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

How to be a Weekend Warrior

We are all guilty of “living for the weekend”. You work hard all week, whether it be in school, work, or exercise, so that you can enjoy your weekend of rest. Though I’m sure we all have our own versions of “rest”. You hear it all the time, “I’m gonna go so hard in the gym all week so that come Thursday I can just get trashed etc for the rest of the weekend”. Oh… you don’t here that? Well, I do. I’m a senior at Ohio University and I am surrounded by all of the greatest temptations. Bars, local eateries, great friends, and “weekends” that can very easily start on Monday. There is nothing wrong with a little fun, but sometimes it is very easy to allow your priorities to slip on the weekends. This post is for the weekenders with goals.

So I’m sitting here, a little hungover, and I’m trying to think of something I can promise myself to do to make my weekends fun and productive at the same time. I used to always be the girl to workout on the weekends but lately I’ve been feeling 21 going on 60. One night of drinks and my body aches. (Is it ignorant of me to think that I’m getting old?) This is most likely because the binge drinking that goes on in college is 100% unhealthy, ridiculous, out of hand, and very fun. After almost four years of this, it is in fact getting very old. “I’m so over it” as the white girls say. It is quite a “coming of age” experience to realize that I in fact don’t have to go out on both Friday and Saturday night, and that my weekends don’t have to start on Thursday. Once I realized this, I felt healthier.

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Not only have I been trying to make my weekends productive, I’ve been trying to make them healthier, and here are a few ways to do so:

1. Have a night in. If you don’t want to go out, you can say no. You can sit and watch Netflix and do tabata abs until you see stars (real life experience from a Saturday night of mine). Find a friend to watch a movie with, or better yet GO to the movies you rebel, you. If you can’t find a friend that will hang out with you soberly, you are choosing the wrong friends. Don’t be afraid to stay in. A night alone allows you to clear you mind, rest, and think about your goals. People are so afraid of being alone. Your relationship with yourself is most important, so I’d start making it a priority.

2. Drinks. If you are trying to lose weight, you can still go out. Have one drink, depending on how strict you are being, or have no drink at all. Order a water with lemon and surely no one will notice. They look almost identical to gin and tonics. Water with lemon/lime is the way to go if you are nonchalantly trying to stay sober and sneak out once everyone gets too drunk to notice where you went. If you are trying to generally clean up your drinking habits, I’d say stay away from beer. I started bringing crystal lite packets to bars with me and ordering gin and water. Gin, because I can’t have vodka. Crystal lite, because otherwise, ew. Gin or Vodka tonics are also a lighter choice. Rumor has it rum is pure sugar so, I nixed that as my drink of choice for the time being. Yes, ciders are Gluten Free but are in no way a healthier choice. They have double the calories as beer and a lot of sugar and carbs.

3. Hangovers. Sleeping is the number one way to rid your hangover. More ways I prevent hangover is one, staying hydrated. Water is your best friend. If you know you’re going out that night, it is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. (It’s really important to stay hydrated, anyway) Also, have a water with your beverages, or in between beverages. You will not regret this decision. It makes a hangover a hell of a lot more tolerable. Two, chugging a water bottle before I go to bed. Three, chugging 1000 mg of vitamin C before I go to bed. When I wake up in the morning I have eggs and green tea. Lately, I’ve been on a huge lemon water kick. Lemon water is very rejuvenating and I highly recommend drinking it during your hangover! It will get better!

4. Food What is better than a greasy late night meal? It is one of life’s simplist pleasures. When you are trying to lose weight, the drinks and late night meals REALLY screw you over. While on a diet, I try to allow myself one moderate cheat meal a week. This way, I won’t go crazy and I’ll have something delicious to look forward to. I say moderate because I try not to make it a cheat day, or a cheat large pizza-stuffed crust-pepperoni and sausage-cheesy bread kind of day. If you must, the small personal pan pizza’s should be your only option. It saves you 1/3 the calories of accidentally eating a whole large pizza throughout one day. (We’ve all done it…) So I know I talked about drunk food, but I’m gonna ask you, and beg you, to hold out. You know that regardless of the two slices of pizza or large fry you have the night before, you are going to wake up craving the same kind of greasy food. Have a little willpower, get yourself into bed and get your mind off of food. Wake up and have a hearty and healthy breakfast. Something paleo, like eggs and avocado.  (I keep mentioning that I have eggs in the morning after a night of drinking. I read an article awhile back on the various benefits of an egg. Let  me try to explain the science behind it without sounding stupid… Eggs contain an amino acid. That amino acid counteracts something in alcohol that is more toxic than alcohol itself.)  That way, when it comes to dinner time, your pizza or burrito bowl from chipotle is all yours and very well deserved. Or you could have it for breakfast, but I personally like to start my day with a healthy meal. It keeps my willpower in check and motivates the rest of my day.

