When You Aren’t Winning

It’s easy to move on. It’s easy to forget. When the success starts coming and the weight’s fallen off and the energy is back and the mood is lifted.

I had a conversation the other night that made me remember.

I remember when I wasn’t winning. When every event I had to find an outfit for was frustrating (usually ending in tears). When every night I was too tired and depressed to do anything to better my life so I sat in front of a screen. When I just wanted life to be easy but it felt so hard. When I didn’t like myself – not because of how I looked but because I was choosing daily to be someone I didn’t want to be. I was choosing the easy road to not workout, to not eat healthy, to not do fun creative things with my kids and just turn on the TV for them or numb my pain with sugar and carbs. I was BURNT OUT. I didn’t feel like I could do more, but I hated doing the bare minimum. I was in a fog. My goal was to survive the day without killing anyone (I’m not joking). I knew I was meant for greater things but I was too tired and frustrated with myself to try.

I’m not saying life isn’t still a struggle. I’m not saying that before I wasn’t winning now all I do is win. Yesterday was a pregnancy hormonal roller coaster (my poor husband)! But today is a new day. I KNOW what I’m capable of because I’ve fought my way out of those dark days, and when I see the darkness creeping in again, instead of throwing up my hands and resigning myself to surrender to it, I know I can fight it. I know I can wake up to a NEW day. I can make healthy choices, I can take the kids to the library, park, IKEA, Target, cut up some construction paper and get out some glue, I know I can hit play on a 30 minute workout and no matter how many interruptions I know it’s doing my body some good, I know that the fog that hovers over my mind and convinces me that it’s got to be complicated and it’s going to be too hard, is just a lie, and so I dive in and do my best anyway.

I am OVER living for perfection – working out 6 days a week – only eating organic everything – making my own yogurt and bone broth – I am embracing messy attempts at bettering myself, because perfection will never be me, but resignation to lazy- self-destructive patterns wasn’t getting me anywhere either. It’s not that I win all the time, it’s that I TRY all the time, and there’s some sort of magic in trying.

If you aren’t winning, if you don’t even have the strength or confidence to try, if you are in that fog, if you see my posts and roll your eyes because you just can’t…I KNOW that place. I haven’t forgotten. We all hit our rock bottom and we all realize our own strength at different times and in different ways, but let me assure you – there is a spark of the divine in you and that spark just needs to be fanned into a flame. It’s one gust of air away from burning brightly again.

I wish we could sit over coffee and I could blow on that spark, and show you how I see you, how those around you see you, how bright you shine – because I know with the sunglasses of self-doubt and the ear plugs of past failures on it’s hard to see things clearly.

So, this is my love letter to you – when you aren’t winning. Things aren’t as dark as they seem.

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The 100g Protein Challenge

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If you have been following me on social media, you know I have been struggling with EXTREME nausea this pregnancy – which has thrown me for a loop because I barely had any with my other three pregnancies. After trying all sorts of things and just suffering through it, I finally decided to take a closer look at my nutrition. I’ve been eating fairly healthy, but not a LOT of food because of the nausea.

When I looked at my protein numbers I KNEW that’s where I needed to put my energy. My midwife recommended at least 100g of protein each day and I was at about half that. So I took a few days and started pushing myself to eat 100g (or as close to it as possible). I don’t know if this ALONE has been the game changer, or the fact that I am now 16 weeks and well into my second trimester, but it has been like night and day!

I am finally feeling energy and WAY less nausea! I will never take feeling “normal” for granted again. It hasn’t been easy, I almost feel like I have another job now, eating every 2 hours is harder than it sounds, but it is completely worth it to be feeling so much better!

Because I love my meal plans, I have decided to share with you this week’s high protein meal plan. If you are pregnant, I strongly suggest you take a look at your protein intake. This meal plan is for you to enjoy and to use. Obviously, feel free to make tweaks per your own tastes and likes. Also, MOST of the recipes in this meal plan can be found on my website.

I am using Shakeology daily in this meal plan. Shakeology is a super-food meal replacement shake that I have used throughout my months breastfeeding and now as I am pregnant. It is safe, full of nutrients my body needs, replaces my pre-natal vitamins and was one of the few things I was able to stomach during my most nauseous days. If you would be interested in trying a sample or have more questions about Shakeology shoot me a message (I read every single one!) and I’d love to hook you up with the flavor of your choice.

Click here to download the printable meal plan.

Click here to download a printable grocery list.

**This meal plan has a variety of dinners and protein options, if you are looking to make this a more budget friendly meal plan, I would suggest making a larger batch of dinners like Turkey Chili, Pork Roast or Baked Chicken Thighs.

