Weekend Eats + food experiments

Happy Monday everyone!!! Who else feels like this entire year has flown by? Emma is 18 months today and my heart just can’t take it. I feel like she was just born, and now we are expecting her baby sister in just 4 short months! Life is moving quickly, and I can’t help but appreciate each moment more and more.

This past weekend was just…so nice. We spent the weekend together as a family and enjoyed every moment of it. For our family, our weekends are typically busier than the workweek, and I often times find myself looking forward to work to rest and relax a bit. Weird, huh? Well, this is the first weekend where we had zero plans expect for church and a few errands. It was so low-key and relaxing…what weekends were meant for!

I will say that the eats I’ll be sharing are different than what you’ve seen on this blog lately. I’m experimenting with my body, but most importantly my brain and mindset. More on this later as I’m still trying to figure things out, but I thought I’d share anyway and show how “healthy choices” are not always so black and white!

But let’s backtrack to Friday! I went to work and met with one of my dear friends for lunch! Our plan was Chipotle but they were out of rice (um, what?) so we went to Blaze Pizza instead. I LOVE their green stripe pizza, so I got that with a side salad. This meal was so so good!

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Friday night was just a usual night of youth group. My husband and I are the youth leaders at our church and we so enjoy the time we spend with our church family! We got home pretty late Friday and crashed in bed.

Saturday morning, we enjoyed a family breakfast at home of waffles and eggs! I forgot to snap a good picture, but let’s just say waffles + peanut butter + syrup are the best combination! Then, we headed to a car dealership where we actually had a pretty frustrating experience. By 1pm, my husband and I were both starving and Emma was ready for her nap, so we had a quick lunch while Emma napped and vented to each other about how stressful car dealing is.

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We each got the 2-item plates at Panda Express, and had enough leftovers for Emma once she woke up, as well as some left for dinner! These plates are so massive, so we both listened to our hunger, filled up on the broccoli and the veggies, and stopped when we were full. My husband LOVES Chinese food, so it was nice to enjoy this with him and sit outside in the fresh air.

After lunch, hubby took Emma home and I hit the grocery store. We were out of so many staples, so I stocked up big time. Our Trader Joe’s is remodeling, so while it was difficult to get around, I got the job done and am so excited for our new and improved store to open soon!

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The rest of Saturday was pretty low key. I cleaned the floors at least 10 times as Emma has been throwing food all over the place. We put her down to bed early, watched the Lakers game, then I knocked out at 8:30pm. Oh how I love sleeping early even on the weekends!

Sunday morning consisted of my usual morning routine (quiet time, journaling, Bible study, and my workout!) We got ready for church and headed over for our English service and Sunday school class. I was SO hungry by 11:30 am that I was snapping at everyone (so sorry to my husband and mama!) so we had an early lunch at the local mall’s food court and walked around a bit! I had been craving a sandwich + salad combo, so I tried out Stone Oven for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised! I got the chicken pesto sandwich with with a side salad.

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We walked around the mall a bit, fed Emma once she woke up (we gave her leftover kebab + rice from my husband’s meal) then headed home. We were both in awe at how early we were getting home on a Sunday! We are usually out all day on Sundays, so it was nice to come home and relax. I got a head start on laundry and meal prep, and we enjoyed Emma’s playfulness while we got things done around the house!

For meal prep, I made pasta in the instant pot and roasted vegetables. Meal prep is continuing today, but it felt good to get a few things done and enter the week with food ready to eat in the fridge, which we also enjoyed for dinner!

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Emma went down early again, so we finished up the last 3 episodes of Man in the High Castle. This show is SO good, although I will say season 1 was my favorite. We just finished up season 3, and while it was intense, rarely is a show ever as good as its first season…ammiright?

And so far on this Monday, I have been running errands, cooking, finishing up laundry (will it ever end??) and enjoying a quiet day! Emma is at school for a few hours today, so this pregnant mama is getting all the rest she can!

I hope you all are having a relaxing and enjoyable week so far! Here’s to it being almost-November!








Gluten-free does not equal healthy

I got a wonderful and thoughtful question from a blog reader last week, and I thought I’d answer it in a post because I am sure there are a handful of people that are confused about the same thing.

