Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adult PB & J

New favorite snack alert!

Okay so tonight I got super "creative" in the kitchen and really switched it up. Instead of the typical rice cake, peanut butter and banana combo, it struck me that raspberries in place of the banana might just be absolutely fantastic. Guess what? IT IS!

I'm not going to Google this combo to see how many people may have come up with this incredible creation before me, because I swear, I've never seen it before. It's a cool thing once in a while when an idea comes directly from your head instead of Pinterest or another form of technology. Am I right? Well, even if there are many others who have thought of this combo before me, let me have this moment, please! ;-)

This is certainly a carb-tastic treat and doesn't have much protein value, so it's not something you'll want to eat 7 times a day, but this will definitely hit any cravings you may have. Think of this as the perfect mini meal when you "just want something to snack on." Know what I mean?

Anyway here it is, only three ingredients, in all its glory:

This snack is super easy and super tasty! In case you're wondering what specific rice cakes and peanut butter were used, they are linked below (click the images), but any brand should do just fine! 

Naturally More Crunchy Peanut Butter

Lundberg Gluten-Free Brown Rice Organic Rice Cakes 

What are some of your favorite snack combos?! Feel free to share in the comments and your snack idea may be featured on a future blog post for fellow readers to enjoy!

CWMG Photo Shoot, Balanced & It's Importance

On Saturday, I had my photo shoot with C Withers Media Group at Balanced Fitness and Health Gym in San Diego. There's a bit of a back story to this shoot, as I've been wanting to shoot with Casey and his team for nearly a year now. After being introduced to this photographer via social media, it's been on my shoot "wish list."

Behind the scenes with look #1.
These photos will be used for my new website launching soon!

Originally, I had hopes of continuing on my quest to do a fourth NPC competition in July after the June show. After chatting with Casey about his photography services, I went ahead and put down a deposit and decided on a July date. At this time in May, I thought by July I'd be totally "photo shoot ready." Well, as you may know if you've been reading this blog a while, the show in June didn't go well for me placing wise and any plans of me competing in July quickly went out the door as I started focusing on other things (AKA taste testing cake for our wedding and enjoying southern BBQ while visiting South Carolina).

We bumped back the original shooting date to October 18. That particular day seemed far enough away to make improvements, yet wouldn't be "haunting me" as another fitness-related item to prepare for. Mentally I needed a break and didn't want that upcoming event hanging over my head. But then August came and went, followed quickly by September. Suddenly the shoot was approaching super fast, only weeks away. It was easily to mentally get pulled back into that automatic countdown that happens when preparing for a show, but I did not want this photo shoot to rule my day-to-day living. Yes, I would prepare for it, but not do anything extreme. No major cutting, no hours in the gym, no major carb cutting, etc.

Hair & makeup time at my house before the shoot!
Always fun to get dressed up! 

Through my blog and social media posts, I often write about balance and healthy living. It was really important to practice what I preach and not take preparing for this shoot super seriously. This was especially the case as I'm currently managing the Obsess Less October challenge with an amazing group of ladies where we're focusing on reflection activities surrounding self-love and confidence.

The crew! Meghen Lord the hair and makeup artist, Tracy and Casey from CWMG. 

Here's some things I did this time around, which have been quite different than other fitness-focused events in the past year or so:

  • I ate healthy food, but certainly did not spend weeks or months depriving myself. Erik and I had plenty of dessert prior to this shoot (as well as the night after the shoot!). I simply tried to keep the desserts in check and not go overboard. For example, always getting the smallest dish at the frozen yogurt shop and never anything larger. 
  • The SugarLESS September challenge allowed me to cut out those extreme extra sugary treats throughout that particular month. It really helped to reset my body from sugar addiction. It helped to get back to the true "balance" of enjoying treats once in a while rather than daily.
  • Beginning three or four days prior to the shoot, I was much more conscious about what I was eating and making sure I had plenty of distilled water. This was when I was also more careful about extra salt or sodium. 
  • I did not do hours upon hours of cardio. In fact, the most I really did was about a 1/2 an hour per day. 
  • I was up about 10 lbs. from the day of my show. While there is more fat there, I also know I've gained muscle in this time including growing my glutes a bit, too, which is difficult for me naturally! 
  • Unfortunately a week and a half before the shoot, I sprained my wrist which meant lifting upper body was extremely limited. I accepted it and still moved forward doing what I could. 
  • In the weeks before the shoot (prior to the wrist injury), I participated in a number of group fitness classes. Taking these classes were super fun and a good way to push myself without a trainer (here's an article I wrote for FIT Athletic last month about the benefits of group exercise classes). 
  • Despite my prep, of course mother nature came a calling the morning of the shoot. Sorry this may be TMI, but any ladies know this is THE worst, especially if you're concerned with bloating. However, one thing with fitness is some women stop getting their periods if body weight drops too low (amenorrhea). This has happened to me the majority of the past decade (if not on medication for it). While it was annoying to have that happen the morning of the shoot, it also signaled that I am truly healthy right now. It's mentally difficult to gain weight after a show and not be super lean, but I'm feeling pretty happy with this balance right now and am trying my best to embrace the empowering "Strong Not Skinny" message. Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you would like more info about amenorrhea as this is something that impacts many women and I've never written anything about my experience with it until this little blurb above. 
Behind the scenes for look #2. 

Really I couldn't have asked for a better shoot experience on Saturday. Meghen Lord, the hair and makeup artist, was wonderful and she even came directly to my house before to get ready. We were connected through a new friend I met at IDEA WORLD back in August (you just never know who you'll connect with)! Absolutely loved her style (including her amazing light purple hair). Both Casey and Tracy were amazing from C Withers Media Group. We got many great shots with some that will work well for my website, which was my main goal. I'm definitely not always the most comfortable with the sexy shoots as I'm naturally a bit shy, but we did a mix of both "girl next door" and some of the sexy type shots. Casey was awesome and hilarious in those moments, always making me feel comfortable, especially as he imitated the modeling moves himself. DEFINITELY check out their Facebook pages (linked above) and contact them whenever you're in the San Diego area if you're looking for hair, makeup or photography services! 

Casey from CWMG did not disappoint on set!
Such a funny guy!

P.S. After writing the title for this post, I realized "Balanced" is the same name as the gym location. Oh the ironic perfection! :-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Teal Pumpkin Project

Happy Friday!

Here to tell you about a wonderful cause called The Teal Pumpkin Project! Though kid-less (except for my two furchildren), I absolutely love the concept of this initiative, started by FARE (FOOD ALLERGY RESEARCH & EDUCATION) for so many reasons.

While this campaign is meant to bring awareness and support to kids with food allergies, specifically, adoption of this sort of movement can be beneficial for the population at large, too. A couple weeks ago, I shared this image on Instagram that came from Fed Up Movie (if you missed the movie review post, check it out): 

Pretty crazy, huh? While I don't want to be the "Wicked Witch" of the Halloween season, it's awesome to see other people highlighting alternative treat options.

In reality, kids are not the only ones consuming these treats, we are, too! Keep in mind that it's not the day of Halloween that does the most damage, but it's the candy purchased for Trick-or-Treaters hiding in the closest throughout the month of October, combined with the leftovers that remain in the house after the celebration ends, too.

Here's one takeaway tip to use over the next few weeks:

Allow yourself a planned Halloween celebration treat. Make it a good one. Make it special. Don't make it a inhalation of mini candies that are okay, but not your favorite. You know, the ones you're eating because it's the only kind left in the assorted mix bag.

After you enjoy your planned spooky or Pinterest-y type Halloween treat, it's time to move on. Your next meal should be nutritious and healthy (check back this weekend for a healthy fall meal idea recipe) and include lots of water. Remove any leftover candy from your house completely. I know it seems like a waste and goes goes against what's ingrained in many of us ("don't waste"). Know in this instance, it's okay and worth it.

This one move will truly help you avoid getting sucked into a sweet and sugary trap at the end of the month. We know, it's difficult to break out of the sugar addiction cycle after it's turned on and with Thanksgiving and the Holidays around the corner, it's time to "treat" yourself better this year.

Are you going to have a Teal Pumpkin Halloween this year? If so, please send me your photo with your pumpkin and treat ideas... I'd love to share it! Also utilize FARE's hashtag #TealPumpkinProject (super excited to make one, too)! 

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