Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Feeling Discouraged....

Today for some reason I am feeling really discouraged. I'm overwhelmed with everything that I want to achieve, and not seeing any results yet from my efforts is holding onto my thoughts and my heart...

At what point do I take a step back, look at my choices, and then decide what to do about them?
Am I being true to myself?
Am I following God's plan for my life?
Should I give up?
Should I quit?

I know that failure breeds success. I know that if I never try that I will never succeed. I know that I may have to fail for months or more before I see results from my endeavors. I know, I know, I know.... That doesn't mean that every once in awhile it won't get a little heavy.

The answers to the questions above are actually pretty easy to figure out. I am right where I belong. I'm still learning what victory looks like, and although I am making mistakes along the way I'm learning. Victory is somewhere along the road I am walking, I just haven't reached my destination yet. I know that my story will be fraught with struggles. With little wins, and maybe big loses, but I will get there.

So today I started searching google for some advice. Discouragement is a pretty easy topic to find things on. Did you know that Discouragement is a disease unique to human beings and that its universal? Eventually everyone gets it. I have no doubt that you have experienced it at one time or another. You might even be discouraged about something right now. For a lot of people they find it an ongoing battle to just get up on Monday, pick up their sword and shield, and fight through the desire to just stay at home and do nothing.

So what causes Discouragement?

#1 Cause is Fatigue

When your physically or emotionally exhausted, your a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are lowered, and the feelings find a way to creep in and take hold of you.

#2 Cause is Frustration

When you can't seem to get caught up, and everything starts to pile up around you its easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Then when something small or unexpected occurs that prevents you from doing what needs to be done you really can get frustrated and that causes discouragement.

#3 Cause is Failure

Sometimes, know matter how hard you tried, your best laid plans fall apart. Maybe someone doesn't show that said they would be there. You miss your deadline for your project. The deal falls through. You have an empty challenge group or meeting... So how do you react? Do you give up and give in to self-pity? Just as someone said, "Just when I think that I can make ends meet, someone comes along and moves the ends...!" Now that is discouraging!

#4 Cause is Fear

Fear is found behind our discouragement a lot more than most of us would care to admit. We fear failure, criticism from our peers, maybe we fear success a little, and a lot of us fear the responsibility that may come from success. Whatever is it that you admit to yourself as the reasons for your fear, it can cause a major dose of discouragement. Fear ties our hands, our hearts and our minds and locks us in.

So what can I do to fight back and defeat Discouragement?

Depending on what your beliefs are, there are different ways to help you get through whatever your struggling with. For me I have a belief and a faith that God will guide me through. For others it may be Self-Help books, (which I do also read by the way...), or a friend or respected colleague to lift you up. Whatever your source for help is, use it as often as you can. Here's what I've learned, and have to remind myself of each time that I find discouragement taking over me.

First, I rest my Body. When I need a break, I take one. Stepping away from the cause of the frustration for even just a little while can be more effective than anything else. You can't burn both ends of the candle for long, and not get burnt out.

Second, I try to reorganize my list of Priorities. Sometimes a simple shift in what I'm trying to do can help immensely. That doesn't mean I am losing sight of the goal or giving up. It just means that I am taking a different path to get there. The destination remains the same, but the way I get there may alter a little. Sometimes you just have to Shake Things Up!

Third, I personally make myself remember that GOD WILL HELP ME! I just need to remember to ask Him. So often I forget that He is the reason that I am here and why I'm able to do the things that I do. He blessed me, and He promises to guide me. I just have to remember to ask, and then He will grant me new energy, and motivate me to carry on.

And Fourth. To simply Fight Back and RESIST Discouragement. Discouragement is a choice. If your feeling it, its only because you have chosen to let it take hold. That doesn't mean that you wont ever face it, but its what you do when it rears its ugly head that matters. Just remember that no one is forcing you to feel this way, but if you hold fast and fight back, that those feelings will go away. Heck, just doing some research, reading and typing this story out has helped me in battling mine today.

So I guess the question is, are you willing to FIGHT BACK or are you just going to let the disease take hold and keep you from your goals, and dreams?

I hope not....

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

Need a sweet treat that won’t end up on your waistline? Your healthy diet can include these delicious oatmeal cookies with sweet raisins and tangy cranberries.

Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 18 servings, 1 cookie each

Nonstick cooking spray
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ tsp. baking soda
1 scoop Beachbody Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Flavor (or any other brand...)
¾ cup thawed apple juice concentrate
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Lightly coat baking sheet with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and Protein Powder in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine apple juice concentrate and applesauce in a medium bowl; mix well.
5. Add the apple juice mixture to the flour mixture; mix until just blended.
6. Fold in raisins and cranberries; mix well.
7. Drop by rounded Tbsp. onto prepared baking sheet.
8. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Total Time: 28 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 18 min.
Yield: 6 servings, about ½ cup each

¾ cup low-fat milk, warm
3 green onions, chopped
2 lbs. medium russet potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
½ tsp. sea salt, divided use
1 lb. fresh kale, large ribs removed, torn into large pieces
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper (to taste; optional)

1. Heat milk and green onions in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Set aside.
2. Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water. Add ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat.
3. While potatoes are cooking, boil water in steamer or large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place kale in steamer basket; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp and bright green. Place in ice water bath to stop cooking process.
4. Drain water from potatoes. Return potatoes to heat. Gradually add milk mixture, mashing potatoes as milk is added; cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Drain water from kale; squeeze out excess water. Finely chop kale with a knife or in a food processor.
6. Add kale and oil to potatoes; mix until fluffy.
7. Season with remaining ½ tsp. salt and pepper (if desired).
8. Serve warm.

