Favorite Christmas Traditions

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ITS CHRISTMAS TIME ITS CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!

Don’t mind me, I’m just a little bit excited. Christmas is just so exciting and obviously my favorite time of year. My family does Christmas big and it has always been a magical time for me. I remember being a kid and counting down the days until Christmas, just wishing the day would come faster. Now, I know that the magic of Christmas is found in the celebrating and the traditions leading up to Christmas Day, and I want those days to slow down so I can enjoy every moment. Having lots of different traditions is what makes it all so fun and exciting for me. And now that I have a daughter, I love passing on those traditions and enjoying them with her!

Family Traditions I Grew Up With

Check out those bangs and those matching Christmas vests! Shout out to mom for making those!

Driving Around to Look at Christmas Lights

My parents used to pack all seven of us in a car and we would drive around and look at Christmas lights while singing Christmas songs in the car. It was always so much fun and a great bonding experience for all of us.

This is my Childhood home back in Portland OR! So Cute!

Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree

This wasn’t something we did every year but the memories I have of driving up to a tree farm, walking around in the snow, and searching for the PERFECT tree are some of my absolute favorites.

One big happy family!

Secret Santa

This was a family favorite of ours. Every year on Christmas Eve we would pick names out of a hat, head to target, split up into groups, and find our secret Santa presents for each other, within our price limit. We would run around the store trying to spy on each other’s groups and sneak pictures of them shopping. It was so fun and so competitive. Then we would always go get lunch right after and then go see a movie together(that one hasn’t happened much since the babies have joined the family).

Me, Kennedy, Michael and my sister Kelsey at last year’s Secret Santa shopping!

Christmas Party

Not long after moving to California, our family started throwing annual Christmas parties at our house. They started off small, but eventually became big events for all of our family and friends. We would have a million different cookies and treats, punch and eggnog, and most years we even did talent shows. I absolutely loved hosting those every year and celebrating with all of our friends and family.

Tolman Family Christmas Card of 2009 (…I think)

Christmas Eve Dinner and Movie

Every Christmas Eve night we had our traditional dinner spread of crackers, a cheeseball, hickory farms sausage, chips and French onion dip. We would snack away while we watched a good Christmas movie, usually something funny! Then we would open our Christmas Eve presents, which was always something to sleep with that night (pajamas, slippers, pillowcases, blankets-one year my mom even made pillows for each of us).

Mom with all the kids

Our Stockings

Okay, obviously everyone has stockings, that’s not unique. But our stockings were special because my mom made them all and they were so beautiful and amazing, and every year when she pulled them out of storage, it was exciting and special to see our handmade stockings!

Not the greatest photo of them, but these are our old stockings, and sweet Griffen, our family kitty

Puzzles

Lots and lots of Christmas puzzles!!

A Peterson family favorite!

Traditions We Do With Our Family Now

Gingerbread Houses

This is one I adopted from my husband. He has lots of memories making gingerbread houses with his family, so every year since we’ve been married we make one! It’s a fun and yummy tradition, and I’m sure Kennedy is going to love this one this year!

This is actually mine and Clara’s gingerbread houses-she came to visit us around Christmas time a few years back!

Matching Pajamas

This is one we’ve started since having Kennedy, but we do matching Christmas Eve Pajamas. We open up one big Christmas Eve box with pajamas for everyone, a tree ornament, a new movie and a new Christmas book for Kennedy, all things for us to wind down with on Christmas Eve night.

Last year on Christmas morning-my sister helped me to make those matching T-Shirts and I made mine and Kennedy’s pants (I messed up on Michaels and had to do store bought for his)

Boise’s Festival of Trees

Every year since we’ve lived in Boise we’ve attended the Festival of Trees here put on by St. Alphonsus Hospital, and it is always so much fun! There are so many beautifully decorated trees on display, as well as wreaths, and activities for kids and performances going on and photos with Santa! It’s an awesome event that we look forward to every year!

Last year’s festival of trees!
Our first family photo with Santa at the festival of trees!
My heart!!!

Making and Decorating Sugar Cookies

Who doesn’t love making cookies for Christmas? I especially love doing the sugar cookies and getting creative with the decorating! It’s so fun to do and even kids love helping out.

Playing in the Snow

Now that we live somewhere where it snows every year (unlike California) we always make sure to go out at least once and enjoy the fun snow! Whether it’s sledding, making snowmen, or having a snowball fight, we love to go out and play in the winter wonderland!

