Looking forward & looking back: Leveling up my goals for 2013

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It’s December 31, which can only mean one thing — New Year’s resolutions! And, maybe a bit of a recap, too…

2012 was a big year for me when it came to fitness. At the end of 2011, I was more than ready for change when it came to food and fitness. I was doing the same boring fitness routine at the gym four times a week and was much too busy “counting calories” rather than eating whole, unprocessed, good-for-you foods. I was pretty underweight and finally swallowed my pride, admitted I needed some help, and went to a nutritionist to help refocus myself.

No more thinking a Lean Cuisine is a meal… ūüôā

Lean Cuisine Meme (Source)

I’m not sure how I got the idea last January, but I decided I was going to run a half-marathon. I wasn’t a “runner” by any means…I was a gym rat, that’s for sure, but doing 30 minutes on the elliptical or even four miles on the treadmill is nothing compared to 13.1 in the great outdoors.

I knew if I was going to run a half, I’d have to start treating my body better, fueling it up with the proteins and fats I needed to make it through a long run. It sounds¬†counterintuitive, but signing up for that 13.1 helped me put on the weight I needed to be healthier and, ultimately, happier.

I completed that half marathon in May 2012, and I’ve never looked back. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment and set the stage for me to break another record in my 15K earlier this fall…

My sister and me after successfully completing our first half!

My sister and me after successfully completing our first half!

In addition to fitness, 2012 was a big year for me: I graduated from college, got married, moved into a new apartment, landed my first real world job — I’m not sure how 2013 can top that, but I sure can try!

Here are my big food/fitness goals for 2013:

  1. Run a full marathon.¬†I’ve talked about it, thought about it, dreamed about it…and it’s time to take it up another level! I’ve got my sights set on the Delaware Running Festival Marathon in mid-May. I completed the Delaware half last May, so why not do a full this time around?
  2. Run a sub-24 5k. When I first started training last year, I just wanted to finish my race in a decent time. Since then, I found that I don’t just love to finish, I love to finish¬†fast.¬†I’m hoping 2013 will be the year of a sub-24 minute (maybe even 23 minute?!) 5K race.
  3. Try yoga. I’ve never done it, and I can’t imagine I’ll like it, but I want to try it! I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised, because I just can’t see myself getting a runner’s high out of a yoga sess…
  4. Try a Paleo and vegan diet.¬†I don’t believe in “fad” diets or “low-fat” diets or any type of traditional diet at all. Instead, I’ve found that I feel best when I’m eating real, whole foods. I don’t think I’ll ever give up meat or grains completely, but I do want to challenge myself to do a week of only Paleo and another of only vegan diets to help introduce myself to new foods and incorporate those into my regular eating.

What are your food and fitness goals for 2013? Who else will join me on my crazy quest to complete 26.2?!

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Snowy day, sneezes, & stromboli

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Happy Saturday, friends! Currently, it’s snowing here in Delaware and coming down pretty hard –yay! We haven’t had a “good” snow yet this season, and since I don’t have anywhere I have to be today, I love it! I was hoping to start the day off with a long run (I have my new Garmin charged and ready to go!), but a combination of the snow and battling a cold put that on the back burner.

On to Plan B! Although it may not be as exciting, it’s definitely been productive. I spent the morning¬†reorganizing our entire second bedroom (it was literally a mess), cleaned up our house, and read at least a hundred more pages of Gone Girl. I just started it on Thursday night, and I’m already halfway through — I definitely recommend it! Amongst all the cleaning and reading, I’ve been eating clementines like my job. I’m hoping the Vitamin C can help flush this cold out!

Eating clementines like it's my job!

Eating clementines like it’s my job!

But, enough about my snowy day and sneezes…on to more fun topics like stromboli!

I love stromboli. We have this little pizza shop back home which has¬†the best stromboli I’ve ever had in my life — ham, pepperoni, cheese, sauce, wrapped in the most delicious dough. It may have about 39552857 calories, but it’s worth every single one.

A few weeks ago, I made some homemade wheat pizza dough to use for a veggie stromboli (for me) and a pepperoni stromboli (for the hubs). It was pretty good, but takes a long time from start to finish because of the time involved to let the dough rise.

Then, I discovered this No-Yeast Pizza Dough with Whole Wheat from Kristin in Her Kitchen. It. is. life. changing. There’s no yeast, which means there’s no rising, which means it’s done in five minutes from start to finish. Homemade wheat dough in five minutes? Yes, please!

It turns out a little tougher than regular rise dough, but the time it saves you is more than worth it — I promise. You can wrap this dough around anything you want — veggies, pepperoni, sauce and cheese. I used it as the basis for this BBQ Chicken Whole Wheat Stromboli. Yum!

BBQ Chicken Whole Wheat Stromboli
Serves 5-6

  • No-Yeast Pizza Dough, prepared
  • 2 cups BBQ chicken, shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups cheese (I used reduced-fat cheddar and mozzarella)
  • Extra BBQ sauce, if desired
    BBQ Chicken Whole Wheat Stromboli
  1. Preheat oven to 400 and prepare your no-yeast dough. 
  2. Spray a cooking stone with olive oil cooking spray and begin to spread your dough evenly on pan. Try to make it fill the pan as much as possible.
  3. Spread your two cups of chicken across the center of the dough. Top with your cheese and remaining BBQ sauce if desired.
  4. Take left side of dough and place it over toppings. Take right side of dough and fold it over the other dough and toppings. Be sure to pinch your edges to make sure everything stays in there.
  5. Cut about six slits on top of dough to help it vent throughout cooking.
  6. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until dough is cooked through and lightly browned on bottom.BBQ Chicken Stromboli with whole wheat dough

How to “level up” this recipe

  • Add some sliced veggies to the mix! I suggest some red onion and green pepper to compliment the BBQ flavor.¬†
  • If you have the time, try using a yeast-based whole wheat dough. It may take longer, but the crust will be a little lighter than the no-yeast option. I use this recipe from BudgetBytes for my homemade doughs.

How to “level down” this recipe

  • Not ready for the whole homemade dough thing yet? Try using a premade dough, like the Pillsbury Artisan Dough with Whole Grain. It makes this easy recipe even easier!¬†

A very guac-filled WIAW: 12.26.12

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Good morning, everyone! I hope you’re still enjoying your holiday break — I know I am! (Although I go back to work tomorrow ūüė¶ Boo!) Now that I’m done all of my Christmas festivities, it’s back to blogging, and since it’s Wednesday, you know that means! My eats came from last Tuesday…

WIAW_12.26.12

Breakfast: 1/4 c. steel cut oats with flaxseed, half of a Honeycrisp apple, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cinnamon, and natural PB

Morning snack: The remaining half of my apple and a clementine

Lunch: This photo doesn’t do it justice! I had the most amazing wrap, thanks to Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Guac. WOW. It’s made with greek yogurt and the stuff is a-mazing. I enjoyed a whole wheat wrap slathered with TJ’s guac goodness, a few slices of turkey, spinach, and red onion with baby carrots on the side. Definitely a new favorite lunch!

Afternoon snack: (not pictured) Handful of cashews, almonds, raisins, and sunflower seeds

Dinner: Another black bean quinoa veggie bowl topped with salsa with a whole grain Wasa crisp spread with more guac. (Yes, it’s that good)

Evening snack: 1 melted banana, topped with some oats and cinnamon. I got this idea from checking out other people’s WIAW posts, and it’s a new favorite bedtime snack!

Getting hungry? Head over to Peas and Crayons with Miss Jenn who graciously hosts this foodie fest each Wednesday! I’ve been spending too much time reading everyone’s eats and getting great ideas for new things to try!

Merry Christmas from me to you!

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

From creating healthy holiday sides to bring to family gatherings…

Christmas veggies2

to taking too many Instagram pics with the sister…

K+A

to fabulous new running gear like my new Lululemon tank and accessories (thanks, Kate!)…

Lulu

to delicious Apple Pie Pancakes (just like these except with apples instead of blueberries!) for Christmas breakfast…

Apple pancakes

to Christmas Day runs in new running gear…

CHristmas run

…I had a truly great Christmas and hope you did too!

See you tomorrow for WIAW…in the meantime, enjoy your final hours with family and friends! ‚̧

Starting off your holiday eating right

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Holidays are a time of fun, family, friends…and¬†a lot¬†of food. I love indulging at the holidays (don’t we all?!), but I don’t want to let myself get completely off track. So, what’s a girl to do? I think the real key is to start your morning off right…

  1. Exercise:¬†I always try to start with some type of exercise to get my heart pumping and my body sweating before a full day of festivities. Yesterday, I was a little crunched for time so I started off with this Cardio Circuit Workout from Peanut Butter Fingers, which I was able to finish in about 25 minutes. This morning, I had the pleasure of going on a¬†very hilly 4-mile run with my brother-in-law and cousin — it was challenging, but fun!
  2. Breakfast:¬†Start with a hearty, healthy breakfast! One of my favorite new recipes is this banana egg pancake — it’s simple, full of protein, and very healthy!

Banana Egg Pancake

Banana Egg Pancake
Serves
1

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seed
  • Optional — cinnamon, vanilla
  1. In a small bowl, combine one egg, one egg white, and one mashed banana. Stir together until fairly smooth.
  2. Add flax seed, and cinnamon and vanilla if desired.
  3. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and pour batter into skillet. Begin to cook. (Note: It will take awhile before you can even flip this pancake — about 5-7 minutes!) Be patient!
  4. Flip pancake and cook for another five minutes or so.
  5. Once cooked through, top with your desired toppings — I added almond butter, maple agave syrup, and a little bit of flax seed!

How to “level up” this recipe:

  • Top with fruit, such as apple slices.

How to “level down” this recipe:¬†

  • Remove the flax seed if you’re not a fan!

Fit Friday Finds: 12.21.12

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Fit Friday Finds

Just a warning…this Fit Friday Find is a little more controversial than the rest. But, it’s an issue that’s very important to me, and once I read this, I had to share!

This week’s Fit Friday Find is “The Fabulous Food Stamp Diet,” a blog post from Sally over at Real Mom Nutrition. She begins by pointing out comments from Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros, who recently commented about Newark Mayor Corey Booker’s pledge to eat on budget similar to those on the SNAP (food stamps) program. Tantaros claimed that she would be “so skinny” if she went on food stamps.

The comment was clearly ignorant, but that’s not what this post is about.

It’s about the availability — or lack thereof — of healthy, wholesome foods when a family is on a government program. When you have a limited amount of money to feed a family of four, you sure aren’t spending your time on the “outside” of the store, browsing the produce, fresh milk, and lean meats. You can’t justify spending $10 on enough apples for your family for the week when you can spend $3 on a large jar of applesauce that’ll feed your family for the week. You can’t justify $3.50 for a loaf of fresh, whole grain bread when you can buy a king loaf of white bread for $1.19. You can’t justify spending $8 for a block of fresh, low-fat cheddar cheese and whole wheat noodles when you can spend $0.85 for a box of Kraft…you get the idea.

Would a voucher problem fix the issue? Should you give families a voucher that can only be spent on fresh produce or lean meats, similar to the restrictions on the WIC program, in addition to their food stamp money? In theory, it sounds great. In reality, it sounds like a lot of politicians claiming that’s too much “big government,” telling people what they can and cannot buy. In reality, it sounds like a lot of extra money for the government to shell out, only increasing the government deficit.

Would an educational program fix the issue? Should you provide families with lessons on how to choose healthy options on a budget and show them how to make those choices on their own? In theory, it sounds great. In reality, it sounds like a lot of time and administrative effort that would require more money and more attention than the government may be willing to give.

Then again, what’s the price on health?

Warming up for winter break with this circuit!

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Remember when I promised you a circuit workout earlier this week? Well, it’s time to make good on that promise!

I created this circuit last week, and the best part is that it requires no equipment — just a little bit of space and a lot of water to keep you hydrated! Perfect to do at home or on vacation when you’re not around to use your gym.

Challenge yourself to do the 50-40-30-20-10 and then work your way back up (10-20-30-40-50)! Those back-to-back burpees get me every time!

50-40-30-20-10 Circuit workout

How you staying fit this holiday?