I Don’t Want to Lose Weight

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I don’t want to lose weight.

For the past year I have been on a serious roller coaster when it comes to my body. I gave birth to beautiful baby boy. I’ve lost weight and gained some back. I’ve had periods of not exercising at all, and then I would exercise so hard that I now have multiple injuries as a result. This whole year I have had so many moments of hating my body. Why was it so hard for me to get back in shape? I found every excuse, and they were all legitimate. I blamed genetics, I blamed myself for not breastfeeding enough, I blamed pain, I blamed my low testosterone levels, I blamed sleep deprivation. You name it, I blamed it.

While I was blaming my body for everything. I treated my body as if I was punishing it. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that hating my body was the thing that was holding me back from losing weight. I took a deep look at myself and realized how much my body has done for me. Really, my body is amazing. It gave me Jack. Yes, my body is hurting, and yes, I have some scars. But instead of punishing my body, I need to reward it. The pain and scars are not results of my body failing me. Quite the opposite. They are reminders that my body has fought… and WON. My body is a result of all this life has thrown at me. My body has created a child, and then helped him into the world. So why have I been hell-bent on blaming my body for what I saw as failures? It’s like blaming a soldier for coming home with battle-scars.

It’s been an eye-opening experience to change my perspective. It’s only now that I’m realizing that instead of punishing my body, I need to love my body. To heal it. To restore it. I now understand that health comes from loving my body, not hating it.

Why do we put such an emphasis on weight? I think it’s easy for us to fixate on that as a goal because it is a number. It’s quantifiable. It’s much easier to say “I want to be 130 pounds” than “I want to just feel good about myself.” It’s much easier to reach a goal that can be represented by a number, than by an idea, even if that idea is so much more important in the long run.

A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight. I was thinner than I had been in a long time. I worked by butt off, working out over an hour a day and eating great. I was 150 pounds, but I felt amazing and looked great.

One night I went to the ER because of chest pain. I was in the waiting room for a really long time, just waiting there, hurting while I tried to breathe, and one of the nurses comes over to me and gets my vitals and asks for my height and weight. I tell him I weight 150 pounds and the guy’s jaw literally drops and responds with an incredulous “Really?!” It was so rude and one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Here I was, in a waiting room filled with people, and this nurse is questioning my weight. I don’t know if he was just surprised by my weight because I looked lighter than 150, or he was just surprised I weighed so much, but either way… it was a kick in the gut. (BTW, my chest pain wasn’t anything serious).

After that, I was very self-conscious. I was ashamed of my weight, even though I felt great about it before. I had worked so hard to get to where I was, and because of someone’s judgement, I questioned my confidence.

There is something wrong with how we view health. Weight is not an indication of health. We hear this all the time, and to be honest, it always annoyed me. “Well okay, but that doesn’t help me feel better about my love handles.” But the more I focus on my health, the more I realize that health, not size or weight, is what leads to confidence.

I’m not saying this is going to be a turning point for me, though I hope it is. I’ll still get frustrated and I’ll still struggle. But I think acknowledging the flaw in my approach to weight loss is a good start.

As I was talking to my counselor yesterday, she told me that even calling it “losing weight” could be holding me back. By saying we’re “losing” weight, it’s like we’re letting go of something we don’t want to. We won’t lose something we still want. She said I should focus on calling it “restoring” my body. It takes the focus off of “losing” something, and puts it on what’s important… restoring strength and health.

So I’m not gonna lose weight. I’m going to restore my body.

Light Fettuccine Alfredo

I have tried tons of Fettuccine Alfredo recipes, including ones full of cream and cheese and gooey unhealthiness. And though they were delicious, after even a small portion, I felt totally sick. Bloated and heavy. So I went on the search for a lighter recipe that was still creamy and delicious. And I found one from my favorite food blogger, Gimme Some Oven! (Follow the link to see her original recipe).

This lighter Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is the perfect option when you want to eat a little healthier but aren’t quite ready to give up the carbs. Also, you should always be eating carbs. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are not your friend.

This recipe proves that you can eat lighter without sacrificing flavor. This creamy pasta is perfect for those cold fall nights.

Here’s how it’s done.

Ingredients:

12 oz Fettuccine

1 Tbsp butter or olive oil

4 cloves garlic (minced)

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup milk

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 pepper

(Optional) parsley and/or extra Parmesan for topping

Instructions:

1. Cook the pasta al dente.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil or butter on medium-high heat. When hot or melted, add the garlic and cook (stirring occasionally) until fragrant. Add the flour and mix until all the flour is completely absorbed.

