Oh How Time flies

Hi there. It’s been an insanely long time since I last posted here. I’ve been going through a lot. My grandfather passed away in April and the months leading up to that and the actual passing has kind of rocked my world. And not in a good way. So I’ve been taking the time to just be me. Sort of. I’ve been working a lot. We’re short staffed so it’s easy to do. It helps me be busy and distracted which helps me forget one of the worst times in my life. Hell, just typing this still makes me cry. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be over it. But I’m trying. Because I’m really over being sad and crying. It just hurts too much. And I know my grandpa wouldn’t want us to be sad. He was really sick at the end and so ready to go home. This was a terrible idea to start writing this at work ha. Oops. 
I am happy to report that I’ve been pretty dang consistent with my weight training though. I’ve also got the stress of finding a wedding dress that fits so that’s kept me motivated on the days I’d rather just sit and cry. Although, not all the days. I have had a couple of days where I’m just done with it all and have missed a workout and have literally sat and cried. Two days to be exact and if you ask me two days out of four and a half months isn’t too shabby. I’m not at all ashamed about it. I think sometimes your body just needs a break and you should listen. Goals be damned your mental health is more important, in my opinion. 
The best news? I’ve finally started seeing some major progress. I added a weightlifting day to my routine and now do either a rower machine interval workout or kettle bell swings on the days I’m not lifting. So, although it’s been rough, it’s been worth it. All of this is making me a stronger person. Mentally and physically. Life hands ya lemons and you just have to make the choice to make the best of it. We have to learn how to move forward and keep going. I’m still learning. And I’ll never stop. Because life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. So cliche but it’s so true You have to be patient and kind to yourself. Because this tough time will pass. One day you’ll look back at this time and smile. Because you know it’s made you better and you’ve grown from this. 

3 P’s: Persistence, Progress, and Perfection

I’ve struggled for quite a long time sticking to things. Rarely was I persistent and when I didn’t see instant progress or wasn’t perfect on my diet I would just stop. When a diet got hard I quit it. When a work out started to hurt I stopped. When I didn’t see instant results I’d get frustrated and quit. Since starting my weight lifting journey a little over a year ago I’ve learned that you have to push through those moments. It’s taught me that consistency pays off. That progress beats perfection any day of the week, no matter how small the gains. And that I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I’m willing to work hard for it. Weightlifting has taught me that many milestones do not come easy. But if you put in the work you will see results. 
This weekend my workout consisted of squats, military presses, and deadlifts. I am just about pulling and squatting my body weight, which I hear is kind of a big deal. At least for me it is, because I’m not a small girl by any means. But when it comes to upper body strength I’m seriously lacking. I’ve never been able to do a pull up, I can just barely squeeze out a push up, and I can vividly remember as a kid not being able to do the monkey bars. So imagine my frustration when I started bench and military presses. I’m actually doing ok on bench, I feel good about them. They aren’t easy by any means and I’m not making as quick or progress, but I feel better about them than the military press. The military press has definitely taken some time to get used to. It pushes me to my limit but it makes me want to not quit. It makes me want to be better. It makes me want to conquer it. 
This weekend I pressed 82.5 pounds for 4 sets of 3 reps. It was supposed to be 5 sets but I got in my head and messed up my second set. I know it’s not a lot of weight? but for me, it’s the highest weight I’ve done for sets. And I was dang proud that I made it through. I always expect perfection when, in reality, I haven’t been lifting for all that long. I need to be easier on myself and allow myself time to learn. After thinking about military presses and watching some YouTube videos I realized I needed to find my rhythm, I needed to figure out my breathing. And I have to say, that once I got that down it felt (almost) effortless. I felt GOOD! I felt strong! And by golly I lifted that bar over my head a total of 14 times! 
So, what I’m trying to say is don’t give up!! Keep going. Give yourself some grace. Stay consistent. Strive for progress not perfection. I promise you’ll see results, they may not be immediate but you will see them. Never let this beat you. You’re tougher than that! 

  

Total side note: I found two really awesome sports bras that were fun patterns and cute and strappy at Gap! They were having a great sale. They won’t be great for running (which I don’t do so who cares) but they made me feel good about myself and helped to re-motivate me when I was staring to feel defeated.  I’m sure guys won’t understand, but I’m willing to bet a few girls will!

Kale chips! 

Hey hey heeeyyyy. I’ve got a treat to share today! I’m not the best at creating recipes…I much prefer following them than creating them. But every now and then I create a gem. This time, it’s kale chips! I loooove me some kale chips but they can be not so nice to your budget. So I was on a mission. These are so incredibly easy to make, literally take an hour or less to make from start to finish, and are seriously CRISPY! I’ve even discovered how to store them so that they don’t go stale by the next day. That’s another reason I always forked over the cash for store bought. I’d make kale chips, enjoy them the day of and then find them to be stale the next day. 

