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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recommitting

I'll be honest with you. I've been struggling to keep on track this past month or so and I can feel it. It may not seem so evident on the blog since I don't share every single meal with you, but I have definitely been slacking, and no, I am not happy about it. Making the transition to living in an apartment and grocery shopping has been an adjustment that I thought was going to be a lot easier. Don't get me wrong, I still load up on spinach, carrots, and the like when I go grocery shopping, but I haven't been meal planning like I did this summer and the snack monster sure has attacked over these past weeks. I've been writing off the extra snacks as hunger from doing a longer run or a more intense workout, but am I really hungry, or are my snacks just something to do while studying? I keep allowing myself to buy snack foods when I know that is a weakness and I know I will overindulge.

Over the past week I have been thinking about how I can improve my lifestyle in order to feel better on the inside and the outside. As I have mentioned many times before, I don't maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to lose weight, I just love how I feel when I eat healthy and move my body regularly. So when over the past few weeks, I have been feeling less than how I normally do, I knew it was time to recommit. Here's what I have come up with to recommit to maintaining my healthy lifestyle...

-Meal planning
I meal planned and prepped each week this past summer, but since I have gotten back to school I have slacked. I stopped writing down my meals and that's where I pinpointed when I started eating differently than what I am used to. Writing down my meals and planning them ahead of time keeps me on track and more aware of what I am eating and just how much I am eating. It always has so it is time for me to get back on it.

-Dairy really does affect me
I have been much too lenient with my dairy-free diet and it is time to get back on board with it. I used to do so well with saving dairy only for special occasions, and it seems like since I have moved back to school every weekend has a special occasion. I feel 10x better when I stick to a dairy-free diet and just because someone offers me a cookie doesn't mean I have to eat it, I can politely say no thank you.

-Long(er) runs don't equal junk food
For the most part, my Sunday mornings before church have consisted of a longer than usual run for me and although I run a longer distance than usual and it makes sense that I would be more hungry than usual, it doesn't mean I need to reward myself with junk food. I need to do a better job of eating a big breakfast following my longer run rather than waiting until the hunger monster is unleashed and I am at church social hour with desserts upon desserts. Rewarding myself with a big bowl of oatmeal satisfies me and prevents me from overeating later... not a piece of toast and a hope that there will be something semi-healthy and dairy-free at social hour.

-Dinner time needs to be earlier
In the effort to curb my evening snack monster I have been holding off on dinner until later in the evening. But, I end up holding off on dinner, waiting until I am really, really hungry, eating dinner, then I just keep on eating since I was so hungry from holding off so long. I need to listen better to  my hunger cues, eat dinner earlier, and still allow myself a small evening snack.

-Cooking doesn't mean snacking
This has been something I have never struggled with before since all growing up my mom cooked dinner and when I lived in the dorms I ate in the cafeteria, but now that I cook my own meals I have been snacking while cooking my meals. I'll have a bag of pretzels open while cooking dinner and I am not even that hungry for it! It has just become an unnecessary habit that I have gotten into. I need to keep the snack shelf closed while cooking and focus on what I am cooking. I love cooking so I should be paying attention to the enjoyment I get out of cooking rather than mindlessly snacking my way through my meal cooking.

This post was more of a ramble, but it has been something I need to get off of my chest for a while now. I am recommitting to making my lifestyle the healthiest I can be and to make it a lifestyle of balance. Life is all about balance and enjoying the little treats along the way is no big deal as long as it doesn't become a daily habit. The candy dish sitting out in my habit was becoming a nightly habit for me, but now I am committing myself to keep walking past it. I have a kitchen full of fresh foods that will leave me much more satisfied in the end anyway. I know that I will struggle here and there, but that is what makes me stronger in the end. Being able to push past temptation has always been a struggle for me, but I am committing to make it no longer one.

No questions today, feel free to share your thoughts.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

Hey friends! How was your weekend? Things were pretty quiet from in blog world as I was disconnected from the internet throughout this weekend. I'll have to admit- it felt great! I spent this weekend camping with my family to enjoy a fall weekend and it was wonderful. I'll share a few pictures after my workout recap from the week since the fall colors were absolutely gorgeous! This morning my dad, brother, and I went for a quick hike around the campground and it was wonderful to be able to see the trees changing colors. I did not get much homework done this weekend, so this post is going to be a quick one so I can get to studying! I have a busy week ahead followed by a packed weekend so I definitely need to keep on top of my game this week.

