Success Rates

A friend and I were discussing the failure rates of blogs, especially fitness blogs. Suffice it to say……I may not be here in a couple of months. Yep, everything seems to go downhill quickly for us bloggers. If you think about it, there’s plenty of us to go around….some 164+million blogs. So there’s that. But then you add in the fitness blog world and the success rates are even lower. So I got to thinking “why?”

Well, if you think about the number of people who start a fitness routine, they usually quit within the first 3 months. Any connection there? Hmmmmm……(scratching my chin).

You know, its tough, right? You jump in all excited. You get your first bit of results, then things start to taper off. The discouragement settles in and next thing you know the bottle of wine, the couch and TV start to look more appealing. No different from us bloggers here. It can get tedious. You have to work at it. It takes time. It takes effort, research, planning, typing, late nights. Blah, blah, blah.

The food portion of blogging seems relatively easy. I mean, who doesn’t like to talk about food? We all like to look at pretty pictures of foods we want to try. What’s interesting to me, is I find the food part the most challenging. To find a way to be creative, not repetitious, is really, really difficult. However, what makes blogging about the fitness so difficult is this: You. The reader. It’s my job to keep coming up with ways to keep you motivated.

From an honest,” I love you to death, I want you to succeed and I will do anything to get you there,” point of view……how many ways do we have to say “Just Fing do it already!!!!” ? Right? Maybe…just maybe…it’s not the blogger so much as it is, we literally run out of ways to say: stop eating the pizza and eat a turkey burger instead! Put the wine down, get up off the couch and start moving!!

So then WE let it go, start drinking wine and watching TV instead of blogging. It’s a slippery slope my friends. That’s why I kind of feel like there’s a balance out there. You know, that beautiful world where you can have your cake and eat it too? Oh, wait…I’ve said that. That’s me.

That’s all I’m trying to do! Help people live a life in balance. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what will set me apart!

Ok……my progress. I’m starting week 8 today! Has it really been 2 months??  This last week has been fairly good. Could my nutrition be slightly more on point? Yes!! No excuses!! Gonna dial that in. And when I say more on point, I mean watching my micronutrients. I’m pretty spot on with my macros…its those sneaky sodium and sugars that get me. I need to resolve to take less BLT’s (bites, licks, tastes). I always hit it hard at the gym, so nutrition is going to take it all the way for me.

With that said, I’m down to 129 on the scale. Which I’m slightly indifferent to. However,  I’d actually like it to be higher. I’m hoping it stays the same with more muscle gains. I think going into this next phase I’m going to keep my carb load the same, 185g a day. This will help me continue to gain more muscle in the final phase of the program.

 

There is not huge progress week over week. I *try not to get too in my head over that. But it’s hard sometimes. I put a lot of effort, energy, time, tracking, weighing, measuring, sweating all day, everyday. I want to see it!!! I know it’s all there. It’ll show up. Patience. Consistency. Never giving up!

Thanks for coming along on this ride!!

V~

 

 

Breakfast Pastries

Lucky for me the whole family loves lemon treats. It gives me an excuse to bake with lemons. Plus they eat most of it!! So that’s a win for me. Their two favorite goodies are Lemon Loaf and Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Basically cake for breakfast. No one can argue with that.

In the Lemon Loafs defense, it’s not entirely horrible. It has yogurt and a bit of oil. So no butter. That’s slightly better, right? The muffins have blueberries, which are dubbed the one of the healthiest foods in the world. So there’s that. The kids are eating. That in and of itself is a miracle some days. Choose your battles.

The Lemon Loaf is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake. It’s super simple to make. Requires only two bowls for mixing dry and wet ingredients. Some light whisking and you’re done! And can I say, that when you zest the lemon, it smells like heaven. So fresh and bright. I used Meyer lemons for this recipe, which add a special flavor to this cake. I’ll bake it either way, but I love using the Meyer lemon!

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The Blueberry Muffins are pretty simple too. I like to wake up a wee bit early to get these in the oven before the kids wake up. Makes the house smell amazing and then breakfast is ready when they wake. I’ve made these for brunch. School functions and snacks. The kids will eat them all day long.

