getting fit in 2017

2016 is almost over! Just a couple more days and then it will be the new year! A fresh start and all of the exciting energy that goes along with that! Have you set your goals for 2017 yet?

Every year, many people make the New Years resolution to “get fit!” which is great. Sadly, many of them won’t still be working on them one month later. Most resolutions get abandoned pretty quickly after the high from the increased motivation fades. So what can you do to make 2017 an even better year for you and your fitness?

Want to set and actually achieve your goals for 2017?! I use these 5 steps when setting all of my goals and it helps so much! Want to join me in making 2017 the year for improving your fitness!?

Getting Fit in 2017

Get Specific

The last thing you want to do is make a resolution to “get fit.” Goals like that are impossible to tell if you have achieved them and it’s hard to stay motivated when you are working towards something so vague. Instead, think about what you really want to get out of your goals and your “why.”

Do you want to lose 50 lbs? Be able to do a pull-up? Run 5 miles? These are all goals that you can specify and actually say “yes, I achieved that!” It’s also much easier to determine the steps that you need to take to reach that goal when you have a clear goal in mind.

Your “Why”

As I said above, your “why” is so important to achieving your fitness goals. It can be simple or complex, and it doesn’t have to be just one reason. What it does need to be is true to you. My why? To be able to be physically active with my future kids! That is my biggest one, but I do have others too 🙂 So really dig in and think about why you want to get fit and what exactly getting fit means to you!

Set Smaller Milestones

Let’s say that you want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the year. Smaller milestones would be the stepping stones to get you to that goal. Maybe you could set one to complete a 5k training program by July. Another to compete in a 5k. And another to hit 4 miles. These give you things to celebrate and achieve along the way. A year can seem like a long time and your focus can shift away from your annual goal pretty easily during that time period.

Be Realistic

Pushing yourself on your goals is great. You should push yourself! But you want to set goals that are reasonable too. You probably would not want to be 70 lbs overweight and not having worked out recently and setting a goal to complete an Ironman in 2017. Push yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

Check in Regularly

Set dates throughout the year that you can check in with your goal progress. These can be anything from weekly to every couple of months, though I wouldn’t make them any less than that. Have your goals written out somewhere that is easy to see or access to make it even simpler! The key is that you want to keep your goals fresh in your mind and regularly being evaluating how well you are doing working towards them.

Will you be joining me in getting fit for in 2017?! I have already set my fitness goal for the year: to be able to do a full body-weight chin-up! What is your goal going to be? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

sunday meal prep 12/25/16

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely holiday weekend and spending plenty of time with family. Draz is with his family right now and our Christmas with my family is next weekend 🙂
Due to the holidays along with having some extra food on hand, I have a super small meal prep today…possibly one of my smallest ever! But with it being Christmas and all, I think that works out just fine 🙂 You can do this prep in under 2 hours and get back to spending time with your family. If you are doing just the ONE main dish, it will probably take you less than 30 minutes!!

small-meal-prep

This week I made our salads, my grapes with cheese snack, some protein balls for Draz and this new Beef Stew recipe. This one had a mixed reaction with us. Draz wasn’t too fond of it. I thought it was okay taste-wise, but a lot thinner than I would have preferred. It was much more a soup than a stew. Maybe if I had mashed up some of the potatoes after cooking or added some cornstarch?

But honestly, I don’t think it would have thickened up as much as I wanted either way. I did eat it this week and did enjoy it, but I think we will be sticking with a couple other of our go-to beef stew recipes in the future. If you end up trying this one and find it to your liking I would love to hear about it! Especially if you manage to get it to thicken up to more of a stew-like consistency!

That’s it for me this week! I hope you continue to have a lovely holiday weekend and I will be back on Thursday with a new post!

2016 in review and my goals for 2017

I can’t believe that 2016 is almost over. In many ways, this year has just flown past. In others, I look back and can’t believe how much has changed in just one year!

How I did on my goals for 2016 and what I plan to achieve for 2017! Push yourself and set S.M.A.R.T. goals!

