My Healthy Life: A Journey

my healthy lifeSo, today is my birthday! Hooray! It’s also my goal date for my weight loss, and I’m about 14 lbs from it. Obviously, I’m not going to lose 14.5 lbs today, but that does not mean that I’m not proud of what I have done. Although I have cheat days, I focus on eating whole, clean food that makes me feel good when I eat it. I have started a yoga routine, and sometimes I’m even able to fit in a work out.

I’m able to wear some of my old clothes, and I was able to store some clothes that were just too big, and that feels so good. Sometimes when I’m showing Cecilia herself in the mirror, I catch a glimpse of myself and I’m comfortable with what I see. So even though the scale may not be showing the results I was hoping for, I can already see the improvement in my confidence and personality.

And it’s not just the weight loss. I feel a lot healthier than I did before. I can chase my daughter all over the backyard and not feel winded. I have learned how to bake and cook because of this journey, and I have saved my family a lot of money because we don’t go out to eat all the time like we used to. I have done it all just by eating better and working out. I did not take a magic pill, or limit myself to shakes. No crazy diets…just eating better and remaining active.

Wanting to step up my game a little, I decided to take a Core Strength Yoga Class from Sadie Nardini. Let’s just say that it was a 30 minute class, and I lasted 15 minutes. I was happy to hear my daughter cry when she woke up, so I could pretend that’s why I had to stop. If you want a yoga class to make you cry, check her out. I’m pretty sure I threw my back out, but I’m going to try it again this weekend to see how far I can get without injuring myself.

Photo from Sadie Nardini. Talk about a badass yogi

Photo from Sadie Nardini. Talk about a badass yogi

Yesterday, I wanted to find a low-impact workout since I was still feeling messed up from that yoga class and walking over 2 miles to find the Sacramento Antique Fair (one could say I really love antiques), so I found a good pilates class…and I think I’m in love. The class was a 15 minute beginner class so it was perfect for me, and it’s through Pilatesology. You can sign up for $19 a month and can opt for a 10 day free trial if you want to test drive before you buy.

Photo from Pilatesology

Photo from Pilatesology

I also made this pumpkin turkey chilli from The Gracious Pantry, but used potatoes instead of turkey. I added a couple cups of water to help soften the potatoes, but that is really up to you. I absolutely loved the way it turned out. My soups usually lack flavor, but not this one. The coconut milk was perfect for this recipe, and added a lot of spice and flavor. Next, I’m going to make it hotter by adding some chili peppers.

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And finally, I wanted to share something I found on Greatist yesterday. It’s a list of 50 bloggers making a difference in fitness, health and happiness…and it’s definitely worth checking out. The bloggers are all listed by category and you can click on their names to be directed to their site. I’m going to go through the list and will share some of the bloggers that I find inspirational and awesome.

Image from Greatist

Image from Greatist

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

Gettin fit: Old clothes challenge

After my week-long break from working out (our whole house was sick…it sucked), I’m trying to get back into my routine. My baby was so used to cuddling with me all day long for a week straight, she’s also having a hard time of getting back into the routine of hanging with herself while I try to get some stuff done around here. So, I’ve gotten back into working out with my baby.

I’m still doing the 365 Days of Yoga Challenge and the poses are turning more into a flow, rather than just going from pose to pose. It’s just hard to get in my night yoga, so I need to set aside some time for it. Here is my new fitness routine:

Monday: Baby workout

Tuesday: Resistance band

Wednesday: Kettle bell

Thursday: Wii Fit

Friday: Bodyweight

Saturday: Stroll with the babe

Sunday: Stroll with the babe

Image belongs to The Daily Green

Image belongs to The Daily Green

These mom and baby exercises from The Daily Green are still my favorite mom and baby exercises. Cecilia absolutely loves when I do the Shoulder Press, Glute Lifts and Leg Lifts, which makes it fun to watch her get all excited. Now that she’s a lot more active, she has a harder time just sitting with me, so when I involve her in this stuff, she loves it.

Image belongs to Eat Hugger

Image belongs to Eat Hugger

I also started the Real Food Challenge, with my favorite yoga instructor, Erin Motz, through Eat Hugger. Since I’ve been following the Clean Eating lifestyle for a while now, this doesn’t look too hard. This is also a good site in general for finding recipes with whole foods in them. My only problem is getting the food for it. I’ll be in Sacramento this weekend so I’m hoping to hit up the farmers markets while I’m there.

They are also open to contributors who want to write articles about healthy food and a healthy lifestyle. So if this is something you are into and you love to write, you should consider checking them out. I don’t think they pay but it’s a good outlet, and a good way to get more traffic to your personal blog.

I have been able to fit into some of my old clothes that weren’t so attractive when I tried to put them on a month ago, so that makes me feel good! I’m waiting until I hit 140 before I do my first closet purge. Only 6 lbs left to go before I do that! I’m feeling a lot better (not so sluggish) and I feel a lot healthier than I did just a little while ago. I’m loving all of these changes!

