Lightened Spinach Artichoke Casserole

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I was searching for a way to sneak some vegetables in my husband’s diet (seriously, he never eats vegetables. Gr!). We were also having guests over for dinner so I was in the mood to make something fancy. Right off the bat I knew I wanted to do some kind of cheesy, delicious casserole. A few ideas popped up but didn’t excite me enough. Then it hit me, Thomas loves spinach artichoke dip! Let’s make it a casserole! This spinach artichoke casserole is stuffed with ooey gooey Parmesan cheese, but it won’t stick to your thighs. It’s a huge hit for the whole family and a great dish to be made at a large dinner event! I made it with grilled chicken and smashed potatoes.

lightened up macro friendly spinach artichoke dip casserole

Recipe:

  • 4 10 oz packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 8 oz package low fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the spinach and artichokes in a large bowl. Microwave cream cheese unpackaged in a microwave safe bowl until soft, about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Stir the cream cheese into the spinach and artichokes then add sour cream, grated Parmesan, and garlic. Season to taste. Spoon the casserole into a 9×11 baking dish. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minute, uncover and bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 more minutes.

Macros (per serving, 16 servings): 9g fat, 8g carbs, 10g protein

Meal Plan #8

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meal plan 8 iifym ideas

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

Breakfast:

Option 1- Kodiak Power Cakes with blueberry compote

Option 2- Protein French Toast with turkey sausage links

Lunch:

Option 1- Buffalo chicken cheese fries IIFYM style

Option 2- Pizza grilled cheese

Dinner:

Option 1- Light cheeseburger soup

Option 2- Ranch pork chops (packet of ranch sprinkled over pork) with smashed potato and side salad

Option 3- Southwestern Cobb salad

Snack/dessert:

Option 1- Oatmeal raisin cookies

Option 2- “Mocha Latte”- 1 cup black coffee to 1 cup chocolate Fair Life milk (I swear, it’s the most delicious thing ever especially iced! The macros for one cup of Fair Life is 4.5g fat, 13g carbs, and 13g protein)

 

If requested I’ll add the grocery list but many of you have said you mix and match from different meal plans so I’m not sure it’s necessary? 🙂

 

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Meal Plan #7

Protein French Toast

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French toast isn’t something you’d typically think to make while dieting, huh? Think again. This protein french toast is just as delicious as the original but with a lot more protein and less carbs and fat.

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Recipe:

-8 pieces of bread (I used Sara lee low cal bread)
-3/4 cup milk (I used 2% Fair Life)
-2 eggs & 1 egg white
-1 scoop protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream)
-Splash of vanilla extract
-Ground cinnamon

Whisk together all ingredients except bread. Dip bread in mixture and place on oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins, flip halfway through.

Macros (for three slices): 10g fat, 38g carbs, and 33g protein

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries IIFYM Style

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That’s it. I’m claiming the title. I’m the queen at making bar foods more macro friendly. What can I say, I’ll forever be a fat college kid at heart.

These cheese fries are to die for. The key ingredient is the 98% fat free Alexia fries.

buffalo chicken cheese fries iifym style

Recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 servings 98% fat free Alexia Crinkle fries
  • 6 oz baked chicken tossed in 1 tbsp Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce
  • 1 serving reduced fat Mexican cheese
  • Handful of scallions
  • 1/2 serving low fat ranch
  • If you’ve got the extra fat you could add bacon bits

Cook fries according to packaging. Top with chicken and serving of cheese and put back in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Top with scallions, ranch, and anything else you fancy. Enjoy!

Macros (for entire recipe, no bacon):  491 calories, 15g fat, 38g carbs, 51g protein

5 Minute Meal: Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and Broccoli Slaw

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All the parents out there know, being a full time mom means you gotta get creative with some simple meals. Bored with sandwiches and chicken burrito bowls, I set out to try something new that’s as easy as ever. The week before I had visited Trader Joe’s and stocked up on IIFYM friendly freezer goodies. One thing I picked up that I hadn’t tried before was their BBQ Chicken Teriyaki. I’m so glad I gave it a shot!

trader joe's iifym easy recipe

Recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 servings Trader Joe’s BBQ Chicken Teriyaki
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw

The package directions for the chicken have you microwaving the chicken with no instructions for cooking in the oven. The first time I tried it I reheated the chicken in the oven, but the second time I tried the microwave and there was no difference. If you want to cook in the oven simply do so at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I used Uncle Ben’s instant rice, but you could also save this meal for when you have leftover rice! Once the chicken was done I added the rice and broccoli slaw and mixed it all up. Yup, that’s it! I garnished with some scallions.

Macros (for entire recipe): 305 calories, 6g fat, 27g carbs, 29g protein

iifym easy meals

Lightened Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

oatmeal cookies

Recipe:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all dry ingredients except oats and raisins. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together. I used my electric mixer. Add in the egg, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Stir the dry mixture into the eggs and applesauce, then add in the oats and raisins. Scoop about a tbsp out for each. Bake 12-14 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Macros (per cookie of a 24 cookie batch): 99 calories, 3g fat, 16g carbs, 2g protein

Scotch Egg: An Experiment Gone Delicious

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We saw the Scotch egg on Facebook and were drooling! It’s pretty much all protein (and fat from the oil) so we knew it’d be a great IIFYM food. We made it a little more macro friendly by using turkey sausage but it is still pretty high in fat. It’s a bit of a task but well worth the deliciousness. A great treat, especially for the holidays!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Recipe:

  • 4 eggs soft boiled and peeled
  • 1lb turkey sausage
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 raw egg for egg wash
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare three bowls: one with 1/2 cup flour, 1 with beaten egg and milk, and one with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a pan (you want an an inch and a half of oil). Once you have your eggs soft boiled and peeled roll in flour. Then wrap each egg in 4 oz of (uncooked) sausage. Lightly roll the sausage around the egg into a ball. Make sure you do this lightly as to not break the egg. Now coat in flour, then egg wash, and then bread crumbs. Fry egg in i oil for 3 minutes on each side. Finish in the oven for 5 minutes, preferably on a drip pan.