3. Add the chicken stock. Whisk briskly until the mixture is no longer lumpy. Once the sauce is smooth, slowly add in the milk and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer to thicken.

4. Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir until thick and the cheese is melted. Put on medium-low until pasta is cooked.

5. Once pasta is done, drain and return to pan. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir until pasta is well covered.

6. Serve immediately. Top with fresh parsley or extra cheese.

ENJOY!

Well there you go! I promise your taste buds will thank you! What other kind of recipes would you like to see more of on the blog? Comment below!

Also, I won’t be posting until after Thanksgiving, so…. HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Where stretchy pants.

 

My Review of BBG

I have done a review of BBG (Bikini Body Guide) before, except I focused on comparing it to some Beachbody programs. This time around, I wanted to focus on just BBG. I have gotten so many people come to me and ask me to tell them a little bit about BBG–what it is, what it’s like, and if it’s worth doing. I post progress pictures on my instagram and I have been doing BBG for 2 years. So, I’m a pretty good source of knowledge when it comes to Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. So I thought I would give a little overview of the program and tell you about my experience with it.

Before BBG I really struggled finding a workout that I loved. My exercise regime was 30 minutes on an elliptical, barely breaking a sweat, and roaming around the gym trying every machine that didn’t look too complicated. I wasn’t dedicated to anything and felt no fire with anything I had tried before. Then I came across Kayla’s instagram and got sucked in to one of the most inspiring online fitness communities I’d ever seen. Seeing all those transformations brought me the fire I was looking for.

So here’s a little rundown of the program. Now keep in mind that I have actually not tried the app. Since I started BBG before it was cool, I got the ebooks for both BBG 1.0 and 2.0. I got them printed out and bound into booklets. So honestly, I don’t know much about the app, but the workouts are the same.

BBG focuses on strength training circuits and each circuit is focused on a different part of the body. For example, Monday is focused on legs, Wednesday on arms, etc. Each week consists of three, 28 min. circuit workouts and three cardio days. MWF are for circuit training, and for every TTHS, you get to choose your own 35-45 min LISS workout (or 10 min. HIIT).

So, this is an example of a BBG week:

Monday- 28 min leg circuit

Tuesday- 40 min jog

Wednesday- 28 min arm circuit

Thursday- 35 min walk outside

Friday- 28 min ab circuit

Saturday- 10 min sprint intervals

Sunday- Rest day!

 

And here is a rundown of what the circuits are like:

Each circuit consists of two 7 min circuits (repeated twice). Each 7 minute circuit contains 4 exercises. So, you set your timer for 7 minutes and do circuit one. Even if you finish the exercises, you want to keep working out for the full 7 minutes. Just repeat the circuit again if you finish before 7 minutes. After you take a 30 second break, you will start on circuit two. 30 second break, circuit one again. 30 break, circuit two again. Overall, this should take you around 28 minutes. If that made no sense to you, check the example below:

BBG Circuit

Kayla has several different programs. Each is 12 weeks long. BBG 1.0 is weeks 1-12, and BBG 2.0 is weeks 13-24. I believe there is also a 3.0 and a few other programs now available on the app, but I don’t know as much about them.

I have completed BBG 1.0 and 2.0 three times each. So I’ve done about 120 weeks of BBG. Here is what I think of the program….

Well, 120 weeks kind of prove that I LOVE it. It is challenging enough to really test your strength but not too challenging so you burn out quickly. They’re short workouts that you can easily do at home so it’s super convenient, especially for stay at home moms who don’t want to take their kids to the gym.

I also love that the workouts progress in difficulty. Every 4 weeks, the circuits get a little more difficult, so you can really build up your strength in a healthy way. Week 1 is difficult enough to challenge exercise veterans, but not too difficult that it excludes exercise novices.

Here are some questions I’m frequently asked:

Do you do BBG exclusively?

It depends. Sometimes I like to pair it with a Beachbody program.  Sometimes I focus solely on BBG. But doing BBG alone is effective enough to give you results without doing anything else.

What kind of results did you see?

Since I have done 120 weeks of BBG, but I’ve taken breaks (because of pregnancy or other reasons), I don’t have just one transformation. Also, my results have varied depending on how well I eat. I would say the first 12 weeks I did BBG as the most effective for me. I lost several inches overall and lost 15 pounds. I think this is because I was so motivated and dedicated that I never missed a workout and ate extremely well. Here is a picture of that BBG period.

Yes, I know this is only 8 weeks, but it’s a good example.

I lost 15 pounds that first 3 months. I felt SO wonderful by the end of those 12 weeks. I was full of confidence and energy. It was worth every drop of sweat.

