When Meal Prep Doesn’t Work Out (and an Announcement)

Hey everyone! It’s been a while! And that fact is where the announcement comes in – I might be missing posts a little more often right now. I do love sharing my life with you all! My meal preps, fitness tips and so much more.

But part of taking care of yourself is working to find balance. And lately, well, my life has been pretty out of balance. I’m hard at work on my jewelry business and trying to build more of a career in fitness. Along with that, I’m still working overnights at my “regular” job and trying to maintain some time with Draz as well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave me nearly as much time for the blog as I would like.

I am going to try to still put out 2 posts a week, but I’m going to ask that you bear with me while I try to figure out my new schedule and responsibilities! Hopefully at some point I will be able to leave my overnights job and have a little more time available.

Now on to the second part of this post – the downside of weekly meal prep!

You all know that I absolutely love my meal prep. It helps me set up for success each week, save money and have more time! I’m able to plan well to hit my macros, feel full every day and keep my stress level down while I deal with my busy life. But there are some downsides as well. One big one is when your meal prep doesn’t go the way you hoped it would!

That is just what happened this week. Sometimes I will have one recipe I’m not thrilled with. This week I had the bad luck of all 3 recipes not turning out well! Add on to this that I didn’t check the macros before planning and so my carbs were over every day. And I didn’t make enough food for the week. So all in all, not a great week for food at our house!

But this is one of the risks when doing meal prep. There might be the occasion when you don’t like anything you cooked. Now, of course, this can happen any given week that you cook, even if you aren’t prepping. But there is something discouraging about knowing that all of your food is ready for the week and you don’t like any of it!

This is one of the reasons I encourage people to only test 1-2 new recipes any given week. This is usually a rule I stick to myself as well, for just this reason. That way, if something doesn’t turn out well, you have other options that you do like! It won’t save you from eating the dish you don’t like, but at least it’s not for every meal haha.

So, no recipes to share with you this week, because I’m not going to subject you to that! Instead, a reminder to try to pace yourself with new recipes. And a peak into my kitchen, showing you that even someone who meal preps every week has weeks that go wrong! It’s all part of the learning process!

Have you ever had a meal prep not go well? How did you deal with it?

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Finding Fitness: Di from Work Out With Di

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to bring you this month’s Finding Fitness interview! Di is so open and honest, and with over 20 years in the fitness industry, she has a lot of knowledge to share! Enjoy!

Looking for some inspiration and guidance on your health and fitness journey? Then Di has you covered! Come check out my interview with Di for some new inspiration, then head over to her blog to check her out as well!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Oh boy this could be a blog post in of itself.. in a nutshell: I’m a 45 year old woman living in California, though I was born and raised in England. I moved to the USA in 2001 with my husband and we became citizens 3 years ago. We have been married 18 years, no kids (more on that one later), and have one dalmatian. Fun fact: we got married in a hot air balloon! That already tells you we’re non-traditional, and have a quirky sense of humor right?

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested?

I guess it started with school. I wasn’t on any sports teams but I grew up in the 80’s in the era of Jane Fonda and fondly remember doing her workout videos in my living room with my leotard, tights and legwarmers. We had a weekly aerobics class after school and I grew to love group fitness classes. Post-school me and my BFF would go to weekly classes at the local fitness center. Just once or twice a week if it fit into our work schedule (we worked shifts).

For me it wasn’t so much a change in fitness journey but life in general. When I was 23 I got a callback after my annual well woman check. I had some ‘abnormal cells’ on my pap results. After a whirlwind of more tests, biopsies, and laser surgery I was declared “clear” but it was a ‘wake-up call’. I was in a job I hated (retail management) and they say if you find something you love to do you’ll never work another day in your life… so what did I LOVE to do? The only thing I could think of was the group fitness classes! In 1996 at 24 years old I switched careers and earned my group fitness certification and I’ve worked in fitness since.

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What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it?