Macros (for each Scotch egg): 27g fat, 13g carbs, 37g protein

Chocolate Protein Waffle

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After tweaking a few recipes I found I finally found a protein waffle I’m happy with AND it’s super easy! This is crunchy on the outside and light on the inside. This particular one I made chocolate using Fair Life’s chocolate milk and chocolate protein powder but you could easily make different variations. Oh and I added Christmas sprinkles because there’s only 4 days until Christmas!

chocolate protein waffle

Recipe:

  • 45g Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes
  • 25g chocolate protein powder
  • Fair Life 2% Chocolate milk, enough to mix

Weigh your Kodiak Cakes mix and protein powder into a bowl. Stir in the milk until it’s a thick consistency. You still want it to be thin enough to pour but don’t over stir it. Cook in a waffle iron that’s been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Enjoy!

Macros (for waffle pictured above): 4g fat, 31g carbs, 36g protein

 

Meal Prep for a Weekend Away

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This weekend we went out of town for my cousin’s wedding. I just love weddings! So much joy and FOOD. I wanted to be able to enjoy myself at the wedding and be a bit more flexible, meaning I wasn’t going to bring my scale and I definitely was going to have a drink or two. Doing so meant I needed to stay 100% on track the rest of the trip. So I decided to prep some meals for Thomas and I. Here’s what we brought:

road trip meal prep for iifym

We left Friday morning, before heading out I made some protein oatmeal.

We stopped for lunch at Sonny’s BBQ. I had the pulled chicken, a side of baked beans, and a piece of garlic bread. It all fit my macros. 🙂

For a snack on the road I had chocolate cherry Greek yogurt.

For dinner I had the sausage and pasta dish. It was two pieces of chicken sausage, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 oz penne pasta, and a serving of parmesan cheese. Came out to be something like 11f/40c/35p. I needed more protein to fill so I ordered a chicken breast from room service.

For dessert I had a Clif Builder protein bar. Macros hit! I even went to the hotel gym and got my workout in!

The next day was wedding day. For breakfast I had my prepped meal of chicken sausage, diced potatoes, and eggs.

For a snack I had a banana.

For lunch I had a grilled chicken sandwich plain from Zaxby’s and ate two of Thom’s fries. 🙂

At the wedding I skipped the appetizers as to not graze and accidentally go over. I did enjoy two very strong jack and diet cokes. I logged the jack as 4 oz to be safe. Remember, alcohol does have carbs! To figure this out you need to divide the calories by 4 and that’s your carb amount.

The dinner was buffet style. I filled my plate with chicken and a little pulled pork, then I had a small side of penne alfredo and guestimated the macros.

I skipped the cake and had another protein bar when I got home. Boom! Feeling good.

Sunday we drove back home. I had breakfast at the hotel and order the “healthy start” sandwich which was egg whites, spinach, and turkey breast on an English muffin.

For lunch I had my Boar’s Head buffalo chicken (best deli meat eva!) sandwich with low fat mayo and low fat provolone cheese.

For a snack I grabbed a grilled chicken go wrap from Wendy’s.

Another protein bar because they’re too dang good.

We enjoyed dinner at home. I ordered a pizza and ate the rest of the grilled chicken I had prepped.

I kicked butt! It feels great to have a fun weekend away and still stay on track. Win win! The prep only took me an hour max. Sausage is great because it’s simple to cook. I threw the diced potatoes in the oven and cooked the pasta all at the same time. Easy peasy!

 

 

Pizza Grilled Cheese

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A delicious, unique lunch that will leave you satisfied and in disbelief you’re dieting.

pizza grilled cheese iifym meal ideas

Recipe:

  • 4 oz chicken breast, cooked
  • 7 slices turkey pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 slice 2% provolone cheese
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Cooking spray

Heat up a pan on medium heat. While the pan is getting hot assemble your grilled cheese. First spoon the serving of marinara on each slice of bread, then add the chicken, pepperoni, and cheese. I sprinkled a little Italian seasoning on as well. Spray your pan and cook your grilled cheese sandwich until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Macros: 11g fat, 27g carbs, 47g protein

Baked Chicken Parmesan

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One of my FAVORITE dishes made lighter. I’m a happy girl and the whole family loved it! That’s always a plus. 🙂

baked chicken parm iifym mealideas

Recipe:

  • 1lb chicken breast, I took 2 breasts and sliced in half to make 4 cutlets
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup low fat shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • Cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put both the breadcrumbs and egg whites in two separate bowls. First dip the chicken into the egg white, then into the breadcrumb mixture, and lay on a lightly sprayed oven tray. Repeat until all chicken is breaded. Give the chicken a light spray on top and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon marinara sauce over chicken as well as 1/8 cup cheese. Put back in the oven another 5 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown. Enjoy with whole grain pasta or if you’re low on carbs use spaghetti squash. Yum!

