Monday, April 28, 2014

Changing Your Mindset

Hello!  I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and are starting your week off on the right foot.  Monday's set the tone for your week, so if you are prepared with healthy meals and snacks, and have your workouts scheduled you will be more likely to stay on track for the day and set a healthy tone for your week.  Do you prepare your food and set your weekly workout schedule ahead of time?

 I have been working on staying on track on the weekends as much as I am during the week.  This weekend was great! We went out to dinner Friday night and I had Chilean sea bass, its my favorite fish, with some spinach and tomatoes.  It is easy to skip the bread basket now, I don't feel tempted or miss it at all.  I think that once the grains and white processed stuff is out of your system you don't crave it anymore.  On Saturday we had a wedding, and like most weddings I knew it would be a while till we had dinner so I ate some chicken and veggies before we left.  Smart move on my part, it was family style and the food took a really long time to get.  So I had to wait for the chicken, meat and veggies to make their way, after passing up two huge plates of sauce laden pasta, and honestly it didn't even look good to me.  Once the chicken came I noticed it was breaded (damn), but the meat looked okay so I piled that on with some zucchini, summer squash and carrots.  I ate enough until I was full and then drank a ton of water.  I decided I wanted to see if I could keep up the willpower to not drink... and to my surprise I was able to.  After the wedding we went with some friends to another bar, and then we decided to grab a bite to eat, thankfully, because I was hungry!!  We went to a coney island, not the best place for clean eats, but the only place open at 2 am, besides the drive thrus and you know how I feel about those!  I had a tomato and spinach omelet with some bacon, and it was decent and Paleo at least.  Waking up the next morning was awesome because I wasn't hungover and didn't have a stomach ache from eating foods I know I shouldn't.  All in all a successful weekend.

This got me to thinking about how important your mindset is to reaching your goals.  If you truly believe that you can achieve your goals, you are halfway there.  When you are going into a situation where you are not totally in control of the food situation you have to do the best you can and prepare yourself mentally ahead of time.  It is easy to give in to what others are doing or have a drink because everyone else is if you haven't planned ahead of time and decided to stay strong in your convictions.  I am working on my goals of losing fat and gaining muscle, but at the same time I am working on believing that I can create the body that I want.  It is so much easier to give up when you are not seeing the results you want as fast as you want.  The hard part comes from staying the course even when things get tough!  I know that if I give into temptation every time it is there then I will never reach my goals.  Have you ever made it through a night of temptations and then realize that you had the strength to do that all along?  It feels really good to stay the course and stay on track.

I have changed my mindset to Food as Fuel.  This helps to put only good food in and skip the junk that will make me feel like crap.  I am also listening to my body and eating when I am hungry, stopping when I am full and allowing a few treats when I want them.  The only thing that I really crave or want is dark chocolate.  I have found a few clean versions of the treats that I want and stick with those when I want chocolate.  The first is Alter Ego 85% Organic Dark Chocolate, one square is satisfying and very low in sugar, the second is Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (I know PB is not paleo, but the small amount I have is not going to throw me all off), I usually have one a week when I feel like I need some chocolate. Once you stop eating processed stuff with lots of sugar the organic dark chocolate tastes sweet enough.  When you eat the processed stuff with all the sugar it sets off a chemical reaction in the pleasure center of your brain and this will make you crave those kinds of foods,   so when you make the decision to stop eating that stuff your body will detox of those chemicals and you stop craving them.  This is why Paleo has worked so well for me, after the initial week or two I stopped craving and missing the processed foods.  I now know that if it is Paleo I can eat it and if not I don't.  Whatever your specific eating plan is make the decision to stick to it and give it your all, you will be surprised how strong you really are.

