How to Stay Motivated

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I don’t care who you are, every single one of us, at one time or another, will face burnout.  It happens to even the most dedicated fitness-minded people.

Today I’m going to share a few tips for overcoming that feeling of wanting to throw in the towel.  There are several reasons we begin to feel this way.  Sometimes it’s because we are overzealous in the beginning.  We throw everything we’ve got into our new fitness lifestyle, leave no room for error, make no mistakes, only to find after 2 weeks that we’ve been burning the candle at both ends and hit the wall hard.  Other times it can be things like lack of sufficient sleep.  That’s a big one and probably the hardest to master.  When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies and minds are fatigued.  You can feel lethargic, zapped of energy, and the will to pursue healthy habits is all but nonexistent.

So, here we go with a few ways to fight these feelings off.

  •  CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
    If you’re feeling like exercise and fueling your body nutritiously is more of a chore than a privilege, then take a time out and think about WHY you want to do those things.  For me personally, it is all about how I feel.  When I exercise and eat right, I feel about a thousand times better than when I don’t.  Both physically and mentally.  And it’s not by accident, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins that literally relieve stress and enhance feelings of pleasure.  When I really start to feel overwhelmed with trying to be diligent with eating and exercise, I remind myself that the time that I spend taking care of myself is time well spent.  It’s my “me time” and it’s literally the best thing I can do not only for myself, but also for the family that I take care of every day.

 

  • BUY SOME NEW WORKOUT GEAR
    Ok, I know this sounds somewhat silly.  It shouldn’t matter what you’re wearing, but when I get some new workout clothes, I am definitely more motivated to put them to use!  My family bought me some cute yoga pants and a tank top for my birthday this year and I couldn’t wait to put them on and go work out!  Sometimes you just need a little change of scenery.  I tend to wear old tees with the sleeves cut out of them as my usual workout attire, but I do love a cute new piece now and then.  Try it, it works!

 

  • FOCUS ON THE MUSCLE GROUPS YOU ARE WORKING WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MOMENT
    This is a big one!  I have a bad habit of letting my mind wander when I’m working out.  I workout in my garage, so there is literally nothing interesting going on for me to look at.  I tend to think about all the things I need to get done when I’m finished with my workout.  This leads to me being distracted and not giving my best effort.  If I really focus on the particular muscle I’m working, for example, my trapezius muscles when doing pullups or biceps when doing curls, I am much more likely to give 100%.  It seems little, but it’s pretty significant when it comes to getting the most out of your workout.

 

  • STOP FEELING GUILTY
    We all have moments of weakness.  We all skip workouts.  We all fall off the healthy food wagon now and then.  That’s a FACT.  Everyone does it.  So, if everyone does it, why do we feel so guilty when we do?  And why do we beat ourselves up over it?  Most people who begin a fitness program quit because they set their expectations too high and feel like a failure when they have a moment of weakness.  But what if you stopped the negative self-talk?  What if you go into this knowing that there will be those weak moments and before you even start you just tell yourself it’s ok and normal for that to happen.  What if I told you it was possible to make a huge pig of yourself one day and actually go ahead and workout and eat well the next?  Because you can!  It’s what you consistently do that matters.  A mistake here and there doesn’t mean the end of your fitness!  In fact, I don’t even like to call them mistakes. That’s part of the problem right there.  You can’t set unrealistic expectations and expect to be successful.  I hate restrictive diets for that very reason.  You can’t eat this, this or this and if you do, well you suck and are a failure at life.  NO.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  I understand that if you are currently addicted to junk food or soda, it is going to be harder for you to practice moderation and favor healthy foods.  It’s not impossible, though.  Will it suck in the beginning?  Yes.  As with any lifestyle change, it’s hard in the beginning.  But if you commit to 2 weeks, it becomes considerably easier, especially when you see the results of your discipline.  But please, please, please!!  Don’t quit if you veer off course.  Keep going!  You won’t be sorry!

 

  • VISUALIZE YOURSELF AT YOUR GOAL
    This one can be extremely helpful and motivating.  You have a mental picture in your head of what you’re trying to accomplish.  Visualize it often.  I have a board on Pinterest and its sole purpose is to motivate me when I feel less than motivated.  I pin all kinds of things to it; quotes, fitness routines, people with physiques that I admire, bible verses, etc.  In fact, the picture in this post came from my fitness inspiration board on Pinterest.  It really does help keep me focused on my goal.

I hope these tips are helpful to you.  Remember that anything you do is better than doing nothing.  Slipping up is not an excuse to quit!  Consistency is what matters!  You can do this!

