Monday, March 16, 2015

Hope in the Pit of Depression

It's no secret that this past year has been one of the most challenging for me. I won't go into details as to why, but the extra strain has caused issues with depression/anxiety like I don't normally struggle with. I have always been quite an emotional person (I'm a girl, give me a break!) but not always what I would consider depression. I still don't think that I've experienced depression to the full degree, like I know some people do. I know I haven't.
However, it feels as though my emotions take over sometimes, and when my logical brain tells me that something isn't that big of a deal, my body and emotions take over and say, "Wait a minute, buddy, this a huge deal and we're not going down without a fight!" It's exhausting, really. And while I don't know any of the medical side of these things, and have no idea how depression and anxiety are linked, I do know that I don't want to live here. It has been so bad lately that I have lost sleep, and have been afraid to be around certain groups of people. I tell you this not to just spill all my dirty laundry, but I have always been about being an open book, telling it like it is, and about transparency.That has always been kind of my mission, something important to me. I don't think we were meant to bottle things up inside, never share them with anyone (especially the body of Christ), and go on as though everything were okay. I'm also not for sharing every little deep, dark secret and not moving forward. But I think on the flip side, that we tend to stuff things down, especially in the church, and pretend like we are okay. When we're not. We're so not.
So again, I don't claim to be an expert in the fields of depression and anxiety, but I know for me, there are certain things that I think are important in combating these feelings, and I want to try my best to move forward with these things so as to combat the devil's push to drag me down with him. Here are the things I want to engage in more, especially as the feelings of depression/anxiety overtake me:

1. Getting sufficient sleep
2. Getting a high-intensity workout
3. Taking care of myself and eating healthy
4. Being in the Word and daily connected to God
5. Being intentional about being around the people who love/care for me
6. Counseling with solid, wise, godly women who care about me
7. Memorizing Scripture, writing it on notecards, keeping it near me and in front of me
8. Using essential oils that can calm and soothe
9. Listening to the Holy Spirit's guidance for my life (not trying to run the show on my own)
10. Realizing that when I am weak, He is strong. He wants me to learn to rely on Him.
11. Trust in Him. He's got this. I don't have to carry it on my own.
12. Set aside time to do things that are enjoyable to me. (Sitting in the sun, reading a book, cooking, listening to music, getting away by myself, date nights with my husband, a walk on the trail with the kids.)
13. Filling my mind with positive, true things. Listening to podcasts of sermons, worship music, books on cd. That I would consciously fill my mind with the positive and true instead of passively filling it with worldly TV shows, songs that don't speak truth, and people's talk that doesn't align with God's plan and truth.

So, those are just some suggestions. Things that have been rolling around in my head lately about how I can combat these ugly feelings. These feelings that overwhelm, try to take over, try to take me out of the game to advance His kingdom and feel His blessings. Through Him we are more than conquerors. I don't need to bow my head in shame. I don't need to compete with other people. I don't need to worry about situations. I don't need to have a pity party. He is all-sufficient. He is enough. Satan is feeding me lies that I don't need to entertain for one second. Out with the old, in with the new. I am a new creation in Christ.

I hope this will be an encouragement to someone. Someone out there who feels alone, like no one understands, or can't get over that hump. Be proactive in getting help, seeking out truth, and not bowing to the one who is trying to pull you down. I'm not speaking on my high hill because I've done all these things and I'm perfect now. I'm speaking as one who is in the pit, and looking to get out. Maybe we can do it together. If you have an encouraging word, quote, verse, or things that have helped you out of the pit, please post them below! Sometimes we need to just know we're not alone.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Week 5 Results and a Motivational Talk

Well, sorry I'm a few days late but I think I will start blogging about my results on Saturdays instead of Mondays! I had a goal to have a perfect week, and though that didn't happen completely, I did much better and can really see that eating healthy and using my containers for my nutrition has become a habit for me! That's the awesome part! I'm not fighting against myself as much because I know that eating healthy and using my portion containers is what I will be doing each day. I do still struggle against myself, though, and find that the evenings and weekends can be especially hard. There are also lots of holidays, special events, holidays, etc. but I once heard that if you count up all of those events it's like over 120 days out of the year! In other words, we will not continue to move much closer to our goals if we let ourselves slip every time there is some kind of special event. In other words, we have to have self-control!