When we moved to the USA in 2001 I wasn’t able to work as I didn’t have a work visa. That year was the year of the terror attacks and understandably all visa/green-card applications came to a screeching halt so it took us 7 years to get our green-cards. During that time I gained 25lbs. To say we fully embraced the standard American diet would be an understatement. That combined with moving less (I was playing World of Warcraft with friends), and being so far from family. I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to a fitness career but that possibility was there, so I set about cleaning up my diet, I started running and working out again, and dropped the 25lbs. In 2009 I started working in the fitness industry again.

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them?

I mentioned we don’t have children. One reason for that is that I have a hereditary condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease [PKD]. Cysts grow in and on your kidneys, reducing function. The chances of passing that to my children is 50% and as the condition has no cure, and the treatment is basically eventually dialysis/transplant. That’s a big risk that we weren’t prepared to take so we simply opted out of parenthood.
With the help of diet and exercise I’d been pretty healthy since my cancer scare but 3 years ago I had my first bout of symptoms due to PKD. I was actually teaching a Les Mills CXworx class and the last exercise was prone back extensions. An exercise that was so simple right? I felt “something” pushing into the floor from my abdomen. I came home and slept the rest of the day. I made an appointment with my nephrologist we ran tests. My left kidney was “growing”, as I now had more cysts, and cysts on my liver too. The enlarged kidney has continued to cause me issues and I’ve had to make significant changes. I stopped teaching CXworx, and BodyCombat. As much as I loved the classes they continued to aggravated my left kidney due to movement speed, rotation, and compression. Honestly it was all a “wake-up” call for me. I’ve seen my family members on dialysis, my mum and uncle both have transplants, and I still have an aunt and cousin needing transplants. I could continue to stress my body and cause more damage to my body… or choose to listen to it. I chose the latter. That’s when I began moving into the current era of my fitness journey.

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What achievement are you the most proud of?

I started my career in fitness in 1996 and during the last 20 years I’ve done so many forms of fitness. Spinning, running, cycling, weights, pilates, step, aqua, Zumba, Les Mills… but none bring me to the same space as Yoga. I started teaching yoga at a gym in 2010 but in 2014 I took the plunge and did my RYT200. I took my first yoga class at 13 and 30 years later I was teaching it!
Goals are progressive though, when I achieve one I take a break then start looking for others. I’ve run multiple 5k races including two dressed as Santa and the color run was fun! I’ve also run a couple of 10ks, a 1/2 marathon, all of which lead to a few duathlons, a cycling event and and in 2016 I did my first triathlon. As someone who hates swimming that was a task. I’m always the most proud of my last goal, and for me that was the triathlon. Ask me again in 5 years!

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Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey?

While I did lose 25lbs the fact that I have PKD makes this a health journey not just fitness. Health care providers always ask what blood pressure medications I take as high BP is a symptom of PKD. At 45 most people my age with PKD are on at least one medication. Usually for high blood pressure. Thanks to diet and exercise I’m still at stage 2 of the disease and I want to stay here as long as I can.

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise?

Right now I’m working towards my RYT500 for my own practice and teaching, and my e-RYT200 to become a yoga educator. I’ve been helping with the current yoga teacher trainees this year and it’s something I’ve found I have a passion for.

What does a typical training week look like?

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This has changed a LOT over the last 5 years. I used to actively instruct classes (Les Mills etc) but now since switching class formats I coach more, which leaves me more time and energy for my own workouts. I now only teach 7-10 classes a week, have private clients 4 days a week, and coach a couple of clients online.

Honestly I don’t have a “typical week”, it’s an ongoing schedule I tweak depending on my goals (last year I did a lot of cardio for the triathlon) but this is the current training week for my current goals.

Monday – Weights: Legs & Glutes,
Tuesday -Weights: Shoulders & triceps;
Wednesday -Weights: Glutes, Biceps
Thursday -Weights: Legs, glutes, back,
Friday – Weights: Shoulders & triceps Cardio: Spin Class
Saturday – Weights: Legs, glutes & chest
Sunday – Rest day, usually just walking and yoga.