Getting Our Tree Right After Thanksgiving

Every Year we go out the day after Thanksgiving to get our Christmas tree and start decorating the whole house! We want Christmas as soon as possible around here! If it were up to me we would get our tree up even before that, but then it way too soon, so I settle for the Friday after Thanksgiving! This year we plan on going to a tree farm to cut one down which I am so excited for, and hopefully that will become one of our new family traditions.

Those are all of the fun Christmas Traditions my family enjoys! I love hearing about the traditions others have that are unique and different, so please share your family’s favorites with us! We’d love to hear them! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season this year!!

3 Things I’ve Learned When I stopped My Gratitude Practice.

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Around the beginning of August this year, I started a gratitude practice. ( Not sure what a gratitude practice is? Read about it here, or here ) And it quickly started changing my life. I was seeing multiple benefits. I was happier and less stressed My family was happier and I started keeping goals that I set. My gratitude practice helped me get out of the funk that I was feeling, and ultimately lead me to where I am right now; writing this blog post.

I was in the rhythm. I performed my practice daily for about a month. and then I started a month long travel trip, and my practice alone with my exercise routine ended up on the back burner. Traveling kept me busy. I travelled alone with Sawyer and it was hard to say the least. And though I was grateful to be able to see family and friends, the stress became overwhelming. After I got back home I was able to get back into the swing of things and pick up where I left off with my routine and practice. But it wasn’t easy.

So, Here are three things that I learned when I stopped my gratitude practice. Though they may be obvious, it was eye opening and a great growing opportunity for me.

When you set a loose goal, you probably will fail.

I had loosely set a goal to still go on walks and runs and perform my practice with Sawyer while we were out of town. But, heres where I went wrong. I loosely set the goal. Instead of telling myself that I would do it the whole time or even the majority of the time, I said eh if I do it great, if not, whatev! Which in some cases would be fine, you don’t want to be hard on yourself. However, I need this practice, it totally helps keep me grounded. The first day of vacation I went on a walk, and tried, but Sawyer was cranky and it just didn’t happen. And the next day it didn’t happen, and so forth and so forth. Though it’s not rocket science, now I know to make sure I set firm goals for myself.

If you’re not doing your stress relievers you will be stressed.

UM HELLO!!! DUH. Come on Clara. This one is not hard to figure out right? Except it was. I got caught up in how great I was handling my stress totally took my gratitude practice for granted. I thought “Oh i’m doing so well, It won’t matter if I don’t do it.” Well, unfortunately that didn’t go so well for me. I found myself in a stressful situation, traveling alone with a toddler, without my saving grace of a stress reliever. This all equals major stress, lovely cold sores and other great stress related stuff.

 A grounding practice is essential. In my case it is a gratitude practice. 

I’m religious and I pray often. In those Prayers include what I’m grateful for. But they can often become receptive and sometimes the meaning isn’t there. I’m working on it! The point is, it’s not the same for me. It’s easy to get into a habit of telling Heavenly Father what I’m grateful for in prayers, and it doesn’t always have the same effect. So, even though I would say my prayers, the gratitude practice didn’t relieve my stress like I though it would. There is something so powerful about speaking out loud what you are thankful for.  It helps me, so I must keeping doing it.

DO YOUR PRACTICE

All right, like I said these ideas aren’t ground breaking. But I think they are a good reminder of what happens when you stop doing a beneficial thing. Things are about to start getting crazy around here again with my surgery coming up, (this MONDAY AHH!) and the holidays.  And now, I can take what I’ve learned from last time, and make sure to set my goals, remember to do this to relieve stress and know that it essential for me.

Just a thought: Just because you stop something or get out of routine, doesn’t mean all is lost. Start over! Don’t be discouraged, tomorrow is a new day!

Talk soon!

 

At Home Tabata Workout

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Okay, is anyone else totally freaking out about the fact that we’re mid way through November already?! I am losing it! This is my absolute favorite time of year, but I’m still just in shock at how fast this year has gone by. I’m not sure if I like it! This is going to be Kennedy’s 3rd Christmas😭 This is also going to be our first Christmas in our first home, so I’m really excited about that.

