Be Unabashedly You and Other Lessons from BlogFest ’18

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks on how to write this. BlogFest ended more than 3 weeks ago (how has it been that long?!?) and the lessons I learned there have taken a while to process.

 

The biggest one? To be unabashedly, unapologetically me! Yet even as I write that, I cringe a little.

Does that sound egotistical? Too focused on me, not enough on my readers? Is it rambling too much? Maybe I should make the post less serious….more serious? Are they going to get meaning out of reading this?

These are all things that go through my head, pretty much every time I write. And that is why the main message at BlogFest this year hit me so hard.

You see, I have a tendency to hide parts of myself, to smooth them over. To not dig too deep or show too much. And that isn’t what I want, not really.

I want for you to move forward on your journey with me to be there to support you.

Does that sound egotistical?

Possibly. But it’s also true. And I’ve struggled with the best way to do that. Because I was scared. I was scared to show you my faults, my struggles….Even my successes. When something wouldn’t go well I would try to gloss it over. When something went really well I would downplay it.

Blogfest-2018The first speaker at BlogFest was Petra Kolber. And while all of the speakers really helped me and gave me a lot of insights, Petra’s really hit me hard. Here are a few things that she shared and what they brought home to me.

Others connect with your faults, not your perfection. What they want to know is how you deal with those faults.

By glossing over my struggles, I help no one. I just make it harder to connect, harder for them to see how I traveled along my own journey.

Focus on passion, not perfection.

This is a constant struggle for me. Is this a good enough photo to share? What if I can’t write this post well enough? Maybe I just shouldn’t share it until I can do it better. But this means that it never gets shared. I am passionate about what I am sharing with you all. I need to allow that to be enough. To allow me to be enough.

Don’t wait for perfect.

That one really says it all. And while I still am hesitating with those same questions, I’m striving now to not wait for perfect.

Two other ladies that spoke and really impacted me – Sadie Nardini and Natalie Jill. While their entire presentations were pretty awesome, there was a key statement in each that really spoke to me.

“You can’t help the world if you don’t step forward.” – Sadie Nardini

“What is your driving core motivator? Things don’t just happen, you make them happen.” – Natalie Jill

Both of these made me admit something to myself. Something I don’t think I had ever said in a serious, non-self-depricating way.

What I want more than just about anything is to make a positive impact on others. To use my journey to help them along their own. To motivate, inspire, educate and cheer-lead my way into their lives so that they are better for having known me.

I want to make a difference to people. I want to make an impact on many people’s lives. On their health, their happiness…their entire well-being. 

This isn’t really something I ever said seriously. I mean, who am I to hope to have that type of impact?

Well, that is something I’m still working on answering. But this year’s BlogFest and all of my amazing #SweatPink community has really pushed me forward on figuring it out!

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(There will be a more lighthearted recap of all awesomeness that was BlogFest and IdeaWorld in a few days! But this year had a big emotional impact on me and I wanted to share that part first and foremost.)

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Hydration and Why It’s Important

I know you all know that hydration is important. But do you really understand why? It’s more than just a simple replacing the water you lose throughout the day. Proper hydration affects brain function, digestion, energy levels, skin and hair quality, and so much more!

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Now, water intake can be from more than just drinking water. Watery foods such as soups and yogurt, vegetables like oranges, watermelon and salad greens, even coffee and soda can all go towards your hydration! So, with all of these things counting towards our hydration, the average individual honestly gets enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated. So why am I talking about it?!

Because a lot of you are into fitness like I am and busy like I am! Individuals that exercise not only need to drink more water to replace what is lost through sweat and breath, but exercise also inhibits indicators of thirst! So while you may be hitting the gym hard during a session or sweating it out on a run and feel like you don’t need to drink any water, you most likely do!

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Thirst is actually one of the worst indicators of dehydration. Instead, it is recommended to drink enough to replace the weight lost during your average workout session. Even beyond that, it is important not to take in too much plain water, throwing off the body’s sodium levels! Instead, switch to a sports drink or take electrolyte tablet during longer workout sessions.