Macros (for each chicken cutlet, including marinara and cheese): 7g fat, 12g carb, 31g protein

The Secret to Perfect Protein Oatmeal

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There is an art to protein oatmeal. So many people ask me how to make it and truth is, it’s super easy! You toss in a scoop of protein powder into your cooked oats and bam! It’s protein oatmeal. But there are some guidelines to follow to get it to mix well…

protein oatmeal iifym

Recipe:

  • 1 servings old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water (or milk)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream whey)
  • 100g apple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Cook your oats either on the stove or in the microwave following the label instructions. I always use the microwave as to not dirty a pan. Now here’s the first trick, LET IT COOL! Adding protein powder in while it’s still pipping hot will cause the protein powder to start cooking and turn it into a cake. I let the oatmeal rest for about 3 minutes and then I add in my protein powder. The next trick is to use the right protein powder so it doesn’t get chalky, Optimum Nutrition works pretty well especially the double chocolate. Mix mix mix! Now for the final tip. At first it may look like you’re going to need more liquid but mix the protein powder fully into the oatmeal before deciding to add more. Usually it doesn’t need it! Once it’s all mixed in add your apples, ground cinnamon, and peanut butter. Yum!

Macros (including all toppings): 10g fat, 38g carbs, 33g protein

Cheeseburger Nacho Fries

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I’m obsessed with cheeseburgers, mkay? Cheeseburger soup, wontons, nachos.. bring it on! This was actually a random creation I threw together because I had a limited amount of fat and carbs left and an equally limited fridge, but it ended up being delicious!

cheeseburger nachos iifym

Recipe:

  • 4 oz lean ground beef, browned & seasoned to liking
  • 50g white onion, diced
  • 2 servings Alexia 98 fat free crinkle fries
  • 1 serving reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Ketchup
  • Greek yogurt, 0% fat plain

Cook fries according to packaging and brown beef in a pan. Once fries are done top with cheese and throw back in the oven for 2-3 mins (keep an eye on it!). Take out, top with your serving of beef, and all other topping. Enjoy!!

Macros (does not include Greek yogurt, does include 1 serving of ketchup): 498 calories14g fat, 48g carbs, 45g protein

 

Ham & Cheddar Breakfast Quesadillas

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Almost always I start the day with protein oatmeal. It’s easy to make, loaded with protein, and keeps me full for a long time (fiber, baby!). But that gets boring. So I shook things up today and ended up with this delicious quesadilla packed with even more fiber than oats!

breakfast quesadilla iifym

Recipe:

  • 1 serving deli ham, diced
  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites scrambled (I do this in my microwave egg dish for more convenience)
  • 1/2 serving reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 La Tortilla Factory low carb/high fiber wrap (any brand will work)

Cook eggs and add in ham once the eggs are done to warm it up. Add the eggs and ham into half of the high fiber wrap and sprinkle over the cheese. Fold and either cook on a pan with a bit of cooking spray or throw it in a toaster oven. Remember, cooking spray still has fat in it! Nobody uses a .3 sec spray!

Macros (not including cooking spray): 12g fat, 12g carbs, 37g protein, 9g fiber

Macro-Friendly Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

macro-friendly cheeseburger soupI cooked this in the slow cooker and it was friggin delicious. Not going to lie, I was kinda procrastinating making this but it was really simple.

Recipe:

  • 1lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 8 oz can Rotel tomatoes drained
  • 16 oz 2% Velveeta cheese
  • 12 oz Russet potatoes, cubed
  • Bacon crumbles (optional, not accounted for in macros)

Toss all prepped ingredients except Velveeta and bacon in slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. When there’s about 2 hours left cube the Velveeta and stir in. Before serving crumble bacon on top. I also topped with Greek yogurt and shredded cheddar cheese (not accounted in macros). Viola!

Macros (per serving of about 1 and 1/2 cups, recipe makes 9 servings): 203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein

Meal Prep Part 2

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iifym food prep

Each week I prepare some foods to hold me over for the week. It takes 2-3 hours of my Sunday or Monday afternoon but saves me tons of time during the week! The beauty of IIFYM is the flexibility so I do not prep full meals, instead I prep a few proteins to keep on hand and sometimes I’ll prep a few other options. Here’s what I did today:

  1. Tuna salad for lunch (4 cans tuna, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp light mayo, salt & pepper, chopped carrots, celery, & onion): Throw it in a low carb/high fiber wrap or pita pocket with some veggies or if I’m low on carbs I’ll just toss it on a bed of lettuce
  2. Turkey & swiss roll-up (I used this recipe but made it more macro friendly by doing turkey breast and low fat swiss and the sauce on top was just mustard with a little brown sugar): I made these for my husband for lunch but was able to fit a few in. Week baked half early in the week and then the other half later.
  3. Shredded buffalo chicken for dinner (2lbs chicken breast & half a bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce thrown in the slow cooker for 8 hours then shredded): This is a staple in our house because it’s so easy! To switch it up sometimes I’ll do bbq sauce, zesty Italian dressing, or salsa instead of buffalo sauce. Throw it in a bun with Alexa’s 98% Fat Free crinkle fries or on a bed or lettuce.
  4. Salsa chicken for dinner (2lbs chicken breast & jar of salsa slow cooked for 8 hours): I made this the day after I made the buffalo chicken. I was craving pasta so right before it was done I threw in some fat free cream cheese, cooked up some whole grain pasta, mixed it all together and OH MY GOD! So delicious.
  5. Protein chocolate chip banana bread (My muffin recipe made in a bread pan): I had some brown bananas and my mom is staying with us, so I whipped this up! She was pleasantly surprised.
  6. No bake pumpkin pie cheesecake with added protein: I also made this for mama and the whole fam gobbled it down in one night!