As the year is coming to a close I am working on tightening up my nutrition and making sure my workouts are really good. I know it’s easy to let loose this time of year, and to over indulge in lots and lots of treats, all in the name of the holiday, but I would like to stay on track as much as possible. I do definitely plan on having lots of Christmas treats, I’m just going to wait until it’s actually Christmas to do so😉

It can be also hard to keep to a workout routine with all of the traveling and holidays, and having so much to do, but I think that having a plan to stick to makes it that much easier. I have been loving HIIT workouts lately-they’re fast, easy, and you get a great workout from them. I incorporate a short bout of HIIT into just about every workout right now. For all the benefits of HIIT workouts, check out Clara’s post about it here. Another variation of HIIT is a Tabata workout.
In a Tabata workout you do 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 rounds. You can do it a couple of different ways; you can rotate through 8 different exercises, doing each one for just one round, or you can pick any number of exercises and do each one for the full 8 rounds, for a longer workout. For this workout you will do 8 full rounds of each exercise. This workout is great because you don’t need any equipment and you don’t need a lot of time to get it done-it only takes 16 minutes to get through the whole thing!

At Home Tabata Workout

Starting with the first exercise, perform 20 seconds of work, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 8 rounds. Move on to the second exercise and repeat and go all the way through the list:

Air Squats

Push Ups

Walking Lunges

Sit Ups

 

Make sure you start off with a good warm up first, and finish up with a cool down and some stretching. This workout is sure to get your heart rate up and give you a good sweat! Try it out and tag us on instagram in your pictures (@hellofitmamas)-we love to see your workouts! Enjoy and let us know how you like it! I’m on my way to the gym now to do this workout!

 

6 Healthy Meals for Picky Toddlers and Eaters

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Picky toddlers and eaters. The bane of my existence. Not really, but kind of. Sawyer has been becoming pickier and pickier lately and I’m feeling more and more out of control.  Honestly if he puts something in his mouth then spits it out immediately, one more time…. I swear.

I’m pretty sensitive to comments about meals that I make. Maybe its because I feel like I’m not very good at it? So anytime my husband and now I guess my baby (omg clara…) doesn’t like my food. It stresses me OUT!  Not to mention, is Sawyer getting enough nutrients? How can I give him the variety of foods (not just bread) that he needs?  How do I make sure he’s not eating just processed foods? Or just berries?

So after a lot of trial and error,  Ive come up with a few nutritious meals that I have thrown into my rotation that my pick boy has been eating.   Since I’ve been  doing these he has started to try and yes EAT my meals. I share them, in hopes that YOUR picky eater will like them too.

A couple of tips:

  1. Fed is best! These tips are just ones that I️ have been using, that have been working for us. If you’re kid doesn’t eat using these tips, feed him what he will eat.
  2. Feed your picky toddler at specific meal and snack  to avoid grazing all day. This will make them more hungry at meal times!
  3. Keep offering food they say they don’t like. I totally believe that eventually they will come around and love it. It’s what happened with Sawyer and eggs.
  4.   Keep meals healthy and avoid resorting to processed snacks. Fruit and veggie pouches are a great option!
  5. Change out white bread for whole wheat or sprouted bread and pasta for whole wheat or chickpea pasta.
  6. Sneak in those veggies! I add spinach to almost everything that Sawyer eats. Sometimes he notices, sometimes he doesn’t. But at least he gets in veggies some of the time.
  7. Don’t switch over all at once, if you’re toddler is anything like mine, change needs to come slow!  Start with one tip and when they are eating that, add in another change.

 

BREAKFASTS

  1. Spinach Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 almond milk (or milk of choice) Depending on how thick you want your pancakes
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • optional ( 1 scoop of protein powder. I use Vital Proteins Collagen)

Toppings:

Almond or any nut butter,honey or maple syrup, hemp seeds, berries, chia seeds, pecans.

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. Poor batter onto a griddle and cook until sides have been browned.  Enjoy!

The great thing about this pancake recipe is that you CANNOT taste the spinach. They are delicious and filling. Sawyer and Jeff both eat them and approve!

2.  Sweet potato, Egg and Sausage Bake. This is another really delicious and nutritious recipe that Sawyer will scarf down. He loves sweet potatoes and eggs with salsa.

Ingredients:

  • ½ tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cubed (about 2 cups)
  • ½ lb. turkey or chicken sausage. ( You could also sub for bacon or ham)
  • ½ small red onion, chopped or sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
  • 3-4 cups spinach leaves
  • 7 whole eggs
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • Avocado, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 pan with coconut oil.  Cook sweet potatoes in a skillet coconut oil for about 10 minutes or until soft. In a separate sauce pan, add onions and peppers and cook until soft. Add sausage and brown. Once browned add spinach and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl whisk eggs together with a dash of salt and pepper. Layer sweet potatoes an sausage and veggie mixture in you 9×9 pan. Pour over eggs.