So, here we go

Kale chips 

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1-2 tbls avocado oil 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced onion 

First things first: preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Wash and dry your kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Then tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Place these into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Massage the kale and make sure each leaf is covered with oil, they shouldn’t be drenched but should have a nice even coating. Mine turned a rich beautiful green color so it was easy to see patches that were missing oil. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly distribute the kale leaves. Make sure you don’t have any overlapping. Bake the kale for 15 minutes. Once that time is up remove them from the oven and flip each leaf over. Return the pans to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Some of my thicker pieces (or folded pieces) needed a little more baking time (total of 40 minutes baking time for those). Let them cool to room temp and and enjoy! Or store for snacking later. I found its best to store them in my glass Pyrex dishes that have snap on lids. I lined the dish with a piece of paper towel and laid the chips on top of this. The paper towel was just enough to wick any bit of moisture that would have led to stale kale chips and the snap on lid ensured an air tight storage! 

  

Weights, Racks, and Bench oh my! 

I’ll just start with this little gem.  

 
A few months ago the fireman found a local company who makes weight lifting equipment and then sponsors high school powerlifting meets. At the end of the season they then sell the equipment at a discounted price since it’s all been used. This was PERFECT for us. Right in our budget. We were able to get a rack, a bench that fits into the rack, and a whole lotta free weights, 645 pounds to be exact (if I did my math correctly). 
We’re lucky enough to set everything up at Joseph’s parents house. They wanted a home gym and we needed a place to put our stuff so it worked out really well. I am so excited to have our own place to workout. No more waiting at the gym for a rack, no more traffic after a long day of work and then workout, it’s totally convenient. Joseph’s dad even bought a rower! So now our warm ups will be taken to the next level. I love rowing. It’s an effective full body movement and makes me feel like I’m doing real work. I’m not a fan of running…never have been. 
Here’s to hoping we make lots of gains and appreciate this home gym every opportunity we get to use it! 
I’m still doing the starting strength program and loving it! The fireman set up some goals to help me measure my progress. I’ll write another post some day outlining what I do and how it’s going! 

Seafood Alfredo! 

Hi there! This weekend I made this dish: 

  
It was really amazing and delicious! I’m calling it seafood Alfredo. I’m going to call it paleo although it is probably closer to primal. I like to live my life with fewer labels and eat what works for my body. As long as it’s clean and all natural ingredients it’s my personal paleo. I used 100% grass fed dairy for this recipe. If you’re lucky enough to find grass fed, raw cream and butter I’m so envious! If you don’t tolerate dairy try subbing ghee and coconut cream into the sauce. 

I was really hoping to make this with shrimp and crab but couldn’t find any crab so I went with scallops instead! It turned out so well that I had to share. I also added in some extra veggies just to feel a little better about eating so much pasta, cheese, and butter. So, without further ado, here is the recipe! 

Seafood Alfredo

Serves 3-4 

  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms 
  • 2 tbls grass fed butter
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced 
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach 
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (grass fed preferred)
  • 1 pint heavy cream (grass fed preferred) 
  • 6 tbls grass fed butter 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 12 oz scallops (I used bay scallops)
  • Juice from half a lemon 
  • Parsley (optional) 
  • 1 package of Cappello’s  fettuccine noodles

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop your broccoli and bell pepper and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, keep these to one side because you can place the shrimp and scallops on the other side and use the same pan!  Rinse your shrimp and scallops and dab dry with a paper towel. Place your seafood onto the baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with a little salt (approximately 1/4 tsp). Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. While that is baking prepare your water to boil the pasta and begin melting 2 tbls butter in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add your mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add into the pan the cream, 6 tbls butter, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and Parmesan, stir until the cheese and butter has melted. Add in the frozen spinach and the roasted broccoli and red pepper. Cook the sauce until it has reduced and is nice and creamy. Taste the sauce and add more salt as needed, I ended up using closer to 1 tsp. While the sauce is reducing cook your pasta per the directions on the package.  Once the sauce has reduced add in your roasted seafood, lemon juice, and drained pasta. Toss to combine. Top with some chopped parsley and serve right away! 

I used frozen organic broccoli I found at Costco and frozen organic chopped spinach that I found at Trader Joe’s. If you’d like a more traditional sauce you can leave out the veggies or add more for an even larger nutritional punch! I prepared the pasta by bringing my water to a boil and cooking the pasta for about 2 minutes while stiring, I also added a couple pinches of sea salt to the pasta water. The pasta held up fabulously! 

Enjoy!

  

Power Cleans!!

