Is anybody out there??

Well…this is awkward. Remember that time I had a blog and wrote every day, and then still had a blog but never wrote anything?

…sorry, universe.

Not that I’m assuming anyone reads this thing, but if you did, I apologize for being MIA. SO MUCH has happened in the last 6 months, I don’t even know where to begin. But I need to get it all out there, because I’m still processing everything, and I’m hoping that writing it down will help.

It all started about June/July. I started gaining weight for no apparent reason. Nothing major, but sooner or later I was up 10 lbs from a couple of months before, and I couldn’t understand why. My eating habits didn’t change, my workouts were only getting better. And it wasn’t muscle, might I add…I was noticing fat deposits in strange places, and my clothes were no longer fitting.

There were other weird things too…I was tired, constantly. No matter how many hours of sleep I got, I would wake up feeling like I was hit by a truck. I was also moodier, almost depressed. I was getting dizzy spells every time I stood up. And the bloating…oh gosh the bloating. On more than one occasion I would cry to my husband that I was six months pregnant – my stomach was THAT distended. I was googling “Am I pregnant and don’t know it??,” that’s how bad it was. I was frustrated, discouraged, and fairly pissed off.

So…I went to the doctor.

I think another reason why I’m writing this is to encourage women to listen to their bodies, and if something doesn’t FEEL right, then DO something about it! I did something about it, and 6 months later I’m so thankful I did.

It took 6 months to figure out what my deal was. We started with thyroid, which seemed like a good place to start given my symptoms. Tests came back showing that I had a fairly good-looking thyroid, but my doctor had also done a blood panel which showed I was significantly low on B-12 and iron. HOORAY, easy fix! More B-12 meant more energy, which I desperately wanted. I took 4 shots in the butt of B-12, started popping iron pills, and got my blood work checked again 6 weeks later.

No change.

My body wasn’t absorbing any of the vitamins and nutrients. Wierd, right? My doc then went through a round of hormone/endocrine tests that showed I had high levels of cortisol in my system (probably due to some stress my body was under). At this point, I was pissed. I don’t stress easily, so why is my cortisol elevated? Why am I not absorbing anything? WHY DO I LOOK PREGNANT???

To be continued…

 

 

Womp, womp….

Sorry I’ve been MIA you guys! I still love you all, I promise. Here is a little sneak peek as to why I’ve been distracted as of late…

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Yeah, that’s my car. Demolished, pummeled, annihilated by a freak hail storm. Thanks, Texas weather. Watch this video of our recent storm and you’ll see why my car looks the way it does :( All because I decided to go to boot camp…

I’ll write soon, promise! Lots to talk about :)

-Melissa

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Almond “Breaded” Chicken Tenders

Have you ever had a craving for some good ol’ fashioned chicken strips?? I did the other night, and after scouting out a few recipes I found one that I liked, jazzed it up a bit, and went to town making a healthy version of chicken strips.

Almond “Breaded” Chicken Tenders

Adapted from EatingWell 

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders (or chicken breast, sliced into smaller strips)
  • ¼ cup almost slivers
  • ¼ cup rough chopped roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Cooking spray



Directions

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil (this helps with cleanup, I would NOT skip this!). Coat a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on top of the foil-covered baking sheet.

2. Place almonds, flour, Panko crumbs, and spices in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the seasonings are well distributed. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.

3. Whisk eggs in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders a few at a time and make sure they are each coated in the egg mixture. Transfer tenders one-by-one to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture after you are done…yuck).

  1. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

These are not fried chicken strips by any means, but they are tasty and an excellent healthy substitute for when the craving hits ya :)

Enjoy!

-Melissa

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WIAW: A Grown Up Kids Meal

Hooray for another WIAW post! I’m just thankful that I remember to take pictures of all of my meals once a week. That is a miracle, my friends.

