Looking for Moms

I have been a mom for 2 years now. Well actually 2 years, 10 months since I became a mom the moment I discovered I was pregnant.  Being a working mom has not always been easy but it is what has been best for my family. Our son has been going to a great school and has learned so much!!  His favorite word these days is ‘quesadilla’!

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I’m sure you know that 2 year old children, particularly little boys, are extremely active.  Last year I realized that I was not going to be able to keep up with him if I didn’t work on myself so I started eating healthier and lost some weight.  But then I was still always tired, never feeling like I was able to do all the things that I needed to do to be the best wife and mother. And the breaking point was at Christmas when my button popped on my jeans!  I was mortified!

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In January, I started a 21 Day Fix Challenge Group and my entire life has changed.  With one little step!  You can read more about my experience with 21 Day Fix and how my journey started here.

I truly have made this a lifestyle.  I rarely eat processed foods and when I do, it might be 3-5 chips.  Not a whole bag.  I can eat a cookie and not go back for the whole plate!  I am able to manage it so much better now.  I do not have cravings anymore.  I have so much more energy, sleep better, and exercise everyday.  I exercise every day which gives me an opportunity to clear my head, have 30 minutes for myself, take care of my body, and gives me the ability to take care of all my other responsibilities.  Shakeology has been the biggest tool for me because it is a sweet treat that is actually equivalent to eating 6 salads!  But tastes like dessert!  It helps to control my blood sugar levels, keeps me full, reduces cravings, gives me energy and aids in better digestion.

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After a month I decided I wanted more. I wanted to stick to it. I wanted something to “force” me to stick to it this time and keep this as a lifestyle. So I signed up to be a coach, to save money on my Shakeology and maybe make a little extra money.  But after about 2 days of being a coach and engaging with other coaches, I decided to go ALL in to give my best shot at making this a business.  I have been having so much fun!  I run challenge groups every month of other people who are doing a Beachbody fitness and meal plan including Shakeology. I give them daily encouragement, support, and advice.  Meanwhile, I am learning, growing and encouraging myself. I post daily on my regular Facebook page, my like page, my blog and my challenge groups to inspire and encourage others to make healthy changes in their lives.  And I have now earned enough money to cover the 3 programs and 4 months of Shakeology that I have purchased with money left over!  And my team is growing every single day!  I have been a part of some amazing trainings and actually did my first training for my team this week!
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If you are a stay-at-home mom who wants to find a way to focus on your health AND make some extra money, then this is the opportunity for you!
If you are a mom who works full-time but you want to one day have the option of leaving your full-time job to have more flexibility in your life, then this is the opportunity for you!
Do you just want to have some extra spending money and help provide financial stability for your family?  Then this is the opportunity for you!
Do you want to earn some awesome incentives, rewards, and FREE  VACATIONS? All possible with Beachbody!!
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I still work full-time. But NOW, I have this extra “job” that I do where I get to focus on my health and fitness, HELP others to make healthy changes in their lives, inspire people to join me, mentor new coaches, and am part of an amazing group of women (and men) changing lives every single day!  And there are TONS of coaches who have grown their business so that they are able to QUIT their corporate jobs to devote themselves entirely to their Beachbody Health & Fitness business every day!
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I would love to have you join Team Fit For His Glory.  If you’re interested, please fill out the application below:
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Old Favorites and New Experiments

Yesterday my sister-in-law was in town and we had the opportunity to do some baking for the members of my Life Group. Today I delivered treats to all of the families to thank them for being a part of our little community.

We made some old standbys that are delicious, but not necessarily clean and healthy. But, last week I had tried out a new clean, no-bake cookie and it was a HIT so we went for it again this week!

We wanted to include something that wasn’t quite as sweet and could qualify as a breakfast item if needed and found these really delicious and subtle Clean Blueberry Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (80 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (225 g) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup (80 g) honey
  • 2 Tbsp (24 g) coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (140 g) blueberries, frozen or fresh

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (176C) and prepare a muffin pan by spraying the cavities with cooking spray or greasing them with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg until it becomes slightly frothy. Whisk in the yogurt, honey, sugar, almond milk, and vanilla, mixing until well combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing gently until just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tbsp (7.5 g) of flour to prevent them from bleeding or sinking to the bottom of the muffins, and fold them into the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling almost to the top. Add a sprinkle of coconut sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for ~5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

The original recipe can be found here.  I thought they were really delicious and a nice little breakfast item. I would count 2 of them as a yellow if you are on 21 Day Fix.

