Friday, August 16, 2013

Challenge 1 : Spending Freeze

After purchasing a home this past Febuary, adopting an adorable puppy in April and working my butt off to get unpacked and is time to take a look at the finances. You're cringing I know, I cringed at the though too! However, it is so important to keep on track and not turn a blind eye to your spending.

Inspired by LWSL the first 30 day challenge I am going to tackle will be my spending. Over the next 30 days I will not only create a budget, cut spending, and save money. I'm going to evaluate what I'm buying that I could really do without. I am also going to try my hand at couponing and earning income through selling a product on Etsy.

Excited? I am! Hopefully my journey will serve not only as starting point for me (or pure entertainment for you as you laugh alongside me at the struggles I'm sure are headed my way) but also as a chance to inspire you to try your own spending freeze!

Now while I am using Ruth from LWSL as an inspiration, I am altering her idea to fit my life and my goals. Along with cutting spending I am also going to throw myself into the world of CrossFit. I know I know, how am I going to sit here and say I'm cutting spending as I sign up for the expensive world of CrossFit. Well let me let you in on a secret.... Groupon deals! Okay, so not really a secret. Anyway I bought a groupon last month and plan on using it starting Monday to get myself back into shape and give me something to do besides going to Target and spending money on needless items after work.

I hope you will join me on this 30 day spending freeze of a journey!

Day 1 - Today.
Goal: Evaluate my fixed and variable expenses in order to determine what I am really working with in order to create a realistic budget.

There are tons of great resources to help you layout and really look at your expenses and create a budget. Just hop on google or pinterest and you can find free printables everywhere. The key is finding one that works best for you!

Below are some links to sites with printables and tips on creating your budget
The Budget Mama
Tip Nut

Happy Budgeting!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Packaging Up My Resources

When it comes to fitness apps and resources many people want an all inclusive, one time download, one login source for every piece of information they will need. While some websites come close, no one place is ever enough for the average person. I'll admit that I used to expect to find every aspect of fitness and healthy eating all in one place. Take note: I USED TO!

Recently, as I've gotten more serious about being healthy and fit, I have found that you cannot expect a one stop shop with all the answers. By pulling from a variety of places I have finally started to take strides instead of baby steps. This being so I decided to share my package of resources for those of you out there who are still thinking in my old way.

The best way to get in the right frame of mind to understand why it is important to use various resources is to think of it like your birthday. Lets jump back to the 90's and say you opened up a new walk-man. (I know how excited I was when I got my first one) This is cool and exciting and you're already thinking about how great you'll look when you walk through the neighborhood using it. But wait, having a walk-man isn't so great unless you have a CD to listen to. And you can't very well listen to a CD without headphones. Once you've memorized every single song on your N'Sync CD and played it so much you can't stand it you will need another CD to occupy your ears won't you?

Hopefully you see where I'm going here...but if not:
The walk-man is a calorie counter app you downloaded on your phone. It is great and wonderful and you track everything you eat each day. You've lost a pound or two but if you really want results you need to workout, which means you need another place to find workouts you'll love or in our 90's birthday scenario: the CD. But how much better would your results be if you focused on the balance of carbs, protein and fats you need along with the calories? And what about how much that run took out of you that you now need to eat in order to hit your counts for the day? Enter headphones. Once you've been at it for awhile you plateau, you've got to mix things up to continue seeing results. How do you do that? You need a new place to find workouts or recipes, or a new CD.

Now that you've got the picture here are the resources I have been pulling from. When it comes time for my new CD I will be sure to update. Take them one at a time, unwrap them, play with them, take the time to get comfortable and then open the next.

My Fitness Pal - App & Website
Allows me to track food and exercise. The website is much more useful than the app, but the app allows me to enter my food as soon as I eat it so I don't forget later on.
Favorite: The website aids in my meal planning so that I can make sure that what I plan on eating will meet my needs. It's easy to add, remove and adjust servings on the website so I can enter a whole day ahead of time if I want.

My BodySpace and Website
The body building website is an awesome resource for full workouts, exercises, meal plans, total fitness plans, information on supplements and recipes. The BodySpace allows you to set and track your fitness goals and connect with others through groups or friendships. It is a great place to network, find inspirational people, ask questions and hear about others successes.
Favorite: I love that I can find a total workout routine to download but if there is an exercise I can't do or don't like it gives you options of other exercises which will work the same target area. Makes swapping things out but still getting the same result very easy.

Ask the Dietitian - Website
This is the resource I used to really learn and understand what my body needs and why. There is tons of information to help you understand any and all thing body/diet related.
Favorite: On the site you can find body calculators that not only spit out a number but also tell you why the numbers are what they are and if they are good or bad for you.