Place in oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until firm. Serve with salsa and avocado.  original recipe here

 

SNACKS

  1. Yogurt, Granola and Berries: The trick here is to mix a flavored yogurt, with plain yogurt to cut the sugar intake!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup flavored yogurt of choice

1/4 cups plain yogurt

Granola of choice ( i make my own. find it here)

berries of choice

Mix yogurts together. Top with granola and berries. You can also add a nut butter for added protein.

 

2. Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 banana or fruit of choice ( do a fruit that your toddler loves)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1.5 cups water (or almond milk)
  • Optional: scoop of protein powder

Directions: Blend together in a blender and serve. Just like the Pancakes, you can’t taste the spinach!

LUNCH:

Whole Wheat Quesadilla with Blackens and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat or sprouted tortilla
  • 2 slices of real cheese of choice
  • 1/8 cup black beans
  • 2-3 spinach leaves

Directions:

Place tortilla on pan then layer with beans, cheese and spinach. Cook until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

DINNER:

Ground Beef Zucchini boats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 2 Zucchini cut in half,  seeds and filling removed, set filling aside.
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 lb 93% lean ground beef. ( can sub ground turkey)
  • 1/2 can of black beans ( or beans of choice)
  • 1 14 oz can of enchilada sauce ( we use green and red interchangeably)
  • Cheese, plain greek yogurt and avocados to top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Once  heated, add gutted zucchinis to a baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, then set aside. ( this will ensure that the zucchinis are nice and soft.

Add oil, onion, pepper, mushrooms and zucchini filling to a sauce pan and cook until soft. Add in beef and brown. Once browned, add spinach and cook for about 1 minute.

Fill boats with ground beef mixture and pour enchilada sauce over the boats.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Remove and top with Cheese, plain greek yogurt and avocado. ENJOY!

Sawyer will eat a few bites of the zucchini, then be done and just eat the filling. Eh! I’ll take what I can get.

 

I hope these recipes and tips are helpful. Picky toddlers and eaters are so common. You’re not a lone. I’m right there with you with Sawyer. It can be so frustrating to have your hard work totally rejected, but keep trying! Don’t stop sneaking those veggies in.

And remember, fed is best!

Let me know how your picky eaters like these recipes. They’re mostly approved by mine 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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15 MINUTE COMPLETE HIIT WORKOUT AT HOME

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Hi Y’all! Have you been craving a HIIT WORKOUT that you can do from the comfort (haha) of your own home? Look no further peeps, I’ve got it for you here on this very blog! It’s your lucky day.

What is HIIT you may be wondering? It’s a high intensity interval training, meaning you do short bouts of high intensity exercises or training to get your heart rate up and then you rest. For example on the track you could do 30 second sprint rest intervals. The total session can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes. You can find another HIIT workout, Ali Posted a few weeks ago. HERE

This is what i’m telling my friends and family to do thanksgiving morning! Its a great way to get in a quick calorie burning workout!

BENEFITS OF A HIIT WORKOUT:

  1. A HIIT workout can burn more sub-cutaneous fat than long duration, low to moderate intensity endurance training. You can potentially burn more calories with a HIIT than running 2-3 miles.
  2.  Its EFFICIENT.  A whole session could take you only 15 minutes to burn the calories and give your body a nice, tough workout.
  3. You can do it ANYWHERE. Feel like working out outside? No problem. Want to work out at home? gotcha covered. At the gym? FOR SURE. Take this HIIT workout anywhere and feel the burn!!
  4. It can INCREASE your METABOLISM: Study’s have shown that it an high intensity interval training workout increases the human growth hormone for up to 24 hours after working out. This means your body will be able to more efficiently be able to absorb all the nutrients it needs.
  5. It can help LOWER resting heart rate: A lower resting heart rate allows for a healthier heart and more endurance.

Okay. Are you ready to feel the BURN??

15 MINUTE HIIT WORKOUT AT HOME

(5-10 minute warm up)

30 Seconds work to 30 seconds rest.  Complete each exercise in order, resting in-between EACH exercise. Repeat 3 times

  1. Mountain climbers
  2. 30 second rest
  3. Alternating Jump lunges
  4. 30 second rest
  5. High skips
  6. 30 second rest
  7. Burpees
  8. 30 second rest
  9. Ski jumps
  10. 30 second rest

That’s it. I’ll let you know, its a tough one, but totally doable for beginners!

I can’t wait to see what you think. Leave a comment down below if you wan to see more workouts like this and tag us @hellofitmamas on Instagram if you do this workout. I wanna see you burning!!!