But since life is hard and stuff happens, I did end up gaining weight later on and then getting pregnant. So my transformation looks way different after pregnancy. But overall, you can get some seriously good results if you are dedicated!

This is the last 12 weeks. Obviously, I had a very different starting point because I am postpartum.

Have you tried the nutrition guides?

No. Kayla sells a food guide on her website and also provides food and lifestyle tips on her SWEAT app. I have never followed them. Yes I have used some of her recipes, but I have seen success by just using my food plan. Honestly, if you have a good diet and good nutritional know-how, you don’t need her guide.

However, you cannot expect great results unless you eat well. There have been times when I’ve done a round of BBG and barely saw any results in my physique because my diet was garbage. Nutrition is key.

Are there any things you dislike about BBG?

Yes. Burpees and commandos. They are the bane of my existence. But I mean, they’re amazing exercises so this is more of a drag than anything.

Honestly, it’s a great program. I have very few complaints. However there is one worth mentioning. Some of the workouts can be very hard on your body. A lot of the exercises are high impact and can be pretty hard on your joints if you’re not careful. Things like box jumps and jump lunges are hard on your knees. So, if you’re like me and have crappy joints, you have to be extra careful when doing these types of exercises. Make sure your form is spot on (especially with those lunges and squats) so you don’t put too much strain on your knees. You can also modify your exercises if you have bad joints.

 

 

I hope that helps all those who are curious! In a short conclusion, I highly recommend BBG.

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Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Shake

Fall is not the easiest time of the year to eat healthy… actually, it’s almost impossible. I’m constantly stuck somewhere between wanting to look good and “treat yourself” cause it’s the holidays. So, rather than completely deprive myself, I try and find ways to eat those delicious holiday sweets without over-indulging.

Chocolate and pumpkin is one of my favorite flavor combos. Pumpkin bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, etc. So I found a way to satisfy that craving without all the sugar and fat. World please welcome… the Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Shake! So simple, so delicious.

All you need:

Ice cubes

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1/2 frozen banana

1 tsp cocoa powder

3 tbsp pumpkin puree

milk or almond milk(amount depends on how thick you want your shake)

Instructions: put it all in a blender and BLEND baby!

 

Short post today, but I hope you try it cause I had it this morning and YUM.

Sweet Breakfast Toast

Have you noticed that toast is getting a lot of hype right now? Everybody’s about that avo-toast life! Toast is awesome because it’s so easy. And being a mom, you sometimes forget to feed yourself because you’re so focused on the little one(s). So, easy and fast is the way to go! And tbh, I saw some really weird food combos when scrolling through Pinterest. I like to keep my toast a little more basic. And for those fed up with the avocado craze, you’ll enjoy this post because there’s not an avocado in sight! I decided to give you my favorite sweet toast ideas. Cause, let’s be honest, those of us with a massive sweet-tooth, we start feeding our sweet palette early!

So, here are my four favorite sweet toasts!

*Note: all these are made with Oroweat Whole Wheat bread.

  1. Natural peanut butter topped with chopped walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter is a great source of protein, while walnuts are a great source of natural anti-inflammatory omega-3’s and both walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate are rich in antioxidants.

2. Natural peanut butter topped with sliced banana and chia seeds.

Bananas are full of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium and iron. And chia seeds are extremely good for you and contain omega-3’s. They are nutrient dense and are a naturally energy-boosting superfood.

3. Reduced fat cream cheese topped with blueberries and drizzled with honey.

Cream cheese is delicious and good for you in moderation. Blueberries are amazing and have many benefits. They’re full of age-fighting antioxidants, they support digestion, and they fuel your brain. Honey not only adds sweetness, but is a natural energy-booster and promotes healthy weight management.

4. Almond butter topped with apple slices and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Almond butter is a heart healthy food because of its fiber and healthy fat content. Apples are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Apples also are extremely filling and are a natural source of energy. Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory and promotes a healthy heart and brain.

 

There you go! Try these toasts and get a good boost of nutrition in the morning!

 

What Happens When You Quit Sugar for 30 Days

About a month ago I made the decision to quit sugar for 30 days. I was just so sick of losing control over my sugar cravings. I was working out every day, but still I felt like I wasn’t really feeling any better about myself or improving my health. I was tired of giving in and binging on treats and then finding reasons to justify it. After I would eat a bowl of ice cream and found myself wanting more, I would have this mentality of, “Oh, well, I already screwed up today so I might as well embrace it.” And then I would dish myself up my second (huge) bowl of ice cream.

