Friday, March 29, 2013

High Five for Friday

Friday! This week has actually gone by fast, amazingly. And Sunday is Easter! I used to always love Easter - getting all dressed up in a new dress for church, looking for my Easter basket that the Easter Bunny hid somewhere in the house and all the candy!! My absolute favorite candy comes out during Easter - Peeps, Cadbury Creme Eggs and my ultimate favorite, Cadbury Mini Eggs. Those things are like crack to me; I could eat the whole bag in one day. Needless to say, this year I'm avoiding the Easter aisle at all costs so I don't give in to temptation and buy candy!

Now on to the good things of this week for the weekly link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday ...


One:
My mom came down on Sunday to spend a few days with me. It was fun having someone else in the house with me for awhile and to have someone to do things with like shopping! We made fish tacos (yum!), went shopping, watched a movie and had some great mother/ daughter bonding time. It was a wonderful few days! While out shopping, I finally indulged in some cupcakes at Nadia Cakes Cupcake Shop. My mom and I split a s'mores cupcake and a salted caramel. My favorite was the salted caramel - delicious!


Two: 
How pretty are these flowers? I love daisies and I tend to gravitate toward the simple white ones, but my local grocery store had these on special last week and I had to buy a few bunches of fun colors.


Three:
I haven't bought jeans at the Gap in a very long time, but I fell in love with these skinny jeans from there. They fit me perfectly! The wash is great, they don't stretch out at all while wearing them (the best part; so many jeans stretch out and get baggy throughout the day) and length is perfect. I might have to go see if these come in other washes that are made out of the same material!


Four:
I found my new favorite vodka - salted caramel. I've been drinking the cake flavored vodka for awhile and really enjoy it, but I tried this caramel version at a tasting in the store and couldn't resist buying a bottle. Now, Easter Bunny, I don't want a basket full of candy this year, but you could bring me a bottle of this!!


Five:
And speaking of vodka, I love this! Totally what I'm going to do when I need to go swimsuit shopping!


I hope you all had a good week. Make sure to check out my other posts from this week:

Have a happy Easter! Until next time~ 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Embracing A Healthy Body Image

Last night I was on the phone with someone who matters quite a bit to me and whose opinion of me I hold highly. I was sharing some of my stresses with this person about my weight and food, and how some people think I'm starting to get "too skinny" and need to stop losing weight. And as a side note, I'm not trying to lose more weight. I'm working on maintaining!! I'm just struggling a little bit with it.

I shared with this person that I personally don't think I'm too skinny. I eat right, I work out and I'm fit. I know I'm the smallest I've pretty much ever been, but I don't think I'm too skinny. This person said next, "every woman thinks they're fat no matter how skinny they are." In response, I said that I don't think I'm fat. I think I'm a good weight, a good size and I look healthy. The next comment is where this conversation bothers me .... "If you don't think you're fat, than you're too skinny." This comment has stayed with me all night and all day. 

I've struggled with low self-esteem my whole life. Losing 50 pounds this past year has helped, but I still struggle. Being single, I don't have anyone telling me or making me feel that I look beautiful. I'm the only person that can do that. I'm at the point now where I think I'm thin, fit and healthy looking; I'm happy with where my body is right now. Of course I still think I have things to work on or "flaws", but overall I'm happy with my body. To have someone who I want to look at me and think I'm beautiful make a comment like that really bothers me. I believe that me NOT thinking I'm fat means I am finally starting to have a healthy body image. 

In many ways, I would like to think that this person was joking and it came off horribly. I really don't find that funny. It makes me stress out a little bit about what I look like just as I was starting to embrace myself again. This person knows that I suffer from low self esteem, and should know that their opinion of me is highly regarded. Honestly, all I wanted was for that person to tell me not to worry; that I'm perfect just the way I am. 