5. Don’t sit on your booty all day. There’s nothing better than a nice lazy day, but where is that going to get you? If you’re dieting, you’re already cheating on your diet by drinking. Why elongate the process of cheating by not moving from your bed for 24 hours after a long night of drinking? Yes, staying horizontal all day feels great but let me tell you what happens when you make the choice to finally become vertical. First things first, you wake up. That’s the hardest part, I know. After you finish your egg breakfast, your system is moving and your body is realizing “Hey, it’s time to start my day”. Side note: Did you know that the reason late night eaters find it so hard to fall asleep is because if you eat in the middle of the night it alerts your body that it’s the beginning of a new day so your senses are heightened. (Another explanation proven by science where I don’t remember how to scientifically explain it, but just go with it). You start to feel a little normal again and you’re ready to get a workout in. Don’t think about it, just do it. If you think about it you literally will not walk out the door. Convince yourself that you’re going shopping if you have to, just put on your sneakers and get to the gym. I love the feeling of a run, but accomplishing that after a night of drinking is like a whole new world. While everyone else was laying in bed convincing themselves that they are dying, you went out and got your sweat on. Sweating is one of the number one things that cure my hangover. I hop on the treadmill, start slow, and start sweating. Each sweat drop reminds me of a drink I had the night before… “Oh, there goes that cherry bomb.” I’m serious. Sweat. It. Out. It works.

Yours Truly,

Stef

Fashion Meets Fitness: Winter Running Essentials

Running is a great form of exercise. It is how I, personally, shredded those first 75 pounds! Most people hate running in the cold, which is completely understandable, but it is mainly because they don’t want to be freezing while they run, also understandable. With the cold months of winter upon us, how do you stay warm and cool all at the same time? Kellie and I paired up to show you just how to get your run on in a fashionably manner.

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Pictured is Kellie dressed in a long sleeved running jacket made specifically for those winter runs! Her black crops are from Forever 21. Kellie states that the pants surprisingly keep her warm and they stay perfectly fit on her hips the whole time she is running. Good job Forever 21!

Grey Nike ProCombat Fitted – Nike.com
Black crops – Forever21.com
Asics Running Sneakers – Gel Excel 33’s – Asics.com

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Quick! What’s the difference between these two headbands? Visually, almost nothing. The headband on the left is from TJMaxx and the headband on the right is from LuLuLemon. I am a huge LuLuLemon headband fan. LuLuLemon’s headbands stay on my head, they are in so many different colors, and they happen to look good with any outfit for any occasion! But, you don’t always need to splurge on such little accessories. If you’re lucky, you can buy LuLuLemon’s headbands for every day of the year. Being a college student, that is so not the case!

Purple Headband – TJMaxx (also found at Marshalls)
White Headband – LuLuLemon (LuLuLemon.com or in store)

P.S. LuLuLemons selection of appropriate winter headgear/bands are amazing! Click Here and splurge away to keep those ears warm!

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How fierce is she? Long pants are the way to go for those long winter runs, and Kellie’s pink running jacket fits perfectly over any running shirt. Layers are crucial! But not too many, one or two layers of the RIGHT winter running gear will do the trick. Cotton isn’t always your friend. Also pictured is Kellie’s new and favorite pair of Asic’s running sneakers.

Pink Jacket – Under Armour UnderArmour.com (or in store)
Grey Running Pants – TJMaxx
Asics Running Shoes – Gel-lyte 33’s Asics.com
Sports Bra – Nike – Nike.com (in Store; also at Macy’s, Nordstrom)

Asics have been my go-to brand all through my high school cross-country seasons and my half and full marathons. They’re light-weight, but provide enough support for my flat feet. The ONLY time I didn’t go with Asics, I got horrible shin and knee problems – lesson learned and I’m never making that mistake again!” -Kellie’s take on running shoes!

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Under Armour also has a great selection of headbands. I rate headbands by how well they stay on your head… and this one passed the test! Not to mention the color, pink is a guilty pleasure for most of us girls.  Some more running essentials I recommend for winter runs are hats, ear muffs, compression socks, and tissues! Kellie combined her ear muffs with her headphones, while listening to her pump up jams including Miss Jackson by Panic! At the Disco and Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio.

Grey Running Pants – TJMaxx 
White Running Jacket – Avalanche – TJMaxx (only $25!)
Ear Muff Headphones – 180 – Online or at Kohls!
Armband – You can find these anywhere! High end department stores or stores such as Target, TJMaxx, and Dicks Sporting Goods.

