100 lbs lost: my fitness journey and what I’ve learned in the past year

A year ago I posted some about my fitness journey to that point and a bit about my background. I had already lost quite a bit of weight, but I hadn’t really fallen in love with fitness at the point. I exercised in spurts and wanted to get more into it, but I really didn’t enjoy it. And I didn’t honestly think I ever would. I still had a lot to learn when I wrote that post….both about fitness as a lifestyle, and about myself (I still have a lot to learn about fitness!) I could have never anticipated how the year since that post was going to go!

This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs. I finishedย a 12-week round of Kayla Itsines’ BBG! I also ended up in the ER twice (one of them fitness-related)ย and in physical therapy as well…3 injuries in as many months. I had months of working out regularly and MONTHS of not being able to do much at all.

fitness-journey-post-workout-pictures

 

Through all of it, one thing was clear: I love a fitness-based lifestyle. Even when it sucks, even when I don’t really want to work out….I love it.

I never really imagined loving working out. If you had told me at 25 that I would ever love working out I wouldn’t have believed you. The only exercise I had ever enjoyed as an adult was martial arts, but I didn’t even stick with that for very long. So the fact that I enjoy a lot of different exercises, that I want to try even more, seems crazy! But it’s true. And I’ve learned a lot through this fitness journey, especially over the past year!

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sunday meal prep 5/8/16

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful Mother’s Day! My parents came out yesterday and we had a wonderful, home-cooked meal. I’m so glad we decided to do that instead of going out to eat! ๐Ÿ™‚ Even with it being Mother’s Day, I hope you are able to take some time to do a bit of meal prep today. It does so much to make the week go more smoothly!

The meal prep I’m sharing with you today was pretty basic. We were still pretty well stocked on treats and snacks, so most of the cooking was centered around our main meals. The one thing that I am excited to share with you….my Healthier Cinnamon Bread recipe! I have been making cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time, but a while back I decided to try to clean it up and make it a bit healthier. I’m happy to say that it worked out well and we love the result!

Enjoy!

Meal Prep - An easier way to eat healthy all week!

Mason-Jar-Salads
Our salads were pretty basic this week. I know, I keep saying that I am going to change up my salads, but I just love the buffalo shredded chicken. Do you have any suggestions? I would love to try some new salads!

Spicy-Goulash

This Spicy Goulash was actually a new recipe from Taste of Home’s 2008 Everyday Slow Cooker cookbook. As some of you know, this is one of my favorite cookbooks and one of my go-to’s when I’m stuck and nothing sounds good. We really liked this one!

Thai-Peanut-Chicken-Pasta-One-Pot-Garlic-Pasta

Are you even surprised? After the Thai Peanut Chicken Pasta was such a hit last week, Draz asked me to make it again. Which I happily did! Expect to see more of this one soon ๐Ÿ™‚ And we hadn’t had this One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta in a while, so when Draz asked me to make this too, I was all for it. I love pasta! (if you couldn’t already tell that) Especially since Draz usually doesn’t make requests, so when he does I tend to go with them!

Healthier-Cinnamon-Bread-and-Grapes

This bread! Oh how I love this bread. It’s quick and easy to make, pretty healthy and oh so delicious. Enjoy!

Healthier-Cinnamon-Bread

Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. All of these directions are using an electric stand mixer. If you are using something else, adjust as needed.
  2. In your mixing bowl, add bananas, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla essence. Mix on low until combined. Add unsweetened almond milk, then lemon juice; continue mixing on low.
  3. One cup at a time, slowly add whole wheat flour while mixing on low, scraping sides of bowl between each cup. After adding the last cup of flour, add the baking soda. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix on low briefly to fully combine.
  4. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon to make a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Put 1/2 of the batter (or a little less) into the loaf pans; 1/4 in each pan. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan.
  6. Add remaining batter to pans, then sprinkle with last of the cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information according to MyFitnessPal: 141 calories - Carbs 32 g, Fat 1 g , Protein 3 g , Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 116 mg, Potassium 120 mg, Sugars 17 g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 5%, Iron 5%

Nutritional Information is for 1 slice. Each loaf, for us, comes to 13 slices.

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That’s it for this week! Are you trying any new recipes this week? Do you have a favorite go-to cookbook? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day and a fantastic rest of the weekend!