Everyday – I walk my dog 3 miles in the morning, then 30 mins in the afternoon and 20 in the evening. So I get about 2 hours of walking per day. I also try to get 30 mins of yoga and meditation daily. Plus I move a fair amount in my daily life teaching and interacting with clients. I usually try and get in 2 other HIIT cardio sessions in during the week beside my weekly spin class. Due to my schedule though, this changes. Right now it’s Tuesday and Sunday as I work early Wednesdays and Thursdays. My goal is to start running with my dog again a couple of mornings a week.

What does an average day of eating look like for you?

finding-fitness-diAgain due to my schedule my work days don’t have any consistency. I find meal prepping to be so important for staying on track and would encourage anyone with shift work or lack of time to do the same. Busy days are:

Breakfast is usually a smoothie with spinach, berries, bananas, almond milk, flaxseed meal and protein powder

Lunch is something I usually made ahead of time. Usually a burritto bowl with tons of veggies, beans, salsa, guacamole

Dinner in the week we eat late. Typically we sit down to eat around 7.30-8pm. Typical meals for us include tacos, burger’n’fries, meatloaf, or our favorite: curry.

Snacks: Tofu icecream, pancakes, or dateballs are things I snack on. Depends on the day and activity level.

In case I didn’t mention it already I’m vegan. I’ve been vegan since June 2013 and I was vegetarian for 20 years prior to that. My husband is vegetarian. One of our current favorite things is a sandwich with Benevolent Bacon, tofurky roast slices, and melted daiya cheddar slice on Eureka seeds the day bread. So good and 38g protein!

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not?

If you’d asked me this 5 years ago I’d have said no. However since my PKD progressed I’m not processing some vitamins efficiently.
Currently I take: Vitamin D3 as that showed up on a nephrology bloodwork done 2 years ago (it’s processed by the kidneys); B12 (as I am vegan), and protein powders (I love plantfusion, SunWarrior and Nuzest).
For hot days, long runs, or intense cardio I also use electrolyte replacement drinks, I like Nuun, Emergen-C or as a push just regular gatorade. Dehydration is not good for my kidneys so this is something I pay close attention to!

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite?

Favorite: deadlifts, seriously I love deadlifts. I just think there is something about bad ass about deadlifts, and cleans, clean and jerk/press. Deadlifts are my favorite though.
Least: swimming. I did my first triathlon in 2016 and I did learn to like it a little more, but I’ve never once in my life just thought “you know what? let’s go swimming!”. Plus the triathlon was ocean swim, double ugh!

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking?

For me the toughest times are those times when I am low energy due to hormones. But that’s when you make results, on the bad workouts, not the everyday or the good ones. On the ones that suck. I tell myself I just have to do it for 10 minutes. If I still don’t want to after 10 minutes then I can stop. After 10 minutes I’m usually really into the workout. If I’m not, then I listen to my body and see if it’s body or mind. If the body is willing I’ll hold out for 30 minutes. If it’s the body telling me to stop, then I listen.

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout?

I’m not gonna lie, this has been a struggle for me in the past. When I first began teaching group fitness classes I was actively teaching 20-25 classes a week! It doesn’t leave a lot for your own workouts. Now I focus more on being active in the day walking the dog, gardening, etc, and when I see friends we often opt for walking/hiking to catch up. As I work in both a gym and yoga studio I get free membership at both but don’t use it nearly as much as I should. Really though it’s about making an appointment and scheduling it into your day, then making a decision to do it. You wouldn’t cancel on the dentist or doctor unless you were sick, workouts should be the same!

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What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey?

  1. Just start! Now. Not on Monday, not on the first, not when the stars align and everything is “perfect” conditions but now!
  2. Start slow and find something you enjoy doing. For me it’s yoga, hiking, walking, running, and weights. For others it’s Zumba or CrossFit.
  3. Make a smart goal. So you want to “get fit”. What does that mean to you? Is it weight loss, cholesterol numbers, lowering your blood pressure, dropping body fat, or losing a dress size? You can’t shoot an arrow without a target.

Anything else you want to share?