Some things that can be effected by hydration levels

  • heart rate
  • digestion
  • metabolic rate
  • brain performance
  • physical performance
  • skin and hair health
  • body temperature
  • energy levels

So, why am I talking to you about this right now? Because along with getting out of balance on my workout routine this past 6 months, I also found myself routinely dehydrated. This was my own fault, mostly due to letting the time get away from me and being very task focused. But did you realize that even a 2% drop in hydration can decrease brain performance? How much of an easier time would I have had if I had stayed properly hydrated? So here are some things that I am doing to make sure I stay better hydrated now!

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  • Make sure I’m always carrying my water bottle! (I love my Takeya one)
  • Set a timer for every 30 minutes to take a sip
  • Track how many bottles I have drank each day to check in

Is hydration something that you have struggled with? What do you do to make sure that you stay properly hydrated?

(Also, you can check out this post from REI for some further reading!)

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Light & Savory Meal Prep

Are you ready for this week’s meal prep?! I have been looking forward to sharing it with you ALL WEEK! Not only was this prep super simple and inexpensive to throw together, but it also is delicious and flavorful! I’ve really been in the mood for new foods right now, so there are a couple new recipes in here too!

Enjoy!

Get your week off to a delicious start with this savory meal prep!

To start things off, our one repeat recipe – Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken. Y’all, I seriously love this recipe. Not only is it super flavorful, but there are so many ways to eat it! Over rice or noodles, with scrambled eggs, in a sandwich or wrap or even on it’s own! No matter how you eat it, it’s gonna be tasty. This week Draz and I both seemed to be into the wraps, so that is mostly how we had them. I love putting a bit of shredded mozzarella in with it!

So. Good.

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Ok, on to one of our new recipes! Kale and Cauliflower Soup. This ended up being my lunch every day and it was so tasty! While I am a big fan of eating meat, this soup was hearty enough that I didn’t even notice it’s absence. Add to it being super quick to put together and it is definitely on the “make again” list!

The only real change I made was that I used chicken stock instead of vegetable, since that is what I had on hand.

A word of caution though….

So, in my flow of cooking, I forgot one essential rule while I was making this soup. When blending hot soups, you really should only fill halfway. Also, you should take the cap off of the lid and cover with a towel to allow steam to escape.

Did I do either of these things? Nope!

Not only that, I couldn’t figure out right away why this explosion of hot soup happened….so I poured some back into the pot and proceeded to try again. Only to have it explode again! Yup, I was that person. So, if you like to blend soups to thicken them up like I do, make sure you don’t forget that rule haha!

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And on to less-explosive dishes….our other main dish this week was a cabbage and chicken sausage saute. I didn’t really follow a recipe on this one, since it was mostly planned to use up extra ingredients.

For this particular saute, I used

  • cajun chicken sausage
  • broccoli (1 medium head)
  • cabbage (roughly 3 c chopped)
  • onion (1 medium)
  • mushrooms, sliced (8 oz)
  • seasonings, mainly garlic and some red pepper flakes

Overall it turned out great! I do wish that I would have had more cabbage on had to bulk it up a bit, but it was delicious!

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We opted to try out the noodle bowls again with a slightly different mixture. This one had

  • thin spaghetti
  • kale
  • mixed frozen vegetables
  • shredded carrot
  • a spice mixture of curry bullion and garlic chili paste – I lessened this compared to last week and I think I need to find the in-between of these two weeks spices. I will be experimenting and let you know!

That’s pretty much it for this week! Want to give it a try for yourself? Get this week’s meal prep grocery list here –

This week’s questions (trying out something new!):

Have you been experimenting with any new dishes lately?

What is your favorite way to use up veggies? 

What book have you been reading or recently read?

Leave your answers below!

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Restarting Your Workout Routine

As I mentioned last week, the second half of 2017 was missing a lot of balance for me. One of the biggest things lacking was a steady workout routine! As my jewelry business kinda took over my life and my focus, I allowed it to create excuses for me too. I couldn’t go to the gym…I had jewelry to finish up! Now, some of that was legitimate. But at lot of it was lack of focus on the bigger picture and what I truly needed.

So here I am, markets and the holiday season done for now. It’s a new year and I want it to be a year of balance! Of growth, yes, but not at the sacrifice of my health and happiness. And one of the ways to maintain that? With a steady workout routine!