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I know there has been a lot of confusion over the past couple years about gluten free diets and whether or not they are healthy. Let me start by saying I have had my own experience eating gluten free and eating normally over the past few years, and have discovered that, for me, gluten free/paleo-ish is the healthiest way for me to eat for my health, digestion, and mental wellness. BUT, that does not mean that when we eat gluten-free, our diet is automatically healthier.

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One of my blog readers sent me a message last week stating that she saw that I eat gluten free, and that she tried going gluten free herself a few years ago but found that the gluten free breads, pastas, and mixes were all high in carbohydrates from rice and potato flours, and that they weren’t actually healthier. She wanted to know if she was right in thinking this and basically, what the deal is with gluten-free!

I’ll start by saying that this reader is SO smart to pick up on the fact that gluten free products are not healthier than their wheat flour counterparts. Just because a product is labeled gluten free does not mean it is healthier or a better alternative. And frankly, most of the time, it is higher in carbohydrates and sugar than the regular products. All foods are a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and vitamins and minerals, so whether or not it has gluten in it does not change this fact.

Gluten is simply the protein found in wheat, and when people have allergies, they are typically reacting to the protein in a certain food. Gluten free products are substituted (most of the time) with rice flour or potato starch, plus are found to have even more sugar in them to make them taste good. They are still just has high (or higher) in carbohydrates, are often times devoid of fiber, and are still a treat. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and gluten free pancakes are still pancakes.

 

My favorite  paleo cookie recipe  from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

My favorite paleo cookie recipe from Against all Grain! And I still treat them just like regular cookies; a TREAT to be consumed sometimes. 

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these foods. I love gluten free toast from Trader Joe’s and Pamela’s gluten free pancake and baking mix! But these gluten free treats should still be treated as TREATS. They should be eaten just as often as you would eat a regular pancake or regular cookie. Not an everyday food, but a sometimes food.

So be a savvy shopper. Just because something is labeled gluten free doesn’t mean that we can have bowls and bowls of gluten free pasta and still think that’s a “healthy” food choice.

And if you want to go gluten free, the best thing to do is replace your usual breads, pastas, or cookies, with plants. THAT is the healthiest way to go gluten free. So instead of having a hamburger, have a lettuce wrap with an additional side salad. Instead of having a cookie with your salad, have some more vegetables on the side or some fruit.

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And most importantly, if you don’t have negative symptoms from eating gluten, there is no reason for you to go gluten free. Yes, gluten is inflammatory over all, and I don’t think there is any harm in cutting it out (if done right like I mentioned above, with the addition of plants). BUT if you don't experience any negative side effects from consuming gluten, there is no need to cut it from your diet. It won’t automatically make you healthier, especially if you are still consuming gluten free noodles, cookies, pancakes, and more.

I personally gravitate towards a gluten free diet because it helps me with my digestion issues and my anxiety. I even tried to incorporate some back into my diet as recently as last week (kodiak pancakes are a favorite of mine!) and starting feeling those similar symptoms return. For me, I have a clear reaction to consuming gluten, which is why I avoid it unless a food is absolutely worth it (and trust me, it rarely is worth it for me!) But just because I eat a gluten free diet does NOT automatically mean I am healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and gluten free grains from time to time, along with those occasional gluten free/paleo treats, and all of that contributes to a healthy diet.

I hope this helps you become more aware of your food choices too and learn to be a detective in the grocery store and not just fall for any marketing that is slapped on our food products nowadays. The more we know, the better we do. And if you all have any more questions, please send them in! I love answering these types of questions I get, so please don’t hesitate!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Is it weird that I am still SO happy it's Friday, even though I've been home all week? There is just something about the energy on Friday that makes me so excited for the weekend! Tonight, we have youth group, and then NOTHING ELSE planned except for church on Sunday morning. Ohhhhh glorious....

Tomorrow, hubby and I are planning on working a bit more on the baby's room (just a few more finishing touches!) and then I really want to go to a local salsa night, but I'm not sure how conducive my 36 weeks pregnant bump will be to salsa dancing. We might just enjoy a quiet night in or a movie! Either way, I'm super excited for the weekend. 

