Tag Archives: healthy-living

Day 18: My Secret Solution (Psst, it’s not really a secret!)


This past week has certainly been a test of my time management skills.  Between trying to get all of my students’ expository books graded (a task that took me probably 10-13 hours of at-home grading) in time for grades to be turned in this morning and trying to work out five days a week, I’ve really struggled with finding the time and energy to fit it all in….and, again, this is without children at home to take care of (my hats off to ALL working moms).  I am, however, feeling as if I’m learning and acquiring lessons through this process that I wouldn’t have gained otherwise.

What It’s All About in the End

At the beginning of this 21 day challenge I was mostly concerned with sticking to a really strict diet of only simple carbs, no alcohol, and no starchy veggies.  I set a goal to work out five days a week and to stick to a 1200 cal/day diet.

But, what happens after the 21 days?  Have I learned anything?  Have I changed any habits…really?  Through this process I have learned that in order to make real and lasting change one must change their lifestyle in some way.  Sure, I could go right back to eating whatever I want, whenever I want, but I’d end up right back in the same position I was in at the end of December…fat, unhealthy, and wishing I would get my butt in gear and make some changes!!

So, here I am. On my way to being a healthy weight for the first time in nearly 4 years, stronger than I’ve been in a LONG time, eating more healthy foods than ever before on a regular basis, allowing myself to splurge only occasionally, and finding alternatives to unhealthy choices that I enjoy just as much as their counterparts.

So, what’s next?  How do I maintain this lifestyle?  There has been one simple trick that I’ve picked up in order to be able to complete this challenge.  One thing that I feel can help me maintain this lifestyle beyond the 21 days and probably for the rest of my life.  Ready to hear it?  Planning!!!!!  TAAADAAAA!!

Planning my workout schedule around already scheduled activities throughout the week has helped me be able to squeeze in those workouts when I probably would’ve just gone home, sat my butt on the couch, and watched tv.  Planning my weekly meals and grocery shopping on Sundays has created a sense of excitement for the meals that my husband and I prepare.  It also has helped me see what meals need to be quick on which nights and which ones we can spend a little bit more time on due to my workout and work schedule.  I have sooo many wonderful recipe ideas on Pinterest (again, totally addicted) too that I sometimes can’t wait to try!!  I also really like to actually make some healthy snacky foods on Sundays that we can munch on throughout the week.

With this being said, this challenge has taught me that planning is my secret to maintaining a healthier existence.  I was already diligently counting my calories, so that’s not new.  The planning, however, has just made that part easier.

Have I been perfect with the rules I set forth for myself? NO!!  I have struggled with cheats and made exceptions throughout this challenge, but I’ve maintained the workouts and been pretty good with the 1200 cal./day diet.  I figure if I keep planning, keep training, and keep counting then I’ll be able to reach my goal weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle from now until the day I die. (In my dream world I would never be fat again!!!)

Now, let’s turn that dream into a reality.  I won’t get there over night, and there will be lots of bumps and snags in the road.  But, I’m gonna keep on trying!

Until next post, have a great weekend!  🙂


Day 14: You Can Do It!


I’m now on day 14 of my 21 day challenge.  This weekend was a little rough!  My brother’s 30th birthday party was last night, and it was also the only day that I allowed myself to cheat!  I didn’t actually do too bad on the food side of the coin, but I did indulge in a few other things a bit too much…like cake!  So today, it’s back on the wagon (that’s such a strange cliché, isn’t it).

I am very happy to report that despite my slight headache and sleepiness from staying up way too late last night, I got up this morning with vigor!  🙂 (How’s that for a fancy word!)  I woke up and got to work planning for this week.  I spent time looking at my calendar and planning my workout schedule for the week.  Here it is!

Week 3 Exercise Schedule

I also planned out my dinner menus for the week.  I find that this simple act has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle probably more than any other trick I’ve acquired.  The reason is because I only have to go to the grocery store ONCE, maybe twice a week.  I also find that I’m more likely to eat healthy if I already have everything planned for the week because I don’t really have any excuses since I already spent the money on the food. Below is week 3’s dinner schedule.

Week 3 Dinner Schedule

Monday: grilled chicken breast, roasted green beans with mushrooms

Tuesday: salmon, zucchini bake

Wednesday:  It’s my bff’s bday and I’m going out to dinner with her (the hubs has to fend for himself)

Thursday: feta meatballs, shirataki noodles, pasta sauce, spinach salad

Friday: Out to dinner

Many of these recipes can be found on my Pinterest account. under the “I’ve Tried These” board.

I am finding that I really look forward to my exercise time throughout the week.  I can feel myself getting stronger so the exercise is a little bit easier on my body.  I’m not as sore the next day either, which is a major plus!

Awesome Recipe!!!

Protein Powder Balls

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest several weeks ago, but I hadn’t tried it yet.  (Yes, I’m completely addicted to Pinterest, but it’s where I get pretty much ALL of my recipes these days.  There’s just soooooo much to choose from.) My friend, Meghan, came into town and she had some of these little balls of deliciousness, so I tried them.  I was amazed at how good they were.  So, I made some last week, and I made some again today.  They last pretty much last all week.

My husband, whose diet is not the best, has been eating them every morning for breakfast. (When I met him he used to eat a Honeybun for lunch nearly every day and say it was because he needed a high calorie diet because of his work!!!  He’s a welder.  Since then, I’ve been working diligently on trying to get him to understand that crap food like that will only make him feel sluggish in the end after the massive sugar crash, and he will NOT have any energy!  It’s been a slow process, but he’s starting to come around! He is no longer on a Honeybun diet.  Now, if I could only get him to give up the Mountain Dew!)

I got the basic recipe from this blog, but I changed a lot of the ingredients based on what I had in my kitchen.  The ones I made last week are more like the recipe she has posted.  These little protein balls are SO easy to make and are SO tasty!


  • 1 c. of raisins (NO sugar added)
  • 1/3 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 c. wheat germ
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. chia seeds (the original recipe calls for ground flax seeds, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 heaping scoop of sugar-free vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 c. almond butter

Here are all the brands of food I used.


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix well.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. of warm water at a time until you get the consistency desired (it should be mushy, but not watery)  I used 2 tbsp. of water.  Last week I used 3.
  3. Once blended well, roll ingredients into 1 inch balls.
  4. Place in a plastic container and store in the fridge.

This is what it looks like once completely blended with water.

Tada!!!  Delicious, chocolatey, protein packed balls of goodness!

Each ball, made with these particular ingredients, has 85 calories, 4.7 g. fat, 8.3 g. carbohydrates, and 3 g. protein.  I eat them mostly when I want something sweet but don’t want to eat sugar.  I hope you enjoy them!  They are delicious!

Until next post, have a great Sunday!!



Day 8: Weakness and Strength


I have now completed day 8 of this challenge. Yippee!!

Completely Innocent…Maybe 🙂

I would call today successful if not for one teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy mishap.  Today, after lunch, I strolled into the teacher resource room to fill up my water bottle (I had very innocent intentions), and there before me sat boxes (and, yes, I mean BOXES) of leftover treats from an event at school this past weekend.  Cupcakes, brownies, and chips literally followed me with their sugary,salty-goodness eyes as I crossed the room to get my water.  I innocently (yes, again with the innocence) perused the treats looking for something to give to my new student teacher.  I peeked into a box and spotted little baggies filled with pieces of banana nut bread.  I glanced around one last time, snatched up the bag, and hurried out of the room.

Once back in my classroom I handed my smiling student teacher her delicious treat!  Of course she said, “There’s so many pieces in here.  Don’t you want one?”  I shrugged and said, “I really shouldn’t…but one piece won’t hurt.”  Let me tell you…that banana nut bread was the greatest banana nut bread I EVER tasted!!!! (sorry, Mom)  So, what did I do…yep, I ate another piece!! UGH!!!  What was I thinking!!

Lesson Learned

I could kick myself for being weak, but I don’t think two little pieces of bread are going to kill me.  The trick is, though, making sure that this doesn’t become an everyday occurrence.  This is ALWAYS how it starts with me.  I make an exception one time and it’s almost as if I open the flood gates to everything else.  Well, not this time!! I am willing to accept my mistake and move on, keeping in mind that this type of mishap shouldn’t be a regular event! I am, however, REALLY looking forward to my brother’s party this weekend (the only time I have set aside as a cheat day) to eat, drink, and be merry. 🙂

Today’s Successes

I am trying to manage my time well this week.  I have a lot to do in the way of school work and grading, not to mention exercising.  I made time for a Zumba class tonight even though I had the weight of all this work bearing down on my shoulders.  Tomorrow I will go to Circuit Breaker, and this banana nut bread fiasco will be behind me.  

