If you’re trying to get fit and lose weight, it can be SO extremely depressing and difficult. As someone whose body clings to fat as though I’m in a concentration camp (or will be lol), I feel like I can understand the frustration that comes with seeing slower results than people with faster metabolisms.
Fitness, or losing fat and gaining muscle, always depends largely on your diet – not BEING on a certain kind of new, flashy, popular diet, but literally the things you’re eating day in and day out. The reason why I post so much of our food preps and recipe ideas I’ve created over the years, is because fitness truly is about 80% what you eat, and 20% exercise.
We go to a gym almost daily during the week to lift and do some cardio (sometimes), and there are all types of fit people we see. Unfortunately, there are also a couple of women we see and have seen since 2015, who have actually gained weight over the 3 years we’ve been there. While it could be a combination of things (not working out hard or long enough – smart exercise in other words, or bad eating habits or even hormones out of whack, as in hypothyroidism), you always have to look at your diet if this is happening to you. Even hormonal problems with weight can usually be controlled when you stick to a very strict and proper diet that is tailored to only YOUR specific biological needs. Sometimes it takes just a visit to the doctor to get tested, but there is usually a solution out there somewhere.
The most important thing though that trainers don’t usually say, probably because they figure you’ll find this to be common sense, is to just simply not give up!
I’m serious! All of the women that I know who have lost lots and lots of weight through the fitness groups I’m active in, the ones who have been the most successful were the ones who just NEVER GAVE UP.
You will fail! Fitness, for women whose bodies biologically hold on to fat, is VERY hard. Even for models who are “naturally thin,” if they stop their very strict eating habits and rigorous exercise routines, they gain weight fairly fast, too.
Everyone fails at times. Even the most successful, beautiful women I’ve talked to personally who have done bikini competitions (and placed!!!!), even THEY feel like a failure at times in their own personal journeys. There are ups and downs in life, there are periods of time where you won’t be able to stick to something that works because a major life event happened that you weren’t prepared for (child death, parental death… anything!). I’ve seen things like this happen, and I’ve seen the women who get back up and keep on going eventually find success.
You’re going to backslide at some point. It’s just the honest truth. You need to accept that it will happen so that when it happens, you aren’t mentally derailed and depressed about it. There was once a woman in a church group I was in who got fairly angry at me when I tried to tell her this and warn her about not expecting success right away. Her retort was that she was completely backed up with Scriptures and the Holy Spirit and that it was for sure going to work this time. Even years later when I saw her again, she was still overweight. But that kind of mentality she insisted upon is a recipe for disaster! Again, it’s better to humble yourself, realize that you’re only human, and maybe a woman with a propensity to hold onto fat like you’re a dying person lol, and roll with the ups and downs.
What truly matters is persistence and the resolve that you’re not going to let failure make you stop.
I’ve talked to a few trainers now 🙂 they are the most awesome people in my mind ❤ So encouraging, optimistic and sweet! But I don’t think they tell people this when they first start out on a journey to try to be fit or lose weight.
You have to be really patient and kind to yourself. I’ve known quite a few women who came to their journey through hating their bodies as they were – seeing a photo on facebook where it suddenly hits them how far they’ve let themselves go is a big one. And maybe that is enough motivation to get them through to the end.
But I’ve also seen that it’s good to look at this journey as loving yourself and finally taking care of your body the way you should have been. Self-hatred may not be the best way longterm, as I know it drives other eating disorders like anorexia as well as over-eating. Changing the way you think about your body can be so empowering in getting in shape.
And truly loving yourself and valuing yourself shows up by taking care of the only body you have. If you’re Christian, there’s even a deeper spiritual element to why you need to take good care of your body:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”
1 Corinthians 6:19
So keep going. No matter where you are in your journey… if you have over 100 pounds to lose, or just 10, DO NOT GIVE UP.
For some strange reason, around this time of year, I seem to get a urge to have soups again. Just one really giant crockpot soup seems to hit the spot, and then I’m finally done with “Winter Foods” and can move on LOL 😀
So… this was my fulfillment of that craving. A beautifully white, healthier version of the full fat and cream White Chili, this version has more protein and less fat, and is packed full of veggies to round out the meal as a “complete” meal for nutrition.