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

How many times have you reached mindlessly into a bag of mediocre tortilla chips, shoveling one after another into your mouth? Those fried crisps are loaded with fat, calories, and sodium that adds up fast! Why do that, when it’s quick and easy to make your own healthy chips with actual corn tortillas? These baked corn tortilla chips taste fresh and have a satisfying crunch you’ll love, without the guilt. Dress them up with a squeeze of fresh lime, serve with salsa or this seven layer dip, or make these healthy nachos.

Total Time: 20 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 10 servings (1.5 tortillas or approx. 9 chips, depending on how they’re sliced)

15 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

1. Heat oven to 375° F.
2. Lightly coat both sides of tortillas with spray. Arrange in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.
3. Sprinkle with salt.

Chunky Rainbow Salsa

Chunky Rainbow Salsa

It’s easy to “eat the rainbow” with this vibrantly colored salsa made with tomato, mango, avocado and bell peppers. Want to make it spicy? Add finely chopped jalapeño or habanero. Serve with baked corn tortilla chips, eat as a side salad, or spoon onto grilled fish, chicken, or pork chops.

Total Time: 15 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 8 servings, about ⅓ cup each

1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1 medium green (or red or yellow) bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium mango, peeled, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
3 fresh cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 medium avocado, cut into ¾-inch cubes

1. Combine tomato, bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium bowl; mix well.
2. Gently fold in avocado.
3. Serve immediately.

Margarita Chicken

Margarita Chicken

Get festive with tequila, without the embarrassing side effects! This marinade gives chicken a tangy citrus flavor with extra kick. (Most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking.)

Total Time: 2 hrs. 20 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings

1 Tbsp. tequila
½ cup 100% natural orange juice
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 (4-oz.) raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 dash sea salt
1 dash cayenne pepper

1. Combine tequila, orange juice, lime juice, onion, and garlic in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.
2. Place chicken in glass dish. Pour marinade over; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
3. Preheat grill or broiler on high
4. Remove chicken from marinade. Season with salt and cayenne. Discard marinade.
5. Grill or broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 Ways to Stay True to Your Diet even if you don't have someone to keep you on track....

When you’re working toward your health and fitness goals, it’s very tough to do everything alone. Some of us are lucky enough to have a friend on the same path who is willing to call us out on our double order of fries and remind us to hit the gym. Sometimes, however, you are on your own. Your family and friends might be chugging Bud Lights and downing bags of Doritos while you try to remind yourself why a six-pack stomach is worth eating salad during the Super Bowl. Here are some ways you can hack your brain into acting as if you have a gym buddy constantly giving you support and reminding you to stay on the journey.

1) Take a Picture of Everything You Eat

This is about as low tech as food tracking gets. And no, writing what you ate on a pad isn't “low tech” because no one’s written on a pad since 2004. Camera shots are as “old school” as it gets in this article...

For some reason, taking a picture makes what you’re eating more “real” and an actual “event.” You don’t have to upload it to Facebook or send it to anyone, but the mere act of taking a picture forces you to have some personal accountability over what you’re doing. It also takes you off “auto-pilot” and forces you to acknowledge every morsel you put into your body. You can’t claim you just got carried away because you were of sound mind enough to take the picture before consuming. Because of this self-accountability principle, you will slow down the amount of junk food you eat even if you never look at the pictures again.

Will people with you think this is weird?

Well if you’re obviously flashing camera lights at every restaurant, people will think you’re a tourist who is seriously amazed at his authentic American chicken salad. However, we all like to play on our phones in public (even when its rude) so if you have your flash off, people will assume you’re checking your email anyway.

2) Use a Food Tracking Site

What technology you use for this isn't as important as if you use it, period. My favorite app is the MyFitnessPal app, but there's also Daily Plate, Calorie King, and DailyBurn. And you’ll of course find a bunch of other apps in your iPhone or Android market as well. If all you did was simply track what you ate, without any regard to any diet plan, your health would still improve with no other adjustments. This isn't even necessarily because your eating behavior changes.

Tim Ferris postulates in the “4-Hour Body” that even if your diet is exactly the same, the mere act of observing and recording what you eat causes your body to digest and burn calories differently. I’m not 100% sold on that theory, but in the end, it doesn't matter. These online food trackers force you to account for what you eat every single day. This means that if you have a scoop of ice cream after lunch, your consequence is that you have to remember the event at 10 pm when you enter it into your tracker. This is often enough to avoid foods that aren't good for you, simply to spare yourself the guilt, and you start taking responsibility for what you eat.