Today I'm struggling with this comment and what it means. I'm hoping sharing it will help me through some of the frustration. I don't understand how if I think I'm healthy and not fat, that makes me too skinny. I don't get that rationale. I think I deserve a pat on the back for finally embracing my body and finding a healthier body image. Not to be made fun of or make me feel as if I still need to work on my body. I want the people I love to support me, to be proud of me and to love me back just as I am. 


Until next time~

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Weekend Recap and How Dairy Hates Me

Happy Monday lovelies! 

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was pretty quiet and calm, but I'm okay with that. Sometimes I wish I had a partner to go out with on a Friday night, but most of the time I'm just fine with my calm, single life. It won't always be like this. Right??

Saturday I woke up with a tired, sore body and I decided that it would be a rest day. I drank my coffee while watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge!), made my oatmeal and got ready for the day. I went to Target to buy coffee and other groceries, came back home and found myself antsy in the late afternoon. So what did I do? Went to the gym! I took it easy on the cardio and did an incline "hike" for 35 minutes, followed by abs and leg exercises. After, my body felt refreshed and the antsy feeling went away so I know the gym was the right answer!


Sunday was my actual day off from the gym. I went six days last week and I know I have to give my body rest. I spent the morning cleaning because my mom was on her way to spend a couple of days here and I can't have a dirty house! My mom got here in the early afternoon and we talked through some issues I'm having with my weight and food, then went back to Target (good thing it's my favorite store!) and ended the night making some delicious, healthy fish tacos for dinner. 

My mom is here until tomorrow so today we're going to go shopping for a little bit. My closet is getting very thin in clothing options so we'll see if I can find anything that I love and need today. 

One thing I realized this weekend is that I have a dairy sensitivity. Now, I was actually diagnosed with this when I was younger, but I either thought it was something I grew out of or I became really good at ignoring it (I mean, I HAD to have my ice cream!!). However, now that I've changed my eating habits and am "listening" to my body more, I realize that it can NOT handle a lot of dairy. This is going to be hard on me. I love having cottage cheese or eggs with my salad for lunch. I love having greek yogurt as a snack. And most of all, I LOVE cheese!!! I need to figure out how to balance my dairy intake though so I don't feel sick the next day. I'm not giving it up entirely, just will start being extremely careful about how much I consume a day. I don't think I can live without cheese!

Alright, time to get this day started with breakfast, the gym and then some shopping! Have a great Monday!

Until next time~

Friday, March 22, 2013

High Five for Friday

My goodness this week has been a struggle in my personal life. This struggle effects everything - I'm barely eating enough, I just don't feel happy and I haven't been out much, just work and the gym - and I need to figure out how to get past it; how to let it go. This week's link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday might be a little light on the fun!


One:
Sunday was St. Patrick's Day and I made green pancakes in celebration. These green pancakes were amazing. They're made from spinach, unsweetened applesauce, an egg, baking powder, protein powder and vanilla. I was afraid how they'd taste, but I was surprised how yummy they were! It was nice to have a break from my normal oatmeal breakfast as well. You can get the recipe here.


Two:
I've been stepping up my workouts at the gym when it comes to weights, abs and legs. This week I've woken up with sore abs after adding in some new moves and sore arms the next day after upping the weights and reps at the gym. I love that feeling!


Three:
I spotted this purse in an InStyle magazine. I'm just saying, if someone wants to buy me a present, this would be perfect!!


Four:
I am in love with this shirt! I wish there was an actual link with this pin so I could find it ...



Five:
And lastly, I have to share a picture of my baby, Mercedes. She's super fluffy right now and in desperate need of a haircut. But I don't want to bring her to the groomer until it warms up, which I'm hoping will happen soon. Please spring?? I think she's adorable super fluffy, but a pain to brush out!


Hope you all had a good week! My goal is to get through my personal struggles this weekend and start feeling happier! Check out my other post from this week: Homemade Coffee Creamer Round 2.