And it can be hard to have self-control in situations where we had previously let ourselves eat whatever we wanted to, in whatever portion sizes we wanted. To go into those situations with renewed focus, set on our goals for ourselves, and not listening to the well-meaning friends and co-workers who are not living out our journey towards our goals, and politely say "no, thank you."

No one can make you reach your dreams. No one can even set your dreams for you. No. You set the bar high. You write them down. You put in the blood, sweat, and tears. And then you get to glory in your results. That's what being a Coach is all about. Helping people to see their potential, to envision what their lives could be like if they set their mind to reach their goals. And that's the beauty of our Challenge groups as well. I am committed to you getting healthy and reaching your goals. You are in a group with others who are doing the same thing. And together you motivate and encourage each other to keep pushing play and saying "no" to the things that pull you away from your goals and "yes" to the things that push you towards them. And when you feel weak and vulnerable, you have that Challenge group to encourage you, give you the words you need, and to keep pushing forward!! Well, those are my tips for the week! And without further ado, here are my current results:

5 pounds lost

Slow and steady wins the race. I am still in this. Still fighting. Still pushing play. I have moved into the Beta round with T25 and am really enjoying the new set of workouts. Yesterday was double day and I got Core Cardio and Upper Focus done. Felt so good!

So if you're in the place in your life where you're ready to make a change, then do it. Set the bar high. Reach out to others who will help you reach your goals. No one can stop you but you. And I am here to help. I am here to Coach you, cheer you on, answer any questions you may have, and to be your encouragement everyday. That's what I do! And I would love to help you reach your goals!! Envision yourself reaching them, and that's a great place to start!
And as always, I am here to help. If you want to get started on your health and fitness journey, I'd love to be there for you! Fill out this form to get started, and I will get in contact with you!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Green Chili Stew

I haven't been using my slow-cooker as much as I'd like, and the other day I just wanted to throw something in for dinner to make my evening easier. I wanted to find a recipe that used stuff I already had, and I knew I wanted to use some ground turkey, since I had it thawing in the fridge. So, I pulled out my trusty "Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker" and was perusing it to find something that would fit the bill. I came across this Green Chili Stew, and seeing that I had all the ingredients, decided to make it!

The recipe actually calls for ground sirloin and ground pork, but I swapped in the ground turkey. I actually didn't even see that it called for the pork, and though it would have made it even tastier, I didn't have any on hand. And let me tell you, it was just fine with the ground turkey! Usually, slow cooker recipes aren't always the best tasting recipes. Easy? Yes. Time-saving? Yes. Makes the evening less chaotic? Yes. But often the slow cooker meals are just missing something. They just aren't as tasty as the regular home-cooked meal. So I wasn't expecting much from this recipe.

But oh my, was I wrong about how this would taste! It was so good, and even my kids were scarfing it down like they hadn't eaten all day! I LOVE recipes like those! To feed all 5 of us is one thing, but to find something that we all love and want more of? Score! So, I can't wait to share this recipe with you! I will give you the exact recipe out of the cookbook, and then tell you my variations and suggestions!

Green Chili Stew
Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook
Jeanne Allen

3 Tbsp. oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 lb. ground pork
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 4-oz. cans diced green chilies
4 large potatoes, diced
10-oz. pkg. frozen corn
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. crushed dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt

1. Brown onion, garlic, sirloin, and pork in oil in skillet. Cook until meat is no longer pink.
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
3. Cover. Cook on Low 4-6 hours, or until potatoes are soft.

Note: Excellent served with warm tortillas or corn bread.

This is the exact recipe. Now I'll tell you how I made it!

I did not have sirloin or pork, so I used ground turkey and it was delicious. I peeled the potatoes before I diced them, and I cooked it on high for about 6 hours. I have found that if I am cooking potatoes in a slow cooker, they have a hard time getting done unless they are on high for awhile. I used homemade chicken broth that I made from the bones of a whole chicken, so I'm sure that added some yummy flavor. I debated about putting black beans in, but I didn't. We served them up with corn tortillas that we fried in a pan for a couple minutes on each side. The kids were begging for more and I couldn't fry those tortillas fast enough! It also made enough that we had it another night for dinner this week!