Your mind is so powerful when it comes to achieving your goals.  Really set your intentions and constantly remind yourself why you are working on your goals, this helps to keep you on track.  There is a blog I read Glam Legacy Fit written by Anna Richardson, WBFF competitor, and a few of her sayings that have stuck with me.  The first is "Why NOT Me?"  This one keeps me going when I am ready to give up because I am not seeing the results as fast as I would like.  I really still want to give a bikini competition a go before we have another baby, so I am trying to keep that in the back of my mind on days like those.  The second is "Results are beyond genetics, work hard and the results will come!"  Now that I am older I don't lose weight as fast as I once was, and I have to push harder and keep my nutrition cleaner.  I have been consistent with my weight training workouts for 6 weeks, but have only started adding in the heavier weights the past few weeks.  I have been doing Paleo for 4 weeks now, and besides a few cheats, I have been doing well with that.  I am going to stay on pace and keep my goals in mind and not quit when the going gets tough, I will push harder and keep moving forward!

How do you keep moving toward your goals?  What are your mantras and motivations?  Have you set your WHY?

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Feature Fridays: Dani Holmes-Kirk

Happy Friday Fitness Friends!  I hope that you are having an awesome week and you have been making your health and fitness a priority in your life!  Today's Feature Friday is from Dani who blogs at Weight Off My Shoulders, and she is sharing her personal and inspiring story with us today.  She has been able to overcome many obstacles and find her happy healthy self with the help of running and Weight Watchers.  She also just completed the Boston Marathon, way to go girl!  After you read her story be sure to check out her blog and follow her on her social media sites.  

Dani's Story:
When picturing myself as a child, I think of a little dirty blonde haired girl with a little belly. I can flash forward to seventh grade and being "MOO-ed" at while waiting for the bus near my house. Speaking of the bus, I can channel the sadness when the seniors would snicker at my weight.

All of the negative moments planted little moments in my head, which spawned a lifetime of self-doubt, poor self-image and depression. It festered and resulted in eating disorders (both bulimia and anorexia), cutting, previously mentioned depression and ballooning to a weight of 235 (maybe even higher - I stopped getting on the scale).

In 2009, I decided it was enough and time for a change. I wanted to lose weight, but in a healthy and controlled manner. I knew there had to be a way for me to do that. Enter Weight Watchers. I went to my first WW meeting on November 2, 2009 and weighed in at 217.4. Well at least I wasn't at my highest anymore. But on that day, I swore to myself I would never see the 200s again.

Weight Watchers taught me how to change my life both physically and mentally. I learned that there is more to weight loss than what you put in your mouth. With the help of Weight Watchers, I shed 64 pounds and hit my goal weight in January 2012. 

Along the way I shed pounds, but gained confidence, happiness, an active life and a new passion for running.

I had started running in 2005 as a way to lose weight and from January 2005 to September 2006 I ran 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon and a full marathon, but breaking up with running for over four years. 

But after suffering a herniated disc and undergoing back surgery (a microdiscectomy) in January 2011, I fell back in love with the sport when I was cleared to regain activity in June 2011. Since then I have run countless 5ks, 15 half marathons and 4 marathons (including 2 Boston Marathons). 

In addition, I took on the biggest fitness goal of my life in January 2014 - completing the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. The Dopey Challenge was 4 races in 4 days for 48.6 miles - 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Without Weight Watchers and my healthy living journey, I wouldn't have had the confidence to even attempt something like the Dopey Challenge. 

There are times when I struggle, but I think back to why I started and look at my foot where I have my mantra tattooed: "Finish What You Started!" 

For others who have hit goals and are trying to maintain, here are my top 5 tips:
1) Find challenges that motivate you - either online through social media or at your local gym
2) Keep a healthy-balanced diet in mind
3) Drink plenty of water
4) Use a race or another fitness goal to keep you active
5) Find a support system that will be there through the ups and downs of maintenance

Connect with Dani:

Thanks so much to Dani who shared her amazing story with us today!  I love that she has her mantra tattooed on her foot, how cool is that!  She proves that you can overcome the past you and the self doubt and become the person you want to be and create the life you want to live.  If you have a story you would like to share for feature Fridays, please send me an e-mail.  Put your heart and soul into living your best life! 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paleo Week 3 Update + The Healthy Smoothie Bible

Hello,  I have been super busy lately and have been spending more time with little A outside enjoying the spring weather that has finally arrived.  I am into week 3 of Paleo and I am still really loving it.  I have had some "non-paleo" food items and some gluten, which makes me realize how horrible I feel when I eat processed carbs that have gluten in them.  Since we have been mostly cooking and eating at home I can feel the difference when I eat a meal at a restaurant, even if it is a Paleo meal, I just feel better when I cook and eat my own food.