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 As you can see, Kellie looks absolutely adorable in all of her winter running essentials! So, don’t be afraid to wear these outfits to class before or after your long run! I personally love wearing workout gear around town. It makes me feel fashion forward, while also moving forward with my fitness goals! Stay warm everyone!
Yours Truly,
Stef

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Stylist: Stefani Muller / Kellie Rizer

Photographer: Stefani Muller

Model: Kellie Rizer

Check out Kellie’s blog, Keep Runnin’ Kellie! 

My Relationship with Breakfast Part 3

Ah yes, it’s breakfast time. If you go to bed brainstorming what you’re gonna have for breakfast the next morning… we should be friends. That way we can at least talk about it together, right? I love breakfast. I wake up every morning like:
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So ready to take on some eggs and bacon. When it comes to breakfast and I, I photograph. (And yes, I’m talking about breakfast as if it is a person. I just have a lot of respect for breakfast, ok?) I ate a lot of breakfast food over break. Any time someone wanted to go out to eat, I suggested Eggspectations, a ridiculous place to get any breakfast food you can think of. Maddie and I had just finished a killer WOD at Crossfit Syndicate. I say finish but Maddie, she crushed it. Not only did she PR on her front squat, but she RXed a tough clean and jerk workout. The second she finished the first thing she wanted was some PANCAKES. Who could blame her? She got her pancakes.
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Very well deserved. I’m a pansy and got eggs. This is a great example of treating yourself vs. cheating yourself. Maddie is 100% on her diet, kills it in the gym, and deserved every bite of her not-so-paleo breakfast. With the way I ate (and drank) over winter break, I didn’t deserve a pile of pancakes. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t have even been able to eat them. Hash tag gluten intolerant problems. Don’t worry, pancakes happened for me over break. (I know all of you were concerned)
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Pictured above are my Paleo Pancakes I made and posted a few months ago. They were delicious! If you’re looking for a real treat, gluten free pancake mix is not to be underestimated! These pancakes (pictured below) were the melt in your mouth, fluffy, pancakes that everyone loves! Yum!
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Writing this post is actually making me drool a bit. I started being strict on my diet about one week ago. I am doing really well and already notice (through pictures) a motivating difference! I did a bit of a cleanse last week, which I will post about soon! Stay tuned because… it’s working! 🙂 Results will be slow, but I am ready to work for them! For the rest of this post I will share with you some of my healthy and delicious breakfasts! Some aren’t ideal, nor are they paleo, but they won’t kill ya!
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This Lox Tower was absolutely amazing! I used about 1 cup of Egg Whites and cooked them like tortillas. I piled the egg whites with Lox and Guacamole! This meal was about 300 calories maximum. You can’t go wrong with this meal, it’s packed with healthy fats & protein. I was inspired by my leaning tower of ham and eggs in my previous post.
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1 Gluten Free Waffle, 1.5 tbsp of favored nut butter, and fruit toppings! This is a treat!
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Try it with a rice cake to make it a lighter option!
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Gluten Free toast with poached eggs!
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Gluten Free Egg & Bacon sandwich. I had two eggs on this sandwich… that’s my idea of “yolo”.
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And last, the most delicious, most typical paleo meal. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and avocado. I’ve probably posted pictures of a meal like this multiple times but it just doesn’t get old to me! Food in general doesn’t get old to me, there are so many ways to switch it up!

Update: I have edited my blog and changed my name! How do you like it? I know I keep throwing all these updates around, but soon enough my blog will come together and you will hopefully become hooked 🙂 Thank you to everyone who has been reading and supporting my blog! It means more to me than you know! Keep on keeping on.
Yours Truly,
Stef