If you are looking for the perfect snack to cary in your bag for when you need a little something but want to stay clean and healthy, you should try Lara Bars.  They are made with minimal ingredients- typically dried fruit and nuts.  Kind Bars are also such a GREAT snack that is 21 Day Fix approved (counts as a blue and a tsp), made of nuts and a little honey or maple syrup.

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Last week I bought some dried pitted dates because I remembered seeing them in a bunch of recipes.

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But then I had to try to find something to make with them.  We happened to have had a large bag of roasted cashews, so I decided to attempt to make a Copycat Lara Bar, that I found here.

Ingredients
  • 30 pitted medjool dates
  • 1.5 cups raw cashews
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Place 30 pitted medjool dates in a small food processor. Process until dates form a paste.
  2. Next, add in raw cashews and pulse until the cashews are coarsely chopped and mixed in with your dates. You may need to stop and scrape the sides a few times. At this point you are able to pulse in optional chocolate chips. Just make sure you don’t over mix and crush the chocolate!
  3. Form a ball with your dough, then using a rolling pin, roll out dough so that it’s about 1.5 inches thick. Slice into bars with a knife.

But…. they didn’t work.  I do not know why, other than maybe I should have used the dates the day I bought them instead of letting them sit in my pantry for two weeks.  Or maybe I needed to soak them in water for a bit first to reintroduce moisture.  But, they just fell apart and crumbled.  I tried to smoosh them into a baking dish, chill, then cut.  Nope, still didn’t work.  So then I added some raw honey and more dates, mixed and tried again.  Still didn’t work.  BUT the good news is, you can eat it with a spoon and it is still a delicious little healthy and clean snack!

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This afternoon, I did my weekly meal prep.  This is my planning board for the week.

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I started by roasting cauliflower and broccoli, roasting sweet potatoes and making some whole wheat crusted chicken nuggets for my little toddler.   I always like to fix some easy go-to recipes that don’t take too much time.

One of my FAVORITE things to fix on Sundays that will make up a dinner and lunches for the week is turkey burgers.

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Ingredients

  • Lean ground turkey
  • One egg
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Ground mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 1/4 cup- 1/2 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs (I just kind of eyeball it)
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the oil.  Patty the burgers. Heat the pan with olive oil then place the burgers in the pan.  They will be a little sticky and loose at first, but just let them cook on one side for 3-4 minutes before flipping.   Before serving you can add some cheese, lettuce, tomato, and any other toppings to suite your fancy!

We love Mexican food in my house. So I also typically try to have some sort of  taco turkey meat or chicken for the week.  This week I used turkey, and it is so simple.  Brown your ground turkey.  Add some taco sauce, ground cumin, ground red pepper, and chili powder.  You can also sauté some onions before you brown the meat, but I forgot today!  We typically serve this with cheese and vegetables, sometimes with a whole wheat tortilla.

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Last week I made Honey Sriracha Chicken and it was really yummy.  Today I decided to make it again, but didn’t have lemon as the original recipe recommends.  So I adapted it using what I had on hand- fresh orange juice! and actually fixed the quinoa this time.  Can’t wait to enjoy it later this week!

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE QUINOA:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
FOR THE CHICKEN:
  • ¼ cup organic coconut oil
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) chicken breast, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup Sriracha (or more according to taste)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • fresh cilantro for garnishing
Directions:
To cook quinoa:
  1. Rinse quinoa 2-3 times with cold water. In a deep large skillet, combine water (chicken stock) and quinoa and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer. Cook until liquid is absorbed. Optional: season with salt. Fluff with fork.
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To cook chicken:
  1. In a large sauce pan melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked, fluffing a few times with thongs (6-7 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

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  1. Whisk together honey, Sriracha and orange juice in a bowl.
  2. Add sauce to the pan and cook for about 8 more minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and sauce will thicken.

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  1. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Top with scallions, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

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I love finding new recipes to try out and Pinterest is definitely my best friend to do so!  Please comment below if you try any of these recipes and share this post so others can enjoy them too!!

Guard Your Heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Wow- is that powerful? Our hearts keep us alive. Without our heart, we wouldn’t be able to pump blood throughout our bodies to keep all of the other bodily functions working properly.  We all know how important our hearts are to living a long life, yet we do things everyday to jeopardize the health of our hearts.  Some of us smoke (not me, YUCK!), or eat foods that are high in fat, cholesterol, salt; let our high blood pressure get out of control; fail to keep our diabetes in check; and lead stressful lives.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men AND women. Certain types of heart disease- such as defect, can’t be prevented. BUT many other forms of heart disease can be prevented with simple healthy lifestyle changes. Yet, we continue on about our lives, eating all the fried and high unhealthy fat foods we can get our hands on, we keep adding additional stress in our lives and make excuses for why we can’t take care of ourselves.