Baked Chicken & Veggie Quinoa

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I tried a new recipe last week that I found on Pinterest.  I changed the original recipe by adding chicken for even more protein. It was a hit, even with my husband who isn’t a huge quinoa fan.  Here’s how I made it:

  • 2 ½ – 3 cups cooked quinoa (About 1 ½ cups uncooked.
  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked & cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (green pepper works well too if that is what you have)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (you can leave it out if you don’t want the kick!)
  • 2 TB Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ lb fresh spinach (a couple large handfuls)
  • 1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • Shredded Parmesan to sprinkle on top
  1. Saute onion and zucchini in the friendly fat for about 7 minutes with a pinch of salt to bring out the juices and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and seasonings and cook a couple more minutes, then dump into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa, fresh spinach, tomato, eggs, and cheese to the mixing bowl with the sauteed veggies and combine everything together.
  4. Pour the quinoa mixture into a buttered 9×13 baking dish and spread it out.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top, and then bake another 20 or so minutes, until the edges are nice and brown and the cheese on the top is melted and golden.

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Build a Better Booty Challenge!

My biggest problem area on my body is my hips/butt/thigh area.  It is where all of my excess body fat resides and it is so hard for me to make progress there.  Tonight I’m starting this 14 day challenge that targets that specific area.  If you want to participate, you can find all the details here:  http://gethealthyu.com/14-days-to-a-better-butt/

 

Use this two week challenge to get a firmer, better booty!

Fitness Check-In

Right before we moved, I had started the New Rules of Lifting for Women program.  I had a very hard time at first with letting go of my old split, which was to work certain muscle groups on specific days.  However, I had read so many good things about this program and wanted to give it a try.  Plus, as an added bonus, the workouts in this program tend to be a lot easier on my elbow, which if you’ve ever had tendon issues, you know how painful that is.

Once we got ready to move, I got off track with that a little bit, mainly because my weights were buried under boxes in the garage, and resorted to just throwing some spotty workouts together for a while.  Now that we’re settled in (for the most part), I’ve been hitting those workouts hard.  And I love them.  Although I must confess that I tend to throw a few finishing moves onto the end of each workout….I just can’t seem to not do that lol…but I’m really happy so far.  I’ve noticed increased strength already and can’t wait to see where I’m at when I finish the whole program.

So, to document where I’m currently at & where I want to go, here’s an update:

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Current body weight:  129.8
Short term goals:  adhere to this program & stay focused through the upcoming busy travel ball season.Long term goals:  Increase overall strength, lean body mass, and endurance
Problem areas:  LOWER BODY!  Ugh!  I know that when we lose weight it tends to go from top to bottom.  First you notice it in your face, then shoulders/arms, abdomen & then finally the lower body.  Unfortunate for people like me who really want to see results there first.  Oh well, that’s the breaks!  Gotta keep working hard & I know the results will come.

This place where I’m at right now is hard for me to be in.  I struggle with thinking that I am fine where I’m at, so why not just maintain it vs. I really want to reach the next level, but I’m scared of the hard work that will take!  When you don’t really have X number of pounds to lose, it becomes more about changing your physique, which can be difficult to do unless you are willing to commit 100% to doing what it takes to make that happen.  I get too comfortable with myself & motivation is lacking at times to tweak things that need tweaking.

Oh and I’ve been slacking on water intake too. Man, what a difference that makes.  I forget sometimes how important it is to be hydrated.  It affects everything from your hunger levels to your skin, and energy levels too.  When I’ve gone too long without water and finally have some, it’s like coming back from the dead.  So that’s another area of focus for the upcoming weeks.

What do your current goals look like?

 

A Day in the Life

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When I think back to what life was like when I started this blog, I am amazed at how different things are now.  My girls were 6 & 3!  They are now 14 & 11.  Oh how the times have changed for this family.

I used to have time for lots of things like gardening, canning, cooking from scratch.  And while those things and those times hold a special place in my heart, the thought of doing that now makes me want to run & hide.

These days, I’m more into working out and being a professional kid hauler running from one practice to another, doctor appointments, school functions, softball games, etc.  I’m still cooking a lot, but I’m way more lax in how I approach nutrition.  I love to eat healthy foods, but I don’t have guilt trips or stress over eating the occasional junk either.  I used to make our ketchup, mayo, broth, jam, canned veggies & sauces, pickles, etc because I was bound and determined to let no unnatural items touch the stomachs of my loved ones lol.  And while those things are great, and I applaud anyone who is actively working towards taking care of their family in the best way that they can, frankly, I just don’t have time for that anymore.

