Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why I Hate the Scale (but keep going back for more....)

Everyone in my family is tiny. The eat a whole pizza and still stay skinny kind of tiny. Built like marathon runners, naturally thin, lithe gazelles like creatures. And then there was me....who tends to take after my Dad's side of the family as in if I think about eating a cupcake I will probably gain five pounds. They workout and get leaner. I work out and put on muscle pretty fast. I tend to get bulkier before I lean out. (At least that is what I keep telling myself.) I am just bigger than everyone.

And that has pretty much sucked my whole life.

Especially when your great grandmother tells you it's unfortunate that you inherited her thighs. (I mean seriously. I was in high school. Who says that? I was pretty small then and thought I was doing okay. I had a lime green mini skirt and rocked it. Man, I loved that outfit.) And this is the memory I am left with about my deceased relative decades later....

But seriously. Now, as a grown up, I am less worried about how my thighs look and much more concerned with my health. (At least that is what I say out loud....because let's be honest, if I were able to rock a pair of booty shorts I totally would. I would never take them off. Even in the winter. Maybe it's  a good thing for everyone that this isn't going to happen. There will never, ever be any thigh gap here.) My relatives aren't exactly known for longevity. Heart disease has pretty much blanketed my family tree and cancer is right up there too. So the realistic and rational part of my brain is all, "Hey Sara, maybe we should get a jump on this. You know before your doctor is drawing THAT line in the sand."

And so I plug on. Getting my workouts in. Eating clean most of the time.... (I mean there are gelato emergencies. Don't' get me wrong.) In all seriousness I do try to live by the 80/20 rule. Try to eat well 80% of the time and the other 20% is for fun dinners out, traveling, vacations, barbecues and beer. (Because there are Shiner Ruby RedBird emergencies too. Life is supposed to be enjoyed. And if I can't have an awesome ginger beer on a hot summer day then I don't want to be any part of that.)

But what amazes me the most is how I still continue to hang onto the number that I think I "should" see on the scale. So many women have this magical number. Who knows where it even came from....maybe it is our high school weight. Or the weight we were at during a happy time in our lives or just a number we picked out of all of the numbers that we think we should weigh. But let me tell you a little secret right now. The scale is a liar.

When I was first asked to take pictures at the start of my first challenge group, I was SO freaked out. I didn't want to take pictures. What if someone saw them? So they got buried in files on my computer. And I held my breath as I emailed them to Katy while all these thoughts were running through my head. What if she mocked me? What if she saw them and was all "wow, Sara is pretty fat. I mean she really let herself go." Or what if she thought I was a total lost cause.

The irony here is that people saw me every day. My clothes weren't magical things that made me appear tall and lean and super model gorgeous, like with the right outfit I was fooling people into thinking I was actually a size 2.

In hindsight, the pictures I took have become my greatest source of motivation and encouragement. I was with  these pictures I was able to see that my hard work was paying off. That my body is changing. That I am making things happen.

The scale wouldn't have told me that.

I am able to lift heavier weights. Do longer spurts of cardio. I am able to pick up my knees just a little bit higher. Move my feet a little bit faster.

The scale wouldn't have told me that either.

I am able to chase my kiddo on the playground. Climb up the rock wall after her. Pick her up and spin her around....and I don't lose my breath or need to stop for a minute.

The scale would NEVER have told me that.

It also wouldn't have told me how much better my quality of life would be.

It was on a very bad day when I decided to look back at where I was last year....I was angry. I was frustrated. I wanted to throw things. I was upset that my weight really hadn't changed in the last year despite everything I was doing. Of course, it fluctuates based on things like how much salt or water or sugar I had eaten the week before.... like weight tends to do, but never really moves. I pulled out the old pictures to put in for my free shirt I earned when I finished Insanity (and never claimed) and I was shocked at the difference a year (and no difference on the scale at all) can make.

I still haven't been able to get rid of the scale completely. I really try to not let it ruin (or make) my day. I try to remind myself of all the things I have accomplished that have NOTHING to do with the scale. The inches, the sizes and the pictures tell a much richer story that that one little number. It also doesn't' tell me what kind of role model I am for my daughter, what kind of ripple effect the changes I made in my life has on my family's lives, or what kind of influence my story may have on another.

And that allows me to step off the scale with a smile on my face, despite any number that might show up down there. Even if it hasn't changed at all.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rain-day Pancakes with Flaxseed

My husband works. A lot. If the sun is shining, they are working (and the irony here is how much I love the sunshine....I mean really. What are the odds?)

