Motivation Monday

“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” This is one of my favorite motivational quotes! Mostly because it tells us to believe in ourselves and keep going while mixing in some science.

Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon - Paul Brandt

Don’t limit yourself by casting doubt on your abilities. Don’t let fear run your life. Don’t let people tell you that you cannot do something. Don’t let people put limits on what you can achieve.

Do believe in yourself. Do chase your dreams. Do aim for the stars. Do push yourself to the brink of what your brain thinks is your limit, because what you will find is that your mind is lying to you. You are capable of achieving everything you’ve dreamt of and much more!

 

We’ve Got This!

We may have never met, but I am here for you! Life can be crazy sometimes. Finding the strength to continue on your with fitness and healthy lifestyle goals can be difficult. Let’s all help lift each other up. When you see someone struggling, offer to help them. That little bit of encouragement that cost you nothing, could prove to be a monumental positive influence in someone’s life.

You Are Worth It!

Today, January 31, is #BellLetsTalk day. This has become a yearly campaign that helps raise money for Mental Health Initiatives in Canada. $.05 is raised every time that hashtag is shared on twitter, the photo frame is added on Facebook, the SnapChat filter is used, and their social media video is viewed. Get going and share the hell out of that hashtag on social media. This is a great initiative that gets the conversations starting about the impact of Mental Health issues and will hopefully end the stigma that surrounds the topic. Mental Health is absolute key to being able to live a healthy and fit life. Today I just wanted to address the area that always seems to be ignored or wanted to be pushed under the rug.

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Mental Health issues effect millions of people all around the world. It is a dark topic that many people do not talk about because they feel ashamed or scared. They are scared that people will think they are weak or people will tell them to suck it up or man up (both of those are unacceptable words of advice who is feeling down). We need to end the Stigma surrounding Mental Health Issues and encourage people to talk about what they are going through. Lets get a conversation going and help those in need.

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For those of you who are struggling, you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay. Your feelings are valid and you should not be ashamed to feel down, scared, depressed, anxious or any other of the thousands of emotions that you may be feeling. Things will get better, I promise.

Personally, I’ve been dealing with varying degrees of depressions and anxieties since my dad passed away three years ago. My dad was and is my role model and shaped who am I today. I miss him everyday, but I know that every day is an opportunity to continue on his legacy and show people the type of person he was. I’ve felt lost, sad, angry, and scared. I’ve felt like I was just coasting through routines without any joy. I’ve had that cloudy feeling and that feeling as if you’re watching yourself from outside your body. I’ve dealt with panic attacks and crippling anxiety. It’s been a long, tough, daily battle. All that being said, I’m in a great place right now and finally feel like I have everything under control. The ONLY reason I am at a good place in life is because of the help of a strong support system of friends and family. It took me a long time to talk and open up about my feelings because I had those stigmas mentioned above. I was afraid to admit I needed help because of that societal pressure to be strong and push those feelings away. Once I started talking with my family, friends, and therapist, I was really able to get a handle over these feelings and process through them.

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Talking to someone about these feelings that are so personal is extremely tough. People will continue to close themselves off until we end this stigma surrounding mental health. They will put on a false smile. They will say they are okay. They will want to keep to themselves, so if you notice someone is down on themselves or having a rough go of it lately, offer a helping hand. Simply letting them know that they are worth it and you are thinking of them can help ease their mind. Let them know that what they are feeling is okay. Offer them an ear and just listen. Let them talk and show them that you will not judge them. People will process through their own pain and feelings in their own time. Try to not rush them through it. Simply being present and offering to listen and not try to fix them, will help in so many ways.

If you are experiencing any feelings of anxiety or depression, please know that it is okay to talk to someone. Reach out to a loved one or a close friend and let them know you need someone to listen.

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Transform Your Routine

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One of the hardest things about getting in shape or creating a healthy lifestyle is changing your routine and exchanging bad habits for good habits. Humans are very much creatures of habits. We fall into routines that we are comfortable with rarely veer off course. We wake up at the same time most days. We go to the same coffee or lunch spots. We go to the same stores, websites, and entertainment areas. Now, there is nothing wrong with having routines. The problem occurs when those routines are detrimental to our health and fitness. We fall into these bad habits because they are easy (fast food) or convenient. These bad habits start to form and it make it harder and harder to get out of the routine and into good habits. Another issue with routines is that we find our comfort zone. We are attracted to things that seem easy because life can be hard and having  something easy in our daily life provides us a nice break from our hectic lifestyles. Unfortunately, in order to see change and improvement we need to get out of our comfort zones.

