Waffles Everyday

Waffles can save the day. Their nooks and crannies create pools of syrup, while maintaining the crunchy edges. You can make them in so many flavors, shapes, toppings add ins, from savory to sweet. Heck….you can use them as sandwich bread!IMG_1614

 

These are so fluffy, light, moist and full of fall flavor, you may want to make these everyday! And they are macro friendly!

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If the macros for the entire waffle don’t work, the waffle is super easy to portion out into halves or quarters. It’s already in a grid. Love that!

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YUM!!

 

 

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  • 79g Kodiak Power Cake Mix
  • 25g NLA for Her Vanilla Cupcake
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 90g Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 46g Liquid Egg Whites
  • 2.5 fl oz Almond Milk

Heat up waffle iron. In a small bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a separate small bowl combine all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Spray waffle iron with some non stick spay (I like to use Trader Joes coconut oil spray). Pour batter into waffle iron and close lid. Cook following your waffle iron directions.

Pour your favorite maple syrup, whipped cream, or did I hear someone say spiced caramel??

Macros for Waffle only:

458 Calories • 57g Carbs • 7g fat • 42g protein • 761 sodium • 8g sugar

(Your macros may vary depending on the brands of food you use)

 

Enjoy!

V~

It’s Not Them, It’s You

There are a few things in life that when face to face with them, it’s really, really hard to say No to them. Case in point: Red Licorice. Red Vines to be exact for me. I love it. Everything about it. Soft, chewy, fruity.  I mean, lets be honest…who can only have one strand of licorice?? Just like, why would you only have one glass of wine?

But licorice doesn’t treat me well. It never gives back what I want. And it doesn’t really fit my macros. So a girl has to do what a girl has to do. She ignores it. I see it in the grocery store and I’m forced to turn the other cheek. At Costco there’s huge pallets of Red Vines in gigantic tubs; dream come true, right? No. Its torture.  I will turn on my heel, avoid the isle and go down the next one. I swear the ropes reach out to grab my hand. But I can’t. I just can’t.  At the movie theater, I turn up my chin and walk straight past the concession  stand. It may wink and nod, but alas, I cannot go there. If I pick up the pack I will never want just one strand. I will always want more.

See…they literally jump out of the gallon jug at me!

 
So when you realize this about yourself you have two choices. Either you give in to your craving, realizing that you will inevitably eat the whole pack OR you avoid it like the plague. I choose the second option.

I’m not much of a binge eater, however I do have a few red light foods. I get asked frequently how I can have all these baked goods in my house and not eat them. Well, I do eat them, just not in an all night binger kind of way. However, I rarely make the foods I have a hard time saying no to. Like cheesecake. Its bad. I’ll pick at that all day and all night long I love it so much. Carmel, well, we’ve been over that, it’s all the love in a jar.

Red light foods are simply those you cannot say NO to if face to face with them. The ones that once you start eating them its hard to stop. Hard to stop the picking, biting, mouthful, plateful madness that seems to take hold of every part of you.

Know your red light food list. We’ll use mine as and example: Red Vines, Caramel, Cheesecake, and Red Wine (no one can use this list against me in future interactions).

Ok, now how will you manage these? Not bring them into your house? That definitely works! Avoid the hell out of them. It may be what you need to get over the hump. It’s not them, its you. They likely won’t care. So there’s that.

If you absolutely need to have some, buy a small portion. Enjoy it at the movies or a friends house. For instance I would make a cheesecake for a special gathering where the majority of it will be enjoyed by others, not just me. Its a win/win for everyone! When I get the desire to whip up that perfect batch of caramel, I do so with the intention of eating some and sharing the rest. I hand it out the next day. It cannot linger on my shelf.

Lastly if it makes its way into your home, control the portions. Divide it up into small portions and store them away. If it’s freezer friendly, store it in the freezer. Put it up out of reach and out of site. I know. This seems unrealistic. I get it. I’m there with you….If the tub of red vines makes it into my cart, then into my house, they’ll find their way into my hands…and then, well, you know the rest of that story. But I thought I’d throw in a few tips just in case they happen to work for you. Avoidance. It’s my option of choice.