You should definitely try this recipe soon! So simple and so tasty!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 4 Results and My Perfect Week

Well, honestly, last week kind of killed me! My hormones were in full swing and I used that as an excuse, to my shame. But I don't want to dwell on
the past! That's what can get me down, and I'm just going to keep moving forward! But also, my weight fluctuates so much throughout the week, and that is normal as well. I had actually hit the 5 pound weight loss goal last week, but it has gone up some since then. I am still at a loss of about 2.5 pounds, and the Superbowl party we went to last night didn't help! But my goal for this week is to have a perfect week! To stop making excuses and to plan for all my containers to be used each day. The containers are from the 21 Day Fix and it tells me how many of each container to eat each day.
So to catch some people up on what I do each day, I am doing T25 for my workouts, which has Shaun T as the trainer. I go through 5 weeks of the Alpha round, and I am in my fifth week this week. Then, I move on to the Beta round for 5 weeks. I am thinking about doing the 21 Day fix after that (meaning the workouts along with the nutrition portion) and then moving onto the new 21 Day Fix Extreme after that! It comes out today, and I'm really excited to get it here in a few weeks!
So, for each day, this is what the 21 Day Fix allows me to eat:

4 Green containers (vegetables)
3 Purple containers (fruit)
4 Red containers (protein, and Shakeology counts as one red container)
1 Orange container (Nuts, seeds, Fix dressings)
1 Blue container (Healthy Fats)
4 teaspoons (nut butters, oils to cook with)

So, as you can see, the 21 Day Fix eating is clean eating. No processed foods, no sugar, no junk. But they do allow for 3 "cheat" drinks each week and 3 "cheat" snacks each week. So you can have wine or almond milk or juice for cheat drinks and chocolate chips or chocolate covered raisins or other things for your cheat snacks. It tells you all about it in the guide! I love that it allows for cheats and doesn't expect you to be completely perfect for 3 weeks! It is so effective that most people who do it just continue rounds of it because they love how it's simple, it's effective, and you don't have to count calories!!
So this week, I am committing to a perfect week. Hopefully, no cheats, except for what the Fix allows me. We even have pizza day tomorrow at our homeschool co-op, but I am going to have what the Fix allows me to have for pizza, and leave it at that. I don't need 3 pieces!
So stay tuned for next week's results and see if I stuck to a perfect week!

And as always, message me for help with your health and fitness. I have my next Fitness Challenge group starting on Monday, February 23! I would love to help you get started on your Fitness journey! Also, check out my page on Facebook, Steph's Healthy Journey!! Click Like and Get Notifications to see me in your news feed! I feature healthy recipes, motivation, and keep you in the loop about special promotions, new workout programs, and how I can help you!!
If you want to take the next step and contact me, then fill out my form here and I will get in contact with you and talk about how you can start your Fitness Journey with me at your side, cheering you on, and with other people keeping you accountable in one of my Challenge groups!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 3 Results

Well, it has been 21 days officially since I began this journey. I took a few days off last weekend, ashamedly, but I got right back on track after that. I know I missed my week 2 results, and the reasons for that are that it was a holiday weekend, I took a few days off and wasn't disciplined in my eating, we were staying at someone else's house, and I didn't weigh in on that Monday. So, I'm so sorry about that! But I am happy to report my week 3 results to you!

4 pounds lost
1 inch off the belly
1 inch off the chest

It might not sounds like much, and honestly, I wish it was more. But the truth of the matter is, I'm also building muscle as I burn fat, and muscle weighs more than fat. So just because the numbers don't reflect a huge weight loss so far, slow and steady wins the race! So, I'm happy. I'm coming up on my 5 pound reward, which is to treat myself to an espresso drink from Starbucks or Five80 (a local coffee shop) since I have free cards for both places. Money is tight right now, so I figured a free reward for my first 5 pound goal was a good idea! And of course I won't be going for a 400-500 calorie drink! Just something simple and low calorie, but definitely a treat for me! Good options at coffee shops include coffee, a latte with skim (almond, soy) milk and sugar free syrups, a cappuccino, or iced tea. Things along those lines. Stay away from the frappuccinos, mochas, and drinks with lots of added "sugar items." The calories add up quickly and you would be surprised how many calories they are! Just look up the caloric content if you don't believe me!
So, that's all for now! Stay tuned for next week's results! They will be posted here on my blog next Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Egg Muffins

I am almost 21 days into my weight loss journey, and it takes 21 days to build a habit, so I think I'm doing pretty good! I came across this recipe for these egg muffins, and I altered it with a few things, and they tasted awesome! So awesome that I didn't want to share, and so I made a whole other batch of them so my family can enjoy them and I will still have some for myself for the next week or so!

