Superb for Spring (and WEDDING season!)

Hey Everyone!!

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I am SUPER excited for this post. In September, 2014, I got engaged to my favorite person! In our newly engaged bliss and planning it felt as though time was standing still, and I would forever be in the best moment of my life.  Well, I looked at the calendar yesterday and reality struck- holy cow- March is pretty much here (time didn’t stand still) and the start of WEDDING SEASON (and our wedding day) is almost here!!!  Clearly, I am very excited for the season to begin. Weddings are fabulous- you get to enjoy friends, music, dancing, food and drinks! However, there is one way to make wedding season even more wonderful: feeling amazing in your wedding wardrobe!! Whether you are the bride, the groom, a bridesmaid, the mother of the bride or a guest- everyone feels better when they feel confident in their outfit and their own skin.

To help get myself ready to be the best version of me for the start of wedding season, summer, and then my own wedding in October, I have put together an easy to follow meal plan.  In addition I have suggested intense workouts that I will be completing and that you can complete at home or at the gym to get toned and lean all over! Are you ready?!?! I AM!! Check it out below:

Breakfasts:
-Everything Smoothie: 1 cup almond milk, 5 frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup blueberries (not frozen), 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 handful raw spinach
-Protein Pancakes with 1 cup pineapple: 1 scoop protein powder, 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/2 mashed banana- mash banana, mix with egg whites and protein powder- cook like regular pancakes
-Egg White Veggie Omelet with 1 piece whole wheat toast- use as many of your favorite chopped veggies as you like. Saute in 1 tbsp. EVOO. One veggies are cooked to your liking add in one cup egg whites and cook until done.
-Oatmeal with chopped apple and honey: Cook oatmeal according to package (one serving). Chop apple into small pieces and mix in with cooked oatmeal. Drizzle oatmeal with 1 tbsp honey.
-Kashi or All Bran Cereal: Enjoy 3/4 cup of cereal with 1 cup almond milk. cut 4 strawberries and add to top of cereal.

Lunches:
-Mixed Green Salad with Chicken: 2 cups of your favorite mixed greens with 6 ounces of chicken and 2 tbsp. of your favorite low cal dressing. One apple.
-Turkey Veggie wrap: One whole wheat or brown rice wrap, 5 oz. of low sodium turkey or chicken, 1/4 avocado, 2 slices tomato, lettuce, 1/4 of a bell pepper- sliced. One apple.
-Turkey Taco Stir Fry over Lettuce: 3/4cup ground turkey, chopped peppers, chopped onion, chopped jalapeño and tomato with 1/4 cup low sodium taco seasoning. Cook in skillet until turkey is cooked through. Enjoy over 2 cups chopped lettuce. One apple
-Quinoa Vegetable Salad: http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2013/02/quinoa-vegetable-salad-with-lemon-basil.html
-Veggie Hummus Wrap: One whole wheat or brown rice wrap, spread 2 tablespoons of your favorite hummus, one and a half cups of your favorite roasted veggies, and half sliced avocado. Enjoy with one banana.

Dinners:
Salmon with Salad
Paleo Vegetable Lasagna
Beans and Greens Sweet Potato
Turkey Burgers (no bun) with a side of roasted brussels sprouts
At any point you may make a dinner for yourself with a 6 oz. portion of lean protein (fish, chicken breast, ground turkey, quinoa, beans) and 2 cups of vegetables.

Snacks: (Pick 2 a day)
-One apple with 2 tbsp. PB or Almond Butter
-Carrots with 2 tbsp. hummus
-Smoothie: 1 scoop protein, 1 cup almond mile, fruit and ice
-Grapefruit
-One cup mixed berries and pineapple
-3 ingredient cookie from Tone it Up 

WORKOUTS: 

Set your standards high because YOU CAN  :) Aim to complete 4-5 workouts each week.

1) 40 Minute Intervals on Treadmill:

Warm up with 5 minutes of jogging (5.5-6.0)

Then complete 2 minutes oh high intensity running (between 7.5 and 8.0) to 2 minutes of an incline walk (incline at 5.0 speed at 4.0) until you reach 35 minutes.

At 35 minutes cool down with a 5 minute walk- no incline- at 4.2

2)  Tone It Up Kettlebells.  Complete 2 rounds. Then, challenge yourself to hold a plank for one minute- then a side plank- one minute on each side.

3) Get your heart rate up with this AT HOME- no excusescalorie blaster.  Complete each circuit 3 TIMES before moving to the next one.  Follow it with a plank challenge!! 2 minute plank to a 2 minute side plank on each side!