So if by chance your red light food, catches your eye with its charm, perhaps it even blows a kiss, that warm smile….Keep walking. There’s nothing there for you. ♥

V~

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t or Won’t

Don’t you hate it when someone says you CAN’T do something? I mean that right there is fighting words. Maybe I “can’t”, but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I don’t want to!! The moment we say “can’t” it triggers something in our brains. That fight or flight. The “Don’t tell me how to live my life!” mechanism goes into full swing for me.

What about won’t? That too, is a strong response. There are several things we’ll come across that are deal breakers. Things we just won’t do, like base jumping perhaps. That is something I won’t do. Ever. It’s definitely not that I can’t. I could totally go through all the steps it takes to learn how to successfully hurdle myself off a cliff. Plenty of people do it. That’s not my style.

Then there’s the lovely grey area between can’t and won’t. The can’t becomes more about that we “shouldn’t”, or the won’t is forced. Where we won’t do something based upon fear, rather than a knowledge of ones self.

I hear all the time: “I can’t eat that!” or my favorite “no, I really shouldn’t have that honey”. All the while you’re looking at someone who clearly says “yes” to everything else. Wait, is that mean? It’s not my intention. It is my intention however, to draw a direct correlation between desire vs. something they just won’t do.

So, lets say you’re in the early stages of a fitness plan. You’ve made the commitment to make healthier food choices. You go to a birthday party. You know there will be pizza, cake, sodas, beer, the works. You can choose to say “I won’t have the pizza, because I don’t want to” vs. “I can’t”. Which sounds better? The first phrase, right? It immediately empowers you with the choice. You’ve said no. You’ve set the tone for your commitment. Whereas “I can’t” feels self deprecating. Feels like you haven’t been given any other option other than NO.

When I set out to bake a cake (or any other thing I do for that matter) I ask myself what do I want to do? Do I want it or not? I never give myself the “can’t” option. Cause really, it’s not about that. Either I want the piece of cake or not. I go in knowing I will be eating the cake. I go in with a plan. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel bad. I eat the damn cake and enjoy every bite. I did get some looks though, at a birthday party when I didn’t want the pizza. I don’t know, sure I could’ve had a piece or two, but I really didn’t want to. Wasn’t in the plan for the day, so I said no. Sorry to the people who feel like they had to food shame me, but I didn’t want the Fing pizza! If I’m going to eat pizza, it’s not out of a cardboard box. It’ll be out of a hot deep dish.

So the next time you’re faced with a food choice (especially if your goal is to start making healthier choices), think about what it is you really want. What do you want more? The cake or the results of a healthier choice. It’s ok to want the cake! What’s not ok, is to have all the guilt, shame, resentment for wanting the cake. So once you say to yourself “yes I want the cake, but I won’t eat it” it’s SO much more empowering than saying “yes I want the cake, but I can’t have the cake.” Big difference!

Sometimes we use “can’t” to talk ourselves out of something we are just not willing to put the work into. I can’t do a pull up, so I’m never going to try again (that was me after many failed attempts). Little did I realize I could totally do a pull up, I just needed an action plan to get me there and a little courage to get over my “I can’t” crap. I would never, ever tell my child they can’t do something. EVER. They literally can do anything they want. Why would you limit yourself with so many cant’s? The question you really need to be asking is: “why won’t I do it?” Then you start to dig into the real issues behind the can’t.

So, here I’ve gone into the 3rd and final phase of my Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge and I haven’t filled you in yet! My stats: weight is maintaining at 128. I am noticing some leaning out though. I’ve dialed in my nutrition as promised! Watching my sugar. You may want to sit down for this……no alcohol. Yes, that’s right. Not even so much as a small glass of wine. Not that I can’t, I just don’t want to. I know how adversely it affects me. My carbs are going to stay at 185g per day. However, my sugars go down to 10g or less per day. I am doing triple drop sets now. Which means, first set of 5 reps is my heaviest weight load. Then the following two sets, you drop weight down to where you can lift as many as possible until you reach total failure. I aim for at least 15 reps before complete failure. If I bust out more, that’s a bonus!

