it was fun while it lasted. And then last week, I was feeling pretty good and decided to pull them out and give them a try, and BAM….THEY FIT!  Now, they are still a little tight, but THEY FUCKING FIT.  And here’s the thing, I only workout 30 minutes a day (at home, so I don’t even have to deal with traffic or parking or hauling kids back and forth), I don’t count calories, I drink wine, I eat dessert, I eat dairy, I eat carbs (even after lunch).  I am on a program, and I practice portion control, I meal prep and I plan ahead, and I have a group of people who hold me accountable and expect me to show up.  EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I am reaching my goals without all the misery of running intervals or doing 90 minutes of steady state cardio or an hour of strength training at the gym and having to wait for machines and wipe off other people’s sweat.  I still go to the gym when I want to hit up a spin class or a yoga class, and that is because I WANT TO and because it makes me FEEL amazing, not because I HAVE to…which is so liberating.  It has made fitness fun again, the way it was when I first met my mentor (and personal trainer) who made me fall in love with all of this in the first place.

Let me just be clear, the scale and the pre-baby pants are such a small part of what I have gained from this program.  I feel like someone gave me my life back.  I don’t spend all my free time inside the walls at the gym, or if I can’t make it to the gym because of my kids or husband’s travel schedule, I don’t have to shame spiral and feel guilty all day. I can meet friends at a coffee shop or spend one on one time with my baby while my big girls are at school and I’ve even been able to start a new business where I get to show people how they can change their lives the way that I changed mine. This is literally the first time I’ve ever had balance in my WHOLE LIFE.  And seriously, it makes me want to shout it from the rooftops…THERE IS AN EASIER WAY!  I’m doing LESS than I have ever done and have MORE energy and MORE time and I fit into my jeans from 4 years ago.  I’m sad I didn’t start this immediately after having all these babies. I’m sad more people (especially new moms) have to struggle (because let’s be honest, mom guilt is a bitch) to fit it all in, when this program literally lets you have it all. I’m proud that I have come out of a very disordered eating past and figured out a way to show my girls that their mommy lives a healthy, flexible lifestyle and they don’t have to see that other version.