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But what about our spiritual hearts?  We listen to the lies of the enemy; we put things in our minds that affect how we view others, ourselves, the world; we let outside forces (like the world) control us; we lack a moral compass.  We fail to protect our spiritual hearts.

Just like we can eat healthier, cleaner foods, get in some heart pumping exercise, work our muscles to become stronger- all of which strengthen, stabilize and protect our hearts, there are things we can do to protect our spiritual hearts.

In Core of Support, I talked about how in Ephesians, Paul compares our spiritual armor to the armor of the Roman Legionary’s.

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I have been continuing my study on Priscilla Shirer’s “Armor of God.”

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Now its time to look at the breastplate or body armor that the soldiers used to protect their most vital organ, the heart.

“The breastplate was a metal shield (usually bronze), worn over the midsection from the neck to the thighs…And if he was wealthy enough to afford it, he would also don a coat of mail over his breastplate for extra fortification.  The purpose of all these layers was to guard the vital organs, particularly the heart.” (“Armor of God,” Priscilla Shirer)

” Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your guard, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” Ephesians 6: 13-14.

The first thing we need to understand to make sense of this passage is what righteousness means.  Righteousness is defined as morally right or justifiable. But as believers in Christ, it goes a step further, “Righteousness, then, is upright living that aligns with God’s expectations.” (Priscilla Shirer, “Armor of God”)  Our core of support is God’s truth.  Righteousness is living that truth.

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In this section of Ephesians, often referred to as “The Whole Armor of God,” Paul lists out the 6 specific spiritual armors that we have to protect us in God’s mighty power. This is just a summary of things he has already discussed in much more detail earlier in his book.  Looking back at the prior verses gives us a better understanding of what Paul is referencing when referring to righteousness.

You can check out the entire section of Ephesians 4:17-5:9, here. To summarize some of the instructions given, Paul tells us that we can live as children of the light by: throwing off our old sinful nature, letting the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes, putting on our new nature created to be like God, stop telling lies, not letting anger control us, quit stealing, using our hands for good work, letting everything we say be good, helpful and an encouragement, getting rid of bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, imitate God in everything we do, getting rid of sexual immorality, impurity and greet, not listening to obscene stories and foolish talk, not being be fooled by people who try to excuse these sins, but instead living as people of light.

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Priscilla summarizes this even further to explain that when the Bible refers to our heart, it means our body, spirit, and soul. And our soul includes our mind (thoughts), will (ambition), emotion (feelings), conscience (moral compass).  These areas are the perfect and exact target the enemy tries to wiggle his slimy self into to penetrate our heart.  When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we will protect our heart from the attacks of the devil.

We are all sinners and can NEVER expect to live righteously on our own and avoid all those things Paul mentioned above. Only God is perfect (perfect righteousness). We can compare ourselves to others and feel like we are doing the right things because we are “better” than them (comparative righteousness). But that isn’t the right measuring stick, because even if what we do is better (in our minds) than other people, we still aren’t meeting God’s standards.

But when we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, that is where Imputed Righteousness comes in to protect us!! Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we are made righteous by faith in Him.

“He sees you through the bloodstained filter of His own son, the perfect Lamb of God. You no longer need to exhaust yourself striving for perfection. You are already completely, wholly, and perfectly righteous because of Christ’s gift to you.” (“Armor of God,” Priscilla Shirer)

The question now becomes, how to we actually implement this in our lives.  Priscilla points to Ephesians 4:22-24 for the answer:

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

We need to practice Practical Righteousness by making a concerted and consistent decision to cast off darkness and put on the armor of light. It involves a choice AND an action. “Righteousness is in you. Now it needs to be on you.”  We can rely on the perfectness of Christ’s Holy Spirit in us to help us make those choices every single day. 

Making a decision to try your absolute best to live righteously everyday and guarding your choices is not as easy as it sounds. We have to understand what God’s perfect righteousness is and be transformed little by little to be more like him.  When we focus on our spiritual health, we will be transformed from the inside-out.

“Meditating on the Word, internalizing its principles, and then implementing them in your actions is what supports the work of God’s Spirit in renewing your soul.” (“Armor of God,” Priscilla Shirer)

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So how will you practice righteousness today, tonight, tomorrow, everyday? How will I? I will try my best to first understand and know the truth and when a decision arises or a choice needs to be made, to consult that truth before taking any action. I want to protect my spiritual heart from the advances of the enemy will put on my breastplate of righteousness by casting off darkness and walking in the light! (Or at least, I will try my hardest!).

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And then I will do a workout, take a hike, go for a walk, or a run, or play with my son to get my physical heart pumping to keep me healthy!

