Teacher Survival Tips

I love the summer time. I can wake up, leisurely get ready for my workout, have a great sweat session, and go about my day. But something happens in August. I start to panic. I start to remember. I remember that I am a teacher, and I am going back to work in the middle of this month.

My fitness journey was easier in the summer. I have more control of my schedule, I am generally able to cook in my kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I have energy to work out. During the school year this all becomes more complicated.

I  have been in school for about a month now. I have had some hiccups along the way because sometimes Sundays don’t go as planned with planning my week ahead. I started this journey in February, so I was in the middle of the school year making change happen and staying on track. I was reflecting on how to make it better this year so I am still successful and reaching my goals. I have compiled a list of survival tips that I will make sure to put into action, and I hope some of them help you! You do not have to be a teacher to use these tips, they are fun for everyone!

  1. Plan Ahead – We keep important dates and events in our calendar, we need to start thinking about meals like this. Plan your dinners ahead of time so the last minute pizza delivery won’t happen! I use a handy meal planner I created, and now you can use it too! I use this menu as a way to keep myself honest with my meals and focused. I know what I am cooking and how I can prep for that dinner. If you would like this emailed to you, please leave a comment or contact me here!MealPlan
  2. Plan Ahead Part 2 – Once you planned your dinners, now go ahead and think about lunch! There are so many great options that you can prep on Sunday and have ready for the week. Sometimes I get so crazy I put the individual servings into Tupperware so I can grab and go in the morning. Try some of my favorites: Chicken EnchiladasBurrito BowlsBBQ Pulled Chicken, or Lasagna Zucchini Boats.
  3. Think About Snacks – What will you have during your plan period or that moment you have to yourself? I always bring some fresh fruit or veggies with me to snack on mid morning. Some of my favorites are easy like carrots, clementines, grapes, or strawberries. You can read my blog about my top 5 go to snacks here 🙂
  4. Think About Food Emergencies – We all know this can happen, a forgotten lunch, random mega hunger, having to stay late…because of this make sure you have a stash of *healthy* options you can turn to before the dollar menu. I have Apple Pie Lara Bars and Almonds in my desk. You could also have oatmeal (if you have a microwave at work). I also keep some bags of Shakeology servings too. You never know when you will need a quick, healthy meal on the fly! It is better to be prepared then left scrambling.
  5. Storage – So right now it seems like you are packing a lot of food…well yes. Some people think that limiting the amount you eat is how you lose weight. This is totally false! You need to be consistently fueling your body with nutritious food throughout the day. So make sure you have a bag that fits it all! I have an insane amount of Tupperware, but I know I have plenty of options for my meals. I also just purchased a Fitmark Meal Prep Bag. Yes, it is large, but it fits everything! It is also fun to buy an awesome new lunch bag…unless that is just me.  20170803_125239.jpg
  6. Eye on Your Goals – I know that at my school there are always treats in the teachers lunch room. These can easily derail you from your goals. I am not saying I never have a cookie or half a donut, but I do plan ahead. On Friday mornings I normally head straight for the fruit and do my best to exercise my will power against the sugary options. If there is a birthday or another important celebration, I will plan ahead and go in knowing I get one small treat that I can really enjoy. Just remember to plan for your goals, it gets easier as you practice!
  7. Plan Your Workout – I AM NOT and will NEVER BE a morning person. I am lucky to get out of bed and get dressed in the mornings. So working out in the AM is not an option (I tried it once and literally fell over in the middle of my workout…so yeah, that’s not happening again). This means that my next, and only other option, is to workout after work. Trust me, I would love to go home and sit on the couch relaxing after working with kiddos all day. In order to remind myself of my goals and my motivation, I set a reminder on my phone for 4pm. This hits just about halfway through my commute home. That means when I get home and check my phone….my reminder is there waiting for me. It says, “Remember you NEED to workout! You will feel AMAZING after and think of those after pics!” I also make sure to get right upstairs to change into my workout clothes and begin ASAP!
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  8. Buddy Up – If you are comfortable with your coworkers, see if there is a fitness buddy you can have at work. This person could be on the same program as you, go to the same gym as you, or just have similar goals. It is helpful to have someone who understands why you aren’t loading your plate with donuts, cookies, and cake. It is also helpful to have someone there to help motivate you and celebrate with you on your victories! I am lucky to have a few people at work I can talk to, but also an amazing support system in my accountability groups.

