New Month, New Goals

Happy May Day, Friends. I don’t know about you, but April was a complete blur for me.

I had setbacks, I made progress. There were struggles, but also victories. I made some poor choices, yet achieved some big stuff. I experienced some ordinary doldrums, but knocked several accomplishments off my bucket list. It’s truly amazing what a single month can hold, yet so easy for 3o days to slip by without creating momentum toward an intention.

That’s why goal setting is imperative for success. What better time than today?

I’m setting some clear, simple goals to move myself forward during the month of May and I’ve enlisted the help of my new accountability buddy to get it done!

Together, we will shoot for 10,000 steps every day!

Friends, a plan without a goal is just a wish. So set a goal today, then get busy working on it.

I’d love to hear what you plan to do with your month. Let’s all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

Vacation Transformed Part 2

Friends, I’ve been home from Colorado for more than a week and I keep returning to what a memorable success it was. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. In that post I mentioned some mindful modifications we’d made to our standard vacation for better outcomes.

That week progressed quite nicely into one of my favorite trips of all times. We continued to venture out of our condo every morning with a new version of the same view…

   

And if that awe-inspiring daily welcome wasn’t enough, we drove all of two miles to enter this phenomenal playground…

Eric, Connor and I spent an afternoon exploring Rocky Mountain’s Bear Lake. Although it was still frozen over, it provided the freshest air, great vibes and opportunity to get lost in it all!

That afternoon beat any video game, thrill ride or entertainment…nature is all we needed!

As the afternoon wound down, it was time to meet up with my college friend, Lynda.

And it’s great we did because she knows that park like the back of her hand…she took us places that blew my mind! Thanks for a spectacular tour and evening, Lynda!!!

If I lived close to this, I would come every single day. I don’t think it could ever get old! This waterfall was both enchanting and mesmerizing.

   

I just couldn’t leave without some more yoga. It just seemed like the right thing to do!

That day’s light, love and energy seeped clear into my bones and soul.

Our week in Estes Park continued to be a challenge for me to eat healthy, but if one looked hard enough, good choices could be found. Take for instance this entree from The Egg and I…LOVED it!

I needed to keep fueled for our last day because I had something important to check off my bucket list. Since the moment I’d seen this place on an episode of Extreme Weightloss, I knew I had to go!

Red Rocks Amphitheater has played host to countless performers and their sold-out concerts on hot summer nights. But in daylight, this venue welcomes those looking for an unforgiving workout. It was exactly what I was hoping for on our final day in Colorado.

Because my knee was less than functional, I had to run/walk, but that didn’t take away from the amazing accomplishment I felt having traveled across each of 69 rows down, then back up again. I logged five miles of harsh slopes and relentless heat.

I was ecstatic too, because although this was likely not on Eric’s bucket list, he got me there and even joined in!

That workout took all I had within me that day…I left it all there! Which turned out to be a good thing because the next day and a half was spent driving home from this astounding vacation.

The drive home was somber, it was tough leaving such beauty behind. I replayed the amazing experiences we’d had over and over again in my mind and heart. That second day on the road, although tiring was an a-okay way to spend my birthday. Why? Because my beloved Pita Pit was only a couple hours from home!

Friends, I think we finally got this vacation balance thing right! I returned home tired but nothing like trips of the past. I’m recharged and ready to work on that bucket list of mine…a list I never bothered dreaming up until my weight loss transformation proved was possible!

 

Vacation Transformed!

With spring break upon us, I’ve thought a lot about what vacations used to look like for my family and me. They consisted of ALL our favorite junk foods, a jam-packed schedule of busyness designed to entertain and engage our kids from morning to night in locales that catered to non-stop fun. We made a million memories, but most of mine were of indigestion, sensory overload and exhaustion. When I look at the photos, I wish I saw the fun and excitement, but I’m brought right back to the overwhelmedness.

I’m happy to realize throughout my weight loss journey, our vacations have transformed as well. I put serious thought into what I wanted out of this spring break, then set some mindful plans into action. We chose a location conducive to well-being as our top priority and hit the open road.

 

Fuel stops found me jumping at the pump and avoiding the endless empty calories I used to gather from gas stations. I was prepared, having packed a jumprope and plenty of healthy snacks.

