Whirlwind Weekend

As I sit here late Sunday night,riveted to the Real Housewives of Atlanta three-part reunion, I’m shocked by how fast this weekend went.

Yesterday was spent sipping several Americano’s as I caught up with a friend and did a bit of window shopping.

We stopped in J. Crew, which I used to love when it fit and now admire from a far, and I was kinda excited to try on a few things and see how close I was to fitting in (literally). I was so excited when both of the dresses I tried on fit! As in, if they didn’t hit above the knee I could have purchased them. There’s definitely nothing more motivating than progress! This is one of them:
The day was rainy and cold, so I hit up the gym for sixty minutes of intervals and near-death on the elliptical (be sure to check out my progress on the 21 Day Challenge!). I felt great–so strong. And then, the migraine of all migraines hit and I was knocked out for the rest of the day. I think the problem was that I didn’t eat enough throughout the day before the gym. Lesson learned!

Today I was freakin’ sore from a week of pushing it physically, so I laid low and did some cleaning and cooking. Tonight’s dinner, which, stupid me, I didn’t take any pictures of, was phenomenal: Mushroom, prosciutto, ricotta, and goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts. Unbelievably yummy and basically guilt free–a little cheese is okay every now and then, right? You gotta switch it up ­čÖé

I may not have snapped any pictures, but I do have the recipe:

Mushroom, Prosciutto, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 4 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 C mushrooms, chopped and sauteed
1/3 C fat-free ricotta cheese (you can use part-skim or full-fat, if you’re so inclined)
4 oz. goat cheese
Mrs. Dash seasoning

  • Placing the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap on a cutting board and pound them to approx. 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and place two slices of prosciutto on each piece of chicken
  • Chop mushrooms and saute over medium heat until cooked down.
  • In small bowl, mix the mushrooms with the ricotta and goat cheese until the mixture is well blended.
  • Spread 1/2 of the mixture on each chicken breast, leaving a small border without mixture all the way around.
  • Roll the chicken lengthwise and secure the end with toothpicks, creating a jellyroll shape.
  • Place rolled chicken in baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle on Mrs. Dash and place in 375┬░ oven for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Checking In

Good morning, friends! It’s a beautiful and sunny, if a tiny bit chilly, morning here in Minny. And it’s Friday!

Just a quick check-in to let you know that I have so much to share with you all–a bunch of new recipes, updates on the 21 Day Challenge (going on now, don’t miss it!), new workouts, and even more Words of Wisdom Wednesday (click or scroll down for the first entry in this new feature). But between (loving) my new job, working out, and trying to find time to eat dinner, prep for the next day and get some sleep…my schedule’s been a bit packed ­čÖé

The plan for the weekend is to spend a little time with some of my besties, do a ton of spring cleaning, test a few new recipes, and then hunker down with my laptop to get a bunch of posts ready for you guys. I love weekends like this, so I’m totally excited for this Friday (and the 5 miler I’ve got planned for this evening) to be over. I can’t wait to share some of the stuff I’ve been working on –very exciting!

What are your plans for the weekend? Tell me about ’em!

Spring Cleaning

Hi friends! A quick note to let you know that I’ve started my 21 day challenge again (for the last time!!) and you can/should view my progress here. I’ll be updating every day, so be sure to stop by and watch me quick some fitness butt ­čÖé

Also, take a look at the side bar over there on the right. Notice anything new? Oh yeah, I hit 10% yesterday! I’ve lost about 40 pounds now, and I barely lifted a finger. So, if I kick it up a notch and get to work, I should be able to stay on track!

Ok, on to the meat of this post. Last night I started a little spring purge. The perfectionist side of my personality has been all buddy-buddy with my neurotic list making self lately, so I’m trying to heed some advice I was recently given and control what I can, when I can. It’s no secret that the act of purging, whether it’s the old books collecting dust on a shelf or the negative baggage I’m lugging around day in and day out, is purifying and carries some serious positive energy with it. I’m lightening my load, in more ways than one.

So along with going through my ever-expanding list of household spring cleaning projects (which includes getting rid of clothes that are now too big for me and will never, ever fit me again), I’m also doing a little spirit cleaning. Completely by accident, I recently stumbled upon a post by another weight-loss blogger, The Token Fat Girl, that moved me to tears.

In this post, she talks about being so consumed with other people’s perceptions of how you’re living (or not living) your life, that you end up living a life that is less-than average. You become too afraid of the perceived negative consequences that come from living your life out loud, at full volume, cranked up to 10. She writes:

“I’m so consumed with what I assume others with think if I wear red lipstick, or paint my nails with glitter polish, or sit in the rain, or jog down the street, or eat a beautiful meal, or set a nice place setting, that I just don’t do it. And it’s me. No one else, just me. As if, my happiness is insignificant. Or that I don’t deserve to laugh and a good time or enjoy myself in this short life…Because the truth is, when it’s all said and done and I’m taking my last breath, no one will stand over me and thank me for not living my best life.”