It’s been a bit of a mental game more than anything. Figuring out what “to failure” feels like. It basically feels like hell. It hurts, I want to cry. Maybe even puke. But I do it. It reminds me of those times where I had to get a shot as a kid. You’re sitting there and you know the pain that is about to come your way. My mom would always say, “you can scream and cry as loud and as much as you want to, but you have to sit still and get the shot”. So I would. I would scream and cry bloody murder, but I sat perfectly still while they gave me the shot. It’s like that. I’m loving the challenge. It’s those moments of pushing yourself beyond what you thought possible is where growth and change occur. I live for that shit!

So I go along choosing this crazy life. I choose to bake and not eat. I’m choosing to not have the glass of wine after a long day (for now). I try not to base my decisions on whether or not I can’t do something. I simply ask: Is this what I want?

If you want to see what I’ve been up to this week food wise and see my progress, follow me on Facebook at Fit To Bake or on Instagram, @Fit_to_Bake_

Thanks for checking in!

V~

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~

 

 

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

 

 

Should-ing Accountability

What I SHOULD have done is gotten up super early today and published this post by this afternoon. I want Monday’s to be my accountability post from here on out. Especially as I  lift and bake my way through the Jessie’s Girls 3k challenge. However, I wanted to sleep. So now I’m up late doing it.

My decisions as of late seem to be at odds with one another. Where (I think) I should be and where I could be. Like this post for example. I thought I should’ve had it done by today. I was a little hard on myself for not getting that done. This was not from any external pressure. No one told me I had to have it done today. No one gave me a deadline. It was my own self dialogue. My own internal battle.

In todays world there *seems to be a lot of external pressures to be/act/live a certain way. However, I’ve yet to have person hold a gun to my head saying, “Victoria, you must build those biceps or we’re not going to love you.” Right? How we process all those external pressures, is how we arrive at our “should.”  Everyone I surround myself with is supportive of me (and the size of my biceps). When it comes to big life choices, no one was there telling me I “should” do any thing. It was me who was “should-ing” myself to death.

So, are we Should-ing our accountability?

I should’ve done better. I should’ve lost more weight. I should’ve met ALL my macros. I should’ve made that weight heavier. I should’ve not eaten that extra brownie. Well, you know what? Should-ing isn’t going to change any of that.  Instead own it.  It’s ok that all those things didn’t happen. No one really cares!! We care because you care about it. We care because of your health perhaps. But beyond that, it literally does not matter!! Own it and move forward.  It’s our own internal dialogue that gets us into this spiral. We can get stuck there for a time. Even when everyone is telling you, “you don’t HAVE to do this!” you do, because you think you “should”……….. and there you stay. Stuck.

And lets not get need confused with should. You’re probably saying, “That’s all well and good Victoria, but there are some people who SHOULD lose weight.” No, it’s not should, they NEED to. For their health. For their life. It’s like saying someone with cancer “should” get treatment. No, they NEED treatment. So the fact that you should’ve lost weight is a cop out. Did you need it or was it just a “should” statement?

I don’t exercise and count (almost) every morsel of food because I think I should be doing this. I definitely don’t do this because I think this is what I should look like. I’m doing it because I WANT to do this. I like doing it. I find it interesting and challenging. It’s really hard to be in any position when you think you “should” be there. Its miserable. So if you don’t want it, maybe you need it. Change that thought from “I should” to “I need” until you can get to a place of acceptance. Tough. Trust me, I know. But it’ll come round. Even if its “I need to do this for my kids.” or  “I need to do this for my health.”  Anything to get that “should” from stealing another moment.

Ok….On that lovely note…..Let’s have some fun at my expense, shall we??

So when I started my fitness journey WAY back in the day, circa 1995, I believe the heaviest I ever weighed was 155lbs. Now, on a 5’5″ small frame female that’s heavy. Plus it was NOT muscle. By 2002 I was down in the 125-130 range. That was my “I just want to be skinny” stage of life.

Then after having my first baby I was able to get down to 135 and maintained that for a very long time. But after my third baby, I was back up to 156 and wanted to get back to my normal self again. (read  the post “My Fitness Journey” for a more detailed explanation)

Last year when I started the Jessie’s Girls program, I was at 126 and I maintained that weight all the way through. My current weight is 131….meh…you know, a little fluff, some added (intentional) weight, PLUS muscle….that all adds up to about about 5lbs! I rarely weigh myself anymore. I’ve come to learn that the number on the scale is merely an exercise of learning what my gravitational pull on the earth is. I look at myself. I asses how my cloths fit. I assess before and after pictures. Progress pictures all the time.

