Being Conscious in the New Year

Today is a typical January 5th. It’s a few days after the New Year and I’m still wonderin’ what the heck am I going to work on for the new year!? But as much I love being a goal setter or no matter how much of a list maker I am, I’ve always hated the pressure I would put on myself to do this resolution or that resolution.

Cause let’s be honest. I’d get fed up too quickly and by February first, I had already burned out. Where is the growth in that? That’s why I don’t make New Year resolutions. I make Life Resolutions. At least for me, it’s too hard to be specific on what needs to happen for this new year to be good.

Last year I tried to keep it simple. Read more. Run more. That’s it! And ya know what? The more I made the conscious decision to pull out a book before bed rather than flip on the TV the more it became a habit. I tried to not let two or three days go by before I ran. And not just run. Run outside. Now that was the truly hard part. But again. It became a habit!

Which is why this year I decided to pick up a new habit. And if you thought I couldn’t get it any simpler than last year then you would be wrong, my friend. This year I plan to make more conscious decisions. Vague? Let me explain.

I get comfortable easily. I don’t like change, really. So much so that it can get me too comfortable. I don’t think too hard into the little decisions I make throughout the day. And I really mean the little ones. What I listen to. What I watch or read. What I eat. Who I talk to. When I pray. How I work.  I don’t want to go through life blindly and not realize until it’s too late how these “little” decisions have affected me.  Now I know it’s not a good habit to become too scrupulous, but I want to be able to think just a little more about what I put into my body (and my soul). Whether it be the music, the food, the entertainment… It’s time to become more thoughtful in all aspects of my life.

So although it’s not a huge change in my life, I know it could be the best habit I adopt into my life. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to like change a little more! Yeah, not likley but worth a shot, I guess! On that note, glad to be with you this year once again.

Happy [belated] New Year!

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The Quest to Eat Healthy

Who likes to eat healthy? I mean really? When you’re 100% honest with yourself? I’ll admit, there are times I just crave a nice grilled chicken salad or or some veggies. But generally? No. I do not enjoy eating healthy.

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This has been the hardest part about my quest to get in shape. Sure, going to the gym can be an inconvenience and all, but I usually don’t mind sweating cause afterwards, I just feel so accomplished. Eating healthy? Afterwards, I just feel hungry. Not the real kind of hungry, just the I-want-something-fried-and-covered-in-chocholate-and-powdered-sugar kinda hungry. I know we’ve all been there.

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I’ve had to become a pro at talking myself out of bad decisions like some gelato at the stand in downtown Detroit while I wait for David to get out work. Or an Asiago bagel slathered in cream cheese from Panera (also their shortbread cookies are like.whoa) when I’m running too late to make breakfast.

The irony is as I write this I’m getting hungrier and hungrier for a pastry from the bakery across the street. Shoot.

Push through, Annie. Push through.

Anyways! Through some serious trial and error, I’ve learned a few tips that have helped me curb the cravings and stick to eating healthy.

