Summer Is Here! Stop Looking At A Screen & Get Outside :)

Hello loyal readers!

I am excited that it is sunny and warm out! Summer is my favorite season for so many reasons!!! Whether you are a student or were one, summer holds a special place in all of our hearts. It conjures up feelings of love, excitement, fun, family, friends and laughter!

With the chaos of day-to-day living, it is hard to step out the daily grind to stop to smell the roses or look off into the woods. “There is no time, I don’t have time, work is really busy now, maybe next month…” I have heard so many phrases like this and I am guilty of saying it myself at times. When the body and/or mind is stressed, everything can feel challenging even impossible. The funny thing is, if you take time for yourself and time to relax and recharge regularly, you can avoid this issue all together.

I am a firm believer there is always time for your health and well-being so how can I convey to you the importance of MAKING THE TIME.

  1. Surround yourself with people who believe in taking care of themselves and are open to meeting for a workout instead of a drink
  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes and for 5 minutes do not let anything distract you. Sit down with a book or something you enjoy doing. When the timer goes off, look at what you accomplished in such a short amount of time with no distractions. Take these 5 minutes every day or feel free to take more 🙂
  3. Bed time routine – Create one! Wash your face, massage your hands and feet, practice guided mediation or deep breathing, maybe even do a slow stretching flow
  4. Prioritize what matters most. Make the time for the thing you keep postponing. If it is a lunch with old friends or getting to the gym finally. JUST DO IT! Stop letting your mind stop you from moving to SUCCESS
  5. Be happy with knowing that life is always going to be crazy, distracting, busy, and at times impossible to manage. Breathe slowly, relax the shoulders away from the ears and move. Smile, laugh and enjoy the moment and day while always moving forward. There is room for down time, even if you have to schedule it. Just be sure you fit it in!

Get Fit For It believes that summer is a time to be spent playing, laughing, running around and being with others. Instead of reading this blog or surfing the net, dedicate the next couple months to connecting with those you love, reading a book on your wish list, soaking up some sun (with all natural sun screen so you don’t burn) and letting go of the buzzing of your phones, tablets and inbox!

#GetUnplugged #Getoutside #BeFree #HaveFun

Health & Happiness,

Kacie & GFFI Team

Posted in Motivation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Motivation Monday ~ Surviving Summer

Am I the only person on the planet that seems to gain weight during the summer? I feel like I am the opposite of 99.9999% of people trying to lose weight – I gain it during the summer and lose it during the winter. Or that is at least the general trend for me. Sometimes it is a wash during either season and I find a nice balance of maintenance.

I think it has something to do with the increased pressure to have a body that is exposed to sunlight whilst wearing the perfect bikini and lounging about the pool with a drink in hand. Some people thrive under that pressure – it’s the last bit of motivation they need to clean up their eating habits and increase their activity. Others tend to cave under that pressure. It creates a stress that ultimately leads to self sabotaging behavior that only puts them further away from where they want to be.

Either way, I have a problem with the mentality. Becoming more fit or comfortable in our own skin should never be born from pressure. It should come from the desire to do something good for ourselves, to treat ourselves well, to be happy with the capabilities of our bodies in their current state and so on. It’s this type of positive thinking that spurs on the positive actions that propel you forward on your fitness journey.

A motivation of pressure, on the other hand, carries with it some degree of negative thinking, and while it may lead to some temporary results for the three months of the summer, it will ultimately keep you from moving forward in the long term. You see, the problem with pressure as a motivator is that once the pressure is removed, it ceases to motivate you in the same way. In this case, the pressure tends to lighten up as the summer and the beach vacations and pool parties wind down. There is less of a reason to have to maintain ‘perfection’ and so you don’t engage in the behaviors that led you to that point to the same degree. You may even let the weight creep up as you head into the comfy winter months, safely covered up under chunky sweaters and tights. All the progress that had been made is now lost and the cycle repeats.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could gain momentum on your fitness journey without being at the whim of seasonal changes? As the summer months are now upon us, what I would like to suggest is a change in mentality, one that would propel motivation year round rather than stopping come September 1. Sounds great doesn’t it? The following tips are those that you can begin to learn and integrate into your lifestyle now and begin to form healthier habits.

1. Avoid Extremities.

One of the associated problems that comes with using pressure as a motivator is that it tends to push you to extremities of behavior. When you feel pressured to obtain a certain goal by a certain timeline, it leads you to do just about anything to obtain it. Rarely, however, do you realize it as extreme behavior however, especially when it yields the results you are after. You throw it under the label of dieting and move on with your life. The problem with this mentality is that it’s just not balanced or healthy in the long run. Whether that means you are restricting our caloric intake too greatly, over exercising, or some combination of the two, the result is one that throws your body completely out of balance.

Moreover, maintaining that kind of deficit is just not sustainable over long periods of time. So if you are looking to drop a few pounds during the summer months, the key is to avoid extremities. Figure out what your caloric intake should be for the day and set moderate reductions that will lead to a steady 1-2 pound weight loss per week. Ignore the marketing pleas for products or diets that will do otherwise – they will only hinder you. Consume a well balanced healthful diet that meets your nutritional needs and the rest will simply follow.