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Far left hand was from February 2015 I weighed 126lbs, the last picture was June 2015 I weighed 126lbs.

So here I am today. Like literally only moments ago at 12am in the morning. After a long day and night of food and water……you can see why I chopped my head off of this picture. No need to frighten people away from my blog. I believe my current weight is 131lbs. A little extra fluff around the mid section as I take on eating a higher amount of carbs in this beginning phase of the Muscle Building 2 program.

 

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I’m currently in week 3 of the Muscles Building 2 program. I lift 5 days a week with steady state cardio 3 days a week and 2 days of HIIT (high intensity interval training). Each week I have increased my weights. At week 5 I will reduce my carb intake and continue lifting just as frequently. So that’s where the leaning out process will start to happen for me. I will start to really see all the muscle I put on during this first phase of work. Consistency and dedication is all it takes!

So as the weeks and months press on, you’ll get to follow me along this journey. Follow my progress and set backs when they happen. I will not work on what I should be doing, but rather what I need or want to be doing. What I need is all around me!

V~

For the Macro Counters

Ok. I’m the first to admit, not much on here has been “macro friendly.” But what makes something “macro friendly?” In reality if you really, really want something you can make that shit fit. End of story.

I was talking with a friend about this whole notion of macros, sugars, negative calorie foods etc. We both came to the solid conclusion that food is all about balance. You must find the right balance for you. In fact, I remember having a conversation with my mother about this very thing. If you eat too much of any one thing, no matter how “good” for you it is, it will eventually throw you out of balance. Kale is an example of this. Cruciferous vegetables are an example of this. When eaten in high amounts, it may affect your thyroid. Oh, you’re eating Kale at the rate of 100g a day cause you thought it was good for you? Let me offer you a brownie instead.

Put. The. Kale. Down.

So in comes the Macro crowd (yep, me included). A macronutrient based diet consists of calculating the correct amount of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) to fit your body’s needs. So for example, my goal is to build muscle. Currently it’s to pack it on!! So, that not only requires protein, but larger amounts of carbohydrates. You can look up how to calculate your macros very easily on the web. It’s not magic. It’s science. You can calculate your nutritional needs based on what you want to do; build muscle, lean out while building muscle, maintain, loose weight, gain weight. It’s all about what you eat and the balance of it. What’s really great is you can adjust it as time goes on. If you feel you’re not seeing results, adjust the balance. If your body is having a hard time with the amount of protein, change it. Nothing is set in stone and every body is different, so it’s always important to listen to your body.

All foods have macronutrients and micronutrients (sugars, sodium). ALL FOODS.  So although a food may metabolize in your body in such a way that it burns more calories than what’s in the food, it still has macronutrients in it! There’s still fats, proteins, carbs, sugars and sodium. So in some way that food will affect how your body functions. Where are you getting energy from if it takes more effort to digest the food then the food has??!! The MACROS!!! All food has energy to provide. If all you did was eat food all day every day that required more energy to digest it than the food actually offered, well you’d quickly waste away. So clearly you can’t do that. You have to balance your diet to offer your body actual fuel for living. Again, science people.

We are all searching for that easy way out. That magic diet where miracles happen.  The other thing my friend said to me (in another conversation about another subject, yet it still applies) “it’s never gonna happen. Ever. So just move forward” She was right, unfortunately.

So forget the notion that there’s some super spectacular diet that’s going to change your life. Nope, YOU will change your life by eating only one brownie and not the entire pan. So there’s that.

Today, I’m going to talk about some healthy snacks!! I know. Crazy. But don’t fear, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled baking soon. As in this weekend soon. So be ready.

I don’t often bake savory type snacks. It just doesn’t occur to me. However, the same friend had recommended I make Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato Muffins.  So happy she did! These were really good. Very dense. Very filling and really good for you! IMG_4578

One glance at these ingredients and you know they will be really satisfying and healthy. The sweet potato’s are the star of the muffin providing much of the bulk. Which then helps reduce the amount of flour you need in the muffin. The eggs provide the protein and fats. There aren’t any added oils or butters, making this heart healthy. The cheeses provide some added protein and flavor.