Here's a recap of last week's workouts:
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (10/13) Off
Tuesday (10/14) AM- 3.1 mile run, Love Your Body Arms + Abs routine
Wednesday (10/15) AM- Fat Burning Treadmill Routine (3.1 miles), Malibooty routine x2
Thursday (10/16) AM- 3.3 mile run, Bikini Abs routine, TIU Foam Rolling routine
Saturday (10/18) PM- 2.4 mile run
Sunday (10/19) AM- 1.0 mile hike

And, as promised, here are some pictures from this weekend. It was a chilly and windy weekend but we still managed to enjoy ourselves with hikes, bonfires, and lots of delicious food! I only managed to take a few pictures so here we go!




Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tomorrow is the final day to enter my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway... are all your entries in yet?!

Friday, October 17, 2014

{Friday Favorites} 10/17

Good morning and happy Friday! As I went to type the title of this post, I was shocked when I realized that today is already the 17th of October. This month has been flying by! My weeks have been filled with school, work, and meetings, while my weekends have been filled with fall activities, so I can't complain too much! After a busy couple of weeks, I am looking forward to this weekend ahead. I don't have to work and I will be heading on a camping trip with my family in just a few hours. I was planning on going home this weekend since it is my only free weekend until Thanksgiving break, but my parents had already planned this camping trip and wanted me to come along. Of course I couldn't say no! I am so excited to spend a weekend with my family and see the beauty of fall in the campground. My brother moved back to Michigan from Boston this week and I am so excited to see him too. I have a feeling this weekend is going to be a blast! After a stressful couple of weeks (and more ahead of me), this weekend away is much needed.

Before I get too excited about this weekend's trip, let's celebrate Friday with a round up of some of my favorite things from this week. I am linking up with HeatherKatieClare, & Jennifer  so head on over to their blogs to join in on the fun!

And don't forget that my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway ends on Monday! I have loved all of your entries so far and am so ready to try out your recipes in my slow cooker!
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I mentioned this one on Wednesday's post, but it was definitely a highlight of this week... the Frisky Fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. There are so many delicious recipes that have me so excited to get cooking. I have been getting repetitive and boring with my meals these past few weeks so I am looking forward to trying out a bunch of new recipes from the plan. So many fall inspired dishes for foods that I have been wanting to cook with, but just haven't found the right recipes to, like butternut squash and pumpkin. If you aren't a member of the TIU Nutrition Plan, I highly recommend becoming one-- this update has blown me away with the simple list of ingredients (some editions have been overwhelming) and the slow cooker meals look easy to whip up for quick meals too!
I received this Body Armour drink as a freebie at an event at the beginning of this school year and completely forgot about it until this weekend. Since I went out for a longer than usual run I thought drinking half the bottle (half bottle= one serving) following my run would be good since it has coconut water in it. I hate coconut water plain, but I absolutely loved this! The orange mango flavor was so tasty and perfect after a long run. On Monday I added it in a smoothie and it tasted great inside of the smoothie as well. It is filled with coconut water, electrolytes, vitamins, and natural flavors and sweeteners. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of these. I want to try out the strawberry banana flavor next!
Wednesday was a long day for me and once I was finally headed back to my apartment after being gone all day I decided against cooking and went for Qdoba. I rarely eat out and since I don't eat meat on Wednesdays it can be difficult to come up with meatless options to make quickly since it was already getting to be 8pm. Qdoba was right on my way back to my apartment so I went for a naked burrito bowl and guess what- FREE GUACAMOLE!! Qdoba has a new campaign where they are not charging extra money for toppings like guac and fajita veggies. The guac lover in me was so excited and so happy with my decision for dinner on Wednesday. I crave guacamole on the regular, but never buy it since it would be dangerous to have a jar of guac in my apartment... haha!
I officially pulled out my boots this week for fall and am so happy to have done so. I absolutely love the feeling of wearing boots in the fall and do so almost daily once I pull them out for the season. I;m also loving the fold over boot style right now, like these boots from target. Wondering if I could pull them off?
Since it is fall and I am craving all things fall I thought I would end this week's Friday Favorites with a new recipe from Cassey Ho from Blogilates I cannot wait to try out. A pumpkin pie mug cake that you can make in the microwave! The recipe sounds so delicious and is made super quickly for a late night snack that won't leave you feeling too full. I am so trying this out soon!

TIU girls: What recipes from the new edition are you excited to try?
Is it boot season for you yet?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

{WIAW} Frisky Fall Edition

Ah, another Wednesday, another round of {What I Ate Wednesday}! After a stressful week last week, I am back with a full post of eats for you. Sorry about the quickie post last week. I still wanted to share my eats with you, but had so much studying to get to. So happy that all is over with...for now!