My 2016 has been a whirlwind of changes. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Launched my Etsy store!
  • Blogged (mostly) consistently for the whole year.
  • Got a job at the YMCA as a group fitness instructor! (I definitely didn’t see that one coming at the beginning of the year!)
  • Along with that, I really embraced my passion for fitness, turning it from something I try to do to something I love doing!
  • Draz and I got 3 pet rats and they are adorable. So we now have 2 dogs and 3 rats 🙂

Before I get into my goals and plans for 2017, here is how I did on my goals for this year:

Personal

  1. Keep my workouts at an average of 5-6 days a week.DONE! Excluding when I was injured or ill, most weeks I worked out at least 5 days a week, especially over the last half of the year!
  2. Take 1 exercise classDONE! As I said above, loving my classes at my gym!
  3. Take 1 class for building a new skill, like metalworking, painting, or wire wrapping. – Nope. I wish I had, but that just didn’t work out the way I hoped.
  4. Start and/or complete 1/3 of my Day Zero project – Nope. I did make progress and have a lot that are in the planning stage, but I did not finish 1/3 of my project. I am close 1/4 either started or completed though!

Blog and Business

  1. Average 3 posts a week on the blog – Nope. And I’m actually pretty happy about this. I decided that quality wins over quantity in this case and am happily blogging twice a week right now.
  2. Learn how to use 1 new platform or social media site –  DONE – Check out my Pinterest here and I’ve been stepping up my Twitter game too!
  3. Have at least one guest post on the blogDONE
  4. Launch my jewelry business and make first sale – DONE! I have launched and made 24 sales now! It’s a slow start, but I have high hopes for next year!

So that is a brief overview of how my 2016 went. I wish that I could convey just how much I have changed and grown this year….there are so many things happening that I never imagined or hoped for! This year has really helped me discover some of what I hope the rest of my life will include 🙂

Now, on to 2017!!!

I love setting annual goals, but there are some things to keep in mind. For goals to really work for you, they must be S.M.A.R.T! Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timely.

This is one of my favorite acronyms. It is so true! If you design your goals with this in mind, you will be so much more likely to succeed!

Personal Goals:

  1. Get certified in at least 3 different fitness classes.
  2. Complete a chin-up

Business Goals:

  1. Sell 240+ pieces
  2. Sell at 6+ craft markets (along with 2 weekly farmers’ markets)
  3. Buy my own kiln.

Blog Goals:

  1. Have at least 5 guest posts on my blog.
  2. Write at least 5 guest posts for others.
  3. Finish and release my Meal Prep E-book!
  4. Collaborate with one company for a post, giveaway or in some other way.

So those are my goals for this coming year! I will be checking in on how I’m doing on these on a regular basis! I will probably also post a few updates this year so you can see how I’m doing and be reminded to check in on your own goals too!

Have you set your goals for 2017? I would love to hear about them, so please share a few in the comments below!

sunday meal prep 12/18/16

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?!? I can’t! With 2 weeks left in the year I’m sure many of us are thinking about 2017 and what we hope to achieve. For many of us there are some health and wellness goals in there somewhere…I know I have some! (More on that in an upcoming post!) And one of the practices that I believe has made the biggest difference to my health is meal prep! I know that with my busy schedule eating healthy wouldn’t happen nearly as much if I had to prepare it daily. And I’m sure you have your own busy schedules to contend with! So as this year comes to a close, don’t forget to either start or keep up with this healthy practice! It will make your week so much easier, just like it has mine!

This week I kept things pretty simple with our meal prep: A few of our favorite dishes and a LOT of healthy snack options! Enjoy!

With meal prep you can eat healthy all week and still have time for the things you love! And now you can download this grocery list to make things even easier! Tracking macros? You can now see the macros for everything in this week's meal prep!

Both Draz and I were running low on our favorite protein balls, so this week I made both! I have been having a couple a day right now and loving it! I usually have them right after I get home, before I head to the gym. They give me that little boost before my workout, plus I hate training when I’m hungry!

Mason jar salads help us to have a healthy lunch and having healthy snacks on hand helps keep our eating on track!

Along with those, I made up some of our favorite treats: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins and Sweet Potato Banana Bites! Now, since I started doing If It Fits Your Macros, I’ve had to take a hard look at the foods I’m eating, especially the more “treat” type ones. Thankfully having 2-3 Sweet Potato Banana Bites usually falls well within my macros! The muffins are a bit harder to have and still fit in, but I did end up having one 🙂

Mason jar salads for lunch and healthy snacks on hand!

I did make one small change to our salads this week…a new dressing! I realize this might not sound like much of a change, but trust me, it was! When I was grabbing our regular Classic Ranch dressing off the shelf, I happened to see this Creamy Garlic one! Not only is it a bit lower in calories, it is super tasty! I’m sure we will still use the ranch one regularly, but this one will definitely be used again!