The process of making this muffin requires grating 600g of sweet potato. Say What?? That’s not going to work after arm day. Oh no! You’re going to break out the food processor with the grater attachment.  Other than that bit of work, the rest is really simple.

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I whisked the eggs a bit in a separate bowl, then added that to the sweet potato mixture. Added in the cheeses and flour and mixed all together. The original recipe calls for self rising whole grain flour. *If you can’t find the self rising flour, just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 1 cup of whole wheat flour and sift well.

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These little muffin tins were packed full!! Also, another little helpful hint is to use regular baking cups, but spray them with a nonstick spray. I used my coconut oil spray. He calls for parchment paper cut into squares and put into the muffin tin. No. No one has time for that. Especially after shoulder day. Just use the baking cups, you’ll never get that time back cutting all those little squares out!

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On top is a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and poppy seeds. Adds some crunch which is nice. Overall they are a really great little snack. Or if you’re like me and have to eat all day everyday, these are part of a larger meal, not just a snack.

I’ve also found some great buys at the store recently that are super macro friendly and are very tasty. First is a wheat berry, quinoa, Farro and Barley dish. Really hearty, low in sugars and high in carbs, with a good balance of protein and fats.

I like to add a little shredded chicken to this or as a side dish to salmon. I found this at my local Costco the other day. So far this is a keeper! The other find is a granola from Kind. It is also low in fats and sugars, yet has a decent amount of carbs, great for a pre or post workout meal. I’ve been adding it to my Greek yogurt for a mid afternoon snack.

It’s really crunchy with bits of raspberries. I found it at my local grocery story in the cereal isle with the rest of the granolas. Granolas are usually really high in sugars and fats (super tasty, but don’t necessarily fit my daily plan), so when I came upon this I was excite to give it a try. It was really good. Satisfying that granola craving without all the sugars!

Sweet Potato Muffins

  • Non stick spray
  • 600g sweet potatoes
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons cottage cheese
  • 250g whole wheat self-raising flour (*see note above)
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350º

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with baking cups. Spray each baking cup with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Peel sweet potatoes and coarsely grate by hand or with a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl. Trim and thinly slice the spring onions and add to the sweet potatoes. Finely slice the chilies add half to the bowl and reserve the other half and set aside.

Whisk eggs in separate bowl, then add parmesan and cottage cheese. Add egg mixture to sweet potato mixture then add flour, stir until combined. Divide the mixture evenly in the muffin tin then sprinkle with sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and dot with the chilies.

Bake in the middle rack for 35 minutes or until golden and set. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Macros for One Muffin:

169 Calories ·23g carbs· 5g fat ·8g protein· 3g sugar· 150mg sodium

Enjoy the food you eat! Make healthy balanced choices and you will always come out ahead. It’s not magic…..its science. 🙂

V~

It Starts With One Step

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I had the pleasure to hang out with a dear friend of mine over the holidays. We drank, we talked, we laughed and inevitably we talked about exercise. But it wasn’t what you may think. It wasn’t the typical treadmill, stairclimber, deadlift conversation. She only told me a simple story of how she had to walk to her car, up a hill in the cold, for quite a distance. She was surprised at how well she did! I said “Heck ya!!! Now do that every day and when that gets easy make it more challenging!”

It got me thinking…..does starting an exercise routine really need to be that complicated? I believe it does not!

So let me ask you?

Have you walked today? Walked up stairs? Up a hill recently? Lifted a milk jug? Picked up your child perhaps. All of these things are forms of movement. There’s really no need to complicate it. The ONLY thing that needs to happen is you actually doing it! Everyday. Anything. Something. Move. Bend. Shape. It’s what your body was designed to do!!

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When I was in my early 20’s the only thing I knew to do for exercise was to walk. So I walked! When I wanted to start running, I just ran. Wait……that sounds really Forrest Gumpish. Anyway, I went slow, I mean really slow, but I ran. I did it until it was easy. I did it until I could run up, down and all around anywhere I wanted. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t need a gym. I needed shoes, weather appropriate gear, and my own determination. Easy. Right?

Yes. And no.