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One of my favorite pieces of advice is “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” It is a piece of advice I received when I was learning about stand up comedy and how we can apply the techniques to our everyday lives. Another piece of advice you’ll see a lot of is “Success begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Both of these quotes are spot on. The first step in changing up your routine is acknowledging there is an issue and you need to change something. The next step is to address these issues by finding ways to change them. This is where stepping outside of your comfort zone comes into play. You need to be willing to see beyond your boundaries and believe that you are capable reaching your goals through these changes.

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Once you have taken these steps, you are on your way a better version of yourself. The next step is to acknowledge that it will take time to change your routines and results will not occur over night. My recommendation is to set a goal of 3-4 weeks of consistent, throughout planning. Pick a habit you want to change and then plan on enforcing that change everyday for the next 3-4 weeks. One example would be a healthy eating goal and you decide to cut out all fried food for that time. Really focus and make sure you stick to these goal. There are a lot of studies out there that say 21 days, 28 days, 66 days, 124 days, and so one are needed to set new routines. Honestly, it comes down to each unique individual. The reason I recommend 3-4 weeks is because it a short-term goal that is manageable. Once you successfully hit the goal, you will look back on the last month and realize that you do not need that old routine or habit anymore. Then the next time you get a craving or urge to fall back into the back habit (like the example of eating fried food) you will have the mindset and mentality to know that you do not need or want that bad habit in your life.

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Now setting these new routines will not be easy. Getting out of the comfort zone and making changes takes a lot of courage. My recommendation and advice to helping you stick with these routine changes is to Remember Your Why. Remember why you started. Remember that idea that was in your head about how your life will improve if you stick with the changes. It can be extremely tough to stay motivated and remember these reasons, so a useful tip would to them down on some post-it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror and the wall next to your front door. This way you are reminded everyday of why you started this journey when you get ready to leave the house or get ready for bed.

28 Day Clean Eating Challenge:

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Below is simple clean eating challenge that help you set a new healthy routine. It focuses on cutting out unnecessary calories and processed foods, while replacing them with natural and beneficial foods. If you do not feel that you can follow everything in each category, then pick and choose 1-2 items from each to follow. Starting off with a subtle change will help show you that you can achieve your goals. After you complete this challenge, you can then focus on cutting out more items that are unhealthy. Doing these small over time will lead to growth in your confidence that will allow you to continue to push your comfort zones.

Motivation Monday: Make It Count

Mondays always get a bad rap. People like to hate on the day because the weekend is over and they have to head back to work. Personally, I love Mondays! They are a chance at a new start! Mondays are your chance to start the new week on a high note and set the tone for how the rest of the week will go. This is one of my favorite quotes because it reminds us to be positive, a new day holds unlimited potential, and you get to decide what the day holds.

5 Simple Slow Cooker Recipes

Whether you are cooking for a family, a group of friends, or meal prepping; you most likely have a crazy busy schedule and just don’t have the time to cook full meals everyday. In today’s society, we are consistently running around and staying busy. The slow cooker (Crock Pot) is going to be your best friend. All you need to do for most recipes is throw all the ingredients in the pot and let it cook for 4-8 hours. You can trow everything in the pot in the morning and when you get home after work, you’ll have dinner ready. Or you can put oatmeal in the pot before you go to bed and wake up to a healthy, filling breakfast.

Here are 5 of my favorite chicken crock pot recipes that are also diet friendly.

1) Balsamic Chicken with Potatoes: Recipe

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2) Chicken Tortilla Soup: Recipe

(Skip the cheese and sour cream to reduce the calories per serving)

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3) Lemon Garlic Chicken: Recipe

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4) Honey Teriyaki Chicken: Recipe

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5) Chicken Fijitas: Recipe

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Bonus Recipes: Honey Garlic Chicken and Vegetables, Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Try a few of these out the next time you know you will have a busy schedule coming up. Planning ahead is key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Having a pot of these ready will help you stay away from the fast food options for lunch and dinner, while also keeping the empty calories away. Also, a pro tip, invest in Crock Pot Liners! They will save you when it comes time to clean up.

Have any slow cooker recipes that your swear by? Please post them below in the comment section. I would love to give them a try!

Goal Achieved! Now What?

This is a bit of a #HumbleBrag post. Last year I decided that my New Year Resolution was to be more consistent with my running routine and to help raise more money for charity. I successfully ran more miles than any year prior and did it on a consistent basis. One of the main reasons I was able to achieve this goal was because I joined the Hogwarts Running Club. You can see my previous post about how virtual running clubs can help you achieve your goals, here.

Last year I tracked 635 miles on the charity miles app. That equates to $158.75 donated to Stand Up To Cancer simply because I used the app to track my miles as I ran. All of these miles I put in throughout the year also counted to the Hogwarts Running Club house cup. That was a little motivation to continue to get in miles week in and week out. I knew that running, even just a few miles, was helping out the team.