But it can be hard to get back into a workout routine after you have been skipping for a while. You know you want to do it and that you will feel better when you do. But you’ve also gotten used to having that extra time! So how do you get back into your routine? Or better yet, set a new and better one?

There are a lot of ways to go about it, but here is how I have worked to set a routine that works for me and that (I hope) will help keep me on track even when market season comes around again!

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  • Take a hard look at your current schedule.
    • What things are immovable? I currently have my FT job, PT job, and sleep. Those are the regular things on my schedule that can’t or shouldn’t be changed!
    • Do you have any big time-wasters that need to be removed from your current routine?
  • Do you have a time of day you prefer to workout? Does that time of day work for your set schedule?
  • Is there anything you need to change or add in that would help you be successful?
    • These could be things like packing your bag and/or food the day before. Meal prepping if you don’t already. Changing from a routine at the gym to one at home if the travel time is what is stopping you.
  • Write it down! Set your week in advance and write in your workouts.
    • Not just the word “workout” but when and even what workout you are going to be doing! Make sure to plan in roughly how long the workout is going to take.
  • Allow for some give, especially at first. Going from not working out to 6-7 days a week is not usually feasible.
    • I am aiming for 6 a week, but my minimum is 3. If I hit 3 and miss the rest, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I don’t stop trying for 6, but it does mean that I don’t beat myself up as much for missing!
  • Need some extra motivation? Join in a movement online and use others to help you with that extra push!
    • The one I’m loving right now is the #IAmLimitless movement with FitApproach! Check out the Instagram feed here!

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It has felt great to get back into the gym on a regular basis and to feel more fit and healthy again! And I want that feeling for you too!

Are you just getting back into your routine? What tools or tips are you using to help you do it? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

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Weekly Meal Prep

I’m so excited to be back on here, sharing my weekly meal prep with you all! I can’t even tell you how much I’ve missed this the last few months! To be honest, my eating towards the end of market season left something to be desired. I was still prepping, but I was impulse eating more and not planning as well for meals at markets by the end of it. I am so excited to get my food back on track and using meal prep to do it!

Get your week started off right with this delicious food prep!

This week’s meal prep is a bit smaller than you are probably used to. While I was getting ready for market season, I prepped extra for the freezer to make things a bit easier. It was such a huge help! But we do have some of the extra prep left over, so we have been using that for part of our meals to get it used up!

I am super excited to share this week’s meal prep dish with you though! It’s a new dish to us: Healthy Broccoli Chicken Casserole! I love getting recipes from Slim Sanity and this one was no exception! I love the flavor in this casserole. The only thing I would change up was likely my own fault. It was a bit dry, but I’m pretty sure that is due to me increasing the amount of chicken, rice and broccoli without increasing the “sauce” enough. I will definitely be making this one again, with some minor tweaks!

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I did make some changes to the original recipe. All the ingredients are basically the same, but I didn’t really measure much of the main components for the casserole. Here is what I used:

  • 3 large broccoli heads (roughly 4-5 cups chopped)
  • roughly 1 1/2 lbs chicken, shredded.
  • roughly 1 1/2-2 c jasmine rice (thawed from frozen)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/2 c shredded Italian blend cheese (in place of Mozzarella)
  • 1/2 c shredded Fiesta blend cheese (in place of cheddar)

Most of these changes were based on just what we had around the house, like the cheese. I had frozen the chicken and rice (separately) before and I’m honestly not quite sure how much there was.

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Other items on the prep list: Healthier Cinnamon Bread, Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Balls and a celery and lunchmeat combo snack! The cinnamon bread remains one of our staple dishes and Draz and I have a slice of it every day! The protein balls are mostly Draz’s, though I’ve been having them between my FT and PT jobs lately to get me through til dinner. As for the combo snack, that is all mine! I’ve been playing with different snacks again for me and this is my most recent one. Not sure if I will stick to it or not, but I’m enjoying it for now!

While the protein balls are loosely based on this recipe, they have changed quite a bit over time! Make sure to keep an eye out, because I plan on writing a recipe post for them soon!

Want to make this menu for yourself? Sign up for my email list and get it sent directly to you!