Yes because it’s not complicated. Like at all. No, because at first it’s hard. Really hard. For some of us, the fact that it’s hard and uncomfortable is hard and uncomfortable to get past. It hurts. It feels like you’re gonna die sometimes. You’re not sure if you’re doing it right. It’s exhausting. Blah, blah,blah. Having kids has the same affect come to think of it.  But they’re SO worth it, right? Well, so is exercise.

Anytime we learn something new,  it’s hard. It’s painful, like algebra for example. I SUCK at math. It was painful, but necessary, so I learned how to do it. Same thing with working out. It’s a learned skill that then becomes habit. Once learned and used everyday, it becomes something you don’t have to even think about, you just get up and do it.

Let’s talk about the basic skill of walking, which clearly we are built to do. How far can you walk? How fast can you walk? Get that heart rate up and steady for a good 30 minutes and you’re making a change. Do that until it’s easy. Then add in a hill climb. Or walking lunges. Or a small jog for one minute. You just build on it. Keep adding to it as it gets easier. One day, what was once your workout, will be your warm up. Don’t over think it. Keep it simple and just add on to what you’re doing.

Take my friend for example. She walked that distance up a hill to her car, right? Now,  she can take that same walk, (in her neighborhood or recreate it on a treadmill) and keep doing that exact thing for a week. Then add in another hill climb (or up and down the same hill twice). Increase her speed perhaps.  Just think,  if you kept building on that, how quickly you would build up your endurance!

Start finding new ways to get your body moving. Maybe a yoga class. Pilates is an awesome way to get started strengthening your muscles. Especially those with injury.  So good for the body! Get online and research ways to build muscle. That’s all I did. I was a total Pinterest stalker. I found all kinds of info there. Go to Bodybuilding.com…..great amount of info. Next thing you know you’re deadlifting 250lbs! (hey, don’t knock it till you try it).

You just have to do it. That’s all it takes. That is truly THE only difference between those that succeed at reaching their fitness goals and those who don’t. There is no in between.  Nike didn’t come up with the multimillion dollar “Just Do It” campaign for nothing. Simple and affective. Just Do It. So there’s that.

The other thing that I’ve found (especially over this last year) is to surround yourself with like minded people. If not to work out with, just for support. A little camaraderie. Those “atta girl’s” and “atta boy’s” go a long way. Someone to vent, voice, and brag about your success to is so helpful. It can really aid in your success. It’s amazing when you can talk to someone about that awesome sholder pump or that you hit your macros spot on all week. They not only understand exactly what you mean, but they know exactly how you feel because they’ve been there too!

Hearing an “Atta Girl!” is music to my ears!!

And let’s not forget about fear. It’s a huge stumbling block. Fear of failure. Fear of succes. Fear of what people think. Fear of pain. Fear of the alarm clock having to wake us at 4:30am. I’ve felt all those fears. Still feel all those on some level. Especially the 4:30am wake up call. What stops the fear is my desire. My desire to change regardless of any of those things. Failure is only in the eye of the beholder. So is success. Some may say, “but I didn’t finish the program all the way through. I was a failure.” Other’s may look at that and say “but you started. That’s half the battle” So make it about the journey. Make it about starting a new lifestyle, rather than a beginning that has an end. If you start and can’t finish a program, find something you can do. It’s not a failure, so much as it may not be a good fit for your life at the moment. If you make fitness a part of your life, there will always be a style of fitness that works for you.

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Also, self love. Speaking from a woman’s perspective, we have a really hard time with this. We find ourselves on a fitness journey because we are not happy with ourselves. We aren’t happy with the way we look, feel, move. We judge ourselves and others. Lets shift that way of thinking. Instead, start to make a change out of self acceptance. Do it because you care about your body. Do it because you love yourself, but know you can make a change. When you look at other women, don’t compare. All of our journeys are very unique. You may see the fittest, strongest woman out there, but until you know the struggles she’s been through to get there, don’t judge. Also don’t compare your beginning to someone’s years long journey. Often times the people we see on fitness magazines have been living this lifestyle for years. And it could take you years. I know its taken me a long time trying all kinds of things!!

