3-Day Refresh Experience: Day 1

So after ANOTHER gluttonous vacation, I’ve decided to try out the “3-Day Refresh” from Beachbody. I definitely already know ways I can kickstart my body on my own, without the help of an outside program, BUT I’ll be honest- this time I really felt like I needed a bigger push and more structure to force myself back into my rhythm. If you don’t know, the 3-Day Refresh program is intended to be a jumpstart to better health & nutrition habits. It’s advertised as a great way to make a clean break from bad habits, jump-start a healthier lifestyle, and see real weight loss in just 3 days– without starving yourself!  Well guess what- I will be the judge of that! This is the first time I am trying this program and I want to document what it is, how it works and how I feel throughout the process. Read on for a description of the product + for my experience on Day 1!!

WHAT is included in the 3-DAY REFRESH?

The 3-Day Refresh consists of 3 daily shakes, a fiber drink, plenty of water, plus a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy fats throughout the day to keep your energy and metabolism going. The kit itself comes with the 3 nutrition shakes for each day, plus a “Fiber Sweep” shake for each day. It also comes with a super handy guide to help you navigate your way through the 3 days without really having to think much at all about what you are supposed to eat next.

Here’s what you’ll eat and drink during the 3-Day Refresh:

  • Wake-Up: Drink 8-12 oz of water
  • Breakfast (within 1 hour of waking): Shakeology + Fruit Option*
  • Mid-Morning: Fiber Sweep (digestive health drink)**
  • Lunch: Vanilla Fresh Shake (high-protein, hunger-satisfying shake) + Fruit Option* + Veggie Option* + Healthy Fat Option*
  • Afternoon Snack: Fruit Option*, Veggie Option*
  • Dinner: Vanilla Fresh Shake + a meal from the Dinner Recipes list + optional organic vegetable broth
  • Also aim to drink at least 64oz of water per day in addition to water added to drinks above

*FRUIT/VEGGIE/HEALTHY FAT OPTIONS

The first thing I’m loving about the Refresh is that it’s not a starvation diet or complete fast. While you will be consuming less calories and food than you normally would,  you are still getting at least 900 calories per day and all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need. You also get to consume ACTUAL FOOD. Included in the guidebook are approved lists of FRUITS, VEGGIES, SEASONINGS AND HEALTHY FATS along with the appropriate serving sizes to use. There are also approved Dinner Recipes to follow so it really takes the guesswork out.  Here is a pic of my approved dinner from tonight:

3-Day Refresh: Day 1 Dinner Option
3-Day Refresh: Day 1 Dinner Option

3-Day Refresh Spinach Salad:

2 cups baby spinach or salad greens

1/2 medium cucumber, chopped

1/2 medium red bell pepper, sliced (I had an orange bell pepper on hand so used that)

1/4 cup of Alfalfa sprouts (or sub radish or broccoli sprouts)

1/2 medium tomato, chopped

1/2 tsp EVOO

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds

This salad was actually fantastic and I honestly found it hard to finish all the veggies in it. Though within about 20 minutes I was ready for my dinner shake.

**Fiber Sweep

This is a scientifically formulated blend of soluble and insoluble fibers that is supposed to help gently and naturally eliminate waste from your digestive system and help promote healthy intestinal flora.

Some of the ingredients include whole-ground flax, chia and psyllium seed husks. The psyllium fiber is supposed to help naturally lower cholesterol and support healthy blood sugar levels as part of a healthy diet. Psyllium fiber husk may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Flax and chia seeds are also sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten most of the explaining out of the way, let’s move on to how Day 1 went!

STARTING MEASUREMENTS:

As with any diet/exercise program, if you really want to see what your results are over a period of time then you should be measuring some stats. Here’s where I’m weighing in and measuring at the start:

3-Day Refresh: Day 1 Measurements
3-Day Refresh: Day 1 Measurements

I was 142 lbs (!) the night before I started. That probably sounds like a great weight for a lot of people BUT I was just 132 lbs a little over a month ago… so you can imagine my surprise (or lackthereof) when I hopped on the scale the night I returned from vacation…. a vacation I RAN A MARATHON during! But… I also ATE & DRANK more than I care to share. That’s what vacation is for, right?!

My measurements may or may not be a little off since I measured myself but I’ll be measuring myself again at the end for consistency. Also to explain my “Belly” measurements in the photo… you are supposed to measure yourself across your belly button, but when I let it all hang out, the spot BELOW my belly button is pretty big- I call that my “Big Belly”…haha. So I measured both spots just to see if there’s a change in the end..