That’s it for this week’s meal prep! How are you faring with your meal prep post-holidays? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below or shoot me an email!

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Life is a Series of Sprints

Last month I had the honor of hearing Todd Durkin speak a couple of times at IdeaWorld. Now, I’ve talked a couple of times about my experiences at the conference already here on the blog. But I’ve had this really on my mind and I want to share it with you!

What if life isn't a marathon? What if, instead, it's a series of sprints? Are you ready to sprint with me!?

“Life is not a marathon. Life is a series of sprints and recoveries.”

This was something said by Todd Durkin during his keynote address to BlogFest. It resonated with me then and has been on my mind ever since. I can get caught up in the marathon mentality pretty easily. There is always more I should be doing and I just have to keep working at it, right?! Sound familiar?

This mentality has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time, but the past couple of years have really highlighted it. And I will be honest…I think it’s at least part of the reason that I have had so many health issues the past year. I always want to push harder, longer, do more. So when I got back from the conference, all that energy wanted to go into working more, even has I said that I was going to try to stay more balanced!

Well, my plans for the past month and all I wanted to work on and do kinda fell apart. My body had other plans, leading to me getting sick twice within 3 weeks and just overall struggling to keep up with my basic responsibilities! But as I’ve been recovering, this idea of sprints and recoveries really has just been repeating in my head. In the past, any time that I have been sick or unable to make progress for a while, I have gotten overwhelmed and stressed with the idea of all the things I wasn’t doing.

But what if I view this time as a recovery? What if instead of getting stressed and overwhelmed, I view it as time to get ready for that next hard sprint?

So this is what I’m trying to do now. To be kinder to myself and hopefully view things with more understanding. Life isn’t a marathon….I don’t always have to be ON and neither do you! So if this resonates with you…if this is something that you have struggled with too, I hope this helps you make that mentality shift.

Are you ready for your next sprint?!

If you want to join in with me on this next sprint, one way to do that is by joining on on the #AssOffTheCouch September Challenge from Couch to Active! There will be a ton of awesome prizes being given out and it will be a lot of fun! The challenge starts September 1st (TOMORROW) so don’t wait! Use the code 7022smus to get 30% off your registration, bringing the price down to $11.90! Register here

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Fitness Gear – What I’m Loving Right Now!

Hey y’all! ……

Ok, so a lot of the gear I’m loving right now, fitness wise, are things I got from BlogFest! Our sponsors were so generous and there were a lot of awesome vendors at the IdeaWorld Expo as well! Some of this fitness gear has become things I’m using every day and am absolutely loving.

Looking to update your gear or try something new? Here are the things I'm using all the time right now and loving!

Takeya water bottle!

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Guys…This water bottle is amazing! Drinking enough water is so important and this bottle keeps it cold for so long! I don’t know about you, but I hate room temp water. It’s just the worst. Having cold water means I will actually drink enough! I fill it up with ice before I head to my “regular” job and will refill it at least a few times during my shift. The handle makes it easy to carry around and I love the dual lid design.

Plus, look at that color!!! It’s such a fun and vibrant pink!

Vooray bag

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The first time I saw Vooray was on Instagram around a year ago and I have been in love ever since! So when I saw that they had a booth at the Expo, I had to go down so I could see them in person. After about 4 visits in two days where I tried to talk myself out of buying one…I finally gave in! I am so glad I did! I absolutely love it! Right now, with my schedule, I’m only using it a couple of times a week. But once I (eventually) go full time with my business, I foresee needing it a lot more often!

Jaybird X3 Wireless Headphones

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Before heading to the conference, I had been going back and forth about getting some new headphones to replace mine (they were slowly breaking). Now I’m glad I waited! I got these fantastic headphones as part of BlogFest at the Red Bull booth and they are working great. It took a bit for me to find a comfortable way to wear them. But they are super versatile for how they can be worn, so there is sure to be a fit that is comfortable for everyone! And they are very lightweight. My favorite part though is the clips that you can put on to the back to adjust the fit!

I’ve been wearing them both at work and at the gym and no matter what I’ve been doing they stay in. Full transparency: It took me a day or two to get the fit right for them to stay in like that. The first time I tried to run with them in they fell out immediately. When I ran yesterday they stayed in perfectly the whole time. The run-time has been really good too. I haven’t used them to dead yet, but I’ve used them all night at work and then at the gym with no issues!