Hash Tags, Productivity & Priorities

From classes, to crossfit, to cardio, and drinks… where do you find time to make sure you are keeping a clean and productive diet? Productive diet, I like that. If I could describe my diet in one word it would be productive. Does anyone know what I’m trying to say? Take your drinking caps off for one second, and put your thinking caps on. I’ll explain…
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What you eat throughout the day will effect your mental state, your workouts, and your overall mood. When the stomach feels like shit, you feel like shit. Trust me, six months of a messed up stomach effected my mood more than I thought. So you have person one, who has three servings of cereal for breakfast. Person two has an egg omelet with veggies & a side of ground beef. Which person will have that horribly strong need for the 2 o’clock nap? Most likely person one. The combination of the sugar, carbs, and added ingredients has more of an effect on the rest of your day than you might think. Starting your day with a protein packed meal will keep your body energized and satisfied until your next meal. It will make you PRODUCTIVE. I’ve heard many complaints about exhaustion, lack of focus & motivation, stomach aches, the list goes on. I sit quietly when I hear those complaints, mostly because people (specifically people in their 20’s) don’t want to hear your lecture on how to #eatclean and become a #fitspo. They don’t want to #trainmean or #getbig. They just want a #drankinmycup and to #throwdown with their #betches until they are #hungover. Which is fine. If you know me at all, you know I like to “throwdown” from time to time. (Almost every weekend) Though, at the end of the day, I have my priorities. Health and fitness. A very uncommon priority for a twenty-one year old, but it’s who I am. Sunday mornings come and instead of craving another drink, I crave the catch at the bottom of a heavy power clean. Or the sweat dripping down my face in the middle of a run. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or put down things that you enjoy, I’m just trying to put focus on what is really important because at the end of the day, you only have your health…
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…or a bloody mary. You can always. have. A bloody mary.
Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of sunday fundays, or sunday fat days. My past credit card statements can vouche for me. Courtside pizza, Chipotle, Wings Over, Dominos, Big Mammas Burritos. J Bar, The Pub, The C.I, and it gets blurry from there. If anything, this is the time that you can get away with this reckless and exhausting lifestyle, but I constantly refuse to let it own me. Every day I make sure to set aside time to just think to myself. I think about my priorities, my plan for the week, and sometimes my emotions. I used to let any negative thoughts change my perspective on every and anything. These days, I’ve learned how to channel my negative thoughts and turn them into positive. I’ve become more comfortable with myself, my body, my peers and my life. Not much has changed, but I’ve never been happier and this excited for the future.
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So, back to this whole productive eating plan. Here I will list as many tips as I can come up with to keep you healthy & happy.

When your brain hurts, when you have a headache, and when you feel foggy…I eat ground beef. Four ounces of grass fed ground beef, an egg, and some avocado, and all of a sudden I feel like a new women. After a few days of eating unhealthy or drinking too much, there’s nothing more I crave than a healthy serving of protein. This is also something I’ll eat to clear my mind. When my brain is foggy, it effects my school work.
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A meal, like I stated above, gives you a boost of energy without the crash. When you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to splurge… Sweet potatoes. Spice is up with some kerrygold butter, cinnamon, maybe even some bacon. It’s a satisfying carb that you can spruce up without added sugars and processed foods. You can add it all together like this:

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for an ultimate boost. Also, make cinnamon your bestie. I put it on everything, even my egg whites. Cinnamon is more beneficial than you thought, check it out. What about when you’re sick with a cold?
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Skip the orange juice. And if you must, eat an orange. Otherwise, it’s important to eat foods that are rich in omega-3’s. Any fish will do, my go-to is salmon. If you aren’t a fish eater, make sure you are taking fish oil supplements. These also help lower the symptoms of anxiety. Double whammy! Garlic also gives your immune system a boost, so why not make some garlic salmon. Yum. I’m always down for some garlic salmon.

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As many of you know I was just on my (last ever) winter break. This is a picture of my mother and I getting fergalicious. My eating habits over break were less than productive. But that’s what the holidays are for, I had an amazing winter break spent with all my favorite people! Now it’s time for some productivity. I am almost finished with my degree, as my semester is filled with one class and one online class. A job search is currently in the works. Dear everyone in Athens, hire me. I might start cleaning houses. Wait, that’s a brilliant idea. Stef’s cleaning service…I would make BANK in a college town. Dolla Dolla bill y’all! I’ll keep you posted on my crazy entrepreneurship ideas. I will leave you with some tips and motivational quotes that I will be using to keep myself on track to reach my goals. The rest, well that’s up to you. Good Luck!

1. If you are persistent, you will get there. If you are consistent, you will stay there.
2. Allow yourself to break down barriers and feel 100% committed to yourself.
3. Respects others goals, hobbies, and feelings as if they are your own.
4. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” -John Steinbeck
5. Imagine yourself three months from now. Allow yourself to see the POSITIVITY in your future, not the possible negative. It’s your choice.
6. Squat deep, squat heavy, just squat. You won’t be sorry.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (See #2, one hundred percent committed to YOURSELF)
8. Allow yourself to be distracted. Distractions are a good thing.
9. “You have to be willing to get happy over nothing” -Warhol This is serious. Life can be boring sometimes, it’s up to you to make it exciting. Dance around in your kitchen while your cooking lunch, you’ll start smiling.
10. Don’t stop trying. Don’t give up. No matter where you are, you’re already halfway there.

Gluten Free Stir Fry & Other Adventures

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If there’s one thing I miss the most now that I’m Gluten Free, it’s Chinese food. What better way to get your Chinese fix with some deliciously clean eating stir fry?! For this meal, I used one container of brown Ready rice. I put garlic & olive oil in my frying pan and fried my shrimp till they were just a little burnt. I added previously made peppers and onions. If you are prepping your onions, throw them in the oven on 400 degrees with some olive oil and salt or your preferred seasoning. I added my vegetables, shrimp and rice to my frying pan on low heat to mix all the flavors together. I put about 1 teaspoon of Gluten Free Soy Sauce, which was just enough. This was delicious and satisfying, I could barely put my fork down.