What are your favorite workouts and/or health food websites? Share them in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #healthyliving. Check out my Pinterest and Tumblr for more healthy inspiration!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

Thursday marks the beginning of a brand new adventure for me. It will be scary, amazing, exciting and I’m sure a little exhausting. I’m starting design school, and I’m doing it all from home, while taking care of my super active 9 month old baby. Luckily, my little family has plenty experience with handling challenges, and we know how to operate on little to no sleep.

Since I will be doing all of my studying, homework and designs from home, I will need a whole lot of motivation, coffee and tools to keep me focused. Also hoping for a little babysitting help too, but I’ll start small. Here are some of my favorite things I found to keep my nose to the grind come September.

Image belongs to Dean's Beans

Image belongs to Dean’s Beans

Organic coffee from Dean’s Beans: Although I am a supporter of purchasing organic coffee and knowing where you get your coffee from, I usually cringe at the price tag attached to it. Alas, there is a savior for those of us who want to buy organic, but literally can’t shell out the big bucks for it. One lb is $8.59, which is half the price of a similar bag of Starbucks. You can also choose your own blends, and you can virtually meet the growers. And if you want to go full DIY style, you can even choose the “green” beans, and roast your own! Another thing I need to look into…home roasting!

Image belongs to Tara Fuller

Image belongs to Tara Fuller

Mood Boostin Yoga Moves from Life Without Bacon – I can already picture myself doing this before I delve into my study sessions, or if I need a little break from the computer. She offers all sorts of nutritional facts, workouts and stretches, and recipes, like The Ultimate Guide to Grilled Cheese, from Greatist (which also happens to be where she works…lucky).

Image belongs to Fry Sauce and Grits

Image belongs to Fry Sauce and Grits

Back to School playlist from Fry Sauce and Grits – I’ve come to realize that if you listen to a Pandora station long enough (sometimes it doesn’t even have to be that long), you will probably hear the same song played a few times, and you will definitely hear the same artist, especially if the station is created after that person/band. So, sometimes it’s nice to get a little taste of something different, even if I’ve heard it before. I know just about every artist on this list, but some are new to me.

Image belongs to Apartment Therapy

Image belongs to Apartment Therapy

Functional caddy on wheels from Apartment Therapy – Now, this photo is from a roundup of a roundup. Does that make sense? I first found it on a dorm room roundup on Decorator In a Box, which included this photo from a roundup of imaginative craft rooms, and from there I’m lost. I can’t seem to find the photo anywhere on Apartment Therapy, and I don’t want to be spending too much of my baby’s naptime on finding a photo. Nevertheless, it has given me an idea to get a caddy like this where we can put our computers when they’re not in use, and I can put all of my school supplies.

Something I’ve learned a long the way is that you cannot always control what’s going on around you. But, if you can control as much as you can, you will have a pretty good handle on things. I have no idea what tricks my baby will be up to starting next week, but now that I’ve got my coffee hookup, a new yoga routine, some good tunes and storage ideas, I’ll be armed and ready to start the school year. All I need now is for my books and supplies to come in! It’s like going back to school shopping, without leaving the house! I think my goal is to eventually never have to leave the house.

Whether you are returning to school, have children who are going back to school, or you have a few educational notches in your very worn belt, you know the feeling. Please feel free to share anything that helps you stay motivated, especially if it pertains to online school. I need all the help I can get! And of course, if you have any ideas for Fridays are for Favorites features, please share. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and share your ideas with the hashtag #notoocoolforschool

Gettin Fit: Interview with Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Yes, another interview this week. I’m lucky to interview such inspirational people and to share their stories with you. Every time I read what they have to say, I feel motivated (especially when it comes to anything with health and fitness). It’s easy to stop when you don’t feel good (My whole family is battling a cold right now, and between taking care of my baby and myself, I have had no energy to do anything else). But when I read a good fitness story, I always find a way to pick up from where I left off. So, this could not have come at a better time. Today I’m talking with Toni Jones, 28, of Monrovia, CA, who is a trainer and who follows a gluten-free diet after discovering eczema on her baby.

Have you always been into health and fitness? Starting at a young age, I was always involved in sports but as far as nutrition goes, I knew very little. Coming from a single mother home and having two other siblings, there were days and nights where food was limited so we ate whatever we could find in the house at the time.

When did you find out about your allergy problems and how did that affect the food you eat? About two years ago when I gave birth to my youngest daughter, she had a bad eczema outbreak on her stomach and legs. I also had eczema behind my arms my whole life and creams never really took it away. I started to research “how to treat eczema” myself and experiment by eliminating foods. Once I took out gluten and dairy from my diet I started to see results and in no time my eczema was completely gone!