 

 

 

Sunday Cooking

I love to cook. I work full-time and have an almost 2 year old child. I do not have time to cook dinner every night.  It is as simple as that.

After Macon was born, I found myself rushing every night to put something together, often not eating dinner until after he went to bed, which became much more difficult as he got older and started to eat real food, because we wanted to eat dinner WITH our son. We turned to eating out, getting take out or just eating cereal.  A LOT.  And when I did cook, it was definitely not the healthiest.

Last January, I decided that we needed to stop spending so much money and consuming so many calories eating out as often as we did. And the only way that I was going to make any change in that was to cook most, if not all, of our meals in advance. We do not have a very big freezer so cooking a month’s worth of food and freezing in advance was not an option. We love our crockpot but I can have only so many crockpot meals, AND I just do not really like shredded chicken (you know, the kind that you get after having chicken breasts cooking in a crockpot for 10 hours while you are at work).  So I started buying a week’s worth of groceries on Saturdays and spending several hours every Sunday cooking for the week.  It was going very well, but then I started slacking off and reverting to my old habits.

This January, I started an amazing and exciting challenge to eat clean and change my life. I still cook food every Sunday, but now, I try to make all the meals be as clean as possible.

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Don’t have a clue what “clean eating” means?  Well- I didn’t really before January.  And I am absolutely still learning and making cleaner & healthier choices with each trip to Kroger.

Here is a simple break down (check out Skinny Mom for more information and 12 tips for clean eating):

C: COUNT your meals. You should aim to eat 5-6 times a day (3 meals and 2-3 small snacks). Shoot for every couple of hours. This will keep your metabolism burning all day long!

L: LEAN protein! Each meal should contain about a palm-sized serving of lean protein (white-meat chicken/turkey, fish, black beans, egg whites, etc.) Find your favorites and keep them on hand.

E: EAT your fruits and veggies! They’re delicious, filling and packed with nutrients our bodies need.

A: AVOID processed and refined foods. White flour, sugar, bread and pastas are no-nos. Replace them with complex carbs such as brown rice and whole wheat. Also, read ingredient lists. A long list means ‘not clean’. Read Food Labels Translated: 10 Alarming Ingredients to Avoid!

N: NEVER eat mindlessly. Too often, we tend to grab a food and toss it back without even a thought. The next time you go to eat something, ask yourself, “Will this do anything positive for my body?” and, “Will I regret this choice later?”.”

After having a basic understanding of Clean Eating, you should start building up a go-to list of recipes as you build your weekly menus.  Planning really is crucial in eating clean so that you don’t end up hungry and eating the Pop Tarts or Doritos out of the vending machine at work.

Usually I try to put together a list of foods and meals I want to have during the  next week on Fridays, do my shopping on Saturday and my cooking on Sundays.

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Here are some of my tips to get you started on your clean eating planning and shopping:

  1. Look on pinterest to find some clean recipes and build a list of main dishes and snack ideas.
  2. Start in the produce section of your grocery store and stock up on staples to be used throughout the week for main items and snacks: Lemons (for homemade dressings and marinades), tomatoes, zucchini, salad greens, cucumbers, asparagus, bananas, grapes, apples, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  3. Next check out the LEAN meats and seafood: Lean ground turkey, boneless skinless chicken breast, tilapia, salmon, etc.
  4. Be sure to READ labels on anything else you buy in the store
  5. For lunch meat- buy organic or no preservatives
  6. Greek yogurt is a perfect clean snack. Be sure to get plan without any added fruits because they are loaded with added sugar, and you can put in your OWN fresh fruit.
  7. Raid the frozen fruits and vegetables which are picked at the peak of ripeness
  8. Buy whole wheat bread (make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat flour and that the second is NOT enriched white flour)
  9. Avoid the center aisle in the grocery store, they contain the most processed foods
  10. You will want some staples to help you with many of the meals (likely o the list you create from pinterest): Organic or raw honey, Pure maple syrup, mustard, dijon mustard, olive oil, coconut oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, old fashioned oats (they will be your best friend).

Typically, I shop at BJs for my meats, olive oil, sea salt, pepper corns, canned tomatoes, frozen fruits (for my shakes), some frozen vegetables, yogurt, and sometimes other fruits and vegetables. Then I get the rest of my produce, eggs, milk, cheese, frozen vegetables and other items from Kroger.

After both of my trips this week, this was my haul…

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Hopefully the chicken and ground turkey will last a couple weeks. But pretty much the rest of it will be gone.

So now the question becomes, what will I do with it??