4) Cardio and Strength Train:

COMPLETE THE MILE AND STRENGTH CIRCUIT 3 times through!! Feeling like you want more? Try getting in 4 rounds🙂

Run 1 mile at 7.0-7.8

15 push ups

20 squat jumps

20 single arm kettle bell swings

15 weighted dead lifts (10-12 lb. dumbbells in each hand)

30 crunches

**REPEAT**

2015 Skinny Jean Challenge

Happy New Year Everyone!!! 

Well, the holiday season has come and gone, and the New Year is in full swing! If you have family and friends like mine the past week (or month) has been filled with amazing get togethers that have been packed with delicious and savory food accompanied by amazing wine and other adult beverages.  While it was ALL fantastic in the moment- you may now be left with that pesky voice in your head asking, “OK girlfriend…just how do you plan on getting back into your sexy skinny jeans?!”

While getting back into your “skinny jeans” (or whatever clothing item you’re striving to feel good in again) can be different for everyone, I have found that there are a few meals I always go to when trying to shape back up.  Below, I have created a list of potential meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and one snack throughout the day.  All you have to do is pick one meal  from the list for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner each day for the next 6 days. On the seventh day those skinny jeans should be fitting better than ever!.  The meals are meant to provide you with fat burning nutrients that will keep you full and satisfied. If you want to kick up your challenge a notch try and add in 3 days of strength training and 2 days of cardio. Your jeans and your confidence will be thanking you on day 7🙂 Are you ready?! You can do it!!

Breakfasts:

Egg White Veggie Scramble: One cup egg whites, 1/4 cup chopped peppers and 1/2 cup chopped spinach. Sautee the veggies and then pour the egg whites over the mixture. Let the eggs cook completely and enjoy with 2 slices turkey bacon

Oatmeal: Cook one serving of old fashioned oats ( I use Red Mill Gluten Free Oats).  Drizzle with one tbsp. raw natural honey or coconut nectar and then top with 3/4 cup blueberries or strawberries- or a mix of both!

Greek Yogurt Parfait: One cup Plain (or Vanilla) Greek Yogurt with 3/4 cup berries of your choice and 1/4 cup sliced almonds.

Everything Smoothie: In a blender combine 1 cup almond milk, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1 handful chopped spinach or kale, 1 scoop (about 1 1/2 tbsp.) all natural peanut butter or almond butter. If you find yours is too thick add a tiny bit more almond milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Lunches:

Turkey or Tuna Wrap: In the middle of one Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Wrap place either 5 oz. of tuna fish (prepared with a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 tsp. mayonnaise and a sprinkle of dill) or 5 oz. low sodium turkey breast in the middle of your wrap.  Top with lettuce, tomato and 1/4 of an avocado. Enjoy with sliced apples.

Super Salad: Enjoy 5oz. of your favorite protein (chicken breast, tuna, turkey taco meat, hard boiled egg etc.) and unlimited veggies on top of your favorite lettuce, spinach or kale mixture.  Use 1 to 2 tbsp. of light dressing to top. Enjoy with sliced apples.

Turkey or Veggie Burger:  Prepare your 5 oz. turkey burger the night before so you will only have to reheat it (make with ground turkey and spices of your choice- I like cilantro, pepper, and garlic powder, and chili powder)  If you are using a veggie burger, I recommend the Morning Star brand. Wrap the turkey or veggie burger in lettuce wrap and top with mustard, tomato and avocado and any other veggie you like. Enjoy with 1/2 baked sweet potato

Warm Thai Wraps: see recipe at ToneItUp.com

Dinners: (The lunch options can also be used as dinners if you would like)

Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp: Prepare spaghetti squash as the sticker on the squash says or follow these steps: Cut squash in half long ways. Remove seeds.  Place hollowed squash flesh side down in a microwave safe dish with 1/4 cup water in the bottom. Microwave for about 12-14 minutes.  Heat your favorite marinara or arabiata sauce in a sauce pan and sautee the shrimp in a skillet (about 5-6 shrimp per person) until cooked through.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza: Find the recipe here: ToneItUp.com

Salmon with Roasted Brussels and Broccoli:  Lightly coat the salmon (about 6-7 oz. per person) with lemon juice,  1 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 tsp. pepper.  Bake in the oven at 400 for 20-25 minutes depending on how you like your salmon cooked. In the mean time cut brussels sprouts in 1/2 and cut broccoli florets to bite size pieces.  Place brussels and broccoli in a large baking pan.  Coat with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 a lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic- chopped, sprinkle with pepper and red pepper flakes.  Bake the brussels and broccoli for 15 minutes at 400.

Chicken Salad: Recipe courtesy of Kalyn’s Kitchen: Here it is!

White Chicken Chili with Salad: Enjoy ONE serving of this delicious south beach phase one friendly chili from Kalyn’s Kitchen.  Serve it with salad so that you get an extra dose of veggies.  I love making a big mixed green salad with tomato, peppers, chopped carrots, and caramelized onions (cook thinly sliced onions in a tiny bit of EVOO until they brown a little).