Since I was breast feeding at the time, taking it out of my diet -also took it out of my daughters diet and her eczema was completely gone too! That’s when I decided to get testing done to see what else I may be allergic or intolerant to.  I found out I’m allergic to corn, dairy, gluten and peanuts. Now, we eat like “cave men” as my husband says. We don’t eat processed foods and have to read all the labels. It was extremely overwhelming at first, but now that it’s been a few years, it has been a lot easier.

Are you the cook in the household or does your husband help? I do most of the cooking because I know what to get from stores and know the brands that are tolerant for me. My husband will occasionally help cook and do the grill if I prep it first because my way is like a different language to him.

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Image belongs to Toni Jones

Are there any websites that inspire your recipes? Yes! I have a top three that I love using…they are all blogs with people who have similar allergies to me. Against All Grain,  Elana’s Pantry and The Clean Program Blog

Does your family eat the same food as you? Absolutely. Creating healthy habits for my family is priority. I even started a book of my favorite recipes for them with pictures and notes. I want them to each have one when they grow up and go out on their own. I also make sure that both of my daughters go shopping with me to pick out vegetables and then they help me prepare them. It’s fun and they love knowing they did something so “grown-up”!

I love the book idea – may have to start my own!

How do you manage your workouts with taking care of your children? Do you involve them in the workouts? I usually do my workouts early in the morning before they wake up and before my husband goes to work or I do them later in evening once they are getting ready for bed and my husband takes over bath and bedtime. If those don’t work my girls come with me to workout and they usually try to “copy” me and we will skip rope together!

Favorite fitness wear? I love LuLu Lemon, it’s expensive but I love their pants! They fit great and they don’t become see-through as some do over time. The quality is great. As far as tops go, I love tank tops so I get whatever is on sale. Target has some great sports bras and tanks for great prices!

What’s your most favorite meal to make? Two words, SLOW COOKER! I love using it because it’s super easy, and not time consuming. I’m free to run errands, play with my kids, or do house work- all while dinner is being cooked. My favorite thing to make is throw in so chicken, a lot of veggies, season to taste and there you go! I usually use the slow cooker when I know my days are so busy.

I agree. My slow cooker is one of my favorite things about fall. That, and my birthday, of course.

If you do have a cheat meal, what is it? I love Pizza!

Best and worst part of being a trainer? I love helping clients feel great about themselves. I want them to look in the mirror and be happy about what they see back. I want my clients to feel strong, healthy and sexy! My favorite is seeing them smile from ear to ear when they tell me about how they went shopping and dropped sizes or just how great and energized they feel.

I wouldn’t say there as any “worse” thing about being a trainer, but something that does grind my bones is when I have someone who trains and I’ve worked so hard to create a program for them and they just disregard it and blame me for their lack of weight loss. I always say “What you eat in private, you wear in public.” As a trainer I can only do so much to help someone achieve their goals but if they can’t put in the effort and meet me in the middle, they won’t see change.

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Image belongs to Toni Jones

What motivates you every day? I motivate myself. I see how far I’ve come mentally and physically and I’m proud of what I’m accomplishing and have accomplished. I love learning about the human body and nutrition and I feel inspired all the time. Seeing old pictures of myself when I didn’t have kids and seeing them now after having two and feeling more beautiful than ever is pretty amazing!

Where do you get your workout inspiration? I’ve learned from so many great trainers by shadowing them. They all had different views and programs but I can really appreciate the diversity of it all. I also love how women these days are really becoming stronger and seeing that being model skinny isn’t what it’s all about. It’s about being strong and feeling beautiful no matter what body type you may have. I used to box so creating workouts that are empowering and fun is my style. I want my clients to be proud of themselves and see how strong they have become but most importantly having fun is the key!

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 12.19.37 PMWhat advice do you have for people who want to workout every day but can’t make it to the gym? Honestly go to Target, Walmart, or wherever they sell jump ropes and start jumping rope! It’s a great cardio and gets the legs looking good! Try to keep busy by moving around like gardening, playing with your kids, walking or taking a jog and most of all watch the food you put in your mouth!! Try to be mindful of your eating.
Just a little tip. If you have had a baby in the last year, be careful when you try jumping rope, or doing jumping jacks. You know why.

What projects are you working on right now? I’m currently in the middle of creating a workout program for women and men where we meet three times a week for six weeks and do workouts while eating properly. I want to teach them to live healthy and NOT diet! It’s about changing your lifestyle and being active to achieve better health. Everyone is capable of it, you just need to start!

What is the best part about your health and lifestyle change? As I mentioned earlier, as a kid we didn’t always have food around so learning about nutrition was like learning whole new language. I always struggled with weight issues because i barely ate or when I did eat it was all the wrong stuff. I hated how I looked and it made me so depressed growing up. When I had my first daughter I was determined to change because I wanted her to see me happy and love myself. I didn’t want her to learn that looking at yourself in the mirror meant criticizing your flaws.