I was feeling pretty crappy about myself, to be honest. I just felt like I could be doing so much better. And how can I possibly preach about living a healthy lifestyle on my blog and yet let myself fall into this extremely unhealthy cycle? So I made myself a plan. I got a little piece of paper, made a little grid with 30 numbered squares, and put it on my fridge. And each morning, if I was able to go without sweets the day before, I would cross off a box. 30 days later, every box was checked off. And I should probably tell you that I didn’t limit myself completely. I allowed myself two “sweets,” halo-top ice cream and dark chocolate chips. Honestly, I just needed something sweet after dinner.

So, after 30 days without sweets, this is what happened to my body.

I had more energy.

Once I became a mother, energy has become this allusive thing that I can’t seem to grasp. I feel like that totally random kid from the third Harry Potter movie: “It’s like trying to catch smoke. It’s like trying to catch smoke with my bare hands…” Cue the dramatic music and dark clouds. Turns out that it’s almost impossible to have energy when you barely sleep. And I have struggled for the past 7 months with getting enough sleep, so all day I would be dragging my feet. But for the past 30 days, I found myself with so much more energy. I would be able to get up in the morning with Jack and immediately start my day. I found myself wanting to do more every day. I would take my dog on long walks and I was able to get so much more done around the house. I actually found myself wanting to play and entertain my son. Honestly, with so much less sugar in my diet, I felt better than I have in over a year.

My workouts got easier.

Ok, this is a lie. My workouts didn’t get easier. They actually stayed the same. But I got stronger. My workouts just seemed easier. With the increased energy, I was able to really get so much more out of my workouts. I was no longer just trying to get through a workout. I started challenging myself and my strength. Exercise started to be much more effective when I had a better diet.

I felt good about myself.

Whew, this one is hefty. Like most women, I struggle with despicably low self-esteem. And when you add a postpartum body to the equation, and you get 7 months of agonizingly little self-confidence. And though I still had moments of doubt, I finally felt a little bit better about myself. I started to notice positive changes to my body. I started to appreciate not only what I looked like, but what I could do. I finally felt like my goals were possible and that was extremely freeing.

I stopped craving sweets.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to kick a bad habit or to create a good one. And I don’t know how true that is, but I can definitely say that after you quit sugar for even a few days, you start to crave it less. I’m not saying that I didn’t ever want sweets. There were moments. Like, when my sweet mother-in-law sent us a Halloween care package with a huge bag of Kit-Kats in it. Oh, I wanted to eat that whole bag. But I found my resolve was stronger than my desire. I let my husband eat them all, promising myself I would get myself some Kit-Kats once the 30 days were up. So, even when I found myself wanting sugar, it was over within moments. Whereas before, when I wanted sugar, I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I satisfied that craving. Cravings can be really powerful so it was nice to learn that I can be even more so.

 

Now what?

When I finished the 30 days, I was so proud of myself. So, this last weekend I let myself as many sweets as I wanted… and guess what happened? I was tired, sluggish, and disappointed in myself. So what now? How do I find that middle ground? I don’t believe in completely depriving ourselves of things, because that eventually leads to us binging. But if I don’t restrict myself at all, I can’t seem to control myself. So, while I wish I could say I have a solution to this problem, I don’t. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all just really good at moderation? Though I still haven’t nailed it, these last 30 days has proved pretty game-changing. Now that I’ve experienced the benefits of life without excessive sugar consumption, I’m going to do whatever I can to feel that way all the time without depriving myself completely of what I love.

I hope this inspires you to give this a try. I promise it will benefit you greatly. And if you try it and you find that your quality of life hasn’t improved at all, you can hold me responsible and I’ll make you brownies.

 

Healthy Strawberry Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

I remember those blissfully ignorant days when I thought all salads were healthy because they were, well, salads. But then that illusion was shattered when I found out salads can be just as unhealthy as a hamburger because of what’s actually in them. The truth is in the dressing. There’s almost no point in eating a salad if it’s drenched in a fatty dressing. So I’ve been on the lookout for a healthy salad dressing that didn’t  taste like straight up vinegar. And I think I’ve found a good one.

So here is my recipe for strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/4 cup strawberries

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lime juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp poppy seeds

Put these all together in a blender (I use my nutribullet), and blend away! That’s it! Then use the dressing to top a delicious, fruity salad. This is one of my favorites:

Simple Strawberry Pecan & Pear salad!

I like to use a mixture of baby spinach and arugula as a base and top it with fresh strawberries, sliced pears, and roasted pecans.

Yum!