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I’ve had this recipe for nearly 20yrs. Yikes. I just dated myself, but that’s how much I love it. I believe I got it from one of those free grocery store flyers oddly enough. My Grandmother was a firm believer in finding recipes from many different sources.  I’ve tried them with several toppings, crumbles, sprinkles and just plain. They always turn out amazing. This time I did a simple crumble of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter.

They always turn out so light and fluffy. I used a Meyer lemon for these as well. Funny though, I prefer these made with the common lemon. It’s flavor is more traditional lemon flavor and seems to go better in the muffin. Just my preference. The kids still gobbled these up!

 

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

Pre heat oven to 400º line a 12 cup muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients together. With a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.

In a small bowl, mix egg, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest together. Pour wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter into 12 lined muffin cups.

To prepare topping: combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in cold butter with pastry blender until it looks like course crumbs. Evenly sprinkle topping on muffin batter.

Bake for 2o minutes, until tops are golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

 

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Meyer Lemon Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon whole milk

Pre heat oven to 350º Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter and flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of the sugar, eggs, vanilla and zest.

Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and slowly whisk to combine. With a rubber spatula, fold in the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure its completely incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer placed in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile cook the 1/3 cup sugar with the 1/3 cup lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, remove from pan and place on a wire rack that is placed over a sheet pan. The sheet pan will catch all the drippings from the simple syrup and the glaze. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to cool completely.

For the glaze, stir together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and milk. Pour over the cake and allow it to set.

Both of these pastries are super simple to make. They take very little effort and time, but are huge hits! Give them a go!

Enjoy!

V~

 

 

Lots of Layers

 

The two things that are my biggest stress relievers are………..

I need not even say it. Talk about redundant. But I’ll say, come Friday of last week, it was all I could do to make it through my workout because I wanted to be in the kitchen baking. I wasn’t feeling well. It was a brutal leg day. I felt like I was going to pass out if I had to do one more deadlift. I also knew that I was unequivocally going to eat cake. So I had to bust my butt.

I wanted this cake and all its layers. Layers of delicious, moist chocolate cake. Creamy caramel custard and rich buttery frosting. Exactly what I needed after a week like I had. It did not disappoint.

First I always start with my favorite chocolate cake recipe. The best and easiest cake EVER.

 

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To get the cake layers even, I weigh each cake pan on the scale with the same amount of batter in each one.

 

 

It doesn’t get any easier than being able to mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another and combine them. Cake batter in under 15 minutes? Don’t mind if I do! Weigh out your cake batter evenly in each pan and their ready to go!

Next step is caramel sauce. Well, we already know how much I love that. So that’s easy. (You can see my post on Caramel for the recipe for this)

Next up was the custard. This is where it gets a little tricky. You have to make sure milk comes to a simmer, without scalding. When you add the milk to the eggs, you need to make sure the eggs don’t scramble. You add just a touch of the hot milk to temper them, whisk like mad, then add the rest. Then add it all back into the pot to come to a bubble. Only mine didn’t quite reach the bubble point. It got thick all on its own.

While the custard and caramel cooled, I made a simple vanilla buttercream. Once the caramel and custard were cool, I added the caramel to the custard and the buttercream to taste.

I will say that when adding caramel to buttercream (and the custard for that matter) it doesn’t taste super caramely (if that’s a word). When you read a name like “Caramel Buttercream” you think it should taste like caramel. It does not. It’s pretty subtle. I get it, caramel has a pretty mellow flavor profile to it, especially up against this cake. It’s still a great flavor combo, just not the “in your face” caramel flavor I love.

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This one was gobbled up in no time. A house favorite. I love making the little 6″ cakes. They are just the right size to have around the house. And if you happen to hand out any slices, it goes pretty quick! Always a plus for me!

Recipes Adapted from: Style Sweet CA

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 3/4 cups (90g) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) buttermilk (room temp)
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) hot brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

 

Pre-heat oven to 350º. Prepare three 6″ round cake pans with butter and flour and line each pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine all dry ingredients. Fit mixer with paddle attachment. Stir on low speed to mix all dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, add all wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients into the mixer bowl of dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Batter will be liquidy. With a digital scale, weigh batter evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake cakes for 20 minutes, then rotate in oven. Cakes are done when a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. I keep checking mine every two minutes (after the 2o minute mark) to make sure they do not over cook. Approximately 25 minutes total.

