Squash The Stuffing

10 Nov

I’m getting ready for the holidays at the home of Us 4 Carters.

We survived Halloween.

15449_10152517655402659_7002970838131741732_nDOC and Gram (my mom) passed out the beverages to the neighborhood (this drink recipe for an Apple Cider Margarita made us very popular with the parents out trick or treating.)

And we have been having fun transitioning from the end of football season, where I was working out twice a week running bleachers at the high school, to working out at home.  The Girl has been awesome at doing Focus T25 with me and having me chase her as she rides her scooter.  Y’all don’t know a tough personal trainer until you’ve been bossed around by this chick.

10675530_10152522818317659_3653425555818990184_nAs we head into some colder weather and towards the holidays, I’m running a challenge group to “Squash The Stuffing.”  This group is an accountability group to help each other stick to 30 minutes or more a day of sweating (whatever YOU want to do, but I’m going to restart Focus T 25 for anyone that wants to join me! and running three days a week). 


GET IT DONE: IN  25 MINUTES A DAY!I
‘d also love to share some tips!  I asked my group how THEY stay focused and stop the holiday slide and I’ve compiled their responses here.  These folks are so dang smart!  

1. IS IT WORTH IT?  – There are going to be a lot of options when it comes to food. Some of these options will be things you love and just can’t live without. I LOVE my moms Thanksgiving Stuffing.  I eat it cold the next day.  That is a dish that is worth it to me.  Once.  Not the leftovers the next day.  I’ll chose to eat that dish but pass on the mashed potatoes that I can get anytime. Think about it before you put it on your plate.  If you take a bite and it’s not OMG BEST FOOD EVER don’t finish it.  (Jillian Michaels says ruin it.  Drop it on the floor, throw it in the trash, dump salt on that bite. Whatever it takes not to finish it.) 

2. Don’t Get Hungry –  Whether you are the chef or the guest, letting yourself get hungry isn’t helping your plan.  Eat a nice leafy salad with some protein before you go to a party or as the cook leave a plate of fresh vegetables within your reach so you’ll pick the broccoli over the spare roll.  If you don’t get hungry you’re less likely to graze on the hors d’oeuvres and over indulge at the meal. When you are the cook and need to taste test, use a small spoon or have someone else taste test for you!  

3. EAT ALL THE COLORS – I mean all of the FRESH colors, not the dyed colors.  Skip the painted holiday cookies and enjoy the beautiful veggie displays, winter squash dishes, pomegranates and apples.  Have you tried purple sweet potatoes?  Try putting those on the table instead of the white potatoes! In fact – unless it’s cauliflower, parsnips or turnips – skip all white food.  

4. Sign up for a Holiday-Related Race – There’s the Turkey Trot. the Tacky Light run in Richmond, a Jingle Bell run in our area – so I know there must be one where you live!  Search your local paper for a fun run near you! Or start a new family tradition of going for a long walk or run on Thanksgiving morning and on Black Friday. I used to love to stay in my jammies all day until the meal is ready but now I’m more excited about a 5K on Thanksgiving morning!  I can record the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and skip through all the commercials that make the kids think they need everything.  WIN-WIN!  It will make you more conscious all day of your eating choices and for me, it helps me not graze.  This MIGHT sound crazy, but I also like to cook in my workout clothes and leave my heart rate monitor watch on.  The workout top and watch are reminders of how hard I workout so don’t give into temptations.

5. Beware the Buffet – One small salad plate, not heaping high.  Stick to fresh salads with leafy greens, vegetable dishes not loaded down with creamy soups (I’m looking at you green bean casserole) or piled high with marshmallows (sweet potato casserole) and lean meats. When picking your side dishes go with root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips and leave the chips, crackers, breads and baked goods on the buffet. 

6. Offer to bring a dish It is awful to show up to an event and not see a fresh food or la healthy protein. (Pizza parties, fried chicken, fried turkey, you are killing me!)  Offer to take a dish that everyone can enjoy and that you know you can count on filling you up.