It. Is. SO. Delicious! And it’s just beautiful!
Even though this version has a lot less fat than the usual one, my husband remarked that it still tasted as though it should be extremely fattening 😀 YES! Goal met!!! You know you’ve made a good recipe when it tastes like it should be “bad for you” food 😉
Anyway, here is the recipe below. And you literally just chop everything, put the raw chicken (sliced/pounded/prepped) at the bottom of your crockpot, add the water and chicken bouillon (or chicken broth), and all the chopped ingredients, spices, give it a stir, and then cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for 8 hours.
pie … er… soup!
So again, you just literally chop everything, open the canned foods, lay the chicken in strips or pieces on the bottom of your crockpot, fill it up with the water or chicken broth, add the spices and you’re set!
You DO need to take the chicken out at the end, quickly shred it with two forks in a bowl (super easy because it’s SO tender), and add it back in.
Add the greek yogurt when you add the chicken back in, whisking it into the chili (or add your half and half). Then cook on High for 15 minutes more, and you’re done!
It basically cooks itself.
And there you have it. A much healthier version of the scrumptious White Chicken Chili!
Along with our usual meal prep when we’re really trying to focus on eating healthier, I like to have some prepped snacks on hand for when we’re going to be more on the go.
These can be anything from cubed cheddar and turkey bites, apples slices, cheese and crackers, bags of trail mix, all the way to protein bars! The key, if you’re making it yourself – which does save so much money – is to slice, cut, or cube right away and section out your portions into ziplock bags or tupperware so that it’s already done and ready to go. We buy a lot of things in bulk and then make our own little “packages” of servings for convenience.
And it does make it a million times easier to have your healthy snacks already portioned out like this and ready to take with you! And it really doesn’t take that much time. In fact, you’re saving yourself time and money by ensuring you’re not going to be more tempted to reach for a candy bar from a snack machine or fast food when you’ve been stuck out too long.
I do have to admit that meal prepping and snack prepping were much harder when I was briefly trying to be a working mom back when our oldest was little. I did manage to make all our food homemade, including snacks and such, but everything was a lot more rushed and anxious.
One of the first things I noticed when I began staying home with him was the beauty of slowing down and truly enjoying life. And MANY of the adventurous baking or cooking that we did together only happened when I was staying home… work took the best of me.
Now that we’re having more children, our family is almost run like a small business, so little things like this, although they take time, are relaxing to do and gives me fulfillment. It’s the difference of making something beautiful yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it for you – you just feel that much more fulfilled and almost a sense of joy in creating it.
So I hope you try out making your own portioned out snacks this next week. We do our grocery shopping today, so I already have a list of the things I’m going try 😀
This was SO incredibly delicious!!! BOTH Asian dishes just came out amazing. And it was really pretty easy… Asian cooking doesn’t have to be as hard as it appears, it’s mostly just certain flavors in the spices and sauces they use that brings everything together.
I’ve never made Kung Pao Beef (or Chicken)… it just always seemed too hard, plus Sirloin is expensive. I’ve always just made beef stir fry with rice and whatever veggies we had on hand (and my husband loved it)! But this really took my Asian food repertoire (lol if you could call it that!) to a whole ‘nother level!
And remember, I almost always bulk cook – cook in huge quantities so that it lasts throughout the week (or we have some to freeze if we get tired of it). It’s just so much more time efficient that way to get all the cooking for the week, done in a few hours ONCE. 😀
Basic Kung Pao Beef Ingredients –
So as you can see, it looks complicated, I promise you once you start getting all of it chopped and prepared, it is super easy to just throw it together to cook it and it’s done very fast depending on how high your heat can get.
I loosely followed this man’s instructions on the cooking part, using my own version of the ingredients. He is super cute and did it so authentically! LOL All that fire!!!!
So in this picture above, it shows the yellow and orange sweet bell peppers. I was bulk cooking BOTH of these dishes, literally at the same time, so you don’t need those for the Kung Pao. Those were sliced up for the Asian Garlic Chicken I made (recipe at the end).
