Get Real!

Finding ways to enjoy the hell out of life, while on our journey towards a healthy, authentic and passion-filled life.


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Get Real… about starting our journey to health (and weight loss).

Getting started on this journey to health (and weight loss)…

For some of us this journey is truly that, a journey, over months and years, with lots of changes, adjustments and growth. That being said, it is not easy. It’s not easy in the beginning, the middle or the end. It also doesn’t have to be super difficult either, the choices are all ours.

  1. Find Your Motivation:

I mean, what, deep down is the real reason you want to get real about losing weight and getting healthy? Is it a health issue that’s popped up in your life making you realize that taking better care of your body could help alleviate symptoms or help your body heal (this was a big one for me)? Was it a way you felt that you never want to feel again? Like when you heard remarks from others about your size, or even just when you made remarks/thoughts about your own size? Is it because you find you can’t do certain things that others can, like go on certain rides or other outdoor activities with size/weight limits, or just from lack of energy on its own?

Only you know the real reason/s why you want to make some changes. And it really helps to remember these reasons when times get tough and you are tempted to make a ‘poor’ food choice. Also, adjust your motivations as necessary: maybe in a few days, weeks or months the motivation you once had isn’t enough for you to continue on but maybe you can figure out a new motivation. I’ve had a rough year myself (not surprising, def. lots going on). I’m now trying to focus on being a positive role model for others, because how can I be the health coach I want to be some day if I’m not reaching for my full potential? Maybe you feel the same way about being role models for your friends, family, or children? Whatever the motivations are, hold on to them, and when they change go ahead and change what you’re holding on to.

  1. Don’t Exercise and Don’t Stop Eating Pizza (or do anything else you do don’t want to do):

Considering this is a life long journey, a lifestyle change, and that it may take years to get to your goal weight (depending on where you are starting from), it is important to remember that this needs to be something that will work for you. If exercising is just not something you even want to do, or something that you just honestly don’t have enough energy for….. then don’t do it. I would never tell anyone who wants to exercise not to. It’s very good for you in so many ways. And some people get their motivation for eating right from working out (they feel like they want to eat healthily or they essentially worked out for no reason). However, if feeling like you need to work out in order to lose weight, is holding you back from trying than drop that feeling!

First of all, it’s not true at all. I lost at least 40 pounds (nearly half of the weight I had to lose in the first place) before even really considering working out. I’ve heard different statistics different places, but the rule of thumb is generally that 80% of our efforts for weight loss need to be food/nutrition related. It makes sense. Say you go a day without working out (let’s say a moderately paced hour long workout) and you miss out on having burned 300 calories. Ok. Now, let’s make a similar, but nutritionally related, ‘mistake’ instead and have fast food at one of our meals, and now we’ve added 1500 extra calories for the day. It’s easy to see which choices are going to hurt us more.

The point, really, is that if there is something holding you back then let it go, like thinking you will have to work out, or thinking that you can never have pizza or ice cream again, or thinking that you will have to eat vegetables. Eventually, it would be good to add in some workouts, and limit the pizza or ice cream (and/or try new healthier alternatives, like making your own, or buying goat or almond milk ice cream), and yes eventually on the path to health you will likely be eating more vegetables. But these changes don’t have to happen yet, not if you’re not ready for them.

Some people like to just jump all in, and I say that’s fine too. If it works for you. And if it stops working for you, don’t give up just change things up. In the beginning of my journey I never thought about how I would be exercising one day, and I really never dreamed I’d eat any vegetables ever (and now I eat tons, and actually enjoy them too!). Start making changes, and as you learn more about what is healthy and what’s not, keep making changes. And as you start to notice certain things working and certain things not, again keep making changes.

  1. Always Remember That This is a Choice:

It helps to remember you have a choice, because you do. When someone brings your favorite cookie into work, you have a few choices. Eat none, and continue on your journey. Eat one (or maybe even two), and continue on your journey. Or eat a whole plateful, get quite sick, gain ¼ of a pound the next day, and then continue on your journey. During my journey, I have picked all three at different times. You think we would just wise up and never pick that third option, but what can I say?