I am really enjoying the way I feel on Paleo and I know that I will continue to eat this way as a lifestyle and not just as a "diet", with a few modifications.  I missed coffee too much, so I have added that back in.  I searched high and low for a non-dairy creamer that didn't have any junk ingredients without any luck, so I am enjoying a little of the Organic Valley Hazelnut or French Vanilla half and half.  This is the only dairy I have added and so far it doesn't bother my tummy.  I am also learning more about my eating habits because I am focusing on how I feel and listening to body.  Which I think is important to learn no matter what eating plan you follow.  If I am hungry...I eat!  When I am full...I stop!  If I am craving chocolate...I eat a little!  The one thing that I have learned is that if I totally deprive myself of what I crave...mostly chocolate, then I will binge on more than I would have normally had if I just let myself have a little.  I also enjoy that I am not having to track everything in a food log, now don't get me wrong, I still think it has it's place when you are staring on a fat loss plan to get the feel of how many calories you need and what your macro-nutrients look like.

Right now I am about about 90-95% Paleo on a day to day basis and I think this is where I will stay.  I don't miss grains at all.  I have added a few of my plant based protein shakes a week after a really hard workout, and the creamer in my coffee.  Those are the 2 non-paleo foods I eat and since they don't make me feel crappy I will keep them in my diet.   

Here is what a typical day looks like for me on Paleo:
Breakfast: 2-3 eggs usually scrambled
2 Applegate Farms Organic Chicken apple sausage
1/2 grapefruit
Green tea (home brewed) or organic coffee with a little Organic Valley half and half (hazelnut or french vanilla)
*A few times a week I will make banana pancakes.  You can find the recipe here.

Workout around 10:30/11:00
Post-workout- Vega Sport Protein (Vegan- chocolate) or a meal- chicken breast with a veggie (sometimes 1/4 sweet potato)

Lunch- Salad with greens, carrots, celery, cucumber and lean protein (chicken, pork, fish, etc.) for dressing I use olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Snack- 1 apple with approx. 2 tbsp almond butter or 1/4 cup cashews and a banana

Dinner- Pan roasted pork chop with Brussels sprouts or a turkey burger with green beans and tomatoes

The easiest thing about Paleo is that you always have a lot of veggies to fill your half your plate then fill the rest with lean protein.  If you feel that you need a little more carbs add some berries or have one quarter of a sweet potato with some cinnamon and coconut oil.

If you are thinking about giving Paleo a try, I highly recommend it.  I have had a few friends and family start it.  It is not going to be for everyone, but if you are not feeling amazing with your current way of eating...give Paleo a try for 30 days.  I am here to help with any questions you may have!

Recently I received this beautiful book to review and share with you all.  The Healthy Smootie Bible was written by a friend of a friend of mine who got us connected.  I am so excited to be able to review and share some of the recipes with you.  If you have read any of my previous posts on Green Smoothies you know how amazing whole food smoothies are for your health.  If not make sure you do!  I will try a few of these delicious recipes and share them with you all and will provide a full book review.  In the meantime if you want to know more about this book or purchase one for yourself, head over to The Healthy Smoothie Bible and check it out! 

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Feature Friday: Sam Gispanski

Happy Friday!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!  Today's Feature Friday is from Sam from Blonde_n_Strong, who I met on Instagram and asked if she would share her story with us.  She worked hard, believed in herself and has become the strong, fit person she always knew she could be.  After reading her story make sure to head over and follow her on Instagram.