Snacks: 

– One Banana

-One apple sided with 2 tbsp. all natural PB

– Fruit Smoothie: 3/4 cup berries, 1 cup almond milk, 1 handful spinach

– One cup of baby carrots with 1/3 cup hummus

– 4 pieces of celery with 2 tbsp. all natural PB

3 Ingredient Cookie from Tone It Up

Potential Work Outs:  All of these workouts are from ToneItUp.com.  I absolutely love these ladies. They are my inspiration day in and day out.  When I first started looking into a healthy lifestyle their website was my guide. Check them out!!

Inner and Outer Thigh 

Total Body

Abs

Booty

Cadio

Remember to always listen to your body- feed it for success and lead with your head held high and shoulders back- ready to take on the day!

Final Paleo Check In

Hi Everyone!

Today is day 23 of my Paleo Challenge. I am checking in today, rather than on Wednesday (day 26), because I will be traveling to see my family for Thanksgiving on Wednesday! WOO HOO!!!

I am thrilled to tell you that I found the Paleo Diet to be one of the better things I have done for myself in the past year.  I feel so  much healthier, and to be honest, this diet has become a way of life for me.  After the first week or so, the Paleo style of eating became engrained in me and it was so easy to make better choices for my body.  I truly feel that this is something I will continue with (adding back in the occasional glass of red wine of course!!).  All in all, I have lost a total of 7 pounds in the past 23 days and I have gained confidence and health. Be sure to stay tuned for fun and filling Paleo recipes!

Check out my before (top picture) and after (bottom picture)!

before and after

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Paleo Challenge Check In

Check In/ Small Victories:

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! I am just checking in and letting you all know that I am still loving the way I feel while doing this Paleo Diet Challenge. Today is officially my 16th day of the Paleo Challenge. So far I have lost a total of 6.4 pounds and I can notice much more muscle definition in my body as well as much more energy (for the most part!).   Ten more days to go!!

Challenges:

Just like every person who tries something for the first time, there have been some hiccups along the way for me.  For instance, last week, I was under a lot of stress in my personal and work life.  Before I started the Paleo Challenge- when I was stressed, my go to was an intense workout followed by a piece of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine. However, now that I am doing the Paleo Challenge- I can still do the intense workout, but I can not indulge in the “comforting” dark chocolate and red wine.  I am sure that some of you are thinking that this is “no big deal”, but when that has been your go-to stress reliever for the past 5 years, it is a challenge not to break down and indulge.  I am very PROUD, however, to let you know that I did not break down. I simply did my workout, came home, made a healthy dinner of a huge spinach salad with one chicken sausage. Instead of dark chocolate I opted for a sliced apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon for dessert. Victory!!

Example Meal Plan from last Wednesday:

60-70 oz. of water

M1: 3/4 cup egg whites with 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms, 1 grapefruit

M2: Apple

M3: 2 big handfuls of sautéed kale and 1 fully cooked chicken breast seasoned with a mix of 1 tbsp. balsamic and 1 tbsp. spicy dijon mustard.

M4: Apple with 1 1/2 tbsp. Almond Butter

M5: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and chicken sausage served on top of a big spinach salad.

M6: 1 bowl of chopped strawberries and pineapple

Bonus:

Take a look at some of the helpful websites where I have found yummy Paleo Recipes:

Soups 

Chicken

Pancakes (substitute egg whites for whole egg and remember- it says 500 calories for 4-6 pancakes depending on their size. If you don’t want that many calories than stick with 2 pancakes!)

Mexican Stir Fry

A variety of yummy recipes from SkinnyMom

Enjoy!! I can’t wait to check in with you all next weekend🙂 Have a great week!

Paleo Week One Recap:

Hey there! 

Well, I have to say I feel great! My digestion has improved so much, it’s wild. I finally have had multiple nights where I DON’T feel like curling up into a ball because I have stomach pains. It’s awesome to actually feel %100!

Week 1 Recap:

So, here is how my week went (remember- I am only human, so I do have slip ups!) Days 1-3 and 6-7 were awesome. I did a 100% Paleo diet with most breakfasts consisting of egg whites and veggies with a grapefruit. Lunches and dinners were a variety of different veggies and proteins depending on what we had in the house. My favorite dinner was a turkey chili with butternut squash that I made. I would post a recipe, but I don’t really have one. I just kind of threw everything in a big pot and let is simmer. I will work on developing a recipe for the chili that I can post for everyone! Snacks were definitely consumed, but they were all Paleo approved. My favorite snack was a sliced apple with 1 tbsp. almond butter. YUM!

What happened on days 4 and 5 you ask?