For our main dishes, I stuck with a few favorites: Slow Cooker Mongolian ChickenChicken Fajita Pasta and Spanish Chicken. Everything turned out delicious! In an effort to lower the carbs, I made some more cauliflower rice too. I learned a couple things this time around! One being that I really should put it in the food processor in small batches or it gets overly processed!

Mongolian Chicken, Spanish Chicken and Chicken Fajita Pasta to help us eat tasty, healthy food all week long!

For the Mongolian Chicken, I added in some raw broccoli in the last 30 minutes of cooking in the slow cooker, at the same time that you add in the rest of the sauce. It worked great! I did also make one change to the Chicken Fajita Pasta too: I used a chickpea pasta by Pasta Lensi. I think it turned out really well, though I might try it with the lentil pasta next time and see how that turns out.

chicken-and-rice-casserole-dish
Spanish Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
chicken-and-rice-casserole-dish
Spanish Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 people 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 35-40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil for 2-3 min on each side. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the onion, green bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in tomatoes, water, rice, chicken base, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  2. Pour into a greased 11x7 in baking dish; top with chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Uncover; pour salsa over chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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Mongolian Chicken, Spanish Chicken and Chicken Fajita Pasta to help us eat tasty, healthy food all week long!

This week’s macros breakdown (according to MyFitnessPal):

macros-dec-18

Want to make this menu for yourself? Now you can download your own grocery list to get you started!

I think this week’s food turned out wonderful. What did you make for your meal prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

ditching the diet mentality (+ 6 tips to help you do it!)

The diet mentality is something that we see all around us every day. The magazines at the checkout stand with headlines like “Lose 10 lbs in a week with _____ diet!” and “___ lost 50 lbs fast with _____ diet!!” It seems like there is always a new hot diet that is just the perfect fix to help you lose all the weight and you don’t even have to work out! We are inundated with these messages, so it’s no wonder that many of us have an unhealthy relationship with the word “diet.”

Ditching the diet mentality can be hard, but you can do it! These 6 tips helped me to develop a lifestyle that included healthy eating instead of "going on a diet"!

First appearing in the 13th century, the word diet is defined as “food or drink regularly provided or consumed” (Merriam-Webster). But that is not the way that many of us think of that word now. Instead, when we hear the word diet, we think of whatever fad diet has hit the shelves lately or cycles of restrictive eating. For many of us, this word may even bring on stress, anxiety or guilt. I know it did for me.

In my late teens up to my mid-20s, that was me. I would try a restrictive diet, only to fall off the wagon shortly after, binge, and then feel guilty….which would end up with me binging more. The only “diet” that I had much success with was calorie counting. But because I didn’t really have an understanding of what I was doing, it was overly restrictive and stressful. I was miserable and very hungry, all the time. I did lose some weight, but in the end the high level of restriction was too much for me and I stopped, gaining all the weight back plus some extra!

Does this story sound familiar? I imagine it does, because I know many others that have been through the exact same thing. Many people cycle through periods of restrictive dieting for years with these results. They feel the guilt, shame and stress of “failing” at their diet, of not being able to lose the weight and keep it off. Much of this, to me, seems to stem from how we view our diets.

In today’s diet mentality, diets are temporary. They are viewed as the quick fix or magic pill for weight loss. The diet industry is a billion dollar industry for a reason. People will go on a diet to “lose the weight” but for many, that is as far ahead as they think about it. So the diet works (for the moment), they lose the weight, stop the diet because they have succeeded at their goal, and then they gain the weight back.

And that is even if they get to the point of losing the weight to begin with! If they don’t lose the weight quickly, they inevitably become frustrated with the diet “not working” and being too restrictive and they give up. Either way, it’s unhealthy, both physically and mentally. It promotes disordered eating habits and in many cases, associates negative emotions with food. This was something I struggled with a lot in my younger years.

Even now I still sometimes struggle with guilt and stress about eating healthy. It’s better than it was, but it’s still present sometimes. The difference is that I now recognize it and I don’t let it throw me off track anymore. Yes, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten quite as much of that treat as I did. But I did, and now I’m going to go back to eating like I normally do. One unhealthy meal does not you have failed.

So what do I do differently now? Well, for one, I don’t view myself as on a diet. I do watch what I eat, and I don’t just eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I work to make smart choices and to find healthy alternatives to unhealthy foods. But I also have a cheat meal each week (gotta have some pizza!) and I still eat foods I love. But to me, it’s not a diet in the modern use of the word. It’s a lifestyle. It’s just how I eat. And that change in perspective has helped me a lot when it comes to staying on track and eating healthy for over a year now.