Throughout the year I also joined in on all the Hogwarts running club events and achieved #PerfectPrefect status. There were 6 virtual race, varying in distances, and a challenge event. All of these cost $25, with $20 of those entry fees going to charities. The charities that the club worked with last year were US Quidditch,  Limbs For Life, To Write Love On Her Arms, The Harry Potter Alliance, Mission K9 Rescue, Back On My Feet, and Antarctica South. All the names listed below were part of the Hufflepuff house team that I was on and were also perfect prefects. Between all of us we helped raised a combined $506,546.60 for these charities! On top of all these races, I also donated some race fees to the Luna Fund. That is a fund that allows runners, who cannot afford the registration fee, to sign up and partake in the festivities.

Perfect Prefect 2017

So I hit my goal last year, now what?! Keep going! This year I am continuing my moment and looking to hit a new goal. I’ve preregistered for all of these Virtual Races and will be a perfect prefect again in 2018. My new goal for this year is to hit 1000 Charity Miles. I’ve signed up for the 1000 Mile Challenge through I Love To Run and I’m already on a good pace to achieve the goal. It seems like a lot of miles, but when broken down, it comes out to roughly 2.7 miles per day. This should not be a problem for me as the shortest distance I run is 3 miles. The tricky part will be making sure to stay consistent throughout the entire year. I’m using a wall calendar and a running journey to help track my progress and keep me on pace. The key to hitting goals is to keep them attainable and to make sure you have a solid plan.

Transformation Tuesday: 5 Motivational Quotes

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———- Work Hard and never give up! Earn everything ———-

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———- Motivation will fade — Remember your why ———-

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———- Change is the key to success ———-

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———- You control where you end up. What path will you take? ———

———- Believe in yourself. You are worth it ———-

Motivation Monday: Advice from Rafiki

When in doubt, always go to Disney for some quality advice! One of my favorite quotes is from Rafiki in the Lion King. Learning from your past is one of the best tools you have to improving. Each day you should strive to be 1% better than you were yesterday. These slight, consistent changes will help you hit your larger goals.

5 Best Meal Prep Apps to help you reach your health goals

The biggest struggle and hurdle when it comes to getting fit and being healthy is staying on top of your nutrition. You will notice that the easy parts of getting fit and being healthy are the workouts and routines you get into. You can plan out and stick to your daily workouts and map all your workout routines, but still not see the results you want. This is because nutrition plays a massive part in fitness and health. If you are not fueling your body properly, your workouts could be pointless. The hardest part about nutrition and sticking to a plan is the easy of access of junk food. No matter where you go or where you work, it will almost always be easy to find junk food. The office break room will oftentimes be the downfall of your new year resolution. This is where meal prepping comes in handy.

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I’m sure you have heard about meal prepping now that you are focusing on being healthy and fit. Every blog, book, article you read will hint at how eating healthy is probably the most important part of losing weight and being healthy. Meal prepping is when you cook a large portion of your meals for the week at one time. This is so that you have healthy food options you can take wherever you go and are ready to eat in just minutes. This is key because life can get extremely crazy and nobody has the time to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. Let’s be honest, you are lucky if you have enough time to cook just one meal in a day.

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Below are some of the best Smart Phone Apps out on the market that will help you reach your health and fitness goals (not ads, just user recommendations). All of these apps have great collections of healthy recipes to choose from and most of them allow for recipe customization.

  1. Mealine: This app is my personal favorite to use because of how seamlessly it integrates a grocery list, recipes, and recommendations for alterations of recipes. The whole goal of using these apps is to make life easier, and this app hits all the needs that I am looking for with my meal prep.
  2. Cozi: This app is great because it integrates a calendar aspect. You can plan your meals using the grocery list and which days you would like to eat each of the recipes.
  3. Pepperplate: This is a great app for those who are in a fitness or health challenge. One of the new trends is using social media to create groups of support and challenge each other to get healthy. This app allows for you to plan out your meal, make grocery lists, and scale the recipes for the correct amount of people. But the best aspect is the ability to share your recipes and plans on social media with your friends and family.
  4. MealPlan: This app was my favorite for customization. The user-interface allows for full customization of the calendar and really makes planning out the week’s meal easy. It even has an AppleWatch app for those of you have one. Great addition to add in that extra reminder to stay on your plan.
  5. MealBoard: This one is for those people who want meal planning to be simple.The app is extremely user-friendly and not overly complicated. It also does a good job of allowing you to make grocery lists and track your pantry items.

If you are interested in seeing more options, check out this post to see 9 more options. Do you use an App to help you meal prep that wasn’t listed above? Comment on this post and I’d love to check it out.