Now, when I really get into trouble is when I choose option #3, and then keep on choosing that option (I’ll restart Monday, I screwed today up so I’m just going to make it a day or weekend long ‘cheat’). I may never be able to completely move on from my food addictions/issues. I don’t know. But I do know that I always have the choice to continue on my journey no matter how far off track I may wander. And that’s ok. Sure, it would be nice to be at my goal weight already. But as long as I get there, I’m ok and I will be ok. And so will you :).

  1. Continue to do What Works:

I have tried it all, I started with calorie counting, tracking, menu planning, journaling and weighing in each week. Then I threw the scale away (literally walked it down the street and placed it in garbage can at the nearby park, I thought it would feel more liberating than it did but hey), and stopped tracking and menu planning. Then I bought a new scale and started menu planning again. Then I went Vegan. Then I started Juicing daily, then I stopped, then I started again. Ok this all may not be in the right order. But the point is this whole thing is such a continual and ever-changing process. Just continue to go with it, and do what works for you!

  1. Set Yourself up for Success:

Plan ahead (cooking a lot of brown rice and black beans for the week, for example). Know when you are running out of healthy foods. Have back up snacks in your purse, at work and at home for when hunger strikes. If you want a treat, plan it in (many times this helps with not feeling guilty, and then we really will just have the treat and move on). Don’t keep your worst desired sweets or other junk food in the house (buy an individual size if you want a treat, or if family wants it), because one bad moment and you’ll be eating it.

  1. Keep it Simple:

Meals don’t have to be extraordinary. In fact during the times I have had the most weight loss, I ate very similar and basic meals each day (brown rice, veggies and goat cheese is my usual dinner these days, or eggs, tomatoes and goat cheese — I think it’s delicious yet it’s so healthy and low calorie). Trying to plan full meals each night (spaghetti, tacos, etc.) usually ends up turning out to be meals with much higher calorie counts than you thought even if you are using healthy ingredients. So don’t be afraid to just keep it simple (most of the time, but allow for other meals once or twice a week too). But again, whatever works for you!

 

Always remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow. 


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Real Clean: Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers

As you may have noticed, I love making different dishes and then ‘enchilda-izing’ them! This one is no exception. I just love all these flavors! Now to make things easier (well for every night, not just for enchilda-ized dishes), I cook and pre-shred 3-4 chicken breasts, 5+ cups of brown rice and a couple cups of black beans in the beginning of the week and store them all in airtight containers in the fridge. It makes meals like this (and so many others) easier, quicker and far less messy.

Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 2 comfortably (each to have two halves of bell pepper over stuffed), or can serve 4 with a side dish (like salad, or brown rice with chopped up cilantro and lime juice mixed in)

Ingredients:

Bell Peppers

  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • Olive Oil

Stuffing

  • 2 Medium Tomatoes (juicy tomatoes, not roma)
  • 1/2 an onion (yellow, white or sweet)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • Your favorite spanish style Spices, I use 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbs Chilis in Adobo Paste (optional, but I always keep this on hand for all my enchilada dishes)
  • 1 shredded chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans (if canned, rinse them)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • small amount of cheese to top it off (optional, I used about 2 tsp worth of goat cheese on each half)

Directions:

First things first, if you don’t have your rice pre-cooked and your chicken pre-cooked and shredded then this must be done first. Cook the rice according to package directions, and as for the chicken boil the breast for at least 15 minutes and then shred with two forks (if it doesn’t look 100% done after that don’t worry, because these will be baked in the bell pepper later as well).

For any stuffed Bell Pepper, start out pre-heating the oven to 350. Cut the bell peppers in half vertically and scoop out any seeds or ‘guts.’ In a square casserole dish (sprayed or rubbed down with a little extra virgin olive oil), place all bell pepper halves in and spray the inside of each bell pepper with olive oil as well. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

While the Bell Peppers are pre-baking, prepare the enchilada stuffing. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and toss all of it into a pan on medium-high (all juice included), next chop and add the jalepeno, onions, garlic and cilantro. Add in the seasonings. Mix all together and let cook for at least 5 minutes until it all thickens up a bit. Next add the chilis in adobo paste and re-stir. Followed by the black beans, shredded chicken, and brown rice. Stir all together well and continue cooking a few minutes longer.

When the Bell Peppers are done pre-cooking, take them out of the oven and scoop stuffing into the halves with a spoon, overstuff them! Use as much stuffing as possible! Re-cover with foil and bake for 25 more minutes.

