My Sunday

Some Sunday’s are my rest days from workouts. I never take a rest day from prepping and planning.

When I decided to live a healthier life, I didn’t realize how much work the food part would be. It’s not that it is hard, but it takes work to get used to it and to do it right. The result of all of this? A week of healthy meals and snacks that make you feel good, get you closer to your goals, and saves you money.

When you sit down and look at your week ahead, plan your meals, and then shop for it all, it takes the guess work out of lunches and dinners. It is important because you could be rocking those workouts, but your food choices could make it so you don’t see results. This has become easier and easier for me as I have done it week after week. You need to make a healthy lifestyle in order to really make an impact. This isn’t a diet for a month or two, its a lifestyle change that takes time. I find that if I don’t prep on Sunday, my whole week is off!

Here are some things I do on Sunday to help me get ready for the week:

  1. Cut and freeze bananas for my smoothies
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  2. Prep lunches for the week – this week is Chicken Enchilada Soup
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  3. Roast veggies to have with my lunches
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  4. Get my snacks ready (apples for my morning snack, clementines for my snack during my commute home)
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  5. Plan my dinners & workouts – I am using a Happy Planner. A row for my work events, personal events, & my fitness journey.
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I adapted some recipes I saw for Chicken Enchilada Soup to add more vegetables. I have found myself struggling to get enough veggies in. Hope you enjoy! If you are using a crock pot, cook on high for 5 hours 🙂

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Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

My Workouts

I used to be one of those people who would go to the gym and stay for hours. I enjoyed working out, but I had no idea what I was doing. I would jump from a cardio machine to the weights and then back to cardio. When I was working with weights, I just kind of did whatever. No plan. I thought I was doing awesome. Hours at the gym, how could I not be in the best shape of my life?

I have always enjoyed working out, but I also enjoyed eating. So my workouts never really meant anything because I didn’t back it up with the proper nutrition. My mentality was that I worked out for two hours today, I can eat whatever! In my other posts I have written about my meal prepping, snacks and recipes I have used. Today I want to talk about my workouts.

How have I lost almost 35 pounds (one pound away from that mini-victory!) without going to the gym?

When I first signed up with Beachbody a coworker had given my the 21 Day Fix DVD to use. I thought I would just use these workouts, and I could youtube the rest. There is only so long you can do the same exercises without craving a new challenge. I quickly realized that I wanted more and I signed up for Beachbody On Demand.

What is Beachbody On Demand you ask? It is basically the Netflix of fitness. All of Beachbody’s workout programs are there, ready for you to press play! It can be used on your Roku, Apple TV, phone, laptop, or tablet. Literally anywhere.

If having hundreds of workouts that cover everything from heavy weight lifting, to dancing, to yoga right at your fingertips isn’t enough, you also get all the program materials too! That means workout calendars and meal plans. The guess work is gone. This was a no brainer for me. All of my past ways of just randomly working out was done. I knew the schedule of what I should be doing, and I had an eating guide to help me see results from all that hard work.

Most of the workouts are only 30 minutes. Remember how I said I spent hours in the gym? I can walk downstairs to my living room, turn on my TV, choose my workout, and in 30 minutes I am done. Are there longer workouts? Yes. Have I done double workouts? Yup. Is it totally up to you? You bet.

It seriously baffles my mind how easy it makes working out. There are days where I feel like I just need to rest, so I can easily turn on a yoga routine. There are days when I feel on top of the world and I press play twice. I was staying in a hotel room on a work trip, and I was able to download my workouts to my iPad and workout right there. We were visiting mu husband’s family in California, and I had my workouts right there with me. It seriously rocks.

There’s really no secret except hard work. In my groups people have fallen in love with a certain program and have just done that 30 day or 60 day program again and again. People have also been working their way through all of the programs. There is something for everyone, every fitness level, every age.

Want to give it a go? Click here to try! Have more questions? Ask me! I would love to help. I know there is so much information out there, so please don’t hesitate to ask.

Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

Are You Committed?

Commitments…we have a lot of them. We have so many things in our day that take up our time & energy, but are we really committed to what is important to us?

I love my job as a teacher. Last year I had a really tough year. The kids were tough, I wasn’t in a good head space, and I felt that I wasn’t truly committed. When I started eating healthier and working out, some of my issues started to go away. I felt happier, more motivated, and generally in better place. I felt more committed to my everyday. Of course there were still tough spots with my job, but I, as a person, was in a better spot. I improved at my commitment because I focused on helping me.

I started this journey to be a better, happier me in February 2017. I have lost over 30 pounds, gained muscle, and become a better eater. Of course food still tempts me non-stop, but slowly I am learning to enjoy my food and not just shovel it into my mouth. But, now 10 months later I am realizing something. I had to ask myself today…

Am I committed? 

Unfortunately, I think my answer was not really. Yes, I am eating healthy-ish, and I am working out everyday. It’s the “ish” part that gets me. I don’t have super human genes that allow me to eat whatever I want….that is what got me 30 pounds heavier. Every time I think it’s just one, or just one meal won’t hurt…if you add that up to quite a few times in the week, it will start to get you out of the healthy habit.