Sara

Want to get started doing meal prep for yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! I am so happy that the weekend is here!ย Or almost here in my case. ๐Ÿ™‚ย Either way, I’m glad it’s Friday. Any exciting plans for the weekend? I have a few projects I’m hoping to work on this weekend. But for today, I just have a few Friday Favorites to share!

friday favorites, mother daughter outing, family
Pottery painting with Mom

Fitness

3 Steps to a Healthier and Fitter You from Blush and Barbells – A great simple article about starting to get healthier! The fitness routine is still something I struggle with on a regular basis. I completely agree with her that it is an essential part to getting healthier!

Things to do When You Feel Rubbish from Dizzy Brunette 3 – Love this! I’ve been dealing with kinda feeling rubbish on and off for the last couple weeks and this was a great post to remind me of some things that help!

Life and Family

My Self-Righteous Animal Adoption Rant from Oddly Lovely – This one really hit home for me. Adoption is definitely the way to go! Draz and I got Crystal from a shelter and just love her like crazy! I know we will continue adopting whenever we decide it’s time to get another dog.

Blogging and Business

8 Tips for Taking Great Photos from A Cup of Jo – Great list! It has a few things that I had never thought of and can’t wait to try out!

My Top 5 Creative Resources for Bloggers from Makeup Savvy – I love this list! I may be alone in this, but I have only used 1 of these. I can’t wait to try some new ones out!

That’s it for this week! It’s less than the list I normally put together, but it’s at least a few things for you to check out! I hope to be a bit more on track with the blog next week (and beyond!). I do still have some exciting projects in the works, so keep an eye out for new posts!

Have a great weekend! And I would love to see some of your favorites from this week, so leave a comment below with a link and I will check it out!

Sara

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February in Review, March Goals

Ever have one of those months where nothing goes as planned? That was definitely February for me. It can be really rough to go through the month knowing you’re not making the progress you hoped you would.

I did get a lot done though, just not the things that I had planned on. I made a lot of progress on my jewelry and a few new DIY projects. I had a wonderful last couple weeks and I’m really looking forward to seeing how March goes!

February Goals

  • Keep working at that morning routine – Up no later than 6:30 all days except Saturday (This will start once my back is feeling better…my neck hurts too much to work out for at least a few hours after waking up. Hopefully next week.)

This did not happen. But it was not for lack of trying. As I said at the beginning of last month and in my fitness update, my back was hurting. Then I got sick. Then my back (but a different part!) was hurting again. Then I got sick again, but worse. Yeah…the first 1/2 of February was not very nice to me. But now I’m doing better and I am getting up on time, so yay!!

  • Keep active 6 days a week – Until my back heals up, LISS. After that, it’s back to Kayla Itsines’ BBG for round 2!

Yeah…for the same reasons as above, it was pretty much LISS for most of the month. But I am now starting Week 2 of my second round of BBG and so happy for it! (Very, very sore…but happy!) I didn’t make it 6 days a week when I was sick, but I did push myself to be as active as possible.

  • Spend at least 30 minutes a day working on either the blog or my art.

Yes! I actually manage to do this almost entirely. I’m sure I missed a day or two, but for the most part I have actually done very well on this one!

Favorite Pictures from February

March Goals

  1. Keep working towards establishing that morning routine! – I’ve done okay this last week, but I really need to make it through at least a whole month. I know I feel better when I get up early, get my workout in (with time to warm up and stretch) and get ready at an easy pace. I just need to stay focused on those positives and make sure I get to bed at a decent time!
  2. Add yoga into routine at least 3 days a week – During workouts and yoga is about the only time right now that my mind quiets down. I think this will help my productivity and overall mental state
  3. Add guided meditation to routine at least 3 days a week – This goes along with my second goal and I think will achieve the same ends. Plus it’s just a good practice anyways.

That’s it for this month! Do you set goals for yourself each month? How do you deal if the month doesn’t go as planned? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to start setting goals but aren’t sure how to go about it? Check out my Top 5 Planning Tips!

 

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Fitness Mini-Update

It’s been one month since I finished Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide! Sadly, I can’t tell you that I’ve been doing much since then ๐Ÿ˜• My body seems to have turned on me and my fitness journey has stalled (again). It does that a lot, doesn’t it?

That is not saying I haven’t been able to work out some…it’s just been limited to mostly treadmill and exercises they gave me in Physical Therapy.

Setbacks can be difficult to deal with. I know I’ve had some ups and downs over the last month. Times where I felt like I was never going to get back into my fitness routine. Heck, there were times it felt like I was never going to feel well again at all!