The slow cooker saves me a ton of time in prep so over the span of two days I spent maybe two hours putting all this together. If I’m being real lazy I’ll even use slow cooker liners to avoid cleaning that big ole pot. What’d you prep this week?

Meal Plan #7

meal ideas iifym plan

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! This week I spent close to $100 with all the meat but we have plenty of leftovers! The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Breakfast:

Option 1: 4 oz steak, 2 eggs, 6 cups spinach simmered in water, and diced potatoes

Option 2: Ham, egg, and cheese breakfast quesadilla with low carb/high fiber wrap

Mid-morning snack: 

2 cups spinach blended with 3 oz water, add in 2 cups frozen peaches and berries with handful almonds and a cheese stick

Lunch:

Option 1: Tuna salad (carrots & onions) and lettuce & tomato pita pockets with rice crisps

Option 2: 4 oz steak, low fat mac n cheese (Trader Joe’s or Lean Cuisine) with 4 cups spinach simmered in water

Dinner:

Option 1: Chicken noodle soup

Option 2: Slow cooker chicken burrito bowls

Option 3: BBQ pulled chicken (2lbs chicken, half a bottle Sweet Baby Rae’s BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup Zesty Itailan dressing slow cooked on low for 8 hours) baked potato with scallions, plain Greek yogurt, low fat cheddar cheese, & bacon bits, and baked beans

Dessert:

No bake pumpkin protein cheesecake

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • 2% American cheese
  • 2% Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 2% cheese sticks
  • 8 oz block 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • Low carb wrap
  • Pita pockets
  • Rice crisps
  • Egg noodles
  • 8 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz can corn
  • Baked beans
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • Keebler graham cracker crust
  • Fat free cool whip container
  • 2- 32 oz chicken broth
  • 6lbs chicken breast
  • Deli ham
  • Canned tuna
  • 2lb Sirloin steak
  • Frozen low fat mac and cheese (or homemade)
  • Fresh spinach
  • Bag of russet potatoes
  • Baby carrots
  • White onion, large
  • Sweet onion, small
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Frozen fruit
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce
  • Zesty Italian dressing
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Bacon bits

No Bake Pumpkin Protein Cheesecake

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The recipe is taken from Skinnytaste’s pumpkin protein cheesecake and I simply added a scoop protein powder. It turned out great!!! I didn’t tell anyone there was protein in it and no one even knew, the whole pie was gone in one night. 🙂 Next time I’m going to go for 2 scoops and see if it blends well.

no bake pumpkin protein cheesecake

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz fat free whipped cream
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 chocolate graham crust
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Mix softened cream cheese, brown sugar, spices, vanillas, and pumpkin using an electric blender or by hand. Once it’s smooth add in the scoop of protein powder, then fold in your whipped cream. Chill in graham crust for a few hours and enjoy!

Macros (per serving of 8): 198 calories, 11g fat, 20g carbohydrates, 6g protein

Macro Friendly Chicken Noodle Soup

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I couldn’t resist sharing this chicken noodle soup because it’s PACKED with protein at only 3g fat, 10g carbs, and 31g protein per serving! It’s just like any other chicken noodle soup but I doubled the meat & liquid. So filling and delicious!

chicken noodle soup iifym recipe

First chop veggies and add into the slow cooker. Then add your chicken, broth, and seasoning. Cook on low for 8 hours.

chickennoodle2

After 7.5 hours pull chicken out, shred, and throw back in. Add the dry noodles and allow to cook another 30 minutes.

chickennoodlesoup

Recipe:

  • 1 and 1/2 32 oz contained chicken broth (I used Pacific’s organic brand)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cup egg noodles
  • 2lbs chicken breast (could easily use a cheaper part of chicken)
  • Seasoning (I used salt, pepper, and a little ginger)

First chop veggies and add into the slow cooker. Then add your chicken, broth, and seasoning. Cook on low for 8 hours. After 7.5 hours pull chicken out, shred, and throw back in. Add the dry noodles and allow to cook another 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Macros (per serving of 8, about 2 cups): 187 calories, 3g fat, 10g carbs, 31g protein

macro friendly chicken noodle soup iifym recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

slower cooker chicken bowls iifym

These burrito bowls are packed with protein at 34g but only 19g carbs and 8g fat for a total of 294 calories! Plus, all you have to do is dump the ingredients in the slow cooker before work and it’s ready to go after! Especially if you use the Ready Rice. 🙂

Recipe:

  • 2lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 8 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice of choice (I used Uncle Ben’s ready rice, 1 cup if dry)
  • 1 cup reduced fat Mexican shredded cheese
  • Seasoning of choice (I used salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper, and garlic powder)
  • Garnish of choice (I used avocado and cilantro, not included in macros)

Throw all ingredients in the slow cooker accept for the rice and cheese. Add in a cup of water or broth, stir ingredients, and set on low for 8 hours. If you’re using dry rice cook rice about 30 mins before the slow cooker is ready. Top with cheese when garnishing. Would be great garnished with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, or crushed up tortilla chips.

Macros (yields about 6, 2 cup servings, includes rice & cheese): 270 calories, 6g fat, 20g carbs, 34g protein, 3g fiber 

How to Overcome Emotional Overeating

overcome emotional eating and overeating

Recently on my Instagram I discussed the difference between binge eating and overeating. Binge eating is a disorder that should not be taken lightly but most people jump to the conclusion that they are a binge eater when really they aren’t. Almost always, extreme overeating or bingeing can trace back to emotional problems or over restriction in diet. The diet mentality and the ease of food being a comfort creates a breeding ground for an unhealthy relationship with food. Many people, especially women, deal with the inability to control their eating during certain time periods. Now there’s nothing wrong with overeating from time to time but if you think these episodes feel too frequent there may be an underlying problem. Let’s talk about how we can solve this!