Sweat Pink Tank Top

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This tank top is just so cute and comfy! I love the fit – it’s not super form-fitting, but not really loose and flowy either. It’s pretty much the perfect mix! And now that I’m officially a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I love having a bit of gear to wear and represent!

YMCA T-shirt

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Speaking of wearing and representing haha….My YMAC t-shirt is my go-to at least once a week! They are so cute, super comfy and are great to workout in! They were designed for our Des Moines YMCAs by a local clothing company called RAYGUN! (I loved them so much that I bought two!)

I am a big fan of our Y, and of the Y in general. I love the sense of community and support that comes from being a part of them and all the work they do! So I’m thrilled to have a shirt I love to wear to show my love and support of them!

Momentum Wrap

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I’ve been wearing this wrap almost every day since I got it! It’s so comfy, even during a workout. I can’t wait to get a few more from them!

Asics

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Asics are pretty much my go-to brand for shoes anymore, and I’m currently in love with my pair of grey and pink Quantum Gel 180 2! They are versatile enough to go from the weight room to going for a run outside and provide great arch support. I broke 2 bones in my foot a long time ago, so quality shoes are super important to me!

Listening to – Mantras and Macros

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I get a lot of listening time available to me at my “regular” job, so I love me some podcasts! Now, most of them are history, business, or nerdy geeky fun, but I do listen to one fitness podcast! I found Mantras and Macros recently and have been steadily working my way through from the beginning. I love listening to Mallisa and her guests converse! She has so much great information to share and a lot of her personal story just hits home with me so hard. If you are a podcast lover, I definitely recommend checking her out! (She also has a wonderful blog to go along with the podcast, which I’m sure you will love! You are here reading mine after all :p)

So that is it – just a little snapshot into what I’m loving right now! Do you have any fitness gear that you are really into right now? What about fitness podcasts?! I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!

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Finding Fitness: Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness

Hey everyone! I am so excited to bring back my Finding Fitness series after missing last month! Let me introduce you to Shannon from Tough Mom Fitness. I love her story and her focus on showing a healthy lifestyle to her kids!

Looking for some inspiration on your own fitness journey? Then check out Shannon's story on this month's Finding Fitness!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I help moms find their fabulous. With short, but efficient, workouts and practical nutrition advice I work with moms so they can reach their goals without sacrificing precious family time. I’m a personal trainer and I’m also certified as a health coach. I’m an aspiring entrepreneur working on starting up a 1-on-1 online coaching business along with partnerships in my local community. On the personal side of things, I was born and raised in western Massachusetts. I married a [now former] Marine and we’ve lived in all corners of the US over the course of the last 10 years. We’re currently living in a small town near Savannah, GA. We have 3 daughters under the age of 8 and a lazy rescue dog. I live for coffee & running and I have a serious sweet tooth. I love reading and being outdoors.

 

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested? After my first daughter was born I found myself carrying 25 extra pounds. I went back and forth with diets and exercise but didn’t stick with anything long enough to see results. That same weight was hanging around after my second daughter was born. By the time she was 2.5 years old I’d had enough with what I saw in the mirror. My husband deployed and I got to work on loving myself and making changes. Of course, he came home from deployment and I got pregnant again! After she was born I got to work losing the baby weight as soon as I was cleared to do so. The biggest thing that keeps me motivated is the love I have for myself. I don’t ever want to be back in that unhealthy spot – not in my mind or in my body. My girls also keep me motivated because they all mimic everything I do. Finally, my desire to enjoy my future with my husband is another motivator.

Finding-Fitness

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it? Three months after our 3rd daughter was born my husband deployed for about 7 months. I was working full time at a non-profit at the time and the kids were 3 months old, 3 years old, and 5 years old. I had to figure out how to reach my fitness goals when my life was in chaos. I did it though. I lost 30lbs through home workouts. I had to get up before the kids to get my workouts in (I still do!). I also learned the importance of meal prep so I could make sure that I was eating right.