  • Add greens to dishes you already love. For me, I generally eat a really healthy breakfast and lunch and then for dinner, I do what I would normally do, which isn’t neceassarily unhealthy at all, I just don’t go AS out of my way. This may be frowned upon but the more I learn how important veggies are for me, the more I’ve tried to take much smaller portions of the foods I love and then fill in the space with veggies. LOTs. OF.Veggies. Pick the ones you like and try a few recipes with them. I love broccoli and asparagus but I’ve also added carrots and zucchini. And sweet potato is great veggie that is packed with positive stuff when you’re in a workout regimen. Plus sweet potato can be the perfect dessert with a little honey. Surprisingly that has curbed a few cravings for me.
  • Blend something. Sometimes, I’m just in a rush. If you know me, you know I HATE being late for things, but you also know I generally am always late for things. So a smoothie is somethimes the best way to get a quick breakfast and still get my nutrients I’ll need for my day. My usual consists of some protein powder, a little milk, a banana, peanut butter and some frozen fruit I like to keep on hand. This generally holds me over until my next meal and/or snack.
  • Don’t eat that and repeat. There is something about repetition that makes things really stick in our brain. I’m sure there is some brain chemical reason as to why when we do something a lot, our body begins to expect it. But I’m no doctor so I won’t pretent to know the reason. I just know the outcome. For instance, the first week I started eating healthy, I would get these cravings after dinner time-ish that said “chocolate! you need chocolate and all the chocolate you can get! now! GO!” Yikes. I hate that voice. So demanding. And hard to say no to. The first week it was the hardest. But no matter what, when the cravings kicked in, I’d try to do something to take my mind off of it. And after the first week, it got a little easier with each week, until I got to the point where I didn’t have those late night cravings (most of the time, I’m still human…). Here’s a bonus tip*** STAY OFF PINTEREST WHEN YOU’RE CRAVING SWEETS. Those will be the times that all you notice is the recipes for ooey-gooey this or sweet and salty that. Do yourself a favor and stay away.
  • Spice up your life. Yes I just quoted the Spice Girls and no I’m not ashamed. #90’skid….moving on… I know people always say this, but you don’t need to eat boring to eat healthy. The last thing you want is to get bored with eating healthy because you’ll steer away as quickly as you got there. There are so many clever ways these days to add some flavor to any meal. I’d suggest beefing up your spice cabinet AND picking up items that can “dress up” your meals. I like salads but I LOVE cheese. So I’m okay with sprinkling a little feta on my salad, but then I’ll also throw in some chick peas because they’re delicious along with some avacado. Boom. Done. If you do the same thing every day you’ll want to never eat a vegetable again. I like to bring grilled chicken for lunch, but I always like to have lots of veggies PLUS some avacado and/or sweet potato to go with it. And I enjoy changing how I season it.
  • Eat, eat, and then eat some more. That seems a bit contradictory when trying to get healthy, right? No. I promise you, no. When I started working out, I was finding myself more hungry more often than usual. Because I was just starting off, I didn’t put two and two together and realize the more calories I burn, I’m gonna have to take in calories to give myself energy to get through the day. I’m sure you’ve heard eat every few hours. But now more than ever I see how true it is. I don’t eat huge breakfasts in the first place, so I’ll eat my breakfast when I wake up, wait about 2-3 hours then eat a Greek yogurt. Wait another 2-3 hours and eat my lunch. Again 2-3 hours, then have a granola bar or some energy bites and I now have some carbs to burn when I workout. I go home and workout, then come back and eat dinner and/or drink a big protein shake.

Granted these things have not cured my love for junk food, pizza, and ice cream. I genuinly think it would take the force of a thousand suns to get rid of that all together. But they’ve at least put me in the right direction. Despite getting used to it, it’s still a daily task of making the right choices. You just have to have the confidence that you are absolutely can do it AND the follow through to push your self. I’ve got quite a ways to go but I’m enjoying the feeling of accomplishment each step of the way!

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Here are a few of my favorite things to make to help the process along!

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Peppers

^^These I’ll make with ground turkey to make them a little healthier.

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^^ A typical breakfast for me. Piece of turkey or ham in a muffin tin with two eggs (or egg whites) cracked inside and seasoned. Baked on 375 for 20 minutes. 

Banana Brain Freeze

I am a sucker for ice cream. As a little kid, I would listen very intently for the ice cream man to come down my street in the summer time. When I’m craving something sweet, it’s almost always something that can be cured with ice cream. Good, ole’ fashion ice cream.

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Now, when it came time for D and I to register, I gladly went through the store going scan-happy, scanning in anything and everything we may want or need. I came to an ice cream maker and sadly enough talked myself out of it. “We don’t need it.”…”It’s impractical”… “We can always just stop by Dairy Queen”…. While many of these are solid reasons not to spend the money on something as frivolous as an ice cream maker, I can’t help but wish just a little that we had made the scan.

But since we are ice cream maker-less, I have resorted to other means. Guess. If you said Pinterest then you are correct. I came across this recipe and didn’t have high hopes for it. Mostly because it sounded too simple to be any good. But what do you do when you have browning bananas but not enough for banana bread? Well now you make this.

Banana ice cream. Have you ever had the Banana Cream Pie Blizzard from Dairy Queen? Well if you haven’t then you should try it soon because these are definitely comparable!

Here’s my tweaked version of what you’ll need:

  • 2-3 bananas
  • 3-4 tbsp of peanut butter (I used crunchy to give it some extra texture)
  • a dash of milk (optional)

– Start by cutting the bananas into slices and placing them on parchment paper or foil and popping them in the freezer until hard.

– Throw the frozen banana pieces into food processor or blender. Add peanut butter. I added a little milk to help move the bananas around and to make it a little creamier. Blend and DONE!

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Wait, what? Done already? Yup. That’s it. The consistency will be similar to very soft serve ice cream, but if you like it a bit firmer, then just pop it into the freezer and it’ll turn out like hard ice cream.

I love this because on more than one occasion it’s helped curb those ice cream cravings and it’s a LOT healthier than your typical Häagen-Dazs (although there IS a place in my life for that as well).

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My next ice cream endeavors will include adding dark chocolate chips, crushed vanilla wafers or graham crackers, and/or other fruits. If you have some bananas at home that are starting to reach their last days, then I HIGHLY suggest trying this out. What better way to get your daily dose of fruit?!? :)  Enjoy and be sure to check out some other great finds with Julie at This Gal Cooks for her Monday linkup!