 

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Homemade French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Is there anything better than a good soup in the Fall? I don’t think so. I first fell in love with french onion soup when I had it at Panera for the first time. So good. So I came across this recipe and it totally won. I made a few adjustments but not much!

Ingredients:

5-6 Large onions, peeled and thinly sliced

3 Tbsp butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional–I don’t use this)

6 cups beef stock

2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs of thyme

salt & pepper to taste (a few generous pinches of salt should do the trick)

1 baguette

grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until well browned and caramelized, about 30-50 minutes (it took me longer for some reason), stirring every few minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Add the stock, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, partially-covered. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. While the soup is simmering, slice the baguette into 1-inch thick pieces and arrange them in single layer on baking sheet. I then cut them into little cubes. I find it easier to eat when the bread is broken up a bit. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the bread is toasted and golden around the edges. Remove and set aside.

Switch the oven to the broiler (high). When ready to serve the soup, place your oven-safe bowls or crocks on a thick baking sheet. Ladle the soup into each of them, then top with the baguette cubes and your desired amount of cheese (I used about 1/4 cup shredded cheese for each). Place on an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat and broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove and serve immediately.

Get the original recipe here!

 

Super delicious and easy. Perfect for those chilly fall nights!

My Favorite Lunch Wrap

turkey wrap

We all know that turkey, bacon, and avocado taste amazing together. But did you know that adding a little cranberry sauce makes it even more amazing? Well, it does. Turkey and cranberry sauce are the star cross lovers at the Thanksgiving table. Yes, I know it’s October… but this doesn’t need to be a Thanksgiving thing. I say we have turkey and cranberry sauce all year round.

This wrap is so delicious, so easy, and healthy! It literally takes like, 5 minutes to whip together. It’s a perfect go-to for a busy day. Also, it would be great in a kid’s school lunchbox!

So here is what you need…

Ingredients:

1 whole wheat tortilla

4-6 slices of deli style turkey

1/2 avocado, smashed

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp cranberry sauce

2 strips bacon (I use turkey-bacon)

handful of spinach

Instructions:

  1. Put it all in the tortilla. It’s so simple, my husband could make it 😉

 

Useful tip: If you’re pressed for time, use pre-cooked bacon and just warm it up.

 

Enjoy!

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What Wellness Means to Me

blueberries

 

I really love the definition for wellness. Because of my years of experience as a student, I immediately went to dictionary.com for a little inspiration on what to write. And I didn’t regret it. Wellness is “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” I especially love the last part. Wellness is not achieved without deliberate effort. As human beings, I think we naturally are self-destructive. We generally do things, deliberately or otherwise, that hurt us mentally, emotionally, or physically. We eat garbage, we refuse to exercise, we hold onto toxic relationships, and we embrace the stigma that getting professional help is a sign of weakness. And hopefully, at some point, we become aware of all those negative things in our lives and realize the importance of being healthy and well. And we start making that deliberate effort.

These past several months have been eye-opening for me. With the birth of my wonderful son, and through so much anguish, joy, and pain, I realized how unhealthy I was. And I’m not just talking about the always-laying-on-the-couch-eating-potato-chips kind of unhealthy. I’m talking about all the mental junk I’ve got in my mind. All the chi blocking nonsense that comes with years and years of ignoring wellness and embracing negativity. For so long, I’ve been using self-hatred as a coping mechanism, which, by the way, is the worst coping mechanism. Turns out it doesn’t actually work.

When I decided to return to blogging regularly, I didn’t know how to approach it. I knew it couldn’t be what it used to be, because that just didn’t work for me. I have to talk about something I’m passionate about. And when I decided to create a wellness blog, I was a little afraid I would be written off as a hippie wannabe: a millennial with healing crystals and a crown of daisies. I’m not going to give the impression that I am an expert at anything, or that I’m healthier than I am. I eat sugary cereal. I sometimes watch garbage media. I don’t go out of my way to find vegan, vegetarian, non-gmo, preservative-free, cage-free, free-range, organic food. Though, that’s great for you if you do. I applaud you. But what I’m saying is that I’m just going to be honest. I’m going to give my honest thoughts and try to create a blog that reflects life as it is. I’m just a normal girl, trying to live her best life.

So, if you are interested in reading a blog about a girl who loves family and food, stick around. Or, if you want to read about one girl’s journey to be a healthier, happier person, stick around. If you want to follow along because you too may be battling the same demons as I am, stick around. Or maybe you’re a postpartum mama who wants to lose the pooch too. Or maybe you’re just reading this because you feel obligated to do so (hey Fam!). Whatever brings you to this blog, stick around. All are welcome.

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