My Resolution: More Failure

Before starting my at home workout life almost two years ago (has it really been that long?!) I was a hit or miss gym go-er, spending most of my time on the elliptical or treadmill and never really seeing any changes or results in my body.

After talking with my husband about how hard his Hammer and Chisel workout was last night it hit me why I NEVER saw results or pushed myself prior to starting my Beachbody challenge  and getting a coach: Failure is required for change and I hate failure.IMG_3077

These workout programs from Beachbody are HARD – some of them are REALLY hard. You WILL fail the first time you try them. You won’t last the full minute, you won’t finish with the weights you started with, you may need to hit pause at some point – you will FAIL. For me, before I had the support of a coach and was working on my own personal development, that was a big problem. It was why I gave up on every “diet” I ever tried. I couldn’t deal with failure. If I’m going to fail – what’s the point? I’m not even going to try!

It messed with my head and kept me stuck on the treadmill doing something I knew I COULD do and keeping me from progress and growth.

You CAN’T grow without failure. So what’s really keeping you and me and all of us from the results we want is that we don’t have the courage to fail. Once you get that courage, once you decide that you are going to start a program that is too hard for you or a business that you’ve never tried before and swallow your pride and decide that no matter how many mistakes are made, you are going to fail your way through it – you will FIND the success you have been looking for.

It’s true with exercise and health and fitness and nutrition – it’s true with business and relationships and anything new that you want to accomplish. Once you find that courage – once you realize that failure is PART of success and not something to take personally or let knock you off your game – the WORLD will be unlocked to you.

But this courage to fail isn’t something you have to drum up only once – it’s something you have to face over and over again. Because the things you were once afraid to try become your comfort zone and you have the choice – stay there or get up the courage AGAIN to push to the next level where you will once again fail.

The good news is, every time it gets just a little bit easier. Every time you are faced with that next step, finding the courage to fail your way toward success gets a little easier because you remember what it was like last time. You remember how much you wanted to give up, how deeply you doubted yourself and how you kept going and found success. You hold on to that faith and you jump in to the mess and the confusion and the mistakes and you GROW.

If you make resolutions every year, I challenge you to resolve to fail more this year. In doing so, I think you will find that you will GROW more this year than ever before!

(For more on this subject I HIGHLY recommend the book Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell)

Soufflé Mushroom Omelet

mushroom omeletI am a HUGE lover of cooking shows. America’s Test Kitchen is one of my very favorites. When they go into the science of food and why certain techniques work to give more flavor or texture to foods I am in my own little foodie heaven (I know – total nerd alert). Usually I tuck all of these tricks and tips away for later when I have the luxury to spend more time preparing food, but there was one little “trick” that I decided to give a try and it’s SO great I just have to share.

Because I eat eggs almost every single morning, this was really exciting to me to give me a little change of pace and texture. So, here’s how it works – this is a technique that makes the fluffiest, lightest omelet you could imagine and it is as simple as separating the egg whites from the yolks and whipping the whites until they are light and frothy.

Let’s get into the recipe.

First, the filling.
Because these eggs are so light I do not recommend something heavy, like ham or bacon. I decided to go with mushrooms because they still have a meaty flavor. I sliced up 5-6 mushrooms and sautéed them into 1 tsp of olive oil until tender. Then I added 1 tsp of soy sauce and cooked another 2 minutes or so and then removed from the heat.

While the mushrooms are cooking, separate three eggs and put the whites into a miegg whitesxer. Mix the whites until white and frothy, then gently fold in the yolks (which you can scramble up with a fork separately). Pour this egg mixture
onto a non-stick (I recommend using a generous amount of spray) pan that is at med heat. Cover the skillet with a lid so the top can cook as well as the bottom, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and add in the mushrooms along with some mozzarella cheese. Turn off the heat, cover once more and cook for about a minute. Gently remove from the pan and fold the omelet. (Even if it’s not perfectly pretty, like mine, I promise you will LOVE this light and fluffy breakfast!).

I know it’s extra work, but if you have some time on the weekend or just want a change of pace to your every day egg breakfast – this really was way too delicious not to share!

Excuses, Excuses

You know what’s funny about life? It’s never as easy as we expect it to be.
There’ ALWAYS a challenge in front of me, always something “getting in the way” of my health and fitness and personal goals. Somehow I’m always surprised! As if I’m expecting life to just be flowers and roses – little to no resistance. I’m almost offended that life would DARE to be…difficult!

Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m SO often tempted to get upset at the curve balls and challenges in my life. I like to do something called: “feeling sorry for myself”. I know you probably NEVER do this, but I do. Just recently I’ve had THE most debilitating nausea I’ve EVER experienced in my life. I cannot get out of bed, I cannot function, I IMG_1946cannot think straight – it’s been unexpected (none of my previous pregnancies were this extreme) and I have let myself get upset about it. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and letting my workouts and nutrition slide.