I decided to spice things up about on the breakfast routine. Usually I enjoy my own version of the McMuffin, but lately I’ve been craving sweet potatoes, so I concocted my own sweet potato hash to accompany my eggs in the morning (recipe coming soon!). It…was…awesome.

I mixed up the hash with one egg and 1/2 cup of egg whites and a touch of cheddar cheese. Yum. Then, it was off to work where I got hungry at the usual 9:45. I snacked on a ThinkThin bar, which is full of protein and tastes delicious. I needed the extra protein to prep for my heavy leg workout that evening. ThinkThin bars are fairly yummy, especially the Creamy Peanut Butter flavor. They contain sugar alcohols, which can upset some stomachs, but for a quick snack they’re perfect.Lunchtime rolled around, and I found myself staring at a protein-less fridge when I came home. Luckily, I had tons of veggies from my Sunday Night Prep, so I mixed those up with a small breakfast sausage (that was supposed to be for my husband…oops…what’s mine is yours, right?), some avocado, and half of a whole-grain English muffin. This turned out to be one of my favorite lunches. The avocado made everything so creamy, and the veggies were super tasty.

My afternoon snack was a fairly big one for me. I knew that I needed to seriously fuel up for my workout, so I went down to the kitchen at work and toasted up the other half of the whole-grain English muffin from lunch, topped it with 1 TBS of Peanut Butter, a banana, and cinnamon. It was delicious, and really helped me get over my afternoon slump.

After my heavy leg workout, I came home and was REALLY in a nostalgic mood. I just had to have chicken fingers and mac’n’cheese. HAD TO. So, I whipped up my own healthy version of chicken fingers, paired it with some Annie’s and green beans and called it a day.

This was definitely a “grown up kids meal” and I loved it. Sometimes you just need a little comfort food :)

What did YOU eat today? Anything that brought back some memories?

Talk to you soon!
-Melissa

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WWG 6.4.12

Weekly Workout Goal time!!! WWG…I like it :)

I didn’t do so hot on my WWG’s last week. I was SO sore from T/W/Th that I took Friday off (which is ok!), but then the weekend got busy and unfortunately T/W/Th were my only workout days. This week will be better though, that’s for sure.

Here are my goals by day. For the week, my goal is to hit 6 out of 7 of these days. I know I need a rest day, but I’m not sure which day will work out best, and I don’t want to plan one just yet.

  • Monday: Boot camp (weights + cardio day)
  • Tuesday: Boot camp (cardio day)
  • Wednesday: Gym (heavy legs)
  • Thursday: Boot camp (weights + cardio day)
  • Friday: Gym (HIIT sprints + upper body weights)
  • Saturday: Boot camp (weights + cardio)
  • Sunday: Gym (heavy legs)

If I take off a day, it will probably be Saturday. Or I may do heavy legs Saturday and take Sunday off. We shall see :)

What are your WWG’s this week?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

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WIAW – Memorial Day Weekend Cleansing!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We are so blessed to live in a country that values personal freedoms, and that we have men and women choosing to fight and lay down their lives for those freedoms.

My weekend was jam-packed, to say the least. It started on my Friday off, when I drove down to Houston to watch one of my best friends and old college roommate graduate from MEDICAL SCHOOL!! That’s right, Sarah became Dr. Sarah. It was such a great moment for her, and I’m so glad I got to be there. It also was a rude awakening, that we had been out of college for 4 years already :(. Ha!

Hey graduate!

What made an amazing moment even MORE amazing, was that as soon as my best friend walked across the stage to graduate, I got a text saying that my precious little niece had been born! I am officially a first-time aunt, and I could NOT be more excited! So, after spending Friday night celebrating Sarah’s awesomeness, I woke up Saturday morning and immediately trucked back up to Dallas to meet sweet Georgia Eve.

She is the most precious gift!

After spending too short of time with my girl, we headed off to Tyler, TX to spend the remainder of the weekend with friends at the lake! Needless to say, as jam-packed as the weekend was, it was FULL of blessings and friendships and I wouldn’t of changed one thing about it!