Cool on wire racks about 15 minutes, then with a clean table knife, run knife around edge of cake to losen from side of cake pan. Flip cake upside down onto wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Custard

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup caramel sauce (or more to taste) (recipe in previous post)

Place butter in a heat proof bowl. Set aside.

Gently heat milk in small sauce pan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a separate mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and cornstarch. Once the milk is hot, pour in a very small amount of the milk into the egg mixture while whisking (this is to temper the eggs). Once that is combined, pour the rest of the milk in and continue to whisk. Pour this mixture back into the sauce pan and place over medium heat. Heat until the mixture starts to bubble, constantly whisking. Once the custard is nice and thick (and/or “popping”) remove from heat and strain into the bowl with the butter. You may need to press the mixture through the strainer, leaving the bigger bits behind. You want a nice smooth custard. Add the vanilla and stir the butter and custard together.

Press a piece of plastic wrap over the custard and place in the refrigerator until chilled. Add in the caramel sauce to taste. At this point you can place back into the refrigerator until ready to use.

Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Caramel Sauce to taste (in previous post)

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed for 6 minutes. Needs to get lighter in color and fluffy!

Next add in the remaining ingredients except the caramel sauce. Whip on medium speed another 6 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in caramel to taste, whip until combined.

Assemble Cake

With a serrated knife, trim and level off the cake layers, to make nice flat cakes. Set trimmings aside (this is what I use to taste test the cakes with!)

Place one layer of cake onto a cake plate or a cardboard cake round. I like to use a round so I can easily move the cake in and out of the refrigerator during the assembly process.

Using a piping bag, place some of the buttercream into the bag and cut abut a 3/4″ size whole at the bottom. Pipe a perimeter of buttercream around outer edge of cake. Fill in the center with the caramel custard. Place next round of cake on top of this and repeat process. Place third and final layer on top. Next, lightly frost the cake to get a thin “crumb coat” on the cake. Place into the refrigerator until the frosting has hardened. About 15 minutes.

Remove cake from refrigerator and coat cake with final layer of frosting. Pipe a decorative top on if you wish. Sprinkles too! Place cake back into refrigerator to chill and set. Cake is best served if left out for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!

V~

Rolling Into Week 7

This week has been a bit of a struggle both physically and mentally. Missing two work outs. Not hitting all my macros on point. It can mess with your mind. As much as I like to have a balanced life, I struggle with wanting to be on point all the time. Reality is…..that’s not realistic. I rarely miss a workout. When I say rarely, I’m talking like maybe one missed workout over the course of three months, rarely. Not being on point with my macros, happens a bit more frequently (usually I end up under eating as fate would have it). So when both things happen at the same time, I kind of go into a little tail spin. I feel like I’m sitting watching all my gains wither away!

I start to down play my progress. A lot of self doubt starts to take place of acceptance. Thinking I should be a lot further along than I am. Thinking I should have a solid six pack by now. Blah, blah, blah. All the usual crap. Then I stop. I start to assess WHY I feel that way? Is it just because of a few bad days? Really? That’s just as unrealistic  a notion as being able to hit the gym 365 days a year. After all, what am I all about? BALANCE. Kids get sick. I get sick. Life happens. It’s what you do after, to get back on track, that matters the most.  Picking up and moving forward.

I had to remind myself that I’m training for life, not a competition. I’m training to prove you can do this when life happens. To prove that you can do this and live life in balance. Am I going to have that “perfect” (whatever that is) physique? No. But that’s not from a lack of trying……that’s because that does not exist!! That only exists in the eye of the beholder, so I’ve got to let that notion go. Reality is: I love to bake. Reality is: I have kids. Reality is: I am not competing. I’m living life. MY life that I love. We must strive for progress, not perfection.

With all this behind me, looking forward, I’ve got some gains to make! Week over week it feels like there aren’t many changes (physically). But there’s always changes, even if they are small. I was able to increase my weights on several sets. So my strength is growing. That is the point after all! We all get so caught up in “seeing” the changes. What I have found is, often the strength comes first, followed by the visual change to back that up.

All my nutrition stays the same this week. I’ve stayed consistent with my weight. My strength is increasing, even though my carbs are reducing. I will likely see more change with less sugar intake (wish me luck with that!). It does make a huge difference though. So maybe that’s what this weeks goal will be! Keep sugars at or below 20g per day. Yes, it’s doable. I’ve had days with zero sugars. Just takes diligence.