 

 

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Tips to Get Out of a Funk

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Have you ever found yourself stuck in a funk, a rut, a slump, or a bad mood that just wouldn’t go away. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Sometimes these “funks,” as I like to call them, can last for days and days if we let them. It can feel impossible to get anything done, sometimes even just getting off the couch seems so hard.

And just to clarify, I’m not talking about any serious mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety or anything like that. Those are issues that need more attention. What I’m talking about is just that weird feeling you get on some days where you just have no energy, no motivation, no will power, and no desire to do anything.

I’ve been finding myself in this situation more and more as the weather gets worse and as I’m home alone with baby while my husband is working a lot. So I felt it was time to put together a list of things that can help me to put an end to the funk! Hopefully some of these are helpful to you the next time you find yourself having a “blah” day!

Plan the Day

Okay, for me, I can tell first thing in the morning if I’m going to have an off day. Maybe Kennedy woke up unusually early, or maybe the dog made a big mess overnight downstairs, or maybe I’m just already not feelin’ it. But usually there’s something that gets the snowball started. If I notice that happening, and the temptation to give up on the day starts to creep in, I counteract that by planning out my day-at least in my head. I tell myself, “okay, we’re going to go to the gym, then we’ll go to the library, come home, have lunch, then it’s nap time. I’ll clean the kitchen, living room and start a load of laundry while Kennedy is sleeping. When she wakes up we’ll take Cooper for a walk, play with some toys, and maybe go to the mall. Then it’s time to start dinner. I’ll make meatballs and rice and broccoli.” Be as specific as you can so that you can spend the rest of the day on autopilot. For me I need to keep busy on days like this or else I’ll sit down and never get back up!

Move Your Body

The biggest sign for me that I am in a funk, is if I either A) don’t want to go to the gym at all in the morning, or B) I get there and don’t want to do anything, so I give about 30% effort and then just give up and leave. That is super out of character for me, so If that happens, I know I need to take a step back and assess the situation. Ironically though, I’ve found that one of the best ways to beat a funk is to get moving. It might not be at the same level, or even doing that same things that I’m used to, but I need to find a way to stay actively moving. Maybe this means going to the park to walk around for a while instead of going on the stairmaster. That’s fine! I’m still giving my body the care and attention it needs by getting up and going, and moving around. It might be less intense than what I had planned, but usually it’s because that’s just what I needed that day.

Drink Water and Have A Healthy Meal

Isn’t it funny how these two things are the solution to so many problems! They’re like magic! It’s amazing how much better you feel instantly when you are properly hydrated and have had a healthy, nutritious meal. Eating a good healthy meal will give you energy and is your opportunity to get back on the right track. How you fuel your body reflects into how you take care of yourself as well. If I start to feel like I’m already in a funk kind of mood, I’ll take a look at my recent nutrition decisions, and usually they’ve been less than great leading up to that point. Once you identify that, you have all the power to take the right next step!

Swallow the Frog

Have you ever heard this saying? It’s one of my favorites, and basically all it means is that when you wake up in the morning, start the day by crossing the hardest thing off your to-do list. That will start your day off on the right foot, headed for success, and you can stop stressing about that thing that you keep putting off. Sometimes for me this means identifying what might be putting me in a bad mood, and taking care of that (i.e. I left the house a mess the night before and waking up in the morning to a big mess puts me in a bad mood). Start the morning off by doing those dishes that are piling, answering those emails, making that phone call, or turning in the assignment. You will feel sooo much better when you’re done, and now you have the rest of the day to enjoy that feeling!

Self Care 101

Can you say bubble bath? That is one of my favorite ways to wind down and practice some good ol’ fashioned self care. I like to light a candle, grab a book (currently reading: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear) and soak in the suds. I’m also a big fan of face masks,  going for a long walk, going shopping to buy yourself a little something, making a nice cup of hot cocoa, or even taking a short, cozy nap. Self care is all about YOU, and how best to take care of yourself. It’s individual to everyone, but should be something simple that will make you happy.

Let Yourself Have the Funk

I realize this contradicts everything I’ve said up until this point, but I do believe there are times and circumstances where you need to let yourself experience your funk. For whatever reason, this is what your body is telling you it needs. Maybe you need an entire day spent binge watching a show you don’t even like that much (guilty). Maybe you need a day where you don’t clean a single thing, you don’t leave the house, and you don’t cook a “real” meal. IT HAPPENS! And it’s okay! Give yourself that day. But leave it at that. Because if you let it, that one day could turn into two, then three, then a week. Let yourself have an off day, and plan to jump right back into the swing of things the next day. Those dishes are fine for one more day, and cup of noodles never killed anyone. Just make sure that before you go to bed that night, that you plan out the next day(step 1) so that the day doesn’t repeat itself.