Day 1 Experience:

You are instructed to start your day by immediately drinking 8-12oz of water upon waking to help get your system going. I did this within a half hour of waking as I was sidetracked by toothbrushing, showering and taking care of my 4 dogs (feeding, letting them out, morning love cuddles, etc). I then followed the rest of the daily instructions pretty much on schedule.

Day 1 MENU:

Water: 32 oz x 3, throughout whole day

Tea: 1 Green Tea, 10 am

Coffee: 1 coffee 7am, 1/2 coffee 3pm

Breakfast, 8am: Chocolate Shakeology with cinnamon, 1/2 banana

Mid-morning, 11am: Fiber Sweep

Lunch, 12pm: Vanilla Fresh Shake, 1/2 banana, 5 baby carrots, 2 tbsp of avocado with cumin

Afternoon snack: 1 medium tomato w/ italian herbs and cumin, 2 tbsp avocado with cumin/italian herbs

Dinner, 6pm: Spinach salad from Guidebook, Vanilla Fresh Shake, 1 cup chicken broth

Day 1 Hunger Level: Mild

I felt slightly hungry most of the day but it was never overwhelming. The good news was that each time my hunger felt the strongest, I’d look at the time and realize it was time for another meal, snack or drink.

I didn’t start getting hungry until 10 am (I woke up at 6am). By the time I downed my wake-up water + almost 32 more oz of water + my morning coffee I wasn’t even ready for my breakfast shake and fruit when it came time to have it- but knowing the meals are strategically spaced out during the day, I went for it anyway. Like I said, I felt slightly hungry around 10am so i had the optional morning tea which held me over until the Fiber Sweep around 11am. Then downing more water helped me get through til lunchtime.

I definitely felt a bit hungry after lunch and before dinner, but like I said, once it started becoming “intolerable”- I’d realize it was time to snack or have tea. “Intolerable” is probably not the best word to describe it since none of the hunger I experienced was intolerable by any means… #firstworldproblems

Takeaways from Day 1:

Eating less throughout the day definitely helped me focus on eating slower. Since I only had a few bites of food during meal and snack times, I really had to savor them! We all know that taking TIME to eat your food, actually makes your body realize you are fuller, sooner. Added bonus- you actually get to ENJOY the food you are eating because you are not shoveling it down your throat but really focusing on savoring each bite! Yum! And each meal and snack, when mixed with the shakes and a bunch of water, was definitely enough to get me through the day without getting hangry (and I get hangry pretty damn easily).

day 1 Biggest Temptations:

  • Leftover pizza in the fridge!
  • Autumn Ale in the fridge!
  • Unopened bottle of tequila!

These were no match for me! A 10-lb weight gain and feeling gross after vacation has me keeping my eye on the prize 🙂

Day 1 Helpful Tactics to Stay on Track

  • Drink water! I always say it, but it’s true.
  • If you start feeling too hungry, have some tea/coffee. My afternoon tea turned into an afternoon coffee just because I knew that would mentally make me feel less hungry. Even though I only had a couple sips anyway, it definitely helped curb my appetite!

So there it is- my experience on Day 1 of the 3-Day Refresh. I’ve heard from some friends that Day 2 is the absolute hardest!! I’ll keep you posted tomorrow !

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5 Ways I Helped Myself Recover from a Gluttonous Vacation

As you may or may not know, I am originally from the Philadelphia area and I’ll tell you what- they have amazing F##$%#$#%’ing food. Everywhere. It doesn’t matter what type of eating establishment you go to, 9 times out of 10, it’s going to be pretty dang good. Upscale restaurants, road-side food trucks, mom & pop pizza shops, convenient stores (Can I get a HELL YEAH for WAWA?!), your cousin’s house for a party, if it’s in the PA-NJ-NY tri-state area, there is going to be SOMETHING good to eat. That being said, I have been living in Colorado for 4  years now and their food is a bit “eh”… So every time I go back to PA, which is a few times a year, I plan to PIG OUT. And I’m totally ok with that. And you should be too. You live once so you should spend most of the time treating your body right and spend some of the time indulging in your most fantastic favorite things 🙂

Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak
Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak

But as you can imagine, pigging out for almost 2 weeks is going to WRECK your body. I tried to drink water (FAIL), tried to stay active (FAIL), but mostly I tried to enjoy myself. Getting your body back in line after that can be tough. So without further ado, here are 5 ways to kick start that healthy body back into shape after a VERY gluttonous vacation 🙂