Here is my Meal Planner for this week:

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  • Sunday- Fish Tacos (left over from tonight’s roasted parmesan crusted flounder and sautéed shrimp)
  • Monday- Turkey Burgers (my absolute favorite go-to meal and PERFECT for lunch)
  • Tuesday- Chicken Parmesan with zoodles (made with Grandma’s Tomato Sauce from Fixate, by Autumn Calabrese get your copy of this awesome cookbook here)

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  • Wednesday- Chicken (or maybe turkey) stuffed bell peppers

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  • Thursday- Tacos/Burrito bowls (grill up some chicken or brown some lean ground turkey. Add cumin, ground red pepper, a little sea salt, pepper, and taco sauce. Toppings can include corn, black beans, cheese, greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), tomatoes, avocado).
  • Friday- Tortilla pizzas. (Will be using whole wheat tortillas, olive oil, tomatoes, feta cheese, maybe some grilled chicken, grilled peppers and onions, so delicious!)

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  • Saturday- Turkey sloppy Joes

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So tomorrow, I will cook all of the basics for the meals above. Then I will grill some chicken for salads for lunch. Salads are HUGE for me. I have one every day and have been trying to use homemade dressing whenever I can that are clean and 21 day fix approved.

Jonathan had been asking for some sweet potato chips for a healthy snack. But the problem is that most found in the store are not just sweet potatoes.  However, score one for Kroger, I found some today!

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Every morning for Breakfast, I have a DELICIOUS shake.  It is definitely my favorite meal of the day!  Macon is pretty picky at this stage, so right now he typically has a waffle and some eggs or apple sauce.  I found something new for him today…

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Cookie Monster… He will be so excited!

I usually try to make some whole wheat pancake mini muffins to keep in the freezer to add variety and something homemade for Macon for breakfast.  This is a really great recipe

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And I am definitely going to be trying out some of these Banana Oat Pancakes this week for myself.

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Some of my favorite snacks are Greek yogurt (be sure to get plain) with diced apples and cinnamon, hard boiled eggs on whole wheat toast, hummus with cucumbers, mixed fruit.

I hope this gives you some ideas for how to plan and execute your clean and healthy meals!

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21 Day Fix

If you have been following along with my blog and my posts on Facebook, then you know I have been doing the 21 Day Fix since January (4th to be exact).

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I’m sure you have seen the infomercials, recipes and tips on Pinterest, and posts on Facebook but have no idea what it really entails.  So I am going to provide you with a review based on my experience so far.

21 Day Fix was created by Autumn Calabrese, celebrity trainer, bikini competitor and mom. In her cookbook, “Fixate” that she wrote to accompany the 21 Day Fix, she talks about how she managed to keep the “freshman 15” off while she was in college because she was danging non-stop. But after an injury and getting married, she started to gain weight. Then she got pregnant and knew it was going to be hard to get the weight off.  So she finally took control of the situation and looked at what she was eating throughout the pregnancy. After a C-section, she was able to lose all of the baby weight in 12 weeks and another 5 pounds more and has maintained that weight since then.Fixate_GSE_526x526_1_Book photo

I signed up for the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack (basically a month’s supply of Shakeology PLUS the 21 Day Fix for a discounted bundled price).  The 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack consists of:

  1. Seven 30 minute total body workouts which you are recommended to complete in the following order:

Mondays- “Total Body Cardio Fix. Keep your heart rate up and your  metabolism revved high long after the workout is over.”  I really love this workout, it is hard, but it really works your entire body and the 30 minutes is up before you know it. You have 4 rounds, each round has 2 exercises with 2 sets each, including surrenders, frog crunches, cross-countries, weighted jogs and more.

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Tuesdays- Upper Fix. “Targeted resistance training helps shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.” You might think that an upper body workout is not going to give you a good sweaty workout.  BUT this one does! It has 2 rounds, each round as 5 exercises with 2 sets each.  I started off using 5 pound weights for my light and 8 pounds for my heavy and could only do the modified pushups. But this week I graduated to 10 pounds for my heavy (will try 8 for some of the lights but that is still a little hard) and can now do some of my pushups without modifiers!). Get ready for bent-over rows, pushups, forearm planks, circle crunches and more.

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Wednesdays- Lower Fix. “Firm and tone your entire lower body while you blast fat and burn calories.”  I sweat more during this workout than most of the others!  There are 4 rounds, each round has 2 exercises with 2 sets each. Get ready for some 10 second holds that will leave your legs burning and shaking. As Autumn says, “Shake now so you won’t shake later!” And there is a bonus extra round of one exercise that will have your buns on fire! Squats with leg lifts, sumo squats, split squats, side lunges, and curtsy lunges, oh my! Oh- and a “fire hydrant” bonus move!