If desired, take them out after this, top with a little cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

Remember we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, and if you do that you will continue to grow!

 


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Real Clean: Bacon Cheddar Mac N’ Cheese

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I’ve tried so many different things when it comes to weight loss and a few years ago my focus shifted to health (over weight loss, though of course weight loss is still a benefit). One of the things I have tried is being vegan! I had no idea when I cut out all meat and dairy how long I would be doing this for, but I am so thankful for my two month stint simply because of all that I learned and some of the habits that I carried with me. A big one being: Almond milk!

I still try to limit my dairy intake to this day, it can be high fat and calorie and a lot of people have some level of sensitivity to dairy or lactose and may not even realize it. Almond milk is lower in calorie, lower in sugar, and of course dairy and lactose free. A great alternative! Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure there are no added sugars, etc.

Almond milk is great in cereal, whole oats, smoothies or hot chocolate. And I use it as a sub for milk in ANY recipe, so far I have found none (even for baking) that aren’t just as delicious! And, no need to buy flavored Almond milk, because it’s simple to add your own vanilla or cocoa. It’s actually pretty simple to make your own almond milk too, but I haven’t ventured there quite yet myself.

So, the following recipe is a great example of how almond milk can really help ‘healthify’ a recipe. There is no denying that this Mac N’ Cheese dish is definitely not vegan, paleo or dairy or grain free. But it is clean, and a great alternative to other recipes or processed boxed products out there. This isn’t something I would eat everyday, but I can rest easy that this is still a healthy meal.

Bacon Cheddar Mac N’ Cheese

Makes 2 large bowls (to feed two) and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (dry) whole grain or whole wheat pasta
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups (when grated) cheddar cheese (organic, grass fed, if possible)
  • 4 (nitrate free) slices turkey bacon
  • (optional) 2 small handfuls of greens (spinach, kale, etc) and 2 T whole wheat bread crumbs

 

Get two pots and one pan on the stove, medium sized pot/pan and one large pot. Start boiling water in the large pot, and once boiling add your pasta and boil until al dente (generally around 15 minutes).

Prepare the cheesy sauce and turkey bacon while the pasta is boiling. Pre cut the turkey bacon into small bite size pieces. Saute them in a pan until very well cooked (with a teaspoon of coconut oil if needed). Set aside.

For the cheesy sauce, pour the almond milk in the other pot and stir in the whole wheat flour until not clumpy. Heat on medium high for about five minutes. Grate your cheese during this time and once finished, lower the heat to medium and throw in large handful after handful of the cheese into the almond milk waiting for it to melt between each handful until all the cheese is melted. Finely chop your greens or blend them on grind setting and stir in to the cheesy sauce (you’ll hardly know it’s there)! Keep stirring this until pasta is done boiling.

Drain pasta and return to pot, pour cheesy sauce over pasta and add turkey bacon. Toss all together and garnish with whole wheat bread crumbs if desired.

Yumm!

And remember, we all different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow!


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Real Clean: Cinnamon Apple Sauté

Cinnamon Apple Sauté

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This recipe could be used as a pie filling, a side dish, a pancake topping or my favorite idea: as a healthy desert! With NO added sugar or oil, this recipe is clean, paleo, vegan, etc. And seriously yummy and simple! (BTW, whole wheat pie crust and whole wheat pancake recipes coming soon too!) You can also sub in pears if you’d prefer!

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The Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Grannysmith Apples 
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Tsp- 1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon 
  • 1/4 Tsp- 1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

Preparation:

Peel the apples, quarter and slice them into thin pieces (1/4 inch thick or so). Throw these into a pan just the right size for the number of apples that you are going to be using (not too big of a pan to where they will get burnt).

Next squeeze the lemon juice all over the apples and toss apples with your hands. Add the Spices (as well as others if you desire, like cloves, ginger, allspice, etc), and toss apples again.

Set pan on burner on medium-high heat, after a minute or so stir the apples (lifting them up from the bottom making sure none of them get stuck to the pan or burnt). They will only take 5-10 minutes to cook, stirring every 30-40 seconds. After 5 minutes, you can taste one and see if it is as soft as you’d like as this is a matter of preference. For softer, go longer… otherwise plate up! And feel good about the desert you’ve just made because it is absolutely healthy!

And remember! We all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, and if you do that you will continue to grow!