Until my next post, nighty night!

Day 7: I survived week 1! Heck YEAH!


Well, folks!  I did it!  I SURVIVED WEEK 1! I must say that I am very pleased with this accomplishment.  I’d say that of all 7 days’ challenges, I stayed true to my goal at least 95% of the time.  The only thing I kinda cheated on was sticking to the 1200/cal. a day diet.  The only days I ate more were yesterday and Friday.  Of course, even then, on Friday I only ate about 1400 calories, and Saturday I ate about 1600 calories.  My workout yesterday was really hard and I was left feeling pretty hungry.  So, basically, I’m not feeling guilty about it at all because even though I went over…I didn’t eat anything I wasn’t supposed to…and that’s HUGE!!!  

At night is when I tend to want the sweet stuff, especially after dinner.  Instead of reaching for that mint chocolate chip ice cream that my husband had me buy the other night on my way home from belly dance, (that was pretty evil of him considering he knows I CAN’T HAVE SUGAR RIGHT NOW!), I would make myself a cup of hot tea and sweeten it with liquid stevia (Vanilla Creme is my fav.).  If you haven’t discovered liquid stevia drops yet you need to look into it, especially if you’re trying to go sugar-free.  They’re a fantastic alternative to sugar.  I have vanilla creme, chocolate, peppermint, and toffee flavors.

Sunday/Plan Day

So, today is Sunday/Plan Day.   So far this morning I have planned out my workout schedule for the week. I made sure to stay true to my challenge and plan for at least five days.  There’s something about writing it down ahead of time that makes me feel like I HAVE to do it!

Next, I planned out my menu for the week.

Monday: Turkey meatloaf, roasted green beans with mushrooms, balsamic vin., and parm.

Tuesday: leftovers from the night before (we always have left over meatloaf)

Wednesday: Easy Garlic and lemon shrimp, sautéed zucchini

Thursday: Veggie soup (I made a huge batch of this yesterday to take for lunches, and I’m pretty confidant that we’ll still have some of this left by Thursday), grilled cheese (this is for the hubby, not me)

Friday: we usually go out (I need a day off cooking :))

Saturday: I have class all day Saturday and it’s My little brother’s BIG 30th birthday party (this is the only cheat day I’ve allowed myself for the whole 21 days)

Now that everything’s planned out for the next week I’m feeling pretty good about it.  I know that I have a lot going on this week because I have class on Saturday and a TON of stuff to grade, but I’m putting myself first!  I WILL exercise and I WILL eat well!

Here’s my favorite part.  Look at my sign!

Do you see how the days are marked off on my calendar.  Each day that goes by I’m getting stronger, leaner, and healthier!  I LOVE that!

So, until next post, I hope everyone has a great Sunday!  🙂

Day 4: Busy Bee


Tough Day! 

Well, between today and yesterday I’m feeling POOPED!  I mentioned in the “About Me” section of this blog that I wear a lot of hats.  Sometimes all those hats come together at one time creating non-stop days where I go, go, go literally from the time my feet hit the carpet until I fall back into bed at night, and I don’t even have kids yet.  The past two days have been just like that.  As if being a teacher AND grad student didn’t cause enough strain on my brain, I have to go and add this challenge that adds extra strain on my body.

Today’s schedule consisted of me going to work, leaving work at 4:45, going to the grocery store, coming home and preparing dinner, going to belly dance, coming back home and preparing for my lessons tomorrow, working on some homework, and now…writing a little for my blog.  My day looked a lot like this yesterday, too, only last night I spent two hours reading articles for grad school.  I have class next weekend and I haven’t even begun to get my work done for that.

Moral of the Story

The point of all this ranting is that sometimes life throws us obstacles. Even though I’m freaking out about all of these deadlines I have coming up with work and school, I’m feeling just as dedicated to my mission today as I did yesterday.  Exercising today was important to me, so I squeezed it into my schedule.  It also provided me with a little mental health break.  Teachers and students are pretty much constantly thinking.  We need to rest our minds as much as we need to rest our bodies.

