Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to meal prep for a weekend away...

Today I want to share a little bit about how we prep our food for weekends away. As many of you know, traveling and sticking to a clean eating diet can be next to impossible. Thankfully, if you prepare ahead of time you not only come home without the bloated "ate too much on vacation" feeling but you also save a ton of money! 

For this particular trip TJ, Riley & I were all going, so I saved a lot of space, time & stress planning to bring things that the three of us could all eat. 

Step One: Develop a Plan!

When developing a plan that involves a little one typically you would be fine just grabbing their baby food containers and throwing them in the bag. My child, however, refuses to eat baby food and will only eat fruit, meat and veggies whole. With that in mind, I chose to make veggies and meat that she likes and that are things we enjoy as well. Then I wrote down what all we needed: fish, chicken, lean ground beef, brown rice, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bananas (Riley), and juice (Riley).

Step Two: Prepare Your Food!

This step is the most time consuming but once you get the hang of it it really goes quick. Always start with your chicken. Why? Chicken takes the longest to bake in the oven so if you get that going first you will have plenty of time to get most of the other things done before it finishes. Next, I put the rice in the rice cooker. ** Hint: Always add an extra 1/4 cup of water when cooking brown rice to eliminate the crunch! ** Then I like to get the veggies going. I am impatient so I typically will put one kind in a steamer and cook the others in various pots on the stove just to cut down on prep time and get it all done at once. Lean ground beef comes next...just brown it in a skillet. By this point your chicken should be close to cooked if not completely done. I then switch it out with the fish in the oven on broil...it will only take about ten minutes.

Step Three: Package Your Food!

Once your food has cooked you can begin packaging it. **Hint: Using a food saver to pack your food in its portions not only takes up WAY less space but also keeps the food from leaking, keeps it fresh longer & hides the smell of the veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.** I tend to always put things in 1 cup serving sizes when it comes to the vegetables and the brown rice. It may take me two actual meals to finish the brown rice but TJ eats an entire cup at each meal so it just makes it easier to do it like that. Meat will range anywhere from 6-8oz a package. TJ eats 8oz, I eat 4oz and Riley plays with 2oz. 

Step Four: Pack the Extras!

You will need: utensils, at least one plate/bowl/Tupperware container (to heat or mix your food), additional seasonings (optional), and your water (gallon jug). 

And That's It!!  Prepped, packed, and ready for a weekend away to have fun, stay on track & enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finally a Fitness Post!

Ahhhh it feels so good to finally be sitting here & typing a fitness update. The last few months have been such an emotional & physical roller coaster. I have been up, I have been down & everywhere in between. Check out my Life Lately post for more of an explanation. I am so thankful to finally feel at home again in my lifestyle. I experimented with training with a coach and stepping outside of the box in regards to my diet and workout, however, it didnt exactly work out well for me. I love to eat clean but when it comes to being on a diet plan the repetition kills me. Could I do it? Absolutely. Will I enjoy it? Absolutely NOT. So from this point forward I am sticking to doing this because I love it & enjoy it and not trying to conform my training and eating habits into what the ideal norm is in the fitness world. As I have stated in a previous post, I LOVE to lift heavy weight. I enjoy knowing that this week I lifted more than I could last week. I HATE cardio. Doing an hour of fasted cardio & an hour of post weight training cardio is simply not for me. Who has that much time to be away from their kids??? Seriously....though. I got back up to 186lbs. I am not sure if it was the stress of watching TJ struggle or if it was the fact that my body hated what I was putting it through but something wasnt working. Since I have decided to go back to my roots and stay true to my passion for weights and clean eating but enjoying a variety of food I have seen a HUGE difference. 
The photo on the left was taken after I had dropped about 6lbs. (Took about two weeks) The picture on the right was 5 days after the other one. I have only been doing 15-20 min of cardio 3 or 4 days a week. Sometimes I do steady state cardio and sometimes I run sprints in my backyard. This is just a post to kind of give you an update on what my body is looking like and where I am re-starting from! TJ and I have decided to schedule a photo shoot together at the end of October so for the next 9 weeks ill be sharing my journey with you all! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why I Lift & How to Get Started