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Be sure to visit Daniela over at Put a Bird On It for the Link’n Blogs Link Up. There is really great stuff over there!

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My Health Hero

This post was written as a part of the American Recall Center’s “Who Keeps You Healthy” campaign. This was a great opportunity to give a shout out to my health hero. Thank you to Marco for reaching out to me. More bloggers posts can be read at their Community Center.

Yesterday, I almost became a quitter. And let me tell you, I’m not happy even thinking about it. Ever since I’ve started this new health initiative in my life, I’ve been really trying to stick to my guns with getting to the gym and eating healthy (the harder of the two for me), no matter how bad I don’t want to.

But I’ll admit… I’ve had some set backs. As you know (or at least you avid readers know), last week I ran a 5k. It was much harder than usual for me, but I proudly finished only three minutes slower than my goal time. But for the entire week after the run, I started having this awful pain in my right foot. I was limping when I woke up, limping at work, and limping even more in the evening. My foot was wrapped and I was poppin’ Advils like candy. I could barely get around. So for my foots sake, I had to stear clear of the gym for an entire week, which for me was pretty brutal.

So when David and I got home from work yesterday, my foot still sore but not limp-worthy, I declared, I don’t think I feel like going to the gym. Ooops. David then asked me if it was because of my foot or if I didn’t feel like it. Well, it wasn’t my foot.

And this is why David is my health hero. He then preceded to tell me that I can’t undo all the hardwork I’ve put in at the gym now, especially for a crappy reason. He could see it being valid when I had an actual injury, but not now. And he was right. I was starting to feel sorry for myself that I had fallen a little behind.

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This entire process, he has continued to tell me how proud he is of me for sticking with this. When I feel crummy or like napping instead, he tries to get me all pumped up to get back to it.

I’ve always been relativley active, going on the occasional run or a pit stop at the gym with some girlfriends. But I had never really been too dedicated. It wasn’t until the first summer David and I were dating that I felt even a tiny bit inspired. He was about to leave Michigan to go back home to Texas for the summer when he was showing me a work out program he was going to do that summer, Insanity. He said it was really tough, but if I wanted he’d get it for me too. So he did. I did it for the full two months, him giving me tips and pointers the whole time. I finished just in time to visit David 15 lbs lighter. He drove past me at the airport because he didn’t even recognize me.

But it was just the start of how he has continued to inspire me and make me realize that even if it’s crazy tough, I can do it. He is always encouraging me to stay healthy, but not in a demeaning or insinuating way. He does it because he wants me to be healthy. He wants our kids to have healthy role models and a healthy body to rest in for their 9 months of incubation. He wants me to enjoy working out, or at least enjoy the fruits of my hard work. His actions have helped me to become proud of the improvements I make, no matter how little.

And I am learning that ESPECIALLY when you take a week long break, it’s tough getting back into it. It’s tough when I’m crazy sore the next day. It’s tough when I’d rather have cake for dinner than anything else. But it helps that much more when I have someone, not just me, who is not only supporting me, but encouraging me!

Who is your health hero? Maybe it’s your kids. Maybe it’s your spouse. Or your co-worker. Or yourself! I hope there is someone encouraging you, even if it’s just you. Let me know! I’d love to encourage you too :)

Day 1: I am NOT a Quitter

Yesterday was quite a day. As I mentioned here, I started my new workout regimen: Jaime Eason’s Live Fit 12 Week Trainer.

The excitement to do this specific work started a while back when I was introduced to Jaime’s workout by a blogger friend, Alesha, at Made with Love. Watching her transformation was literally inspiring and being a fan of a few different work out programs (mostly ones with Shawn T aka Insanity and T25) gave me the courage to try something new.

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But let me tell you. I sure had plenty of reasons excuses to give up before I even started.

I had spent so much time preparing for Day 1. I had read everything I could about what I’d be doing, I prepped myself so I knew what equipment I’d need once I got to the gym, and I spent a lot of time on Sunday afternoon prepping my meals (basically just lunches) for the week.

So once Monday (yesterday) came around, you’d think I’d be ready enough to start strong. Guess again. Monday was one of those days that’s a little crummy and things just seem to pile one on top of the other. Not bad, just not the best. Work was crazy with several time-sensitive projects happening at once, I had to wait extra-long for David to get out of work (we drive together some days to save on gas), and by the time I walked over to my apartment complex’s gym, I had realized I had forgot my keys which get me IN to the actual gym. So I made the hike back to my apartment, grabbed my keys and was on my way. Of course when I GOT to the gym, my phone quit on me and I couldn’t access my work out videos that Jaime offers for a good 20 minutes.