I LOVE cooking like this… it’s one of my favorite things to feel like I’m cooking in some restaurant ❤ And the flavors are just insane when you cook stuff like this homemade! The smells fill your house too, I’ve had guests or family come in, and they immediately said it smelled like a restaurant! 😀 Yay for cooking! It is just too much fun!
So this is about 3-4 lbs chicken on one side, and 2.5 pounds Sirloin steak strips on the other. Both can be cooked in a little oil, plus some minced garlic. Add in the chilies to the Kung Pao (it’s a very spicy dish!) so that the steak absorbs their spicy flavors.
Remove the steak strips into a bowl once they’re done or mostly done cooking (since you’re going to add them back in toward the the end).
And for your Asian Garlic Chicken, add in the sliced up sweet bell peppers and the other 1/2 of your onion used in the Kung Pao Beef.
These pics just show the progression really coming together for both meals. Honestly the Asian chicken is about done at this point. I just made a second batch to have even more for throughout the week since the kids would eat this, too. You’re going to get a nice juice going on in the bottom of the pot/wok. You want to save that because it’s going to be full of ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and sweet teriyaki sauce.
Just add the rest of the chopped veggies into the Kung Pao Beef, and cook on high heat (lol or with FIRE like the cute Asian man!) until they get nicely carmelized. Add in the peanuts of course, and your Kung Pao sauce (whether you choose to make it yourself with oyster sauce and soy, or use a premade version) toward the end.
They look so gorgeous as they cook longer! YUMMMMM! 😀
This (above) was the end result of the Kung Pao, along with the second batch of chicken cooked to add into the one made right before it.
And then you’ve got not one but TWO awesome tasting Asian dishes to choose from throughout the week! I was also cooking a ton of rice to go with these meals, just plain white rice with some garlic cloves cooked with it, and some rice vinegar splashed in for Asian flavor.
And there you go! Meal preps for the entire week for both Kung Pao Beef and Asian Garlic Chicken! Soooooooo incredibly tasty!!
And here were the ingredients for the Asian Garlic Chicken – it was super easy:
Asian Garlic Chicken Ingredients –
And that’s really it! You cook it all together, first adding the spices in with the raw chicken to cook and form a flavored juice, then add in the peppers and onions and sauce. Cook until chicken is done, and then you have a wonderfully flavored Asian chicken medley!
Enjoy – I know we definitely are this week!
Oh man!!!!!!!!! This was a GREAT TASTING recipe! And this man in the video is so funny and cute!
This is the best cauliflower crust I’ve seen recipe-wise, and he definitely tried out a few different combinations before landing on this one, which he explains in his video. So I decided to try it out myself…
My oldest son’s face when I told him what I was making 😀 LOL
Anyway… it was really easy. The only thing I did differently was use frozen (de-thawed) cauliflower which in hindsight, made it harder to get into the right texture, but it did still work and it still held together as a “crust.” But next time I try this, I’m doing it this man’s way using raw cauliflower and grating it down – just would have saved so much time.
Grate cauliflower into little rice-like shavings (best to do this with raw cauliflower, if using de-thawed frozen, you have to try to blend it in a food processor)
Gently cook cauliflower shavings in a pan over medium heat to get all the moisture out. You’re not browning it – just getting it to be a dryer texture so that it meshes together better to make a perfect crust!
Whisk egg in a large bowl, add in the shavings along with the parmesan. Mix together and then your ready to put it on a pizza pan.
Use oven paper or parchment paper over your pizza pan to prevent it from sticking (and help with super easy clean up!), spread out the crust mixture evenly into a circle. Lift up edges of pizza to create a slight “crust.” It’s important that the edges are thicker so that they don’t burn since the edges tend to cook quicker!
Now just bake at 400’F for 20 minutes to get it into a nice bread-y texture:
That’s it!! It’s gorgeous!! This (above) is what it looks like after it’s baked to prep. It is CHEESY because of all that Parmesan mixed into the crust! We thought this was awesome!! Now add your toppings once it’s cooled a little (5 min), and pop back in the oven at 400’F to cook for about 10 min more.
