Monday, June 30, 2014

Finding The Balance of A Healthy Lifestyle

I have shared my story with you in the past but today I was thinking about all the ups and downs that I have had which have gotten me to where I am today.  The most important thing to me right now is finding and keeping the balance of being a stay at home mom, a wife, a personal trainer (online and in person), a healthy living blogger, and still taking the time to workout and eat healthy.  I know if I am eating healthy my family is too, since I am the one doing the shopping and cooking, and it is so important to keep my self, my hubby and our daughter healthy.  We only get once shot to take care of our bodies and I want to make sure we do.  Health is something that you don't think about until it is too late.

So thinking back to my ups and downs in terms of weight gain and loss over the years the one thing that I realized is that I was just trying to lose weight to look better.  Which is fine, it was motivating and it kept me the time.  Then I would reach my goals, get comfortable then start eating what ever I wanted.  I think the last straw for me was after I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy.  When I look at my pregnancy pictures I really can't believe that me, a personal trainer, let myself get so big.  After having my daughter and working slowly and consistently to lose the weight and get my strength back, I realized that I now had to take care of myself to be able to take care of my daughter and be a good example for her.  This was my why!  My reason for wanting to be healthy, happy and balanced.

 Here is my timeline from 2006- Now:
2006- I was probably about 180 pounds.  We had just gotten married, then tragically my best friend (and one of my bridesmaids passed away).  I was about 140 pounds when we got married.  I wasn't taking care of myself and I felt miserable.  I decided to do something about it and read The Eat Clean Diet, joined a gym and starting working out again.  The weight slowly came off and I felt so much better.  The endorphins from the exercise helped me to better deal with my grief.

2009- I maintained my weight loss and stayed consistent with my workouts and clean eating.  We will going out and enjoying married life and hanging out with friends.  I would drink on the weekends, but I made sure to stay on track about 80% of the time with my eating.  I was happy to be able to maintain my weight loss.  I became a personal trainer this year too and started working at Lifetime Fitness.  I was loving life and loved helping clients learn the benefits of exercise and clean eating.

2011-2012- In April 2011 I found out I was pregnant and I was overjoyed!  I really wanted to have a fit pregnancy.  However I was so tired and nauseous in the first trimester I slept a lot and wasn't getting to the gym before work.  As I progressed through my pregnancy work got harder and I was tired and achy.  In October 2011 I left Lifetime, did some training from home until I had my little one.  I didn't realize how big I had gotten until I saw that pic!  However, I wasn't going to dwell on it.  I knew once my doctor gave me the green light to exercise I would get back into it, which is just what I did.

2012-2013- It took me about a year to lose all the weight.  In the spring of 2013 my brother got married and I was standing up which gave me the motivation to lose a little more.  I finally was about 20 pounds less than when I got pregnant.  I knew that I need to be strong and healthy to take care of my growing little one.  From carrying the car seat and loading and unloading the stroller it was a lot to do on a daily basis and would only get harder the older she got.  I knew I wanted to stay strong.  I was lifting weights, walking, doing some Jillian Michaels workouts and eating healthy and balanced.  I was also breast feeding which helped keep my metabolism going (thanks mother nature!).

Now- I am happily maintaining my weight loss and know that I will never have a huge weight gain again.  I don't really care what the scale says, I just go by how I feel and how my clothes fit!  My goal is to keep building muscle and to do my HIIT workouts so I can keep up with my growing daughter.  She is 34 pounds now and still likes to be carried sometimes.  I want to be able to do that and be able to run, jump and play with her!  I know that taking care of myself and setting a good example is important.  She is used to mommy working out and plays while I workout in my home gym.  I am training some clients from home and working with others online.  I blog and stay active on social hope is to inspire others to live a healthy, happy, balanced life.  I want to be strong, have killer muscles and be all around healthy!  I know when I get pregnant again that I will stay fit and healthy!

We all have our ups and downs in weight loss and weight gain, the important thing is to find your healthy balance with eating whole real foods, exercising regularly, and still enjoying a little of the "treats" too!

If you are wanting to lose weight, add some muscle and learn to live a healthy lifestyle, but don't know where to start...I am now offering a 4 Week Shape Up Plan with or without 1:1 coaching.  If you need something more specific I also offer 1:1 fitness and nutrition coaching.  Check out the Fitness and Nutrition Programs page or shoot me an e-mail.  I would love to help you start living your healthiest life possible!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Perfect Paleo Pancakes + Paleo Re-Set

I LOVE pancakes!  I think that it was one of the hardest breakfast foods to give up when I switched to a Paleo lifestyle.  I have been working on the Perfect Paleo Pancakes, I have finally come up with a winner!  I have made them for my mom and daughter ( my 2 year old is a tough critic when it comes to pancakes), and they both loved them!  I thought that I would share my recipe with you so you can enjoy the grain free goodness of these pancakes.  Even if you don't eat Paleo, you will love these healthy and delicious way to start your day!

