Shredding for the wedding // Meal Prep

post about my shoes, favorite leggings of all time

I recently did a poll on Instagram to see if there would be any interest in these posts, and the results were overwhelmingly a yes! I’ve mentioned before that originally when I decided to start this blog wayyyy back, it was going to be a mostly fitness-related blog. That quickly changed, but as I’m getting back into my fitness for 2018 and to walk down the aisle in July, I thought it would keep me accountable if I shared my progress out loud to the entire internet. And hopefully it will help someone else who’s looking for motivation, workouts, tips, or just wants to follow along!

Our wedding is July 22, so I have 6 months (AHHH!) until our big day. I know that it will be here before I know it. People have lots of opinions about this kind of stuff, but my number one priority is my health and the way I feel about myself. A million people can tell you that you look fine the way you are, but you have to feel it yourself or it won’t matter. I don’t think that someone should lose weight just to get married, but this is a great source of motivation for me personally because I want to feel and look my best on the most important day of my life. My weight has gone up and down my whole adult life, and right now it is up! I need to find a balance between the extremes. I have high blood pressure and need to lose weight just in general for my health, so this is not a crash diet or an unhealthy approach. Secondly, Andrew loves me exactly the way I am and my weight goals are not fueled by him in the slightest, other than having his support for whatever I want to do. This is not about him, this is about me. Thirdly, I 100% believe that whoever you are, wherever you are in your health, it is 100% between you and yourself, and you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. So you do you.

So let’s get started! I’ve been going to  the gym with my sister, doing workouts at my apartment gym, and I want to add yoga back in to my weekly routine as well (I’ve let it get away from me). I’m following my Weight Watchers plan and tracking my meals, but I’m also planning out my meals every week and prepping food with my sister to keep us both on track (I’ve mentioned about her fitness competitions here).   It has made my weeks so much easier. I know that diet is the huge majority of changing your body. I also know that if my food is already paid for and prepared, it’s harder to justify going out to eat or stopping for something at the drive-through. Meal prepping also makes it easy for me to just grab a lunch for the work day and not worry about what I’m going to eat. My sister and I have a membership to Costco, so we bought a lot of things in bulk and were able to freeze some for the next week.

We just make our plan and decide what needs to be cooked first and how we can start putting together some meals! We use a food scale to weigh things out, as well as a rice cooker to make our rice/quinoa much more quickly and easily! It takes about 3 hours from start to finish, but then you don’t have to cook again the entire week. Kind of nice and makes it easier during a busy week!

allllll the tupperware containers

weighing it out

our batches of broccoli and brussel sprouts for the week

Here are my meals:

Coffee:  I saw a meme this week that said something like “I love myself so I use cream in my coffee.” For a long time, I tried drinking mine black to save calories and fat or to drink it with almond milk, which just does not cut it for me. I have to start my day out with coffee and creamer. Just have to. So that’s my daily treat. I like french vanilla creamer, and I do buy sugar free – 1 point on Weight Watchers every morning. I use Truvia or a sugar-free, calorie-free caramel syrup to sweeten it a little.

Breakfast:  Either a protein shake or overnight oats. I LOVE overnight oats. So easy and so delicious! I make mine with 1/2 cup oats, a sliced banana, JIF powdered peanut butter (so much better for you), 1 scoop of protein powder, and cover it with cashew milk overnight. This is 7 points on Weight Watchers and fills me up totally until lunch. I wake up at 5 and don’t eat lunch at school until 12, so that’s saying something! If I do a protein shake, I make it in the morning and use it when I know I’ll be going out to eat for dinner or may eat more food that day for whatever reason. It’s only 3 points with 1 scoop of protein, 1 scoop of the same peanut butter powder, and cashew milk. I sometimes add frozen blueberries and cinnamon to the mix!