Of course, that was (mostly) in my head! I am feeling better now, though I have come to the realization that the PT exercises for my back have to become a part of my daily life.

I am hoping to start BBG1 round 2 next week and can’t wait to get going again…hopefully with less injuries this time! ๐Ÿ˜€

How have your workouts been going? Have you been struggling this winter with your routine or had any setbacks? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sara (1)

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Sunday Meal Prep: February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep with you!

You ever have those weeks where you are trying to plan out your prep and it just isn’t coming to you? That was me planning out this week. But in the end it all fell together! It didn’t take me as long to cook as some weeks, but that definitely doesn’t mean it was lacking in taste!

Enjoy!

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As you can see, we have more Island Pulled Pork for this week. Draz seems to be on a new kick! ๐Ÿ˜› Along with that, we have one old favorite, one that we’ve had once and a new recipe as well!

I am always happy when we add Jambalaya on to the menu. It’s been one of my favorites for over 10 years! The repeat recipe was Slowcooker Beef and Broccoli and I love how this one turned out ๐Ÿ™‚ I do think I used a different cut of beef than last time though. It didn’t fall apart in quite the same way that it did the first time I made it. But that doesn’t really matter, because either way it was really tasty!

This Tortellini Chicken Noodle Soup was delicious! The one thing that I will say is that I wish I would have increased the broth some…It ended up a little thicker than I would prefer for soup. But it was still wonderful and I love the addition of the tortellini!

Not pictured: my grapes and cheese snacks and one batch of our breakfast burritos.

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A little peak behind the scenes…my photography “helper”!

Jambalaya

How was your prep this week? Do you ever have difficulty picking meals when planning out your prep? What do you do if/when you do? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

Also, don’t forget that the Jewelry Giveaway ends on Tuesday! So if you haven’t entered yet, head over and let me know which one you want!

Giveaway

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide Round 1 Complete!…Well, Kinda Complete

Ever since I started Kayla’s guide the first time I have been looking forward to this moment. Through all the setbacks, the injuries, everything…I’ve been looking forward to being able to say I had completed it once and showing off these fantastic progress pics. Only…that didn’t really take real life into account.

This first round through has been full of difficulties. 3 injuries, 2 sets of stitches, 2 months of physical therapy (which I’m still needing to continue at home sometimes, this week included), sickness, the holidays, etc. All of those things were things I didn’t plan on when I started the guides. But that’s life. And that is a lesson that I think I needed to really learn when I started this journey. It’s a journey.ย It’s a lifestyle.

Life isn’t always smooth sailing. While I knew that, I don’t think I fully appreciated how that would play into my workout program, especially this workout program.

Weeks 9-12 fell during and directly after the holidays. Now, I’m not making excuses. I could have pushed myself harder some of the time and been more on top of things. But between work being crazy due to the season, the “winter blues” hitting me a bit and just a general feeling of exhaustion, I did not do as well during the last four weeks of the guide. I skipped some workouts, did LISS directly after my resistance workouts other times and just in general didn’t do as well as I had hoped to.

For a while towards the end and right after, I was beating myself up pretty good over my lack of performance. But I’ve come to the realization that just because I had an off few weeks doesn’t mean I failed or anything like it.

I am still in the best shape of my life! I can (usually) do 10+ push-ups in a row before I need to go to my knees! I can do box jumps and tuck jumps and all sorts of other jumps that I couldn’t really do before!

So while I may have not done every resistance workout and these progress pics aren’t as impressive as I had originally hoped they would be, I’m counting this first round as done and as a success!ย I have made so much progress over these last 4 months and I can’t wait to see what the next round of BBG brings! (Hopefully less injuries than the first round!)

BBGRd1FrontBBGRd1SideBBGRd1Back

 

We did take measurements, but our methods weren’t practiced enough for me to be sure of the accuracy, though I think we are getting better at it! I am pretty positive that a few things changed though, especially one that can’t just be user error!

  • Waist: 37 in –> 31.5 in!

Things to Improve On During This Next Round

  • Go back to working out when I wake up instead of after work. I kinda fell out of that habit over the last month.
  • Keep LISS separate from resistance
  • Keep tracking diet for this whole round

I am currently having some issues with my back again, so I’m down to exercises from my physical therapy, LISS and yoga until it stops hurting so much. I can’t wait to start round 2 of BBG though!