Until next time~

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Homemade Coffee Creamer Round 2

A few weeks ago I made a homemade coffee creamer that just didn't impress me. It wasn't creamy enough. It wasn't sweet enough. It tasted good on it's own, but disappeared when I added it to my coffee. So, I went back to my sugary Natural Bliss vanilla coffee creamer and continued my search for a new creamer to try and make.

Then I came across this. A recipe that promised to be thick and creamy. At first I was scared to try it. A raw egg? Scary!! But I forged ahead. My first batch turned out amazingly good. It was thick, creamy, sweet enough and when added to my coffee, foamed up so I felt as if I was drinking a latte. And the addition of cinnamon was perfect for me - added a little extra "sweetness" without the sugar and I could cut back on the honey!

I've since made it two other times and for some reason am failing at the thickness. I think it's my coconut milk. When I open the can it's all liquid already rather than solid on top and liquid on the bottom. I wonder why? I'm thinking I need to try a new brand. However, it still tastes delicious.  And I've learned that my Natural Bliss is starting to taste too sweet! I made a cup of coffee on Tuesday and grabbed the Natural Bliss that's left to use it up and could barely drink my coffee because it was so sweet. Progress!!

This is, as with my other version, made with canned coconut milk. I keep having to remind myself that the fats in it are healthy fats and my body needs them. I struggle with the calorie and fat content in this recipe. I've thought of using light coconut milk, but I don't think the health benefits of light coconut milk are the same? I think that my struggle with the calories and fat is part of my starting to get obsessed with what I eat and I need to let go a little bit. My body needs healthy fat to be healthy! I'm working on it .... 

If you're looking for a homemade coffee creamer that's thick, creamy and slightly sweet, I highly recommend this. Find the original recipe here along with how I make it below.

The cast of ingredients:
1 can coconut milk 
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted, but not hot)
1/2 to 1 packet Stevia (I'm still trying to get used to the aftertaste so I mix Stevia and honey for now)
1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey 
1 egg (organic only)
2 teaspoons vanilla 
Cinnamon to taste


All you do is combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix away. The result should be a thick, frothy creamer. Store in a glass container overnight and the mixture with continue to thicken and be ready to add to your coffee in the morning. Delicious!


Enjoy! And until next time~

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Struggling

I've been pretty quiet on the blog for awhile. Not because I don't have post ideas, but because my mood has been down since Friday. I've been struggling with some personal issues, some self-esteem issues, food issues, and that combined just brings me down and makes me feel as if I'm struggling. I don't like to write blog posts when I'm feeling down because I feel like that mood is reflected in what I'm writing and I do not want anyone else to feel that as well.

Today has been a better day though. Last night I went to bed with this thought in my mind: 
I need to let go of the things I can't control. Worrying about them does not solve the issues, but takes away the joy of today. Let it go, don't obsess, what will be will be.

Repeating that thought helped. I was able to sleep last night and today I don't feel as if I'm struggling quite so much. It's amazing that just a mantra can actually help so much! I hope to get back into my fitness and health blogging tomorrow. I need to completely let go of what is weighing me down and what is causing my personal struggles so I can focus on my health and fitness again without obsessing, without worrying and just enjoy life again. 

Does anyone else use mantras to get over personal struggles? 


Until next time~

Friday, March 15, 2013

High Five for Friday

It's another snowy Friday. When is spring ever going to come? Yes, I know ... I live in Minnesota. I should be used to it; it shouldn't bother me. But I want warm weather! I want the snow to melt, not add more to what we already have!! I despise winter. 

Enough whining, thanks for letting me get that out of my system! Let's move on to this week's linkup with Lauren at From My Grey Desk for High Five for Friday ....


One:
Last weekend my parents were in town to celebrate my mom's birthday. I love spending time with them! We did a little shopping at Target, I wore a bikini for the first time in forever (eeek!) to use the hot tub at their hotel and we went out for a delicious dinner at Rockwoods. They brought us the yummiest cake ever to wish my mom a happy birthday. I don't know if it just is that yummy or if it tasted so good because I haven't had cake in so long! Also, I got to spend some time with this guy ...