These days our mornings are spent in a mad dash to get ready for school.  Once the kids are off it’s home for my one hour workout time.  This is one area I will never give up.  There are days when it has to happen at night instead of morning (which I hate, btw) but one hour of each day is all mine.  I have struggled to really disengage from the never ending list of responsibilities and chores that need tending to, but I really try to clear my mind and focus on my health and fitness in that hour.  My goals and expectations for myself, and my long-term health are the things I try to keep at the forefront of my mind.  Because I do want to be healthy and active and here for my family for as long as possible and I don’t want my health to be a burden to them.  I know that anything can happen to anyone at any time, but I’m going to try to ward off health issues for as long as possible.  My game plan for that is to exercise daily and find a good balance between great nutrition & the freedom of indulgence in moderation.

After workout time, if there isn’t anywhere I need to be, I try to tackle laundry & housework.  I’ve tried (and failed at) several different systems over the years, but what I have found that works best for me now is to divide it up throughout the week.  Mondays I clean both bathrooms top to bottom.  Tuesdays I dust (everything from baseboards to blinds & furniture, ceiling fans, etc ).  Wednesdays I vacuum & mop.  Thursdays are for meal planning / grocery shopping & errands.  Fridays are for tackling outside chores, when it’s nice, or just catching up on anything I missed earlier in the week.

Things are a little more relaxed in the summer when school is out & I’m sincerely looking forward to that with just a little over month left of school.  More free time for fun with the girls & SLEEPING IN!

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After 13+ years of being a stay at home mom, I honestly am surprised that I haven’t tired of it by now, especially with the girls being older & more independent now.  And looking back, I know we sacrificed material things & vacations.  But I can’t say that I feel deprived or sad that we missed out on the things that others have.  The day will come when we’ll do those types of things, Lord willing, but for now I can only say that I feel so abundantly blessed to be able to do this every day.

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**Pictures courtesy of my awesome career choice & our recent hiking trip to Clifty Falls State Park**  😉

 

 

Meal Planning & Active Rest Today

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So yesterday I talked about how important meal planning was for staying on track with what I’m eating.  I really hate it though.  It is time consuming & I still haven’t found the perfect system, so it’s a pain, but still it is necessary…so, that’s what I’m doing this morning, while simultaneously making a huge mess on my dining room table.  I try to coordinate meal planning on an active rest day because it seems that I have a little more free time on rest days and don’t feel as rushed to get everything in.  When I don’t plan out my meals,  I tend to make bad eating decisions.  So, as much as it annoys me to have to do it every week, I have to bite the bullet and get it done.  Kinda like how I feel about laundry.

For my active rest today, I’m going to do a 30 minute walk with my aunt, and a 30 minute jog/run using the Couch to 5K app. To me, active rest basically just means that I’m not lifting, but trying to find something to keep me at least somewhat active.  I may throw in a 5 min jump rope tabata workout, but that would just be an extra bonus if I feel like it later.  I keep thinking I’d like to run another 5k, but with the girls’ busy travel ball schedules, it’s hard to find a free weekend.  The one we did a few years ago was really fun though & they have some interesting ones out there, so I may look into it further.

Some things on our menu this week are:  Chicken Italiano (a favorite of my fitness groups), Taco Bites, Parmesan Chicken w/ roasted Cauliflower, & Chicken Pita Pizzas.  I’ll share some recipes later.

When I ramble on for 7 years because I haven’t posted since Jan 11…

Soooo….I suck at blogging now, apparently.  I always mean to post more & I find all kinds of interesting things I should share, and then I don’t do it.  So yeah…I pretty much suck.  Sorry.

But, I do have lots of stuff to talk about today & because it’s Monday and I don’t want to do anymore housework, I’m going to spill it all out in one huge post that will take you 7 years to read, but you probably won’t because you’ll get bored halfway through and all my rambling will fall on deaf ears.  Or I guess eyes, since you’re reading.  But then it would be blind eyes?  I don’t know.  You’re welcome.

Well first, real quickly, we finally got moved in for the most part.  Brian has a bunch of crap to clean out of the garage so I can park in there and each day that goes by and it doesn’t get done brings him one day closer to death, but apparently he likes living on the edge, so whatever…don’t say I didn’t warn ya, B.

I have been asked a couple of times about pics of the new house, but of course I don’t have any so I’ll share those later on in the year in another boring & long rambling post, I’m sure.

When we were moving I didn’t work out for 2 weeks.  And it was pretty stressful for me because it bothered the heck out of me, but I finally got back to it, and I have to say that I was completely shocked at how quickly I turned back into a weenie again after a 2 week break.

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That face you make when you realize you have reverted back to wimpiness 😦

And here’s another picture that I’m posting for no other reason than that I look like butt in that last pic & I feel like I look less buttlike in this one, thus making me feel better. Although whatever filter my daughter used on this kind of makes me look greenish or something but whatever.