Upon reaching our destination, I knew we’d made a great choice. Check out the view literally just two steps outside our rental condo…my soul smiled when I saw the exquisite view and heard the playful stream.

Ahhhhh.

I have come to an awareness that vacation can’t mean taking time off from myself. So with that in mind, we made plans to be active. Our first day in Estes Park found us hiking picturesque Lily Mountiain…

I only regret our older son was unable to join us because this would have been right up his alley.

You should know that hiking is my thing!

However, my husband Eric is not at all fond of heights and our younger son Connor is not a fan of hiking. At all. But they both sucked it up to climb the steep two miles; although there were some pretty tense moments scrambling up the final snow-covered section the breathtaking summit was well worth the fear-factor!

 

The view was stunning and unforgettable!

The descent was tougher than I expected, but this was the kind of memory I had hoped we’d make while we were here! I’m so proud of those two!

That hike was one heck of a workout and my knee was not at all happy…traitor! The next morning it was still cranky, but I had some strength training plans!

Thank goodness for a fitness center at the resort! The rest of the day was set aside for some sightseeing, grocery shopping for the right kinds of nourishment, and relaxing.

Although many of my friends chose warmer climates for spring break, imagine my excitement when I woke up to this…

How beautiful is that?!? This Minnesota gal’s heart was warmed waking up to this gorgeous Colorado morn. And because I have goals in place, there was only one thing to do…haul over to the fitness room for some cardio!

 

And after a great sweat sesh of a warm-up, there was only one thing on my mind for a cool-down. Would you like to build a snowman?!?

Why, yes I would! My teenager had zero desire to help me, because he brought his friend named X-box haha!

So there you have it, our transformed vacation! We still have several more days to embrace all Estes Park has to offer. I’m thrilled to report, since making mindful changes to our typical vacation, I’ve yet to experience indigestion, sensory overload or exhausting. Mission accomplished!

Quinoa and Black Beans

As March winds down, I am completing work on a Nutritional Scavenger Hunt I’ve been chipping away at all month. The challenge was provided by the dietitians at my local gym and has really motivated me!

One of the tasks was to prepare some provided recipes, and when I tried this one, I knew I had to share it with you. I’ve been doing a lot with quinoa lately. I don’t know why it took me so long to get on board with it, I avoided it thinking it was complicated. Friends, quinoa couldn’t be simpler to work with and the results are delicious and nutritious!

Quinoa and Black Beans

Ingredients:

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 – 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic to saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Stir frozen corn into saucepan, continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in black beans and cilantro.

This recipe yields ten 1/2 cup servings at 76 calories each with 2.6 grams of protein and 1.9 grams of fiber.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Happy weekend, Friends! I’m continuing to work through the tasks of the Nutrition Scavenger Hunt happening at my local gym this month. This has motivated me to prepare another recipe provided by the Rochester Athletic Club Dietitians. I actually received this one about 4 years ago while a member in their weight-loss program, ridiculous that I waited until now to try it…better late than never!

I made this for a casual weekend lunch today with the goal of nurishing my post-workout hunger. I enjoyed the simplicity of preparation and an amazing, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, Lenten-friendly twist on a cool-weather comfort food. This would be a great recipe for meal prep too!

If you’re looking for a super food cooking adventure, look no further!

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 – 6 oz can tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 – 29 oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

32 oz low sodium vegetable broth

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

Avocado and cilantro for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add beans, vegetable broth and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add quinoa.
  5. Continue cooking for 15-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and chili has thickened. If chili becomes too thick for your liking, add water to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with avocado and chopped cilantro, if desired.

This recipe yields six servings at 330 calories with 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber!

The Garbacado Sandwich

Hey, Fellow FIT BFFs, I’m working on a cool Nutrition Scavenger Hunt that’s taking place at my gym this month. One of the tasks included is to prepare one new recipe a week from the in-house dieticians’ cookbook. I opted to modify the recipe to include the Seedtastic bread I found at Aldi last week. If you missed my excitement over that bread, you can read about it here.

It’s no secret…I LOVE avocados; this is a great meatless recipe that incorporates that love! Here’s my modified version…

The Garbacado Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 slice Aldi Seedtastic bread, toasted

1/4 avocado

1/4 cup garbanzo beans

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

salt to taste (I used Himalayan salt)

 

Directions:

Mash together garbanzo beans, avocado and salt, mix in chopped cucumber. Cut toasted bread in half. Place garbacao mixture on bread, enjoy open-faced or classic sandwich-style.