But there are the dreary days....when it rains and they can't do much so he gets to stay home and sleep in a little bit. He will get up and walk the dogs and that makes me want to do nice things. Like make breakfast.

I love breakfast. Breakfast food might be my favorite (or a close second to all edible things that swim in the ocean.) But eggs and pancakes and waffles and oatmeal and omelettes...I can't even stand it. I want to eat all of it.

But my kiddo LOVES her some pancakes. And, generally speaking, pancakes are not the best choice nutritionally when it comes to breakfast. So I decided to take it up a notch.

I started with a recipe from Bob's Red Mill (which is a company I absolutely adore) and then added some protein to the mix. What attracted me to this recipe from the get go was that they were pancakes with flaxseed meal.

Why Flax?

  • High omega-3 fatty acid content - To read more about why omega 3's are an important part of our diet click here. 
  • High in both soluble and insoluble fiber

  • High in lignans (which are "one of the major classes of phytoestrogens. They are estrogen-like chemical compounds with antioxidant qualities, able to scavenge free radicals in the body," according to an article posted on Medical News Today. (Read the whole article here.)
Flax has been credited with helping in cardiovascular health, diabetes, asthma and a ton of other health conditions. I feel like it has been talked about everywhere for a while now. And you can add this little baby to smoothies, baked goods like muffins, breads and even pizza crusts and oatmeal, which is my favorite place to toss in a tablespoon. 

There are arguments that flaxseed meal is better so that your body stands a better chance of absorbing the nutrients if the flaxseed are ground. In theory if they are whole, and because they are so tiny, it is easy for them to pass through your body without being broken down. It is super easy to buy your own, I know many grocery stores are selling the in bulk now, using a coffee grinder. I, of course, typically buy Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal which is already ground. I keep it in the freezer to keep it as fresh as possible. 

When I saw this recipe that was not only from one of my favorite places in the Pacific Northwest, but it also contained flaxseed to punch up the nutritional value I knew I had to try it. It called for 2 Tablespoons of sugar which I subbed with coconut palm sugar. After making this and noting the consistency of the batter (it gets thick because of the flax)I think next time I will just sweeten it with maple syrup. We put it on pancakes so why not put it in pancakes?

Here is what I did:

1 1/2 cups milk (cows, almond, rice etc)

1 egg
6 Tablespoons flaxseed meal (I used Bob's Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or maple syrup)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup protein powder (I used Bob's Red Mill Hemp Protein) 

Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well. 

Combine the egg and milk. Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine. 

Pour batter onto a griddle heated to medium high. And cook until bubbles are formed around the edges. Flip and  cook the other side until golden brown. 

Add your favorite toppings and serve. **

Happy eating! 

**On a side note...these would be totally awesome on a pretty tray with a cute little bud vase beside it with a pretty fresh flower. Served nice and warm to a deserving mommy while she lounges in bed. In reality, I am pretty sure any mom would be pleased to wake up to anything other than screaming kids and hungry dogs. So partially burned pancakes on a paper plate would be just as amazing.  xoxo




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Moms, Margaritas and the Official Start of Summer

May is here and while we survived the national day of drinking margaritas and eating tacos pretending we might actually know what Cinco De Mayo signifies, there are so many more things to come. Mothers' Day, the opening of pools, barbecues, warm summer nights with lighting brought to you by the glow of lightning bugs....Summer is my favorite time of year. Cheer camp, sunshine all day, nights where it is warm enough to sit outside, the fact that it stays light out until nine o'clock!  I could keep going and going.....

But there are also some things about summer that can be scary....bathing suits, shorts, short skirts, ice cream and let's be honest when we talk about the food choices at most summer get togethers. It is typically not filled with the best options when it comes to your waistline. But there is a way to navigate these summer parties unscathed (and trust me, your shorts will thank you) and it all boils down to holding yourself accountable.

Over the last year, I have found the best way to hold myself accountable is to get into a challenge group! Everyone involved keeps me in check. We hold each other to what we promised and that is helping eachother reach our goals.  Friendships have been formed and some of the ladies from my very first challenge group are still there, keeping me in check.

I totally didn't believe in the power of an online group to do much of anything (other than annoy me) but I needed something. And much to my chagrin, it worked. I not only found the key to my success but some pretty cool people along the way. (To read more about challenge groups click here.)

So this is what I have happening for May (and early June)

May 19th Clean Eating Bootcamp:

I am starting a FREE clean eating bootcamp. Yes this is totally free but I need your dedication and participation for 21 Days. You need to commit to showing up and I will give you:

  • Meal planning strategies
  • Recipes
  • Eating out strategies
  • Support and accountability
Shakeology is not required for the group but I highly recommend it. It is the one meal I don't have to think about everyday. It gives me the energy I need to keep up with my kiddo and I know my body is getting the nutrition it needs. It makes my life just that much simpler. (And simple is good.) To read more about how shakeology has impacted my life and dietary habits click here.