2. Find what you love.

Summer really is a great time to focus on fitness. The weather is nicer, people tend to be outside and more engaged in general activity, and it’s just “easier” to be fit. Take advantage of that fact and use the time to find activities that you really love to do. Maybe it’s taking some outdoor yoga classes or getting really into cycling. Try out a bunch of different activities and stick to the ones you truly enjoy. Avoid doing an activity just because you feel like you have to in order to be thin. The best exercise is the one that you will do consistently, and now is the time to try out a bunch of different things. When the winter comes, you will be more likely to find ways to carry out those activities indoors or complete general conditioning and strength training that will get you ready for the next outdoor season. Again, the key is adapting a longer term outlook.

3. Plan ahead.

Summer may open up more opportunities to be fit, but there are also plenty of opportunities to slip up and over indulge. First, it’s important to keep in mind, that it’s okay to indulge on occasion. To be successful in the long run, you need to learn how to enjoy these indulgences in a healthful manner – one that still fits into your overall plan and that does not leave you feeling guilt or shame over consuming ‘forbidden’ foods.

The key is to plan ahead – and for that I highly recommend getting into tracking your intake. Trackers like MyFitnessPal will allow you to see how you are doing in terms of meeting your nutritional needs and, if you input your exercise as well, you might find that there is room for some indulgence throughout the summer. When you have planned for it, and know that it can fit into your nutrition for the day, you are far less likely to feel that sense of guilt for it. When motivated by pressure, however, every little slip up only brings with it guilt, and either pushes us back to extremities or leads you to self-sabotaging behaviors. If a dedicated food tracker is not for you, the 80/20 guideline is a helpful one. Over the span of  a week, or even a day, think that 80% of your diet should be healthy, whole, nutritious foods, while the remaining 20% gives you some wiggle room to enjoy the indulgences of summer.

4. Watch your words.

Remember that positive thinking begets positive actions. Thinking negatively about yourself or your body will only lead to negative results in the form of extreme or self sabotaging behaviors. The problem is that it tends to be easier to point out our limitations rather than our strengths. This is where developing a personal mantra can help to keep your thoughts more positively focused. When the negative starts to creep in, pull yourself back to that positive mantra and repeat it over and over in your head until it sinks in. That mantra can be something as simple as ‘I am capable’ or it can be more developed. Take your areas of weakness and flip it around to a positive mantra. Positive thinking is more powerful than you ever dreamed possible!

5. Keep the bigger picture in sight.

Ultimately, what it all comes down to is that in order to survive summer without falling victim to the pressure to obtain a perfect body, is to keep the bigger picture in sight. It is always good to have short term goals, but when they come from a sense of pressure they will only lead towards extreme behaviors. Sometimes they temporarily help us and sometimes they directly self-sabotage us, but neither is helpful to the long term. Always keep in mind that there is a bigger picture at play. What is it that you are ultimately trying to achieve in terms of your fitness journey? Keeping your eye on the ultimate prize, combined with the four tips I listed first, will keep you moving forward for 12 months out of the year instead of just 3.

Take some time to think about where your head is at this summer. Are you feeling the pressure to get your body to a certain place for the summer months? Are you feeling guilty that you haven’t been able to accomplish it and ready to throw in the towel? Take time to reflect on your current mentality and where you can integrate these 5 tips. The result will be well worth it to your fitness journey.

Get Fit For It,
Beth

 

Posted in Motivation | Leave a comment

Foodie Friday ~ Simple Peanut Curry Chicken

Short on time, but need a protein packed delicious recovery meal? Simple Chicken Peanut Curry to the rescue. With a protein of your choice, flavorful peanut curry sauce, and an ‘un-fried rice’ you’ll have a meal that is both fully flavorful and fully nutritious.

The sauce can be pre-made a day or two ahead and scaled for multiple servings. It only takes a few minutes to assemble, so you can easily do this while the protein is cooking.

Note: This recipe calls for chicken, but you can easily swap in your favorite protein. The sauce will go great with tofu, pork, and beef as well.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 oz Chicken breast (or the protein of your choice)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 C. Cooked brown rice (I recommend the precook frozen packs from Trader Joes)
  • 1/3 C. Peas
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • 1 Egg, fried
  • 1/4 C. Plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. Peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. sriracha
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
  • 1.5 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced (or 1tsp. garlic paste)
  • 1-3 tsp. coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 lime wedges

Directions:

  1. Cook protein of choice, in this case chicken, according to your favorite prep method. I prefer a simple pan sear, but you can also bake. Add salt and pepper to taste before cooking.
  2. While chicken is cooking, prepare the peanut curry sauce by combining Greek yogurt, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, curry powder,  and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Prepare brown rice and spread on plate. Stir in peas and soy sauce to taste. To create an ‘unfried rice’ fry an egg, place on top of rice mixture, and use a fork to gently incorporate the egg into the rice.
  4. Once protein is finished cooking, slice into strips and lay on top of rice mixture. Spread sauce over top. Garnish with lime wedges and a drizzle of sriracha.