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Speaking of jam-packed…my weekend was ALSO jam-packed full of unhealthy eating :( Between road trips, celebratory dinners, and meals on the lake, I came home Monday night craving fruit, veggies, and my healthy eating routine. I spent Monday night grocery shopping and food prepping, so when Tuesday rolled around I was ready to go.

Breakfast was amazing, per usual. It is my FAVORITE meal of the whole day. I had my own version of a McMuffin, with one whole wheat english muffin topped with 1 egg and 1/2 cup egg whites (scrambled!). I also added a tiiiny bit of breakfast sausage to give it some extra yummy-ness. Oh, and coffee. Duh!

A few hours later, I was working away and got hungry again (naturally), so I grabbed a Luna Bar. I was SUPER excited about this one: Peanut Honey Pretzel. All of my favorite things rolled into one bar. It was more amazing than I thought it could be. I highly recommend this flavor!!

For lunch, I was able to go home and put together a bowl full of some veggies that my awesome husband grilled for me, and one Al Fresco Chicken Sausage (sun-dried tomato is my favorite!). I topped it off with a little bit of cheddar and I was good to go.

I was still pretty full by the time 4:00 rolled around (heck, I was probably still full from the weekend!), but I knew I needed to grab something to eat before I headed to boot camp, so I snacked on a banana with 1 TBS of PB2
(powdered peanut butter…if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest you do!).

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That snack definitely helped fuel my body for my ridiculously hot, humid, intense, cardio-filled workout. I was DYING the entire hour, but so glad that boot camp has started back up! There is honestly no better workout, in my opinion. But I definitely had to pause a few times to keep that banana down, if you know what I’m sayin’ :).

Due to my near-death experience at boot camp, I wasn’t in the mood to whip up an extravagant dinner by ANY means, so protein smoothie it was! I blended some Advocare Vanilla Meal Replacement Protein, ice, water, 1 banana, 1 TBS PB2, and 1 TBS cocoa until smooth, and slurped that bad boy down. It was so refreshing after the super hot workout.

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So, there you go! That was my first day back to normal eating. I woke up today feeling much better about myself, all after one day of eating well!

What are some ways that you “detox” from a food-filled weekend?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

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Weekly Workout Goals 5.29

Time for my weekly workout goals!! Starting on Tuesday, of course, due to Memorial Day being yesterday. I was a bad, bad girl eating wise this past weekend. Not gonna lie. But that’s OKAY, one weekend does not make or break me!

So, without further ado, here is how I plan on kicking my own butt this week:

· Tuesday: Camp Gladiator Bootcamp (cardio day)

· Wednesday: Gym (heavy legs)

· Thursday: Bootcamp (weights + cardio)

· Friday: Gym (HIIT sprints + upper body weights)

· Saturday: Gym (Heavy legs)

· Sunday: off OR a bike ride with the husband!

3-4 days of cardio, and 3 days of strength training. Manageable. Effective. I’m ready.

What are your weekly workout goals?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

Heavy Legs + A New Gym

As I mentioned before, I recently joined a new gym, which is kind of a big deal for me. I haven’t been to a gym in over a year; I’ve stuck to my outdoor boot camp in order to get my workouts in. However, I realized that I missed doing heavy lifting workouts. My boot camp has 3 weight days a week, but we do so many reps within the hour that I only use one set of 12’s and that’s it. I missed squats and leg presses with the big kid weights!

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a weight lifting pro. If anything, I’m a beginner. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy lifting, or aspire to be better at it. So on my first day back at the gym, I eased into things with a fairly basic but VERY effective leg workout.  I based it loosely around Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer, taking out some of her exercises and replacing them with a few of my favorites (such as sit down squats and Bulgarian lunges!).

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See these links for some of the lesser-known exercises:

Believe you me, I am FEELING this one today (2 days later!). Walking up the stairs (and let’s be honest, sitting on the toilet) is killing me. So I guess this means that it worked!

