Healthy BBQ Habits

So, I’m going to be totally cliché here and say, “Where the heck has August gone!?”

I mean, for real.  This weekend is Labor Day and I swear I was just celebrating Memorial Day and the 4th of July.  I just can’t wrap my head around it!

That being said, while I’m sad that the summer is coming to a close, I am looking forward to another weekend that I get to spend with my family and friends doing what we do best when we get together…having a party!  I’m sure there are many of you out there with the same plans for the weekend that will include grilling out, swimming, playing fun yard games, and closing the night out with a bonfire!  Outdoor BBQ’s are always a good time and the perfect reason to gather your favorite people together!

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My outdoor parties always include the basics:  hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, cold salads, finger-food appetizers, and kid-friendly and adult-only beverages.  And, even though I love these basic essentials, I am always looking at ways that I can put a healthy spin on my favorites and, today, I want to share some of those tips with you!   Most of them are super easy and just require a little thought and planning when it comes to ingredients!

  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for your burgers.
  • Grill chicken breasts along with your burgers for a second option.
  • Ditch the canned baked beans and make your own.  A lot of canned options can contain extra sodium and preservatives that we don’t need and many recipes can be thrown in a slow cooker to make your life easy! 
  • Try using grains in your cold salads instead of pasta or potatoes.  I like to use quinoa, couscous, and bulgur, and, if I want to use a pasta, I always make sure it is whole-grain.  Also, use vinegar/olive oil-based dressings or yogurt instead of ones that use mayonnaise or sour cream.
  • Make salads that consist of vegetables or fruit like a three-bean salad, a watermelon with feta and mint salad, or a shaved beet and carrot salad.  Pinterest is my best friend when looking up new ideas!  
  • Add more to the grill than your meat!  Throw some chopped up veggies in a grilling basket or grill some corn on the cob.  Cooking vegetables in foil packets is, also, quick, easy, and mess-free!
  • For beverages, try serving light spritzer-type drinks with a carbonated water and clear liquor if you’re serving for adults.  Also, a fruit sangria is always a great option, as well!  Oh, and, as always, have a lot of water on hand!

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Finally, for my last tip, I will share one of my new favorite things…

Chobani Meze Dips!

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I, recently, found these dips at my local grocery store and couldn’t wait to try them!  They are made with Greek yogurt, real vegetables, and only natural ingredients.  With only 25 caloriies per serving, they contain 80% less fat and 65% fewer calories than the leading hummus.  They come in four flavors that include Roasted Red Pepper, Three Pepper Salsa, Chili Lime, and Smoked Onion and Parmesan.  So far, the Chili Lime is my favorite but they are all super yummy!

I have served these dips at a few summer get-togethers and they are always a hit with my guests!  I like to serve them with plenty of raw vegetables, whole-wheat crackers, or pita chips.  Setting these dips out with some healthy dipper choices is a great way to get your healthy BBQ started!  I highly recommend adding these to your next summer BBQ…which, I hope is this upcoming weekend so you don’t have to wait long to give them a try!

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Here’s to Happy and Healthy BBQ’ing, friends!

Share a healthy BBQ/party tip!
What is your favorite BBQ/picnic food?

Transformation…errr…Wednesday?

Hey!  How are you!?

Since I’m restarting my blog and know that I may have new readers, I wanted to share today a quick recap of my transformation and how I got where I am today.  Last week, I gave a little insight into how I got to where I was with my workouts and what I have done over the past few years but, today, I’m touching quickly on how I’ve transformed on both the inside and outside.

I shared this post yesterday evening on Facebook for #transformationtuesday and wanted to put it here on my blog, as well.  So, I am, officially, declaring today #transformationwednesday.  Is that okay with you!?  Good.  So, here we go.

I have said before that I really think transformation stories are hard and this is why…….old pictures suck.

Excuse the language.

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Looking back on my transformation isn’t always an easy thing. Sure, I like to see where I am now and I am amazed at where I was but, sometimes, looking back on my journey isn’t always easy. You see, I have always tried to live a healthy lifestyle and, in addition to that, I’ve been a fitness instructor for almost ten years…but…

During that time, I’ve gone through the darkest time in my life and, thankfully, too, one of the brightest. I’ve been a “normal” size, I’ve lost weight to the point where people told me I looked unhealthy, I’ve put that weight back on and then some, and, finally, I have reached a point where I feel the best that I ever have. It’s crazy how your inside can reflect so much on your outside. Your thoughts and your body are truly one and I’ve learned that it is crucial to take care of both.