If you take the food tracker to its fullest possibilities, you can track what you’re eating down to the last calorie and even record your carb/fat/protein ratios every day. And the good news is that new laws and customer demands are forcing companies and restaurants to be transparent about what’s in the food they’re serving. This means you can type in “Rubio’s chicken taco” and your tracker immediately counts all calories, fat, and carbs in that meal. Its a win win.

3) Join a Facebook Diet Group

Notice I didn't say “Post what you ate every single day to all your friends who don’t care.” Some people post every meal on their wall and quickly find themselves posting to no one because every friend unsubscribes from their feed or de-friends them. Instead find some people who actually like seeing postings like that or who will at least tolerate them. If you just type in the Facebook search box “Get Shredded” or “Food Posting,” you’ll see options come up for groups and communities. On those pages, you have free reign to post every little thing you eat. You can even add little comments about your progress.

You’ll notice that all of these techniques are things you can do with a partner if you have one. The effectiveness of what you’re doing goes up dramatically with the more people you know taking care of their health… and in any area of life for that matter. Be glad that we’re in such a rich technological age because this would take a lot more discipline if all you had was a pen, a pad, and a calorie book to help you guess what was in your last meal. Take advantage of everything available to you.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Decisions without action....

A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided. - Tony Robbins

Decisions without action are preparations for living without living. We need to act to experience life. We either make things happen or let things happen to us. Here’s how Edward Rickenbacker (1842 ~ 1914) expressed why follow through is important, “There’s a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through.”

Often, the cause of inaction is the fear of failure. But isn't it better to try to do something and fail than to try to do nothing and succeed?

So what is it that you are afraid of?
What is keeping you from acting on your decisions?
What is it about your desires, your wishes, your hopes that have you so afraid to take that first step and make them happen?

Failure will grip tight and hold onto you for as long as you give it power. Self doubt will plague your soul, and fill you with regret if you let it. What would be worse? To possibly fail at the task you know you want to try, or the longing knowledge that you never even tried? I know that I would rather fail 1,000 times than to go through life never even trying and always looking back saying "I wish I had tried that... at least once."

Shouldn't today be the day that you finally "GOT UP AND TRIED!" ?

Make a list of your hopes and dreams. Then pick the one that is most important to you, and just do it. Pick one item from your list a week, or even 1 a month and just try. Regardless of the outcome, at least you 'll know you finally tried. "True" Success can only come from repeated failures. Its by failing that we learn, and grow stronger. You won't always fail, but unless you try, you'll never win either.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Easy Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yeild: about 25 balls
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut
1/2 cup Ground Flaxseed
1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/3 cup Organic Honey
1/2 tsp. Almond or Vanilla Extract

1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
2. Scoop the mixture with a small cookie scoop or spoon.
3. Place on a sheet of parchment paper baking sheet.
4. Chill in the fridge until set, about an 1 hour.
6. Store in a closed container in the fridge.

Turkey & Spinach Quinoa Casserole

Turkey & Spinach Quinoa Casserole

2 cups dry quinoa
2 lbs extra lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 large handfuls spinach, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3 cups light cheddar or mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp thyme, dry
2 tsp basil, dry
Salt & ground black pepper to taste
Cooking spray (I use Misto)
Green onions and diced tomatoes for garnish (optional)

1. Cook quinoa as per package instructions and undercook by 4 minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Preheat skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add turkey and sautee for 5 minutes breaking into pieces with the spatula. Drain the excess liquid and add to the bowl with quinoa.

4. Return skillet to the heat and spray with cooking spray again. Add garlic and onions, and fry until golden brown. Add spinach and sauté until it's wilted. Transfer to a bowl with quinoa and turkey.

5. Into the same bowl, add tomato sauce, bread crumbs, 2 cups of cheese, thyme, basil, salt and ground pepper to taste. Mix enough to combine.

6. Transfer the mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake for 25 minutes. Serve immediately, no need to let the casserole cool down.
7. Optional: sprinkle with diced tomatoes, green onions, a dollop of Greek yogurt or salsa.

Storing Instructions: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze divided into individual portions, in an air tight container for up to 1 month.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spinach and Avocado Salad

Spinach and Avocado Salad

We love sweet and tart dried cranberries paired with creamy avocado in this delicious salad. Poppy seeds give it extra texture and peppery flavor.

Total Time: 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 4 servings

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups fresh baby spinach
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. sliced raw almonds, toasted
½ medium avocado, sliced

1. Combine vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds in a small bowl; whisk to blend.
2. Slowly add oil, whisking continuously, until blended. Set aside.
3. Combine spinach, cranberries, and almonds in a large serving bowl; mix well.
4. Drizzle salad evenly with dressing; toss gently to blend.
5. Top with avocado; serve immediately.

Haslet, TX. Fit Club

So if you live in the Haslet, TX area I would like to invite you to join me for a FUN and Life-Changing Beachbody Fit Club. I have 2 to choose from depending on which would work better for you. There is an evening class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm as well as an afternoon class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:15 pm. Classes are always free and all fitness levels are welcome! SO if your ready to find out how much fun getting healthy can really be, then join us and find out for yourself! Hope to see you soon!