Perfect Paleo Pancakes
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tbsp. almond butter
2 tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2c. almond flour/meal
2 tbsp. ground flax
2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2-1 cup blueberries
1/4c. chopped raw pecans

Instructions: Mash ripe bananas in a bowl, mix in eggs and stir well.  Add almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla mix until combined.  Add in all the dry ingredients one at a time mixing well after each.  Right before cooking add in blueberries and pecans.  Scoop approx. 1/4 cup of batter into pan coated well with grass fed butter or coconut oil.  Cook pancakes on each side until batter is fully cooked.  Remove from pan and enjoy!

These really are the best pancakes!  They will be sweet enough from the blueberries and maple syrup that you won't need to top with anything!  Enjoy alongside some antibiotic and nitrate free bacon and organic free range eggs and you will have the energy you need to get you through your morning at work or your workout!

Paleo Re-Set:  

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I went off Paleo for a few weeks, not totally, but was eating things that are really not Paleo.  After a few weeks of eating like this I felt miserable.  That is when I absolutely knew that the Paleo lifestyle is the one for me.  I was doing great after 5 weeks of Paleo eating and working out lifting heavy weights.  Then we went away for a a weekend wedding and I had some not-so-paleo foods and the addiction and craving got me.  Sugar addiction is real and it took me back to feeling really low on energy, having mood swings and just overall really miserable.  My stomach was bloated and hurt and I couldn't get my self out of bed in the morning.  I finally had enough and as of Friday have been back on Paleo and I feel SO much better.

For me Paleo changed my life, I really feel like I am the best version of me when I avoid non-paleo foods and really focus on whole real foods to fuel my days and my workouts.  On another exciting note, my father-in-law lost about 40 pounds in a month of 100% Paleo and lowered his blood sugar drastically.  He is working with his doctor to monitor his numbers and is doing so great!  Have you been thinking of trying Paleo?  If you are feeling less than your best I suggest you at least try it for 30 days.  I picked up Practical Paleo and it is so great and very easy to follow if you want to start living the Paleo lifestyle right away.  It is well written and gives the why you should avoid non-paleo foods.

Here are a few reasons why I love Paleo and how it has worked so well for me:
*Improved digestion
*Better sleep
*Easier to wake up
*Better workouts
*Stable mood

*Clear skin and no more dark circles under my eyes
*Reduced seasonal allergies
*Steady high energy all day-no ups and downs
*Overall just feeling so much better!

I just want to share my exciting tank that Jackie from Pretty Fit Athletics made custom for me and made it a listing in her Etsy shop so you can buy one too!  Be sure to check out all her awesome tanks, they are made with the softest high quality fabric and are perfect to show your workout style!  Here is a pic of me sporting it during my leg workout this weekend!  You can even get 10% off with the code Angelena10.  I love all of my tanks from her shop!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Health In A Glass...Review of The Healthy Smoothie Bible

I love smoothies...any kind of whole food fruit and veggie smoothies!  So when I was given the opportunity to review The Healthy Smoothie Bible, I was excited to read it and try some new recipes.  I use my blender on a daily basis to make my protein shakes, but I haven't been making enough green smoothies.  When I got my beautiful and colorful copy I wanted a smoothie right away, the cover has some mouth watering smoothies and I was ready to dive in and see what I could learn about smoothies.

The layout of the book is simple and easy to follow.  You can read it straight through or skip around to the sections you are interested in.  If you are a smoothie beginner I would read through before going out and buying all the necessary tools and ingredients.  Farnoosh tells you her touching and relate-able story and then goes on to discuss all the health benefits of adding these delicious smoothies to your life.  This is not a "diet", but a way of adding a daily dose of health in a glass, as I like to call it.  Even if you just add a few whole fruit and vegetable smoothies each week you will reap the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients you may be missing out on.   

As you keep reading, Farnoosh explains the best ingredients to use and why they are healthy for you.  I really enjoyed this section, as there were a lot of ingredients that I hadn't though to use before.  She even gives some tips for picking the right blender.  I can attest to the difference a good high quality blender makes when it comes to making smooth, drinkable smoothies.  After getting tired of "chewing" my smoothies, I invested in a Blend-tec.  It was the best blender purchase I have ever made, it takes everything I toss in, even whole apples, and blends them easily into great taking and great texture smoothies.  If you are serious about making daily smoothies a part of your life, make the investment in a good blender!

Next you learn how to shop, store and prep your ingredients to get the most of the money you are spending.  She has a ton of great tips on how to prepare your smoothies in advance, and for me success is all in the preparation!  After a few more tips and tricks to making a great smoothie, it really is an art, you are taken to 108 vegan and healthy smoothie recipes.  She even provides you with a quick tag section for your smoothies so you can easily find what you are looking for. 