I wanted her to know that when she looks in the mirror that girls that she sees is beautiful no matter what! I’ve changed my body by workout out and eating healthy, but I also changed my mind. Even with stretch marks from my pregnancy I still find them beautiful because it reminds me that my body was used to create these two little humans. That young girl who  always had weight issues and eczema no longer exists. I’m a confident, strong  and independent women, mother and wife. I won’t stop at nothing to help other women and men feel the same way. I mean, “YOLO” right 😉

You can find out more about Toni Jones on her blog, I’ll Start on Monday and you can also follow her on Facebook under Get it Right, Get it Tight. Who inspires you to keep living healthy? Whether they motivate you to eat better or workout more, I would love to know! Share in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #healthmotivator and maybe I can score an interview with them, too! Check out my Pinterest for more healthy inspiration

Gettin fit: old clothes challenge

Current weight: 147

Goal weight: 130

So, it looks like I finally broke the 150 mark! I can’t freakin believe it. I finally gave up soda and fast food for good, and started cooking (mostly) healthy meals all the time. I also have stuck with my workout and yoga routine, which has helped a lot. I made my mom take some photos of me last weekend so I can see the transformation as it happens. I don’t know how people get those pictures of themselves in the mirror. That ain’t easy. Or I just have too much stuff in my room.

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My new find is Argus, which is a food and fitness tracker. You take photos of your food, and choose the food groups. I absolutely love that since I don’t count calories. Also, if I’m eating something and it’s not on there, I know maybe I shouldn’t eat it. Like, unfortunately they don’t have a “sugar” category. I actually got the idea from a Greatist article that I read. I haven’t had any issues with it yet. It even has a stop watch on there, and allows you to pause your workouts as you’re recording them.

Image belongs to Greatist

Image belongs to Greatist

I also found a new recipe from my girl at The Gracious Pantry, clean eating banana muffins! They were quick and easy to make, and they are so delicious! I added blueberries, because I will pretty much add blueberries to everything, and I love every bite.

Image belongs to The Gracious Pantry

Image belongs to The Gracious Pantry

I’m so happy to finally see some progress. All of he hard work and sweat has finally paid off! And yes, turning down Spanish rice is hard work. Seriously. Hopefully I’ll keep this motivation off, and soon I will be able to actually wear the clothes that are hanging in my closet!

Feel free to follow my fitness blog too fit to be square if you are needing a little inspiration, and you can join my old clothes challenge by using the hashtag #oldclotheschallenge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can find more healthy living inspiration on my Pinterest.

A dose of healthy inspiration

Today couldn’t be a better day to feel inspired and motivated to get in shape. I signed up a while ago to be a blogger at the Daily Hiit blog and I just got all of my login information. This makes me an official blogger at The DailyHiit! I guess this means I should really step up my workout game, eh?

While I do try to practice yoga daily, I have a hard time completing any workouts. I’ve done a few resistance band and kettle bell workouts, but I haven’t exactly been keeping up with it. I found a lot of workouts that I could do on this website, and some good recipes, too. I love any fitness site that also includes recipes. As we all know, this girl can eat!

I feel like this is the perfect way to get inspired and start back on the right track.

I just signed up for the Beginner Challenge from the Daily Hiit to get me started in the right direction so we will see how that goes! I’m thinking it’s time to start a 365 days of fitness challenge now and hopefully I won’t lose too many friends on Instagram and Twitter!

So now that I have rediscovered my love for the Daily Hiit, it’s time to find a new clean-eating website, too. Don’t get me wrong. The Gracious Pantry will continue being my go-to clean eating site, but there’s always room for more healthy recipes!

Here’s a good resource on what’s viewed as clean eating and what’s not. It’s pretty simple. All the good, whole food is clean. But anything that has been chemically treated, had sugars added to it or just simply has no nutritional value at all, is not so clean.

Image belongs to CARE New England

Image belongs to CARE New England

And here’s my new clean eating and fitness site that I found on Pinterest: Whole Foods New Body, she has a lot of good recipes, including a meatloaf that I think even my boyfriend will like. Which is always a score for me! I like these mommy fitness sites because they are geared towards moms, who have little time to work out.

Sure, I love having my baby rolling around me every chance I get, but let me tell you, when you’re trying to do a plank and she’s getting in your way every time you try to lay down, it can get challenging. I need workouts that I can do while she’s napping and, you know, after the house is cleaned, laundry is folded and put away, and all of my homework and work are done.

If you have any clean eating and fitness inspiration that you would like to share, feel free to do so in the comments or share on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #sofreshsoclean. You can also check out my Pinterest more fitness and clean inspiration.

Hoping to hit up Trader Joe’s this weekend for some goodies!