Lunch:  Baked flounder and tri-color quinoa with a tomato/spinach blend on top. This was kind of bland at first, so I started putting a little bit of hot sauce on top with garlic, and even a little parmesan cheese. So good after fixing up the flavor! The second week we prepped (this week), we are doing the same type of quinoa but as a cold Mediterranean side with turkey loin or tuna salad and asparagus (canned asparagus; WAY cheaper and already pre-cut).  These meals range from 5-8 Weight Watchers points.

Dinner:  Week 1 was either crock pot buffalo chicken tenders or turkey loin cooked in taco sauce and seasonings, jasmine rice, and either broccoli or brussel sprouts. This week we are doing Asian flavored beef bowls with broccoli or brussel sprouts and rice. So good. These meals range from 5-10 points on Weight Watchers.

Snacks: I love cheese, so I usually do a string cheese or a little snack pack cheese square. I like the Cabot Lite 50 calorie cheese snacks (2 points on Weight Watchers). Fruit/veggies are also great for snacks because on Weight Watchers they’re free points. Pickles, an apple, banana, grapes, etc. I also usually do a protein shake after a heavy workout. My sister and I love this kind in cake batter (and we have tried our share of protein powders!). Expensive, but not when you break it down and see how many servings you get – or if you compare the cost to all of the coffees or french fries you might be stopping for here and there! I also like to do 2 boiled eggs for a snack since they’re free now on Weight Watchers, too!

Honestly, I don’t usually get hungry between meals because I am eating a lot of food! It’s just good-for-me food vs. junk. I definitely believe in moderation, and one of my favorite things about Weight Watchers is that it accounts for that. You get a bank of extra points for the week that you can blow on whatever you want, because life happens. You can roll over 4 points a day to save up towards your cheat points, and fitness points get tracked by my Fitbit so I can add those in if I want, too! I plan for one big cheat meal a week and when events come up, like our wedding catering tasting last night, I try to be even smarter throughout the day and make sure I get in a workout that day. It’s not going to be perfect, but the point is that you don’t stop trying!

Recipes and Workouts

This week I’m focusing on some healthy recipes and butt-busting workouts. Originally, this blog was going to be mostly fitness and health related…but then things in my life changed drastically and my life just kind of took a different direction. I used to be a bit of a gym rat, which is hard to believe maybe – but I was! When I started practicing yoga a ton, I pretty much completely stopped going to the gym. I love lifting weights and doing all kinds of different training, so I’ve really missed that part of my life. I recently joined Weight Watchers, which has always worked well for me, and I always notice that when I’m eating better, my motivation to work out spikes, too. It all goes hand in hand – this is not new information. So I’m writing it in my planner and speaking it into existence! I really need to be more active again and be a little more proactive on my food planning.

Here are some recipes I’m using this week for my meals:

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image sources linked below

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara – This recipe is SO easy. I made this a few weeks ago when I first re-joined Weight Watchers, and it was a huge hit with both me and Andrew. I had leftovers for lunch the next day, too! Sometimes whole wheat pasta isn’t my favorite, but it’s really great in this recipe and there are only a few ingredients.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole – My sister sent me this recipe and I am excited to try it! It looks pretty simple, and for someone like me who LOVES Mexican food, I think it will be a great substitute! I just won’t be able to have any chips and queso 🙁

Zucchini Lasagna – I made this a long time ago and LOVED it. It takes some time and is a little bit of a labor of love, but if you’re craving something cheesy and delicious, this can’t be beat! And it’s friendly to your waistline, which is a huge perk. I’m so excited to have a meal to really look forward to that feels like a cheat meal, but isn’t!

Green Monster Smoothie – I love this blog because the recipes are all really delicious. And if you’re following Weight Watchers, all of the points are already calculated for you which is a HUGE plus. I love to do this for breakfast, but it would work as a snack, too!

For my workouts this week, I have planned 2 gym workouts, 2 yoga practices, and 1 or 2 walk/jogs with the doggies at the lake. I will probably write up my own gym workouts because that’s something I enjoy doing, but I have followed this blog for a long time and she has all kinds of amazing workouts that are all so different. Great recipes, too! I also have a bunch of different types of workouts pinned on my Sweatin’ Pinterest Board. It’ll be good to get to check all of my workouts off my planner this week! Along with the 17,000+ steps I get at the pub each shift, I’ll be burning lots of calories to earn a real cheat meal. Life is nothing without delicious food sprinkled in.