It wasn’t until the other night that I realized what was happening. I listened to a webinar with Autumn Calabrese and she looked straight in the camera and said, “You know, difficult things happen in all of our lives, and then we have the choice to either give in to the excuses or decided to be stronger and keep going.” It was like she was speaking STRAIGHT to me.

I may not be able to control the nausea that hits my body. I may not be able to control the demands that my three wonderful children make on me, but I CAN control MY attitude. I can control MY actions. I don’t have to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have to throw in the towel on my fitness and nutrition. I don’t have to wallow about.

You may have a MILLION reasons why it’s “too hard” to live healthy. You may have a million reasons why your challenges are keeping you from making good choices. I hate to be the one to call you out, but I PROMISE you, once you let go of those excuses and decide to do it anyway you will feel SO MUCH better!

Positivity, determination and taking responsibility for YOUR life are decisions we ALL can make – I am choosing today (and every day) to stop feeling sorry for myself and start feeling GREAT! May not look perfect every day, but I’ll take imperfection over inaction ANY day of the week.

Happy Monday!

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

butternut squashI made this dish for my kiddos (and myself, let’s be honest), and I LOVED it! Originally I used an entire butternut squash so my kids could tell the taste was different. I am going to recommend, if you are serving this to children who are a bit picky, to stick to using only half of the butternut squash, but if you are serving this to adults the full squash is wonderful!

Here is the recipe:

Roast 1 butternut squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the squash and let cool. Cut the squash into cubes and place in a food processor to puree. Add 1/2 cup of milk to the squash to thin out.

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbs. butter and then add 3 Tbs. flour. Once it starts to smell a bit nutty add 2 C. milk. Stir and heat until it starts to bubble and thicken. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. rosemary and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg to the milky sauce. Stir in 2 C. of sharp cheddar cheese to the sauce until melted. Turn off heat. Mix in the butternut puree until fully combined.

Pour sauce over cooked elbow macaroni and enjoy!

Training for My Marathon

If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have missed my announcement but we are expecting baby #4 in July! It was a total surprise but we are absolutely thrilled – especially the kids, which is really fun! When I had baby #3 my other two were just 3yrs and 2yrs old so they were just a little too young to appreciate what was going on, but now that they are all a little older (five, four and two) they are crazy excited to have another brother or sister.
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With my previous pregnancies I ate *moderately* healthy, but when I craved something I ATE it! No real restraint or self-control, and NO exercising beyond taking a walk around the block.

I gained 35lbs with baby #1, 45lbs with baby #2 and 50lbs with baby #3!!

It was such a strain on my body – especially baby #3. I had severe sciatica to the point where I HAD to get several very expensive and frequent chiropractor adjustments near the end of my pregnancy just to keep from being in unbearable pain. All three of my births were natural and unmedicated and after each birth I SWORE I would never do this again and my midwife just laughed and said: “You’ll be back.”

This pregnancy will be different. From everything I have learned this past year and a half about food being fuel for our bodies and how strong I REALLY am, I am approaching this with a whole new view point and strategy. I am taking the next nine months to prepare for a marathon.

And by marathon I mean birth.

(Side note* You will NEVER EVER ever ever ever ever hear me announce that I am planning to run 26.2 miles – EVER – will not happen.)

I feel like I have a pretty good memory of what giving birth unmedicated is like and it is a freaking marathon. Your legs have to be strong, your back has to be strong, your heart has to be strong, your MIND has to endure pain that you didn’t even imagine could exist. It is a no-joke series of hours in a woman’s life – and I would be an utter FOOL not to prepare my body for it. So that’s what I’m doing.

My Plan for a Fit PregnancyI want to be strong this pregnancy, I don’t want to suffer from sciatica, I don’t want to feel like I’m lacking energy and I know that by working out and eating foods that boost my energy instead of whatever I FEEL like eating at the moment is what will do that.

Here is my plan:
– Workout 4-5x a week: I plan to do a mixture of Autumn Calabrese’s maternity workouts on Beachbody on Demand along with some Turbo Fire Cardio workouts and 21 Day Fix weight lifting workouts. I will be safe (promise) but doing nothing with my fitness is more unsafe that working out – in my book – and simply not an option for me this time around.

– Meal plan: I plan to sick to the maintenance portion of 21 Day Fix meal plan (which is the portion that helps you fuel your body well without the calorie depletion that someone losing weight would account for) while still listening to my body if I need to make adjustments. I will fuel my body with tons of protein and veggies – which is what the meal plan prescribes – and eat a portioned amount of healthy carbs each day.