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I had so many favorite moments this week, it's hard to pick just a few! 

1. Childbirth classes. One highlight of this week was attending our first of two childbirth classes! We went to our local hospital for the classes since the hospital we are delivering at was already full. But the class was so great and full of amazing info for both hubby and I! 

2. Our 2 year anniversary! We celebrated our two year wedding anniversary on Wednesday, April 19th. I can't believe it's been 2 years since we got married! My husband took the day off and we went to our prenatal check up, then went to Huntington Gardens and frolicked in the pretty flowers! Followed by an awesome dinner at a restaurant by our house that we've been dying to try. 

But the highlight of the anniversary was definitely the surprise Vasken planned for me. I woke up to petals of roses leading me downstairs to the kitchen. By each petal there was an index card of qualities he loves about me (my top love language is word of affirmation, so this made my heart explode), and the final card was a picture of eggs and bacon (we are true foodies). He also cooked me a pancake breakfast before our prenatal appointment. I've got a keeper, folks!

3. Strawberries. I have been all about the strawberries this week. Pretty sure I've gone through 4 cartons by myself. I really should just go get a big flat of them from the local farmer's stand we have. That's going on my to-do list for the weekend. 

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4. Resting. Ok even though this isn't necessarily a favorite of mine this week, it is a concept that is growing on me. At our prenatal check up, Baby Emma was measuring a bit smaller than what my OB was comfortable with. She had caught up with her growth a few weeks ago, but is falling behind again, especially in the belly. So I am now going in for NST tests 2x/week (non stress tests for the baby) on top of weekly ultrasounds to check on her growth. My doctor also recommended that I take it easy and lay down more often throughout the day on my left side. He said walking is fine, but he definitely wants me to rest. So I have embraced some new Netflix/Amazon prime shows (thankful to friends for the suggestions!) and have parked myself on the couch for most of my days. I'm not on strict bedrest or anything, but I know that I have to slow down on my movements (our 3 story townhouse is activity enough, those stairs are getting tougher and tougher!) I plan on going on walks to enjoy the weather and resting; a balance that is OB-approved! :) 

For now, I am finishing up an episode of the Royals while sipping on some coffee, then am headed to my first NST appointment! The rest of the day may consist of a mani/pedi, getting some work done at a Starbucks for my private clients, and of course, resting on the couch! I hope you all have a fabulous Friday! Share some of your favorite moments from the week in the comments below, I'd love to hear! 

 

 

Snacking to Good Health

Snacking can get a bad reputation for a variety of reasons, the main one being the typical grocery store "snack" isle. Usually, when we think of snacks, we think of chips, crackers, cookies, and other "junk food" items. However, snacking should not be shamed, because snacks can actually lead us to better health, better blood sugar balance, and more control over our food cravings.

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How many times have you let ravenous hunger dictate your food choices? Been there, done that. Back in my dieting days, I'd try to go for as long as possible without eating, because that was success right? Eating less equaled weight loss in my brain, so I went hours without food, only to feel dizzy, lethargic, and reaching for the nearest food that would give me the fastest sugar rush. It really wasn't my fault, because our body will physiologically crave a quick sugar source when we let ourselves get that hungry and that low blood sugar, which is typically candy or a sweet/carbohydrate that is probably not the healthiest option. After years of frustration and the up and down cycle of dieting (so NOT the way to live, my friends), I've learned how to tame that sugar beast before it gets out of hand...and a big part of that taming process has been smart snacking!

The best foods to snack on are fruits and vegetables, because not only do they have tons of fiber to keep us full, they contain a bounty of antioxidants, vitamins, and micronutrients, that will satisfy us. Calories are not everything, because if we eat foods that are void of MICROnutrients, they won't satisfy us and we will still be left with hunger. But eating plant-foods, such as fruits and vegetables, will satisfy our micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) needs, and help us feel satisfied AND full. Win-win!

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Another great option for snacking is a food that contains healthy fats...such as nuts. Nuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which not only help us keep full, but are also great for our brains. Omega-3's have also been seen to fight anxiety and depression, so why not grab these at 3pm when work stress is at an all high and you need a boost of energy?