 

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them? We’ve moved 3 times in just over 2 years. Each move brings plenty of stress and I’m an emotional eater. With each of the moves I give myself the grace to do what I need to do in order to keep my sanity. Then I get right back on track as soon as I can. Usually I don’t stray far. At this point, eating well and working out are so engrained in my life that I can’t get off track for too long. But by allowing myself grace instead of beating myself up I’m in a much better place mentally.

 

What achievement are you the most proud of? Having the courage to step away from a job I was unhappy in and studying to become a certified personal trainer. That was 14 months ago and there’s no way I could have imagined that at this point we’d be living in another state and I’d be starting my own business. Many positive changes have come from that one decision. Oh wait, can I have 2? Back in November I ran a half marathon. By myself – not in a race – just to prove to myself that I could do it.

 

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey? The shift in my mindset. I’m happier now. I love myself now – flaws and all. I have more energy. I have a positive outlook on life. After going through the changes myself I now talk about the importance of mindset all the time.

Finding-Fitness

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise? Right now I’m working on building my butt. It’s always been flat so I’m working on giving it some definition! Other than that I’d like to run a half marathon again, but this time in a real race.

 

What does a typical training week look like? I workout 6 days a week. Some days have more training than others. I do resistance/strength training 4 days a week. Usually 1 day focuses on my upper body, 1 day on my lower body, and 2 days on full body. Then 2 days a week I do HIIT workouts. Finally, I run 5 days a week. The mileage varies depending on if the older kids are in school or if they’re riding their bikes with me.

Finding-Fitness

What does an average day of eating look like for you? I start the day with a full bottle of water after my workout. My breakfast is either overnight oats or eggs & veggies of some sort with coffee. I drink a protein shake around mid-morning because we’re usually on the go. Lunch is whatever I’ve prepped for the week. I try to keep it interesting so I change it weekly. In the afternoon I eat Greek yogurt and fruit with my coffee. Dinners vary but always contain a protein + starch + veggie.

 

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not? I try to take supplements that add to or enhance what I eat, not replace it. With that said, I take the following supplements. Cranberry pills for recurring UTI issues. Probiotics for gut health. Biotin for hair, skin, and nails. Calcium because I don’t drink milk and want to be sure my intake is adequate.

 

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite? Running is my favorite by far. Least favorite would have to be balance exercises because I’m really not good at them.

Finding-Fitness

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking? I remind myself of my “why” – the reason(s) that I’m doing this. I also look to see if I need to switch up my workouts due to boredom or my body adapting.

 

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout? I workout in the morning before anyone else in my house is awake. This not only helps me fit it in, but it helps me start the day with a clear mind. My workouts only take 30 minutes so it’s really not that difficult to fit in. When I run it’s typically only for 30-45 minutes as well. That’s a total of an hour – totally doable. For me, if I’m not exercising and eating right then my life isn’t balanced. I’m a stay at home mom and I’m trying to start a business from home. I give of myself all day long so not taking time for myself isn’t an option.

Finding-Fitness

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey? I actually have a post that outlines the 5 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits. From this, my top 3 are:

  1. Focus on one change at a time. When we decide that it’s time to change we often want to go all in. That’s absolutely the wrong way to approach it. While it may work for a few weeks you’re really just setting yourself up for failure. Without easing into a new life you’re going to get overwhelmed and burn yourself out.
  2. At the end of each week take a look back at what you did. What worked? What didn’t? What should you keep doing and what should you stop? Did you stress-eat ice cream 3 times this week? Then you should probably find a way to combat stress that doesn’t involve food. By doing this weekly you’re able to stay on top of your habits.
  3. Give yourself a month. Changes don’t happen overnight. We live in a world where everyone wants results yesterday. There is no magic pill or shake to make the weight drop quickly and stay off. Losing weight, getting fit, changing your nutrition…it all takes time. This is supposed to be a lifestyle.

 

Anything else you want to share? I’m most active on Instagram and share a lot on Instagram Stories. I’ve recently started a group on Facebook for like-minded women to gather for support, accountability, and advice. I generally cater to moms but any woman is welcome to join us! We’re just getting started and building the group so if you’re interested you can request to join the Tough Mom Tribe.

Sara here again: Thank you Shannon for sharing your story! I hope you all found it as inspiring as I did!