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Thursdays- Pilates Fix. “Strengthen your core, elongate your muscles, and firm your hips and thighs.” This is one of the active recovery days that incorporates breathing, stretching, and core strengthening. By day 4 of my first round of the fix, I was so sore I thought I didn’t need to do this little pilates video.  But I did it anyway.  It was HARD! But the next morning, I woke up and could move so much better than the day before and could tell I definitely needed that ACTIVE recovery.

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Fridays- Cardio Fix. “Get your heart pumping and your body moving as you melt away the pounds.” I kind of hate this one. But I love it too. It is 4 rounds, 2 exercises each round with 2 sets each, plus a bonus round. It includes the dreaded burpees….”Not always fun, but they’ll get you to your goals.”

Saturdays- Dirty 30. “4 rounds of fat-burning exercises help carve out a leaner, stronger physique.” (This is considered a bonus workout, but is part of the package at this time.) I actually LOVE this one- full of side lunges, renegade rows, sumo row, tricep kickback (and more).

Sundays- Yoga Fix. “Improve your balance, flexibility, and strength as you help relax your muscles.” This is another active recovery day and is the perfect ending after a very intense week! This is not a vinyasa or “cardio” intense workout but more of an active stretch and really works out all the kinks you have worked up over the week.

Bonus- Ab Fix- a 10 minute workout targeting your core.

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*Total Body Cardio, Upper Fix, Lower Fix and Dirty 30 all require dumbbells or resistance bands. You will also want some type of yoga mat for some of the floor exercises. There is typically a 15-30 second break between each set.

*All of the workouts include multiple modifications for the different exercises. USE them when you need them, decrease or get rid of your weights as needed. But if it feels too easy, then it probably is and you should give it a try with weights, heavier weights, or without modifiers. “It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger!”

2. The 21 Day Fix Eating Plan

This is a simple Eating Plan that shows you how to learn portion control eating delicious healthy foods. You do not have to weigh, measure or count calories. If it fits in the container, you eat it!

There are 7 color coded containers 1 Green- veggies, 1 Red- lean proteins, 1- Purple- Fruits, 1- Blue- healthy fats, 2- Orange- Dressings/nuts, 1- Yellow- Carbs. And you use your own teaspoon.  First, you figure out what your calorie bracket is. That tells you how many containers of each color you get. Second, you determine what goes in the containers.

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3. Extras

You will also get a 3 Day Quick Fix (Get beach-ready in 72 hours!); 24/7 online support; and your results are guaranteed- OR your money back.

4. Shakeology

Shakeology for me has been the KEY!  It is dense superfood nutrition that is equivalent to eating 6 salads.  A lot of people think it is a proven shake. Yes- it has protein, BUT it is just so much more.  “There are 13 vitamins that are considered essential for proper body function. Shakeology has them all!”  Some people just add water to the scoop of shakeology and shake it up. I LOVE to add water, ice, and some frozen fruit and fix myself a little dessert shake for BREAKFAST- everyday!

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My Results

After my first round, I lost 5.3 pounds! But my biggest changes were NoT not he scale. I lost a total of 11.75 inches, began sleeping better, having more energy throughout the day, reduced cravings, and better digestion.  My second round included some Valentine’s and Birthday treats so I only lost another 1.2 pounds. BUT, I lost another 3 1/4 inches! I’m now down to the size I was when I got married! (Some of the smallest ones are a little too tight still- but that is more from the left over baby belly that I am still working on).

I am currently working through round 3 and am so amazed at the continued progress and transformation I am seeing. Like today…

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This was in the break room when I went to fill up my giant 24 oz cup of water. I thought about getting just ONE little piece of chocolate candy. Then I decided I would get ONE little starburst.  But then I decided- NO, you came in here to get water to go to the gym and kick some butt doing Lower Fix, so go do it and do not eat that candy.  AND I DIDN’T.

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2 years ago on my birthday

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Just before Christmas last year (and a few weeks before I started this journey)

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This year on my birthday.

Did you know it takes about 21 days to form a habit?  That is one of the premises behind 21 Day Fix.  I am 1/3 of the way through my third round and I have made this a lifestyle. It is not a diet for me.  There are still plenty of things to work on, goals that I want to achieve. But, I am taking them one day at time and know that I have the tools, support and motivation that I need to achieve my goals and maintain this lifestyle! I am planning to try the 21 Day Fix Extreme or Cize for my workouts next, but I LOVE knowing that I can use the meal plan, portion control and shakeology to help me achieve and maintain my goals!