7.  Allow a little indulging!  – Split that dessert with a friend.  Enjoy a cocktail.  Have a plan in advance and know that you can enjoy the holidays and all your favorite dishes in moderation and a small treat! 

I’ve heard time and time again “it’s just one day, indulge a little” or “can’t you take a cheat day” one too many times.  For me, a single day of over indulgence leads to two, to a bender to me finishing a bag of potato chips with my pants unbuttoned.  I love the holidays, I love showing my love for people with food.  But I want to get through this next few weeks without feeling like I’m back at square zero on New Year’s Day.  

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If you’re with me and need a little extra support and motivation over the next few weeks join me on the Focus T 25 challenge starting November 17th or in the Squash The Stuffing group on facebook.

What are some of your tips to get through the holidays?

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something,
the links do not affect the price you pay. 
Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

Shake It Off

30 Oct

Hi, My name is Aimee and I was a hater.  I couldn’t stand that little Taylor Swift and her pseudo-country songs and just all things Taylor.  I proclaimed my disdain for her, her ways, her making a bad impression on young girls with all her casual dating.

And dang if “Shake It Off” hasn’t become an anthem in our house.

Taylor, I’m sorry for being a hater.  You’re helping me be a better mom and person.  I’m learning to shake it off.

You see, the world has been speaking to me a lot this week.  Someone in one of my accountability groups shared that she didn’t feel “worth it” to put in the hard work of taking care of her health.  And then I saw two different posts that spoke on similar issues of feeling “worth it” (On exercising out of Self Love and knowing your own Weight Loss Motivation). Then I read the most beautiful writing I’ve read in quite sometime on Drowning out your Inner Critic.

You see, sometime the Hater is YOU.  You are your own worst hater!  You allow the voices of the other haters to STAY. To Stick.  To hurt.

Don’t you remember, sticks and stones may break my bones but names, they never hurt me?  Why’d you quit being so immune?  Why’d you let the haters take up residence in your brain, your heart and soul?

Shake it off. Shake it off.  Hoo hoo.  Shake it off. Shake it off.

You see, I have been there! It is such a hard hole to pull yourself up out of. A hole of not loving yourself enough. In fact, of hating yourself and what you see in the mirror. I didn’t feel like I was worth it to put in the hard work. I had started and stopped working out so many times.  My elementary school thunder thighs and chubby belly were just going to be who I was.  I kept letting myself get bigger and bigger because I didn’t feel worth it to be anything else.

Throwback Thursday Halloween 2009

Throwback Thursday ~ Halloween 2009

So I found something else that IS worth it – our babies. I didn’t want to let THEM DOWN. I saw our beautiful daughter and knew I needed to run with her.  I saw our beautiful son who wants so desperately to be an athlete that he needed me to run and throw with him.  Get off the porch momma and come play with us.  And so I just started to move. Little by little. Inch by inch. Step by step.  Taking the first step was hard and not stopping when I heard the haters in my head saying “you can’t”, “why are you doing this”,  “don’t you ever take a cheat day”, “you’re so smart, how did you let yourself end up like this”, I kept moving. 

“But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.” ~Taylor Swift

When I started to become strong enough for the kids, I started to feel worth it for myself.  I felt self-worth. I started to feel confident.  I started to care about myself.  I started to love myself.

The three tips I want to give you today are:

1.)  Find your motivation.  I hope that your motivation to get on a wellness journey is one of self-love, but if it’s not quite there today, where you can find your strength – is it your kids, is it your Faith? I know that God made you to love you. You are worthy of His love and you are SO WORTHY of YOUR OWN SELF-LOVE.

2.) Love yourself enough and block out the haters to give yourself 30 minutes of self-love a day with a nice slow walk or a stretching session.