I hope these tips helped you out, I know it can be daunting thinking about everything at work and your fitness journey. If you have any questions, or tips of your own, I would love to hear them!

Here’s to being happy & fit,
-Victoria

Meal Prep Sunday – Burrito Bowls

I love the weekends. I generally get to relax, move at a slower pace, and reconnect with myself and my family and friends. I never really prepared for the week ahead, and I think that only created more chaos and problems.

When I started my journey to be the best me, I realized that I had to really think about what I am eating for lunch throughout the week and our dinners. I could no longer just throw something together the morning of and have it be healthy, nutritious, and most importantly easy. To help solve my problem, I slowly started to get into meal prepping.

Now, I am not claiming to be perfect at this in the slightest. Last weekend we were at Tough Mudder and by the time we got home, I had no energy to grocery shop, let alone meal prep. I always have ingredients on hand for a quick salad with chicken, carrots, tomatoes, and black beans, so I just relied on that for lunch.

I try my best to think ahead for most dinners during the week. We tend to keep fish, shrimp, turkey burgers, and chicken in the freezer for protein options. We also have a lot of frozen vegetables. Having some healthy options in the freezer makes it easy when you need a quick, simple dinner.

When it comes to lunches, I find one recipe and make a big batch. I make enough for 5 lunches for me, and when my husband wants what I am cooking, I made 4-5 servings for him! I don’t mind eating the same thing everyday. On Sunday I will prep my lunch and then put it in containers so it is an easy grab and go in the mornings. It makes it foolproof and simple to stay on track!

This week I am making burrito bowls for my husband and I! He wants beef, and I am opting for chicken. I am loading these bowls with brown rice, black beans, peppers, broccoli, corn, and salsa.

I got my inspiration for this recipe from http://www.spendwithpennies.com/fajita-meal-prep-bowls/ The seasoning is delicious! I strayed a little bit to add more veggies, but for the most part I followed the recipe above! I made it more of a burrito bowl instead of fajita bowls (I don’t like peppers, but my husband does). You can really take this recipe and change it for your taste preference. You could add more veggies, use tofu, sub out quinoa instead of rice…the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
2 lbs chicken breast or steak
2 -4 bell peppers, any color
1 onion
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup salsa (any kind)
2 ½ cups of corn
2 ½ cups of broccoli
1 can black beans

Seasonings:
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Directions:

  1. Combine olive oil and all seasonings into a medium bowl.
  2. Cut your protein into 1” pieces and then toss in the olive oil and seasonings.
  3. Cook protein on medium heat until done (remember chicken needs to cook until it has reached 165 degrees). While the protein is cooking, cut onion and bell peppers.
  4. Once the protein is finished cooking, remove from pan and place to the side
  5. With the leftover olive oil and seasoning that is in the pan, cook onions and peppers, coating with the seasoning, until tender. Once the onions and peppers are done, put into a bowl and place to the side
  6. Steam corn and broccoli (it is easy to use frozen corn and broccoli in the steamer bags). Cook rice according to package instructions.
  7. Once all ingredients are cooked, combine and enjoy!


Serving Options:

  • ½- 1 cup rice
  • ¼- ½ cup black beans
  • ¾-1 cup protein
  • 1 cup + veggies (broccoli, peppers, onions, corn)
  • Salsa depending on preference! 

For those using 21 Day Fix containers:
You can really customize to your tastes! This is just what I did.

  • 1 yellow container of rice
  • 1 red container of protein
  • split 1 green container between corn and broccoli and/or split 1 green between peppers and onion
  • 1 yellow (or less) of black beans (I used about ¼ cup of black beans so I wouldn’t use all my yellows!)
  • Split salsa between servings (I used about 2 tablespoons)

 

My Tough Mudder

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I heard this question asked before my husband and brother in law started the full Tough Mudder course on Saturday. I thought to myself, “well I guess it will be tomorrow for me.” I was running the Tough Mudder half the next day, for the first time.