The biggest excuses I hear all the time as a trainer are “I don’t have time” and “I can’t afford it”. Fitness doesn’t have to take a chunk out of your day or cost anything. Yes it can be 100% free. I have a free health & fitness planner on my website, and a free 31 day bootcamp (with workout videos) and I have a lot more at-home workouts you can do anywhere on my YouTube Channel.

Sara here: Di, thank you so much for joining me this week! Everyone, I hope you enjoyed this month’s Finding Fitness and getting to know Di a little better! You should definitely go check out her blog and social media!

finding-fitness-diDi is a personal trainer, wellness coach, and yoga teacher with over 20 years experience working in the fitness industry. Her passion is all things fitness, health and nutrition. When not working she can usually be found walking her dog, gardening, or out riding her dirtbike (Honda CRF230F). Due to family being spread all over the World she also loves to travel. Di is also a closet geek, she taught herself HTML, javascript and video editing, and loves Sci Fi.

Want to see more of Di? Head over to her blog WorkOut with Di, her Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube Channel and her Instagram!

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Meal Prep for my Macros – Higher Protein and Fat and Cutting the Carbs!

Hey everyone! I am SO excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! So I always tell you that meal prep should work for you. Well, this week I’m showing you the changes that I am making to my meal prep to make it work for me!

You might know that I’ve been using the If It Fits Your Macros method (IIFYM) method for the past few months to try to help my eating stay on track. While I have been loving it, it hasn’t quite been working for me as well as I had hoped. Basically? I was hungry A LOT of the time! I was feeling pretty good when I woke up and I did feel leaner, but I would get hungry between most snacks and meals. And not a little hungry either….REALLY hungry. I tried changing up snacks and meals, but nothing was really helping.

Around this same time, I had come to the realization that I needed some help if I want to get to my fitness goals. So I started looking for a personal trainer (more on that coming soon!) I checked out a lot of wonderful ladies, most of whom you have met here through my Finding Fitness series! When I ended up deciding on Jen from Burpees 4 Breakfast, I knew that I wanted to chat with her about nutrition too.

Jen helped so much and after some conversation, reworked my macros to give me something different to try! She cut down on my carbs and increased my protein and fat intake and I gotta say I’m loving it so far! It’s too soon to see if it will make much of a difference on my fitness progress, but I definitely feel more satiated than I have in quite a while.

So for now at least, my meal preps will be changing to reflect this! I loved this week’s meal prep so much and I really think you will too. Enjoy!

Satisfy your hunger with this high protein, high fat healthy meal prep!

Ok, to get started, snacks. You might notice that I didn’t take my usual photo of my snacks and salads. Well, I’m not going to be making the salads for a while! I still LOVE jar salads as a method of prepping salad for your lunch, but I was having a hard time hitting my protein goals with the salads. Plus, honestly, I’ve been eating salads for lunch almost every day for over 2 years. I think it is time for a break!

As for the snacks, well….I forgot to take my usual photo! So here is a collage shot of all of my different snacks throughout the week! I think my favorite is probably still my grapes, chicken and cheese.

healthy-high-protein-snacks

Now for our main dishes! I made 3 overall this week, 2 for Draz and I to have and one that was specifically for me to have for my work lunches. Overall, everything turned out wonderful! For the both of us: Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken and Healthy Kung Pao Chicken. For Draz’s servings, I paired it with jasmine rice. Mine I served over steamed cauliflower rice! Both of these dishes turned out wonderful, though I think my favorite for the week was the Kung Pao Chicken. The one change I would make for next time – doubling the sauce for the Kung Pao Chicken! I love things to be a little more saucy and there wasn’t nearly enough with a large serving of cauliflower rice 🙂

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For my lunch dish, a new recipe this week – One Pan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables. Funny thing…I actually originally intended to make this with green beans, a bit of bell pepper and sweet potato for the veggies. Only to get started with the cooking and realize that I was out of sweet potatoes! So instead, I ended up with more bell pepper and some onion. It was very good nonetheless, but next time I would definitely love to add sweet potatoes to the mix!