Two:
I've seen so many pins on Pinterest about making ice cream from bananas and peanut butter that I finally decided to try it. The result? It's delicious! I used a frozen banana, all natural peanut butter, some vanilla protein powder and vanilla extract. Mixed them all up in my blender, and ice cream happened! I topped it with one of my protein energy bites for a little bit of chocolate flavor. Definitely will be making it again (and again, and again)!


Three:
After a couple of attempts and hours of internet research, I finally found a homemade coffee creamer I love and can replace the store bought, sugar heavy one I usually use. I found it here. It's creamy, has a great vanilla cinnamon flavor and actually "sweetens" my coffee enough for my sweet tooth! Watch next week for a blog post!

Four:
Isn't she a cutie??


Five:
I went to Target yesterday to buy coffee, coconut oil and some fruit and veggies when I walked past the flower section and spotted these. I couldn't resist. How beautiful are they?? 


So that was my week in highlights. If you have time, check out my other blog post from this week: A Thin Line Between Healthy and Obsessive. I'm starting to worry that I'm not just being healthy, but obsessing over everything I eat, how I eat, how many calories I should eat, etc. and I could use some advice!

Until next time~

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Thin Line Between Healthy and Obsessive

I haven't blogged at all this week. I haven't been on since last Friday! Bad blogger! I was traveling Monday and Tuesday, and although I had post ideas, I just didn't have the extra time to write them. And this post has been sitting open all day and I haven't written a thing until 5:30pm. Oops. But, on to the post ...

As I get further into this journey of healthy, clean eating, I am starting to wonder if I'm being healthy or starting to get obsessive. I think that there are things I do that border on obsessive. I want to think these behaviors are just healthy, but at the same time I worry a little bit. I don't want to start having an unhealthy relationship with food.

Last weekend my parents were in town. We went out to eat at a local restaurant that I love, and I ordered my favorite dish - a pasta dish with grilled chicken, andouille sausage and creole cream sauce. Then, because it was my mom's birthday, the staff sent over this delicious chocolate cake with whipped frosting, chocolate sauce oozing out of it and topped with toffee crunch. Wow, it was a wonderful dinner! However, once I got back home, I felt incredibly guilty over what I had ate. I beat myself up over it. Over one meal!

I track everything I eat. I weigh everything to make sure I only eat a portion size, no more. MyFitnessPal has been set at 1,200 calories for a year now and I was sticking to only that amount of calories. Not even eating back any exercise calories, and I burn around 450 to 500 calories six days a week currently doing cardio, plus doing weight training. I was only netting around 750 calories most days - probably not good. Also, I've feeling exhausted during and after my workouts, which I know isn't normal. Workouts used to energize me!

On Sunday, I spent the majority of the day doing research on how many calories I should consume. I went to numerous sites and did all the calculations based on my current weight, what I need to eat to maintain it, and was just amazed at how many calories I should be consuming. Most sites put me at around 2,000 calories! MyFitnessPal still puts the calories way lower than what most sites told me and I don't know how many calories I should really consume. 1,400? 1,700? 2,000? However, for right now I'm just trying to get my mind wrapped around the fact that I need to eat more. It's a struggle for me to go over that 1,200 mark. I freak out when my calorie count is over that. I know I need to eat more to maintain my weight, not put my body in starvation mode, and become the healthy, fit person I want to be, but I just can't get over the mindset of only allowing 1,200 calories. 

I think the majority of what I do is healthy. I focus on eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and grains, and I avoid processed foods, added sugar and cut back on dairy. All of that is good, but is the rest of it? Is it normal to weigh every thing you eat? Or constantly track every single bite of food? Is it healthy to feel guilty over eating pasta and cake on occasion? Or not eating ice cream ever because of the guilt I would feel? I don't the answer, but I know I'm struggling with it. I don't want to become obsessive, or have an unhealthy relationship with food. I want to be able to enjoy food while filling my body with healthy nutrients, but also allow myself to eat those "unhealthy" foods in moderation. 