*Please note: If you think you do have a binge eating disorder, please seek professional health. This is a serious problem that can be solved!

  1. Find the root of the problem There are a few common triggers for what I call “IDGAF eating mode” and the most popular culprit is emotional eating. Whether is be stress, sadness, anxiety, even boredom…we tend to eat our feelings. It’s easy to find comfort in food but when you overindulge and feel like crap, then what’s going to comfort you? More food? The first thing that must be done is figuring out exactly what sends you overboard. For me, it’s boredom and anxiety.
  2. Realize you can change This step is entirely necessary and possibly the most important part. You HAVE to believe you can change! Once you’ve found the problem start thinking of solutions. Make a plan of attack. For me it was banning eating in front of the TV, computer, or phone so when I was bored I couldn’t simply sit on Netflix and mindlessly eat. I’ll get into dealing with anxiety on step four.
  3. Don’t over restrict If you’re trying to diet you likely have set restrictions for yourself. No sugary drinks, no carbs after dark (which is totally unnecessary, btw), etc. but the problem with this is that it makes these “hands off” foods more desirable. Instead of banning certain foods from your diet, ban the extra calories. Focus on eating smaller portions of the food you enjoy. Really pay attention when you’re eating so you can have a pleasant experience and feel satisfied without overdoing it. This is why I love IIFYM.
  4. Deal with emotions through different outlets This was the hardest part to commit to but once you do you’ve made it to the home stretch. For me I had to find different ways to deal with my anxiety. My favorites are writing (start a blog or journal!), going to the park, sitting by the river, stretching or yoga, lifting weights, and dancing! Anyway you can keep busy while being productive.
  5. Seek professional help If you feel like your problem may be more deeply rooted please seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with needing help! Bingeing is a vicious cycle that you CAN break free from.

Philly Cheesesteaks

macro friendly philly iifym recipe

 

This was too delicious not to share and not to mention loaded with protein. I feel like it’s assumed that philly cheesesteaks can’t be eaten on a diet but on IIFYM it sure can! Just make sure you use sirloin steak or another lean cut and low fat cheese. I upped my carbs and have a lot more to play with so if you’re looking for a low carb option simply use a low carb wrap!

Recipe:

  • 1lb thin sliced sirloin steak
  • 4 hoagie rolls (or low carb wraps for less carbs)
  • 8 slices 2% provolone (or swiss) cheese
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Two green peppers, sliced
  • One red pepper, sliced

We cooked our steak on our griddle. Sautee peppers and onion. Top hoagie or wrap with 1/4 serving peppers & onions, 4 oz sirloin, and 2 slice low fat provolone. Throw in the oven for 10 mins on 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Macros (per serving of 4): 530 calories, 15g fat, 50g carbs, 42g protein

My Home Gym

home gymWorking out at home can be totally kick ass! Throw on some headphones, just wear your sports bra, and take as much time you as you need on the squat rack. This list includes literally everything you NEED to lift heavy and get strong. This set-up ran us around $600-$700 meaning that in 1 year we’ll have saved enough in gym memberships to break even. Here’s what I got:

*Note: the photo is missing some plates and our new bench. That bench sucked.

1. Power Rack I purchased this one from Amazon for around $300 including shipping. There are cheaper ones out there but not as good. You can try to shop around or find one used but if you plan on using it a lot and increasing weight it’s worth it to get a good one.

2. Bench The bench in this picture sucks. It only holds 300lbs which at the time was all we needed. I am glad i have it because it inclines and declines but we have a flat bench we got for $100 total off Amazon. Holds 1000lbs. Super sturdy. Absolutely love it.

3. Olympic Barbell We got lucky and find ours on Craigslist for $50. Check your local Play it Again sports, too, otherwise you can purchase a new one for $125 here.

4. Plates Obviously, you’re going to want some plates. We found most of ours used at Play it Again Sports and Craigslist for around .50 cents per lb. The few we had left to buy we got from Academy for around $1 per lb. Don’t go with Amazon, with shipping it’s around $2 per lb. Sports Authority or Dick’s should also have them.

5. Plate Rack Another one we lucked out on. Guy that sold us the barbell sold us his plate rack for $25 which typically goes for $50 on Amazon.

6. Mats I found the mats used by searching for local buy and sell fitness warehouses. I live in a big city so I found a few in my area and one was selling half off the usual price. Apparently you can also find them super cheap at farm and feed stores. Make sure they’re thick. Mine are 2 mats 4 x 6 Ft & 3/4″ Thick.

7. Free Weights & Rack You don’t need free weights, but they’re nice to have as I like to end my heavy compound lifts with a couple of accessory moves. We’ve had the free weights forever so I did not include them in the cost. I would definitely look around on Craigslist.

Extras:

  • Clips
  • Liquid chalk
  • Foam roller
  • Belt

Follow me on Instagram to see the home gym in action!

 

 

How I Dress for My Body Shape

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My History of a Lack of Fashion Sense

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When I was overweight I had no fashion sense. I just didn’t care.. I would wear baggy shirts, jeans, and jackets to try and cover my fat. As most of you know, at age 20 I decided to get my life together and began my journey to lose 100lbs. During my journey I seriously lived in workout clothes. They were comfortable and it always motivated me to hit the gym. Once I got closer to my goal weight I began to shop for a new wardrobe. Little did I know that a whole new struggle was about to ensue…

Losing Weight & Still Not Liking Shopping

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I remember this day so well. I had lost about 75-80lbs at this point and I hadn’t been shopping in over a year because I knew I was still losing weight and wanted to wait until I could buy clothes that would last. So, today was that day. I went to the mall and tried on sooo much clothes and I was happy that I was fitting into smalls and mediums BUT I still wasn’t impressed. I picked up whatever looked cute and when I would try them on more than half of the items wouldn’t look good on me. I ended up buying a bunch of simple summer dresses which I was happy about, but I was feeling a bit defeated.

Learning About my Body Shape

I had always known there were different body shapes but never paid attention to what mine was and how I should dress for it. Once I reached the point of being comfortable in my skin but still not in clothes I knew I had to figure something out. So I started researching fashion and how to dress for my body shape. I found this body shape calculator to figure out that I was a pear shape. Then I learned how to style my particular body shape and I began pinning wardrobes that fit my style and shape.

Pear Body Shape

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Women with pear shapes have narrow shoulders, a small waist, and big hips/thighs. I’m also 5’3 so I have to ensure I follow the tips for not only my shape but my size. I learned that fit to flare skirts and dresses look fabulous on my wide hips and narrow waist. Crop tops look great too, but because of my petite frame they need to be extra small. Also, I used to wear my flare skirts too low and now I wear them on the narrowest point of my waist, higher than my belly button. As you can see the skirt looks much better higher than it did sitting low in the picture above.

pear body shape

 

Shorts are a huge struggle for pear shaped petites. For shorts to fit over my hips I have to buy the size up then have them tailored at the waist. The struggle is real! But it is so soo worth it to know what does and doesn’t work on my body type. I feel so much more confident rocking clothes I like, feel comfortable, and they accentuate my curves.

I hope this article was helpful to anyone struggle with their own style. Remember, even if you’re at a bigger size than you want to be or whatever you CAN still feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. I wish I had learned about this stuff when I was overweight so I could have worked what I had instead of hiding it. Much love fam!

How to Choose an Online Trainer

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Online coaches and trainers have become increasingly popular thanks to social media. An online coach CAN help you reach your goals but it’s important to pick the right one. Not all coaches are created equal and some aren’t even qualified to be giving out diet or exercise plans. Here’s what you should do when finding a coach, in person or not.

1. Know their credentials. Are they certified in training? Do they have a degree in exercise science? What experience do they have with your specific goals? These are all questions you should ask about the trainer you’re looking to hire.  Just because you see a fitness model with a six pack on Instagram does NOT mean that person is qualified to be coaching you. Personal experience helps but don’t go by that only, find out what legitimizes their so called expertise.

Using a personal example, I am a Certified Fitness Trainer with ISSA. I have a lot of experience with adaptive fitness so I would be a good option if you had a previous injury, medical condition, or disability. On the other hand, I have never trained anyone to compete. If you were looking to compete you’d want a coach who is experienced in this.

2. Know the program. Will the coach be setting you up with custom macros or a meal plan? Are they allowed to be providing a meal plan considering only those with a degree in nutrition are qualified to do so (at least in many states)? Is it a generic plan or something customized to your needs? Is it information that’s available for free already? Again, all questions I would ask. There are so many ways to lose weight or reach your goals. You’ll find what’s right for you.

From personal experience, not everyone excels with tracking macros. Some people get obsessive with their numbers and it ends up causing them too much anxiety. For these people I set them up differently, however not all coaches are willing to modify their programs for your specific needs. I get clients that after the first two weeks of their workouts they’re not satisfied and want something different. That’s fine! Not everyone likes heavy lifting or sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t make it to the gym as often. So I change their plan to complent their needs. Make sure your hiring a coach that’s willing to do the same, if you’re looking for that extra support!

Another example, I noticed an online coach recently start charging her clients for Skype or Face Time sessions. That’s fine and dandy considering she takes on a bulk of clients at once but just something to think about if you’re looking for a coach who is more available to you.

3. Know them. Do you like this person’s personality? If you’re going be in constant contact with this person it is important that you do like your coach otherwise you won’t be as committed to their program. Do you like their style or method of motivating/coaching? Often you can tell this by their social media pages. Study how they talk about their own journey. Do they have a positive or negative mindset? Are they hard on themselves? Are they too involved in fitness?  This isn’t necessary for people who are just buying a general program, but for those who are going to receive coaching.

All my clients seem to share very similar outlooks pertaining to their journey: they aren’t here for a quick fix, they’re here to create habits they can sustain for the rest of their lives. I believe this is because these are the type of people I attract to my page. I treat my clients the same way I treat myself, unless otherwise requested. When they slip up I don’t make them feel bad, I try to get to the root of the problem. I try to lift them up and get their head back in the game. After that I start giving them some tough love and an extra push. Other coaches take different approaches in motivating their clients and some coaches don’t even care to work out any mental struggles you have, but the mental journey is the most important part.

The best advice I could give you before you hire an online coach is to get feedback. Try getting in contact with their former clients, check out their client’s testimonials, etc. Know that they have the expertise and the skills to get you where you want to be and don’t be afraid to “shop around”. You’ll be a lot more successful with the right coach.

 

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Postpartum Pressure: My Experience

postpartum

Happy Self Love Sunday! Today I want to talk about postpartum pressure. Us women put so much pressure on our bodies to be perfect. As moms, after giving birth we expect our bodies to “bounce back” and for many of us who gained extra weight, we’re anxious to get rid of the fat.

