Portion size

This post is by request!  There are tons of great products now on the market that are already prepackaged and portioned for the busy adult.  However, you can save a great deal of money by buying the normal size pack and portioning it out yourself. I totally understand the desire to eat an entire pack or something if I sit at my desk or on the couch with the bag right in front of me.  But, with a little effort you can prepare a healthy snack to grab at any moment.

If you are like me, then you need to spend the time to portion food out before eating.  Although I don’t keep chips or candy in the house, I could easily finish off a container of cottage cheese or yogurt (which is unnecessary overindulging).  I spend a little bit of time each morning (which could be eliminated if I did it over the weekend) portioning out the perfect meals.  It is important to keep your lunch sack full of healthy options to eat throughout the day.

Let’s plan out your day! After purchasing your full pack of nuts, trail mix, veggies, and fruit, wash them and prep as if you were going to enjoy…but resist the temptation!  Next step, get some mini ziplock bags or these great Target portion bags http://www.target.com/p/up-up-portion-pack-64-ct/-/A-15698330#prodSlot=medium_2_1&term=snack+bags. Put just enough of the food item into the bag based on portion size.  The serving size on the package may not be a portion size.  Most beverages, for example, provide content for only drinking half the bottle…so you would double the information.

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Now, if you are like me and hate wasting money and want to be a bit greener, then check out these reusable snack and sandwich bags! I absolutely love my bags and I know they will come in handy when we start carrying snacks around for little Hailey! http://www.planetwiseinc.com/Planet_Wise_Snack_Bag_69_cat.html

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Another great tool for watching your portions is making sure you are using the small dinner plates.  Half of the plate should be healthy vegetables (corn and peas are not the greatest but will due if you simply cannot eat anything else).  A quarter of the plate should be protein and another quarter should be carbohydrates. When you use a 10″ plate and fill it with healthy vegetables, lean meats and good carbs, you will definitely have a happy stomach.

Hopefully this post has provided some helpful information on portion control.  It truly is all about planning ahead and preparing the snacks before you need them.  There are some great tips and ideas to organize your snack bags in your cupboard and fridge on pinterest.  If you need help, encouragement or links to the pinterest boards, just let me know!

Remember you can succeed with being a healthier and happier you this year! Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

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Every morning deserves a good start

Most people reserve their best breakfast for a Saturday morning. It may include pancakes, bacon, eggs, biscuits…even donuts.  Just the other day my family was reminiscing about Johnny’s bakery and how wonderful those donuts truly were.  We had no idea how they could have possibly gone out of business.  But, let’s face it, donuts are not a healthy or filling breakfast option (I know…shocker!).

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you should fill it with protein to help build lean muscle.  Skipping breakfast has been linked to being overweight and it generally does not save you any calories because by 10am you are starving and eat a bag of chips or whatever is in sight.

What does a healthy breakfast look like?  Well, multigrain cereal with almond milk, egg whites with lots of veggies, whole grain waffle or pancake with 2 TBS of peanut butter, or a delicious bowl of egg white oatmeal!  I found the recipe on http://thehealthyfoodie.com/fluffy-apple-cinnamon-egg-white-oatmeal/.  However, I have adapted the recipe a few times to give me different options.

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Egg white oatmeal:

1 1/2  Cup Water
1/2     Cup Oatmeal *not the instant or quick*
1/2     Cup Egg Whites

Bring the water to a boil and add the oats.  Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes.  Once the water is 3/4 of the way gone, then whisk in the egg whites slowly. Turn off the heat and add in your desired additions (below).

Flavor additions:
Per Thehealthyfoodie’s blog, you can add in a small apple and some cinnamon.  It is delicious this way.  However, I was getting bored and decided to switch up some things.  So far I have tried a small apple with agave syrup (delicious!), blueberries with a stevia packet, and a banana with a TBS of brown sugar.  All have been quite delectable.

This oatmeal is paired wonderfully with a nice large glass of WATER! Side note, my oatmeal comes out looking like mush and not the typical paste.  I’m quite impatient when it comes to waiting for the water to boil and just add my oats at the beginning.  To me, it all tastes the same!

Hope you have a wonderfully balanced day!  Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Positive starts make a HUGE difference

If every morning you woke up and said to yourself, “I am going to rock today!” Do you think you’d start to believe it?  It takes just 21 days to make something a habit…so why not make it a positive one?

