Day 8 – Eat Clean Meltdown…

So yesterday…wasn’t my best day in this eating clean journey. I started out pretty strong…with a banana, handful of almonds, and a scoop of peanut butter. Had greek yogurt for my mid morning snack and lunch was tilapia from Sunday night with grapes. And that’s where the good news ends.

I went to the doctor yesterday morning because I’ve been having back problems for a while now. I have a pulled muscle in my back between the ribs and not allowed to do upper body weights or workouts for 3-4 weeks. Anything that makes it hurt…stop doing. Well that’s going to be difficult, because everything makes it hurt! It’s in the worst spot possible, mid back (thoracic) right where you would turn or breathe, or do anything besides sleep. Which – that is uncomfortable too. So, now I’m icing it and sleeping on my right side…which I don’t like! I’m a left side sleep…just am. haha.

Anyway, so that put me in a piss poor mood. I dealt with it via a little self-destuctive behavior. In the form of very unclean foods, a jalapeno cheddar hotdog and spicy nacho dorito chips, on my way to class last night. I’m so ashamed! did make me feel better. And that’s not all of it…I ate a snickers (yes, a snickers!) during my last class. Ugh. Considering the fact that I can’t really workout to my fullest ability right now, don’t you think I wouldn’t eat bad foods?! I guess we all get a little crazy in the moment.

Well, that little episode and the thought of having to post it, for all who read to see, has made me determined to nix the behavior before letting it swallow me. I’m going to focus on my running (that’s lower body!) and my leg workouts. I’ll be a little unbalanced…maybe, but at least I won’t be sitting around eating bon bons or snickers! 🙂 One good thing I did yesterday was sign-up for Dam-to-Dam! It’s a 20K on June 1, 2013….scary!! The longest race I’ve done was a 7K about a year ago..and it was hell! I usually stick to 5K distances. So, I joined a new running group out of Ankeny to help me stay consistent with training and I look forward to meeting on Saturdays for runs and doing fun runs with them this summer!!

Tonight I’ll be running 3.5 miles after work and focusing on being smart about food choices!

Focus, Kristin. Focus.

Have a healthy day and stay strong!

Here’s a little motivation to me and you going. 🙂





Eat Clean – Weekend Review!

This last weekend was fairly successful. The boyfriend and I made a few new things, but not what we had planned to make! 🙂 He made some delicious chocolate, granola and blueberry cookies. Except I think we both ate too many! 🙂 Most of the meals this weekend consisted of adding vegetables to things already cooked earlier in the week. I had some ground beef that had been browned. We added vegetables to that one meal and then next meal put it in with some eggs and veggies. We finished leftover meatloaf and sweet potatoes and splurged on popcorn for movie night.

I did make some tilapia and sweet potato chips on Sunday night. They were simply devine!! It was super easy and quick to the make the tilapia – although I think I needed to cook it a little longer. The next day (Monday) when I reheated it for lunch, it actually tasted better than the night before!! I also worked on my food photography this weekend, so hopefully my picture quality will start improving!

We also experimented with juicing this weekend. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. First we did a few shots of different items before combining. We tasted carrots, beets, and ginger – then mixed it together. It wasn’t bad! But we added a little bit too much ginger…but still not a bad drink. I had 2 or 3 more juice drinks over the weekend. The boyfriend juiced right before teaching fitness classes and said it gave him crazy good energy all the way through!

Make good choices! 🙂


Juiced Carrot Shots!


Juiced Apple – it’s orange b/c we didn’t wash it out after the carrots. It was delicious! 🙂


Baked Tilapia! Yuuuum!! Nice and spicy. 🙂


Day 3 – EAT CLEAN!

Day 2 Review: Yesterday was…good and bad.

First the good: I did really well while I was at work. Didn’t touch the candy bowl. I stared it down a few times and just walked into my office where, thankfully, I had a banana and an orange sitting in plain site. I fought the candy dish with that banana and orange! I was so excited to go home and make a delicious dinner. And if you know me, that last sentence was extremely out of character! I’ve never been known to cook. After roughly 7 months of dating, I made the boyfriend some chocolate chip banana bread and his reaction? I’m happy to know you can cook!! If it took him 7 months to realize I can cook, it tells you that I don’t do it often. 🙂 Plus, I’m pretty sure my immediate family believes I eat frozen dinners every night, they are always so surprised when I say I’m cooking. And so am I. hahaha.