A few years ago, I was at a concert with a really good friend and had somewhat successfully shoved and squeezed my large self into the seriously small arena chair. Like I do whenever I go to any sort of public event with assigned seating, I tried to make myself as small as possible and hoped against hope that no one would sit next to me, allowing me to be a bit more comfortable.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Some dumb girl and her under-18 boyfriend parked it next to us and I felt like I was totally encroaching on their space. I made some comment about how uncomfortable I was to my friend, how in-the-way I felt, and my friend interrupted me mid-sentence and said this: “Why are you uncomfortable? Because you’re just trying to live your life?”

That girl is wise beyond her years.

I do deserve to be happy and live my big, loud, sometimes obnoxious life. I am worthy of it. Absolutely. I can’t worry about what I look like when I jiggle/run my way down the road or what someone may (or, most likely, may┬ánot) be thinking of me when I simply walk through a Target store or go to happy hour with friends. I am no less than any other.

So, as part of my spring spirit cleaning, I’m attempting to purge any negative or less-than-worthy thoughts from my head.┬á No more “what will people think?” or “why bother?” or “I can’t.” No more excuses at all. I’m going to sweep them outta my head, my mindset, and my life, once and for all. Like they’re a pair of nasty, last season jeggings. And I encourage you to do the same.

What could you stand to spring clean out of your life?

Momentous

Guys. I’m pretty proud of myself. The other day, before my little moment of weakness, I had a kind of lax work day. So when I woke up, I slipped on my super fab pink running shoes and went out for a run on what was a gorgeous spring morning (yep, I’m still doing C25K–we’ll get there eventually, people!). I felt so good on the run, which was surprising since I hadn’t run in a week or so. I even did a few hills ­čÖé

After I finished up at work, I headed off to spin class. Yep. Two-a-days, baby! That alone is reason to be proud, but it gets better.

Why? Because this happened:
Ignoring the makeup-less, slicked back hair look I’m rocking post-workout, focus instead on the arms. Oh yeah. I wore a tank top to spin class ­čÖé I don’t wear dresses cut above the knee, I don’t like wearing swimsuits or t-shirts, and I especially hate wearing tank tops.┬á If anyone ever wanted to exact revenge on me for heinous crimes committed, they’d be wise to stick me in any sort of bathing suit or a tank dress cut above the knee. I mean, that is my water boarding, that is my Guantanamo Bay–my purest form of torture.

I, of course, was a wee bit self-conscious walking around the gym (already not exactly the easiest place for me to hide out), but it was a pretty big deal for me to even doing it in the first place, so…yay me!

I’m ready to get back on track on today, and try doing my 21 day challenge again–if only because I want these dang shoes!
I am shooting for two-a-days for the next three weeks, but I’ll take what I can get. Enough will be enough. Doing any kind of exercise consistently for three weeks, to build the habit, is the goal here. And there’s pretty new shoes at the end ­čÖé

PS–I made this over the weekend. Little daily reminder for myself. Loving it and it’s message ­čÖé

Too Much, Too Soon?

“One of the secrets of success is to refuse to let temporary setbacks defeat us.”

Yesterday was what, I believe, most would label as unsuccessful.

I’m lacking consistency these days. Despite massive water drinking and detoxifying food eating and actual hardcore working out, my weight has plateaued. I can’t push through whatever mental barrier it is that’s keeping me from working out consistently. I don’t prepare myself for success as well as I should, I don’t go to sleep early enough, thus causing me to be too tired to get up and work out in the morning. I plan more than I take action.

So yesterday I had a sort of breakdown about all this. I’ll spare you the crazy cat lady behaviors, but let’s just say it involved hyperventilating and compulsive list making. Oh, and some binge eating. I mean, it was mostly healthy food binging, but binging it was nonetheless. And I didn’t work out at all. So it’s back to day 1 of my 21 day challenge.

I began wondering if I’ve taken on too much, too soon. Especially after reading this article. But really, what choice do I have? My situation demands that I proceed this way, because, for years now, my life has been too much–too much food, too much sitting around, too much feeling sorry for myself, and too much closing myself off from life.

I’m not quite sure what it is that’s holding me back. I know what I want, I know how to get it, I have everything I need to get it. So what’s the hold up? All I can do, I guess, is keep trying. Seeing relatively small setbacks like this as just that. Not reasons to completely give up and go buy some cats and a muumuu.

I know this time is different. This journey is different. It feels more permanent, it feels more whole, it feels more like a lifestyle change than a diet or wanting to lose weight for superficial reasons. This feels like wanting to be healthy, reclaiming my future, becoming the person I’ve always felt I am inside.