There’s always going to be days or weeks that go a little haywire on us. The real challenge comes from how we handle them. Tomorrow is a new day! Time to get back at it like nothing ever happened!

V~

 

The Heart of the Matter

I’m a few days short of Valentines Day, I know. I had the privilege of spending some one on one time with my daughter while she recovered from pneumonia. It’s a stressful time. Routines  are thrown off, eating is thrown off, sleep, workouts….everything gets disrupted. Often times this leads to emotional eating. Which leads to emotional drinking. Which leads to cake, cookies, caramel, pizza, maybe a burger and fries. You know. We’ve ALL been there. But alas we forget the logic of it all. We get wrapped up in the emotion of it all. We let our heart strings pull us away from our brains!

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This is is SO me. I live by the rules of my heart most of the time. Although I can think logically (Victoria, you know how much those lulu’s cost. Put ’em down girl!) my heart (aka: emotional need for lulu’s) (yes, it’s a real thing) gets the best of me. Sooooo, then I come home with my bag of lulu’s. Sure they’ve made me happy, but often times there is some guilt associated with it as well. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that emotional eating has never been a huge factor for me. However, I definitely have my moments!  I used to do it more before I started eating a macro based diet. Other areas of my life get the best of me way more than eating does. Lucky me? Nope. But I’ll go through what my brain process looks like.

I’ll use this weekend as an example. Daughter gets sick………

Emotion: I could run a train on that cake right now

Logic: Throw the cake away Victoria. Eating the cake will lead to guilt, feeling worse, you’re just stressed, eating something healthier will help you, not hurt you.

Me: makes two Van’s waffles with peanut butter and a banana all weighed and ready to roll out the door to the doctor. Still satisfying and I can log it! Happy!


 

Emotion: I want everything in the store. The cookies, the crackers, the chips, cereal, ice cream, wine…….ooh looky here, Valentine’s chocolate!!

Logic: Listen, Victoria. You’ve got a sick kid, you’re stressed. You will likely end up not being able to work out. Think this through. How will you feel if you eat all this AND you can’t work out? Like a heffer. Just get some almond milk and some rice cakes please. It’s just a Hallmark holiday. You can do this!

Me: Buys almond milk and some Greek yogurt.


 

Emotion: I NEED an entire bottle of wine

Logic: Really? A whole bottle? No.

Me: ok, a glass will do.


 

So as you see,  I’m thinking through the process. How will I feel as a result of my actions?  Sometimes I just don’t care. Like, at all. But that’s usually only about 2% of the time. I rarely, if ever, mindlessly eat. It just doesn’t happen. Maybe I’m an over thinker. I am thinking about my goals a lot. I am considering the aftermath of my actions. All. The. Time. So there’s that. But if I didn’t, my weekend would have become a free for all of take out and sweets. That would have led to guilt, shame and a really bloated belly. Um, no thanks. Instead I sit here relatively well fed, only one missed day of exercise, not bloated, yet still satisfied.

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So, that’s one part of the puzzle. I just work through the emotion of it. I bring myself back to the logic of it. Food is Fuel for my body.

There’s literally no other person in the equation. It’s just a game between you and food. No one else. There are so many other areas in our lives that are controlled by things other than ourselves, which can make decision making damn near impossible sometimes. But food? NO. No way! Don’t complicate food when SO much of our lives already are. No one is out there force feeding you cake. Not even me! Sure, you may be thrust into situations where food choices suck, but you can choose to have only one slice of pizza and a glass of beer, rather than 4 slices and an entire pitcher.YOU call the shots. End of story!

Today I have no progress pictures to post. This weeks progress comes in the form of these thoughts and the fact that I didn’t throw my macros out the window of the 7th floor pediatric unit.  Thanks be to people who live my lifestyle and came to the rescue!

I felt successful this week in reducing my carbs. It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, but I do see the results of it. Going into week 6, all my macros and calories stay the same. Workouts stay the same with the exception of increasing the weight amounts. Looking forward to hitting the ground running this week!

So, before you grab the biggest spoon in your house to enjoy whatever confection you desire……let your logic speak to first. Think before you eat!