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My favorite nuts to reach for are almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and more recently during this pregnancy, pistachios. And please, don't be afraid of the fat in nuts. It would make my dietitian-heart very sad. Fat does not make us fat! On the contrary, healthy fats help balance our blood sugars and keep us full, and are so beneficial to our health. If you get anything out of this blog post it's this: don't fear the fat!

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And then sometimes, these types of snacks happen too, and that's totally ok. Of course, I would recommend keeping these snacks as "sometimes" snacks vs. "everyday" snacks, but sometimes, you gotta have the cookie, guilt free, and then move on with your day and not let that one cookie turn into a full-out binge fest. This took me years to master, and actually I'm not even a master at it yet, because I still overeat from time to time and then think back and say "hmm, lesson learned, I'll listen to my hunger better next time." Each set back along this journey is a learning lesson in my opinion, so instead of beating yourself up, think about what you can LEARN from a situation, even snacking-gone-bad, and build on that experience.

So go on and have a snack today, and see how much better and more energized you'll feel between your meals. And as always, reach out to me if you need additional support or have any questions!

Inspiration and Imperfection

 

This post has been on my heart for a while. It’s a topic that gets in my head, brews into fear, and colors every aspect of my life. It is a part of my life that I feel called to share and be honest about, even if it’s not well received by others.

 

I am not perfect, and that sounds like a “duh” statement, but I feel the need to say it. Because sometimes people assume that, as a registered dietitian and a Beach Body health and fitness coach, my diet must be cleaner than soap and my self-control and motivation must never fail me. And that is far from the truth. I think I speak for the majority of those in my profession when I say that the reason we went into this field is BECAUSE of our issues. Because we struggled, fell, got back up, struggled again, etc. Because we are not perfect. I became a health and fitness professional because I got me some issues!

 

Growing up, I was the skinny girl. My grandpa used to tickle me and count my ribs. Food and weight was something I never struggled with. I used to be able to put down multiple donuts, bowls of goldfish crackers, and slices of pizza with no problem. But, like many girls, once I hit 13-15 years of age, my metabolism slowed down, and the foods I was eating started to stick. I started getting comments from older adults stating how I was filling out and getting chubby. I got told by multiple people that I should start exercising or I would get bigger and bigger. My self esteem took a huge hit, and I started to diet. And by diet, I mean a 500-600 calories a day kind of diet.

 

I am blessed with an UNBELIEVABLY aware mom, and she caught on in just a few weeks and took me straight to the doctor. I remember feeling almost relieved at 14 years old that my mom had found out, because now I could finally EAT! And eat I did...which is when the binging cycles started. I would eat snacks all day long. When I finally was able to drive, I would go on grocery store runs or stop by fast food places on my way home from high school. I went in completely the other direction with my health. I entered into a binge-restrict cycle that lasted for many, many years.

 

I have over 1000 followers on Instagram, write regularly on this blog about health and fitness, post motivational quotes, healthy meals, and daily inspiration. I want to inspire everyone around me. But that does not mean I am perfect!

 

I never EVER want people to feel judgement from me, because trust me, I have been on every end of the spectrum when it comes to food issues. I decided to be a dietitian, and then pursue Beach Body coaching, because I WANT people to have a healthy relationship with themselves, their food, and their health. Because I know what it’s like to eat the bare minimum, to stuff myself and not be able to move, to just think about when to get my next sugar high, and to fear the scale. I KNOW. I am all too familiar with it.

 

God has done such a work in me, and I want the same for you! I have found that the more I open up about my struggles and the more honest I am with others, the more HE uses me for His purposes and to help others. And that is where true freedom lies. I know that I have struggled all these years for a reason, and now it is time for me to pay it forward and help others.

 

And that is why I am so unbelievably passionate about what I do. I am passionate about healthy eating, working out, and finding balance. So what if I’m not perfect? None of us are. That is the beauty of this life: we get to mess up and help others along the way.

 

So let me help you, because trust me I have been there! I would love to hear from you. Click on the “contact me” tab and fill out a form, and we can get started sharing our stories with each other! 

 

PiYo Review: Sticking to something till the end!