How are your fitness goals coming? Did you have any difficulties over the holidays or due to the “winter blues” like I did? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

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Sunday Meal Prep: January 24, 2016

Hey everyone! I am super excited to bring you this week’s meal prep! This week I am highlighting recipes from Eat Yourself Skinny. Kelly creates wonderful dishes that are not only healthy and filling, but full of flavor too! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you definitely should!

You’ve seen recipes from her a few times, particularly the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas that have been making an appearance the past few weeks. That one has quickly become one of Draz’s favorites, so don’t expect to see it going away anytime soon. Each week it’s “What would you like on the menu for next week?” and his response has been “Enchiladas!?” each time!

Now, on to this week’s meal prep!

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Along with our Mason Jar Salads, Sweet Potato Banana Bites, my grapes and cheese and the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas, I made three new recipes this week!

Sausage and Veggie Stir-fry: Her recipe calls for spicy chicken sausage, which I sadly couldn’t find. I did use the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage of the same brand and it turned out wonderful! Hopefully I can find somewhere that sells the spicy version, because I would love to try it ๐Ÿ™‚

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili: Kelly is not exaggerating when she says it is the best turkey chili you will ever taste! If there is another, better recipe out there, I haven’t tried it. Quick to prep, easy, tasty, and healthy?! I think this will be our new stand-by for chili from now on!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken: I like the versatility of this shredded chicken. So far I’ve used it in a couple wraps with some cheese and it was really good! I want to try it with some taco fillings…I think it will be even better!

That’s it for this week! Expect to see many more recipes from Kelly’s blog in the future. Her recipes are just too tasty!

What are you making this week? Any new recipes? I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave me a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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Sunday Meal Prep: January 17, 2016

Have you or your significant other loved a dish so much that you just want it week after week? Well…that is the case in our house right now. These Skinny Chicken Enchiladas have recently been on here and probably will be again soon! Draz is just loving them, plus they are so easy to make and individualize for both of us!

Outside of that, I picked out a couple of my own older recipes that caught my eye this week. Our breakfast burritos are back too! Our large stock in the freezer is finally running low, so it was time to make some more. Enjoy!

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I promise these dishes taste better than they look! (I really need to work on my photography) Chicken was the focus of the week, but with such varying flavors. That is one of the things I love about cooking with chicken.

And that’s it for this week! Make sure to check out the recipes below! They are both easy and delicious!

What are you cooking this week? Bringing back any old favorites? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment below!

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

Sara (1)

Easy & Yummy Slow Cooker Chicken

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Ingredients:

~2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

2 (10 oz) cans cream of mushroom soup

1 (2 oz) envelope onion soup mix

1/2 c milk

1 c carrots, chopped

6-7 medium-large potatoes, cut 1″-1.5″ (I use red potatoes)

Put chicken into slow cooker. In a bowl, mix soup, onion mix, and milk; stir. Add into slow cooker. Add cut vegetable’s to the slow cooker and mix. Cook on low for 7-9 hours; mix before serving. Enjoy!

Easy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

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Ingredients:

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-6 portions

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1 oz Italian salad dressing mix

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder. Moisten chicken with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish (non-stick or foil-lined) Bake 20-25 min.

Can serve alone or with spaghetti.

 

 

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Sunday Meal Prep – January 10, 2016

Hey everyone! I hope that your first full week of 2016 went great! Our week had some hiccups, but if anything they just reminded me how happy I am that we do meal prep! I spent a couple days on MUCH less sleep than I usually prefer and let’s just say I don’t function well on less sleep. It was really helpful to not have to worry about what we were going to eat!

This week I tried out a new recipe, plus one that is quickly becoming a household favorite! Enjoy!

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These Skinny Chicken Enchiladas are so wonderful! Enough so that I made some extra shredded chicken specifically to freeze for future batches. Draz is requesting this on a regular basis, and one of the things I love about it is that I can use regular white tortillas for his and whole wheat for mine. One dish fit to both of our preferences!

New this week is Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli. I don’t think I can say enough about this one! The meat was a little pricier than what we usually purchase, but it was well worth it! The beef just fell apart and it was a very flavorful dish. I definitely see us making this one again. ๐Ÿ™‚

And that’s it for this week! What are you making? Any new dishes? I would love to hear your thoughts and what you are cooking up, so please leave a comment below!

Sara (1)

Want to get started meal prepping yourself? Check out these posts for my top tips and my staple recipes!

Need some extra inspiration? Check out last week’s meal prep for other recipes and ideas!

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