 

V~

 

 

 

What One Year Can Do

How long is too long to see results? One month, three months, one week? When we evaluate our expectations of how long it takes us to achieve certain goals (especially fitness related), I find we become really impatient. Most other things we are forced to be patient in like college, pregnancy, baking a cake perhaps. We’re forced to wait with all of it. Sure it can be tiresome, but I’m pretty certain there’s not one doctor out there that would say “Wow, that class on prescription drugs was a complete waste of time.” What if I pulled a cake out of the oven too early because I just decided I’d had enough? Ridiculous.

So why is it when it comes to fitness goals, we’re all whining a month in, frustrated about our progress? Then we quit and wonder why we continually have to start over.  Just think if you didn’t quit in the first place! It just takes time!! Some peoples bodies take longer to respond than others. It really does require a certain amount of patience and determination. All good things come to those who wait AND work their ass off! (literally)

My fitness journey over the last year has been tremendous. I look back and think if I’d never started this new adventure. I would NOT be where I am today. I would NOT have started this blog. I would not have seen the potential my body has. It’s been very empowering. If I had stopped when the going got tough, it would’ve been, well, a month in.  It would mean not getting the booty I wanted. Not getting the shoulders I dreamed of. Would’ve been me and my baby biceps running all around town. That clearly was never gonna happen.

How did I do it? I didn’t give up. That’s how. Oh…and I work at it. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

So there’s that.

This is my years journey following Jessie Hilgenberg’s e-book programs. First picture is beginning of February 2015. Second photo is after completing the Muscle Building e-book in May of 2015. The third picture is after completing the Bikini Body program in June of 2015. The last picture was taken just a couple of days ago, 4 weeks into the Muscle Building 2 program. By the way, in all of these pictures I never gained or lost one pound. Not a single one!! Pretty awesome.

This progression of pictures is me working every single day. Not just lifting weights, but working at making progress in some way. Tracking my food. Weighing my food. Being mindful of my choices. Working through illness. Working through injury and pain. Working through exhaustion. Waking up at 4am to get the workout done. Overcoming fear and failure. Not letting those railroad me into quitting. Spending an obscene amount of time figuring out my macros. How to get food to fit and fit my lifestyle. I need wine. So I have to make it work!

This is a progression of being consistent. Not quitting. Never giving up. Not getting caught up in the time it was taking me to achieve certain goals. Time will pass regardless of what I chose to do with it. So, I may as well just keep working. ANY progress is movement in the right direction. So just do something. Anything! Every day.

So, where do I stand today? Well, I’m still sitting at around 130lbs. Since going into phase two of the Muscle Building 2 program I have dropped the amount of carbs I’m eating. This helps in the leaning out process. I’ll be gaining lean muscle, while losing some body fat. So my calculations are as follows: 185g of carbs, 58 g of fat, 164g of protein, for a total of approximately 1925 calories.  Cardio will increase slightly and our weight lifting pattern has changed as well in a way that will speed up the leaning out process. Really looking forward to some big changes in the weeks to come!

 

We’ll get to cake later on this week!

Don’t let time dictate what changes you see. Let progress be the predictor of your success. Never lose sight of the small victories. It could be as simple as making a better food choice, when in the past you would’ve had all the pizza. Or perhaps last month you could only lift 10lbs now you can do 15lbs. Its all progress and with those small victories, the transformation will begin. Keep going!!

~V

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

 

What did I do with that glutinous purchase of Kodiak Cakes at Costco? I made chocolate chip pancakes of course. I happened to post this picture the other day on the Jessie’s Girls Facebook page and everyone was likely licking their phones, drooling over the thought of having these delicious pancakes.  They are pretty damn good, I must admit. I’ll get to the recipe here in a quick minute.


 

I get asked frequent………how can I keep all these sweets around and not eat them? I get asked how I’ve arrived at the point where I don’t have to refrain from outings (namely wine tasting in my case), or gatherings, or going out to dinner so as to stay on point with my nutrition. You wanna know the real truth?? (I always prefer on upfront answer)

So here you go…….I. Don’t. Know.

It’s complicated, is another answer to that question (which I really can’t). Or maybe it’s just a long process. Yes. Lets go with that! It’s a process. Learning about myself and what triggers I have. I’ve learned over time what foods are “red light” foods for me. Certain times of the month are bad for me, so I behave accordingly. We all have bad days. I try my best to drink my wine and leave it in that moment. I don’t let it turn into a week long binger. But ALL that came with time and practice. And failure. Lots of trial and error.