All signs  were pointing to “Quit and start over tomorrow”.     I thought about it.     Tossed the idea around some more.     And thought against it.

I know myself well enough to know if I quit on day 1, I would be more likely to quit on day 12 when I’m a little tired or day 36 when I’m feeling guilty for having that piece of chocolate cake.

I do not want to be a quitter.

I’ve learned a lot about physical health in the last few years and have come to realize that I need to make this a priority for myself. I know it’s not always easy and I will most definitely have bad days with it, but I need to do this for myself. I need to do this for my future babies so they have a healthy resting place while in incubation. I need to do this because my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and God gave me this body to love and take care of.

I’m going to try to stay motivated. I’m going to try to eat healthy every day. I’m going to try to look for help when I’m feeling like giving up because I know God gave me friends and family to encourage me.

This personal battle of Quite vs. Don’t Quit was all flying through my head at the gym; meanwhile I have three people behind me running on treadmills partially watching The Bacheolor on TV and partially wondering why I’m just standing there staring aimlessly at the dumbells.

Needless to say I did not quit. And I won’t today either. I’m gonna eat my grilled chicken and black bean lunch and do my best to stay on track. And all the while I’m gonna smile about it. Cause I’m not a quitter.

Learning to Juggle

Well boy, oh boy. I never thought I’d have a chance to pop a squat and write again. I mean, maybe I was wrong to think that my life would calm down after I got married? Yeah, okay I was very wrong. Everyone told me life would not really settle down, but alas, I chose to ignore.

So here I am juggling the many day to day tasks that I am realizing need to get done to live a semi-functional life. Mind you I said semi-functional…

Everything from daily cleaning/picking up around the apartment, paying bills, putting away boxes and boxes of crap (actually just stacking it all in our 2nd bedroom), laundry and of course the one thing I was worried about… cooking.

Despite figuring out how to juggle everything, I haven’t been too stressed which is always a positive. I have become quite the list maker (my mom would be so proud of me) and my most recent to-do list is actually a few projects I’ve got to get done. So that’s why I’m linking up with Mama Needs Coffee who is filling in for Moxie Wife for 5 Favorites to show my favorite projects I’m working on. Anyone wanna help?

  1. Clean Up the 2nd Bedroom We live in a cute little 2 bedroom apartment. However the 2nd bedroom has become the stock pile room. We have boxes upon boxes just chillin’ on the floor, David’s amps and guitar equipment sitting out, our desk and important papers flying around… So you can see it isn’t a pretty sight. My plans are to make one side of the room into the “desk area” and the otehr side will have all of David’s music stuff AKA a lot of guitars. We’ll throw a book case somewhere in there because we have too many books and our too stubborn to get rid of them.
  2. Workin’ On My Fitness While I was on the honeymoon (no photos yet, hubby is stilll editing sheesh), we ate anything and everything that was bad for you. I mean not everything we ate was terrible but we didn’t adhere to a diet or the unspoken “rule” that you can only eat ice cream once a day. So, being back from the honeymoon and starting to feel the wrath I did to my body, I’ve decided to start up a work out routine. First, for the next 10 weeks I will be particiapating in Focus t25. If you’ve hear of Insanity, this is like the shorter toning version of that. It’s only 25 minutes a day but so incredibly intense! I started Monday and already my butt has been kicked. After those 10 weeks are through, I’ll be doing a weight routine. I hate weights. So this’ll be interesting.T25
  3. Home Management Notebook So like I said, I like lists. I wish I didn’t but they help me get stuff done, especially because I have a terrible memory. So I’ve been working on a Home Management binder to keep all my important paper work, accounts, bill paying, phone numbers, etc. all organised and in one neat binder. I used a bunch of free printable I found ( I LOVE printables) on The Accidenatl Okie right HERE! Although I plan to come up with my own system for organnization, these type of things always help, plus I like reading how other people do it.binder-cover-www-accidentalokie-com
  4. To Hang or Not to Hang? I am trying to figure out what to hang above the big space above my couch. It’s quite a predicament. A picture of our wedding? A big painting? A bunch of smaller photos? I’m at a loss…
  5. Get my hosue ready for the fall/winter  I realize we are way far into fall but I have all these fall decorations I want to use. My goal is to have them up by this weekend. At least it’ll make the place look a little more homey. And don’t get me started on Christmas. I have two totes filled with Christmas stuff. Although I can wait for it to come, I’m still very excited :)

Well that’s my next few weeks in a nutshell! Hope I’m not the only one with loads of projects looming over our heads. But I hope everyone can take a few minutes out of their day to go enjoy the day. Me? I’m gonna jump in some leaves later. Yeah. That sounds good. Ta ta for now!