Am I saying that you can’t have a cheat meal or enjoy desserts? No way! It is just the mindset of actually enjoying those things, and not over indulging all the time.

After realizing I am just going through the motions, I decided that since there are about 4 weeks left in the year, that I am going to rock those 4 weeks. I will enjoy some Christmas cookies, but I don’t need to eat until my stomach hurts. I will prep for success, focus on getting more fruit and veggies into my day, and continue to rock my workouts. Now that I called this to my attention, I feel that I will be in a spot where I can monitor my focus and commitment to my goals.

Sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves are we committed? Are we giving it our all? This isn’t just for health, it could be for your job, a project, a relationship, anything that you are spending your energy on. It is so easy to go through the day kind of doing what we need to. If I am expecting results, the only reason I am not getting them is me. That’s the truth. As much as I would love to blame the weather, or some other uncontrollable force, I can’t.

So this morning, I gave my Hammer & Chisel workout my all and walked away dripping in sweat. I also made sure to plan my meals this week and incorporate healthy, yummy food and fruit and veggie snacks along the way. I set a reminder on my phone for 10am, noon to remember and focus on my goals. I also have a reminder at 4pm to workout and stay motivated.

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Here’s what I did to jump start my commitment:

  1. Take weight and measurements, write them down!
  2. Meal plan (write it down!) & grocery shop
  3. Meal prep for lunches, have dinners scheduled
  4. Set reminders on my phone to stay focused
  5. Plan my workouts for the week

 

You can do hard things. You just have to stay committed.
I believe in myself, and I believe in YOU!

Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

 

 

 

Thankful

This morning, a photo popped up on my Facebook of a me last Thanksgiving. I paused for a minute and just thought wow. Last year I could barely run part of the Bonfield 5K, a tradition in my hometown, and this year I ran the whole thing! I think the fact I really had to go to the bathroom the whole time helped, but I didn’t stop! A lot has changed in a year, and I have so much to be thankful for.

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I am incredibly thankful that I decided to take my health and my happiness seriously. All too often we say next week, next month, next year. But why not now? I had many many months of thinking I would start next month, I would make small changes starting next month. I never did. It took me crying on the couch one night to finally snap out of it. I have an amazing community of hardworking girls who are making their goals a reality and who support each other no matter what. I love being apart of their journey too!

I am incredibly thankful for a husband who is always supporting me and loving me. Even when I was in the darkest place, he was there shining a light for me to see. Every small victory I have, he is there cheering for me. He is always making me smile and laugh. I couldn’t think of a better person to be with!

I am incredibly thankful for my family, who have to love me because we are family, but who are also just amazing people. I have realized growing up that families aren’t always picture perfect like you think they are when you are growing up. Despite different paths and schedules, we come together and are loud and full of love.

I am incredibly thankful for my job, my house, and the life I get to live. I wake up in the morning, and despite being extremely tired most mornings, I am excited for my day. I love my job, my coworkers, and my students. They make me want to be a better teacher everyday. I love coming home to the house we made into our home and building our life together.

I am so excited to see what life brings, and so grateful for all of you who are apart of it! I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends and take a minute to appreciate the goodness in life.

Here’s to being happy & fit
-Victoria

Meal Prep Sunday – Chicken Noodle Soup

Who doesn’t love chicken noodle soup? It is perfect on those chilly days especially when you are feeling a cold coming on. After being around sick coughing children all day, I am always feeling a little less than 100%. So when I asked my husband what I should make us for lunch this week, he said chicken noodle soup. Of course, I could do this, and I could even use my Instant Pot again!

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the idea, but I felt like it needed more. It needed more vegetables. We were missing a huge opportunity to get more veggies in! I scoured the internet for a recipe that included the extra veggies, but I couldn’t find one for my instant pot. So I used this recipe from The Foodie and the Fix to get me started and then subbed in

I followed her directions, but when I added the pasta at the end, I also added green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes. I decided to add these ad the end because I didn’t want them to get too soggy and totally fall apart. I noticed that I am not getting as much vegetables everyday as I should be. I am not one to snack on veggies except for carrots, so I have been trying to incorporate them more into my lunches. This was an easy addition to give us more veggies while still enjoying our soup! You could totally add any veggie you wanted in this soup! I meant to add spinach, but I forgot!

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I love using my Instant Pot for recipes like this because I can saute right in the pot! Once I was done sauteing the carrots, green onion, celery, and garlic, I added the chicken and broth. I set my Instant Pot to soup for 15 minutes and let it go! It is awesome being able to meal prep soup, or really anything, in such a short amount of time. I am not the best planner, and generally run out of time. This has saved me!

So, if you are looking for an easy, quick, and healthy chicken noodle soup, I hope this helps! It is an easy dinner and a hearty lunch as the weather gets colder!