DELICIOUS alternative to pizza!!!
The only down side is that it does takes some time and only produces ONE smallish pizza – good for two adults for 2 days of lunches. My usual (normal) recipe of making homemade pizza from scratch produces typically FOUR LARGE (HUGE) pizzas that last a long time.
So you have to really want to make this to keep to lower carbs. It’s great though! I’ll definitely be making it again ❤
And the leftovers the next day are GREAT! 😀
Another tasty & healthy recipe in the bucket… now excuse me while I indulge in some gorgeous cheesy healthy pizza 😉
I’ve always loved French culture… the way they typically don’t brush their hair even when it’s long… the obsession with skincare… their apothecaries where you can find beauty treasures not available anywhere else!
And… the way they eat!
French women eat carbs! They enjoy breads and pastries! They drink wine!
They eat dark chocolate and have dessert!
And yet they typically are well known for not getting fat.
There’s even a book out from years ago (no I haven’t read it – I should!) with this title, “French Women Don’t Get Fat!”
This video explores some of the ways they keep fit into old age ❤ So sweet! And it’s mostly common sense stuff. Nothing too hard or difficult to manage.
And the cute way they talk about staying fit, is as if it’s just part of daily living. And it IS for them.
All it takes is moderation, or knowing your body well enough to understand when you need to “take the stairs” as they say.
When your pants start to feel tight, it’s time to ramp up your exercising, and cut back a little. They do this on their own as a way of monitoring their weight and staying fit and thin. No strange, difficult diets, no cutting out desserts or breads, just plain old exercising and eating fresh (not processed), homemade foods and desserts along with their healthy foods (proteins and veggies), too.
Here’s to french desserts, en modération! 😉
My fitness group ladies keep coming back to discussing the new diet fad of keeping your body always in a state of ketosis. Just today (note: this was a couple of weeks ago) we looked at an article that is again… not very favorable. And after reading it, I’m definitely beginning to see why these fads can be so annoying to fitness instructors and nutritionists.
When I first heard about the keto diet, I immediately remembered studying case studies of diabetic people in ketoacidosis in college, and was alarmed that there were apparently women who were trying to get their bodies into that state of chemical toxicity in producing ketones in their blood. BUT those two things are different. Ketoacidosis is a very high level of ketones, whereas ketosis is just the presence of ketones. It’s similar, but one is life-threatening, while the other seems benign.
My fitness ladies are skeptical, quite a few have tried it and already been badly burned, having experiences that ranged from physical illnesses and side effects like kidney stones, to higher cholesterol levels that forced them to have to go back to a normal, much healthier diet.
This article delves into those issues from a scientific perspective which is nice. My background was biology and chemistry… and very heavy on biochemistry – how those two work inside your body – so the science stuff speaks to me.
From an obesity researcher quoted in the article:
“But just as other “don’t eat this” or “eat more of that” diets of the past didn’t cure all, so goes the ketogenic diet. “It’s one of these diets where so many people are talking about losing tons of weight, improving their health risks, beating cancer, and all these other lofty claims,” says Stephan Guyenet, an obesity researcher and author of The Hungry Brain. “But all those big claims are far ahead of the current scientific evidence.”
It does work… reading the awesome stories on reddit are incredibly inspiring! But again, it’s part common sense (following your macros), part fad (eating 90% fat!), and part diet (lowering caloric intake by not eating carbs, which are the bulk of calories per day we normally eat anyway).
Like I said, a lot of it is just common sense, and the main part is restricting caloric intake (which always leads to fat loss, no matter what diet you’re on).
More on that from this article:
“Keto doesn’t seem to be any better for weight loss compared to any other “diet,” Kashey says. And that’s due to how weight loss science works. “People get excited about the idea that the ketogenic diet burns fat stored on your body,” Kashey says. “Yes, ketones can be made from your stored fat, but ketogenic diets are high in fat. Therefore, the fat you eat is what gets converted to ketones. How do you make sure you are burning more fat than you are eating? You eat less fat. That sounds an awful lot like reducing calories.””