I did go about a year where I was pretty strict. I would only allow myself a couple of times a month to have a little something extra.  I would log my food every day to stay on track and make sure I was eating the correct amount of food. I think being so strict and tracking every morsel of food for an entire year, built a strong foundation of knowledge of what I was eating. Now I can look at a food and know how that fits into my daily diet. I am pretty secure on what my limits are and if I go over them. Once I was done losing the baby weight and running on a regular basis I started to eat more intuitively. I didn’t track or log anything. I ate what I felt like eating. I knew I could pick up that empty bottle of wine, throw it in the recycle bin, drink some water, and move on. This is how I can go on vacation and know how to control myself. Eat two really well balanced meals a day……drink the rest, right?  LOL. Not exactly how it is, but I am able to balance it out.

The other thing I did, was weigh myself every single day. Every. Day. Not as a self deprecating tool, but as a learning tool. “Oh, you drank that entire bottle of wine? Ok, lets see how that worked out for you.” Or, “Hey…I ate really clean all week! Hmmmm…somehow that seemed to work better.” So as the days, weeks, months went by, I learned more and more about how my body responded to foods. This is definitely NOT what I do today. I’m at the point where I trust my body to know what to do. What I am saying, is there is something to be said about being strict. Staying on track with whatever regimen you may be following. You may need to just hunker down for a bit until you get a grip on your habits. If you know that going wine tasting will lead to a sip, then a glass, then several bottles, then cheese, oh and brownies (mustn’t forget those!) and then it’s a weekend binger……you may want to rethink your plans. If you know you can go to your friends house party and bring your own food and stick to your plan….go!! It’s mostly about knowing yourself. Trusting yourself and letting go of the times where we slip. It will happen because you are a perfectly imperfect human.

Yes!! I have sweets around the house. I have a whole bunch of food laying around the house that doesn’t necessarily come in line with my fitness goals. That’s life. I just don’t binge eat it. It’s just not who I am. When I make a cake, I’m typically making it for a particular reason (not just to eat it!). Do I have a piece (or two) on occasion? YES!!! But I can go weeks with out it too. So it’s just about balance. I really want people to find the right balance. However, if you’re just starting out new. Or maybe starting over. Or just scared of letting go of the control, do it slow. Be “all in” for a time, then slowly let go. Trust yourself a little that you’ll know when to stop. Give yourself permission to slip and let it go.


 

OK!! Lets talk pancakes!

Chocolate Chip Kodiak Protein Cakes to be exact. So in those times where we are being diligent and staying on track, but the day goes to shit and you need something comforting…..look no further. This is what you’ll want to make. It’ll be on your plate in 10 minutes!

I start with one bowl and set it on my scale to weigh out the Kodiak Cake mix, protein powder and almond milk.

Next, weigh out your chocolate chips. Remember, if you’re not weighing your food, how the heck will you know if you’re eating the correct amount of food? Could you imagine shorting yourself chocolate chips?! That would be sad. Really sad. So just weight them. For all of us.

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Pour your batter on the griddle and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Cook until done. Meanwhile in a smaller bowl weigh out your Greek yogurt and maple syrup (sugar free if you have it).

Spread your Greek Yogurt mixture over the Pancakes and enjoy!!

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Chocolate Chip Kodiak Cakes

53g Kodiak Power Cake mix

25g NLA for her Vanilla cupcake

3.5 fl oz of Almond Milk ( I use Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond milk)

14g Lilly’s Dark Chocolate Chip

56g Non fat Greek Yogurt (Fage brand)

15 ml Sugar Free Maple Syrup (Josephs Sugar Free Maple Syrup)

 

Macros For the Brands I use:

444 Calories • 49g Carbs • 10g of Fat • 42g Protein • 556mg sodium • 8g sugar

 

The great thing about this it makes two big pancakes. More than enough to fill you up and satisfy your hanger pains. The other great thing, is it’s only one serving. So there won’t be any left to nibble on! Easy to stay on track.

Unfortunately there is no magic pill friends. It’s good old fashioned will power most of the time. Fortunately for me food is easy to say NO too. Now….other things, not so much!!

