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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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!