For women, it can be a little dangerous as it messes with our hormone production, which affects bone loss longterm. (From article):
“But it may also have some health-based drawbacks, Scott-Dixon says. “Especially in women, it can disrupt hormonal production,” she says. “You also sometimes see immunity issues and nutritional deficiencies, so you’re maybe risking getting sick, and becoming malnourished, which is sort of embarrassing if you live America.” Guyenet agrees, saying “few human groups have ever lived in chronic ketosis, so I’m skeptical that it’s a good idea.””
I’ve read from a lot of the Keto Gurus that human groups have been mostly living in ketosis throughout history. It’s something you’d have to look into for yourself, but I personally think just following a healthy, well-balanced diet (by which I mean including carbs), is probably the best way to go, especially (as I found out personally) if you enjoy exercise or sports and do endurance or high intensity workouts.
The Keto Diet seems to scientifically harm your overall athletic performance and long-term energy. So if you do aerobics or are a die-hard runner, the longer you’re in ketosis, you’ll be worsening at your beloved sport or hobby:
“One study of endurance athletes found the diet led to performance declines, and another found that it hurt endurance race performance. One study on mountain bikers, however, did show some promise. Any benefits of exercising in ketosis are likely offset by the drawbacks, covered here. “You know what has been proven to improve exercise performance, though?,” Kashey asks. “Carbs.””
Coming from a long-time runner and dancer, it is very hard to imagine exercising at your best level (much less racing like one study found) without the necessary carbs that fuel long-term endurance. I thought all that was common sense, even as a teenager when our coach was explaining it to us.
The Keto Gurus (who when I researched more on their actual diet, were eating more protein than they should be to be in ketosis, and carb-fueling on days they called “Re-Feed” days, lol), will try to tell you that being in ketosis produces more ATP energy during your workouts. It’s just not true scientifically. The body cannot break down fat as fast and efficient as carbs when using them for high intensity workouts or in weight lifting (in order to build muscle), so while 1 gram of fat does in theory produce more ATP eventually, it’s not fast enough or easy enough for the body to do this under exercise stress.
I found a good scientific article explaining what I was feeling in my workouts when being in a constant state of ketosis. This study that was done was involving different sets of mice, one set that was prone to epileptic seizures, and another that was normal and the control (no physical abnormalities). The sets of mice were all put on a ketogenic diet to model the human version of the diet. The mice prone to epilepsy, when on a ketogenic diet, were significally improved in their health and also surprisingly made “normal” amounts of ATP energy that they weren’t previously able to make (so they were under-making ATP on regular diets – whereas the keto diet helped them to be at normal ATP production). It didn’t make them make “more” than what is normal, but it did help them make more than they used to on regular diets that weren’t working for them health-wise.
The normal mice however, who didn’t have seizure and health problems, when measured actually produced significantly less ATP-energy than what they had been producing when they were allowed to eat carbohydrates. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646796/
So if you have medical conditions like epilepsy, being on the keto diet has been proven to possibly help restore you to normal levels of ATP production, greatly impacting your life in positive ways. However, if you’re the typical adult without epilepsy, your ATP levels may be “significantly decreased,” on this diet due to the lack of healthy carbs.
It’s actually because of that, heavy weight lifting is not doable on keto – they actually advise against it. Mostly because you’re not eating enough carbs in order to build and rebuild muscle!
“Therapeutic use of ketogenic diets should not require constraint of most forms of physical labor or recreational activity, with the one caveat that anaerobic (ie, weight lifting or sprint) performance is limited by the low muscle glycogen levels induced by a ketogenic diet, and this would strongly discourage its use under most conditions of competitive athletics.”
(From here: https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-1-2)
Here are some hardcore cyclists talking about their negative experiences in exercise performance on keto:
Depending on how hard you work out and how much ATP you need, it may affect your workout and training to a greater degree.
Just as a recent, personal experience I had the other day (already quite a few days in to ketosis), I was working out very hard on the stairmaster at our gym with my husband. After only doing 15 minutes of that exercise, which was intense intervals of fast and furious climbing against increased resistance levels (large steps), and slow climbing to a lighter resistance, I had to stop and afterward, felt like I was going to black out. LOL it was NOT cool!