Egg Muffins

12 eggs, whisked, with 4 yolks removed
veggies of your choice (about 1 cup) (I used onions and sweet pepper)
4 slices of turkey bacon
cheddar cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder

1. Fry the turkey bacon in a pan, and then set it aside on a paper towel.

2. Sauté the veggies until soft, adding salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste, and then add the turkey bacon, torn into pieces, back in. Mix together.
3. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and then evenly divide the cooked veggies/turkey bacon between the muffin tins.
4. Put the whisked eggs in a pourable container and pour the eggs into each muffin tin, filling about 3/4 full.
5. Top with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.
6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cooked through, and the tops look semi-golden brown.

You can store these in the fridge or freezer, and it would be best to double the recipe so you have some to freeze! The serving size is 2 egg muffins, especially if you are doing the 21 Day Fix containers! And that would count as 1 red, 1/2 green, and a small amount of blue (not even half!) Enjoy!
It's a horrible picture, I'm so sorry!

These are seriously so delicious, so easy to make, and takes the work out of the morning's hectic schedule! Breakfast already made! Cook some up today!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Healthy Meal Ideas

I know for me, I love food! And hence, I am in the position where I need to lose so much weight! So I have to have a plan that allows me to be creative in my cooking, find things I like and enjoy, and not limit the endless possibilities in the kitchen! The 21 Day Fix affords me just that! With all the options of clean food that I can eat on the plan, the possibilities really are endless. There is also a really fun 21 Day Fix Meal Swap Facebook group that gives me new ideas as well! But there are so many meals that I can make for my family and then just know how much of it I can have.
I am going to give you some examples of healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks with links to the recipes or I will try to give you my recipe if I can! Here we go!

Favorite Breakfasts

Overnight raspberry museli
2 eggs with veggies, salsa, and cheese
waffle with yogurt, fruit, and honey
Fruit Smoothie
Shakeology (see below, under snacks)
Toast with peanut butter

Favorite Lunches
Can of tuna with celery and onions, pickle relish, salt and pepper. Either plain, with lettuce, on whole wheat crackers, or on one piece of toast as a sandwich and eat the rest plain.

Stir fry: chicken, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, peanuts, feta cheese, salsa verde. Served with or without a tortilla to wrap it in.

Whole wheat spaghetti noodles with pesto and feta cheese.

Vegetable stew (Giambotta): I will be making this soon! It is so yummy! Racheal Ray recipe!

Favorite Dinners
Sweet potato stir fry: sweet potatoes, turkey kielbasa, onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, and possibly some cheese on top! Recipe courtesy of a friend.

Thai Basil Chicken: Soooo yummy! Just sauté chicken and red peppers together, add fresh basil leaves, and you have a meal! Serve with rice and have as a bowl or in tortillas!

Meatloaf and homemade mashed potatoes

Fish tacos with pico de gallo and shredded cabbage on corn tortillas

Salmon (or tilapia, or any fish, really), quinoa, and sautéed veggies

Jerk Pork Tenderloin with spiced red potatoes and grilled pineapple

Favorite Snacks
veggies and hummus

cottage cheese with green grapes and cinnamon

Shakeology: One of my favorite recipes is Chocolate Shakeology with 2 tsp. peanut butter and 1/2 banana, I also add spinach and I don't even taste it! Strawberry Shakeology is actually my favorite, and I love it with orange juice or almond milk as the base, ice, spinach, and 1/2 banana! Yum!

apple (with or without peanut butter)

2 hard-boiled eggs with the yolks mixed with hummus, healthy devilled eggs!
peanuts, sunflower seeds

Well, I hope this gives you some yummy options for healthy meals and snacks! And I hope it shows you that you don't have to eat boring, bland food and deprive yourself of anything yummy! You can even eat carbs on the 21 Day Fix!!! In moderation, of course!

So, Happy "Dieting!" Message me if you would like to be a part of my next Fitness Challenge group where we post daily motivation, healthy recipes, fitness tips, and encouragement!!