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All of a sudden my bowl looked like this…
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As you can tell, this recipe was easily made and eaten. This low fat meal was about 390 calories. If you are looking for more fat & calories, add more protein (I used 5 oz of shrimp), and a fat source. Chopped up avocado or added guacamole would be delicious! As for the rest of the weekend, it’s competition time! Maddie and I will be competing in the scaled division at the Gemini Games. Go Team Barbellas! Crossfit Syndicate has a bunch of teams representing at this competition, so it should be extra fun! I meal prepped for the rest of the weekend. 36 oz of chicken, a ridiculous amount of vegetables, sweet potatoes, and a couple turkey & beef burgers.
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Eat clean train mean, people! It’s go time 🙂

Introducing: Fashion Meets Fitness

I can’t tell you how tempted I was to make this blog post titled, “Fashion Meats Fitness”, because paleo.
I’d like to introduce to you my newest train of posts to be expecting. As many of you know, I am finishing up my four years at Ohio University with a Retail Merchandising and Fashion Product Development degree. I also recently passed the NRF examination, certifying myself in customer service. (Would you like that in a different color?) Anyways, I figured it’s time to collide my two hobbies. Better yet, it’s time to combine my soon to be career with my hobbies. Delicious food and longwinded rants will still exist, but I wanted to spruce things up a bit. My Fashion Meets Fitness posts will include photographs of (hopefully not always) myself and other volunteers modeling the latest and greatest sportswear. I will cover accessories, equipment, menswear, and womenswear. I will make sure you leave my posts knowing exactly where to buy each product, and for how much. Not only will you be able to find these products from my posts, but you will be given a sneak peak on how to pair them with other products. I know many people, including myself, just throw on whatever they can find for a workout. The athletes, they’re messy all the time, never put together. Why does that have to be? You can be an athlete and be perfectly styled and put together at the same time. That way, you won’t be on this list:
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Let’s do a test run of #FMF. Say, hypothetically, I post this amazing outfit that you need to buy RIGHT AWAY. But, you have cross fit in two hours, so you won’t have time to go home and change before your workout. You don’t want to look too messy walking through the mall, but you have to wear your workout clothes or else you won’t make the 5 o’clock wod. Here is my take on how to look put together in an athletic fashion. (Please note: I am not a model)
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Pictured is a classic workout outfit, accessorized with a classy long sleeved winter top and a black vest. Wear your favorite sneakers with any outfit and all the sudden…#swag. IMG_3511IMG_3531
Switch up the look of your sneakers by changing the colors of the laces. I preferred my roshe run’s accessorized with black laces.

Top: Marshalls, Mondetta $25.99
Bottoms: LuLuLemon Run Inspire Crops $86
Vest: Macy’s, Calvin Klein $49.99 (on sale)
Shoes: Nike Roshe Run $80 (Found them on Ebay)

Holding Yourself Accountable in 2014

My first post of the new year! Better yet, my first post in a few months. Many people keep asking me why I haven’t posted. So here I am… holding myself accountable. I haven’t been posting because I haven’t been on the right track. With the delicious food from the holidays combined with my new found love for the weekend happy hour and a handful of lunch and dinner outings with old friends, I have completely lost my consistency, and some of my motivation. I’m not afraid to admit this because it happens to the best of us. Though, I have to say, this is the most I’ve “let myself go” since my initial weight-loss. I’m not saying I sat and ate doughnuts every day, but I let myself say “yes” to every restaurant invitation, craving, and night out on the town. I let myself believe that because I had “all this muscle” now, I wouldn’t gain as much weight. Boy, was I wrong. Not only do I have “all this muscle”, but “all this fat” has become it’s neighbor. I haven’t had a consistent week in about two months, which is why I have not been posting. How can I motivate everyone else to eat healthy when I couldn’t even motivate myself?

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I can come up with every excuse, my sprained ankle, my shin splints, my schoolwork, and my social life. But it all comes down to the fact that I was just not mentally there. Just because there were times when I couldn’t physically work out didn’t mean that my diet had to change. That’s why it’s all a package deal. Yes, the diet needs to be 100%, but for me the workouts motivate me to keep my diet at 100%. Without my workouts I feel lazy. Laziness produces cravings. Cravings sometimes win, but that’s up to you. I kept up with my workouts as much as I could, but even those were lacking, and I can thank my poor diet for that.

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If anything, the quote above explains my attitude on my current weight gain and lack of performance in the gym. I wasn’t committed, I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t getting results. So, after a long and eventful vacation from my lifestyle centered on health and fitness, It’s safe to say that I am back. I’m aware that it is my last semester of college so it will be filled with temptations, but I am happiest when I’m at my healthiest. And happy is the only thing I want to be for my last semester at Ohio University.