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Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

 

Veggie Loaded Chicken Noodle Soup
Instant Pot Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery rods, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half circles
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, can be fresh or canned
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cups of whole wheat egg noodles (you could use any noodle you prefer!)
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium is best
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp herbs d’provence

Instructions:

  1. Turn on Instant Pot to saute function. Saute onions, celery, and carrots seasoned with salt and pepper. After a few minutes add garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add broth and chicken, and some salt and pepper, to the Instant Pot. Turn to Soup and set for 15 minutes.
  3. When the Instant Pot is done, turn off and do a quick release. Make sure you are out of the way so you do not get hurt by the steam.
  4. Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board.
  5. Add pasta, tomatoes, green beans, spinach, and zucchini to the instant pot. Mix in with the soup. Turn on the Instant Pot to Soup again, and set your Instant Pot to zero minutes. This will build the pressure in the pot, but not over cook your noodles or vegetables.
  6. Shred the chicken while you wait for the Instant Pot to beep.
  7. When the Instant Pot is done, again turn off and do a quick release.
  8. Then add your chicken and herbs. Stir around and smell that delicious soup!

*If you are using a slow cooker, add all ingredients and set to low and cook for 6-8 hours. Chicken will shred easily when done.
*If you are cooking in a stock pot, add all ingredients and cook for about 20-30 minutes covered after bringing to a boil then set to simmer.

21 Day Fix Containers: 1.5 green, 1.5 red, 1 yellow for 2 cups

 

 

Meal Prep Monday Edition

It happens to all of us. We have the best intentions for our weekend, we will be the most productive and stay on top of our list and goals. Then the couch calls, or something pops up, and the next thing you know it is Sunday evening. You haven’t folded your laundry, you haven’t gone grocery shopping, and you definitely have not meal prepped.

This was me. Waking up this morning and realizing this stressed me out! What will I eat for lunch? What’s for dinner? What have I done?!

So, logically I went grocery shopping and picked out an easy recipe that I could throw together. My husband mentioned buffalo chicken, and I was sold. I love buffalo chicken…a lot. I began to look around on Pinterest for some inspiration. The Instant Pot saved me because I was able to cook three chicken breasts in 20 minutes and be able to shred them right away.

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I then made the Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing with low fat yogurt and low fat milk. I followed the directions right on the package. I let that set in the fridge for about 30 minutes. When I took it out, I added about a cup of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce to the ranch. After I shredded the chicken, I put it in a container so we can put how much sauce we want in our serving of chicken. I portioned some out and put about 1.5 tablespoons of sauce for 1 cup of chicken.

In the morning, I will make my wrap with a spinach wrap, shredded carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, and the chicken. You could create a buffalo chicken bowl, sandwich, eat it with celery or bell pepper sticks,  on crackers, or just by itself! This is so versatile, easy, and delicious.

I had to taste the chicken before I put it away, and it tastes amazing! I love the buffalo sauce with the ranch. It is two of the best sauces put together. I am so excited to eat lunch this week.


Simple Buffalo Ranch Chicken

  1. Cook chicken breasts and shred. If you are using an Instant Pot, put chicken into the Instant Pot with one half to one cup of water, salt and pepper. Put on high for 20 minutes. Shred after quick release.
  2. Mix Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt dressing as stated on the package. Mix with 3 tablespoons of milk and one and one third cups of milk. Let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix in one cup (more or less depending on taste) of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce. Stir together.
  4. Serve with chicken!

Hope you enjoy!
Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

 

 

Meal Prep Sunday: Soup Season

Hey all! It is getting colder here in the Chicago land area, and that means that it is time for warm lunches! Most of my lunches I need to microwave, but now I want something that will really warm me up. I am always always cold! Another reason I want soup is I have fallen victim to fall cold season. As a teacher, with a horrible immune system, I am always waiting for cold season to pounce. These past two weeks have been a combination of allergies and a cold making it hard to breathe. My workouts have not been…well anything, but my meals have been okay. I am hoping some yummy, warm soup will help me get back to close to 100%.

I wanted to use my Instant Pot again to get more comfortable with it. It is truly amazing how quick this thing is! This soup, from start to finish was about 30 minutes and consisted of just using the Instant Pot, cutting board, knife, & peeler. Also, the ingredients were easy! All you need is turkey or pork sausage (I opted for lean turkey sausage), kale, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and an onion. I had the rest of the ingredients in my pantry. I love the fact that I could brown the sausage in the Instant Pot and then just add the rest of the ingredients. It has made meal prepping easier, which is always an awesome thing.

I am excited to try this soup tomorrow from Wholesomelicious and start soup season! I was able to portion out 8 about 1.5 cup servings for lunches. I also have baby carrots packed in baggies ready to grab and go. Something I struggle with is wasting time in the morning portioning out my snacks. I realized an easy fix is to portion out my carrots on Sunday, and then all I have to do is cut an apple in the morning. I have everything on one shelf, so I can make it as easy as possible on myself in the morning when I’m not functioning completely. Meal prepping gets easier, and you slowly get better at it. I am still figuring it out and making improvements.

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I can’t wait to try more soups and other creations in my Instant Pot! I have seen some yummy recipes full of veggies and super foods. Do you have any favorite Instant Pot recipes I should try?

Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria