A CrockPot Mishap

My CrockPot Mishap

I wanted to make some sort of delicious crockpot recipe but then I remembered that I am unfortunately not Juli Bauer. I also wanted to keep it as “clean” as possible. I threw some stuff together and this is what happened. It turned into a half soup half chili type situation, but it was seriously delicious!

✔️2 Pounds Ground Turkey
✔️2 Cups Kale
✔️1 Pepper (I used 1/2 Red, 1/2 Yellow)
✔️1 Cup Chicken Broth
✔️3 Chopped up Garlic Cloves
✔️Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, Basil

Put your ground turkey into your crockpot, add the Kale, peppers, seasonings, garlic & broth! One step process, people. You’ve got this. I served myself about 1.5 cups of this recipe over 1/2 cup of Brown & Wild rice.

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Yours Truly,

Stef

IIFYM, Eat Clean, Paleo – What’s Next?

I recently got a little made fun of for my “Clean Eating” mantra, which inspired me to briefly go over what it means to #eatclean. So there are a million different ways of eating out there, and I’ve tried a few of them.

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I started dieting with an IIFYM approach. At the time, I had no idea that I was even following this fad. For those of you who are out of the loop, IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros. I don’t like to get all scientific, but this ones science. You need a caloric deficit, Calories in, calories out, yadda yadda… “science”. Anyways, IIFYM promotes flexible dieting. It is a GREAT approach for beginner dieters, and those who are just starting their journey towards awesomeness.  IIFYM was the main reason I was so successful with my weightloss journey. I counted my calories on an app called My Net Diary. In my About Me, I listed a few foods I ate that helped me get in the groove and drop a few pounds. Because I wasn’t completely restricted to chicken and broccoli, dieting became fun. I have undiagnosed OCD, and my diet was something I had complete control over, and I liked that. I fit Special K cereal into my diet, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a healthy serving of pasta and chicken for dinner, all as long as it fit into my available macronutrients! I was not limiting myself, but I was controlling my portions and measuring serving sizes to make sure I was on track. Paleo people cringe at the thought of IIFYM. That’s because it technically allows processed foods, dairy, gluten, anything and everything. If you really wanted, you could have a pop tart for dinner. If it fits your macros. Fitness competitors also use IIFYM to make “gains” in their off season. From my research (brought to you by Instagram, Twitter, etc), IIFYM seems to be commonly used by those with an already fast metabolism and those who are just discovering the calorie counting process and benefits of changing your diet. It seems that many people start with IIFYM, and move on to a cleaner diet eventually when they want to reach some serious goals. Though IIFYM is often abused, I have no negative thing to say about this diet strategy because it is all about what works for you. If Pop Tarts and Reeses get you to where you need to be, so be it.

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And this is where my thoughts collide. I’ve recently been trying to find a balance in my diet and mind about food. As I said before, I started with an IIFYM approach. Now, I often find myself cringing at the thought of processed foods. Not to mention, I am gluten and dairy intolerant, so IIFYM would make me just as limited. So yeah, you’re following science. You might be eating chicken and veggies for lunch, but Reeses and ice cream for dinner. Ah! Filling your body with chemicals you can’t even pronounce? You might be fitting in your calories, but your insides are not thanking you. There is actual research that proves that these foods are poisonous to your body. They are also very addictive, as well as chemically made. Not real food.

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So you opt for a bowl of cereal instead of a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Yeah, they might have the same macronutrients, but there are more cons than pros. One including, those processed foods increase your serotonin levels (I’m talkin’ science, people). Serotonin causes you to be drowsy, tired, and lazy. When I follow my #eatclean way of eating, which is as close to Paleo as possible, everything gets better. And yeah, I mean everything. I feel energized. My skin shines, my hair looks healthier, my thoughts are positive and clear, and my body just feels right. But also, who the hell can eat one serving of Reeses cereal without going for round two? Not me. Reeses are the bomb dot com. Anyways, what I was trying to mention in the top of this paragraph was that I’m trying not to be so gosh darn anal about what I put in  my body. Yes, it’ll help me in the long run, but sometimes you have to throw your chicken and broccoli out the window and stop at Taco Bell. Also, nobody wants to go out to eat with someone who isn’t going to eat. For example, Friday night we went to a Burlesque show at one of my favorite local restaurants, Jackie O’s. They have an unbelievable gluten free menu. I was wondering all week about what I was going to eat there, because I am really trying to follow my plan! There’s a difference between a healthy lifestyle and trying to lose weight. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t throw out your chicken and broccoli for Taco Bell. It is important to follow your diet to the best of your ability, your body will thank you later.

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I thought maybe I would just eat dinner before we went, but then I thought about how not fun it would be watching everybody chow down on pizza. They have burgers, so I ordered the morning burger, which is a burger with an egg on top! No bun, no cheese. And yeah, I ate the chips, thanks Chardonnay.

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Okay, back to clean eating. Clean eating doesn’t mean you spray your food with windex. Clean eating means you opt for food with as little ingredients as possible.

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I started getting into the #eatclean fad when Instagram became more popular. Sophomore year I would follow all these profiles with great clean eating recipes that looked delicious. I was in the dorms, so I started #eatingclean with the best of my ability. Our market at school sucked. There were no fresh fruits, veggies, or meats. So I bought what I could at the market and the rest at the grocery store. When I went to the dining hall, which wasn’t that often, I would get a salad or a deli sandwich on wheat bread. I was lucky if they had chicken and brown rice. In my dorm room I would have oatmeal for breakfast, or Smart Start cereal with added FiberOne cereal and fruit. I also got egg beaters and microwaved them with broccoli and would make sandwiches with those Whole Wheat Flat Out wraps and thins.  I was obsessed with Wasa Crackers and the Laughing Cow Cheese wedges. I would spread those on the Wasa crackers with some Deli Turkey meat and have a baggie of carrots and broccoli for lunch. My snacks were apples, veggies, bananas, or granola bars. I was trying to follow a low-fat diet at the time, so I didn’t have peanut butter as much. But when I did I would make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. For dinner I would have the One Minute Ready Rice cups, with microwavable chicken and veggies. I steamed my veggies by putting them in a microwavable bowl with water for about five minutes.

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My body slowly started craving more fresh foods, and by junior year I was in full force with my clean eating lifestyle. Not to mention, I actually had a kitchen to cook in. Perks. So I started really cooking for myself my junior year. Breakfast was omelets, with Feta cheese! (Oh how I miss cheese sometimes) Sometimes I just had oatmeal or yogurt with granola. That was before I got into putting protein in almost every meal. For instance, sometimes for dinner I’d have soup and salad. Sometimes the salad would have a protein in it, sometimes it wouldn’t. I still would enjoy a nice sandwich every now and then (I may or  may not have just started drooling because I really want a sandwich now, it’s the little things).  My junior year is also when I started getting a lot more into Crossfit and lifting. I was gaining a little muscle and getting stronger without even realizing it. I started researching how to eat for performance, and started eating like an athlete. For instance, I started making protein and vegetables my main focus, and keeping carbs involved for performance and recovery.

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Once I started noticing the gains I was making from Crossfit, I couldn’t stop! And that’s how I got into Paleo. Somehow, Crossfit and Paleo are paired up. After my research (also brought to you by Instagram, Twitter, etc) I now realize that most crossfit athletes don’t even eat a Paleo diet. Anyways, I grew a girl-crush on Juli Baurer’s PaleOMG website, and really thought Paleo would help me lose weight!

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You figure if you’re eating meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, fruit and fish, and healthy fats, you would lose weight, fast! Well I didn’t exactly lose weight. I’ve heard of many successful weightloss stories from the Paleo diet, but my results were not consistent and I learned that it was not for me. My body changed though. I realized what it actually felt like to be happy, mentally and physically. My physique changed. My booty lifted, my shoulders broadened. I started to actually look like I at least worked out from time to time. (Which is all why my diet is still mostly Paleo, anyway) Any fitness nerd has that goal in mind. You want everyone to see how hard you work, and your body is a reflection of that. I think that’s my biggest frustration with my body. I kill my workouts, but my stubborn body is not giving me the results I KNOW I can get. Hence my recent diet change. I’m putting everything I know that has worked together. Lifting, HIIT, Cardio, a clean diet, a meal plan, counting calories, and a few moderate treat meals here and there! I know that I have accomplished a lot, and I am more than proud of myself for doing so! I’m hopefully on the road to the body that I have worked so hard for.

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I know I’ve mentioned this a million times throughout my blog, but I can’t stress this enough. It’s not what you’re friends are doing, not what your instagram idol is doing, and sometimes… it’s not even 100% what your nutritionist is telling you to do. It’s what works for you. You have to be well rounded. You aren’t going to get anywhere by depriving yourself, but you also aren’t going to get anywhere by constantly rewarding yourself with food. I’ve shot and missed a million times, and eventually you start knowing your body better than any advice column can tell you.

Yours Truly,

Stef

Mushroom & Basil Turkey Muffins – Simple & Healthy!

Plain ground turkey meat is not all that appetizing. What makes it so delicious is the seasonings, flavors, and salt that you can add to it! But what do you do if you’re like me and you’re trying to keep your salt to a minimum and your diet as clean as possible (without going stir crazy)? So I’ve been following a very strict “plan” and am ready to experiment just how strict I can stay while still adding loads of flavor. Below is the ingredients & cooking instructions for my delicious mushroom and basil turkey muffins! Before you scroll down, keep in mind this was during one of my cooking binges. Anyone else go on cooking binges? I was bored, in general and with my diet, so all of the sudden I cooked up everything I just bought at the grocery store into three GREAT dishes, this one included, that I will be sharing with you all! When I go on these cooking “binges”, I typically just eye everything. I have become very good at eye-ing ingredients, so don’t be worried – you can trust me.

Mushroom & Basil Turkey Muffins!

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Approx. 1 pound Ground Turkey Meat
2 cups cut up Mushrooms

Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning
Lemon Juice
Basil

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Combine all ingredients into a bowl (or your meat container, I honestly just didn’t want to do dishes). This is where eye-ing your ingredients comes in handy. Do you want the flavor overloaded with Basil? Go ahead, girl, sprinkle as much as you want! The same goes for the lemon juice and italian medley seasoning. (I know I said “girl” but, dudes can make this recipe too, in case you were wondering)

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Mush (professional cooking terms) your ingredients together until everything looks portioned. This is a good time to decide if you need to add more basil, lemon juice, or Mrs. Dash.

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Portion your “mush” into muffin tins. Mine fit perfectly into six muffin cups! (Don’t forget to use Pam!)
Cook on 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes! Cooking time may vary, as my oven is pretty strong.

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To make sure they are done, place your fork in them, if they slide right out and are nice and firm – they are finished! If not, put them in for another 5 minutes.

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Makes 3 Servings
Serving Size: 4 oz (two muffins)
Approx. 170 Calories, 9 g Fat, 1 Carb, 23 g Protein

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe! If you prefer ground beef, go for it! These muffins are great on-the-go and portioned perfectly! For all of you heavy lifters, all six of these muffins may be your whole dinner. For some, two muffins is just enough! I ate my portion with 1/2 cup Brown Rice and 2 cups of broccoli. Hash tag eat clean, hash tag meat for dayz.

Yours Truly,

Stef

 

Passion vs. Dramatics

Have you ever woken up feeling like someone was pumping an IV of Extra Bold coffee into your system? Well, that’s how I woke up today. I was casually scrolling through my twitter feed when I came across a ton of positive and uplifting tweets. Who would have thought twitter would “uplift” me? The typical tweets on a twenty-one year old year olds feed are complaints of hangovers, celebrations of starbucks, and people dreading gym time. “I was gonna go to the gym but I hung out with my friend Jim instead”. That’s something I specifically remember tweeting freshman year of college. I actually live for the overdramatic tweets in todays society, and I am quite the culprit of them. There are many that are not a fan, but sometimes overdramatizing or overemphasizing is not as much of a negative thing as you might think. How else are we supposed to make it happen? Think of it in terms of olympic lifting. You are told every day to exaggerate the movements. The only way you’re going to get your true PR on your snatch is if you take every step and overemphasize it. That is my problem. Some might be thinking, “There is no way Stefani has a problem with making something dramatic”. Well, yes, as dramatic as I am, my olympic lifts are not dramatic enough. As much as I try to SNAP my feet, I make no noise. As much as I try to burst my hips in the air… I don’t. My hips are the strongest part of my body, they are the only reason why I can clean a heavy weight, and handle those heavy back squats. If you take your hips out of a movement, you don’t have a movement. This also goes for twerking.

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The only reason Miley Cyrus has been talked about so much in the last year is because she’s dramatic. Yeah, I think she is absolutely ridiculous, though I can’t lie about jamming out to her songs sometimes. More people bought her album because they were curious, not because they were fans. What led their curiosity was her overdramatic public appearance and performances. Miley made it happen by making every little thing overdramatic, which led her to the twerk. The twerk has been around for some time but it recently made its big break. It is now a word in the dictionary, and being practiced by five year olds everywhere. That is something we can thank Miley Cyrus for, not.

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A lot of times people mistake passion for dramatics. Sometimes you’re so passionate about something that you just want to paint the town with it. Apparently, Miley Cyrus is passionate about twerking and, of course, music, so she has done everything in her power to let those two things reach audiences around the world. I, for example, am passionate about health and fitness. I’m passionate about feeling good, and feeling healthy. I’m passionate about helping others to feel their best, and motivating them enough to make them realize that they CAN do it. I’m passionate about results. I feel uplifted when those who read my blog tell me how much they enjoy it. I am passionate about writing, and humor. I overemphasize it all. I post, I comment, I snoop. It’s because I have a passion for being involved. I want adventure, friendships, a clear mind and a purpose. I’m passionate about my friendships, and will always put them first. But most of all, I’ve learned that I’m passionate about myself. So passionate about myself and my character, that I often never put myself first, which is something I’m learning to do. One day, someone will put me first. But I’m passionate enough to know that right now all I need is what is around me, and what is around me is all that matters.

Passion. Friendships. Family. Results. Happiness. Surround yourself with it.

This post is to help you make it happen. Whatever “it” may be. Whether it be PRing your snatch, nailing a new dance move, going on a  run, or losing weight. You can’t just sit back and think you can watch it happen. You have to go out and DO something. You have to overemphasize every strategy you have, because playing it safe is not going to get you anywhere.

Yours Truly,

Stef

I Am Thankful For Running Because…

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I first found my love of fitness through running. Actually, no. I first found my hatred of fitness through running. I hated running, but it was because I “couldn’t” do it. Those one mile turkey trots in elementary school were my least favorite thing about the holidays. I finished last every year, and faked sick another year because I was tired of finishing last. It took me 13 minutes to run that mile, while the athletic kids finished in about 6 minutes. I will always remember how cool I thought everyone was that finished that quickly. It was awesome and intimidating, and I felt embarrassed every year. I do remember that good feeling when it was over though. That sense of relief and accomplishment, there is no better feeling.

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It’s weird to think back and remember that, besides feeling embarrassed, I secretly felt accomplished. (Not to mention I was more than relieved that it was over.) Why didn’t I hold onto that feeling? I could have reversed my whole predicament, which was becoming obese, if I just kept searching for that feeling. But then I wonder who I would have been today. Would I have become a high school athlete, a college athlete? Maybe I wouldn’t have been a cheerleader. Maybe I’d have a kick ass body and buns of steel. Maybe I would have started high school and dated the quarterback who eventually made it to the NFL and we would be this crazy athletic power couple. (living on a prayer) Maybe, with an athletic background, I would have been driven enough to receive straight A’s. All that I know is that things would have been a lot easier for me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. But looking back, I wouldn’t want that. I’m glad that I had to “suffer”, though, I never truly felt like I was suffering, I just enjoy being dramatic. I guess it was the most peaceful way to suffer. I had no idea what I had inside me, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, I didn’t want to believe that I needed to lose weight, so I peacefully fled through life, happy as a clam, but suffering. My strength, willpower, and motivation surprises me sometimes. To be so bold, I have something that many people don’t have. I taught myself to stay strong and to not give up. I taught myself how to be consistent, how to be healthy. I taught myself how to breathe without hyperventilating (take that anxiety). Breathing is the most important part. You are one deep breath away from a good mood, a smile, a new day. When I started running, breathing was the hardest part. Running took my breath away, and I fell in love. 

This. This Quote. 

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 I want this quote tattooed on my face. (But I’d never do that. That’d be weird.) I watched this video a year or so ago and it really inspired me, I wanted to go run a marathon or rep out a million 200# dead lifts or something. 

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life” -George Sheehan

I Am Thankful for Running Because…

1. of the Sweat. I sweat no matter what form of exercise I’m doing, but a long sweaty run is the most rejuvenating. You’re sweating for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Thats a LOT of sweat. Everyone feels better after a run, so I like to think of my sweat as a symbol for washing away all the negative worries or stressful situations I have building up in my head.

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2. of the post-run high. 

3. it makes my mind and body come together.

4. It’s my therapy. When I run, I’m in the zone. I do a lot of my thinking when I run. I probably make most of my decisions during a run, a long with coming up with most of my ideas. Ideas that will inspire myself, a long with the few who read my blog. My thoughts are powerful during a run. Yes, I have my days where all I’m thinking is “I don’t want to do this”, but there are a few ways I talk myself into finishing what I started. You have to constantly yell positive things at yourself. Yes, in your head, yell at yourself. Tell yourself to keep going. Tell yourself you can.

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5. it clears my head. 

6. it is time alone with myself.

7. it hurts so good.

8. It challenges me. You are facing defeat every time you set out for a run. Each step is a milestone, and the first few are the hardest part. I started out hating running. It’s the beginning so it’s challenging. It’s challenging because it sucks. It sucks because its working.

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9. it makes me appreciate my body.

10.  it keeps me pushing for more. More miles, more speed, more life.

11. it allows me to observe. Whether it’s people watching at the gym or in the park (I love people watching).

12. Legs. I’d like to give a shoutout to my legs, for a couple of reasons. One, for existing. Some people don’t have legs, and they still do far more bad ass things than me. I am thankful for doing slightly bad ass things with my real legs. For always putting up with my drive. For listening to my brain and not the pain I may feel on mile 6 of a 10 miler. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my legs for being the two most stubborn assholes I’ve ever met. But with running, they are only slight assholes. I have legs, big ones, large thighs, huge trunks, whatever you wanna call them. I love the way my legs start to look when I’m consistent in my runs. Yeah, I lift now, so they’ve doubled in size for all the right reasons. It doesn’t mean they still can’t be beautiful, and beautiful they will be.

Yours Truly,

Stef

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3 Day Detox, Progress + Social Media Fun!

20140130-113837.jpgResults DRIVE motivation. I am 8 pounds down since I left for school. I am keeping in mind that a lot of it is water weight (hello holidays) but it get’s me closer to this “BOD” on the right which was after I lost 96 pounds. I’m allowing the scale to motivate me until I am at a healthy weight, and then it’s back to heavy lifting and hopefully never looking at the scale again 🙂 For workouts, I’m cross fitting 3x a week. My crossfit trainer incorporates a lot of cardio style workouts into her programming, so that is also helping me. I will complain during a wod with running, but I love the feeling after. (So keep it coming, Jolene 🙂 ) I also just about always finish last during running wods, but tend to catch up during the movements. I’ve never been a fast runner and I’m working on that. I try to run twice a week, and lately have been incorporating more cardio to lose this extra weight! I love tabata sprints on the treadmill, but Maddie told me to try thirty seconds jog, thirty seconds sprint. I did that yesterday. I was running for a total of 40 minutes. For the first 2.5 minutes I walked fast at an incline to warm up. The next ten minutes, I went from 30 seconds at a slow jog, to 30 seconds at a sprint, then a run, and then back to a slow jog. For the next ten minutes I ran at a moderate pace, a pace where you’d be able to hold a conversation if necessary. For the next five minutes I went back to my 30 second intervals.  Then I ran five minutes at a fast pace, where it would be harder to hold a conversation. This was tough, but I was warmed up and it was easier to hold the fast pace. The next five minutes I was at a jog, as I ran slower and slower until I hit 40 minutes. I LOVED IT! I felt so good after it. I’m starting to try yoga and I’ve also been doing the Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs insanity videos at least once a week. Those videos are great for if you’re stuck in the house during a snow storm! They are also great to do on the weekends!

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So as some of you may know by viewing my instagram account (Yours_Truly_Stef), I did a cleanse about two weeks ago. It was the first week of classes, so my schedule was a little off. After writing it all down, I of course was not eating nearly ENOUGH, but I was eating healthily and light to cleanse my body of all the crap I put in it those last two months of the holidays. As you can see from the first day, I was not that hungry. Mainly because my appetite was downhill from eating like crap. I also drank MASSIVE amounts of water. To help detox, I added a lemon and half of a cucumber to my water and chug-a-lug-a-lugged. This really cleansed my system, I kid you not. My stomach felt flatter, my insides worked normally and FELT amazing, and my skin started to clear. I looked healthier, and I was ready and inspired to truly dive in and start my diet! This is no dietetic write up, but here is what I ate for those three days that finally made me feel cleansed again:

Day One:

Before Class/Workout: Banana

30 Minutes Cardio

Lunch: 1 cup Brown Rice, 2 cups mixed vegetables, 4 oz chicken

Dinner: 9 oz Tilapia, 10 Asparagus spears
with Salad: 2 cups romaine lettuce, 8 baby tomatoes, 1/4 cup cucumbers
Dressing: Lemon Juice & Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing + sprinkle of Mrs Dash Italian Blend

Snack: 4 oz Chicken, Banana with Cinnamon 

Day Two:

Breakfast: 4 oz Apple, 3/4 Cup Egg Whites, Glutenfreeda Oatmeal Packet with cinnamon, 10 cranberries, stevia 

Lunch: 6 oz Chicken Breast, 1 cup Brown/Wild Rice, 1/3 cup homemade tomato sauce (Tomatoes, basil, garlic -> frying pan until it turns to sauce) 1 cup mushrooms + peppers

Snack: 3 oz Banana, 1/2 Red Pepper

Dinner: 7 oz Tilapia, 4 oz Shrimp, 10 Asparagus spears, 1/2 Red Pepper, 1 cup mushrooms

Day Three:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup Egg White, 2 Rice Cakes with 1/2 cup Rasberries, .5 cup blueberries, 4 medium strawberries crushed as Jelly, 10 baby carrots

Lunch:4 oz Pork chop, 1 cup Brown/Wild rice, 1 cup mushrooms, 3/4 cup red peppers, 1/4 cup onions

Snack: 4 oz Chicken Breast, 1 Medium Apple, 10 Baby Carrots

Dinner: 5 oz Tilapia, 3 oz Shrimp, 1/2 cup red peppers, 1/3 cup mushrooms, 1/4 cup onions, 1 cup broccoli, 1 3/4 cup green beans, 3 oz Homemade Marinara sauce

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Above are a few social media finds that I’ve screen shotted because I loved them. Remember, YOU are the only one in the way of your goals. Success is a choice. Your priorities are your choice. Make your goals your priorities and they WILL happen. That second picture is Valerie Calhoun, an 18 year old beast and a half. I highly recommend following her on instagram. Not only does she have a body that I look up to, but her lifts are HEAVY and impressive for such a young athlete. I love some of the bible verses Rich Froning posts, but this one really caught my eye. I have had a tattoo in mind since senior year of High School, but he may have just changed my mind. Love.

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Pictured above is my beloved meal prep. Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, tilapia, chicken, ground turkey, tuna, oatmeal, egg whites… and a crap ton of mustard! Trying this low fat thing. It worked for me in the past and this may be what I need to get to where I want to be. I love paleo, and I love my healthy fats, but certain things work for certain people, I’m giving this a go again! Tilapia is starting to get disgusting to me, so I’m giving it a breather for a couple days so I can stay strong. I incorporated ground turkey into my diet this week to switch it up, and have been LOVING tuna (with mustard 🙂 ). I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day this week. Holy cow that makes a HUGE difference. I love it. I just said holy cow so I think it’s time to go…

Yours Truly,

Stef

Top of the Months Transformation: Lisa Muller

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I present to you my inspirational Mother as my first Top Transformation of the Month! Warning: this post will leave you extremely motivated, wow-ed, and maybe even a little emotional! What my Mother has accomplished is outstanding, and just as she says in the end of her interview, I can’t imagine doing this without my mother and father by my side. I also wish her parents were here to see the look in their eyes at how beautiful and impressive their daughter is. That’s why I want to share her story with you all. She deserves one GIANT pat on the back, as I have finally gotten Lisa Muller to share her guts and glory! Lisa also wants to warn everyone that she is not a writer. The spelling mistakes and weird made up grammar rules you see in my posts? Well, yeah, I got it from my Mama. Lisa wants to give a shoutout to Blake and her husband, and my father, Richard, for always being by her side. As many of you know, my mother and I went through this together, but the men in our family were with us too! Before you read, let me summarize Lisa’s weight loss. With 282 as her heaviest, Lisa went from 282 to 167 in ONE YEAR! She now weighs in at about 162.

“I never weigh myself, I don’t like the number. I go by how my clothes fit and how I generally feel. That’s all. I’ve always wanted to write and get my story out there, for me, for whoever, and I thank you for letting me. There’s so much more I can write, like when I write to Jillian Michaels to let her know about my journey, and she comes back and offers me a week at the biggest loser ranch! I probably will never write her, but I thought about it! :)”

Give me a brief summary of yourself and your journey.  
My name is Lisa Muller. I grew up in New Jersey in a big Italian family, where food was EVERYTHING.  Got married in 1987 weighing 142 lbs.
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As the years went by I kept putting on weight.  My mom passed away in 2004, I weighed 240 lbs.  In that next year I had the audacity to gain 25 lbs.  So I was 265 lbs, and not happy at all.  Everything was an effort.  I knew I had to loose weight, but loosing 100 lbs seemed insurmountable, and losing 60 wasn’t enough.  I had, in my closet, size 18, through (in the summer of 2009, my weight had soared to 282 at 5’7) size 26 and xxxl (which were tight).  That summer (2009) my husband kept talking about us getting “The Biggest Loser 30 Jump Start” ,loose 20 lbs in 30 days, and I kept putting him off. In August of 2009 we took my son to college, my daughter was an upcoming senior, and that September I bought the book.  It was 30 days of three meals and snacks…AND recipes.  I closed the book, and said “Nah, I’m not making all this stuff”.  My husband said “lets just do it for the 30 days and see…” and with his persistence, and my kicking and screaming, we started in October.  We holed ourselves in for one month, ,started walking, did not drink, go out to dinner, even go to our mother-in-law or sister-in-laws.  I was at the grocery store at least 4 times a week, bitching and moaning, but following the plan.  I’m so sorry I didn’t document my weekly struggle, yet weight loss   After the 30 days, we both lost 20 lbs and for me (as well as my husband)it was like a switch.  I started going to the gym and doing a cardio machine for 15 minutes, did some hand weights and sit ups,  Mid November I started going to a core conditioning class every tues/thurs, was doing some sort of exercise 4-5 days a week.  For the next few months we did not go out to dinner, order out, or drink.  In February I started running on the treadmill, then started with a mile outside.  In September of 2010 I had lost 115 and my husband lost 60.
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What were your goals?
My goal, at first, was to just get thru the 30 days.  After that, my goal was to loose 100 lbs and get to a size 14 (I thought being a 12 might be to hard to maintain).  I remember my girlfriend, Kim, asking me, at around -50, what was it for me that got me going.   And truly I couldn’t answer, it was just timing.  I think when you’re ready, you’re ready.  I would watch biggest loser and be so emotional, but I would also sit there with a bowl of  ice cream and melted peanut butter, thinking “oh sure, they get to go away, be on the ranch, and have great trainers, doctors, etc.”  During this year, my mindset (that I’d had for so many years) just vanished.  I grew up an athlete, and as this weight loss was happening, it was such an empowering feeling.  Little by little I was feeling like Lisa.  I’ve been playing tennis since I was 10,and still played at 282 lbs.  Was even playing softball.  But, like a past Weight Watchers instructor always used to end a meeting “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”,that couldn’t be more true.
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Top Right: September 2009, Bottom Left: September 2010 <– can you say WOW?
When did you decide to change your life and what motivated you the most?
As my weight grew, I had a beautiful young daughter, who from first grade on, just kept gaining more weight.  By high school she was 262 lbs.  And I thought how could I be this, why can’t I be a good role model for my daughter, who is getting heavier and heavier.  One would’ve thought that that would’ve been my motivation.  You all know her story, but in October of 10th grade, she just made up her mind and started watching her weight.  The strength she had, which I’ve realized more and more, esp thru my weight loss, that she showed was mountainous.  When all these girls did was get together and eat, Stefani just said “No”, even when her friends, who couldn’t really understand, would say “just eat it”, she did not.  The strength…she was my motivation, albeit, a few years later.
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What is the best advice you can give to those who have similar goals (or personal goals in general) in mind?