Seeing that picture on the left makes me realize how much I wasn’t taking care of myself even though I thought I was. I mean, I was eating ‘okay’ and teaching class so that should have been enough, right? No. It wasn’t. I know, now, I was eating too much, having too many treats thinking that, “just one more isn’t going to hurt,” and I, definitely, wasn’t giving my workouts my all. So…totally, sorry to my students for that.

I’m not exactly sure what clicked last year and made me decide to make a change but I know what helped me get to where I am today. SUPPORT. A fellow instructor and I decided we were going to work on our eating, our workouts, and, basically, our overall health. We wanted to tone, build muscle, and be the best instructors that we could be. That did it. We checked in with each other everyday and it is, truly, what pushed me and made me successful.

Over the past year, I have crushed goals and have worked on my inside which, I believe, is showing through to my outside. Every day, I strive to be that support to others that my friend was to me. Just to have someone there can make all the difference in the world. I am thankful each day for the opportunity to still be an instructor to my students, a coach to my challengers, and, hopefully, an inspiration to anyone working on their fitness journey.

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My story, obviously, is longer and I could a novel on those dark times I mentioned as well as the bright ones!  However, I can’t keep you here all day and I’m sure you have other places to be and other things to read so we’ll save some of those stories for another time, okay!?

If you ever have doubt in yourself or find yourself on a path that doesn’t make you happy, make the decision to make a change, find your ‘why,’ and find those amazing people that will be your support every step of the way. It will make all the difference in the world.

Happy Wednesday!

Have you ever undergone a transformation mentally or physically?
Who do you tend to turn to for support?
(my mom, husband, and BFFs are amazing!)
Just for fun: How are you spending your last few weeks of summer!?

The Comparison Trap

Hey, Monday!

And, ohhh, heeey Monday that I have off from work.  SO nice to see you!  Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that I’m completely off because I am teaching a morning Jazzecise class but I don’t have to sit my butt in my office chair for eight hours and that’s ‘off’ enough for me!

This past week and, especially, this past weekend, I was doing something that I can’t say I’m very proud of.  I was falling into that crazy trap of comparing myself to others.  I know it happens to everyone and it happens more than we like but I try to keep it to a minimum around here.  It’s something that I have to work on and something that I’m constantly trying to improve in myself.  I am so thankful for my family, my friends, my job, my childhood, my experiences, and, well, basically, everything.  Even for those tough times I have gone through.  They weren’t easy but, in the end, I know they have made me a better person.

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So, with that being said, while I don’t envy anyone or want to be anyone else…I still have a crazy tendency to look at people that are where I want to be and tell myself that I’m not sure I’m capable of making it there.  It happens when I think about where I am professionally.  To say that I am thankful for my job is an understatement.  To say that I am happy at my job…now, that’s another thing.  Without going into crazy details about my life goals, I’ll just say that I would rather be somewhere else and doing something that provides me with, not only a challenge, but, also, something that fulfills me.  I am, currently, trying to get there and working on shifting my focus.  I am taking the first steps to branch out and expand my career in fitness while, also, trying to build a business and a brand.  Phew.  Just saying it makes me nervous.

I have been a fitness instructor for ten years.
I have recently started a business as a fitness coach.
I have blogged for five years.

Those are the thoughts that are facts.

I want to teach other classes in addition to what I do now.
I want to grow my business and use it as a significant part of my income.
I threw out my old blog and just started fresh with a new one last week.

Those are the thoughts that scare the crap out of me. 

My fear of growing and not having what it takes to get there is fueled by looking at others that are where I want to be.  Successful trainers, top fitness coaches, top bloggers – they are all inspirations to me but, on the flip side, also those that I see as having something that I don’t think I have.  I mean, they are so driven and do so well.  I’m sure that could never be me.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful team of beautiful ladies surrounding me that quickly pushed all of those negative thoughts out of my head.  They made sure to make me see how ridiculous I was being and how I have the capability to do absolutely anything that I want to.

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I have been successful, I am successful, and I will continue to be successful.
Because I want it.  Because I know the value of hard work.  Because I am driven. 

So, there you have it.

I was down.  Thinking I wasn’t good enough.  Thinking that my dreams were crazy.  Funny how quickly that can happen, right!?

I’m here, today, to share with you that you, too, are good enough.

Being yourself is all you can be so you might as well rock it.
You can do anything you put your mind to and work hard for.
Don’t ever doubt yourself.
You have what it takes.
Believe that.
Even if you have to wake up every morning and tell yourself.
Do it. 

Now, go and crush your day!

Do you ever doubt yourself or where you are in life?
What do you do when you fall into the comparison trap?
Share something that you are proud of!