Sam's Story:   

Looking back at where I started, there is a constant reminder of who I will never be again. Throughout this journey I have developed courage, desire, and to become the best version of me. Growing up an athlete and continuing to play sports well into my collegiate years, I had always had an athletic build. Diet was something that never crossed my mind. I would eat whatever I wanted and maintain my weight because of all the sporting events. My love of the game is what got me through each and every practice. I didn’t enjoy the exercise aspect of sports. I did it because I HAD to.
Things quickly changed after graduating college in 2010. I no longer had the “commitment” to working out. Coaches were not telling me when to run, or lift a certain amount of weights, all of the responsibility was put on me. This aspect was deleted from my life. My career became my main priority. The excuses grew and time got away from me. I had gained 30 pounds in year. The doctor had sent me for tests and blood work to figure out what was causing this rapid weight gain. Selfishly, I hoped it was something because I didn’t want to take accountability for my actions. In reality, I knew that I was my own worst enemy. Every weekend I went out to dinner and drinks. I would wake up feeling awful, but it didn’t stop me from repeating this week after week. While accepting the fact that I was going to be a “bigger” person the rest of my life, I had no confidence. Humor was a coping mechanism I used to cover up my real feelings. The self-destruction had to stop and a change had to be made. I knew that this wouldn't be possible on my own.
With the help of my best friend, Erin, we made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle. This started out as wanting to lose weight and get in shape. It rapidly turned into so much more. We turned over a new leaf for a healthy lifestyle with lifting weights and eating clean. Though this process hasn't been easy, it has been a life changing learning experience. In the beginning, we thought that being healthy meant giving up all of our favorite foods, while eating very little. Soon we realized this is not what being healthy was. We have been able to find healthy alternatives for all of our favorite foods and are eating more now than we had ever before in our lives. One of the most important things that we have learned on this journey is to educate yourself. Knowledge is power and without it you can't succeed. 

At the start, I thought that endless hours of cardio would be the only way to achieve my goals. But soon realized how much of a stereotype this was. While maintaining this lifestyle I workout by lifting heavy 5-6 days a week. Lifting weights is the key to my success. By building muscle I've created a foundation and constant fat burning machine. As ladies, we sometimes believe that lifting weights will make us bulky. However, the reality is that it makes you look strong and fit. Skinny doesn't always mean fit. Along with exercise, I have been able to achieve my goals through proper nutrition, by eating 5-6 small meals a day. Part of my daily diet includes my favorite pre-workouts, Cellucor C4 and Celsius. No day is complete without a jar of Naturally More peanut butter and a Quest bar. 

Along with this change, there has been both positive and negative feedback. What people do not understand is that it is not a diet, but a lifestyle change. I found myself a much happier person. My actions and the way I carried myself were different than before. The confidence I had once lost, found its way back.

Sam's Tips:

1.     Teamwork makes the dream work. Find a workout buddy that will push you to your limits. Having an amazing support system will not only help you achieve your goals, but they will push you to new heights you never thought were possible.
2.     Consistency is key.
3.     No Excuses! There is always time to get a workout in your day. Remember an hour is only 4% of the day.
4.     This is a process. Not a quick fix. Patience is a virtue.
5.     Positive attitude = Positive results

About Sam:

My name is Sam and I am a 25 year old elementary school teacher living in Western Pennsylvania. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Being a foodie, I like to try new restaurants and foods. Shopping for workout clothes and products are also some of my favorite things to do. Just remember fit is not a destination, it is a way of life. Love it. Embrace it. Live it.

Instagram: blonde_n_strong

Thanks so much to Sam for sharing her story with us.  Her hard work has paid off and she is enjoying living a healthy and fit life.  She shows that if you work hard and truly believe in yourself you can achieve anything!  Way to go girl!  You are an inspiration! 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Feature Fridays: Smitha Barki

Happy Friday!  I am so happy that the weather has finally changed for the better and we can get outside and play.  I have been spending time outside with Ariana and have had a few fun trips to the park.  It is so fun to see how much more confident she is the on playground this year!  We are going out to dinner tonight, to give ourselves a break from all the cooking, it feels great to cook and eat about 90% of our weekly meals, but it will be a welcome break to deciding what to cook and all the clean up that comes after the cooking.  We are going to Andiamo, a local Italian place, and I have been in the mood for a good fish.  I have already planned my plaeo meal ahead of time so it makes it easier when we get there.  Yesterday was a total "off" day for me, I was tired and really sore from my leg workout on Tuesday, and to top it all off I had a stomach ache (um...I ate some coconut milk ice cream and had a glass of wine on Wednesday night, see I'm not perfect), but it left me with a bad stomach ache.  After the park in the morning we took a nap and had a very chill night.  I didn't eat a lot so today after a trip to the grocery store I am like...EAT ALL THE FOOD!  I bought some ingredients for some paleo treats I am going to make this weekend.  I will let you know how that goes! 

