Cuisine · Lifestyle · Willow & Wonder

Getting Fit – baby steps, my friends!

That’s right…baby steps!  I am one day away from finishing a one month fitness challenge and let me tell you it body rocked me, but made me stronger and hyper aware.  I’m not going to share the recipe that I followed, since that is confidential for the one running the program, however, I will tell you a few eye-opening things I discovered along my rigorous journey.

I’m going to get all GOOP on ya.  Yup, you know the woman who’s into seaweed, charcoal, collegen in her coffee, vegan products all the way.  One thing that stood out to me most was that I considered myself a pretty healthy person when I started the program, only to realize how much I was snacking, how much food I had laying around with sugar in it, how often I was indulging in desserts without even seeing myself that way.

What scared me the most was how my daughter’s snack drawer became off limits to me during my program.  Um, that’s not okay.  What am I feeding my child?  Well, it’s innocent stuff like graham crackers and fruit snacks and pirates booty, seaweed with too much salt kinda stuff, but obviously, I needed to rework that drawer!

It was really challenging making meals for me and different, more substantial ones for my family.  Again, why do I have to make two meals?  Clearly, I needed to reevaluate what meals I was making.  I’m happy I joined this challenging program because it is reshaping my regimine to be more health conscious and that is huge.

I went from not working out ever, maybe an hour walk every few months to one and a half hour workouts 4 days this week!  It took one week to curb the major sweet cravings, really three weeks to get that out of my mind. I was literally eating a carrot at the Peter Rabbit movie and my hubby and child had popcorn and sweets and I was in agony.  I wanted to bite a stick that’s how bad my cravings were.  It took many body shaping pop-up challenges and other workouts to feel strong.  I didn’t feel strong until the end of week three.  I moaned and grunted when I got out of bed because my muscles were aching.  I felt so old.

Now I feel my muscles firming and I think I’m even losing weight.  The goal here was to hit a restart button on health though.  I’m drinking 72 ounces of water a day.  I drink just two cups of English tea with milk in the morning along with a smoothie with chia seeds; bananas; coconut water or almond milk; a little dollop of peanut butter; spinach; some mixed berries; ice; a handful of oats and almonds.  This really fills me up and I feel very hydrated with the coconut water.  Once in awhile I’ll have a simple healthy omelet with greens or a parfait – granola and yogurt with some fruit on top, too.

I like an open-faced avocado and lemon juice sandwich, no salt; a rice cake with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or slice of swiss cheese for lunch or sauteed kale and lemon juice or a salad with beans or boiled eggs for lunch.  Some dried apricots, seaweed – no salt, almonds or peanuts for a snack and carrot sticks.  Dinner, was a tough one for me and I will be picking some healthy meals to share for sure!  I liked kalamata olive kabobs with red onion and bell peps, a cherry tomato would of been great, no oil.  Get that onion cooked though -maybe saute until tender before you poke it and get a good grill on the kabob, so it tastes yummy.

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I enjoyed chicken and couscous salad and regular large salads of spinach and arugula, full of all kinds of ingredients with protein.  I like to focus our dinners on a protein like shrimp or salmon or chicken, a nice and lean meat and then add greens in salad or sauteed veggies, a light grain like quinoa or couscous and a veggie that works best for my toddler.  This is just such an easy preparation and can be so simple in the ingredients used.

When I lived in France for a year at age 23, I watched the doctors I lived with serve their family the simpelest meals and in France I was thinking: “um, where’s the gourmet, awe-inspiring French cuisine, guys?” But they were pragmatic and healthy, always eating arugula salad plain with lemon juice; a slab of lean meat- no sauce; plain rice; a few mushrooms sauteed; another  veggie.  Followed by a dessert of cheese; a little fresh bagette; oranges.  So simple, so lean.  It works!

I fear when the challenge ends that all of my progress will go bye-bye.  So, I’m already thinking ahead to see what I can live with.  Before I started this i thought I was just needing to move more, motion is lotion talk.  But now I can see I need to focus on the food I am eating so much more.  I’m hoping I can pull off 4 – 1/2 hour workouts a week and perhaps one of those could go longer.  I have an elliptical at home and that makes working out a little easier now that I strategically placed it in front of my TV.  I worked out a couple times at 8 pm because it was in the living room.  Too funny.

I will continue to drink about 72 onces of water, keep light snacks and try for two desserts a week.  I drink like one glass of wine every two weeks.  A light breakfast, light snacks and simple lunch makes dinner and dessert much more possible without losing the healthy program.  Overall, I will probably be more conscious of how I balance what I’m eating and try not to over do it.

One great thing my family started doing was hiking this last month after a huge hiatus.  My daughter loves to take the lead on the trail.  We have found some amazing trails to explore and some have been incredible workouts like climbing on boulders!  Hovering over a tot on boulders, passing a 35 pounder from one parent to the other, chasing her up boulders, um, I used so many muscles and in weird ways…it was an incredible burn.  This is how I intend to keep my motivation by making family fun days that include a hard workout in the great outdoors.  Oh, and I have a newfound love of jumping with a leather jump rope.  It’s an incredible workout.  So lunges, squats, a few barre exercises, jumproping 300 times about, some sit-ups and push-ups need to happen once a week!  This can be like a military training day mid-week as one of my workouts.  That’s my hope anyways!!

Have any of you tried apple cider vinegar tablespoons each day?  I want to do that!  Anyone into seaweed?  I’m about to introduce you to a really great beauty product made with all vegan ingredients and sea inspired!  What’s your favorite workout and vitamin brand?  Be sure to comment below to share the goodness of encouraging healthy practices.

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