Contains 232 calories, 36 grams carbs, 8 grams fat, 9 grams protein, 11 grams fiber

Found Another Favorite!

Friends, are you hungry for something spectacularly healthy? I sure was recently when I dined at Applebee’s. I found a spectacular entree that is both a flavor and nutritional thumbs up!

But that’s nothing new, I’ve been happily dining off Applebee’s Lighter Fare menu section for years; the calorie information is right there on the menu. I know I can easily stay within my calorie range and that’s why I’ll return again and again. Plus, I’m kind of partial to a very friendly, young conscienctious server named Logan.

I’ve learned that by trying new things often, I find new favorites that help me stay motivated to keep on track. When Logan served up this plate of awesome, I knew I’d found a new love!

Friends, this generously portioned (Lent-friendly) Shrimp Wonton Stir-Fry contains a mere 580 calories, yet supplies a whopping 24 grams of protein. And, as delicious and satisfying as it was, I have a new favorite; I can’t wait to order it again! Applebee’s, you just keep doing it…you make eating out so simple for my FIT BFFs and me!

Goals Get Things DONE!

Friends, we are a full week into March. How are you coming along with your goals? I’d love to hear what you’re working on and how it’s going. Leave a comment!

Remember when I told you last week about my integrated goals for March? If you missed it, you can catch up here.

In setting some simple, succinct goals that were designed to go hand in hand, I motivated the heck out of myself. Check it out…

As of yesterday, here are 7 days worth of donation receipts from Goodwill. I’ve spent this first full week finding all kinds of items that our family has outgrown, treasures we no longer use; I bagged them up and dropped them off, a bag every day on my way to the gym. I’m excited to announce I was able to close the door to my very organized closet for the first time in years…this thing is working!

This morning I received this notification that (as of yesterday) I’ve accrued 7 gym check-ins. It has become habit, and that’s a very good thing because I’m more driven in my workouts than ever!

Today, Day 8, is continued success…I even got my workout in first because I got such an early start…had to wait for Goodwill to open haha.

Friends, this is how goals are supposed to work! The more I chip away at them, the better I feel about what I’m accomplishing. I can’t help but think of what little I would have done if I hadn’t set them. The bottom line here is elementary; goals get things done!

Fantastic Friday Find: Seedtastic Bread

Happy Friday, fellow FIT BFFs! You know how much I LOVE trying new things and when I discovered this latest find, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Let me back up a moment to inform newer readers and remind returning folks that I make it my mission to try at least one new item every time I grocery shop. This keeps me from falling into food boredom and helps me stumble upon my new favorites. I should also mention that I am a fan of the incredibly low prices and wide selection of healthy options Aldi offers…makes eating healthy so simple!

Speaking of simple, Aldi carries their own line of organic products called SimplyNature. Yesterday I discovered this Seedtastic bread containing an impressive 21 whole grains and seeds! I’ve been in the mood for avocado toast, so that’s exactly what I thought of when I spotted this bread.

Friends, it did NOT disappoint! It was so good, in fact, that I decided to take the avocado one step further today. For those of us observing meatless Fridays, check out this little avocado toast/egg salad number I created for lunch.

It was so easy…toast a slice of Seedtastic bread, slice up 1/4 avocado, mash a hard boiled egg and mix with 2 tbsp light mayo, place over the avocado, sprinkle with paprika and voila…a nutritional powerhouse containing a mere 285 calories.

I’m so glad to have found this bread, I’m already looking forward to tomorrow morning’s peanut butter toast!

Friends, next time you’re in the grocery store, challenge yourself to purchase at least one new item. I’d love to hear what you choose, so leave a comment when you do! And remember, trying new things is one more great way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

NSV New Accountability in Place

Friends, I’m ecstatic! I’m back from the jeweler and so excited because the ring is back on my finger!

If you weren’t around to read how it became my greatest Non Scale Victory earlier this month, you can catch up here.

When I slipped the ring onto my finger it fit perfectly, leaving no room for error as my new accountability piece.

It feels so right having everything back the way it belongs; I can’t stop gazing at the symbolism knowing it’s repaired, resized, restored…just like me!