Well, my fiancé and I had off from school (we are teachers) for starters.  Being that we had off from school my fiancé and I scheduled our engagement photo’s to be taken on day 4.  It was a fun and romantic affair that had to be celebrated with one glass of red wine. So, although I wasn’t 100% Paleo because of the red wine, all of my food intake was Paleo approved. So in my mind, it wasn’t the worst slip up🙂 Then, on day 5 my fiancé and I got together with a group of friends for dinner so I had one glass of wine. However, like day 4, the food throughout the day was all Paleo.

What have I learned?

1. Stay Hydrated

2. Plan ahead and pre prep any meals that you can.

But, most importantly….

I am human and it is ok if I slip up a bit.  I just want to make sure that when I do slip up, the rest of my choices throughout my day are best for my body and mood. For right now, that means sticking to as much of a 100% Paleo diet as possible.

What did I achieve?

A sense of “Yes, I can!” and a loss of 4 pounds. Plus, my favorite part- a digestive system that actually works and doesn’t cause me to curl up in pain! WOO HOO!!

Week 2 of the Paleo Countdown to Thanksgiving Challenge- here I come! 

PALEO Check In

Hi Friends!

Well, today was day 3 of the Countdown to Thanksgiving: Paleo Challenge! So far, I am feeling great! I know it sounds crazy, but I truly noticed a change in the way I felt today. I had more energy and I was not as hungry between meals. I went to the gym after work and while the class I took was crazy intense- I felt strong and powerful during it. It was an incredibly uplifting feeling for me (I mean seriously- who doesn’t want to feel powerful?!)

Although it has only been 3 days, I have two tips that I have found extremely helpful so far. So, here it goes:

1) HYDRATE- Drink at least 70 oz. of water each day. This has helped keep me full and have more energy throughout the day.

2) PLAN and PREP- I have found it so helpful to have a tupperware of different cut up veggies, portioned servings of almond butter in small tupperware containers, and a paleo style “indulgent” treat made ahead of time in case cravings creep up. Planning out my meals for the day and having food prepped in advance has helped me SO much because it eliminates the temptation to cheat. If the meal is prepped and ready to be made then there is no excuse not to make it. Having healthy snacks prepped and ready has helped me to avoid cheating when my stomach is growling and I am looking for a quick something to fill me up. If my veggies, fruit and almond butter are already prepared then they are easy to grab and I don’t cheat!

Okay, so for those of you that are wondering what a typical day, PALEO style looks like- here is what I had today

Breakfast- One grapefruit, 3/4 cup egg whites with 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

Snack- One Banana

Lunch- One baked, cubed, chicken breast with 2 cups chopped cauliflower, red/orange bell peppers, and mushrooms. Sauce on the veggies and chicken was 2 tablespoons warmed sunflower butter, 2 tbsp. reduced sodium chicken broth, crushed red pepper flakes (mix it all up and our over veggies and chicken before baking)

Snack- One granny smith apple with 2 tbsp. almond butter

Dinner- Leftover chicken and veggie bake from lunch and one baked sweet potato with sautéed kale ( kale was sautéed in 1 tsp. coconut oil, 2 tbsp. chicken broth, red pepper flakes and a dash of hot sauce)

Snack- Pumpkin Muffin 

Click on “Pumpkin Muffin” to get the link to the recipe that has saved me and my sweet tooth so far🙂 The only thing I changed was instead of the coconut oil I mashed one banana – they were still delicious! You can totally use the coconut oil for the Paleo Diet- I just like banana so I used it instead!

I hope this post is helpful for those of you who are interested in Paleo! I would definitely encourage everyone to try Paleo for a bit- I am loving how I feel! Talk to you all soon!

Countdown to Thanksgiving: PALEO STYLE

Hey Everyone!
Long time, no posts! It feels so good to be posting again- especially because I am so excited about my most recent challenge idea! Lately, I have been feeling a little sluggish. Work is in full swing, and the amount of daylight I see each day has gotten much smaller. For the past year I have been hearing all about the Paleo diet. So, as the curious person that I can be, I decided to look into what the hype was all about. As I investigated, the more intrigued I became. Everyone who had tried going Paleo could attest to the fact that they felt so much better after changing their lifestyle to a Paleo diet. The most important testament that stood out to me was almost all of the stories and articles I read talked about how much better your digestion became when on the Paleo diet. I have struggled with digestion issue my entire life, so for me this was a huge turning point in my decision to try going Paleo. So, here I am today, telling you that I have decided to do a 26 Day Paleo Challenge starting right now!!

During my Countdown to Thanksgiving Paleo Challenge I will be posting about the good, the bad, and the ugly throughout this challenge. I hope to be able to share recipes, tips, perks, rough patches and anything else that comes up along the way. I will also be posting one daily meal plan each week in case you are curious and want to try going Paleo as well.

Click “ENJOY!” to head to another PALEO blog that was very inspiring to me🙂

ENJOY!