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I’ve had numerous people tell me that I can be too optimistic.  My response to those people is that I would much rather see things in a positive light than to dwell on the negative and let that ruin my day.  Every morning I wake up (ok, I am woken up by the tiny infant in the next room) and I say, “Good morning, beautiful.”  Seeing her happy face puts an even bigger smile on my face!

During the day, I take short walks around the office or the house to clear my head and regroup.  Staying active throughout the day helps to relieve stress from daily tasks.  Take a moment now to get up and get some delicious tasting water!  But, come back to finish the rest of the blog!

Reading something motivational can be extremely empowering.  If you read a positive quote, news story, or even a friends Facebook update and you smile, then you’ve already had a slight change of mood.  People need to be reminded of the good in the world with all the negativity that is shown on the news. Positive and encouraging stories can bring people together that may not have had that opportunity before.  Any one remember the ALS Ice bucket challenge?  That challenge alone brought millions of people together via the web to fight a debilitating disease.

Finish your day on a positive note.  Whether you enjoy a good book, a bubble bath, or just snuggling up on the couch with your significant other, do this for you.  The end of the day is a great time to reflect on all of the good things that happened during the day.  Even if your car broke down, you were late to class, or the kids really pushed your buttons, find something that brought a smile to your face.  It could be as simple as, “I survived today with all the chaos that occurred.”

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Remember you are an amazing person and can do great things! Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

How much have you had to drink today???

No, I am not referring to cherry soda or alcoholic beverages. I am referring to good old H2O.  Water has so many benefits to our health and well being that we should be consuming roughly 1 gallon per day.  Although it may seem like a lot if you typically are not a water drinker, but soon enough you’ll be feeling all the benefits!

Some of the benefits of the clear (often bland) beverage are better skin, helps control calories, energizes your muscles throughout the day, and it helps flush all the bad crap we put into our bodies. An added bonus is that it can save you lots of money! When you are dining out most beverages cost as least $2.25 and that’s for the cheap stuff.  I decided years ago that if I could purchase a 2 liter for less than the beverage at the restaurant, then I would just get water.  I can’t drink a 2 liter during one meal, why should I spend that much money for a glass of bubbly sugar?  At home, if you are lucky, you can get water for free! I say that because I have well water and refuse to consume it on a regular basis.  However, reusing gallon containers, I can get clean spring water for just $0.25!

Ok, I get that water can be boring to consume constantly.  However, there are some great ways to enhance your H2O that won’t add unwanted sugar or calories.  Infuser water bottles are great to add any type or fruit, veggie, or even herb to flavor the water.  You can find bottles like these on amazon, at bed bath and beyond, and probably even Target!
http://www.amazon.com/Infuser-Water-Bottle-Commercial-INCLUDED/dp/B00JW02L9W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422207733&sr=8-2&keywords=fruit+infused+water+bottle

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If you are like me and can drink plain old boring water without added flavor, then a water bottle with the ounce markings is the way to go.  I love my Contigo water bottle because it holds 24oz and I know that I need to get through 3 of those bottles per day at work. http://www.amazon.com/Contigo-Autospout-Addison-24-Ounce-Watermelon/dp/B00C5G3PCC/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1422207693&sr=8-14&keywords=water+bottles

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It is important that you chose a water bottle that works for you.  Some people prefer straws, others glass, but make sure it is something that you can carry with you EVERY WHERE!  Also, you want to make sure that the water bottle is BPA free.  You don’t want the plastic breaking down and getting into your water.

Finally, if you are an avid pop/soda, coffee/tea, or alcohol drinker, then just scale back to start.  Don’t try to drink a gallon of water in one day.  Start with an 8oz glass of water right after you wake up.  Then exchange one beverage for the water and do that for a few days.  Then trade an additional beverage for another glass of water.  This allows your body to slowly detox from whatever sugary or flavorful beverage you were consuming.  Work up to the gallon a day by the end of week 2 and you’ll be smooth sailing from here on out!

PS. I am not being paid to advertise those specific water bottles, they are just what I like to use. Find what works for you!

Get up and get moving

How many people have started a new years resolution and just bailed on it a few weeks later?  I know I have done it numerous times over.  However, this year I am determined to make a happier and more confident me! That may mean that I need to work out 6 days a week (yes, I said 6) to feel like I accomplished something.  But, no matter what you do that gets you to your goal, do it!