  1. DRINK WATER

The absolute best thing you can do to start ridding your body of toxins and getting your system working properly again is drinking water. Seems like an obvious one but it’s hard for most of us to stay on top of. My first day back from vacation I pounded water. This flushes your system, keeps you alert and awake, helps your bodily functions (i.e. taking a poo), makes you look fresh, feel fresh and helps get you back in the mindset of healthy living. It might be hard that first day if you were pounding soda and beer all week, but I have faith in  you 🙂 My goal was to drink 32oz by 11am, by 3pm and by 8pm for a whopping total of 96 oz of water per day.

2. MOVE

Feeling sluggish after all that time sitting on your butt? Me too. An object at rest likes to keep resting dammit. It’s physics! BUT the only way to fight the urge to stay on your BUTT, is to get OFF YOUR BUTT. I totally didn’t want to and I totally felt like crap during and after the 40-minute workout I did at the park, but guess what- I did it anyway. Because I’m awesome like that 😉 Just kidding- kind of. But for real – get your ass moving, the sooner the better. I promise, the next day you’ll be wanting to move again… it’s physics!

3. GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

This is a big one for me! Having someone who is counting on you to show up works wonders! Especially if it’s a “new” friend. You may likely tell your best friend of 20 yrs to screw off if she’s texting you at 6am about the run you are supposed to go on…. zzzZZZzzzZZZ. But if you make plans with a new acquaintance or a new friend you’ll be much less likely to bail 😉 I can’t even tell you the amount of workouts I’ve done this summer at a park, in my living room or elsewhere for the simple reason that SOMEONE ELSE WAS EXPECTING ME TO DO IT! Whether I promised to show up virtually or in person, someone was counting on me. Find someone to count on to get your butt moving! If you need help in that area, keep your eyes peeled for the fitness & nutrition accountability groups I’ll be offering this coming fall/winter. I have a whole crew of people waiting to keep you on track and support and encourage you through your fitness journey.

4. DON’T PUT PIE IN YOUR PIEHOLE

Abs are made in the kitchen. So are cookies, pie, pizza, cake, ice cream and burritos 😉 Guess what- if you keep stuffing your face with crap, you are going to look and feel like crap! It’s physics! Just kidding- but it is a fact. You are what you eat whether you like it or not. Treat your body like the holy temple that it is and start feeding it delicious and healthy stuff. No, I don’t eat healthy 100% of the time, but I do eat healthy about 80% of the time. My body is amazing and it proves that fact time and time again when I watch it do crazy things like run a marathon, birth a child, climb a mountain, etc. It’s a beautiful creation and the only person with the ability to treat it as such is YOU. No one is going to do it for you.  My body is my vehicle to all the awesome stuff in the world and I intend to treat it nicely so it keeps motoring me more and more cool places 🙂

5. REPEAT…

…for life. Seriously though- eating healthy and staying fit shouldn’t be a one-time deal. You can’t do it for 6 months and then never again. It’s a lifetime commitment. A commitment to yourself, to treat yourself with respect and LOVE. No matter what you look like right now or in the future, you are worth loving, respecting and treating well. Doing all these things should be a treat, not a punishment. Drinking more water, moving, eating healthy food, and finding like-minded friends to do all of the above with IS A GIFT. None of it is to make you feel miserable, all of it is to make you feel great. Does that mean it’s easy to repeat all this for life? No. But it’s worth it. I promise.

So there you have it- my 5 tips for recovering after a gluttonous vacation. Remember, the first few days can be tough but so are you. So just throw that water down the hatch, shake that booty, grab a friend, eat an apple and stay healthy for life because YOU ARE WORTH IT and I promise you won’t regret it 🙂

mbf

7 Tips for Bouncing Back After Baby

At 6-months postpartum I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight and feeling pretty dang strong. People have mentioned how “lucky” I am to have a body that bounced back so easily after giving birth. The funny thing is that “LUCK” has NOTHING to do with it! In order to get your body to bounce back after a baby, there’s a lot you have to do before, during and after you are pregnant and give birth. Also don’t get me wrong, my body, while feeling great, is different than it used to be… my boobs are lopsided, my skin is soft and loose in more places than I care to mention BUT my body has proved how amazing it is by allowing me to grow a baby, give birth, and then “bounce back” to normal. Knowing how strong, how capable, and how amazing the human body is, has only reinforced that I need to treat it well. I want this body to thrive for me, for my family, and for the next time I decide to grow a human!  So without further a do, bouncing back after baby has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with:

1. Pre-Pregnancy Health & Fitness

Before I got pregnant I was physically fit, improving my fitness monthly, and eating pretty healthy. I think a HUGE part of bouncing back has to do with your lifestyle and physique BEFORE you get pregnant. I strongly encourage those considering pregnancy to first take a look at their body and decide if it’s a good enough place to grow a human! Think about the type of body you want your child to be created in. Is it an overweight, lazy, dehydrated body? Or is it a body that is eating nutritious, natural foods? Is it a body that drinks TONS of water? Is it a body that participates in several days of moderate-intensity exercise per week? Your body will do amazing things, but it will do them even better if you are fit, healthy and happy before you put a bun in that oven. Getting yourself healthy BEFORE you get pregnant is the best thing you can do for your post-pregnancy body.

2. Health & Fitness DURING Pregnancy

We all know that with pregnancy comes a bit of free reign…strangers hold doors open for you, family and friends won’t let you carry anything, no one looks at you funny if you order dessert for dinner, and cat naps are totally encouraged. That being said, if you want a healthy, energetic pregnancy and a good “bounce back” then it’s not the time to say “anything goes.” While I definitely had my indulgences (naps, ice cream & pizza included), I never let myself go too crazy with it. I tried to eat healthy 70-80% of the time. I also took note when I was eating a bit TOO much ice cream and started swapping it out for Greek yogurt with some chocolate syrup on top instead. Find places where you can make a small change that can make a big difference. Now that you’re pregnant, you really want to keep that shrine of yours in tip top shape. For one, it’s housing that incredible baby of yours, Second, staying active and eating well during pregnancy is known to improve your energy, prevent excessive weight gain, improve sleep & body image, reduce stress and reduce recovery time after birth, along with some other benefits. I continued working out throughout my pregnancy- bootcamp classes, hiking, biking, walking and some weight training. I made sure to modify when I needed to. I never overdid it and I let my body lead the way. If I was feeling great in a bootcamp class, then I continued to keep up with everyone else. If I wasn’t then I would tone things down a bit. LISTENING to your body is a huge part of fitness during pregnancy. You should always stop working out IMMEDIATELY if you feel any pain or unusual symptoms.  Also, if you are already pregnant and did not have a workout routine in place beforehand, you can still be active! With approval from your doctor, you can ease into a low-intensity activity program that will still be beneficial to you and your baby. Your post-baby body will thank you!

3. Relaxing after Baby

After 9 months of being pregnant, staying active, and then experiencing a long, arduous birth, I was EXHAUSTED!!! Be sure to use those first 2-3 months after your have your baby to RELAX! There will always be time to get back in shape, there will always be time to lose the baby weight. Your baby won’t be little forever, so enjoy the special time and allow yourself to sleep when you can, get some fresh air, and just pay attention to the moments in front of you. Working out can come later!

4. Starting slowly

Once you receive clearance from your doctor to begin working out again, start out slowly! This will of course depend on how fit and active you were before pregnancy and what type of birth you had (natural, c-section, etc). As mentioned, I was pretty active before I got pregnant and all throughout my pregnancy. That being said, I still felt surprisingly WEAK when I got back to my workout routine. I had extra weight on me, I was tired, and my muscles, especially my core,  felt like a noodle! You don’t have to go big or go home when you first get back to it. Start with walking, yoga, hiking or a very slow jog. Ease back into things and I think  you’ll be amazed how quickly you feel stronger and better. I did what I could daily and my strength improved quickly. Even now, my best and most energetic days are the ones where I force myself to squeeze in a workout.

5. Consistency

The biggest thing that really helped me bounce back once I got moving again was being consistent. Being a mom CHANGES YOUR LIFE. I know we all know that, but for real- your priorities change, sleep is necessary, and your mind is everywhere but on yourself. The way I stayed consistent was by picking a workout program I  knew I would like and keep up with. What was most important to me was the most bang for my buck. I ended up doing 2 months worth of InsanityMax30 by Beachbody. It is 30 min workouts, 5 days a week. I was able to complete the whole program over 8 wks even while exclusively breastfeeding. That program could be a little intense for someone with little fitness experience and was even difficult for me to keep up with. I ended up modifying EVERYTHING but still got in a 30 minute workout each day. My point is- pick something (anything!) that you know you’ll do daily, whether that’s walking, swimming, hiking, biking, the local yoga studio, at-home workout videos etc.  The best part is that you can always modify ANY activity to fit your current fitness level (if you need help modifying anything, please reach out to me!). As with fitness anytime in your life, consistency is needed for real change to occur.