Shannon Dombkowski helps moms find their fabulous. She’s a certified health coach, personal trainer, wellness educator, mom of 3 girls + one lazy dog, blogger and the girlboss behind Tough Mom Fitness. Her passion is helping moms adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle by making time for moving and nourishing their bodies while improving their mindset. She shares her tips on her blog and various social media sites. You can follow along on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Keeping it Simple – This Week’s Meal Prep

Ok, so this prep is actually from a couple of weeks ago, before I left for BlogFest and IdeaWorld. Because I was getting ready to leave, I didn’t really get the chance to actually post it! But I really love how this one turned out, so here it is! (Want to read more about the conference? Check out my experience and thoughts!)

Enjoy!

Get going on your week faster and easier with this simple meal prep!

I kept my snacks pretty simple this time around. The sliced chicken and cheese is my current favorite snack and definitely helps tide me over between breakfast and lunch! And the hard-boiled eggs are a great boost for me when I get home from work, before I head to the gym. What is your go-to pre-workout snack? I would love to give it a try!

snacks

For Draz’s main dishes, I made two of his favorites: Island-Style Pulled Pork and Freezer-Ready Turkey and Bean Burritos! I made extra burritos, since I was hoping some would be leftover for him to enjoy while I was gone. I will be posting my recipe for these soon, but until then, here is the recipe that I started out using!

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For my own main dishes, I made one favorite and one new: Healthy Baked Italian Sausage and Peppers and Cauliflower Chowder. I serve the Sausage and Peppers with steamed cauliflower rice (I love the frozen Bird’s Eye varieties). The Chowder I made a few small changes to

  • turkey bacon instead of regular bacon
  • a little bit of grapeseed oil instead of butter
  • unsweetened almond milk instead of 2% milk
  • 1-2 tbsp dried parsley instead of fresh

cauliflower-chowder

I like a thicker chowder, so I also simmered it a bit longer. And when it was done simmering, I ladled out a few cups worth and blended it, then added it back in. I think it turned out great and will definitely be making this delicious recipe again!

Want to make my dishes for yourself? Here is the grocery list for my main dishes!

Do you prefer chowder or soup? If you like chowder, how do you thicken yours up? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Quick, Healthy, and Tasty Meal Prep

Hey everyone! Settling back into your routine after last week’s holiday festivities? Even with Draz and I not doing much here, I know things have calmed down a bit this week. I’m gearing up for a lot of things coming up here, so quick and healthy meal prep has been my main focus lately! This week’s meal prep were wonderful and only took a few hours to put together!

Enjoy!

Get your week started right and save time with this quick, healthy and tasty meal prep!

Once again, I forgot to take pictures of our snacks. These honestly haven’t been changing much lately, though this week I really only put together a couple of snacks total. (I know, shocking!)

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But our main dishes more than make up for that. Not only are they oh-so-pretty and colorful, but these dishes turned out delicious! For me, I made more Chicken Burrito Bowls and Kielbasa, Peppers, Onion and Potato Hash! This hash is seriously one of my favorite dishes! So filling, healthy and very savory. The one main change I made to the hash was using sweet potatoes instead of regular. Just plan for longer to saute the potatoes a bit longer than the recipe calls for. For the burrito bowls, I might use guacamole instead of chopped avocado. I think the using lime juice to keep it from browning didn’t work quite as well for me this time around. Still was tasty, but didn’t hold up as well as it did last week.

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For Draz, I made Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli, Baked Smothered Chicken, and Skinny Lasagna Rolls. A couple of these ended up having extra servings that I got to enjoy later 🙂 His favorite for the week was definitely the Beef and Broccoli! So tasty and it only takes 15 minutes or so to get going!

Here is the macros breakdown for the week:

meal-prep-if-it-fits-your-macros

Want to give this one a try yourself? Get your downloadable grocery list here!

That’s it for this week! As I said earlier, I’ve been pretty focused on quick and simple recipes lately. Lots coming up, and some of it even has to do with the blog! I am headed to Las Vegas in a little over a week for BlogFest and couldn’t be more excited for it! I’m sure I will have a lot to share with you afterwards!

Any trips or vacations coming up for you? I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!

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