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I know how this process works, and I am ready to mentally commit. In 2014, I hope to reach my goals and stay positive. I’ll continue my commitment to Crossfit and add some cardio back in (as long as I don’t sprain my ankle this time). As for my readers, follow me on this journey and stay tuned for some fun new posts involving Food, Fashion & Fitness.

Indulge Without the Bulge

My last post was sweet and everything. Actually, no… no it wasn’t. There’s always the ever dreaded questions I receive. For example: “Do you ever eat good food” “Do you ever crave sweets?” “Do you even eat sweets?” “What do you do when you crave normal people food?” Haha. Normal people food? What does that even mean? What is normal people food? I’m assuming they are talking about the processed foods, the stuff that “tastes good”. The stuff in packages. The stuff you get at our schools dining food market. “I have a feeling you never eat like..queso and chips” So I laugh, because technically I can’t even eat queso anymore. Those were the days. But I guess I’m better off for it. I can’t count the amount of times I made trips to the market with my roomies back in the dorm days to prepare ourselves for a snack attack. Octopus gummies, chips and queso, oreos. It happened, I just never let it happen too often. Discipline. There is no greater feeling than self discipline. So just because I eat healthy 90% of the time I’m all of a sudden not normal? I have my fair share of fat Sundays and “YOLO” moments. Those moments where you just put the burger to the face. Skittles? Yeah sure, it’s Tuesday. Chipotle? Totally, I mean it’s Wednesday. But…if you treat everyday like a holiday you go from treating yourself to cheating yourself.

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The answer to all the above questions is, yes, I do eat good food. I do crave sweets, and I eat them too (sweet potatoes mostly). But what do I do when I crave “normal” people food? A lot of different things. I was about to explain to you guys that I “allow” myself about one cheat meal per week. Then I decided to reword that sentence. I allow myself to eat what I want to eat at all times. It just so happens that I want to eat healthy 95% of the time. And 10% of the time I don’t. It overlaps. 5% of that 95% of time that I want to eat healthy, I don’t. Mainly because I will go insane if I don’t treat myself with a greasy meal and a few beers (approximitly 10) with my friends. (just kidding about the 10 beers.) So when I’m craving a nice hardy meal and order in with friends, I’ll tell you what I eat. My chipotle order is white rice, chicken, fajita vegetables, salsa, guacamole & lettuce. Sometimes I’ll even get double meat. Treat yo’self. I will sometimes order a Gluten Free, no cheese, pizza from Dominos or Athens local brewery and restaurant, Jackie O’s. They also have gluten free buns for hamburgers. Hey. Girl. Hey. It’s halloween so I bought myself two packets of skittles. One for Halloween weekend and one for the actual day of Halloween. I’m trying to be more flexible with myself and my diet in the healthiest way. Yes, skittles are no where near healthy but it could be much worse. There are times when I don’t want to completely go off the paleo clean eating bandwagon, so I treat myself in a moderate, non traumitizing, non expensive, way. Here are a few meals I eat at home. These are not recipes, just ideas on how to have a great tasting, healthy, treat meal.

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1 Rudi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin bagel, 2 tbsp Natural Almond Butter, 1/2 Banana

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In need of extra carbs & fats? 1 Slice of Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, 2 oz Sweet Potato, 1 tbsp Nut butter of your choice (this was peanut butter), 2 oz chicken thigh. You can use any protein you want. It’s just as good with ground meat or an egg. Experimenting with food can really turn out delicious…

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Sometimes I get really annoyed of cooking. I pace my kitchen a million times because I can’t figure out what I want for dinner. I don’t feel like heating up vegetables or cooking anything that has 1 oz of effort in it. My appetite was so suppressed that I really just wanted something sweet and delicious. I plopped 2 Vans Gluten Free Waffle in the toaster. I was going to spread peanut butter and banana on both sides, but then realized I was completely lacking protein. At the end of the day, protein is what keeps me feeling satisfied and full. I decided to heat up some leftover chicken and do my own take on chicken and waffles. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be, so on 1 waffle I put 1 tbsp of Peanut butter and 1/4 of a banana. I heated my chicken, put it on the other waffle, and poured some agave maple syrup on top (not too much). It was absolutely delicious. This meal was about 450 calories and 30 g protein. Not bad for something that looks like a pile of junk!

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I can’t express to you how crucial sweet potato fries are. Everybody loves fries, right? Did you know you can lose weight while still eating fries? Sweet potato fries, that is. Cut a medium sweet potato into whatever shape you want your fries to be. I usually do circles or normal fry shape, but you can get as creative as you want… Soak your sweet potatoes in olive oil. Don’t take that and run with it…use about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Salt your fries. There are many different ways you can make your sweet potato fries. I sometimes put cinnamon instead of salt. I’ve seen people put seasonings like garlic and onion powder too. That, you can get creative with. While your preparing your sweet potato fries, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. I typically leave my fries in for about 20 minutes. It quite honestly depends on how patient I’m feeling. The picture above shows peeled sweet potato fries. It is up to you whether or not you want the skin on, but keeping it on makes a crispier fry. Enjoy!

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Oatmeal! I love oatmeal. I typically eat Glutenfreeda instant oatmeal. There is so much variety you can put into your oatmeal. Sometimes I go with bananas and cinnamon, and sometimes I go a little farther. Pictured is cinnamon oats with slivered almonds and cherries on top. I also put about 1 tbsp of shredded coconut into my oatmeal. Other times, I’ll add a tablespoon or less of almond or peanut butter. Other topping ideas include: raisins, mixed berries (blueberries are my favorite), any nuts/nut butters, egg whites (added protein, not added flavor), ground flax seeds & chia seeds, and chocolate chips if you’re feeling rebelious.

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Pretty sure I ate this on a heavy deadlift day. I was lacking carbs, starving, and hadn’t really been able to eat much that day juggling my classes. I toasted two slices of Udi’s Gluten Free bread, spread 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter (half on one piece, half on the other), and added about 4 oz of sweet potato to my sandwich. This is a game changer.

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Picture above is a little dessert I made for my brother. Yeah, its vegetables, and yeah, it was delicious. I microwaved butternut squash in a little water and coconut oil. I added shredded coconut, a pinch of salt, a lot of cinnamon, and who knows how much almond butter. When I made this for myself, I used about 1 tbsp. Rumor has it it tasted like a Cinnabon.

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Pretty self explanatory. Gluten Free Rice Chex Cinnamon Cereal. My go-to when I’m in need of cereal.

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So the only thing different about this meal is the fact that instead of eating a plain burger I actually put it on a “bun”. Filled with a whole plate of vegetables.

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And last, God Bless Chipotle.

33 Simple “Eat Clean” Meal Ideas – Paleo approved!

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As many of you know I am constantly cooking. I created this blog because I was on a complete cooking binge. I still have a million recipes to share from this summer, soon enough they will be all yours. As of now, I rarely cook anything “new”. At school, you can either find me in the kitchen, singing in an English accent somewhere around town with my BFF4L Mary, or… in the kitchen. But really. Always there. If I’m not in the kitchen cooking, I’m in the kitchen cleaning whatever it was that I was just cooking. And if I’m not cleaning or cooking, I’m anxiously waiting for whatever is in the oven. My life pretty much consists of attempting to complete my school work on time while constantly cooking, eating, and waiting to work out (which is at approx. 4 pm everyday). I’m so exciting, I know. Spare me the comments on my boring life. I guess you can say I’m already taking after my mother a little earlier than I thought. Before I ramble on, let me get to the point of this post. Specifically on this blog I post more elaborate meals. The truth is, (shocker of the century) half of my meals look boring as hell. I try to spice them up as much as I can but sometimes there’s just no time. So, there was no giant strategy to the fact that I’m only posting 33 meal ideas. These were just the scrap photos on my IPhone. And considering I take a picture of almost everything I eat, these were the ones that looked semi-appetizing. My breakfast this morning looked like a pile of dog shit. Therefore; I did not photograph it. I’m really getting a handle on this whole blogging thing aren’t I?

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Chicken, shrimp, vegetables, and a half of a sweet potato. It doesn’t get any more boring than that. This dinner was put together quickly. The most preparation I did for it was to grab it out of Tupperware and throw it in the microwave.

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Another really easy meal. 4 oz. Turkey Burger with an egg and a piece of ham. The turkey burger was already made. I just fried the egg and slice of ham and there was my meal. (I use Boars Head Deli meats)

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Scrambled eggs, some spinach inside, and guacamole on top. This looks pretty, but took less than five seconds. This is a meal that anyone can make. I constantly hear complaints about how people “don’t know how to cook”. Which is fine. But let me tell you in one sentence how to make this. Put your stove on medium-high heat apply pam to your frying pan insert eggs & desired fillings in the frying pan and plop on some pre-made or homemade guacamole. Okay so that was a run-on sentence but I’m just dramatizing how simple it really is! YUM! (P.S I used Wholly Guacamole)

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Chicken, sweet potato, greens. Every damn day. Just do it. Don’t be scared.

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My favorite breakfast. I usually eat it every day for breakfast until I get sick of it, which is rare. 1 Applegate chicken sausage, 1 (or 2) eggs, spinach and mushrooms. Bomb.com

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The brown rice cups, which you can buy anywhere, are very simple and delicious. They come in plain brown or white rice, no added ingredients, and they take 1 minute to heat up. I add sautéed vegetables and any protein I have to my rice. In this case, I added my paleo pesto coconut tilapia to my mix of food.