I knew that I had some boneless/skinless chicken breasts just begging to be spice and flavored into delirium. As soon as I got home, I grabbed all my newly purchase spices along with some old favorites. I was opening the garlic powder (not quite sure what’d I do with it yet, but I love garlic so it would be amazing either way) when I noticed a recipe for Garlic Lime Grilled Chicken on the spice jar. Yes, that’s right. I said Garlic LIME Grilled Chicken. Well, it’s winter…so I couldn’t grill, but I could bake it! And that’s exactly what I did. I used what I had in the spice cabinet and followed the recipe with a few off-book liberties.  It was AMAZING! You can find the recipe by clicking here…it was fantastic. I’ve never baked chicken before but with a little help from the internet, I was a pro at it last night!! 🙂  Of course, I needed something to go with the chicken. It was lonely. Hmmm…glancing around the kitchen I take inventory of what’s on hand from shopping spree the other night. Sweet potatoes! I love sweet potatoes. Can you tell? I’ve never made mashed sweet potatoes before, but thought it’d be an excellent night for firsts! Again, with the help of instructions on the internet I began to embark on crafting delicious mashed sweet potatoes. The first round ended with a sweet potato soup. The picture below is the soup before I mixed in the second sweet potato. Half soup/half potatoes that are about to *hopefully* thicken it into legit mashed potatoes. I only intended to mash one sweet potato. 🙂 Success! The second potato was the perfect addition.

Now the bad: I was so hungry (what an excuse!) waiting for everything that when I opened the pantry to get honey for the potatoes…I spotted those darn mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. And then proceeded to eat a handful! By then time dinner was ready, eaten, and cleaned up I had about 6-7 handfuls of chocolate chips! AHH!! That was terrible. However, I’m still pretty stinkin’ proud of my dinner and super excited about my lunch that is waiting for me today. I’m eating left-overs from yesterday’s lunch…so that means a tuna & salsa lettuce wrap for me plus mashed sweet potatoes from last night! YAY!

Have a great day and make good choices!!

Below: Sweet Potato Soup before it became Mashed Sweet Potato!


Below: The complete masterpiece! Baked Garlic Lime Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes. YUM!
Recipe: Garlic Lime Chicken – Baked


5am Workout? No Way!!

If you know my personally, you may know that I’m not a morning person. I’m a up-all-night, sleep-all-day kind of girl. At least, I was. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m sure you know someone just like me or maybe this describes you. Here’s what went through my head in the evenings:

“It’s 10:00pm and my favorite show just started on TV. Well, it’s not my favorite but I do love it. Ok, I don’t love it but I do enjoy it. Alright, what else is on. Oh crap! It’s 11:00pm ‘all of the sudden.’ (we all know that was NOT ‘all of the sudden’, what did you think would happen after watching an hour long show??) Alright, if I go to bed right now and wake up at 7am…1, 2, 3, 4, 5..I’ll get 8 hours of sleep! Oh that’s pretty good, one more show. The next morning roles around…7am alarm clock. The “I want to die” feeling flows through my soul. And I would say to myself, dangit…I did it again, I really need to go to bed earlier.”

This was my routine every. single. night. until about 1 year ago. At that time, I decided that it would be a good idea to act like an adult and wake up at a decent time. When I decided that I would like to be an adult and rise at a normal time..I had to make small changes. It would have been unreasonable to immediately start waking up at 5am everyday and work out before work.

My first goal was 7:45am. Just wake up at 7:45am. Once I accomplished that for 2+ weeks, my goal was 7:30am…just wake up and get out of bed at 7:30am. I wasn’t completely alone on this journey either. About half-way through, I found a running partner who wanted to do 6:00am runs. I was used to waking up at 7am by then, so I figured that 6am wouldn’t be too far off. Plus, I had someone depending on me to show-up (this made a HUGE difference for me). My latest venture (teaching a 5am group fitness class) really forces me to wake up and be alert and energetic in the wee hours of the morning. Not only are people counting on me to show-up and lead them in a work-out, but my job depends on it. Talk about motivation! Nowadays, if I’m teaching I wake up at 3:30am and if just working out I push it back to 4/4:15am. If you really want something, you can most certainly do it. Find your own motivations and encouragements to make it happen!