Well enough about me, today Smitha from The Faux Runner shares how she fell into her love of running!  She has completed an impressive amount of marathons and half marathons and is learning to take care of herself and stay healthy for her family.  Be sure to head to her blog, Facebook and other social media sites and follow her running journey. 

Smitha's Story:
I weighed 203lbs the day I gave birth to my second kid in December, 2008This number was just 25lbs more than my “normal” weight so I didn’t really care much or do anything to work off the weight.  

But In September of 2009, my husband forgot my birthday. I was upset but determined not to act “childish” and didn’t mention it to him. The next day was the 10k Labor Day Classic. I signed up at the expo just to get away from him, without having to specifically tell him that he missed a very important day. I crawled up the hills, and slid down the downhills, and finally finished with a huge grin on my face.
But in that runner’s high I did something completely out of character – I signed up for the ING Half Marathon in March 2010.

Christmas Eve, it hit me that I’d signed up for something WAY bigger than a 10k. That it wasn’t something that I could just show up and walk. That I actually needed to have a plan to tackle this. I needed to TRAIN!! I printed out a basic training plan and religious followed it. I found inspiration and support online through friends and sites like DailyMile.

Holding up the finishers medal after hobbling across the finish line in tears was more than enough motivation to keep me going. And 4 marathons and 10 half marathons later, I am still going.

I am proud to call myself a runner now. A very slow one, but still a runner who loves the journey that running takes me on. I enjoy running with friends and my kids. I truly believe in the “running is a metaphor for life” philosophy. I have learned so many life lessons through running and continue to learn.  While my initial motivation was weight loss and proving that I could run a distance of 13.1, somewhere along the way it became less about the number on the scale and more about the feeling that running evoked in me. The knowledge that I am laying a strong legacy of health and fitness for my kids motivates me on.

About Smitha:
Originally from India, Smitha was a nerd all her life with no thought for fitness until she moved to Melbourne, Australia and adopted the outdoor lifestyle that seemed synonymous with Aussies. When she moved to Atlanta, work, life, kids and everything else took over until a chance incident turned her into a runner. She is now passionate about fitness and having fun while being fit. Along with trying to juggle being a super mom, Smitha blogs at TheFaux Runner

Connect with Smitha:

Thanks so much to Smitha for sharing her story with us today!  I look forward to hearing more about your running adventurers in the future! 

Today I did a guest post over at Running On Happy, Rachel, has been running a weekly segment on finding the workout-life balance.  Head over and read my story on her blog

I hope that you are having a wonderful day and that it is sunny where you are!  
If you weren't the winner of the yoga mat bag, don't fret!  I have a 15% off any yoga mat bag code (ONFIRE15) for you to use until April 25th.  Thanks to Melissa from Goodmarvin for the bag for the giveaway and for the code!!   

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything!

 Hello!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!  The sun is shining here so that makes for a great day! I have a few clients to train today, which is fun, and I am also hoping to take little A to the park for a little bit.  I have a mish-mash of topics to share today which is why today's post is called a little bit of everything!

First I want to give you an update on Paleo, it has been over a week now and I am truly happy with my change to this way of eating.  I am not constantly hungry or thinking about food!  I am cooking great healthy meals and eating a few snacks throughout the day.  The best part is that I am not weighing or tracking my food.  I am listening to my body and feeding it whole real food.  When I am hungry I eat, and as long as it is Paleo I can eat it until I am satisfied.  For me it doesn't feel like a "diet" or short term fix it feels like a way of life change.  If you have any questions on Paleo or trying it out please feel free to shoot me an e-mail.  I would love to hear from you.

 My next topic today is my blog re-design!  I wanted to freshen and clean up the look of my blog so it is easier to navigate.  I blog with Blogger and they have a ton of great templates to work from.  I don't really have the budget to hire a designer so I got creative with my template.  I also created a new banner to give it a fresh look.  What do you guys think?  I love chevron and decided to add a little touch to spice it up!  I used PicMonkey to create the banner and Feature Friday's logo.  If you do any kind of online design their site is awesome.  Stay tuned for a future post with more of a how-to do a re-design for FREE!  I would love your feedback on the re-design, feel free to leave me some comments!