Wish me luck!

FriYAY feels!

It’s finally,   o f f i c i a l l y   summer! If you’re in the south like me, it has already felt like summer since April, but now we can finally be correct when we say it.

My sister and I planned on doing a free community event Wednesday morning for the summer solstice and international yoga day, but it got rained out and rescheduled. Since we were already up at the butt crack of dawn and dressed, I led us through a yoga class on our balcony while the sun came up. It felt so good; I have totally fallen out of a routine with my yoga and I always notice a difference when I get back into it.

pardon the poor quality selfie

yoga mat + blocks (blocks were a gift)

For summer, I’m focusing on some goals, like I said. Doing more yoga is one of them. Being more active in general, actually.

I’m also trying to make time to read for fun, which I love to do. I started summer off by devouring The Girl on the Train. I know I’m way late to that game, but I finally got around to it. I’m about to start reading All the Missing GirlsI know I’ll be done with that one in a few days, so any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I also just got set up for Audible with my Amazon Prime membership, so I can listen to books while I’m driving or at the pool, too.

Speaking of listening to books, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and listened to the S-Town podcasts. I went to see my dad for Father’s Day in Charlotte this past weekend, so I had time to do some listening. I tend to doze off at the wheel if no one is in the car with me, so I needed something to keep my attention. It was so good. It was one of those stories that really leaves you thinking about it for days. When it was finished, I just sat there for a minute, brain whirring and heart stirring (see what I did there? But really). I wish there were more chapters.

Finally, since I’m limiting alcohol due to 1. trying to be healthier and 2. not having money in the summer, I’m fixating on a couple of guilty pleasure libations right now. (As in, literally drank both of these while writing this blog post). I said I never would, but I find myself loving La Croix now. My sister and I found a new flavor that we can’t get enough of:  Blackberry cucumber. So refreshing. We have only been able to find that flavor at Target near us. My other summer must-have is iced coffee. I drink it year-round, but in the summer it’s a given. Of course I can make my own, and sometimes do, but Emily (my sister) and I have been loving the Starbucks Dark Roast Iced Coffee. When I’m not paying a reasonable amount way too much for pre-packaged coffee, I use my french press to brew strong coffee and stick it in the fridge overnight. Yes, I realize I also just wrote a blog post about our new coffee bar. It’s a drug, people, I’m telling you.

i have way too many pictures of food & drinks on my phone

That’s all that’s really new with me! I’m waiting for some sunshine so I can have a pool day and work on my golden tan getting more pink and freckly. It has been rainy and stormy on and off here for a few days now, so I haven’t had a chance.

Enjoy the weekend, and let me hear those book and podcast recommendations!

6 week shred // halfway mark update

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So much meal prep.

I have officially passed the halfway mark of my six week shred! My mom, sister, and I are still all going strong, keeping each other accountable and sharing our favorite recipes/menu days on the shred. We check in every weigh in day, give encouragement, and advice.

For those of you who don’t know, I started a six week shred fat loss program a few weeks ago. This is currently week 4 for me, so I’ve really gotten comfortable with the system at this point. Meal prep is not new to me, but it does take time to get back into the flow of things and get used to all of your meals being in tupperware containers again.

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Almost all of the meals and snacks have been really delicious. Everything has been easy to make. Meals I’ve really enjoyed were fried rice with chicken, spaghetti squash with ground turkey meat and organic tomato sauce, and the Korean beef bowl with rice. Breakfast has been a mix of egg white omelettes, fried eggs with potatoes, or overnight oats (so easy – just grab out of the fridge and go in the morning!). The thing I’ve really had to get used to is weighing all of my food on a food scale for portion control, but I have never been hungry.