 

I have been filled with such an incredible sense of accomplishment these past couple days. Yesterday I completed the two month PiYo program. I have never ever completed a workout program from start to finish. Even though there were ups and downs throughout the past two months, I did each workout every day and completed the program! 

 

 

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I am so grateful to God that, even though these past two months have been nuts, He gave me the motivation and determination to finish this program!! I am definitely going to incorporate PiYo into my weekly workout schedules because it has been the best thing I have ever done for my mind, soul, and my body. 

Let me first say that I used to hate anything low impact, and I especially did not enjoy yoga or Pilates. This program completely changed that for me! I looked forward to pressing play every single day, and I felt amazing during PiYo. So if you think you are not a yoga person, you should try this program because you may surprise yourself!  

I also got great results! The left photo is from week 3, and the right is from my final week, week 8! 

 

 

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I have never had definition in my abs, let alone the confidence to post my abs! This workout gave me confidence in so many aspects of my life. I finally completed a program in its entirety, which is such a huge confidence boost! I also became a beach body coach in the process, because I wanted to be able to coach others through this program so they can experience what I have. Now, I feel like I can do anything I set my mind too! 

To close, I know you all are interested in details. So here is it. I lost 10-12 lbs during PiYo, I stuck with the workout calendar, and I also added about 2-3 cardio days consisting of slow run/walks ranging from 20-40 mins. Most importantly, I stuck to a mostly clean eating lifestyle. I never starved myself, I did indulge on Easter and a few other occasions, and for about 80% of the 8 weeks, I ate whole, real foods, lean proteins, tons of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a good amount of healthy fats. Nutrition is the most important part of the entire equation! We cannot workout enough to outweigh a poor diet...that's for sure! 

If you would like me to coach you through this fitness program and help you get on your way to living a healthier lifestyle, please contact me! I have a passion for helping people reach their health and fitness goals and would love to work with you. Email me at TveenRD@gmail.com to get started! 

Let's do this! Food and Fitness Plan Jan 5-11

Are you ready for the week?? I am!!! Not so much ready to go back to work after a nice weekend...but I am ready to grow, reach to goals and have a productive week. This weekend was so fun for me, I'm sad to see it end. However, I have to come to terms with the fact that work is a part of life, and I am beyond blessed to be working in a job that I enjoy and that does such great things for people! This week is super busy, I pretty much have something planned out every evening! Ps did I tell you guys I finally bought my planner! Yep, that's right, a good old fashioned planner. Paper and pen and all. It has "Faith, Hope, Love" written on it, which is always a good reminder. I transferred all of my stuffs to it this morning after some good pumpkin gingerbread and quiet time!

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I want to try and use a paper planner this year and see how I do. I feel like I rely too heavily on my phone and want to not have to use it so much! Wishful thinking probably, but this is a start!

Busy weeks are even more motivation for me to figure out what and when I am going to do things. I have to make sure that I have enough time for productivity as well as rest. I've tried to find that balance this week, so we will see how it goes! Here is my food/fitness plan for the upcoming week!

Food:

Breakfast options: Hard boiled eggs Scrambles with veggies Sausage and veggies Oats with fruit and nuts Protein waffles Bars if in a rush!

Lunch options: Leftover kebab from my awesome lunch today!!

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Turkey burgers Tuna sandwiches/salads

Snack/pre-workout options: Nuts Carrots w/hummus Larabars String cheese Hard boiled eggs

Dinner options: I'm meeting up with a lot of friends and family for dinners this week! I'm definitely planning on still keeping it healthy, but I'm not entirely sure what these options will be! Probably some sort of protein and veggies per usual!

Fitness plan:

I'm trying to move some of my workouts to evenings since my schedule has been tiring me out. Waking up at 4:30am is not ideal and not a way to live everyday life! Here is my tentative plan for the week. I've put AM next to morning workouts and PM next to evening workouts.

Monday: AM: tone it up arms and abs workout PM: cardio for 3-4 miles (either elliptical or treadmill)

Tuesday: AM: run 3-4 miles

Wednesday: AM: Plyometrics, then circuits with my friend Hanna

Thursday: PM: personal training session, cardio

Friday: AM: Run 5 miles

Saturday: AM: cardio, plyometrics, abs

Sunday: Random!