V~

 

 

 

Too Busy? Think Again. 

This has been one heck of a busy week. Painting. Kids. A Dog (a puppy to be exact), carpool, baking, working out, life. It’s just life. But we all give certain things in our life priority. For me, kids come first. Lately, the puppy comes in at a close second. Food. Then exercise. You’ve all heard the “there’s 24 hrs. in a day, you can find one hour to exercise” shtick. Although that statement is true, it’s actually more about what we are giving priority to. You say you want to lose weight or perhaps build a stronger physique. However you’re giving priority to other things. What do your TV viewing habits include? Perhaps there’s opportunity there. What does your lunch hour look like? Can you squeeze in 30 minutes of some weights? The dreaded 5am wake up call is daunting, I know that. I’ve done that. But if you want to make fitness a priority and your day is filled full of all the other responsibilities of life, perhaps that is your best option. Point is, you’re filling your day with something. What is it? Evaluate and adjust.

I make exercise a priority. Everyday I have to evaluate my day. What are the kids schedules? What school priorities are there? What needs to be done at home? What work needs to be accomplished? THEN I decide…..ok, what time will I go workout today? Is it that 5am alarm clock or is it a 7pm workout? I prefer to keep it regular times everyday, but that is not nearly as important as just getting it done. Maybe I have to break my workouts up. Weights in the morning and cardio at night, or at home. So, it’s just part of my everyday scheduling I do. We all schedule appointments every day. This is no different. Life gets busy and we need a way to be flexible, yet, not give way to our priorities.


 

I’ve reached week 4 in the Jessie’s Girls 3k Challenge!! I’m seeing progress. Although it may be small, it is progress. It’s in the little things you may not see, but can feel. My strength is increasing. My endurance is holding up longer. People come up to you at the gym and tell you that they didn’t recognize you because your arms are getting so big. Funny, but true. We tend to not see our changes quite as quick as others do.  So there’s that.

Week over week, here’s the difference. Last week I was around 131ish (I don’t weigh myself ever), I stepped on the scale this morning just for this and it read 130.4lbs. I’m currently eating roughly 2000 Calories a day. What’s more important is the macro breakdown of those calories. I consume 164g of protein per day, 59g of fat, and 203g of carbs. I also try to keep my sodium at 2000mg or less and sugar 30g or less. It’s funny because I’ve been feeling like a busted can of biscuits lately, which can be from any number of things. Sodium, carbs, water intake…you name it. I’m a woman, so you never know from one day to the next what’s going to happen. Which is why consistency has been the key for me. Every damn day. Gotta work at it.

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I have been changing things up a bit lately with my meals. I have a tendency to get stuck in a rut. I like routine, which has me eating pretty much the same thing every day. Which is ok, but after a while, that same bowl of Cream of Wheat and protein powder starts to taste like gross warmed up baby food.


I recently made some great purchases at Trader Joes. First off was their Fire Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions. I cooked up one pound of lean ground turkey with the entire bag of roasted veggies. I divided it up into 4 equal servings and would eat each serving in a flour tortilla. It literally took me 10 minutes to make up four meals! So fast and good!

The other finds were the Frozen Shredded Hash Browns and the Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages. I’ve been using the Hash Browns as part of my pre-workout meal. Mixed with some egg whites, they are a low fat, high carb, high protein meal. Exactly what I need.

One of my favorites recently was a combo of the hash browns, chicken sausage and some whole eggs. This was higher in fats (not ideal for a pre-workout) but still a good mix, macro wise.

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I also purchased the riced cauliflower, which is good, but really low on carbs. This will be fine as I near the end of my challenge. Right now I need foods high in carbs……I’m eating a bowl full of oatmeal every night before bed for Pete’s sake!! Cauliflower isn’t working for me now. However, talk to me at the end of the Biking Body Program and I’ll be gobbling that stuff down!

I also had a fellow Jessie’s Girl post a recipe using the Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits baked with the Trader Joe’s Brie Bites in the center and topped with the Trader Joes reduced sugar strawberry jam. That was so delicious and one of the easiest things to make!

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Overall, it was a good week. Although it was busy I made the time to get my workouts in and plan my food accordingly. Having a well stocked kitchen is key for that. Making a daily plan was key for that. Making it a priority for my life was key to getting it done.

V~