Who is at work on a Saturday during the Holiday season??

really mugWho is at work on a Saturday?? Meeeeee.

—Because. I have an active family, personal and fitness goals and work deadlines. It all has to balance at some point (and this girl’s gotta earn a paycheck!!).

— Because. My primary goal for the next few weeks is to be able to go to London without a laptop. Mike and I have planned accordingly with our coworkers so we don’t have to work during vacation … and for me it means that I need to have the month closed.

—Because. My coworker and one of my closest and best friends is battling cancer and I was the one who said “she needs to be at home fighting and I will work weekends until she gets through chemo.”

—Because. When it comes to scheduling – this is one area of my life that I do not wing. I HATE being late. And I cringe when I have to tell someone “I don’t have time” (because I MAKE time for what matters). I am so blessed because my husband and kids are 10000% on board. We sit down weekly, go over calendars, plan meals and then prepare accordingly. This simple hour we spend planning has been a catalyst for a better life. I have so much less stress because I know (often weeks in advance) how much “free” time we have for family fun, training, date nights, and playing with friends. Or the opposite – when we have to be very stingy with anything “extra” because of prior obligations (like right now my daughter’s soccer season is starting but we are still in swim season!!). Of course things sometimes pop up … and some weeks there just doesn’t seem to be enough time, but in slowing down to plan, we’ve been able to see holes in the calendar and plug them in … we’ve been able to see when we need to enlist help (like paying for housekeeping when it’s necessary) or communicate to our coaches that we need a condensed program due to time restrictions. And sometimes it means working extra on the weekend and leaving earlier on a weekday.

—Because. If you’ve been stressed or think you need help with this area of your life, it requires evaluation. How far ahead do you make goals and plan how you will achieve them? Do you do a quick evaluation and re-adjust weekly? Is your family involved? Ask me for help if you need it💕

 

PS: buy yourself this mug! The updated version is here:

Really quick shameless plug for the seasonal RX bars

If you have not tried the seasonal RX bars yet …. you MUST.

We eat RX bars because our nutritionist asked us to switch to them (I used to eat quest bars and Mike ate whatever was on sale at the grocery store).

Critics say that these bars are too high in carbs … so true, they are a bit higher in carbs than we used to eat, however, they are very simple, limited ingredients, and when we typically eat them, it’s in the afternoon on the way to the gym. The ingredients in the RX bars are readily available to us by the time we WOD … super clean.

  • RXBARs are whole food protein bars with just 6 to 8 whole food ingredients
  • No added sugar, no gluten, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, no B.S.
  • 12g of egg white protein, 4g of fiber, 200 calories. Paleo-Friendly and Whole30 Compliant

Try them: https://amzn.to/2zyq0uP

How I Got Started = Move Part 1

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If you’ve read my “Journey” page – you will see this is what I have written about how I got started with exercise. Please realize, this is only PART of how I got started, but I am going to write a blog post about each arm that lead to success  (Mindset, Menu, Move, My Tribe).

I made a commitment to start to move my body.  Exercise seemed so out of reach for me, because my previous successful experience with exercise had only been through a $500 a month gym/personal trainer combination. But I decided to try. My sister sent me the DVD’s to do the 21-day fix through Beachbody and Autumn motivated me every morning to just hold on for 30 minutes. Then, I started walking my dogs. Even when it was raining (BTWs – pugs in raincoats are SUPER cute).  Then Lizzy, who was then 13 years old, said she was going to take over as my personal trainer. We did our first race together. Then our second. And more. And my BFF Shae signed us up for our first Ashley Horner Transform You Challenge, and we started lifting weights in my garage. Which morphed into becoming a transformation challenge winner and an Ashley Horner ambassador, earning me 1,000s of Ashlete Sisters and friends from across the globe.

Move:

The very first step for me was in my living room with a dvd player and borrowed DVDs (which I have since lent out and they have come back and been lent out again multiple times).  The DVDs were from the 21 day fix program, filled with positive motivation, compound whole body exercises using small dumbbell weights with focus on getting through the workout one minute at a time.

I will be very honest about this part of the process. 

IMG_9037It was NOT pretty.

I struggled.

It HURT to get up and down off of the floor. 

I felt BAD about myself.

I got MAD that I had let myself go. I used to be an athlete.

And I beat myself up on an almost daily basis in the very beginning.