– Drink Shakeology daily. Yes, Shakeology is safe for pregnant women. Obviously you should check with your doctor especially if you have allergies to certain ingredients, but all Shakeology is is WHOLE, organic, non-gmo superfoods. Basically just the absolute BEST, most nutrient dense foods in the entire WORLD, in one convenient shake, and in my first trimester, when I would make dinner, take a smell of it and get sick and not be able to eat it – Shakeology has been a LIFESAVER!

So there you have it! My plan to train for my marathon of giving birth! I’m SUPER excited to share my pregnancy fitness journey with you all! If you have any friends who are also expecting, I’d be so honored for you to share my blog or Facebook page with them, I’m not a perfect example, but if I can inspire or motivate even just one woman to value her health through my journey, it would be such a joy!

Vegetarian Chili

This is WAY good. Even as a non-chili lover I am a huge fan. My kids loved it, my friends loved it and can be made in the crock pot. All around a win.

SIDE NOTE – also a great dish when you are trying to stretch the budget but still feel like you are eating WELL!

 

Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

4 tsp. olive oil
1 butternut squash, roasted and cut into cubes
3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 – 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 box of chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in a sauce pan and cook carrots, onions, garlic and chili powder until tender. Add these ingredients and all the rest to a large crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs. or high for 4-6 hours. Smash some of the butternut squash cubes to make the chili thicker if desired. Garnish with cilantro.

If you are doing the 21 Day Fix this would count for 1 green, 1 yellow and 0.5 purple.

Fresh Cabbage Salad

Cabbage is one of my favorite veggies. It’s an amazing source of cancer-preventing nutrients and vitamin C. I love it because it’s also delicious (and super cost-effective)!

Fresh Cabbage Salad

This fresh salad is easy to throw together and bursting with flavor:

Chop 1/4 cabbage into thin slices.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar, 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, 2 Tbs. Honey. Pour this dressing over the cabbage and toss to coat. Season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger.

I like to add chopped almonds or cubed chicken for a more hearty dish!

Enjoy!

Meal Plan for Breastfeeding Moms

Breastfeeding Meal Plan
Our bodies are freaking amazing – aren’t they?
Every time I learn something new I just want to look in the mirror and say: “You are such a badass!!”

At the same time, our bodies need to be taken care of and protected because it’s the only one we’re going to get!

So Breastfeeding mama’s I’m talking to you – take care of yourself!!

I know, you are laughing at me right now. “Take care of myself? With what time? With what energy? I don’t even know what day it is!!”
I totally get it! I have three kids and I remember well the haze of newborn days, the excitement of those first milestones, the craziness of a mobile crawler and before you know it the first year is over.

But, it’s important…let me drop some science on you.
When you are breastfeeding – baby’s nutrition is numero uno. Your body will do whatever it has to do to make sure your baby get’s what they need. It’s pretty amazing! However, if you aren’t eating nutrient rich foods, guess where your body is going to pull the nutrients from? YOU. Your reserves, your storehouse – your body will start breaking apart in order to get the nutrients your baby needs.

Sounds dramatic…but it’s true. Your bones will lose density if you aren’t getting enough calcium. Not to mention, you are probably a tiny bit depleted in the nutrient department already from growing this baby inside you for nine months! Amiright?

This is why it matters, yes because you want to give you baby the best milk possible, yes because the healthier you eat while breastfeeding the more your baby will develop a natural taste and preference for healthy foods, yes, it will help you have more energy and stamina and drop some of that baby weight but also because you either fuel your body right or let it fall apart – literally!

Eating a variety of foods is THE best thing you can do for your body during this time. I know that for me, carbs are the quickest, easiest and most satisfying foods to eat. I remember grabbing a bowl of cereal for breakfast, crackers for snack, a handful of gold fish for lunch, some chips and salsa later on when I was starving from such a small lunch, and then I would finally get some good food at dinner – protein, carb and a small portion of veggies. This was SO bad for my energy and mental clarity and health, but it was EASY (or so I thought). Little did I know, taking a bit of time to plan out healthy snacks, and a variety of foods, increasing my protein intake, fruits, veggies and healthy fats gave me SO much energy and then I couldn’t NOT include these foods in my diet.Breastfeeding Meal Plan

Variety doesn’t have to mean “complex”.
Here is a sample meal plan that you can use whether you are breastfeeding or not – you can use it as is, or simplify and use it to inspire you to create your own meal plan by choosing one or two of the breakfast and lunch options and repeating all week long (this is what I do).

For all the recipes in this meal plan (and TONS more) CLICK HERE.

You are worth taking care of mama! Fuel that body so you can be around a long time to enjoy your babies and have the energy to be the mom you want to be!