Healthy eating as a lifestyle takes work and practice, along with a healthy dose of understanding towards yourself. I spend time every week planning out my meal plan and making my meal prep. And now I’m actually adding to that and starting to track my macros and planning my meal preps accordingly. (More on If It Fits Your Macros, or IIFYM, later on!)

So what can you do to shift away from the diet mentality and start looking at healthy eating as a lifestyle?

6 Tips to Ditching the Diet Mentality

  • Make it sustainable. Along with being unsustainable long-term, heavy calorie restriction and cutting out foods entirely can be unhealthy in many cases. Restricting your calorie intake too much can wreak havoc with your metabolism. And cutting out foods you love is not going to work for the rest of your life!
  • Don’t forget to have fun! You aren’t “on a diet,” which means that you can still go out with friends for drinks or dinner or have that treat if you want to. And it’s fine to enjoy the food at a family gathering for the holidays! Just make smart choices about it and remember that you probably don’t want to be doing that every day.
  • Moderation is key. Love Reese’s? (Can you tell that I do!?) You can still have them! Just moderate how much of them you have and how often. Whatever your favorite treat or food is, you can still have it, just in moderation.
  • Plan. Planning is key to success for me. It is very hard to eat healthy on a busy schedule when you haven’t planned for it! There are too many quick and easy options out there that are unhealthy, like fast food.
  • Have cheat meals. Okay, I actually dislike this term, but it is the easiest term for it. You can plan for unhealthy or “cheat” meals during your week. I have one a week. And even if you have one that isn’t planned for, remember that it doesn’t mean you failed! You can’t fail at this….you will be doing it for the rest of your life! One meal or even a week of meals isn’t going to be that big of a deal in the long run. Just start eating healthy again! (And you don’t need to wait for a Monday to start either 🙂 )
  • Food is not a reward. This is one of the most important shifts for me. When I was still back in the diet mentality, food was a reward. If I did well on my diet for a while, I deserved a treat! This is not a healthy attitude to have any more than the guilt was. Yes I love my treats and I do still have them. But it is because I want one, not because I did something to deserve it. Instead, I reward myself in other ways with non-food things, like workout gear!

Eating healthy as a lifestyle takes some time and work to establish, but it is well worth it in the end! And I can promise you, it is less stressful and guilt-inducing than any diet I ever tried!

How do you view the word “diet”? Have you had positive or negative experiences with a diet? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

sunday meal prep 12/11/16

Hey everyone! It’s time for this week’s meal prep! I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season. I know how hard it can be to balance all of the things that the holidays entail…extra family gatherings, more cooking, less available time. This is where meal prep can come in to help! In this week’s meal prep, I’m not only prepping food for this week. I also made up a bit extra for the freezer as well, to help when things get really busy.

Enjoy!

Use meal prep to help deal with your busy schedule and eat healthier!

Our snacks and salads were pretty much the regular line-up this week. Grapes with cheddar and my current favorite protein balls were the highlight and our salads turned out great! Not pictured, I also made an extra batch of our breakfast burritos to make sure we have plenty in the freezer….we now have almost a month’s worth!

mason-jar-salads-healthy-snacks

For the main dishes this week, I stuck mostly to simple ones I know we enjoy! Some Baked Beef Chimichangas (or in our case turkey), Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Almonds and a relatively new Slow Cooker Red Pepper Chicken Chili were our repeat recipes for the week. Our new dish: Easy Chicken Fajitas, paired with Cauliflower Rice!

Baked-Turkey-Chimichangas-Chicken-Fajitas

I have been working hard lately to try to make things a bit healthier in my diet lately, so that inspired a change up for both my chimichangas and the fajitas! I ended up using FlatOuts wraps on a portion of the chimichangas just for me and those are what I used for my fajitas too. It worked out great! They are a bit pricier than most regular tortillas, but they are quite a bit healthier and, in my opinion, worth the cost.

Baked-Turkey-Chimichangas-Chicken-Fajitas-Cauliflower-Rice

For the chimichangas, I do make them slightly different: I don’t brush them with butter or anything else. I just bake them for 5 min, sprinkle a little cheese on them and then bake them a couple minutes more. I also use a slightly larger package of ground turkey (1.25 lbs), because that is what is usually available for me. So this recipe makes a bit more for me than it says it will in the original.