Get Fit For It,

Beth

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Motivation Monday ~ Letting Go of the Past

I tend to find that I am an ‘extremes’ type of person. Rarely do I find the middle ground. I’m either one way or the other, never somewhere in the middle. It’s something I both love and hate. On the one hand, when I am in on something, I am ALL in. I commit, dig my heels in, and pursue the goal wholeheartedly.

This commitment has lead me to some of the things that I am the most proud of in my life so far: finishing valedictorian of my college graduating class, going through grad school twice, finishing in several running races and the list goes on. On the other hand, my overzealousness has often led me to stretch myself too thing, overcommit to things, and suffer from burnout.

The more I experience life, the more I realize that the extremes of any given behavior are rarely productive in the long term. It’s funny to me just how many things fit into this category. As with our eating and fitness habits, swinging too far on the pendulum one way or the the other rarely gets us where we want to be in the long term. We are meant to take a balanced, moderate approach. Now, this doesn’t mean that at times we don’t need to step into the extreme when the situation calls for it, but overall, living with a balanced approach to life is what yields the most healthful response.

Last week, Kacie wrote a great piece on the importance of living in the now rather than getting too caught up in what the future may hold. Today, I want to talk about the other side of the equation: living in the past. Sometimes, I find that I struggle with this just as much if not more than looking too far ahead into the future. What I would suggest to you today is that living in the past can be just as much of a hindrance to achieving your goals as being too future oriented.

It’s good to know where you came from and certainly your past experiences shape who you are today. The problem occurs when you let your past prevent you from realizing your present or your future. This can occur whether the past was a generally positive or negative experience.

On the positive side, living in the past can keep of from being satisfied in our present reality. When I graduated from college and moved to the DC metro area, I was in a word, miserable. It was a big life transition for me for many reasons. I had just come out of the college bubble and was moving to a new city where I new one person, starting grad school, trying to find a job, and overall adjusting more to city life when I grew up in very rural Pennsylvania. It was tough to say the least.

For the first few years of living here I was pretty miserable. I missed my friends from school. I missed how easy it was in college and having the instant community of friends and endless things to do. For a long time I allowed myself to get caught up in the belief that my college experience were the best years of my life and things just wouldn’t be the same. It sounds pretty silly and overly dramatic when I right it out like that, but when I look back on my first few years here, that is exactly the attitude I had.

On the other hand, sometimes our past is clouded by a lot of tough and negative experiences. In this case, you can get stuck in the mentality that the past is bound to repeat itself, that they way things were in the past is how they always will be and you will never break the cycle of pain and hardship. We carry the shame of the past with us and allow it to take hold over our lives, preventing us from moving forward and achieving our potential.

You see, being stuck in the past holds us back. It’s limiting. It says that you believe that you have either already experienced the best there is in this life and nothing in the future will compare or that you are bound to continue making the same mistakes of the past and the outlook for the future is bleak. Ouch. Neither of these is a way to live, friends. While we have this short and fleeting time on earth, we are meant to live our lives to the fullest, and for me that means living to all that God has planned for me to be.

Whether you are too focused on achieving your future or held up by the past, I would encourage you to take some for a little self reflection. Often times, these mentalities appear in our lives in the most subtle and subconscious of ways, and a little self examination is necessary to uncover these patterns. Ask yourself: how is your life going right now? What is it that is holding you back or limiting you in any way. Examine your behaviors, your attitudes, your decisions over the past and look for patterns indicating where you might be stuck in the past or future. It will be time well spent.

Health and Happiness,
Beth

Posted in Motivation | Leave a comment

Foodie Friday~ Homemade Almond Milk

I am really into “home-made” these days! DIY is something I have always found fascinating especially with recipes for typical store-bought products. This week I want to offer you a recipe for your own almond milk. It really doesn’t take too much effort and you can drink it without fear of having added artificial ingredients in it. Check it out. Please try it and let us know what you think!

Almond Milk

Ingredients:
1 cup raw organic almonds
10 cups of water, DIVIDED in half
3 Tbs honey (optional)
½ tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1 vanilla bean, split down the middle (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

*You will also need a cheese cloth and a strainer

Directions:

  1. Soak almonds in 5 cups water overnight, in a covered bowl.
  2. Strain nuts from water and add them to a blender or food processor. Add the other 5 cups of water from the ingredient list. Blend until nuts are fully blended and mixture looks milky.
  3. Place cheesecloth over strainer and drain milk/almond meal into your storage container. Press cheesecloth lightly with wooden spoon to squeeze any remaining liquid from the nut pulp.
  4. Add honey,cinnamon, salt and vanilla bean into milk. Stir until everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Chill in refrigerator up to one week.

We hope you like your own almond milk!

Health & Happiness,

Kacie

Posted in Recipes | Tagged | Leave a comment