I suckered my husband into going with me on my first day at the new gym. I’m not sure why I get so anxious when it comes to gyms! I’m intimidated or something, I suppose. Either way, I’m over it now thanks to my dragging him with me, and I’m really enjoying the place. I will have to come up with a schedule that fits in both the gym and my boot camps!

Do you incorporate heavy lifting into your weekly workout schedule? How many days a week do you lift?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

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Crockpot Chicken Taco Stew

Some of my favorite meals come from crock pots (despite how not-so-easy they can be sometimes :)). They’re fix-it-and-forget-it and they make a TON of meals, so I’m good to go for quite a few lunches and dinners. This week, my husband Preston requested that I make my Chicken Taco Stew, since he was craving something healthy and warm. So, I thought I’d share it with all of you!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Stew
Adapted from Skinny Taste

You will need:

  • 1 white onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 16-oz can black beans (drained slightly)
  • 1 16-oz can pinto beans (drained slightly)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 3 bell peppers (I used green, red, and yellow) chopped coarsely
  • 2 14.5-oz cans Rotel tomatoes w/ chilies
  • Several tbs (3-4) of homemade taco seasoning
  • 24 oz of chicken tenders (I feel better using tenders as opposed to breasts…then I know they’ve cooked thoroughly :))
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional!)

What you do:

Throw beans, onion, bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

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Chicken, taken out of the slow cooker to be shredded

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Post-shred process! Just take some forks to it and get to work.

Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Stir it all up and enjoy!!

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I like to eat mine just as it is, in a big ol’ bowl with some fresh avocado on top of it. I’ll even stir in some plain Greek yogurt sometimes to give it a more creamy texture. Other options would be to bake up your own tortilla chips to serve with it, or top yummy brown rice with the mixture. The possibilities are endless!

What are some of your favorite recipes from the crockpot?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

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My First WIAW!!!

I’ve never done a “What I Ate Wednesday” post! How exciting! Better late than never, right?

I woke up this morning torn between my two favorite breakfasts’: PBB&HM (Peanut Butter, Banana & Honey Muffinwich, obvi!) and my own version of the Egg McMuffin. So, naturally I decided to make both (minus the banana, I saved that for later)!

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That definitely hit the spot; it was the perfect combination of sweet and savory!

I got hungry after a few hours in the cubicle, so next up on the list was a yummy Clif Mojo bar. This one was the “Dipped Chocolate Peanut” bar and it was really, really good! I liked the combination of salty and sweet (can you tell I’m diggin’ the juxtaposed flavor palates today?).

Next up: lunchtime! I skipped out on food trucks with the coworkers because I was trying to save money (and my waistline). Womp womp! But I still had a pretty tasty lunch: a bowlful of my Chicken Taco Stew (recipe tomorrow!), topped with some avocado and homemade tortilla chips! I got a little distracted while baking my chips (thanks to this blog!), so they were more on the well-done side. Still, delish!

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Snack #2 became necessary around 3:45, since I knew I was going to have a pretty hardcore HIIT treadmill/upper body strength workout at around 5:15 or so. I brought a banana and a TBS of peanut butter with me to work today, so I snacked on that while psyching myself up for the end of the workday.

Oh, and I accidentally ate it before I could snap a photo :).

My workout consisted of an awesome upper body strength workout from BessBeFit, and a hardcore HIIT treadmill workout from Peanut Butter Fingers. Needless to say, I was exhausted afterwards. I got home and was too tired to make anything other than a protein smoothie for dinner. Thank goodness my husband had softball practice!

I like the make my smoothies with 1 packet of Advocare Meal Replacement (Vanilla), 1 TBS of PB2 (powdered peanut butter, essentially), and a little cinnamon. It is sooo good and refreshing after a hard workout!

Well, that’s it! Yay for my first WIAW! Here’s to many more!

-Melissa

 

 

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