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

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

One year ago…

I had every intention of writing this on my birthday however allergies and work commitments had different plans.

A year ago I was a different person. I was starting to go down a path that wasn’t bringing me joy. My mood was all over the place, I kept getting sick, I didn’t want to do anything social, my clothes weren’t fitting, and I didn’t feel like myself. Everyday I kept asking myself how to get out of this hole, what can I change? I never really admitted that a lot had to change though because I let myself continue down this path until that February.

I look at my life now in amazement. I wake up with a positive mindset that today will be a great day. I look forward to going to work and spending time with my students. I am generally really happy. I can’t help but think I saved my life.

Deep down I knew that something had to change. I kept remembering all the medical issues my grandparents have gone through, and I wanted to give myself a chance against some of those. I know that this will always be something that I have to work towards. I am not a naturally thin person, I put on weight very easily, and gosh darn it I love sweets! I am so glad I finally decided to commit to a lifestyle change that lead me to happiness. A lifestyle of balance. I’m in no way saying that losing weight will make you happy, every person is different. When I changed my eating habits my body just felt better. I have had stomach issues forever, and I’m now finally able to have some control because I’m fueling my body correctly.

I really did this for me. I wanted to feel good. Every person deserves to wake up in the morning in love with their life, or at least really liking it. I never had the goal of rocking a bikini, or running a marathon in a year, or a certain amount of pounds to lose. I honestly just really wanted to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, my family, and my friends, but I just felt like something wasn’t there.

The effects of this change have been far more than I ever thought. My husband and I are lifting together, and he got into running and is running his first half marathon next month! Seeing him running, and the fact that my dad has always been a running inspiration for me, got me to start running again. Just recently, my 5th graders have made multiple comments about how I am always happy, or “like medicine because I make people feel better when they don’t feel good,” and full of joy. This honestly brought me to tears when they made these comments. I have had friends and coworkers say I am a positive person, someone who always has a smile on, and that they can see how happy I am. This was confirmation for me that I not only feel great, but I am bringing that happiness to the world.

I truly hope that people can find whatever makes them happy in life. It is such an amazing feeling being really happy. I can’t help but smile as I am writing this blog looking at a lake after a run. Was it the best run? No way. Was it progress? You bet. Was I happy that I did it? Always.

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Here’s to being happy & fit,
Victoria

Working Through Injuries

When you workout, or for me just live your day to day life, you will most likely get injured at some point. This is not something that is always bad, it may be you just over did it and your muscles/joints/body wasn’t ready. It is important that you treat your body right as it is recovering.

As a rule of thumb, exercising shouldn’t cause you great pain during the fact. If something really hurts or doesn’t feel good, stop! You will learn your body, there are times that you have some discomfort when you up your weight or try a more complicated move, but it should never be excruciating pain.

I have Achilles tendinitis in both of my legs. It is something I have to deal with and be very careful when I am active. Because I have this, I also tend to suffer with some lower body injuries from time to time. I have gotten pretty good at reading my body and knowing when I need to give it some extra TLC.

When I have an injury or feel an injury come on I do the following things:

  1. I stop exercising that area intensely. For example, when I have a lower body injury I may opt to do upper body or core workouts. I may go for walks or try the stationary bike, but I take it easy for the first few days.
  2. Ice! I have many ice packs in my freezer. I like to spend some time icing that area especially when I get home from work and before I go to bed.
  3. I like to use Biofreeze or Icy Hot while I am at work or right before I go to bed. It helps to ease the pain.
  4. As always, keep drinking plenty of water.
  5. Stretch! Ever since my dancing days, I have loved to stretch. It not only feels amazing, but helps your body recover after workouts. You should try and get in a stretch everyday, whether it is part of your workout or not. Stretching has so many benefits!
  6. Once I am feeling better, I take it easy getting back into my regular workouts. Don’t go straight back giving your all – still have an amazing workout, but be mindful not to hurt that area again.

I am in no way a fitness or health professional, these are just some steps that I take when I have an injury or an especially sore spot.

Remember that water and stretching are important everyday!

Here’s to being happy & fit
-Victoria

 

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

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