So, I’m embarking on a new challenge myself! As some of you may know, I have followed Jessie Hilgenberg over the last year. I have followed both her Muscle Building 1 and Bikini Body programs. Loved them. They changed me both physically and mentally. It was a very empowering experience. She has started the Jessie’s Girls 3K challenge, which starts today! We had to pick a program (I’m doing her Muscle Building 2 program)  and do it all the way through it’s 12 week course.  The three winners get a visit from Jessie herself, $1000, Jessie’s Girl swag and have the opportunity to become an ambassador to all the Jessie’s Girls out there!

I had to think twice about that. Not about doing the program. Or even finishing the program. I know I can do that! What scares me is, what if I succeed? What then? Will I be good enough? What if I fail at it? All those silly little worries that creep into your head. Well at some point you gotta just kick that noise to the curb and follow your own advice! Take it a day at a time. One rep at a time. One step at a time. And just see where it takes you.

In the wise words of Dave Matthews (because I love the hell outta that man): “To change the world, start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all”.

And my friend? Well she’s taken that first step and still going!

Take your first step. You never know how it could change your world!

V~

 

 If you want to follow my progress through this 12 week program you can follow me on Instagram @fit_to_bake_    fair warning…..there’s a lot of pictures of cakes!!

Whats in your Kitchen?

 

The New Year is upon us. We all love the notion of a fresh start. A new beginning, new chances, new choices, new way of looking at things. I get it. It’s energizing and pulls us out of our holiday haze. I’m not huge on New Years Resolutions. Especially when it comes to fitness. I like to make changes when it feels right in my life rather than what a calendar tells me. Also, it’s helpful to look at change as a lifestyle change, rather than a resolution. However, if you feel like its a good time to jump into a new you, lets take a look at what might help you get there!

First off we all know (and I’ve said it before in my “the other 80%” post) that its all about what you eat. Let me show you what’s in my kitchen!

Aside from butter, flour, sugar and eggs…..I do have plenty of healthy eats in the house as well.

First off, all my major protein sources; ground turkey, turkey burgers, chicken breast and salmon are the mainstay of diet. Then some of my favorite veggies are asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Most of these protein sources are really high in protein per ounce while being low in fat and sodium. These help make reaching my protein macro goals for the day really easy! They can also be used many ways. Chicken tacos, chicken salads, chicken sandwiches. Turkey meatballs, turkey for tacos, on salads, mixed in with veggies. It’s endless with all the varieties!! The frozen turkey burgers are must have staple. Any time you have your grill going, just grab a couple and put them on the grill ready to have for the next day! Meal prep done!

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Vans waffles are a great grab and go breakfast item (or snack, or meal, or late night snack for that matter. I’ve been known to eat chicken and waffles at 10pm to meet my macros for the day) with plenty of carbs and protein to keep you satisfied. Top them with almond butter and some banana….SO GOOD!

Some other great protein sources are Greek yogurts, almond milk, almond butter, peanut butter, eggs and egg whites. Egg whites and Greek yogurt are probably some of the most versatile protein sources because you can mix them into anything. You can add egg whites into your oats for added protein. Add egg whites to scrambled eggs for added protein that doesn’t add fat. They’re virtually tasteless, so they take on whatever flavor you add to them.

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Greek yogurt is amazing!!  Again, you can take this and make it into so many different meals. You can add it plain on your tacos as a sour cream.  You can mix in avocado with it to make it like a mayonnaise spread on sandwiches. My favorite late night snack is Greek yogurt mixed with chocolate protein powder, almond milk and peanut butter topped with Lilly’s chocolate chips. If you haven’t ever tried Lilly’s chocolate chips I highly recommend them. They have no added sugar to them and they are the perfect little topping to special treats. Another staple item!

The only tricky thing about Greek Yogurt is you have to be careful of the sugar content. It can get high. Every brand seems to vary, so look carefully at labels and find the one that works for your needs. You can find Greek yogurts in varying percentages of fat as well. I like to keep both in the fridge. It helps to give yourself options. If I feel like I want something creamier, I’ll pick the Greek yogurt higher in fat. If at the end of my day I’ve consumed all my fat macros, but I still need carbs and protein, I’ll pick the fat free Greek yogurt. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to succeed!

Next up are some pantry items. Most of your bulk carbs will come from breads, grains, rice, and cereals. Veggies provide carbs as well, and given a choice, veggie are always a great option. However, when you’re trying to reach well over 200g of carbs a day (yes I eat that many carbs) and stay within a certain sugar limit, you’ll need to eat rice, (some) bread, and cereals. Some vegetables and fruits that are high in carbs are also high in sugars. Sure they’re “natural” sugars, but its sugar just the same. So if you’re watching your sugar intake, you’ll need to be aware of the sugars in veggies and especially fruits.

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All rice products are just straight up pure carbs!! They can go with anything. You can cook rice in bulk to have on the ready in the fridge. Portion it out and you are good to go!! Rice cakes are perfect on the go snack. My favorite afternoon pick me up is a rice cake (or two) topped with creamy almond butter and Lilly’s Chocolate Chips with an iced coffee with almond milk. OMG…..the best.

Don’t forget to season your food! Mrs. Dash makes great seasonings that are all salt free. I know that there are a lot of other salt free products out on the market that are really awesome. Healthy food does not have to equal bland. If I do add salt, I will use sea salt, has more flavor and you don’t need to add as much to your foods. A little goes a long way! I also add cinnamon to nearly everything. Cereals, yogurt, egg whites, pancakes. I’ll sprinkle it on my almond butter slathered rice cakes. I love it. And its good for you. So there’s that.

Coconut oil cooking spray helps me to cook without added fats. However, if I want the added fat or need the added fat I’ll use coconut oil or olive oil.  Also good for you. Lots of healthy fats here! I may go through 4lbs of butter in a month for baking, but that certainly isn’t consumed by me!

The brown rice farina cereal is like a cream of rice cereal. Super high in carbs, gluten free (if you’re sensitive to gluten), no sugars and low in fiber. I use this as part of my pre-workout meal. Low in fats, low in sugars, low in fiber, high in carbs and high in protein. Why? It’s immediate fuel to my body. All those carbs are delivered straight to my system for energy to have a strong efficient workout. The protein is there to help protect and build my muscles. Its science.  Your body must have the proper fuel to build proper muscle mass.

Which leads me to supplements. There are a million different kinds of supplements out there. Are they a requirement to becoming fit and strong? Absolutely not!! That’s why they’re called supplements. They can help supplement your fitness goals, but they definitely don’t make or break it. Protein powders are the most helpful in that they can help you reach your daily protein macros. It can get tiresome to eat chicken, turkey, fish, beef, bison, eggs, yogurt all day every day. Protein powders can help you reach your protein goals and they come in a variety of flavors. For all you out there with a sweet tooth, these will get you through those cravings!!

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The next most popular is a pre-workout energizer (or if you’re like me, drink it the entire workout). This gives you that added bit of energy to get you moving through your workout. I will say that this definitely helps in the gym. With three kids (and now a puppy) my nights can be less than restful, so on the days I’m dragging my butt to the gym, my pre-workout is there to save me. As for the fat burners, I can’t say if they help or not. I’m sure I drink enough caffeine in the day that far surpasses what any fat burner has in it. The protein bars are great as well with a good balance of carbs and protein. I always like to keep them on hand or have one in my bag in case I get stuck doing something and I need to eat. It happens. And the people around me probably don’t wanna see me overly hungry either.

My biggest piece of advice is this: keep a well stocked kitchen. The more options you can give yourself, the more likely you are to be successful.  The other biggest piece of advice is to track our food BEFORE you eat. Right?? You don’t want to be mindlessly eating. The next thing you know, while you’re cooking your healthy meal, you’ve had a few bites of the cake on the counter, a spoonful of peanut butter, couple of crackers, and a glass of wine. Now you know what else is in my kitchen.

Lastly is try not to catch yourself hungry with no food around. Or at Costco shopping. Or at an In-N-Out. Starbucks either. Trader Joes can be a tough call on that as well. I’d only recommend a Whole Foods when extremely hungry. You see the point, set yourself up for success, not failure.

The deal is, food is THE most important part of your health and fitness goals. You could bust your butt in the gym for hours, but it’ll never show if your nutrition isn’t on point the majority of the time. The saying, “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” is SO true! Speaking from personal experience!

Make this year the year you turn this into a lifestyle, not just another resolution!

V~

 

 

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