It has taken about a year, but if I had given up a year ago or tried to do too much at once I’d still be where I started a year ago, waking up at 8am and late for work every day. Even though it took a long time (in my eyes), I’ve reached my goal!

What goal do you have that seems overwhelming or impossible? Can it be broken down into small steps that are accomplished over time? Remember, life isn’t about getting it perfect and a weight-loss, budget plan, or self-improvement journey is just that – a journey. If you reach the end goal as soon as you start, what was the point of taking the ride? Have patience with yourself and every month, every week, and every day strive for improvement. Be better than you were yesterday. Not perfect, but better.

Live well,

Personal Mantra

Hard to overcome cravings on the weekends? Don’t have the energy to exercise? Develop a personal mantra to repeat to yourself whenever you are feeling down in the dumps or unmotivated!

My personal mantra:

If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. (i.e. get out of bed at 5am!) Sometimes, I shorten it to: Do something you’ve don’t do! It took me about a year, but I’ve been working out at 5am consistently for the past several weeks and even teach a 5am yoga class now!!!


Another personal mantra:

“Fighters don’t quit, fighters don’t whine, they don’t complain. They do the work. DO THE WORK!” -Adapted from something Dolvett said to a contestant on Biggest Loser. I repeat this mantra when I feel lazy! =)

What’s your personal mantra???

Here are some of my favorites:

I Challenge You to a Duel!!!

Recently, a very good friend of mine presented me with a challenge, a fitness challenge.

The Challenge: No soda, No sweets and work out 6 days a week until Christmas. Holidays don’t count (meaning you can cheat and not be penalized on holidays like Thanksgivings and Birthdays).

The Consequence: Whoever cheats has to fly to the other person’s location. (She lives in Texas and I live in Iowa.)

She has a honeymoon quickly approaching and wanted to trim down a bit and needed someone to keep her accountable. While I don’t drink soda anyway, I do love sweets and always love a good challenge!!! My friend and I are both competitive at stuff like this and don’t like losing…so neither of us will quit! So far, this has been the best thing for both of us. We have both been tempted by tantalizing desserts that we think we ‘need’. However, right as I extended my hand to grab a mini-snickers from the candy bowl at work a little voice in my head said: STOP! THE CHALLENGE!! NOOOOOOO!!! And back in the bowl the snickers did go (individually wrapped…so no harm done).

So far, both of us have done really great. Soda isn’t a challenge for me because I challenged myself at the beginning of the year to give it up for one year…so easy sailing there. However, I’m a sucker for sweets. Challenging friends, family, and/or coworkers is a great way to stay accountable. I encourage you to add consequences and timeframes.

Another example, a friend of mine LOVES to dine out however it’s affecting her weight loss because restaurants cook in too much salt, fat, butter, etc. and then there’s dessert and drinks. Her challenge: dine out maximum of once a week. In this case, she’s not giving it up completely, simply limiting her consumption. This friend HATES to clean house and has hired a cleaning lady. Her consequence is that for every time she dines out over her 1x a week limit, she has to clean house for a week.

Here’s a couple tips when beginning a challenge:

Challenge Tip #1: Picky Partner

It is very important that you choose a challenge partner who is going to stay on task with you and not give-up. A good way to decide on a partner is to look at the habits of people in your life. It is a good idea to pick someone who has a good track record of follow-through. You don’t necessarily want to choose someone who screws up or quits as many times as you do…because you’re just increasing failure rate instead of ending it. Your challenge partner doesn’t have to NEED to lose weight or quit sweets or whatever your challenge is…they just have to be WILLING. For example, my friend asked me to do the challenge with her because she knows the only way she will win is over my dead body.

Even though I don’t have issues with soda and don’t over-indulge in sweets – they are both great things to give up for a period of time. The key here is that she chose someone who isn’t going to just let her win and throw in the towel half way through. If you don’t have someone in your life that you can count on to push you, check into hiring a coach, accountability partner, or personal trainer to help you achieve your goals.