3.) Plan your meals like you have a special guest coming over – you’d NEVER have a guest stand up to eat or shame eat some fast food or a candy bar in the car — be your own special guest! Treat yourself the way you treat the people you’d invite into your own home and you’ll start to feel special about yourself.

and 4.) If you’re so inclined, join me on Facebook or put a comment on this post if you’d like for me to coach you.  I want to help!  If you don’t feel like you even know where to start, let me help you get started!  

I’m not asking you to be perfect or never eat or workout a million hours a day.  I’m just asking you to love yourself enough to start giving yourself the life you deserve.

My wellness journey isn’t JUST about the weight loss or getting into smaller pants – It is a gift to me from me that I can play with my kids now and can run with them and buckle my seat belt on an airplane and sit on plastic patio furniture without it breaking (seriously, they need a sign on those things with a weight limit), and a million other little non scale victories.

Celebrate those small victories, even if it’s today I loved myself and smiled at the person in the mirror because I love her.

Please be kind to yourself. Love yourself first.

SPARKLE ON,

Aimee

You Betta Check Yourself

14 Oct

Last night I posted a question to my facebook page:

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My Fitness Pal is telling me I need to eat more. I don’t feel hungry. What should I do?

On this post I received wildly differing opinions.

  • You can actually gain weight by not consuming enough
  • If your goal is weight loss, under eating can definitely hinder you. Although I do believe its not all about calorie counting as much as what you’re eating! But honestly 1200 calories seems low for all the exercise you’re putting in.
  • Turn off the app and eat healthy foods until you’re satisfied. Numbers on a phone do not know what you need.
  • Don’t eat more!!
  • Eat nuts for snacks or fuller fat dairy. Easy peasy way to up calorie intake without eating more when you’re not hungry.
    You have to fuel your body for the work you’re making it do. You wouldn’t drive your car on E when driving all over creation, so you can’t do the same to your body. 

My Fitness Pal actually gives you a warning if you try and complete your food diary with a calorie deficit this large:

Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are likely not eating enough.

But if I don’t feel hungry, if I feel satisfied, must I eat more? About an hour later, I started to feel hungry.  After drinking some water to be sure it wasn’t boredom or thirst making me feel hungry I concluded that yes, I was actually hungry, so I ate some protein.  Would I have eaten a little bit of baby bell cheese had the app told me I had reached 1200 or 1500 or 2000 calories already, yes, I was actually hungry.  I knew what my body was telling me and I fueled my body.

I’m using the app to check myself before I wreck myself as the saying goes.  I am an over-eater, I binge eat, I can eat an entire bag of potato chips and not feel full or satisfied.  This is how, plus living a sedentary life, that I ended up in a size 24 pant and having a heart that skipped beats.  These numbers on an app help me regulate myself, yes, but also help me learn about my body.  For years I ate until I was stuffed and sick.  I’m nearly 40 and just now trying to learn what it truly feels like to be hungry, satisfied or full.  These are all feelings I didn’t know to feel – I just ate.

Now that I am working out and no longer living a sedentary life  (I did T25 by myself yesterday morning, then did it again in the afternoon with the kids and had a dance party with our little girl) I know I don’t want to eat an entire bag of potato chips but I am also struggling with how to fuel my body like an athlete.  I know that I am putting the proper fuel into my body but how much to put in is still a struggle.  I know that it’s ok to have a treat every now and then.  I am not depriving myself, I know I didn’t feel full. But I also know, like some of the comments said last night, that not eating enough will put me into starvation mode and my body will store the fuel I give it as fat.

I’ve read a million articles on the topic and while “less calories in vs more calories out = weightloss” is the only proven, nobody can seem to agree on the right amount of calories for optimal health and weight loss.  Remember a couple months ago when people were claiming that their “fitbit made them gain weight”, that’s what we don’t want happening here.

What are the best articles on this topic, fueling for weight loss?  I’d love your advice!

Sparkle On,

Aimee

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay. Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

Clean Cheap Recipes

9 Oct

Time after time, in friends facebook feeds, in conversations with friends – like real actual IN REAL LIFE conversations WHAT?, and in messages to me from followers I get asked “How much are you spending on groceries?”  We’re trying to cut back, what tips can you share? How do you eat healthy on a budget?