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The first week, I lost 5 pounds and 3.75 inches. I didn’t even exercise! I was so overwhelmed with school and meal prepping that I wasn’t able to go to the gym or even take a yoga class. So with losing that much just by changing my diet, I felt amazing! In total so far, I have lost 9 pounds and 7.75 inches, and that is mostly attributed to my diet changes. I drink a gallon of water a day, have tried to get more sleep, and have worked really hard to maintain my own life while being on this challenge. The rest of this week and into the last two weeks, I really want to commit to regular gym time on top of my yoga classes.

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Bruno and Oliver helped me kick off my birthday weekend with a shred-approved Saturday breakfast.

That’s it so far – I’ll check back in after 6 weeks are finished!

It’s time // 6 week shred

I went to the doctor recently and had the dreaded weigh-in. I hadn’t weighed myself in a really long time, because I hate focusing so much on the scale and I honestly was trying to ignore the fact that I have not been very healthy lately. And if I’m really, really being honest, it has been a lot longer than just “lately.”

So I stepped on the scale and tried to ignore it, but then I couldn’t help myself – I glanced down and saw the number. And YIKES. Before my doctor even had the chance to mention anything to me, I went ahead and let her know that I knew it was time to get a grip. And instead of saying, “Noooo, you’re fine,” she said, “Well, at least you know it’s time.”

That’s when I knew. I knew this wasn’t something I could sweep aside anymore.

My big sister has been on the fitness train forever, and for a long phase of my life, I was too. It’s not a new lifestyle to me, but it’s one I’ve been far away from for a while. She, my mom, and I decided to do a six week shred program through Gauge Girl Training. My sister did another program of hers and really saw fantastic results. She is an engineer and food scientist, which makes me feel a little more comfortable paying for a meal plan. I know I could do all of this myself, but I felt like I needed a good kick in the rear to jump start my metabolism and get me back on track.

So Mom, Emily, and I all purchased our meal plans and started a group text to help each other, keep each other accountable, and give lots of support! Andrew is on board with me 100% and supporting me through the next 6 weeks of not going out to eat or having any alcohol (nerdy date nights in our future!). My meal plan is strict, specific, and designed to cut body fat quickly while maintaining lean muscle. I’m putting this all out here because I need to be accountable. And maybe this post might reach someone and give them the lift they need to know that anyone can do what I’m doing. I am nervous about it, but I know I can do it. I’ll be checking in over the next 6 weeks to let you know how things are going!

I went to three stores to get everything I needed to get started, and then got to work rinsing, chopping, cooking, and storing my food for the week. It takes a lot of work up front, but then you get to sit back and relax the rest of the week because you know exactly what you’re eating (plus, you don’t waste money on going out to eat because you know you are wasting money on the food you have at home if you do that). My first day was yesterday, and it went so well! I ate all of my food, drank a ton of water, and already my mindset just feels so much more positive.

6 week shred, week 1

Alllll the groceries. It’s hard to believe I’ll eat that much by myself in a week, but I did my math carefully. I also know from experience that each week will be easier to plan for, prep for, and stick with. It takes a little while to form a habit, but then eating well and exercising regularly just become routine.

This isn’t about being thin. It’s about being in a healthy range for my personal body. It is about feeling strong and fit, having a healthy heart and lungs, and helping myself live a longer and fuller life. After 6 weeks is up, I’ll continue to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, but I will also be able to live a little, because life happens and you have to enjoy the chocolate and the wine and cheese here and there, too.

I have thought about that doctor’s comments several times, and instead of being angry, I’m so thankful that she gave me that honesty that I needed. And you know what?  It is time.  It’s time to really hold myself accountable, it’s time to do something instead of complaining about something.

And it’s also time to practice being nice to myself more often. It’s a fine line between telling yourself you can improve and telling yourself you’re not good enough. I’ve come to a place where I’m trying to just accept myself where I am. I can only do my best from wherever it is that I am standing. So this is me, right now, and this is the body that I am in right now. Hating myself won’t gain results. I just have to plan it out, stick with it, and cheer on my mom and sister as we complete this 6 week challenge together.

Wish me luck!