 

Those are the tried and true methods that have helped me to get out of my worst funks. Do you ever have those days? If so what are some of the things you do to combat those moods? Let us know in the comments!

Exercise and How to Love It.

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Exercise, Can you love it?

Exercise ugh! I’ve had a love hate relationship with exercise my whole life. It started in middle school basketball. I loved playing, but I HATED conditioning. Like, just the thought of running made me want to quit right then and there.  I’m pretty sure I told my mom every day of pre-training that I wanted to quit haha.  Luckily I didn’t and I powered through and became a better player for it. The same thing happened year after year through college. A never-ending cycle. (I’ve talked a little bit about my fitness journey before.  Find it here).

Discomfort:

A common trait among humans is fear of the unknown, fear of being uncomfortable. It’s so easy to become comfortable with what you are doing and how you are doing it.  And soon, it becomes scary and hard to change. There were so many times that I started The “30 Day Shred” workout video by Jillian Michael, and made it the first few days, the first week max. I stopped because it was hard, I stopped because my routine was thrown off. I stopped because it made me uncomfortable.  Exercising is hard and it’s uncomfortable, and therefore REALLY easy to quit. Guilty!!

Things changed for me when I started filling stuck and unhealthy.( I mean the amount of Domino’s pizza my husband ate the first 2.5 years of marriage. Ah!!) I was eating so much sugar, I wasn’t working out and I felt tired all the time! I found Kayla Itsines on Twitter randomly, and was totally sold by her 30 minute workouts. That, I thought, was doable. But, I stopped and started the program twice.

Stages of Change:

There are 5 stages of change that people go through as they are considering exercising again. They are: Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

  • Pre contemplation- You are in this phase if you have no intention of changing. You may be somewhat uncomfortable with your lifestyle but not enough to change
  • Contemplation: If you are in this stage you have started thinking about exercise. You have thought about becoming more active in the next little bit but haven’t started yet.
  • Preparation:  While in this phase, you have started exercising occasionally, and you plan to exercise regularly shortly.
  • Action: You are in this phase if you have just  begun regularly exercising
  • Maintenance: You have consistently exercised for longer than 6 months

Everyones goes through these stages multiple times in their life. Every time I started and stopped exercising I went through these steps again. So why are these important?  I want these to motivate you! The fact that you are even thinking about exercising is amazing! It’s hard and intimidating to start.  The key is keeping you motivated to stick with it FOREVER 😉

Motivation:

Motivation is different for every one. We all have things that will make us go, motivate us. For me my motivation has always  been the same. Get healthy, get a smokin’ hot bod, stay healthy,  and be able to be healthy as I carry my babies. But in the beginning, it wasn’t enough. I stopped and started exercising SO many times. The motivation was there, but honestly it just didn’t cut it. It was very easy to convince myself that I would feel fine how I was, when in all actuality I definitely was not feeling OK.

So,  I had to make myself exercise. I had to make myself go to the gym. In the beginning it was a commitment to myself.  I told myself I WOULDN’T break it.

Commitment: I committed to myself that I would exercise 5 days a week. I can tell you that I was not excited for the majority of those workouts. They were so hard. And just like in middle school, I came home thinking that there was no way I was going to do that to myself again. But! Clara! You promised!  So,  I went back again the next day. After the first few weeks I started feeling good,  I had more energy. I didn’t want that to go away. Every day it got easier, and then I started seeing the progress.( I actually was able to touch my toes! Which if you know me, is a dream). Eventually, I started looking forward to each workout. And yes, I even started loving each workout!

Powering Through:  Some days I did have to tough it out. I didn’t always get as many reps as recommended, but I didn’t let that get me down. I made a promise to myself, and even if I “sucked it up” during one workout, I told myself I would do better next time.

In the end, it was motivation, commitment and powering through it that led me to love exercising. I had my motivation ( getting a smoking hot bod and babies), I had my commitment (sheer will power) and I powered through the hard and sucky workouts.

And here I am today! Almost a personal trainer, convincing you that you will LOVE LOVE LOVE exercising. Because I hated it once, and now I love it 😉

Whew! Are you still with me? That was a lot of info.  