Anyway, let's get to sharing yesterday's eats... and a new edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan! You know how excited I get over those by now I am sure :)
After an exhausting Monday, I woke up Tuesday feeling so good and ready to start the day. I checked the weather before going out for my run and saw that it was already 60 degrees out... and it was only 7am! I decided to take advantage of what was probably one of the last days of warm weather and go out for a run in a tshirt. It felt so good after spending the last few weeks running in a sweatshirt. Once I got back, finished my workout with a round of Love Your Body Arms & Abs, and got ready for the day, I dug right into breakfast. I made a bowl of oats with strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds. peanut butter, and cinnamon. It was absolutely delicious! Also with a side of coffee and a banana.
Once I finished up with my first class of the day I headed over to the library to get some studying done and eat my lunch. I packed a salad ahead of time to have at the library which consisted of iceberg lettuce, spinach, turkey, quinoa, and carrots. I topped it with a balasmic vinagarette dressing and it was ready to go!
A few hours later I snacked on a peanut butter raspberry luna bar to hold me over through my next class. I am obsessed with these bars! They are soft bars, unlike luna bars, and taste absolutely delicious. I need to microwave one of these one day and see how they taste warm... I bet they would taste great!
Once I got back to my apartment after being gone at class all day, I knew I needed something to hold me through until dinner so I went for my favorite fall snack... graham crackers topped with pumpkin butter and raw cacao nibs! So yummy and perfect this time of year.
Before heading out to my church group evening meeting I whipped up a quick dinner of scrambled eggs with spinach, turkey, mixed vegetables topped with basil, oregano, garlic salt, and salsa. All sauteed in a fry pan on the stove! It is the easiest dinner to make and it tastes so good. This was my first time topping it with a spoonful of salsa, and it definitely won't be the last. Definitely a good choice!
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While I was cooking dinner I received an email from Tone It Up that the Frisky Fall edition of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan was just released and available for download. I immediately downloaded it and went through all of the recipes while I ate dinner. There are so many delicious recipes in the plan and I love that many of the recipes use simple ingredients and the ingredient list isn't as overwhelming as some editions are. Almond butter pumpkin dip, pumpkin spice granola, black bean and quinoa chili, and pumpkin parfait are just a few of my favorites so far. I am so excited that they added a slow cooker portion to the plan! There are so slow cooker recipes I just can't wait to try out now.
And of course, the usual evening study snack of air popped popcorn. I am really beginning to enjoy popcorn that is slightly burnt... is that weird? It makes my apartment smell like burnt popcorn all night so I try to open the windows after I pull it out of the microwave, but I am really loving the taste of it lately.

That's it for me for now! With a busy day ahead, it is time for me to get going. Let me know your favorite fall dishes below so I can get some recipe inspiration to get cooking! I want to cook up all the favorites this season since I have access to a kitchen this fall.

And don't forget to enter my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway! I have been loving all your favorite slow cooker meals and have so many new ideas now :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top 3 Healthy Living Tools

Good morning, friends! I am in an extremely good mood today and am so happy to have gotten the day off to a good start. Yesterday was exhausting, so after a good night of sleep and a morning run (I wore a t-shirt instead of a sweatshirt!!) I am feeling great and ready to take on the rest of the day. Let's hope today keeps on going well. Today I am sharing my top three healthy living tools with you that have helped me to stay on track with my healthy lifestyle. It was hard to narrow it down to just three (I cheated and added a fourth), since there is so much available for us to live a healthy lifestyle. I decided to keep it to three (eh, four) tools that are available to everyone and within everyone's budget to get a hold of. Make sure to add your healthy living tools in the comments below so we can all get ideas for new tools to help us live our healthiest lives!

Linking up today's healthy living tools with The Fit Dish link up hosted by The Fit Switch and The Fit Pepper, thank you for hosting ladies!
1) Plastic Food Storage Containers
My number one tool for anyone looking to eat healthy. I love taking a few hours on the weekend to meal prep for the week and fill plastic food storage containers with my prepped food to keep in the fridge. I can grab out what I need throughout the week and my food is already there. I also prefer these containers to sandwich bags for taking my meals with me on the go. I rarely ever put my food in sandwich bags these days, I just fill up food storage containers pack them in my lunch bag and go. Not only is it a healthy living tool, but a living on a tight budget tool! No need to buy sandwich bags all the time!