To join this group sign up for a free account here and request membership to the group

June 2nd  60 Day Summer Slim Down Challenge:

This is going to be more of a traditional challenge group. We will eat clean. We will workout. We will get some killer results. 

So this is what you get:

  • Meal planning strategies
  • Recipes
  • Eating out strategies
  • Support and accountability
  • Daily motivation
  • One on one support from me (I will not let you slip through the cracks!)
  • Results
If you show up every day and give it all you've got I promise you that you will see real results. Both on the scale and off the scale. 

Shakeology is a requirement for this group. Why is it required? Because not only is it the one thing I don't have to think about and plan during hectic and crazy mornings. It is totally portable (I always bring it on vacation with me...one less meal to buy!) and fast. It gives me the nutrition I need, helps control my cravings and really keeps me on track. You can read more about why I drink shakeology daily here.

To reserve your spot in either of these groups fill out the application here.

Happy May! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Summer in a Burger (Cilantro Lime Turkey Burgers with Asian Pear Slaw)

The sun is shining and the temps are slowly creeping closer to summer weather. Ummm...Yay! This is the type of weather that makes me want to head outside. I want to eat outside, drink on patios and grill things. The type of food I want to eat also changes like crazy. Suddenly I want food that tastes light and bright and citrusy. I want to drink caipirinhas and lay by a pool. If lime is part of the recipe, it is something I want to eat. Fish tacos, guac, salad dressing, burgers, adult beverages. If it is cilantro and lime flavored anything it is pretty much a guarantee it is going to make my menu.

I have been working out with weights again (hello Les Mills Pump) and this program is awesome. It is fun. The music is upbeat and motivating. It is leaving me crazy sore. (I totally understand why this is a craze in gyms. Doing it live would be kind of amazing.) But every time I add a lot of weight training to my routine, I find myself craving meat. And for someone who can typically go weeks without meat, this is not only something I find kind of strange but also a struggle. Since I don't cook a lot of meat (and chicken still makes me gag) I am usually up, searching the internet for yummy recipes that will satisfy my jonesing for meat and not leave me feeling like I have a brick in my stomach. (I just have food issues. Seriously. I am kind of a mess.)

This lovely little burger not only satisfied my meat craving but also gave me a bite of summer flavor that made me so happy. (Well as happy as I could be sans sunshine and pool. This just screams let's grill out by the pool and float our way to happiness after we eat. Is that anyone else's idea of bliss or just mine?)

Anyway....they turned out awesome. Lots of flavor in these little babies and I even had to cook them in a pan (as we are in an upstairs apartment with zero outdoor space for this job and sans grill). I love using fresh herbs so I used fresh cilantro in this recipe. I put a big handful of it in the mini chopper (I have no patience for dicing and slicing fresh herbs....as much as I love them this makes me crazy.) and added them to the ground turkey along with everything else. I mixed it all up with my hands (gross!) The juice made them a little wet but the stayed together great and it is so worth it for the yummy summer flavor.

Here is what I did:

Asian Pear Slaw

1 bag pre chopped coleslaw mix (or 1 small head of cabbage chopped)
1 asian pear cored and julienned


3/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons honey (I used raw honey)
1 teaspoon salt

Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend (or in a small bowl and whisk until honey is dissolved.)  Pour over coleslaw mix. You can serve immediately or chill to allow the flavors to mingle. I add the pear right before serving so it doesn't get soggy.

I am also thinking next time about adding some fresh ginger and maybe some slivered almonds for some crunch.

For the Burger:

1 lb ground turkey
bunch of fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
1/4 of a sweet onion- diced (but a red onion might be yummy too!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Place ground turkey in a large bowl.

Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Shape into 4 burger patties.

Grill, broil or cook in a pan until no longer pink inside.

(I  used just enough coconut oil to coat the pan. Heat the oil on medium high and then add the burgers. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side - or until cooked through.)

We ate them topped with avocado and asian pear slaw but you can easily add your favorite condiments and burger buns.

My three year old proclaimed it the best dinner ever so there was that. She cleaned her plate (which these days is a rarity.) Needless to say I will be making these often, at least until she decides she hates them....which could be any minute now.

Happy eating!

21 Day Fix container equivalents:

1 red
1 green
1/4 purple
1 teaspoon
1 blue (if using avocado)

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