So here’s what I want you to take away from this. Can you love exercising? ABSOLUTELY! Will you love it right away or every time? probably not. Exercising is hard, its uncomfortable. But once you start feeling the benefits of it, once you start seeing the benefits of it, I know you will love it. You will love the feeling of the discomfort pushing you to grow and become better. The endorphins you get after you exercise are priceless. They are the healthiest drug, that you NEED to take advantage of.  You will love exercising. Just like all good things, it will just take a little bit of hard work, determination and time.

So no matter what stage of change you may be in, don’t get yourself down. Just thinking about starting is a step in the right direction, and I’m so proud of you!

Exercise changed my life. It gave me more energy, it gave me a new outlook on life and it makes me happy every single time I do it.  And it will do the same for you.

 

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Nutrition Myths Busted

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There are so many nutrition myths out there, it can be so confusing for anyone to navigate through what’s fact and what’s fiction. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out! Here are some of the biggest nutrition myths out there right now, and the ones that drive me the most crazy!


1. Organic Equals Healthier


Organic foods are all the rage right now, which is fine, but a lot of people assume that because something is organic, that means it is healthier. An organic banana doens’t have any more nutrients or health benefits than a non organic banana. And organic junk food is still junk food. Organic just means that it was grown without man made fertilizers or pesticides. It doesn’t mean that you can ignore the calories or assume it’s healthy because it’s labeled organic!

2. Cleanses and Detoxes


Marketing companies are making tons of money off of these bogus juice cleanses and detox teas. The truth is that your body “detoxes” 24/7 through the use of your wonderfully designed organs! These cleanse products are just schemes that take advantage of people who just don’t know any better.  If you want to juice some fruit and veggies for a yummy snack that’s great, but you don’t need to go on a week long juice fast in the name of a “cleanse.”

3. Cut Out Fruit Because It Has Too Much Sugar


I’m sorry, but this just drives me nuts. No one with any basic understanding of nutrition could honestly think this is true! Fruit has naturally occurring sugar, yes, but it also has naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of other great stuff. We can all agree that excess sugar is not good for you, but fruit is not the source that you need to be worrying about.

4. Eggs Are Bad For You


Poor poor eggs. They get such a bad rap and for no good reason! Everyone argues that eggs are high in cholesterol and are therefore bad for your heart. The truth is that the cholesterol in eggs helps your body make hormones and vitamins, and it doesn’t actually affect your blood cholesterol in the way that everyone thinks it does. Eggs have many health benefits and they’re delicious-case closed!

5. Diet Soda Makes You Fat


This one is for all of you diet soda lovers out there (guilty🙋🏼). Lots of people believe that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas spike insulin levels and trick your body to store fat. In fact, studies have shown that groups who drink diet sodas have lost and maintained weight loss, while still feeling satisfied. There are also no known links between diet sodas and cancer, contrary to popular belief. If you don’t like it you don’t have to drink it, but lets stop shaming those who do!

6. Eat Less To Weigh Less

This is the most dangerous of the nutrition myths out there. It is harmful and disordered thinking, and yet many diet methods are still getting rich off of starvation tactics. Of course, if you are only eating 500 calories a day you are going to lose weight, but that weight loss is not maintainable or healthy. Long term under-eating has a slough of negative consequences, and can destroy your metabolism, making it very likely that once you return to healthy eating habits, you will gain all the weight you lost and some. There is a healthy amount of calories that is necessary to consume for sustainable weight loss, and that number is different for everyone.

Those are some of the nutrition myths that drive me the most nuts! There are so many to choose from though and so many more out there. Do your research, look for credible sources, and use your head when sifting through all the information out there. I like to keep it simple and stick to commen sense. If something seems weird or fishy, it probably is! What are some other nutrition myths that you wish would disappear? Let us know in the comments!

What I’m Listening To: My Favorite Podcasts 

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Let’s talk Podcasts!! I’m so excited for this topic because I absolutely love listening to podcasts! I actually haven’t been listening to them for too long, and I have my brother in law, Tom, to thank for getting me to try them out in the first place, but now I’m hooked! I try to keep the number of podcasts I’m listening to to a minimum, so that I don’t get too overwhelmed, but I’m also trying to expand my library as well (so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears😉).


I love to share the podcasts I love, so today I’m listing all of my favorites as well as some that I’m going to try out this week!