BUT – in order to start – all I had to do was wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal. My sister kept bugging me. It was only 30 minutes. I had excuses and she had answers.

I had to convince myself that I had time.

I already took a shower before work. I already had the morning rush. So … if all I had to do to workout was get up 30 minutes earlier, go down some stairs and push a power button, I had to keep reminding myself, I had no excuse.

No more excuses

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit.

So, I set off for 21 days being my goal. Day after day, I would get up, do the DVD and then get ready for work. I followed what my sister (an avid beachbody coach at the time) encouraged me to … so, I downloaded a few fun graphic apps for my iPhone, worked on motivational sayings and took photos. I used the graphic apps, shared on Instagram and Facebook. I logged my progress. I posted a zillion positive affirmations to my social media. I reminded myself over and over that I could do this. I did not give up.

Slowly, I stopped beating myself up, and I started being proud.

img_9029.pngFirst, I was proud when I could complete a set.

Then, I became more proud when I could use … then increase … the weight I was lifting.

Then even more proud when I saw comparison photos.

Supplementary to these 30 minute exercise DVDs was simply going outside for a walk.

I had two fat pugs and I decided for their health, and mine, we would walk.

At first, all my knees would handle would be around the block (maybe 400 meters?). But by this point … I wouldn’t let knee pain stop me (stubborn much?!?).

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Then, I slowly built to a half mile, then a mile, then three. I would walk NO MATTER WHAT after dinner at night. Rain (put on a rain coat and go – and we even got the pugs raincoats). Darkness (put on a headlamp and a taser in your pocket). Exhausted (it’s only a few minutes out of your day and you owe it to yourself to do this before bed). Busy (when are you not busy?). Mom duties (Really? There’s a track where they practice soccer.  You can walk round and round and round the soccer field the whole 90 minutes she’s at soccer listening to podcasts about science so that you’re ready for your next exam).

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The walks turned into jogs. Then my daughter Lizzy decided that it was her time to be in charge of my “training” and that we were going to do a race.  So, we signed up for a 10k. And we trained for it. And we finished it.

The next phase: thanks to one of my BFFs, I discovered Ashley Horner and started my home gym.

To be continued …

 

 

So, The Cooks were featured on the Morning Chalk Up …

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About a year and a half ago or maybe more, Caleb, one of my friends at CrossFit, introduced me to this great daily email called The Morning Chalk Up.

So, of course, being ALL IN to this newfound CrossFit life … I enthusiastically subscribed and religiously read it. Even when I am B-U-S-Y … I leave the emails unread in my email box so that I can catch up on the weekend.

I have sent the Morning Chalk Up’s “tips” email a few items here and there  … mostly events.

One morning, over my cup of coffee, I noticed that neither of the upcoming Barbells for Boobs events we are attending were appearing on the email’s calendar.  I decided that I better submit them.  After all, I set a fundraising goal of $250 and I needed to meet it … plus I felt the publicity would be great for both gyms.

When I sent the email to their tips line, I think that I said something along the lines of “this is the event at my new gym” and “this is the event where I met my husband – you should share that story.”  The completely unexpected response was … “Okay. Let’s hear this story.

My full intent in dropping the hint in the first place was (1) to fundraise for Barbells for Boobs (and … YES! it worked – we got a random donation from a person saying she liked our story).  And … especially because one of my favorite instagrammers is going through some dating world shit along with three of my Ashlete sisters sharing terrible dating stories … (2) so that the message of hope could be spread.

THANK YOU MORNING CHALK UP for helping me spread this message <3.

When it comes to relationships … I now write “believe in the fairy tale … it does exist” to other women. BECAUSE IT DOES.  This is not Disney bullshit. It’s about living life without compromise.

I LOVE to keep life positive and am living proof of how working hard, keeping focused and slow and steady can have terrific outcomes…. YET …. SO MANY WOMEN (that was me a year ago!!) feel like they have to work SO HARD to pursue men in order to find the one AND DO IT IN A HOT MINUTE.

But mine fell in my lap.  Truthbomb: I would have NEVER found him on a dating app. Not. Ever. He’s old (my age range on the app ended at 50. He’s 52). He’s short (seriously he is seriously short – 5’2″ and maybe a half and the shortest my range went was 5’8″).

Fast forward a few email exchanges with Jessica Danger over a few weeks time and I woke up to about 300 instagram notifications and knew it had been published.

Read and enjoy …

She Just Came To Do Grace And Left With A Husband

How sweet do you REALLY need it?