But why are we so hurried? We just grew a human and that is freaking tough. Your body is literally maintaining one self while creating another. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Then, we get to pop the little bugger out of us! Don’t think you’ll have a chance to rest after that fiasco, it’s right into breastfeeding around the clock and wiping his cute little butt.

Plus, we’re obviously already getting laid. According to Thomas, “I’ve never been more attracted to you”. Um, dang, I thought he’d never want to touch me again. Ha! But even if I was a single parent, who the heck cares? I just had a baby! People almost expect us new moms to look like crap, which doesn’t mean we should or need to, but my point is we put this pressure on ourselves.

Growing and giving birth to Marshall has given me a new appreciation for how incredible my body is. I had come so far in the previous years working on my mental health and body image but having him made me feel kick freaking ass…

However that didn’t mean I was immune to the pressure. The pressure that was crushing me early on in the pregnancy, “when will I have my body back?” Going from losing 100lbs over 2 years to watching the scale climb back up was a huge mental challenge.

postpartum experience

Day before vs day after giving birth

I started tracking macros when Marshall was 6 weeks old. I had made the decision then (for completely unrelated reasons) to stop breastfeeding so I was safe to be at a deficit. I began training 5-6x/week with 3-4 days cardio. I was motivated. But one day I had just got to the gym after biking there, I had an hour workout to go before another 30 minute bike ride home. Marshall’s cute little smile flashed before me and I was overcome with missing him. I realized something. “Why am I burning myself out? What rush am I in?”

My body doesn’t need to “come back”. It’s here. It never left. This is my body almost 15 weeks after having a baby. It looks much different than the body I had a year ago and that’s okay.12weekspostpartum

I had felt extra pressure to get back into shape because of my fitness blog. I compared myself to other postpartum fit mom’s that only gained 25lbs during pregnancy vs my 55lb weight gain. I was hard on myself for my weight gain and that was dumb. It happened. It happens to a lot of women. Our bodies are going through so much.

So I began to see things a lot differently..

I have slip ups, I have bad weeks and even months, and I take steps back. But I always propel forward. That’s just life and I’m only human. We truly are our biggest critics and worst enemies. But has that got us very far? Instead, I’m being my biggest cheerleader and appreciating how incredible and strong my body is for going through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period…

I’m not worrying about losing weight, I’m worried about living healthy. My goals aren’t focused around the numbers dropping. I’m enjoying life with my son, I’m setting an example that food is your friend, exercise is fun, and self love is vital for happiness. I don’t want to concern myself over my weight. The weight will come off at the pace it comes off. I just want to worry about when I get to cuddle Marshall next.

vid3I’m currently lifting 3 times a week, sometimes cardio once per week, and tracking macros at slight deficit.

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My Hair Transformation (The Curly Hair Method)

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Two years ago I gave up shampoo. After months of my head breaking out in hives I found out I was allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient in shampoo that creates the lather. When I began to research this ingredient I learned it was known to strip hair of its natural oils. Not only are many people allergic to it but for people with curly or naturally dry hair sulfates can cause a lot of problems. When I used shampoo my hair was brittle and no product would manage my frizz or fly-aways. It took a lot of experimenting to find a hair routine that worked for me, but last year I did and I’ve never looked back!

See, it’s hard having curly hair. Growing up I washed and styled my hair just like anyone else not knowing that curls require special care. I even straightened my hair every day in high-school because I hated my curls. I just didn’t know how to style them!

In 2013, after being tired of my unmanageable hair, I decided to transition to the “no poo” method, meaning I did not use shampoo. Instead of shampoo I’d use baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Over that year my hair became much healthier but using baking soda and vinegar was unappealing and a pain in the butt so I set out to find a simpler way to take care of my curls.

That’s when I found the “Curly Girl Method”. I began this method in early 2014 and am absolutely in LOVE with not only the way my hair looks but how easy it is to take care of. This method works for dry hair, curly or not.

 

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1. Clean your hair one last time with shampoo to get out any silicone in your hair. From this point on, you will not be using silicone therefore you will no longer need shampoo.

2. Purchase a silicone free conditioner and silicone free styling products. www.ulta.com allows you to filter your search to choose silicone free. To condition I simply use Suave Coconut conditioner. It’s like $2 at the grocery store and silicone free. Works great since you need a lot of conditioner to wash your hair.  To style I use the Shea Moisture line. Exact products will be linked below.

3. Trim your hair to get rid of any split ends. Curly hair girls, make sure you go to a stylist who knows how to cut curls!

4. Wash your scalp with conditioner. Yep, that’s right. Do exactly what you would with shampoo with conditioner. Rub a good amount in (for my big head of hair I have to use a lot) into your scalp using your finger tips. Be sure to get all over your scalp not just the top, this should take you a solid 5 minutes to work all the way through. Rinse conditioner out still working your scalp with your finger tips, this will loosen the dirt and allow it to rinse out.

5. Condition your hair. For curly hair girls, it’s best to use your fingers or a wide tooth comb and detangle your hair while it has conditioner in it. Rinse with cool water. Use a t-shirt or micro fiber towel to dry your hair.

6. Style. Most days I’m too lazy to do anything more than add some Shea Moisture  Coconut & Hibiscus Gel. It’s the best product I’ve ever found to hold my curls in place while not making them hard and undesirable. Some times I’ll use a few drops of Argan oil right when I get out of the shower and a little Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk. You can use any product you like so long as it does NOT contain silicone.