After researching my experience with doing HIIT (intervals of high intensity followed by lower intensity), it turns out “dizziness” and low blood sugar (leading to blacking out) is one of the side effects of this diet. Grrreeeaaat. Try feeling dizzy when you’re doing an intense cardio workout up high on a stair master! Oh wait!! You can’t because you may fall off and break something! lol
Negative side effects of the Keto Diet:
I guess it’s just human nature to look for a magic formula or easy route to get healthy, but it seems a little more complicated than what cutting out an entire food group (long-term) can do. Does the Keto Diet have pros? Yes. Does it work? Yes, you can check out all the success stories on reddit to see for yourself! It’s honestly the perfect intro diet for very overweight people who aren’t exercising normally and eating loads of bad carbs in their diet. It weans them off of the bad carbs, gets them eating a TON more veggies and leafy greens they should be eating anyway, and really does help them lose fat due to these habit changes.
But is it a little dangerous in how it paints carbs as the “Bad Guys” for optimal health? Yea… and with all my training and experience in sports and athletics, I can see how this diet would be annoying to fitness instructors or coaches who understand how much protein their athletes need, along with carbohydrates for maximum performance.
You won’t find any Olympic Athletes on the Keto diet, and if they are, they’re definitely incorporating carbs on “Re-Feed” or re-fuel days on the weekends to compensate. But with the protein restrictions to be in ketosis, I highly doubt any Olympians are on it, and definitely not long-term.
Ultimately you have to do what’s best for you long-term and do what you can realistically stick to. There’s no way I’d be willing to give up my high intensity workouts and weight-lifting to build muscle to lose fat on this diet, when I’m already able to lose fat (and train like an athlete) on a healthier diet including carbs I love.
But if you can stick to it, and you’re willing to brave the negative side effects and messing with your feminine hormone production, then go for it. To me that’s too much fuss to be tracking electrolyte balance and ketone production in my urine everyday, and part of overall fitness is keeping your mind at peace and relaxed and less stressed out (which being worried about not messing up my electrolyte balance, or if I’m messing up my period and bone density, would stress me out).
This blog is dedicated to approaching fitness for lifelong benefits and in a positive, relaxing way. I want people to be aware how easy being fit really is once you have the knowledge and power to act on it, and make changes in your life. There’s no need to pee on pH sticks everyday or track ketones in your blood. There’s no need to stop eating carbs or a healthy amount of protein in order to build muscle. In my opinion, any diet that cuts out an entire food group for the rest of your life, is just not peaceful or easy to do longterm.
Valeria is a Russian model, 27, two children, and a long history of taking excellent care of her mind and body. I adore her ❤
One of the main purposes of this blog is to show women how ridiculously EASY and SIMPLE losing weight can be when you have the correct knowledge and advice. You DON’T have to stop eating carbs, or start making complicated meals that are super high in fat.
Losing weight should be a relaxing, simplistic, lifestyle change that fits into your already busy routine. It should be something SUSTAINABLE over the length of your entire life! I don’t promote the most popular diet fads or pills for weightloss or weird supplements that mess with your hormone production.
None of that.
Just simple, easy, kind of “lazy” ways to change your life so that you start seeing and getting the body you feel strong and comfortable and proud in.
And these tips are so easy & true. I’ve been implementing the “hacks” she mentions since about 2009. So that’s almost a DECADE of knowing these things work for maintaining a fit and beautiful body you love.
Hope you enjoyed her tips as much as I did!
Remember… losing weight isn’t really that hard… a TON of what you need to do to even begin is just slightly alter what you’re already doing.
More gorgeous Meal Preps!!! Ooooo and this one is so tasty!!! It’s like a healthier version of “pulled pork” except it’s with BBQ chicken breasts, shredded.
Soooo delicious! And again, soooo healthy and makes life a million times easier for us this week when it comes to easy and healthy dinners!
If you have any ideas your family does or for ours to try, please leave them in the comments I’d love to hear new ideas about healthy meal prep options!