Here is the macros breakdown for this week’s main dishes!

if-it-fits-your-macros

Want to make this for yourself? Get your free downloadable grocery list for the main dishes here!

Do you follow a particular practice for your food, like IIFYM? Have you had to make changes to your meal prep to make it work better for you? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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2017 Goals – My 6 Month Check-in

I know this seems cliche, but it seems like this year is just FLYING! Just in the past 6 months there have been so many developments! Most weeks are a flurry of activities and work, but in the best way. And I’m proud to say that I’m making pretty good progress on my goals so far!

I love annual goals, but it can be hard to make sure you are actually following through and achieving them! By setting up regular check-in's, you help set yourself up for success!

Checking in on your goals is SO important to actually achieving them! You know the cycle – we set our goals for the year, get really into them for a month or two and then…life gets distracting. Suddenly, we are only a few months away from the end of the year and realizing that we haven’t made any progress. We rush to get some things done and then set new goals for the following year, convinced that next year will be different!

It doesn’t have to be like that! By scheduling in regular check-ins throughout your year, you can remind yourself as to what your “big picture” goals are and make more progress! In all honesty, I probably should have scheduled a few more check-ins than I actually did…maybe I should start checking in on them once every month or two?

Anyways, things have been very exciting here. In some ways, not much has changed since January. But in other ways, A LOT has!

2017 Highlights so far!

  • I got my very own kiln! I now am in control of all aspects of my jewelry making and I couldn’t be happier about it.
  • My new online shop for my jewelry TODAY!!! It is a brand new amazing site – a curated marketplace for handmade goods. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
  • My main job went from full-time to part time. It was a little scary, but it’s going okay so far.
  • I decided to invest in myself and get an online personal trainer.
  • I’m now a contributing writer over at Organize Yourself Skinny. This is something I never even really dreamed of, so I’m still kinda in shock over it! I so happy it happened though, and I can’t wait to keep writing over there twice a month!

2017 Goals

Personal Goals:

  1. Get certified in at least 3 different fitness classes. – So far, this has not really happened. Working overnights makes getting actual certifications hard. However, I am set up to do a Tabata bootcamp course as a pre-session to BlogFest next month! Plus, while the rest of the classes during IDEAworld won’t be actual certifications, they will be very educational!
  2. Complete a chin-up – I am working towards this! So far, no success, but I’m hoping that the personal training will help with that.

Business Goals:

  1. Sell 240+ pieces – Well, I haven’t achieved this one yet, but I am making headway! I know 45 pieces isn’t quite 240, but the Boone Farmer’s Market starts today, my new online store launches today too and I have a few other things in the works. It’s still possible! And even if I don’t sell all 240, I’m really proud of how this year has gone.
  2. Sell at 6+ craft markets (along with 2 weekly farmers’ markets) – Yes! With one slight change. I decided that 2 farmers’ markets a week was going to be a bit much for my first year, so I am just doing the one. Next year I plan on adding another!
  3. Buy my own kiln. – YES!! Done and loving it

Blog Goals:

  1. Have at least 5 guest posts on my blog. – Yup! My monthly Finding Fitness series is going great! I am so enjoying being able to bring you these other fitness journeys and sharing their knowledge with you with their corresponding guest posts too! You can find all of the posts to date here.
  2. Write at least 5 guest posts for others. – Getting there. This new contributing writer position is helping me meet this goal!
  3. Finish and release my Meal Prep E-book! – Ok…I honestly haven’t worked on this in a couple of months. I do need and want to refocus on it, and I will. The jewelry business kinda took over, focus-wise, for the past couple of months.
  4. Collaborate with one company for a post, giveaway or in some other way. – I collaborated with Plum Paper to bring you a review of their planners and my thoughts on it. You can check out that post here. If you aren’t happy with your current planner, I heavily suggest checking them out! Mine is wonderful!

I have to say, after giving my 2017 goals a review, I’m pretty happy with my progress so far! I do have some things to work on, and a few things that kinda fell to the side, but overall, not bad!

Have you checked in on your goals lately? How are you doing on your 2017 goals? Any tips for others working to achieve their own goals? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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