Hope you all enjoy!

What resources are your favorites??

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicken & Spinach Quesadilla

I tried a new recipe last night that I cannot get over! It's been on my 'Food & Baking' pinterest board forever now and I'm mad at myself for not trying it sooner.

It's a super easy recipe and the filling is to die for. The writer of the blog where I got the recipe said her husband ate his share without even putting it in a tortilla...I can totally see why. I tossed my left over filling on top of some baby romaine and spinach this morning to bring for lunch. Boy was that a good idea! I can't decide if I liked it better last night when it was warm and in a tortilla or now when it is cold and on top of a fresh bed of greens.

Give it a try...I highly highly recommend it!

Find the recipe on 'The Other Side of Fifty' or see it below:

Chicken, Spinach And Cannellini Bean Quesadillas

1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 banana pepper, diced
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (heaping) TBSP all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Cooking spray
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination of the two works well here)
Avocados, diced
Fat free sour cream

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper and banana peppers. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to combine. Cook while stirring for several minutes so that the flour loses its raw taste. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir until bubbly and smooth. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking for another minute or two or until spinach has wilted. Stir in the cooked chicken and cannellini beans and remove from heat.

Spray a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and spread cheese over tortilla. Spread chicken, bean and spinach mixture over one half of the tortilla. Check underside of tortilla and when browned a bit, flip the half with just cheese over the half with the chicken. Remove from heat and cut into slices. Top with diced avocado and sour cream, if desired.

*Recipe and photo credit to 'The Other Side of Fifty' Blog

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gettin' Rollin'

The HealthysELF challenge started on Monday. I also decided that Monday was the day to really kick healthy eating and working out into gear. All or nothing right?

Yesterday I began a 12 week fitness program I found on that looks very doable for me. They have a variety of programs that you can follow as well as all kinds of exercises you can pull from to create your own program. I also love that their website has such a variety of resources that relate to overall fitness. The name is a little deceiving when you really look at what the site has to offer, there is material there for everyone from body builders to fitness activists to someone who has never worked out before.

I'm following the Live-Fit program designed by trainer Jamie Eason. It includes a diet portion but I've decided to just use the workouts and tips. I've spent a good bit of time learning about eating right so I think I can handle that part of it on my own with a little more flexablity than her menu offers.

The Tricep & Chest workout yesterday was great. When I left the gym I definitely felt it in my arms but the entire thing was very doable. Tough but doable.

I also made a healthy version of taco salad last night that turned out really good. I used ground turkey, much less taco seasoning than normal, left the sour cream out of my guacamole, skipped the cheese, crumbled a couple tortilla chips instead of a tortilla bowl and significantly cut down on my dressing, as well as using a lite red pepper dressing rather than regular ranch. Yumo!

Tonight will be the Bicep & Back workout...I will admit it's been a slow day at work which is making me want to just go home and lounge, but I won't. I won't. I won't! This time is for real and I know I can do it :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Commitment Issues

And so the cycle continues....

"I'm going to make a change starting now" "This time it's for real" "No more excuses" "I'm more motivated than I've ever been" "Starting fresh this time" Blah blah blah!!

& this time I will say enough is enough. But is it?

I've wanted to be healthy. I've tried to eat well and exercise and get into better shape and boy have I started this goal over and over and over since last May. Not once though have I been able to follow through for more than a couple weeks. Why? Oh let's see what lame excuses I've used..."Just one day of scrapping the plan will be okay" "I will do an extra hard workout tomorrow instead of going to the gym tonight because I'm tired" "I missed working out Monday and Tuesday so I'll wait until next week and start fresh" "I don't want this food to go to waste so I will eat it even though I should be eating better" and the list goes on.

When will it stop? When will I really hold myself accountable and stick to the plan I made for me?! It's not like someone else is telling me to eat better and workout, I'm tell me. I'm also allowing myself to slip out of that plan and make excuses. When will I want it bad enough that I won't give up just after I start?

The Healthy sELF Challenge will be my next (and hopefully last) attempt to get started on the right foot and get myself into living a more healthy lifestyle for good. The support and motivation of the other individuals taking the challenge will serve as a continual reminder for me and I hope that through this challenge I will be able to meet and connect with others who have been where I am and can continue to be a resource and support even after the challenge is over. Can't wait to get started!

Cross your fingers for me k? & if you read this come back and make sure I'm sharing the changes I'm making...if you don't see any updates then comment, tweet, email whatever you have to do to yell at me because I'll deserve a kick in the butt if I don't stay committed this time!

Want to join the Healthy sELF Challenge with me?
Click here to get all the details and sign up!