I have talked about this a couple of times and my girl Nica and I have talked about doing a youtube, vlog, podcast… something on this very topic.  I need much more confidence before I do any of THAT, but what I want to share are a couple of tips from someone who just doesn’t care to clip coupons.

aintnobodyHow I shop, is around the outside, finding the least expensive veggies and fruits (using my in store shopping card – Thank you Kroger!) and meats on sale to build my weekly meals around.  Peppers and ground turkey are both on sale – oh yeah, we’re doing stuffed peppers.  Italian Sausage on sale – we’re doing sausage and peppers.  Organic whole chickens are on sale, I’m buying a couple to roast and use the meat to shred and make chicken stock.  Apples, pumpkins, grapes, whatever is in season is typically what is going to be less expensive in the veggie aisle so I know to load up on those.

If you can subscribe to a CSA or Relay Foods so you have your local, in season, fruits and veggies on hand and use the grocery store to stock the pantry using 10 for $10 deals on items like rice, beans and pasta and other deals and coupons is you can find them on quinoa and spices.

All of this to be said, eating in season, knowing what meals you kind of want to make for the week, but being flexible when you get to the store and finding a great sale is important.  (Thank goodness for a data plan and pinterest on my phone, I can look up other ingredients I might need!)

The other tip is to have inexpensive recipes at the ready so I know where I can fill in meals.  My fellow blogger Julie at Grace, Lace and Iron has created a clean eating ebook that has PERFECT easy, inexpensive, recipes that you AND the family will love called “Clean Cheap Recipes”.  Julie shared the ebook with me because she knows how important easy, inexpensive meals are to me and all of you.  Thanks, Julie for the opportunity to review this for you!

Capture

Here’s a sample:

White Bean Chicken Chili
What you need:
- 3-4 cans of Cannellini beans, undrained - low-sodium (I picked these up, organic at Kroger on the 10 for $10 sale!)
-2-3 chicken breasts, cubed (Again, organic on sale) 
- 1 – 7 oz. can of chopped green chiles
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 red onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Instructions:
Cube chicken breast and saute with olive oil until browned. Add in red onion.Simmer until onion is soft and
add water to make broth. Place chicken and onions in a large crockpot. Add beans and green chiles and spices.
Cook in crockpot on med high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (I work outside the home, so I set this on low for two hours and then our crockpot switches to warm.To make it even easier, don’t cook anything, just throw it all in the crockpot, stir and set timer for 4 hours on low. Seriously, spend the $50 on a programmable crockpot.  It will change your life and save you SO MUCH TIME in the kitchen.)
1 serving = 8 – 10 oz. c.; 10-12 servings; 1 protein + 1 carb
This is making you 10 – 12 ONE CUP servings and completely filling you up.  You’ll have dinner tonight for a family of 4 and lunch tomorrow for under $10.00.  Add in some tortilla chips or a cheese quesadilla and you’re still under $12.00 for the entire family to eat a flavorful, filling, fiber packed healthy dinner!  Double the recipe, add in those celery stalks that are about to go bad and the handful of baby carrots that nobody is ever going to eat or whatever YOUR FAMILY has left lying around ready to rot in the crisper and store some for meals later in the week when you’re running late to kids sports, school programs or life. S
Stop stopping at the Drive Through and quit feeding the family pancakes and cereal for dinner because it’s all you have time for. Sorry I’m not lecturing… but I AM!  This is too easy and you have time for this!
If you’re looking for more ideas from Julie like Coconut Buffalo Chicken (OMG), how to make a whole chicken in the crockpot, and your own hummus order your own copy for only $3.99  and use the code eat2live to save 25%.
I’d love to hear some of your tips on how you save money at the grocery store without clipping coupons.
Don’t forget, if you aren’t following me on social media you might not know about our upcoming “Be Badass For the Holidays Challenge.”  We’ll be talking clean eating, staying on track with fitness goals AND we’re doing a squat challenge to lift that booty before the turkey and pie hit you.  Come join us!
Sparkle on,
Aimee

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.
EatSmart Products did not pay me for this review, they simply provided me with the scale.  All opinions are my own. 

Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

To Weigh or Not To Weigh

6 Oct

To weigh or not to weigh, that is the question.

If you follow me over on my facebook page, you know I’m a strong believer in the NSV – the Non-Scale Victory.  You know the NSV, right?  Buying a new dress in a smaller size, having a wedding band that’s too loose, having someone who hasn’t seen you in awhile not recognize you…. You know – The NSV.

Well, for me, I learned that the NSV can only get me so far.  I need numbers.  I need to track.

I have friends that hate counting calories and for them it’s all about eating clean and eating to they are full.  To me, eating clean is a justification for a third helping of sweet potatoes and full means until my pants burst.  I need to track using an app on my phone like MyFitnessPal and I need to keep track of my weight. When I don’t track, when I allow my waistband to be my guide, when I only think I’m clean eating or one ‘cheat’ (I hate that word!) won’t hurt, it always derails me and I fall off course.

Recently, I was offered a chance to review a new scale.  HOORAY!  Because my old scale was crap and it didn’t make the move with us.  DOC made us leave it behind because he knew I was frustrated with it and he knew it wasn’t good for me.  Enter the EatSmart Products to my rescue. From the email inviting me to give it a try:

EatSmart Products, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative healthcare products, would like to introduce an exciting addition to our bathroom scale line, the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale.

Why the MaxView? – Whether you are looking to gain or lose, this high-tech gadget is an essential tool in weight management. What makes the Precision MaxView different from other bathroom scales is the EXTRA LARGE DISPLAY. The oversized, well-lit, display makes it easy to see your weight and features one the of BIGGEST LCD screens on any bathroom scale available in the US market.

Innovative features include:

  • Utilizes OurStep-On Technology and Sensor Accuracy – get instant readings!
  • EXTRA LARGE 4.5″ LCD display w/ Accubright blue backlight – Easy to read in any light environment – One of the biggest on the market! 
  • 4 High Precision EatSmart Sensors – Consistent and accurate measurement up to 400 lbs or 180 kgs every time
  • Ultra thin, sleek design with high quality tempered glass platform
  • FREE EatSmart Body Tape Measure now included – Another great tool to monitor progress!
  • Auto Calibrated; Auto Power-Off; Runs on 2 AAA batteries (included); EatSmart 2 year warranty

An exceptional value at $29.95 on Amazon.com, the Precision MaxView reinforces the belief that weight management is not a quick fix but part of a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle.”

Well OF COURSE I’ll give it a try!

 

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I really just love this scale!  It’s accurate.  It’s easy to use and best of all, it’s really got me back on track.  The old scale, you had to tap it about a million times, wait for it to calibrate, then hope it got your weight right.  The EatSmart Maxview scale, you just step on and BAM – your weight (I stayed on after the scale turned off for my privacy, here’s the real screen below).  And there is none of the wobble, the clack clack clack sound of you stepping on and off the scale like our old abandoned one.  For being lightweight and slim, this scale is very sturdy and doesn’t rock when you get on.  I don’t know why I find this so helpful – BUT I DO!  Really, I didn’t know how bad that old scale was at functioning but THIS scale is making me so happy!  Who gets happy over a scale?  THIS GIRL obviously.  (Why are y’all friends with me again?)

 

From Amazon

For me, the weight on the scale isn’t the only measure of my fitness success, that’s why I was thrilled when I opened the box to find a very useful tape measure.   It gave me the chance to talk to DOC about how it’s NOT just about the number on the scale, it’s how our bodies are changing through fitness.  “Muscle weighs more than fat, but you can see changes in your waist, thighs, hips, chest and arms, babe!”  When the number on the scale goes up, and I’ve been tracking to MyFitnessPal I can go back and look at the numbers and see where the change might be coming from – for example, ok, Friday night’s taco and CoronaRita bender might be to blame for an uptick.   Whatever the scale and tape measure say, because I track,  I know I can review my work and own my successes or setbacks.