So where is the line between healthy and obsessive? Have I crossed it??

Friday, March 8, 2013

High Five for Friday

This has been an incredibly long week. Monday was the one year anniversary of Rod's death and I've felt anxious, restless and agitated all week trying not to think about it, but still being affected by it emotionally. I've felt very much alone this week and sadly haven't done anything exciting. However, it's Friday; the end of this long week. My parents are coming for the weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday and things will be get better!

And because it's Friday, it's time to link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday ...


One:
I am obsessed with these looks. I want both of these outfits in my closet ASAP for summer! I've tried to find the one on the left, but haven't been able to track it down - boo.

Pinned here and here

Two:
I made my own coffee creamer this week. I used coconut milk, stevia, honey and vanilla extract. I don't love it nearly as much as my Natural Bliss Vanilla Creamer, but it was nice to try and cut out some sugar. It needs some work though!


Three:
I treated myself to Caribou Coffee on Monday regardless of my vow to cut out sugar. I barely slept on Sunday night and after powering through my workout I need a pick-me-up. Caribou definitely helped!


Four:
I've seriously been craving ice cream, but rather than indulging I made this instead. I made a few substitutions by using all natural no sugar added peanut butter, stevia and just a little bit of honey, but in the end it tasted delicious and helped those ice cream cravings go away for the day.


Five:
I'm a huge Mumford & Sons fan and one of my favorite songs is After the Storm. The lyrics just touch my soul today.


Check out my other posts from this week: Motivational Monday: My Personal Motivation and Homemade Coffee Creamer

Until next time~

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Homemade Coffee Creamer

Last week I wrote a post about how I'm trying to cut my sugar intake. I realized that even without eating much processed foods I'm still consuming more sugar than I would like. Albeit much of that is natural sugar, but I still want to cut down on my added sugar. The biggest culprit? My morning coffee creamer. Having two cups of coffee, I would consume 10 grams of sugar if I used a tablespoon of creamer in each cup. (And, I'm pretty sure I use more than a tablespoon - oops!) 

Last night I finally attempted to make my own coffee creamer. I've seen many recipes online for homemade coffee creamer and most of them contain sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half. Which don't help me at all with all the sugar in sweetened condensed milk. I finally saw a few with coconut milk so I thought I would give that a try.

I used one can of Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk unsweetened, 6 packets of Sweet Leaf 100% Natural Stevia, 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and about 1.5 teaspoons of honey. I heated it all up in a saucepan on the stove to incorporate the stevia and honey into the milk, let it cool and then put it in a glass container overnight. 

The verdict? Definitely not as sweet as my Natural Bliss Vanilla creamer, but pretty good. I might be able to get used to it. I did learn this morning that I like my coffee super sweet so drinking it like this will be a process for me. I also would like to add more vanilla next time. Maybe try vanilla beans for a more vanilla flavor. That might help as well. I only had one tablespoon left in my extract! 

Nutritional facts (using MyFitnessPal): I assumed that this recipe made about 16 servings with 2 tablespoons as a serving. Calories 48, carbs 2g, fat 4g and sugar 1g. Higher in calories and fat than my Natural Bliss, but lower in carbs and sugar, which is the whole point of this experience!

As a side note, coconut milk is definitely not low fat. However, I have learned that coconut milk is considered a "healthy fat" and healthy fats are great for you. They do not make you fat; our bodies need healthy fats. Coconut milk is rich in vitamin and minerals, aids in weight loss and digestion, is magnesium rich and an immune system booster. Although the fat is saturated fat, it's actually good for you. Who knew there were good saturated fats?? 

I am hoping I can get used to drinking my coffee this way - healthier, cleaner and much less sugar. I just need to play around with it a bit more, experiment. Let me know if you have any suggestions or how you would make it!