1. Awesome with Alison

Okay, let’s be honest, this is my FAVORITE podcast out of all of them! I find myself constantly checking to see if there are any new episodes because I just can’t seem to get enough. It is so upbeat, uplifting, inspirational and educational-it’s just plain fun! Alison literally makes me laugh out loud all the time! She records alongside her husband and they are such a perfect balance to each other and are just so fun to listen to. I really do finish each episode feeling a little more inspired and a little more awesome!

2. Bucci Radio

I’ve been following Amanda on social media for some time now; she has a popular fitness instagram page and YouTube channel. When she launched her podcast earlier this year I decided to listen right away and I have loved it from the start! Amanda has been making a transition from mostly fitness related stuff to a lot more entrepreneurship and personal development related topics and I am loving it all! She interviews a lot of really inspirational and awesome people, and her podcasts are really motivational!

3. Bold New Mom

Jody Moore is an LDS life coach, and has such a calm and comforting voice. I love listening to her podcast because she just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. It’s refreshing to hear life coaching and personal development topics from an LDS perspective, and to see how she brings the two worlds together in a seamless and natural way that you just know is right. I love hearing her advice on life, business, kids and marriage, and I really feel like I can relate to her and that she understands my thoughts and struggles.

4. Brooke Castillo’s Life Coach School Podcast

Brooke Castillo runs the Life Coach School, which is actually where Jody Moore was trained as a life coach, and I heard about this podcast from the Bold New Mom Podcast. The Life Coach School Podcast is so uplifting and educational to me! Brooke really dives deep into a lot of really important topics ranging from self esteem to weight loss to relationships to business success and everything inbetween. She really makes me question my thoughts and habits and makes me dig deep inside to learn more about myself with every episode. If you want to grow as a person, this podcast is a must!

5. Lewis Howes’ The School of Greatness Podcast

I heard about Lewis’ podcast from Bucci Radio, and she recommended him so highly that I had to check it out, and it really is so great! I mean talk about motivational! Lewis challenges societal norms and pushes all kinds of boundaries, has really interseting interviews and does 5 minute motivational shorts every Friday. It really is all in the name-this podcast teaches you how to be great!

6. Meditation Mini’s Podcast

Chel is a hypnotist and these guided meditations are so great! I like to finish every workout with 10 minutes in the sauna and some guided meditation and this podcast is perfect for me! Her voice is so calming and soothing, perfect for guided meditation. I love that they are super quick and they’re so relaxing and rejuvenating. I’m able to get in my daily meditation in a short amount of time after my workout and I feel so much better when I do.
So, those are all of the podcasts that I’m currently loving. Here are some that I’m going to try out this week; I’ll keep you guys posted on how they are!




Have you guys listened to any of these ones? I’d love to hear which ones you like or recommend! Leave a comment down below! And if you haven’t jumped on the podcast bandwagon yet, I highly suggest you start with one of these!

Homemade Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola

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Hi guys! How was your weekend? I spent mine making pumpkin granola. Its drool worthy. I can’t stop thinking about it.  We finally decided what our family Halloween costume is going to be! I Can’t wait to show you guys! Any Guesses? This is so cliche but Fall is my most favorite season. But how could it not be! The weather, the colors, the flavors. OMG give me all the Fall.

OK. Now to the Granola! I found the original recipe here, but changed it to fit my liking.  There is no refined sugar guys! which is music to my ears these days. Sugar has the weirdest effect on me.  If I eat too much or if I eat it before I have anything substantial I feel sick. That’s all a pretty good indicator for me that my body doesn’t need it! Even though I want it! 🙁  This granola is the perfect fit. It’s so delicious.

This granola is good with anything! Milk, yogurt, by it self. Yum. I’ll take a whole bowl please!

Homemade Pumpkin Maple Granola

INGRIEDIENTS:

3 cups Rolled Oats ( Use gluten free oats if needed)

1 1/4 cup raw pecan halves

1/3 cup raw pepitas ( pumpkin seeds)

3 tbsp coconut sugar ( I did 2 tbsp, but my husband said he likes it better with 3 😉

1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup ( I did 1/4 cup. And you can sub agave or honey)

1/3 cup Pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat whisk together maple syrup, pumpkin puree and coconut oil
  4. Pour over dry ingredients and mix quickly with a wooden spoon
  5. Spread granola mixture evenly across two cookie sheets and bake 25-30 minutes.
  6. Once granola is golden brown, its done! Remove from oven. It gets crispier as it cools.

It should keep for a couple of weeks ( if it lasts that long!!) in an airtight container.

If you make it, leave a comment and let me know how much you love it. Cause you will. Trust me.

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