Next up... I am a new I'm Fit Possible Ambassador!  I'm really excited to be a part of this growing fitness community!  We are a group of fitness minded bloggers and social media rock-stars that help to spread the word of health and fitness.  Their mission is so in line with mine...I really want to inspire you to live a healthy life, fall in love with fitness and take care of your body! Stay tuned for more info as I get involved with this amazing community!  

 Last, but not least...The Winner of the Spring Yoga Mat Bag (by Goodmarvin) Giveaway is Kristen K!  Thanks so much for entering and Congrats on winning!  I will be in contact to get your info so we can get your prize to you.  Thanks to all who entered, if you want a bag for yourself head on over to Goodmarvin's Etsy Site and check out her cute patterns for the yoga bags!
I have also linked up at the Anything Goes Linky Party at Fit, Foodie Runs.  Head over and check out some new blogs and enter to win her coffee giveaway!

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Follow Up From My Integrative Health Appointment + Paleo-yea!

Hi Fitness Friends!  I hope that you are doing well today!  Like I said on Friday I have been busy and wasn't able to hop on last week and post!  So here I am today hoping to catch you up on what's been going on in my life.  Last Monday I had my follow up visit at the integrative health care practice I was telling you about in my post last month.  I got the results from my blood work...the PA I met with told me I have some of the healthiest blood work results she has ever seen!  This really makes me so happy.  Being healthy and taking care of my body is so important to me and to know that my work has been paying off makes every meal I cooked and every workout I've done worth it.  I want to live a long healthy life, and it seems like I am on the right path!  However, it still didn't give me an answer as to where the belly fat came from and what was the cause.  Christina, the PA I am working with, suggested I tried eating Paleo.  She suggested The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf.  That afternoon I purchased and downloaded it on my Nook.

It has been just about a week since I have started eating the Paleo way and I feel amazing.  I have finally been able to lose weight, if you remember back I have been having a hard time losing even a pound or an inch (as the scale isn't the only important measure of fat loss).  So to hop on the scale 6 days later and to be down quite a few pounds was awesome, not to mention that my stomach is finally flat and I don't look and feel so bloated!  I have found something that works with my body, allows me to eat real whole food and feel amazing.  I am doing Paleo 100% for a full 30 days, then I may (depending how my body reacts) add a little bit of cheese (once a day) and a little organic creamer to my coffee (I miss it just a little).  I have been drinking green tea in place of the coffee and will most likely rotate green tea and coffee.  The best part is that my hubby has been doing this with me and he is feeling great and losing weight too.  I will keep you posted as we continue with this lifestyle change, as I will always stay on Paleo.

If you don't know much about Paleo, as I didn't before last Monday, I will give you a brief overview.  Basically the premise is taking our eating from the Standard American Diet, SAD (and yes it is), to how our ancestors ate before the industrialization of our food.  Food processing, grains and dairy have only been around for about 10,000 years which pales in comparison to how long our ancestors ate what they could hunt and gather.  Before this time the diseases that haunt our country were nearly non-existent.  Diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune disorders and cancer are caused by foods that we are not meant to eat.  So Paleo focuses on what you can eat, lean meat, poultry and fish, all veggies with a limit on starchy veggies and squashes, fruit and nuts and seeds.  These are foods that are anti-inflammatory.  They don't torment your gut, where 70 % of your immune system is thus creating overall health and well being.  If you want more info on the can and cant's of what you can eat head over to Robb Wolf's website, there is a ton of great info.

I have been cooking a lot and I love how easy it is to create Paleo meals.  This meal is oven roasted pork with pan roasted Brussels sprouts, mandarin oranges and for "dessert" sweet potato mash with coconut oil and cinnamon. I have been trying to get creative with our meals and I love Pinterest, because there are so many great recipes and I have tried a few and love them.  I can't wait to make more! I created a Paleo Board, feel free to check it out and follow if you are thinking about trying out Paleo, which I highly recommend!