Yen and Yang

I’m in search now for a healthy balance.  I tend to be either full steam ahead, or in complete lazy mode.  I’m trying to find that yen and yang of both sides.  (super cheesy I know, but it was the only analogy I could come up with at this hour) 🙂

Anyway, I’m still chuggin’ along.  I’m also very happy to report that I’m down a few pounds as of this morning.  Clearly this was weight that was begging to come off.  Apparently my body really likes no sugar or bread and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  🙂  I guess all those books I read over the years were actually right! 🙂

Nighty Night!!!

Day 3: The pain and joy of exercise!


Well, folks!  I made it through day 3.  YAY!!  Now, let’s talk about the exercise.

So, if you saw the cute little posters I made for this 21 Day Challenge then you also saw my work out schedule for the week.  Yesterday I started back to this super intense class at my gym called Circuit Breaker.  The teacher is this amazingly fit and motivating woman who makes you give more when all you want to do is give up. (don’t you just love teachers like that!)  Yesterday before class I told one of my fellow Circuit Breakers that I was SCARED!!!  I haven’t been lifting weights AT ALL for the past several months, so I knew I was in for an extremely sore day today.  During our class we completed a Spartacus workout (you know, the workout that creates those 10-pack ab guys from the show Spartacus).  CRAZY HARD!!! It’s 10 circuits total.  You do one exercise for 1 minute going as hard as you can, then you spend 15 seconds rotating to the next circuit.  After you’ve completed all 10 circuits you take a 2 minute rest, only to do it again….and again for good measure.  Pushups, lunges, split jumps, goblet squats, etc., etc., etc.  You get the point.

Sore…is an understatement for what I am today.  It pretty much hurts to lift my arms, not to mention the stairs I have to climb to get to my classroom. OUCH!!  The worst part is, though, that I know tomorrow is going to be worse!!!

I walked for 30 minutes today to try to combat the soreness for tomorrow.  I’m hoping it’ll help do the trick.

But, here’s the BEST part, this pain I’m feeling today (and most definitely tomorrow) DOESN’T MATTER because I’M ON A MISSION!!!!  I know that today’s pain is only a stepping stone to a slimmer, healthier, more toned, new me!!!  I am willing to endure this pain if it helps me get closer to reaching my goal weight and ideal health!  I REFUSE to be weak anymore!  

I know that I may have weak moments, who doesn’t, but I will not let those moments define me.  I will learn from them and move on.  YEAH!

(Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little pep talk) 🙂

Luckily, tomorrow’s exercise is an extremely fun one that I am all too happy to return to after nearly a year off…belly dancing.  We have a fabulous belly dance studio in Chattanooga with wonderful teachers and an inspiring atmosphere.  I can’t wait! Yip!

Until tomorrow, I hope everyone has a fabulous night.  🙂

Day 2


Well, I survived yesterday!! 🙂  I even turned down the TWO desserts staring me in the face last night at the banquet we attended.  Woohoo!

I realized last night that I had given info about my dinners along with my exercise schedule for the week, but I have a KILLER smoothie recipe that I thought you might enjoy.  I drink this smoothie for breakfast nearly every  morning, and it keeps me full for several hours.

I got this recipe from my best friend since Kindergarten, Cari.  She’s given me lots of recipes over the years, including this one!

Berry Smoothie


  • 1 c. frozen or fresh berries (I use a combination of blueberries and strawberries, but you could use whatever berries you like.  FYI, if you use fresh berries you’ll probably want to add some ice)
  • 1/4 c. non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (you could use regular cow’s  milk if you want, just watch for any added sugar)
  • 1 rounded scoop vanilla whey protein powder (try to find the kind without any added sugar.  It will keep you from crashing)
These are all the products I like to use.  You could use any variation of these.


Simply mix everything together in a blender, pour into a cup, and enjoy!

  • Here’s just one helpful hint when drinking this absolutely “so delicious you’ll think you’re drinking a milkshake” smoothie, keep some dental floss nearby.  The blueberries especially like to hide in the tiny crevices of your pearly whites.  🙂 
Hope you like it! 🙂