I have Challenge Groups running every month to help you AND I reach our goals and be accountable for our progress.  I would LOVE to have you join me in my next Challenge.  Email me at maconsmommy@gmail.com for more information!

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Core of Support

When was the last time you did a new workout that incorporated a lot of moves targeted at your core? And after you did that workout, did you notice how hard it was to do everyday tasks for a couple of days? Like move to sit down, or move to stand up, or pick up your child.

In the “Armor of God” Bible Study, Priscilla Shirer compares our physical core support to our spiritual core support.

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We all know our physical core is those muscles in our midsection (can I hear 6 pack?!) and mid-back.  (For more information on your core, click here http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/do-you-know-what-your-core-really-is-and-what-it-does)

We can usually tell when someone has pore physical core support- they may have poor posture with slumping shoulders, are more likely to be injured when lifting heavy object or during strenuous activity and may buckle under pressure, and tire more easily and do not have the strength to press on.

But what is our spiritual core?  As I mentioned in previous posts , our spiritual core is God’s Truth.  As Priscilla points out, we can tell when someone has a weak spiritual core because they have poor posture, are injury prone and have body fatigue.

“The serpent was the shrewedest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made.  One day he asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?’ ;Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,’ the woman replied. ‘It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat.’ God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’ ‘You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’  The woman was convinced. she saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too.” Genesis 3:1-6

God had told Adam NOT to eat from the fruit of that particular tree or he would die.  The serpent (ENEMY) basically told Eve that God was lying and she wouldn’t die if she ate the the fruit.  She was sagging in her core support, she ate the fruit, and the rest is history.

Now think about how much damage someone’s words or actions can wreak on our lives at times and those words often come from a place of anger. Priscilla notes that the enemy often uses anger to infiltrate our lives.  Ephesians 4:26-27 “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” But are the words spoken in anger they aren’t really based on truth but on the misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the facts. We then let those words and actions cripple us in many ways. It is all we can think about, we dwell on it, we go to sleep angry and wake up even angrier.

What about body fatigue? When we do not have a strong core, all of our movements are much more labored, more difficult, more draining. Exhausting. The same goes for our spiritual core. “When the core isn’t well supported, its unable to supply the level of strength you need for other body movements” But “when you’re standing firmly on the truth of God as revealed in His Word- when His truth is at the core of your existence- strength flows into every other area of your life.” (Armor of God, Priscilla Shirer)

Taking it a little further, we should look at the other purposes of the core.

Most of us remember studying ancient Greece and Rome in our high school and college history classes.  Our books may have even had a picture something like this.

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But did you ever really pay attention to all of the armor the soldiers wore to protect themselves in battle?  This was long before gun power, machinery, tanks, and all of the other war power we have now.

Two of the most important pieces of the Roman Legionary’s uniform was the belt and the breastplate. The belt (or girdle, apron- lots of terms) was used to give additional support and strength to his core and was used to hold is sword, dagger and other pieces of armor. The breast plate connected to the girdle and was used to protect his heart and other vital organs.

We still see use for these supportive belts today. Think about all those factory workers, UPS drivers, and other manual laborers such as contractors and even our soldiers and police officers, who wear a big belt to help them during the day. It is used to reduce back pain, help hold other items they need (package scanner, hammer, weapon). What about those pregnancy support belts?? I know I had to wear one when my belly got huge!IMG_2752

Thing about how important the belt truly was for the Roman Legionary (strengthening his support and helping him to carry other weapons and armor). Without the belt, the soldier would not be able to carry all of his armor and protection and would be more at risk for injury or death during battle.

Now….what about our God’s belt of truth.  Without it, we will have difficulty maintaining the other spiritual armor and be susceptible for attack by the enemy.  Priscilla is able to summarize it much more succinctly than I could ever strive for:

“Without the belt of truth, you’re left with the burdensome responsibility         of carrying the full weight of your own “breastplate”- your own “righteousness….Instead of God making you acceptable in His sight through the sacrifice of His Son, you’re responsible for somehow proving yourself spotless and perfect in His sight… God’s Word- truth- reveals that righteousness has been given to you through faith in Christ as a free gift, freeing you from living with the weight of all that sin on your shoulders.”

And when we know the truth, we can be set free! (John 8:32).

So I don’t know about you, but I want to be free! I want God’s Truth- His word and all the promises to be etched into my heart. I want to have that truth so tight around my core that it will hold me up, guide me, and protect me, allowing me to put on the other spiritual armor (Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, the Word of God, all of which are ignited with Prayer) to fight the enemy. I want to be secure and protected against the enemy, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God has a plan for me, that He loves me, that I was made in his image. I want to be so unbelievably grounded in that truth that I can’t help but shout God’s praises and tell people about the good news of the gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ!