A small detail that I love are the quotes added in throughout the book.  One of my favorites is "No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means. ~ Maimonides  All the quotes are centered on taking care of your health and your body.  There is no quick fix and you only have one body, we need to respect and take great care of our bodies.  We only know the true value of our health once it is gone, don't give away your health!

I have tried several of the recipes, it may take me some time to make all 108, but I will share my favorites as I do!  I highly encourage you to add whole food smoothies to your daily or weekly routine.
Here is one of my favorites:

After the recipes section Farnoosh goes on to share the Smoothie Beauty Detox& Cleanse Plan.  This is a great section if you are trying to rid your body of toxins from a not so healthy diet, too many processed foods, or if you need to re-set your digestive system (most of your health is in your digestive system...treat it with care!)  Lastly, she gives you tips on making smoothies a part of a healthy lifestyle.  I feel that adding smoothies to your diet can add great nutritional benefits that you may not be getting otherwise.  Give it a try, see how you feel...I can guarantee that if you replace the "junk" food and processed stuff with a green whole food smoothie a day you will see and feel the benefits!  

A note to mothers trying to get your littles to get more whole food nutrition, make a little extra smoothie for your kids and get them to try it.  My toddler has a special smoothie cup and picks a straw for hers each time.  She now asks for smoothies and I am more that happy to make them for her.  When you are first introducing them, be sure to add the right balance of fruit to veggie so they are sweet enough.  The veggies I add for my toddler are: carrots, kale, spinach and cucumber.  They mix in nicely with the fruits and are a great way to get these veggies in their diet.  

 You can purchase your own copy of The Healthy Smoothie Bible here.  You can also follow Farnoosh on Pinterest here, she posts great recipes and smoothie ideas!  I highly recommend this book to the new smoothie makes and the veteran ones as well!  I learned some new tips and tricks, and found recipes that I really want to try.  All of the ones I have made are so good!  
**Disclaimer** I received a complimentary copy of the book to review, but was not provided compensation for my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On that note, I am off to make a smoothie for me and my little one before we head out to get some groceries!  Go out and make your smoothie too!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Striving for Health and Balance...Not Perfection!


Hello!  The weather has been so nice here, we have been out enjoying the sunshine!  I have been trying to decide how to share some news, as it was a difficult decision, but I have decided not to train to do the bikini competition in the fall.  It was a decision that did not come easy, but there were many factors that came into play.  The biggest was the time that training was taking away from time with my daughter on a daily basis.  I really enjoy working out and she is used to me working out, but when it becomes 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, it was beginning to be too much.  The second is that we really want to get pregnant with baby number 2 over the summer.  Lastly, was I was becoming obsessed with meal prep, eating all day at the right times and tracking macros.  This was all throwing me out of balance and was becoming unhealthy.  Over these past few years I have really been working on finding that perfect balance for me and what my healthy looks like.  It is not a six pack abs and never enjoying a glass of wine or piece of chocolate without feeling guilty.  Guilt is not something I want to associate with food.  Bikini prep is a very dedicated and specific process and I admire the women that are able to do it.  I just feel like at this time it is not right for me.

For me I want to strive to be healthy and balanced, and forget the idea of being "perfect".  I still want to have the best and healthiest body possible, but do so in a healthy way.  As a woman, body image is something that I probably was thinking about too much and it is easy to get caught up in having the perfect body.  I want to focus on having the perfect body for me.  I may never have the "perfect" stomach, but it is one that reminds me that my body gave me my perfect daughter, and that is totally fine with me.  I am 100% happy when I look in the mirror and to me that is what healthy is all about.  Loving me for me, even with all my imperfections.  This is my hope for all women, that they love what they see in the mirror.  I want my daughter to grow up loving herself and never questioning if she is skinny enough or focusing on her weight too much,  I want to show her what a strong and healthy mom looks like.  I want her to be strong, healthy and happy!

Here is what my healthy looks like: 
  • Working out 1 hour a day 5-6 days a week.
  • Playing outside with my daughter.
  • Eating healthy balanced meals.
  • Having some treats a few times a week (no guilt!)
  • Drinking green smoothies with my daughter on the patio daily!
  • Eating a mostly Paleo diet as that is what works best for me and I feel my best eating this way.
  • Teaching my daughter healthy eating habits.
  • Loving what I see in the mirror! 
  • Truly finding the balance of being a fit mom and a fun mom!
  • Being happy and healthy and teaching others how to live their healthiest life possible!
What does your healthy look like?  I would love to know!

I also have some other fun news to share, I am now one of five Health Expert Blogs on Women's Forum.  It is a website that caters to women and has tons of info from health, parenting, style food and much more.  Be sure to head over and check it out!  You can also stop by and like them on Facebook.  I am so honored to be a part of this amazing website and share health and fitness tips with women and moms everywhere!  My blog is called Fit & Healthy Mama and I have some articles posted and will be posting more monthly.  I would love your feedback and any topics you would like to have me write about!

Just a quick thanks to all my readers and supporters, you don't know how much it means to have people read and identify with my writing. 

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