And yes, I have a whole shelf in my kitchen dedicated to food storage containers. No shame.
2) RunKeeper App
I've been using this app for a few years now and I absolutely love it. It is so easy for you to choose what you want to have said to you during your workout (distance completed, average pace, etc.) and it is not just for running. You can set your workout to cycling, snowboarding, swimming, skating, and more! You can also create workouts to do during your run that will help you train for a race, loose weight, learn to run, or just get fit.
3) Notebook
I use a notebook to track my workouts and food and it is essential to keeping me on track. I plan my workouts and, most weeks, my meals, on Sunday and it is extremely helpful in keeping me sane in the week. I know exactly what workouts to do and meals I will be eating for the week ahead, making my mornings that much easier. I wake up, look at my workout schedule and go for it. I go into the kitchen and already have a plan for what to eat. Of course, I veer off from the plan, but using a notebook to help me plan ahead helps me get through the week. I also use it as a tool to look back and see what weeks I did well and where I struggled, and why I possibly did.
And now I am going to cheat and add a #4... a water bottle! I have a little bit of an obsession with water bottles, just ask my parents, and can not go anywhere without one. Aiming to drink half of my body weight in ounces each day would be nearly impossible if I tried to do so only when I was sitting down to eat a meal with a glass of water. Carrying a water bottle with me to all of my activities for the day keeps me hydrated and feeling great all day long. Just be prepared to pee... a lot. It's annoying, but at least I know I am keeping hydrated!

What is your #1 healthy living tool?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Green Goddess Wrap

It's Monday and I have a recipe for you! I feel like that is one of the best ways to get through the first day back after the weekend. I was inspired to make this recipe after reading through the Cooking with Trader Joe's Cookbook: Skinny Dish that I received for my birthday back in August. It is one of my favorite cookbooks that I own and I definitely recommend it to all my fellow TJs obsessed readers. Anyway, this recipe is the perfect wrap to make for lunch and you can even make a few ahead of time and store them in the fridge to have ready throughout the week for a quick lunch.
I would like to say that I was really creative in coming up with the name for this recipe, but I have to give most of the credit over to Trader Joe's. I finally picked up a bottle of their Goddess dressing and I was instantly in love. Since it has a tahini base it is almost like a hummus dressing that is just all too delicious. I have been using it beyond just topping salads like dipping veggies in it and adding it onto this wrap, hence the creative name ;).
Ingredients for one wrap
1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
1/2 cup Broccoli Slaw
1 tbsp. Hummus
1/2 tbsp. Trader Joe's Goddess Dressing
Spread hummus onto tortilla, add broccoli slaw, and top with goddess dressing. Roll up + enjoy!
Simple as that and you have a delicious wrap ready! A perfect wrap for meatless Monday and it just so happens to be dairy free too! 

What is your favorite salad dressing?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap

This week more than ever I have realized how much of a outlet working out is for me. Being stressed with school these past few weeks has led me to push myself harder in my workouts to relieve the stress and it has felt great. My morning runs have been at a quicker pace and I am upping the weights I use. Workouts that just months ago seemed so difficult, are now becoming second nature. I can now push myself harder in workouts and see just how far I can go. I used to struggle so much with the Tone It Up treadmill routines, like couldn't even get halfway through without giving up struggle, and now that I have been consistently doing at least one per week, they are getting a lot easier and I am actually enjoying them (though, it'll never beat an outdoor run!). I can now max out at higher speeds, especially on days that I am stressed to the max. I just keep upping the speed and sprint through all the stress. Once I am done, I feel amazing and am better able to handle the stress. I realize that on stressful days, more than on others, it is important for me to break a sweat, whether it be a run or a toning routine, or both... whatever is going to best help me relieve my stress.

This week I fit in great workouts, even though I was definitely slacking in the sleep department. I still made a point to wake up and get my workout on before starting the rest of my day. And I never regretted it!

Here's a recap of my workouts this week:
Weekly Workout Recap
Monday (10/6) Off
Tuesday (10/7) AM- 3.1 mile run, Bikini Body 2 routine 
Wednesday (10/8) AM- HIIT the Beach 2 (Beach Babe 2 DVD), Inner & Outer Thighs routine
Thursday (10/9) AM- 3.1 mile run, Sunkissed Abs (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Friday (10/10) AM- Insane Cardio treadmill routine- 3.8 miles
Saturday (10/11) AM- 3.7 mile run, Frisky Fall Arms & Abs routine
Sunday (10/12) AM- 7.5 mile run

And don't forget my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker giveaway is still going on! You can enter here!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Mine will be filled with church, studying, working, and hopefully some relaxing! After this morning's run I sure am ready to kick my feet up and relax.

How do you handle stress?