If you are new to working out, consult with your physician, and then find a gym that suits your needs.  Don’t just go to “the no judgement zone” because it is cheap.  When something doesn’t cost much, you are more likely to say, “well, it’s only $10.” Drop that mindset at the door right now! Yes, there are those powerhouse type gyms where you walk in and feel completely out of place and that may not be the right choice for you.  But, find somewhere with encouraging staff, friendly members, and somewhere convenient.  It is much harder to skip a workout when the gym is on your way to or from work.

Next, you need proper shoes.  You may own a pair of tennis shoes that you use to exercise or go to the park.  But, odds are they are completely worn out and should be used to do yard work or hang around the house (if you are one of those people that just need to wear shoes at all times).  Visit a local running store like SecondSole.  They will be able to watch your step and find a shoe that fits your gait.  These shoes may be a bit more than you’re used to spending, but isn’t your health worth it!

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Finally, you need a positive and encouraging buddy.  Make it someone that won’t nag you about getting to the gym, but will meet you there and go through the sweaty workout with you! For me, I have drug my mom along for all of my fitness endeavors. She has competed in dozens of half marathons, completed her first full marathon this past year, pedaled 150 miles in two days, and can seriously lift some weights!  That women can sweat!  People question how she can handle watching her granddaughter because it can be a lot of work (esp. when the baby becomes mobile).  Well, she is active and loves being on the move herself.  I use her as motivation to continue going and to remain active as much as I can and she pushes me to go further.
(She may kill me for adding this photo. It is in preparation for my wedding and neither one of us were really working out or being too active at this time.)
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Remember you are an amazing person! Be confident! Be fit! Be you!

Confident and Fit Mom

Today marks the beginning of my blogging journey.  I am doing this for myself, for my daughter, and for anyone else that may need encouragement and positive energy.  I have always struggled with my self-esteem and how others perceive me.  I want everyone to like me and I want to feel like no one is judging me.  Well, apparently I am a fool and I am okay with that now.  After having my daughter (a post about the pregnancy and birth experience to follow at a later date), I realized that I want her to grow up feeling confident and strong in everything she does.  I don’t want her to feel like she needs to eat lunch in another room just because she is unsure of what others might think about her food choices or how much she is eating.  I don’t want her to feel like other people judge her as a stuck up person just because she may be shy or quiet.  I want her to love herself and to love others and the world around her unconditionally.

I am writing this blog because I started the same journey of self acceptance and self-appreciation four years ago.  I have struggled at times but have come a long way.  I still have a way to go and am excited to share my journey with you.  When I got married I was at my highest weight ever.  I told myself that I was going to diet and lose weight before the wedding, but I gave every excuse in the book why I wasn’t losing weight.  After our first wedding anniversary, I decided to participate in a 5k with a good friend of mine in memory of her son and my husbands good childhood friend.  The last time that I had really run in any type of event was 6th grade track and I absolutely dreaded it.  My goal at that time was to stay ahead of the last person on our team because she threw up at almost every race and I didn’t want to run into that (some motivation there!).  I started slowly thinking I could just jog around the block.  I didn’t even make it to the stop sign 500 feet in front of me.  I was embarrassed and disappointed that I had let myself get that out of shape.

As the race approached, I was getting better at running 3 miles without having to walk.  My husband was reminding me how he was going to train by eating a donut at least once a week.  I kept reminding him that the race was going to be a challenge if he didn’t at least attempt a jog at some point.  Well, race day came and lo and behold he beat me by a single stride.  I was devastated.  How could I spend months prepping for this race and he come out and beat me?  After that race, I got an itch.  I wanted to improve my running, I wanted to participate in more races, I wanted to drag more and more people into the race world *cough mom cough*.

Well, in just 4 years I’ve lost and kept off 25lbs by changing my eating habits, got pregnant and had a healthy baby girl, lost the baby weight, ran numerous half marathons (even a relay team while prego), and I am prepping for a full.

I hope you will be inspired to see a happier and healthier you as you start your own health journey.  The only way to succeed in a more confident you is to start something for yourself not because you want someone else to like you or notice you.  Do this for you.  Be there for yourself.  Hold yourself accountable and remember that you are loved and appreciated by so many people in this world that you don’t even know. Be confident, be fit, be you!