It is no secret that I love to lift weights. I think weight training is essential to your all around health and fitness. Everyone knows what articles in health and fitness magazines say about the benefits of lifting weights:
-improves bone density
-improves joint mobility
-relieves depression and anxiety
-decreases your chance of type 2 diabetes 
-helps lower blood pressure
The list of health benefits goes on from there, however, I am more interested in sharing with you why I choose to lift weights and why it has become so vital to my success. I had lost 50lbs before I met TJ and really got interested in weight training. I looked a lot better than I had at 230lbs, however, I was far from feeling fit and my skin was so loose and saggy. I felt as if I had worked so hard and I still could not wear shorts, sleeveless shirts or a bathing suit and feel even remotely comfortable. When I started weight training, I fell in love with seeing my strength. It was weekly progress I could see even if the scale didnt reflect a change. I loved being able to lift more weight or go for more reps than I could previously. After a while, I started to see changes in my body. The skin that I had hated so much before started to get tighter and I started to see some definition in my legs and arms. I was hooked. Previously, I had believed that weight training would make me look bulky or manly; this could not be further from the truth & those who think that just need to educate themselves a little more on the female body. We do not produce the hormones needed to create large bulky muscles. The women you see in magazines or online who do have those large physiques have had some help along the way from some extensive supplementation or steroid use. (Not to downplay their hard work---steroids and supplements will not do it for you) Do not let the fear of looking manly deter you from starting in the weight room. Another aspect of weight lifting I have recently grown to love is the difference in the way my body looks regardless of what number is on the scale. 
Those who have been following me from the beginning probably recognize the picture on the left. This was when I was at my fittest & lowest body weight before I got pregnant with Riley. The right was about two weeks ago. There is a 45lb difference between these two photos. I continued to weight train throughout my pregnancy & have done so since adding a substantial amount of muscle mass to my body. I love looking at these photos and barely seeing a difference in the body but a huge difference in the weight! I have a bad habit of being a scale freak but thank God for progress pictures. I have had several people ask me how to get started lifting weights and where to find the right workouts to do ect. Bodybuilding.com has thousands of workouts, organized by body part, complete with photos and some even have video demos! You can literally find anything you could ever need to get started on there. The link above has the exact page you need with the diagram at the bottom to select the body part you're interested in training. I hope this will help some of you get a better idea of why I like to lift & how to get started!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Life Lately.....

It has definitely been a hot minute since my last "real" post. The past couple of months have definitely been tough! After TJ's competition, he, like most competitors do after their first show, rebounded....bad. For those of you who do not know what that is...he started eating all of the things he had been craving during his prep which caused him to retain tons of water. It was almost like the domino effect from that point forward. Like many people who have struggled with their weight, if you do not really watch yourself you can become obsessed with it. Gaining weight & having his body not look the way he knew it should brought TJ down into a depression. This depression literally affected every aspect of our lives. Our relationship, my progress, his schooling, friendships, ect. all suffered as a result of his rebound. I decided I would step away from blogging to fully focus on helping him get back into the right frame of mind. Alot of people do not realize how hard making a lifestyle change can be mentally, some assume that once you have this smoking hot body and are in a diet and exercise routine that it becomes easy. That is not the case at all. When you were morbidly obese for the majority of your life like TJ and I were, typically, food is your drug of choice...an addiction if you will. It is something you think about almost all of the time. It took 5 months for TJ to get over his depression and I can finally say...we are in the clear. As most of you know from past posts, TJ had been working with a coach during his contest prep and continued to work with him post show. His coach was awesome and really tried to help TJ the best way he knew how while TJ was struggling, however, the added pressure of sending stats, progress pics, and having some lines blurred between coach and friend took their toll on the relationship and TJ and his coach decided to part ways a couple of weeks ago. I was initially devastated since I had also started using him to try and get over my plateau & because I had grown to love him and his family. The day after they parted ways, however, TJ took on a whole different look. The water he had been holding started to drain off, the bags under his eyes disappeared, and all of the swelling in his legs and arms (happens when he stresses) went away. It was literally like falling asleep next to a stranger and waking up next to the man I married. As I watched his body change over the next week, I really started to feel that though I hate the loss of that friendship it may have been God answering my prayers and giving TJ exactly what he needed to find himself again. I debated over sharing any of this story, however, I think it is a true testament to how sometimes our lives blessings are disguised as trials. So...with all of that out of the way, let me get down to business. I had gained 10lbs during the course of the last few months & in the past 2 weeks have lost 8lbs of the 10lbs. I am going to start updating my blog with my fitness journey weekly again; along with recipes, workouts, and the general day to day life stuff. I have been dying to blog and am so excited to finally be at a point in life where I can.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Look!

Woooooohoooooo!! Finally a look for the blog I am happy with. I wanted something a little more simple, yet, not so simple that my slightly over-the-top personality was not represented on the page.

 A few new additions:
A) Beauty Tab! Yep, I am going to start sharing some of my tips, tricks, and products I love and think are absolutely worth trying.
B) Follow by Email! On the side you will see the new "Follow Me by Email" box. PLEASE take some time to enter your email address so you will be notified when I upload a new blog. You wont want to miss out on some of the new and exciting posts coming up.
C) Follow Me Buttons! You have no idea how long I have been planning on adding these. If youre interested in seeing more about my day to day life PLEASE follow me on my social media accounts. 
D) Share Buttons! Down below each post there are now "share" buttons. If you like what youre reading PLEASE take some time to share it with your friends.