I’m so grateful for Priscilla Shirer and her teachings that allow me to gain a better and deeper understanding of those truths.

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. (He gave his son for me, that is the least I can do strive towards).

And while I continue strengthening my spiritual core, I will also try work on my physical core…..

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One Day at a Time

As a child I was involved in dance and I LOVED it.  But when I was 13 I quit because I wasn’t from the same town as the other girls and they didn’t like me…Looking back now, I was bullied out of doing something I love.  I quit. And I was not raised to be a quitter.  When I was 16 I was a cheerleader. I wore a size 5 in juniors. And I thought of myself as overweight.  I did not exercise- except for practice once a week and games.

By the time I was in college, exercise was a faint memory. I did take the required PE class (for my liberal arts education). It was a step aerobics class, and I enjoyed it.  But….it was only once a week.  I went to school in a beautiful small town right along a one way road divided by a railroad track, a multimillion dollar gym and fitness center for students, and a beautiful campus. But I never took advantage of it. My senior year I took a walking class to complete my liberal arts education. But…. that was also once a week.

After three years of college and all of the omelets, french toast, burgers, fries, smoothies, candy, etc. that I could handle, little to no exercising and I had gained at least 15 pounds. THEN came the whopper.  I started law school.  Who has time to exercise in law school??? I didn’t.  I had just enough time to go to class, have friends, study, and relax. Exercise? yeah right! Don’t get me wrong, I joined the gym once, for about a week, I tried to run, but it hurt my feet too much, I did pilates, once in a blue moon. By the end of my second year in law school I had gotten to my heaviest weight.  After a friend’s wedding photos were developed and I saw how large I had gotten, I realized it was time for a change.

 

IMG_2675             High school cheerleader  to college freshman to first year law student

So I joined weight watchers. I lost 25 pounds. I learned to eat healthier. I graduated from law school. I started my own law firm. Exercise was STILL not a part of my life. I gained about 8-10 pounds back. So I joined Jenny Craig. I actually started exercising. I lost 30 pounds and finally reached what I felt was a healthy goal weight and was about the same size as I was when I graduated high school. I even became a runner, with encouragement from my (almost) husband.

I thought I had it all figured out. Whole wheat bread. More fruits. More vegetables. Lower calories, fat free, reduced sugar, more exercise…

Then I got married, started eating out more, and gained 15 pounds again. THEN I got pregnant, gained another 47 pounds while pregnant. By the time Macon was born, I was so miserably uncomfortable that I took the last week off work before my due date. I didn’t do much exercise when I was pregnant because I was just so scared that I would hurt my baby.  I had a miscarriage about 6 months before getting pregnant with Macon and I was just so scared all the time.  Looking back now, I realize that not exercising was much more dangerous to Macon than doing pregnancy safe exercises.

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Learning to balance a full time job with being a wife and mother and all the responsibilities that go along with that was a long process.  I lost a good amount of weight just from nursing. But I wasn’t healthy and my body wasn’t strong.  In January 2015, I finally started exercising again. I ran, did the elliptical, different workout videos, watched my calories and lost 10 pounds. Then I would gain 3, lose 5, gain 5, lose 2. That went on for a YEAR!

So this January I decided it was time to really make a change for the rest of my life. I joined a 21 day Fix Challenge Group. I knew it would cost some money to buy Shakeology and the exercise program. But I saw it as an investment in my health. I wanted to be healthy to live out God’s plan for my life and my mission field (primarily in raising my son).  I have lost 6.5 pound so far.  Its not a HUGE number.

BUT for me the biggest changes have been the 3.5 inches I have lost at my belly button. The 3 inches in my waist. The 3 inches above my chest. I sleep better. I ache less. I have much more energy. I do not have the cravings that I used to have. I know so much more about what I am putting in my body because I prepare 99.9% of it myself. I read the labels and understand more about what I am reading. I exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least 6 days a week. And I love it. (Sure, the first week I was so sore it hurt to stand up, but it got better, because I got stronger!). I have had some cookies and cupcakes on special occasions, and a couple dinners out. I am still trying to lose at least 9 more pounds. But I am living life with the intention of being the healthiest me that I can be.  I became a Beach Body coach so that I would be accountable to others to continue with my health and fitness goals.

I am learning to take everything day by day. One. Day. At. A. Time!

I know that the enemy is trying to attack me and bring me down, make me revert to bad behaviors, make me decide that I don’t need to exercise, that I can have that pasta and cake and cookies everyday. But I know that when I ask God to give me the courage, support, and strength to avoid those temptations, to do everything in moderation, that He will allow me to be successful as I do everything for His Glory!

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