6. Preparation

Preparation is super important as well, especially for busy moms. Preparation might feel like an impossible task when you have so much going on and when a baby takes up pretty much ALL of your time. Even if I had a few minutes to myself, I was definitely more eager to use it to shower, or eat or just simply sit and stare at the wall without a baby in my arms. When I felt motivated and able I would try to prep some healthy meals. Since that often wasn’t an option, I found a way to get a healthy meal fast.  For starters, I fell in love with my Veggetti. Most nights, with a baby on my hip, I would cook zucchini noodles, meat and veggies. I’d also have eggs and veggies for breakfast, maybe salad/protein for lunch. Most important for me was keeping healthy snacks on hand. I’d have apples, almonds & all-natural peanut butter nearby if I needed a snack, instead of mindlessly shoving crap into my mouth. But guess what- if I was hungry, I ate!! This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. You need food to fuel you and your baby. If you are nursing your child it is NOT the time to go on a diet. It is a GREAT time to be eating sufficiently and healthily! Because I knew my body needed food to keep producing milk for my baby, I never monitored the QUANTITY of what I ate, I only monitored the QUALITY. Lots of veggies, protein and GOOD carbs. What’s a good carb? Quinoa, beans, things high in fiber that will keep you full and not spike your sugar levels. Long story short, having nutritious food on hand will be your key to success. In the early postpartum months it’s so much more about WHAT you are putting in your mouth and not about HOW MUCH. And I promise you- you can still lose weight even if you don’t diet! I lost 12 lbs in 2 months just from short workouts and making better food choices.

7. Maintenance

Life gets hectic after you have a little one and unfortunately that means mom’s needs often go to the wayside. Continuing to make fitness a priority in your life is going to make you a better, stronger and healthier mom and role model for your child. Even if you feel like you can’t get a real workout in, you can always do SOMETHING! The best thing is you now have a “barbell” (aka your baby!) with you wherever you go! In order to maintain your fitness, make sure you stay active in some way each day. Strap that baby to you and start doing some squats and lunges or even just lift him up into the air. Anything is better than nothing and  you’ll even get some smiles out of the little one while you’re at it.

So before you decide to get pregnant, or if you already are, think about the type of body you want to grow your child in. Make it a healthy, hydrated, nutritious, and strong place to grow. “Bouncing back” isn’t about luck, it’s about patience, consistency, and making the right choices for you and your baby. Keeping these things in mind will truly help you bounce back AND it will make you a fit, strong mama to that amazing little baby of yours.

If you have any questions about working out before, during or after your pregnancy please reach out and I will help! It’s always important to refer to the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) Guidelines as well.

Thanks for listening!

Me @ 3 months postpartum
Me @ 3 months postpartum

Sunday Morning Meal Prep!

I love eating healthy food but I’m horrible at doing so because I hate cooking. I hate cooking because I’m bad at it and it takes too much time and creates too much mess! So the easier cooking can be for me the better my eating habits. This Sunday morning I finally said hello to Meal Prepping 🙂

I’ve thought about meal prepping a million times before. I’ve even kind of done it a couple times by cooking enough chicken & asparagus to last for 3 days. However, I’ve never full on prepped a whole week of food in one sitting, nor have I done it so healthily or easily!! I couldn’t believe all the food I was able to make with things I already had in my fridge. Long story short, I made 4 different types of meals that I will use for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the next week.

Keep in mind, I’m not a fan of calorie-counting so if you are being strict with your calorie intake, this post won’t disclose that info. Not only am I breastfeeding, I also hate feeling restricted in my eating habits. So what I’ve been doing as of late is working more on quality instead of quantity. Don’t get me wrong, I try to use good discretion by limiting my snacking, eating slowly, drinking lots of water and dishing up reasonable portion sizes (1/2 plate veggies, 1/4 plate healthy carbohydrate, 1/4 plate protein). Also if I eat all my food and still feel hungry, I’ll try to wait 20 minutes and see if that’s still the case. Sometimes it’s not!