The best advice…it is so individual.  I feel that I can’t say, “you can do it”, because that was said to me, and I couldn’t, or wouldn’t.  There was NO willpower, willpower was, as I’m heading to Dunkin Donuts “am I going to get 2 donuts or one sour cream donut, with my coffee”.  Because, even I knew that those sour cream donuts where high in everything,  And god for bid I decided to bring home a dozen for “my kids”, not good.  Or buy oreos (huge red light food)for “the kids”, only to find myself dunking 2 at a time into my milk or coffee (I’m from an Italian family from new jersey…we dunk everything).  I did this, really without knowing I was going to do this…to this extent.  Sure I’ve done other diets where I’ve lost 20, 30 even 40 lbs, only to gain it all back and then some,  My advice would be, DO NOT GIVE UP, STAY STRONG.  They say it takes 30 days to change a habit, well for me that’s the truth (I never even heard of that till well into my weight loss).  I think people give up too easily.  I remember watching biggest loser, watching those overweight people doing those exercises, and they give up, of course, when you’re 300 lbs, that stuff is hard.  And Jillian would say “work thru it…”,  I didn’t get that until, at 255 lbs , when I started going to the gym, I would do my 15 minutes on an elypical, but after 2 minutes I would be like “I can’t do another minute”, but I would push through it, and its so true.  PUSH THROUGH, GET PAST “IT”, WHATEVER THAT “IT” IS, DON’T GIVE UP SO SOON, PUSH YOURSELF, YOU’RE CAPABLE OF MORE THAN YOU KNOW, DON’T GIVE UP AS SOON AS YOU THINK YOU’VE HIT YOUR LIMIT, I want to scream to people to do it, don’t wait, it feels too good.
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What do you think is the main reason why some people find it so hard to reach goals such as the one you achieved? 
You have to be prepared!!!!  Buy a lunch bag and keep it in your car with bars and 100 calorie packs, nuts.  Drink water…we know that water is good for you, but when you’re heavy, water is so filling.  Now, I will down a water from the gym to home (1-1/2 mile).  And sometimes, it triggers hunger…yup.  Plus if you’re “older” (I’m rounding 50, well, actually, right around the damn corner)its good for the skin, keep hydrated.  If you work…make your lunch!!  Bring a snack.  If it helps, follow a plan.  I truly liked that, it took the guess work out of what I’m going to eat for my meals and snack.
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What (and who) helped you the most through the process of bettering yourself? 
Who helped me thru this…Rich, my favorite.  He saw the strength in me that I had lost so long ago,  I thank him for introducing me to this journey, and doing it together was amazing.  We have been together since we were 16 and 17, 33 years, and we are closer than ever.  My relationship with him and my kids has blossomed.  My daughter is a big crossfitter, and my son, as they say, has “drank the kool-ade” and is just as “big” of a crossfitter. (You’re still small, Blake. – Stef)  We’ve all taken on a healthier lifestyle.
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How has your life changed since you reached your goals? 
How has my life changed.  I can’t begin to get that across,  Raising my kids, everything was a chore.  I rarely did laundry, if I forgot something upstairs, “oh well”, the stairs were a chore, Just handling everyday life was a chore, I remember thinking, when Lady Diana was killed, it hit me that if I died right at that time, I would die unhappy,  Yet…it took me YEARS to do anything about it.  I go up and down the stairs 5 times a day, I do laundry, This paragraph is so trivial.  My life has changed drastically, yet I’m not one to think I should’ve done this a long time ago,  I did it now, and I won’t look back.
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What are you going to do (now that you’ve reached success) to maintain your progress?
So, September was my 3 year anniversary with the weight OFF.  I’ve never faltered, I will never go back to the way I used to eat (now I would’ve never said that thru my journey, wasn’t sure and strong enough),  I know the percentage of people who gain it back is high…nope, not me…I’m good.  And I am a solid size 12 (some 10’s)and I am not struggling to keep that size.  I run 4 times a week, take that core conditioning class (still-4 years later-its my constant)twice a week, I do an advanced kickboxing class Mondays. My kids try to convince me to crossfit, but two memberships is pricey!
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I eat solid during the week, so the weekends I can drink my wine and not worry about going out to dinner if I do. I thought I loved food before…no…I love food more now (before I always felt like crap), not now.  My appetite is not small,  I am not one of those people who go out to dinner, only to bring 1/2 home,  Nope, I eat everything on my plate, just like my mom said…only wished my mom and dad could’ve been here to see this.
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Yours Truly,
Stef