Challenge Tip #2: Define the Challenge

There are different philosophies to what challenge you should start, easy temptations or hard temptations. In my opinion, go big or go home. Start with your biggest downfall to achieving your goals. What is your biggest problem area – soda, restaurants, binge eating, ice cream, no exercise, no follow-through, etc.? What do you struggle with the most? I like to go with the thing that is most challenging because on your first challenge, you will be really fired up and eager to win. Also, if you can beat your first challenge and it was something that is the hardest for you to overcome…just think how much easier your next challenge will be, after all you’ve already done the hardest.

When you are setting and defining the challenge, take baby steps. If you have 50 things you want to change…don’t do it all in one challenge! We all want everything to happen now, now now. However, if you set 50 things you aren’t allowed to do in ONE challenge…you won’t be successful, it’s too much. I recommend 1-2 things you want to quit with 1 thing you want to start. Example: This month I will not drink soda and I will start taking a multi-vitamin every day.

Challenge Tip #3: The Consequence Should Be Painful

Please do not misunderstand me, this should not actually be painful physically or cause harm in your life. What I mean is that the consequence needs to be something you would really rather not do. For example, my challenge with my friend mentioned earlier. Our punishment is whoever cheats has to fly to the other person’s location. It’s not that seeing her would be painful! Ha-ha. It’s that flights are EXPENSIVE!! So it would be painful to our budgets. My other friend that I mentioned hates to clean, so it would pain her to be forced to clean her house thereby encouraging her to not cheat!

If you set a consequence that you would be doing anyway, it won’t work. If you set a reward instead of a consequence, it’s going to be harder. Most of the time I hear rewards such as, if I don’t cheat…I’ll buy myself a pedicure. Then when the person cheats I hear, oh well I don’t really like pedicures or I can live without it. Well…that system didn’t work! J You need to make the consequence something that “pains” you to complete. Make sure you and your accountability partner agree on the consequence. Again, if you don’t have someone that you can count to hold you accountable for cheating seek out coaches, accountability partners, and personal trainers.

Good Luck on Your Challenges! Please write your challenge/consequence in the comments!

Live Well,


Healthy Attitude

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles Swindoll

ATTITUDE is such a vital piece to a healthy mind. Whether it is a good attitude or a bad atttiude, it has the power to change your whole perspective and outlook on life. A bad attitude can make things seem so much worse than they really are and can ruin a day that could otherwise have been a progress day.

Here’s a test: For one whole day – commit to having a positive attitude and putting a positive spin on EVERYTHING. Be ridiculously positive. And then see if at the end of day, what kind of mood embraces you at the end of the day.

In order to have a healthy mind and thus a healthy life, it is important to have a healthy attitude. This doesn’t mean you have to be dillusional and oblivious to the cruelities of the world. However, making an effort to see the positive in life, in ourselves, and in others has a healing effect on our minds and souls. For example, I teach children’s gymnastics. When I first started, I would have kids run about aimlessly, make noise, and be all sorts of out-of-control. I got angry and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just listen! I yelled and banged my hands together, put them in time out, etc. Nothing worked. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to keep teaching, but I couldn’t deal with these darn kids!

I took a step back and realized that maybe it wasn’t the kids…maybe I just had a negative outlook and it was effecting my reaction. I reflected back to when I was their age and my most principle mission at that time. It was to have fun, laugh, play, be goofy. These kids were not acting out on purpose, they were executing their mission. As their teacher, I saw it as my responsibility to help them achieve that mission and if at the end of it they could do a cartwheel..then super. If not, at least they had fun!

Once I changed my attitude and perspective to teaching gymnastics and incorporated it in my classes, everything changed. The kids listened because they wanted to know what fun activity was next. Their teacher (me) was the goofiest person ever and they loved they wanted to follow the teacher around (fixing my runaway issue). It was fabulous. I changed my attitude and started listening to the children as well instead of demanding a one-way audience. Sometimes they acted out because they were scared of a skill but too embarrassed to admit it, sometimes they were bored, didn’t hear me or understand what I wanted and didn’t know how to ask for more direction. All of these insights have made me such a better gymnastics teacher and would have never developed if I had kept my bad attitude and refused to change.

Attitude is everything. It can lift you up or bring you down. I believe it is the number one key to have a healthy mind and thus a healthy life.

Live Well.