Anyway I know myself and I will definitely eat like crap if I don’t have healthy things on hand. When I get hungry, it’s eat or die mode and I start shoving things in my mouth fast, no matter what they are. Luckily I’ve helped that bad habit recently by having apples and almonds on hand. Those are a great, quick go-to snack when I’m feeling famished or to tide me over while I’m waiting for my next meal. However, this week I’m taking things a step further. I realized I spend a lot of my evenings trying to make myself dinner (with a 3 month old on my hip) and I spend a lot of my days, not eating enough or not eating appropriately because I don’t have time to make breakfast or lunch. I always feel like I don’t have enough time in my day to do the things I want, so I’m knocking out cooking dinner, breakfast & lunch with meal prepping it all on Sundays. And I have to thank J+Fitness for inspiring me to get off my lazy a** and give this a try this week! Also the egg bake and apple crockpot dishes are slight modifications of recipes they shared on their page- go check them out!

Here’s what I did today- all with things already in my fridge/freezer!

  • Egg, Veggie & Quinoa bake (Breakfast)
  • Apple & Oats Crockpot (Breakfast)
  • Ground Turkey & Veggie Pasta Sauce (Dinner served over zucchini noodles)
  • Ground Turkey, Veggie & Quinoa w/ salsa & taco seasoning (Lunch)

Again, since I don’t like cooking or counting calories, I’ll just be doing a rough share of what I did to make all this.

Egg, Veggie & Quinoa Bake

  • 15 whole eggs
  •  Chopped spinach/kale (2 very large handfuls)
  • Onion (~1/2 cup chopped)
  • Mushrooms (~1.5 cup chopped)
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)- I only used ~50-60% of the cooked cup in the end, would have been way to much to use it all and then I had leftover for another dish!
  • 2 Tbsp of Flax seeds (or chia)
  • Salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • red, yellow, orange peppers (chopped)
  • Coconut oil (2 tbsp)

1. Preheat oven to 325-350 (depending on oven, ours gets really hot so I usually do lower than suggested)

1. Warm coconut oil in pain, toss in chopped veggies & saute for a couple min until onion & pepper slightly cooked.

2. Mix cooked quinoa, flax seeds, seasoning, veggies & 15 eggs in a large mixing bowl. (Note: I didn’t separate whites from yolks but did premix eggs alone before I mixed with everything else)

3. Spray 9×13 glass casserole dish with cooking spray (I used Full Circle Organic Olive Oil Cooking Spray)

4. Pour mixture in dish so it’s about 3/4 full. I had a little extra so used to just make myself some breakfast right then 🙂

5. Bake for about 25-35 minutes til center looks cooked.

6. Let cool for ~10 minutes, cut into squares, store and reheat for 20 seconds in microwave! Top with salsa for some added fun 🙂

Apple & Oats Crockpot

  • 3-5 apples, chopped
  • 2 cups milk (I used Almond Milk)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup oats
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • handful of chopped almonds

1. Dump everything in the crock pot & cook on low for 7 hours 🙂

Ground Turkey, Veggies & Pasta Sauce (over zucchini noodles)

  • ~1 lb ground turkey
  • chopped onion
  • chopped peppers
  • chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ~2 cups pasta sauce (garlic & onion flavor)
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

1. Heat oil, saute veggies in pan

2. Add pasta sauce & ground turkey, stir and continue to heat

3. Store in fridge to heat and put over zucchini noodles

Ground Turkey, Quinoa & Veggies 

  • Chopped peppers
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped mushrooms
  • Salsa
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • Ground turkey

1. Heat oil, saute veggies in pan

2. Add quinoa, taco seasoning, salsa & ground turkey.

3. Mix, heat and enjoy!

Do you have any go-to meal prep recipes?! Please share below 🙂

Being a “No Excuse Mom” Goes Further Than Health & Fitness

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE excuses. I love them so much that I pretty much have an excuse for everything. I often have so many excuses that I have to share them with someone else. Need excuses to not workout? I have a ton. Need excuses to not choose healthy food? I have some for that too. Need excuses to not try something new? You have waaayy too much going on to try something new!!! Here, take a pocket full of my excuses and get on your way! Or don’t, because you don’t have to do anything when you have an excuse for everything.

But you guys are smart, I bet you can you guess where excuses get you. That’s right… NOWHERE. And the beauty of them is that they get you there pretty damn quick. Instead of me taking time, energy, resources, strength, willpower & discipline to get something important or magical done, I can just hop on the Express Train to Nowhere with my One-Way, All-Excuses-Paid ticket. Sadly, as of late, I think I’ve been a season pass holder on that train.