If you are eating Paleo I would love to hear from you!  Do you have any recipes you love and want to share?


Also last week I guest posted on Former Fitness Flunky's blog about HIIT training, titled Tell Your Fat to HIIT it.  Head over there to read the full post.  Thanks again to Alicen for having me!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Feature Fridays: Nicole Scott

Happy Friday!  I haven't been posting much because I have been so busy lately!  I promise to hop on next week and fill you in. I am excited to share Nicole's story with you today!  She is the mom of four adorable kids and is an inspirational mother and marathoner, she also blogs at My Fit Family, be sure to head over there after you read her story!

Nicole's Story:
I didn't truly start out on my health and fitness journey until about a year after my daughter was born.  In 2007, I joined a gym because I wanted to lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight I had gained and it was around that time, I discovered a passion for running.  I jumped on the treadmill and discovered I couldn't run one mile without stopping.  Something happened inside me, and I saw that mile as something I wanted to conquer.  Before I knew it, I was running one mile without stopping and I set another goal to get to two.  Within a few months I was running my first 5k and a few months later my first 10k and I realized running was something I enjoyed--not only for the physical benefits but because of how it made me feel on the inside.

The following year I got pregnant with my twins and because of two previous miscarriages, I decided to cut back on virtually all physical fitness activities.  I would walk, but anything more strenuous hurt my body too much physically. I gained over 65 pounds during my twin pregnancy, but every pound was worth it because I delivered two healthy babies!

I remembered the feeling running gave me, and as soon as I got clearance, I slowly eased back into running and training for my first half marathon at 7 weeks postpartum.  When my twins were 7 months old, I ran my first 13.1 miles and never felt so happy to see my husband and three children waiting for me at the finish line.  By that time, I realized that not only was it important to MOVE my body but to FUEL my body with healthy foods.  

In 2013 I had my fourth baby and even though I gained 45 pounds, I bounced back very quickly to my pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level. I attribute it to making good food choices (for the most part ;)) throughout my pregnancy, continuing with weight training and running all the way up until my due date.  I had a great pregnancy and delivered a healthy 9 lb 3 oz baby boy.  3 weeks later, I was back to running and a few months later, I decided to act on a dream, and I started training for my first ultra-marathon.  I am training my heart out to run a 50 mile race in May and also a  Double Marathon in July, while fundraising for a charity dear to my heart (The Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation)
It was a long journey--from the  moment I stepped into the gym in 2007 for the first time to where I'm at today--a marathoner, someone who loves weight training, and feeding myself and my family delicious and healthy foods. We love to indulge in things like pizza and burgers at our favorite restaurants, but on a daily basis, our family is nourished with healthy foods meant to support our active lifestyle.

I believe in chasing after dreams and that our bodies and minds are capable of amazing things.  I believe in the importance of moms taking care of themselves, both physically and emotionally--we constantly give and serve, and it gets easy to forget about our own needs and well-being.  I believe in eating for nourishment and health but also in living life and enjoying foods and not living solely off of plain chicken and brown rice.  I believe that women should be each other's biggest cheerleaders and we should stop comparing, gossiping, and tearing each other down because of our own insecurities.  I believe in the power of moving your body and finding your passion--whether it's running, cycling, yoga, pilates--whatever it is, there is something that will help add to your life--that will enhance it in a healthy and happy way.  I believe that life can be incredibly beautiful and yet sometimes so difficult it will take your breath away.  I believe my family and Faith are the two things I will always lean on, love and value most in life.

 About Nicole:
Born and raised in California, I'm currently living in Austin, TX with my superman husband, a quirky 7-year-old daughter, hilarious and sweet 4-year-old boy and girl twins, and the happiest 1-year-old baby boy on the planet. I'm a marathoner, health and fitness enthusiast, wanna-be ultra-marathoner, a cautious writer, former teacher and currently a stay at home mom. I'm wordy on paper but never in person. And I'm unapologetically raising my kids to be my mini-me's: big dreamers and hard workers. You can find me blogging my heart out at My Fit Family and at The Huffington Post

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Thanks to Nicole for taking the time to share her motivating and inspiring story with us today!  You are a wonderful example for your children! 

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