 

From Amazon

 

What I do know over the course of the past three years is that I need to track both my weight and my food to have continued success.  My lifestyle isn’t a get fit quick scheme it’s a daily commitment to lifelong health and wellness.  If you’re a person that needs to track your weight to stay on course and you’d like the support of the tape measure to track your personal goals, the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale is the perfect choice in any budget. at less than $30.

And I also know that a CoronaRita is not good for anyone’s health or wellness.  What were we thinking?

Sparkle On, Everybody!

 

Aimee

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some Amazon affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.
EatSmart Products did not pay me for this review, they simply provided me with the scale.  All opinions are my own. 

Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

Spin Off

17 Sep

When I started this blog three years ago I had hoped that DOC would jump on here and write some himself.  The blog changed over time to my thoughts on life to more of fitness, wellness and parenting and DOC never really had a chance to share his opinions. Well, like all great sitcoms (seriously, NBC, where are you with my own show??) we have our first Spin Off.  He is the Laverne and Shirley to my Happy Days.  A Different World to my Cosby Show.  The Different Strokes to my Facts of Life.

DOC has started his own blog answering questions from his point of view called “What’s Up Black Dude“. Friends and family ask him questions and he tries to answer them as best he can.

With everything going on in the world today we have come to realize that we have very different points of view on social issues. There have been some VERY interesting points of view shared in our car rides on the way to work in the morning. If you were riding in our car, you’d think we were fighting – we’re just helping each other understand that based on our experiences how our opinions are shaped… in a sometimes loud and with lots of hand gestures manner.  Please don’t judge us at the traffic lights, ok?

The issues in Ferguson this summer really gave us a lot to debate and we were even asked to join our dear friends radio program to talk about our perspective on the issue as an interracial family, one having grown up black in the south and the other white from the north.  We have a lot to talk about, but sometimes, in the privacy of your own minivan you really talk about issues more openly than you can on radio or a blog.  We’re still trying to balance our beliefs and don’t feel ready to talk live and in living color, ya know, however, we do have a voice and we do have an opportunity to share our history and our beliefs that many of our friends might not understand because they are not a part of this culture.  I’m proud of DOC for lending his voice in this way on his blog and I hope you’ll pop over and ask him a question!

—————————————-

This week, with everything being talked about with the NFL, we’ve had plenty of debates.  When news broke that Adrian Peterson was arrested for hitting his child with a switch we honestly both laughed and figured every parent we knew would be in jail.  Heck, DOC had to go and “pick his own switch” for his grandmother.  After we saw the pictures our tune quickly changed.  Abuse and spanking are very different.  Those pictures showed abuse, something we could never accuse one of our parents of.  Growing up in the black south DOC’s grandparents reared him the way they were and the generations before them were – at the hand of a switch – that they more than likely learned from a slave owner.

I hope you’ll read DOC’s take on this and ask him a great question.  He hasn’t answered mine yet…. Why do some black men love big butts and why would they ever deny it?  It’s a great mystery of life.

—————————————-

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Sparkle on,
Aimee

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

In Honor of My Love Of Mud

15 Sep Comfort Zone

Just a quick recap today in honor of this weekend’s Pretty Muddy!  I am so excited to run my first mud run with our nine-year-old son this weekend!  Two of my girlfriends and their sons are running too.  I am so thankful for Pretty Muddy for selecting me as an ambassador for this event and for allowing me to run again this year but this time with my favorite little guy.

If you are running in a mud run this weekend here is a reminder of what to pack for a mud run:

And if you’re not convinced to run in Pretty Muddy Richmond yet, here’s a note about just how much I loved last year’s event. Seriously, ladies, let’s DO THIS!

Comfort Zone

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

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