As a personal master of excuses, you can imagine I was intrigued when I started hearing about No Excuse Mom, Maria Kang. You may have heard of her because she was brutally bashed in the media for her profile picture on Facebook which read “What’s Your Excuse?” and shows her in a sports bra and shorts with her 3 young children.

excuse

For me, that image was such an inspiration. Here was a woman who had 3 little boys in a very short amount of time and she looked way more healthy and more fit than I ever had. You’d start to think that maybe she spent a lot of time at the gym and not enough time with her children but if you followed her on social media, especially Instagram, you’d quickly see that wasn’t the case. She was often fitting in quick but beneficial workouts when she could, on top of making healthy eating a priority for herself and her family. She was running a business, working out and eating healthy all with kids in tow. This was something I could believe in. This was someone who did not let excuses get in her way, a concept I hadn’t thought of for quite some time.

In an effort to socialize with other moms in her neighborhood while staying fit, Maria started a No Excuse Mom workout group in her town. No Excuse Mom is now a global movement where mothers and caretakers all over the world are meeting together one or more times per week to do a FREE 30 minute workout together. Anybody can lead the group, no fitness experience necessary- you just need a desire to socialize and get fit! What an awesome way to meet other moms and workout at the same time!

Coincidentally I’d just moved to a new town where I didn’t know a soul. I’d be having my first baby in just a couple months and the only other moms I knew lived several hours away or on the east coast. That’s great for a late night phone call but where was I going to find local friends who would meet me for coffee? Or who would listen to me whine when I felt like I just couldn’t handle it anymore? I had to find friends, and I had to find them fast…

In the past I’d met friends through classes at school or by going out to the bar. Now, as a 31-year-old married, pregnant woman, I quickly realized my old friend-making avenues were no longer viable. So instead I went on Meetup.com and found a local play date group in my town. I didn’t have a kid yet but I would soon so I thought it’d be a great place to start. I met a few awesome ladies very quickly. Pretty cool!

So I thought what better time to start a “No Excuse Mom” group than now? There wasn’t one in my town already… There were definitely moms in the area looking for friends and I imagined some, if not all, of them would be interested in getting fit.

Well guess what I had ready to aim and fire? EXCUSES. And I had lots of them as always. What if no one is interested? What if they don’t like me? What if I TOTALLY SUCK at leading a fitness group? What if they don’t like my workout style? Do I have a workout style? What if I have no clue what I’m doing? (Oh right… I don’t). But guess what- these were all excuses I had pulled out of my pocket and spread out on the table. I looked at each of them and continued to respond to each one with the same question- Does it matter? Does it matter if no one is interested? Does it matter if they don’t like me? Does it matter if I totally suck at leading a fitness group? Does it matter if I don’t have a workout style or know what I’m doing? Does any of it matter? No, not really. Sure some of those things might help my cause but at the end of the day, what I wanted to do was something good and I doubted people would hate me for it. So it was settled, I emailed the “No Excuse Mom” Regional Director for my area and told her I wanted to start a group in my town. I received a quick response, signed up (no fitness experience needed) and I was on my way.

Or was I?

Now came the hard part- starting the group! I had only met a couple ladies and  I was new to town so was terrified to suggest the idea. But I worked up the courage and I suggested the idea to my local Meetup.com play date group leader. I literally had the email in my drafts for a couple days before I worked up the courage to even send it. What was I afraid of? Well I was mostly afraid it would come to fruition and then I’d have to follow through and actually run the group! Terrifying. But I knew deep down that it’s when we take a step outside our comfort zone that magical and amazing things happen. It might be scary at first but it’s often worth it. The rare time it’s not worth it, just means we’ve had a chance to learn, grow, and try something different next time.

So I sent the email and the group leader loved the idea! She posted it on Meetup.com and we had the date of our first meetup set. As you can imagine, I was feeling incredibly nervous in the days leading up to our first meeting. Oddly, a couple days beforehand, I stumbled across this article. As I read the following words, I knew I had to get rid of my excuses:

“Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing. That’s pretty obvious. And in order to suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. And most people try to avoid embarrassing themselves, namely because it sucks. Ergo, due to the transitive property of awesomeness, if you avoid anything that could potentially embarrass you, then you will never end up doing something that feels important.” -Mark Manson

Wow. You can’t get great at something if you never try it. Pretty basic common sense right? But not something on the forefront of my mind as I planned this group.