Update: I went to the grocery store and bought some more vanilla extract. I added in some more (I didn't measure, sorry!) and it tastes delicious now. Or at least the spoonful I taste tested did. Can't wait to try it again tomorrow!


Until next time~

Monday, March 4, 2013

Motivational Monday: My Personal Motivation

Today is a somewhat big day. It has been one year since my husband passed away. One year since my life changed drastically. I suffered an enormous heart break on March 4th, 2012 and in getting through it, I made significant life changes. One of these changes has definitely been regarding my lifestyle, which has resulted in a 50 pound weight loss.

I've been asked many times, how do I do it every day? How do I choose a salad over a cheeseburger? How do I keep motivated? It's not looking in the mirror and seeing how my body has changed for the better. It's not the compliments. It's not the stares from the cute guys. All of those are awesome, but not my biggest motivator.

Here it is ...
My biggest motivation is what I woke up to on March 4th, 2012 at 3:30am. I found my husband passing away from a heart attack. At just 40 years of age. Yes, he had many other health issues that contributed to it such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. However, he also didn't have the greatest diet, which greatly contributed to the heart attack. And I wasn't eating the greatest either. I was relatively healthy, but I ate what I wanted, ate a lot of sugary sweets, didn't eat my daily five fruits and veggies, or regularly exercise. 

Waking up to the aftermath of a massive heart attack is living through your worst nightmare. I don't know any other way to describe it. You live through the nightmare, and then you have to suffer through the heart break. And at some point, you choose how to get through it and what in your life will change. For me, it was pretty much everything. My life is incredibly different from how I lived a year ago. However, one of the biggest change is choosing healthy food, going to the gym five to six days a week and every day making healthy choices. I choose clean, healthy food and working out to keep my heart and body healthy. Doing this decreases my chances of suffering a heart attack and many other horrible health issues. I saw right in front of me the end result of a heart attack and I don't want to experience that nightmare again.

So, to sum it up, I choose to eat healthy and work out to be healthy. To treat my body the way it deserves to be treated and be the best possible me I can be. Seeing what happens when you aren't healthy scared the crap out of me, and doing what I can to avoid that is my biggest motivation. 


Until next time~

Friday, March 1, 2013

High Five for Friday

Happy March 1st and happy Friday! This week has been an amazing week full of fun and exciting things. I wish I could share it all with my lovely readers, but some of it will just have to wait. However, here are five of the good things for this week with the usual link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday ....


One:
My hair is finally long enough for a fishtail braid! I've envied this style for awhile now and thought for the heck of it I would try it out, and surprise, it actually worked! I might have needed a lot of hairspray, but it still worked.


Two:
Last Friday was National Margarita Day and I could not pass up an awesome holiday like that! I met up with a couple of friends at TGI Fridays for their delicious skinny blackberry margaritas, good food and fun times.


Three:
How sweet are these hot pink Nike's?? I love them so much!! My feet were starting to hurt so much when running that I thought I probably needed new shoes. My last ones were three years old so off to Foot Locker I went. The sales guy there was great and helped me pick out these. My feet no longer hurt and they're the best color in the world! Pink shoes make you run longer and faster, right?


Four:
Bikini season is just around the corner! Most people dread it, I know, and I used to be one of those people. However, I've been working hard at the gym and cannot wait to be able to wear a bikini for the first time since pretty much ever. These are two of my current favorites from Victoria's Secret.


Five:
Last night I was working on turning one of my old, oversized tees into a racerback tank for the gym (check out how to do that here - such a great idea for old shirts that don't fit!) and Mercedes decided that I wasn't paying enough attention to her. She's such a cutie!


So basically that was my week. I'm happy today is March and I hope that means warmer temperatures soon. Come on spring! I hope you had a good week as well!

Check out my other posts from this week: Motivational Monday: Before & After Pictures and Cutting Out the Sugar.

Until next time~