Hi there! Can you believe we’re already almost half way through February? It’s insane. Life has been so insanely busy the last month or so. But today, I slowed down a little in the gym and learned a new skill. I’ve got a long road of work ahead of me but considering it was my first go at it, I think things went pretty well! Today I learned the power clean!! It was awesome. I can feel it working so many different parts of my body all at the same time. I’ve been creeping up my weights in the squat, deadlift, and presses. Now it’s time to learn something new to add into my routine. I’ve got the best coach ever. My fiancé is an avid weightlifter and has dabbled quite a bit in Olympic lifting. He really knows his stuff. Which is so perfect for me who is new and wanting to learn. 
If you’re curious about starting to weight train I highly recommend looking into Mark Rippetoe’s starting strength program. His books are easy to follow, and he has great YouTube videos teaching you step by step each lift. I’m really shocked by how easy I picked up the power clean. And a lot of that has to do with the help of his videos (and obviously a great coach). He walks you through step by step instead of having you do the whole movement right away. I had that issue at cross fit gyms and never could coordinate myself to do the movement correctly. 
I’ve also been focusing a lot on my nutrition both pre and post workout. I read through Stephanie Gaudreau’s The Paleo Athlete and it’s helped me a lot. I feel so much better after my workouts when I focus my eating around refueling. I have more energy and I’m noticing a huge difference in my muscle soreness. HUGE. 
This week I’ve been on the evening shift so I’m working out before work. I eat 2 scrambled eggs with 2 slices of uncured bacon. The goal is protein and fat before the workout. Then when I get home, the second I walk in the door, I make a smoothie that’s focused on protein and carbs. Then I typically eat lunch 2-3 hours later and that consists of a protein, small amount of carb, and some kind of veggie sautéed in fat. Dinner is about the same as lunch. I don’t usually eat that many carbs, I’ve always been somewhat “afraid” of them. I was scared of gaining more weight, I am after all on a journey to lose some fat. But I will say, since adding good clean carbs back in I’m recovering from my workouts SO much better. I was shocked at the difference it’s made in just a week. If you are able to check out either of those resources I would! They’re both excellent. Here are the links: http://startingstrength.com

http://stupideasypaleo.com 

Well dangit

I’ve been called full of shit more than once in my life. Not very often do I take it to heart though, I usually just laugh because, well sometimes I am full of shit. I’m sarcastic, I’m stubborn, sometimes I use the mantra: fake it till you make it. So, sometimes, I’m totally full of it. 
This past Friday the fireman and I were taking a quick one day road trip to visit my grandpa who has been in the hospital for two weeks now. He’s trucking along, he’s got cancer so we all know what the outcome is, we just don’t want to admit it quite yet.
Anyways, as were driving along I ask the fireman his opinion on me starting the Whole30. You see, my initial plan was to start on Monday February 1st. I even wrote a blog post saying, I doing it! I’m going for it! I can and will do it!! I will say, I’ve been a little leary starting because I know my grandpa isn’t doing so well and it’s been and very emotional roller coaster. Maybe not the most stable time to start the Whole30? So I asked my beloved his thoughts. And boy did he give em to me. 
I should’ve know by the look on his face that he was already not a fan. He asked WHY February? We’ve got 3 birthdays in the family, Valentine’s Day…for which I’m a sucker for, and well, my grandpa isn’t doing so well. I told him I could handle it! To which he replied, riiiiight. Because I’ve already got such a great handle on my emotional eating. We then spent the next 15 minutes very loudly (but also giggling at how ridiculous this argument was) discussing our sides of the story. 
I wanted to do this program to get a better control on my unchecked emotional eating. To which he asked, “have you been eating shit at work”? Weellll. Yeaaahhh. I work in a procedural area, we have reps coming in just about once a week or more with free food and lunches, donuts (my personal fave), cakes, pizzas, breakfast tacos. We’re also super busy and stressed so sometimes it’s easier to grab a taco and run rather than taking 10 minutes to heat up  some food and eat what I brought. 
He brought up some good points though. When I’m around him I eat perfectly. Because for me, I’m almost embarrassed to eat junk food around him. Not so much around my coworkers. So why waste my will power on my safe place? Why not utilize it where it matters most, at work, where I’m surround by junk. Ok, ok. I’ll agree that was a good one. “Rule” 1: stop eating shit at work. If I am craving something I’ll wait until I get home and we’ll decide together what we’ll treat ourselves to. 
His next point was to make small changes. “Small changes cause big changes” he said. Stick to your 3 gym workouts a week, and make small changes here and there to your diet until you figure out what works for you. You see, I know I have no patience for that. So I know I’ll need to work on it. 
There’s also the part about how I’ve never been able to finish a challenge like this. Ever. I’ve tried 3 different kinds and I’ve never finished one. So, maybe I jumped the gun. Maybe I should hold off on the Whole30. At least until I’m a little more stable on my own two feet. And, maybe I’ll never do it. I’m learning (from listening toBalanced  Bites podcasts that my personality is that of the rebel. I do not like being told what to do…even by myself. It’s sick, I know. And often times these challenges stir up some kind of crazy in my brain and the second I’m told I can’t have something I want it a thousand times more. So maybe I can moderate myself a little better than I think I can. If not, I’ve got a lifetime to figure out how. And the best part? I’ve got the best coach/friend/fiancé right by my side to cheer me on. Even when I am being crazy.