Wednesday and Saturday mornings are not as early for me as some other days. I also moved my personal training session to Thursday for this week to see how evenings work for me! They used to be bright and early Monday mornings. I'm experimenting with this, but also hope to gain some more rest through the process! I've found that, without proper rest, your workouts just won't mean anything. There has to be a balance of good nutrition, good movement, and good rest in order to reach good health.

Lastly, I want to continue with my resolutions of watching less Netflix shows and spend more time reading, playing the piano, and just doing other things instead! I've really been enjoying reading my Nicholas Sparks book lately (love his stuff!) and doing other things with my time. Not to say that I'm not watching any TV, because I am. But again, balance is key.

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I also want to continue with my stress and worry less goals (which I definitely cannot do without the grace of God since I am such a stress case most of the time!) and want to work on my secret project. I'm hoping to have time this week with all that is going on!

Have you set a plan of goals for the week yet? Sunday night is the best time to prepare for and plan out your week! It helps me get more motivated for the week to come, and I hope it does the same for you!

New Year, New Goals: 2015

Happy New Year everyone!!! It's January 1st, which is a dream come true for someone like me. I am the girl that loves Mondays, the beginning of a month or week, and the 1st day of anything! I woke up to one of my favorite verses this morning, which made me even more excited about the newness of this day and time of year: "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭19‬

I mean OBVIOUSLY God can do anything new at anytime He so chooses. He's GOD after all. But there is just something about the freshness and newness of a new year that gets me excited and motivated to grow and reflect on what my life has been over the past year, what aspects to keep, and what to transform into something better.

I am someone who loves making goals and resolutions. Whether I stick to them or not is a different story, and most of the time I do. But sometimes life gets in the way, and things get left behind. I still believe that making goals is essential to growth, even if you may not meet all of them.

I've realized lately that many times, the reason why I don't reach a goal is because my list looks a little something like this:

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Too many things, too many scattered thoughts, and no direction!!! This year, I decided to do something different with my goals. I made a list of short term and long term goals. The short term is within the next 3 months, and the long term is throughout the year. This way, there is a time frame for my goals and they are a little more organized! So here they are...my 2015 goals!

Short term: less than 3 months

*Run my 10K in February in under 60 mins *Play piano at least 4 times/week *Plug into a ministry more consistently *Try keeping a paper planner/calendar *Finally start my secret project

Long term: all throughout the year

*Keep a consistent prayer journal and staying in God's Word *Read more books *Re-learn how to ride a bike (yes I forgot) *Feed my body healthy and whole foods and find freedom from my destructive habits *Be more available to people, pour into others * Go on a missions trip of some kind *Stop stressing and worrying so much! *Get married (can't forget that one!)

It's going to be such a big and exciting year, I just know it! God is always up to something, and I want to be used by Him and for Him for His purposes. I give all of these goals to Him and pray that His will be done!

In the World, not of the World

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a4a/46014533/files/2014/12/img_4814.jpg Hello out there!! Sorry I have been MIA lately. Life has been busy with Christmas, work, and wedding stuff. And I have purposefully taken some time off of my Instagram, blog, and social media in general. I have used this past week to really reflect on what is important to me, what God has taught me this past year, and where He wants me to go from here.

I have come to the conclusion that life is just weird. We live in a world of constant self centeredness and yet are called to be selfless and loving. We live in a world of indulgence and yet are called to self control and discipline. We live in a world that worships anything and everything and yet are called to worship our one and only God in heaven. It's just weird, right??

This past week, I have realized the areas in my life that I get sucked into the world and forget where my heart belongs. I get so caught up in the every day stresses of life, as well as things that are inherently good such as health, family, wedding things, etc. But all of those don't mean anything unless God is in the center of it all. I have realized that I can't lose focus of Him, or everything starts falling apart. I need to always stay tuned to God and what His plan and will is for me. Like the verse above says, we need to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.

The way I see it, earthly things will always be there. We need to make ZERO effort to focus on these things. They are all around, almost bombarding us daily. The struggle is staying SO connected to God in our everyday life that we set our hearts and minds on Him, and approach these earthy things in the way He wants us to. He put us in the world after all, but not OF the world. I am praying that God shows me how to do this in a way that glorifies Him.