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And so I’m back in the swing of it now & feeling super sore, which is awesome.  I recently purchased the New Rules of Lifting for Women & it’s really changed the way I look at lifting.  Most importantly is that I have more active rest days, which is great because before I was working out 5 days in a row & I’m not gonna lie, sometimes that was a little overwhelming.  So on my active rest days, I always walk my dog for 30 minutes with The Spinster, but I also will throw in a short HIIT workout or a 5 minute Tabata jump rope routine or even just a 30 minute walk/jog session.  I like to use the Couch to 5K app for this.

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If you are new to strength training or been doing it for years, I highly recommend this book.  It appeals to me because it teaches a sensible & long term sustainable approach to eating and exercise, which is totally up my alley and what I’ve been practicing for years.  No crazy dieting or restrictions.  Moderation & movement, and that’s what I encourage my clients to strive towards because it’s realistic for most people.

Also, since we’re heading into Spring/Summer, I’m loosely tracking my macros again.  I like to be leaner when it’s shorts/swimsuit season so I don’t always feel like a busted can of biscuits like I do when it’s cold out and I’m a little more lax with my eating.  This combination seems to work well for me.  I don’t track anything from about Halloween through Christmas.  I like to enjoy the holidays without worrying about it too much.  I still eat what I consider to be healthy probably 75% of the time through that period, because that’s how my palette rolls these days & I actually enjoy a healthy diet, but I don’t sweat the treats too much either.

But now that Spring is approaching, I’m tightening the reigns a little and it always amazes me at how quickly I can start leaning down when I just start paying a little more attention to what I’m eating.

If you aren’t familiar with macros, it’s basically just tracking your carbs, fats, & protein (and some people do fiber too, I don’t) and keeping them within the limits you set based on your goals.

You need to figure out your TDEE, which is basically just the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight.  Then, depending on whether you want to put on muscle or lose fat (or both) you either aim to hit higher than or lower than your TDEE.  You can use this handy calculator  to determine your needs.  You can also hire a macros coach if you are really wanting to dial it in, but I just kind of go with my gut and pay attention to how my body reacts to what I’m eating.  If I was a competitive body builder or fitness model, I’d definitely need to get it more exact to hit my goals, but I’m just me & all I really want is to be healthy and feel good in my clothes.  And be able to pick up heavy stuff. 😉

I’m currently weighing in at around 126, so I’m not really looking to lose weight, but I would like to lower my body fat percentage some & put on some more muscle.  So I will start with cutting a little on my macros & will gradually up them as I go and as I start lifting heavier weights.

I think eating clean means different things to different people, so I hesitate to use that term too much, but what it means to me is just eating healthy fats like olive oil, egg yolks, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, etc.  And protein in the form of lean meats, some cheese, and protein powder in my smoothies when I have trouble hitting my protein goals.  And of course carbs in the form of whole grains, rice, and fruits.  And A LOT OF WATER.

I like the fact that my kids have been raised to have a healthy relationship with food.  They are allowed to have junk food sometimes, it’s not taboo in our house.  But they’re also growing up in a house where healthy and nutritious meals are cooked the majority of the time, so it’s nothing for them to have 2 and 3 helpings of vegetables without batting an eye.  I love that.  It lays the groundwork for healthy body image & food relationships when they are older.  It literally takes the drama out of food and meals at our house and it may not be for everyone, but it’s worked wonderfully well for us.  When my daughter texts me & asks me to bring her an apple to have after practice or my 11 year old is begging for roasted broccoli for supper, I know that I have done something right.  And because I believe in keeping it real, yeah, sometimes they have a pop tart for breakfast – And I’m totally ok with that, too.

I have to mention that meal planning is so very important for me to stay on track with healthy meals for the fam.  When I don’t take time (and yeah, it does take a little time) to plan everything out and then get myself to the store…bad things happen.

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Here are a few examples of some of the things I eat when I actually meal plan and don’t have to eat coffee:

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Spinach omelet w/feta cheese & apple

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Eggs w/ frozen italian veggies sauteed in coconut oil

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Whole grain toast w/natural peanut butter, banana, chia seeds & cinnamon

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Baked potato w/roasted brussels sprouts & 2 slices bacon

So, those are just a few examples of how we eat the majority of the time in our household.  And then sometimes we have pizza, or enchiladas, or whatever else we want, but the bulk of our food is what I consider to be healthy.  It keeps us healthy, happy, and balanced.

Hopefully I will actually do what I say and start blogging more & sharing more recipes periodically instead of unloading a humongous post every couple of months.  That’s the goal anyway but since most of you probably clocked out long ago & never made it to the end of this post, there won’t be anyone to remind me of my shortcomings when I don’t hold up my end of the bargain. Either way, I win. 😉

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Life on the outskirts of town.