Over the weekend, I decided to FOCUS on my goal of not eating like an asshole.

I realize that when I discuss a goal that I should be more positive in my framework of that goal .. but in all seriousness, I have been stressed and eating my emotions (not normal since I have been healthy) = eating things like pumpkin scones or cinnamon rolls or chocolate chip cookies and mochas as a daily (sometimes twice daily) “treat” (not once a week as agreed upon with my nutritionist … more like five times a week).

I have been eating like an asshole!!!

Also, over the past 3 weeks, while I have logged into myfitnesspal on the daily, I have not logged all of my foods so my poor nutritionist is probably at a loss of how to guide me towards positive change based on the past few weeks … other than what I imagine him saying along the lines of  “hey, I kinda need your data if I’m going to be able to do my job.”

I know that a majority of success in finding my focus on my nutritional goals lies in planning. On Saturday, Mike and I sat down and looked at our family calendar, work schedules and kids / sports calendars .. and then started menu planning.  At this point, I went to town, trying to figure out when we would need to make which meals (no beef or pork on nights Lizzy is eating with us … no cooking on riding lesson night if we want to eat before 10 PM … lunches come from dinner the night before so if we will be eating out, need to make enough meat 2 nights before that, etc.)…. and then on calculating macros – seeing how meals could be manipulated in order to fit both Mike’s macro plan and mine (he gets about double the carbs I do and I think about 50% more protein than I do).

Honestly, that is the easy part. For me. the harder part is figuring out “why” and “how”.  Why do I emotionally eat? And why have I lacked willpower to walk away from the candy and snacks in the break room at work recently? How do I create a situation in which I can control this a little more?  Can I make something that I can substitute as a “treat” without it wrecking my macros for the day? 

Part of the answers to the why:

  • One thing I do know is that my stress due to our fiscal year close at work and my friend’s cancer treatment and my crazy mom’s taxi schedule will not be going away this week.
  • I am aware that EVEN IF I have ALL of our meals planned … it does not mean that I will be able to walk away from donuts in the break room or keep away from the Starbucks drive through. That part comes from willpower.  Lately, I’ve given in to the donuts. The yogurt covered raisins. The trail mix (those m&ms are yummy). Or to waffles. Or the home baked “healthy” muffins. It’s all sweet shit that destroys my willpower….
  • I know that when I have my period, I am SUPER HUNGRY and want to eat all of the sweets around … so that’s a truth right now.

So after reflection, I decided to work on controlling what I could and googled banana and pumpkin bread and muffin recipes.

Know this one thing about me.  I am NOT a very good cook. I am NOT confident in the kitchen nor do I have patience to weigh/measure/bake on a typical day.

HOWEVER … I AM determined to get lighter and stronger … and I’m trying to work with my cravings, health and goals and decided this could be good for all of the above.

I scratched a recipe on the backside of a WZA scorecard and then set to work modifying it.  I read a few googled articles on how to sub out certain ingredients for others.

I subbed out 1 cup of vanilla whey isolate low carb protein powder for flour and honey (the protein powder is sweet … do we really need it any sweeter?).  I then used 2 cups of fine almond flour, 3 ripe bananas, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 3 eggs, 2 tsps cinnamon, 1 each of baking soda, nutmeg and salt (plus a half tsp of ginger (Mike suggested this addition after he taste tested the batter) and baked in the oven 1 hour at 300 degrees.

 

 

 

OMG YUMMY.

And 220 cals / 14C, 13F, 10P for 1/8 of the loaf.

I cannot get over how moist this turned out and without any added sugar it’s sweet enough, too (but you can add 1/4 cup honey as recommended).

Because the dog is an asshole and ate 3/4 of the loaf off of the counter (okay – my fault for leaving it in reach), I also did bake a second loaf and this time included 1/4 cup of honey that I had actually forgotten to include when I made it the first time).  The honey gives it a slight difference in taste and the crust is darker/sweeter … however, really, it’s not necessary (this is coming from a sweet tooth cravings person).

Onwards to the week.

Breakfast meat/sweet potatoes are prepped.  Meals planned. Sweets baked. I am hoping for an improvement and shooting for 90% compliance with my journaling and an appointment over skype or phone with my nutritionist this week to work on my macros and the plan for the next month.  Wish me luck, please … and also … feel free to leave me comments here about what you struggle with and how you handle it!!! *muah*