So guess what- I went for it. We held our first Bayfield, Colorado No Excuse Mom group on September 24th. It was awesome! 3 moms showed up and I led a 25 minute workout that everyone seemed to enjoy. The best part is the No Excuse Mom organization provides you with a lot of tools for running your groups- event flyers, workout plans, location ideas, etc. A great resource for me has been VCNFitness, an official No Excuse Mom personal trainer.

NEM
First Meetup for the No Excuse Moms in Bayfield, Colorado

I’m not sure where our Bayfield group will go from here but I know I have a few moms excited about the opportunity to socialize and work on fitness together. Even if it just continues to be the 4 of us and no one else joins in, at least we have each other and are making a difference in our lives and in turn, the lives of our families. This endeavor has made my husband more healthy as well, seeing as I’ve made him do the workouts with me before I unveil them to the group.

If I had held on to my excuses of fear, embarrassment, lack of confidence, etc then I would never get to hang out with these awesome women weekly and better my life. We can all make excuses for why we don’t want to workout or eat healthy. I learned that a lot of my excuses leak into other areas of my life as well, not just health and fitness. I also make excuses for why I shouldn’t try new things, or apply for that new job, or say hi to that new person. I hope that this is the start of me letting go of my excuses, not only in health & fitness but in other areas of my life as well.  I’ve begun slowly pulling my excuses out of my pocket and throwing them in the trashcan as I head out the door. I encourage anyone who is scared to become a No Excuse Mom group leader to JUST DO IT. You don’t have to be the next rock-star fitness trainer, you don’t need fitness experience at all. All you need is a willingness to put yourself out there, connect with other people and help each other learn and grow along the way. Believe me- that big scary world out there is often way less judgmental than you think.

MamaBurnsFat

Chicken & Veggie Zoodles

The Veggetti is hands-down my new favorite cooking utensil. Buy it now! Seriously. It’s amazing.

The last couple days I’ve been turning my zucchini into “noodles” and topping them with delicious things like pasta sauce, pesto sauce, chicken, veggies, etc! I’m more of a warm food person, so salads aren’t my favorite thing in the world. But now zucchini is my new lettuce. Here’s what I whipped up off the top of my head today and man is it good! Try it out and let me know what you think! If you do, tag @mamaburnsfat and hashtag #MBFrecipes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

This will only feed one hungry person so make sure to double according to your needs.

zoodles

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (go organic if you can!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small, precooked, boneless, skinless, chicken breast (I just used scraps from a whole chicken we cooked earlier this week)
  • 2 hearty handfuls of fresh spinach & kale
  • Crumbled bleu cheese

Directions:

  • Heat oil in shallow pan on low-med heat
  • Veggetti your zucchini!
  • Slowly place zucchini in pan, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes
  • Remove zucchni from pain, strain excess liquid, set aside
  • Add a little more oil, if needed
  • Add onion, chicken, spinach & kale to pan. Stir, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes (until onion is cooked through)
  • Add pasta sauce, stir and continue heating
  • Remove from heat, toss on top of zoodles (zucchini noodles!), top with bleu cheese crumbles & Enjoy!!

Feel free to toss any veggies you have in there! Think mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes!

Let me know what you think! I could eat it every day!

Mexican-Style Quinoa

I love carbs! But carbs that are lacking nutrients can be a waste of space in our body. What you really want are carbohydrates that are rich in nutrients and leave you feeling fuller longer.

Quinoa does just that and is a great alternative to rice or pasta. This gluten-free, plant-based protein is pretty much bursting at the seams with nutrients- so much so that it’s often referred to as a “super grain”… even though if you research it, you find it’s not really a grain, it’s surprisingly in the same family as beets, chard, and spinach. But believe me, you wouldn’t know. Quinoa dishes out fiber, protein, amino acids, & lots of minerals. It also has a low glycemic index which means it is a food that helps you stay fuller longer and will curb your appetite unlike the empty carbs we love so much (white bread, white rice, etc). So next time a recipe calls for rice, try switching it out with quinoa for a nutrient-dense alternative. Quinoa is SOOOO easy to make too!

I always have lots of quinoa on hand and love to use it as my carb for dinner. I was looking to spice things up a bit recently and I found a delicious Mexican Quinoa recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning or 1 packet of store-bought taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as RO*TEL®)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in large skillet
  • Add onion, jalapeno pepper & garlic- cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant
  • Add dry quinoa to pan, stir
  • Once mixed, add undrained can of tomatoes, chicken broth and taco seasoning
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir in cilantro and enjoy!