But seriously, when was the last time you did something for the first time? I have found myself searching for the comfortable option more and more. Let’s be real, being uncomfortable isn’t always fun. In July, my husband and I went to a paddle board class, and I remember being so nervous that I might fail, or look dumb, or get embarrassed in front of strangers that I almost didn’t want to go. At the end of the class, I was in love with paddle boarding! It challenged me, but it was such a new experience that really makes you connect mind and body.

A few months back, before I started this journey to be the best me, I never could imagine signing up for a paddle boarding class or Tough Mudder. Fast forward, and I was feeling confident with my weight loss, muscle gain, and confidence gain that I decided to sign up for the Tough Mudder half. I thought that the worst that would happen would be I hated it, I was horrible at it, and I would never do it again. So why not?

As the big day was getting closer and closer I had this pit in my stomach. For those of you that don’t know me….I worry…a lot. I was laying awake in bed panicking about the obstacles and the mud. I was worried that I hadn’t lost enough weight or gained enough strength. That confidence that was bursting at the seams when I signed up for Tough Mudder was suddenly gone. I was looking up the obstacles and creating reasons (ahem…excuses) in my head as to why I wouldn’t be able to complete them. I was simply self sabotaging.

So, I was standing on the side watching my husband and brother-in-law get ready to start the full Tough Mudder on Saturday. I was panicking that I signed up for this, and it was show time tomorrow! Then I heard that question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” That is when I realized, I just gotta get out there and do it! I signed up, I paid the entry fee, I trained, I have an outfit picked out, and I was in Sheboygan, WI…I just gotta give it a shot.

As I was watching the boys complete their Tough Mudder, I was creating strategies in my head on how my 5’2” frame will attack some of these obstacles. Something crazy even happened…I was getting excited! Don’t get me wrong, I was still as nervous as a mouse trapped inside a house, but I was slowly getting excited.

I of course didn’t sleep very well that night, and I was terrified when I woke up the next morning. My dad, who is so supportive and amazing, drove up to see us run the Tough Mudder half on Sunday. We were all sitting at breakfast, and I kept telling myself that I can do it. I knew I could, but it was SO out of my comfort zone. I can’t say I have ever had the feeling to go play in the mud.

It was 9am and finally time to get started. We listened to the beginning inspiration and the music was blasting. It was time to go! Once we completed the first mud obstacle, Mud Mile 2.0, I was loving it! The first time getting into that mud was definitely a weird feeling, but then it was fine. I can honestly say that I shocked the heck out of myself. I was keeping up and able to do the obstacles without feeling like a total dud.

Most people told me just trying was good enough, and I could always skip an obstacle. But for me, Tough Mudder became more than that. I wanted, more than anything, to prove to MYSELF that I can do it, that I gained strength, that all my hard work is making me better, that I am stronger than I think. I was completing obstacles with a smile on my face, when I made it up Everest 2.0 (ON THE FIRST TRY!!!!) I was literally jumped and celebrating on top. It was a feeling I honestly I can’t even put into words, it was just amazing.

I did face my fears on Shawshanked. I had to army crawl through a mud pit, then pull myself up a tunnel, and then let myself fall backwards into a pool of muddy water. I let that obstacle, and my fears, get to me. Luckily, I had my husband in the water supporting me, my brother-in-law in the tunnel behind me counting me down, and a man I have never met before letting me know I would be okay. With some reservation, but wanting to get out of that tunnel, I let myself fall back into the water. The man who was besides me grabbed my arm when I was underwater helping me to the side. In that moment, I really saw how Tough Mudder is about the team, the whole team. You truly need strangers to let you climb on their shoulders, pull you up over a wall, step on their thigh for a boost, and take your hand after you just faced your fear and help you succeed.

I was overcome with so many emotions, and I left feeling on cloud 9. I renewed my faith in myself and realized a side of me I never knew was there. I am honestly so thankful for my Tough Mudder experience. I can’t wait to complete the full next year, I already signed up!

Here’s to being happy and fit…and one Tough Mudder!

-Victoria