This was my second or third attempt at making cauliflower rice and I think it turned out pretty good! I didn’t use a specific recipe this time around. I chopped up some cauliflower, tossed it in the food processor and then stir-fried it in a large skillet, seasoning it with a little bit of fajita seasoning towards the end. Still needs some work, but was a pretty good alternative to regular rice!

Red-Pepper-Chicken-Chili-Sesame-Noodles-Broccoli

The Sesame Noodles and the Chicken Chili were both delicious and perfect as pretty quick recipes for the meal prep. This chili may be my new favorite overall…healthy and tasty!

You may end up seeing some changes coming up soon on my meal prep posts. Nothing major, but I have been changing things up with my diet and our meal prep will be a bit along with it. As of last week I started tracking macros! A good friend of mine who is also a personal trainer set them for me and I can’t wait to see how this helps me work towards my fitness goals! (You can learn more about her here!)

I do plan on writing more about that and sharing my progress on here, but for now I’m still learning and figuring things out. So for now, I am going to start including a basic chart with the macro breakdown for each of the foods that I cooked that week! So for this week, here is the macro breakdown:
Dec-11-Macros

Want to follow along with your own meal prep? Get your grocery list for this week’s main dishes here!

Do you track macros along with you meal prep? Or maybe use some other method to eat healthy? I would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

sunday meal prep 12/4/16

Hey everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday week! Ours was pretty good, but nothing too exciting. Draz and I both worked over the holidays, so it didn’t really change much of our schedule or daily routine. I did decide to take a bit of a break from the blog last week due to the holidays.

But I’m back now and I’m super excited to be sharing this meal prep with you! Especially with the holiday season upon us, I find meal prep more important than ever! Our schedules get full with holiday events, family gatherings and more….it’s so worth the peace of mind to spend a bit of time each week on a meal prep for the coming week.

Enjoy!

Use meal prep to save you money, make you week easier and eat healthier! Plus now you can use my free downloadable grocery list to get you started and make things even easier!

For our snacks this week I tried a new energy ball recipe! I like these Funky Monkey Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls quite a bit! Draz thought they were okay, but I don’t think anything is going to replace his favorite Cookie Dough Protein Balls!

Healthy lunches and snacks help you stay on track during the week!

Other than those, everything was pretty standard. Our salads are still staying close to the same each week. I made a batch of our favorite Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins, some of which were eaten before I could even take the picture!

Having a variety of healthy main dishes to choose from lets you meal prep without getting bored!

On to the main dishes! We tried one new recipe this week for the main dishes: Chicken Broccoli Alfredo. This looked so good that we ended up each having a serving of it right after it finished cooking! Draz and I both really liked this one and will definitely be making at again. I did make a couple substitutions:

  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil instead of butter and olive oil
  • unsweetened plain almond milk instead of milk
  • evaporated milk instead of heavy cream

The other main dishes in this picture are Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup and Easy Chickpea & Potato Curry. Both of these turned out great! The soup smelled (and tasted) wonderful and I’m kinda obsessed with this curry right now. Not only is it pretty simple to make, it’s super inexpensive too!

You can make dishes for meal prep that are healthy and tasty, like this Cajun Chicken and Rice!

I also made 1 Pot Spicy Cajun Chicken & Rice and Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce. The chicken and rice recipe is so good and pretty quick to make! It turned out so flavorful! I did make one substitution: I used instant brown rice instead of white rice. I did end up simmering it a bit longer than the recipe calls for to evaporate a little more of the liquid too.

Crockpot-Meatballs-and-pasta
Slow Cooker Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce
Print Recipe
An easy meal to throw into the slow cooker, this dish is delicious with minimal work!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Crockpot-Meatballs-and-pasta
Slow Cooker Meatballs in Burgundy Sauce
Print Recipe
An easy meal to throw into the slow cooker, this dish is delicious with minimal work!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 5-10 min
Cook Time
10 hrs
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except noodles, cornstarch and 2 tbsp water) in slow cooker. Stir to blend. Cook on low for 10 hrs or high for 5 hrs.
  2. If desired, thicken sauce when cooked: Remove 3-4 cups of sauce from slow cooker. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp cold water. Then add mixture to sauce and simmer on medium-low heat until sauce is thickened. Return to slow cooker and mix well.
  3. Serve with noodles.
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Want to make this for your own meal prep? Get your free downloadable grocery list here!

That’s it for this week! Did you meal prep over the holiday week? What are you making for your prep this week? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!