So why do I doubt myself? Why do I get bogged down in the details? Why can’t I channel the Nike marketing Gods and just do it? Why??

This is my Friday: iced coffee and unabomber-esque to-do list scribbles.

It’s Friday, I’ve got myself a gigantic iced coffee and a gigantic to-do list geared towards getting me back on track. Which I plan to do…now.

Got any suggestions on how to just freakin’ do it, dear readers? How do I take all of these good intentions and turn them into good actions?

Drop It Like It’s…Yogurt?

21 Day Challenge, Day 2: 30 min. cycling, 2 min. plank
***
I am on such a greek yogurt kick these days! It’s in everything I make, I mix in anything I can, and I’m licking the tub clean when it’s empty…yikes! But it’s SO good! And good for me, so what are you going to do? My favorite, in case you were wondering, is definitely Chobani. I’ve had a few people comment that it’s higher in sugar and calories than other brands, but to me it’s worth it. The amount of protein, the flavor options, taste, texture, and consistency are by far the best out there. Unpaid and uninfluenced, I will sing Chobani’s praises ’til the end. It’s changed my life ­čÖé HA!

When I get on a food fix like this, I always try to find new ways to incorporate it into my food. And thanks to Pinterest, this practice has become much easier. I recently came across a pin of strawberries dipped in the Cho and then frozen hard. Being that strawberries are out of season here right now, I thought I’d see what happens when you nix the strawberry and freeze the yogurt alone. Turns out, you get little pillows of creamy, frozen goodness.
I made two flavors of my little yogurt drops: peach and lemon. The peach has mini nuggets of real peach, while the lemon has actual lemon zest laced throughout. Each 6 ounce cup created about 20 drops the size of a quarter.

To make, simply fill a piping bag (or a normal sandwich bag) with the yogurt of your choice. Just barely cut the tip of the bag and pipe (squeeze) the yogurt onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Place the tray into the freezer for at least an hour. Then package them up and store them in the freezer for a cool little treat anytime you get a craving!
Stay tuned for more yogurt-y goodness to come! Some ideas I’ve been kicking around are: freeze pops, yogurt dipped fruit (blueberries, pineapple, banana), almonds, yogurt cheesecake bites, and chocolate chip yogurt drops.

Got an ideas for me? Do you like greek yogurt? How do you like your yogurt?

Week of the Smoothie

First things first:
21 Day Challenge, Day 1: 30 min. cycling
***
You have to prepare for success. I think that’s pretty much common knowledge. There are always, in every situation in life, those rare dummies who luck out and win the lottery or become rich and famous when they sleep with the right person and tape it for all to see and mooch on to other notorious do-nothings and get Ryan Seacrest to make them an inane tv show and then make millions getting fake married.

But I digress.

I’ve been making an effort to eat more of my daily calorie allotment in the morning/afternoon vs. at dinner time. Because, if I don’t, I get home from work/the gym. And then I have nothing to do. And then I sit and, as I’ve explained over and over, watch tv and eat. So to help with that issue, on Sunday afternoon I took the time to put together a week’s worth of substantial, super yummy, super nutritious smoothies. One for breakfast every day this week! I layer all the ingredients in sandwich bags and freeze. Then, in the morning, simply add milk to the blender, add the baggie of smoothie contents and blend to perfection!

Smoothie makin' station!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana
2 Tbsp Chocolate PB2
1 banana
1/2 C plain greek yogurt (I adore Chobani!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C milk of choice (I prefer almond milk)

Mango Tangerine
Strawberry Banana
Blueberry
Mixed Berry (strawberry, blackberry, & blueberry)

For the four smoothies above, I followed this recipe:
1 C fruit (for mango tangerine, I used 1/2 C mango chunks and 2 mini tangerines)
1/2 C plain greek yogurt
1 C spinach
1/2 banana
1/2 C milk of choice
drizzle of honey

Happy slurping!
What’s your favorite smoothie mash-up?

21 Day Challenge

Conventional wisdom claims it takes roughly 21 days to form or break a habit. Have you guys heard this before? I don’t know if it’s true, but I’m putting it to the test.

In order to get myself in the mindset that some form of exercise or movement is required at least once, if not twice, a day, I’m issuing myself a 21 day challenge. Starting tomorrow (April 4) and running through April 25, I will work out at least once a day. Hopefully twice a day. For the life of me, I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to get moving. I always feel better after I do it, my joints and other various body parts aren’t sore the morning after (like they are when I don’t work out), and it’s my key to success on this journey. But I guess 20-odd years of a bad habit is a bit tough to break.

In each post during the next 21 days, I’ll share what I did for exercise that day. It may not always be seriously kick-ass or interesting, for that matter, but it’ll still be work. 21 days shouldn’t be that difficult. Let’s see if I can do it…


What motivates you to get moving every day?