I am still reflecting on my New Years resolutions and goals and will post them sometime in the next few days. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Years Eve with friends and family!!

October: Balanced Mind, Balanced Plate

I am so excited that October is finally upon us! I can honestly say that October-January are my favorite months of the entire year. I love fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! I am looking forward to the next few months and making the most of this season! I am also excited that a new month is starting. That means new goals and new opportunities to reach them! Last month, I set some goals that I reached, and some that I didn't. But that is the nature of life! I'm going to keep pushing towards my goals and stay as motivated as possible!

October goals:

1. Run 5-6 miles once a week. I was able to reach this goal last month and want to continue this month!

2. Keep up with toning workouts! Again, I was able to reach this one! So I want to keep it up :)

3. Increase plank time to 90 seconds. This one is new! My friend Hanna and I have been working on our planks and are able to do 60 second planks about 4 times. I really want to increase my time to 90 seconds! I hope I'm able to reach this goal! Practice makes perfect, so I will just have to up my plank game!

4. Scrapbook, sketch, and read. Yea...this goal needs some work. I am really struggling with finding some free time to enjoy some of my favorite hobbies. I want to make this a priority for myself...because I really feel that down time hobbies are just as important as active hobbies! I hope to somehow find the time to scrapbook, sketch, and read for fun this month!

5. Lastly, a new goal this month is to have a balanced mind and balanced plate.

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What do I mean by this? Well, a lot of things. I've realized a couple things these past 2 weeks that I would like to share. It's hard to be honest, but writing really helps me get my thoughts in order, so I'm going to utilize this skill to clarify this goal, even to myself.

I've been pretty consistent with my healthy eating since July. I have been loving the consistency with my workouts and am feeling accomplished with my results in both nutrition and fitness. However, the last month has been an anxiety roller coaster for me. Personally, I feel better on a lower carb diet, but I started becoming a bit too much of a perfectionist in this department. I started cutting out healthy and vital carbs such as sweet potatoes, some grains, and even fruits, and replaced them with healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and grass-fed butter. While this is fine for most people and is a healthy component of an eating plan, it made me focus too much on what I couldn't eat. I think we all need balance between the right carbs, proteins, and fats. My body functions wonderfully on a low-ER carbohydrate diet...but I started getting a little too extreme with how low carb I got. Why not have the grass-fed butter with the potatoes? Why not have fruit with my nuts? Contemplating whether or not I should eat fruit was not a mental state I wanted to be in.

All of these thoughts led to a lot of anxiety for me, and finally, I burst. The weekend of my birthday, I gave in to all my sugar cravings, and proceeded to give in for a week thereafter. I had been anxious for so long about how I was eating that I just needed that time of freedom. But, my little sugar/carb parade made me feel pretty icky, and only provided a temporary relief. While I firmly believe that we need foods that fuel our bodies and provide us with good nutrition, it should not become a stress in our lives, because stress inevitably leads to unhealthy choices. We all need balance, and the level of stress I was experiencing was not balanced, even if how I was eating before my birthday was a healthy and acceptable eating plan.

That is why this month, I am going to focus on having a balanced mind and balanced plate. I am going to try my best to make healthy choices, but not fear foods that are healthy such as potatoes, fruit, or even some grains! I am going to put foods into my body that make me feel healthy both physically and mentally. I am not going to make every food decision a debate in my mind (something many dietitians struggle with...because we know too much about food!) and focus on all the other aspects of my life such as my fiancé, family, upcoming wedding, friends, and work! Life has so much to offer, and I want to make the most of the time God has given me on this earth. I want to live a healthy life without it making me a miserable and anxious mess!

The funny part is, I'm not entirely sure how to accomplish this goal. I'm going to pray and take things one day at a time. I know God will provide me with His strength to make choices that honor and please Him, without letting these choices rule my life, mind, or happiness. And when I feel my perfectionist tendencies rearing their ugly head again, I'm going to step back and remember that life is so much more than what we eat, and we were put on this earth for bigger and better purposes! So I will have my meal, balance my plate, and move on with my life!

Here's to a wonderful October!