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Sautéed tomatoes are extremely overrated. When you sauté a tomato you can either make a sauce out of it or put it in eggs like I did! They are delicious with garlic which adds great flavor to your meal. Another simple recipe!

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Another favorite meal. 1-2 cups of sauerkraut with mustard & 2 Applegate Chicken & Apple sausages. I am obsessed with Applegate’s chicken and apple sausages and I suggest them for anyone looking for a flavorful and healthy protein without the work! I usually add sautéed mushrooms to this meal which adds flavor and bulk to an already small meal.

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I rarely buy deli meat. The packaged stuff is disgusting and most deli meats have fillers. Every now and then I’ll buy a pound of Boars Head turkey breast. It is really great for on the go meals and snacks like this! I just pealed two of my romaine lettuce leaves, topped it with turkey, mustard & zucchini. This would also be great with guacamole or avocado slices!

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Same meal as pictured above…found the mushrooms.

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As you can see I’m quite the spokesperson for Applegate’s products. This is a classic meal that my dad used to cook all the time. Applegate Hot Dogs and Eggs. Don’t knock it till ya try it.

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Random pile of balsamic chicken, random veggies, homemade tomato sauce. It’s fun to put everything you have in your fridge in a bowl and see what happens…

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Picnic style meal. Minus the bun, and the sweaty Frisbee games, and the beer. 5 oz. Turkey Burger, 1 medium sweet potato cut into fries, a big pile of veggies. Mushrooms & hot sauce on the side. (Where the hell was the ketchup?)

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5 oz. Ground Beef, Peppers & Onions, Crushed Tomato sauce, and of course…an egg on top.

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Egg on everything… Salad filled with veggies and chicken! For dressing I use olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette, salt & pepper (sometimes), and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend. Delicious.

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Van’s Gluten Free Waffles are AMAZING! So delicious and a perfect treat if you aren’t feeling very paleo. This meal is about 400 calories and is my ultimate favorite. Avocado/guacamole on top of the waffle, turkey burger on top of the avocado, egg on top of the turkey burger.

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Three scrambled eggs topped with a ridiculous amount of veggies and BBQ Pulled Pork.

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Chicken can get so plain. There are so many ways to spice up your plain chicken in the kitchen. Add any Mrs. Dash seasoning and it will change the game. You can also add salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I cook my chicken with a bunch of veggies. Killing two birds with one stone!

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One egg with egg whites. 1/2 avocado. Mushrooms. 6 oz. Chicken.

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Egg Muffins! I will be posting millions of egg muffin recipes…coming soon 🙂

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Mock chipotle. Brown rice, vegetables, chicken, beans and Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie packs!

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The perfect paleo breakfast. Eggs, Applegate turkey bacon and a Turkey Burger.

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More chicken ideas! Top and cook your chicken with almost anything and I guarantee it’ll turn out delicious. This has BBQ sauce and mushrooms and peppers on the bottom.

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Three eggs over easy. Does it get much better than this?

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Ground Turkey and Chicken with crushed tomato sauce and spinach, sautéed in some garlic!

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The leaning tower of…everything you need in life. Zucchini, Canadian bacon, and really runny Eggs.

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Spaghetti Squash! Cut your squash in half and leave it in the oven (on a tray, facing down) on 400 degrees for about half an hour. Continue checking, cooking time may vary depending on the size of your squash. Sautee cut up tomatoes in garlic and olive oil to act as your “sauce”. Sautee peppers & onions and your serving of protein. My favorite protein to eat with spaghetti squash is ground turkey!

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Simple circle cut sweet potato fries with a bunch of chicken, mushrooms and green beans.

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Egg whites, lox, avocado, and a small serving of sweet potato. These four ingredients are essential in my diet. Avocados and sweet potatoes may or may not keep me sane. The hint is to keep your sweet potatoes in the oven for as long as possible… they will cook so much that they will taste like candy. When eating an avocado, it can be a bit bland. Adding salt and pepper to the top of your avocado is quite the game changer. Maybe even some hot sauce or garlic powder.

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Egg whites and a turkey burger, with hot sauce. Bowl of fruit with ground flax seeds and a tablespoon of almond butter! (Styrofoam plates are so in right now)

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Delicious spinach salad with vegetables and raspberries! Adding fruit to your salad really switches things up and reminds you that life isn’t as boring as it seems.

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Two eggs, Canadian bacon, sweet potato & almond butter. Another perfect paleo breakfast!

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Yummy BBQ Chicken topped with spinach (sautéed in garlic) and a Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie pack!