Yep, that’s it! After a year of doing this I’m in love. My hair is stronger, healthier, shinier, bouncier, just all around better! Now that I’m a mom most days I don’t do much to my hair. Actually, before I had a baby I didn’t do much- I’m pretty lazy with this kind of stuff. That’s why I love this routine!

dry damaged curly hair turned shiny smooth transformation

The only thing I have yet to get down is being able to not have to condition my hair every day. I wash my scalp 2-3 times a week but I have to condition it every day or my hair loses its bounce and creates a lot of frizz. I even use a satin pillow but I have yet to find a product that rejuvenates my hair on day 2. Suggestions welcome!

How to Calculate Exact Macros of a Serving of a Recipe in MyFitnessPal

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A very common question I get in the world of IIFYM is “how do I figure out the serving of a recipe?” This tutorial takes you step by step to figure out exactly how many macros you’re eating in a serving of a recipe!

myfitnesspal recipe iifym

First, go to the recipe tab in MyFitnessPal.

recipe2

Choose to manually enter ingredients.

recipe3

Add all the ingredients that will be included in making the recipe and be sure to set it to one serving.

Now, cook your recipe. Once the recipe is finished weigh the entire recipe. You can do this by pouring into another dish on the scale or for things like casserole you can weigh the dish you’re using to cook it in, note the weight, then weigh the entire dish after cooking and subtract the weight of the dish (see this video).

recipe4

Once you have weighed your dish go back into the recipe and edit the serving to how much the food weighs. For example, say this recipe weighed out to 1853. Now your recipe is showing you the macros for a single gram of your recipe.

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To measure out your serving simply place it on the scale. Say you weigh out 80g of the dish. When you add the recipe to your food diary put the serving in as 80g. Boom! Yes, some portions of the dish may have say more meat or more carbs but this is the most accurate way to get the macros without picking out each ingredient and weighing.

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Almond Crusted Coconut Chicken

almnd crusted coconut chicken

I was in search of something unique to do with my chicken and found almonds and shredded coconut in my pantry so this simple dish was created!

Recipe:

  • 1.5lb chicken breast, split
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
  • Seasoning of choice (or buy seasoned bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the almond, coconut, bread crumbs, and seasoning in a bowl. In another bowl put the flour in and another put in the egg whites. Coat chicken in flour, then dip in egg whites, then dip in bread crumb mix. Pan fry using 1 tbsp olive oil for 3 mins on each side then finish in the oven for 20 mins on 375 degrees. I made a honey mustard sauce to go with it which was 1:1 honey & mustard and served it with brown basmati rice and mixed veggies.

Macros (per serving of 6): 230 calories, 9g fat, 8g carbs, 31g protein, 1g fiber

Women Worth Recognizing: Devorah Kuper aka @MyWeightLossGoals

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Welcome to Women Worth Recognizing!

 

Each month one female will be featured that promotes a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. These women are of all shapes and sizes and exemplify healthy relationships with food, fitness, and themselves.

 

I started Women Worth Recognizing because I was tired of feeling like I didn’t relate to most fitness accounts on social media. I knew I wasn’t in the minority of women who wanted to care for their health but didn’t want to become obsessive or overly restrictive about their goals.

 

These women make fitness a PART of their lives but not their whole lives. They promote balance and moderation and they are honest when they slip-up.

 

I chose women who aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be but they are fighters. They are all fighting for a better future and realize that starts from within. These women are worth recognizing because they’re real, raw, honest, and hard working. Let’s give them the credit they deserve!

 

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Our first feature is Devorah Kuper, the face behind Instagram’s @MyWeightLossGoals. I have followed Devorah’s journey for over two years and am constantly impressed by her dedication, perseverance, and positive attitude. She started her journey focused on getting the number on the scale to drop but along the way discovered that what mattered most was how she felt inside and out. Devorah has made leaps and bounds in her progress physically and mentally. You can follow her on Instagram or blog.

 

1. What do you define as a healthy lifestyle? To me, a healthy lifestyle can be described as balance between structure and fun. You should never feel like health and fitness is a mental prison. Healthy lifestyle should allow you to fully enjoy life while working towards future goals.

 

2. When did you begin to live a healthy lifestyle? Was there a turning point? I began living a healthier lifestyle on October 9, 2012. It was a 180 degree turn for me. It wasn’t only swapping unhealthy food for healthy food- it was about turning negatives into positives and swearing off harmful negative self talk. I think we have so many turning points in our lives, times when you really feel like you’ve had enough of whatever situation you were put through. There’s one point where the water boils over, and you just say, “I’ve had enough.”.

 

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3. Who inspires/inspired you? Inspiration comes in so many forms. My family, friends, mentors and especially my IG Fitfam serve as inspirations. Every single person you encounter knows something that you don’t and each person’s story can inspire you differently. I encourage each person to tell their story. You never know who you could inspire!

 

4. What keeps you motivated? I am my own motivation! When you truly love yourself down to the core, you will not settle for anything less than you deserve. After realizing that I deserve the best I can’t stop at good. I work hard to make sure I give myself my all. I want to be the best me possible. Not being where you want to be is motivation enough!

 

5. Tell us about your journey to self love. My journey to self love is currently in process. It’s one of the hardest parts of growing up, living healthier, and just coming to peace. I used to think that I was the worst person in the world. I hated the way I looked. I hated my laugh. I wrote down a list of all the surgeries I wanted to get so that I can totally change every part of me. It was sad. I was living in self pity and self hate. Self love came out through fitness. I just started caring more. I realized I deserved more, and that I was worthy of happiness and love. It’s not easy and some days it isn’t all butterflies. I still choose self love, every single day.
 The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on the topic of self love was to start complimenting people. Tell people that their hair is lovely, their smile brightens up the room, their soul is glowing, and other lovely truthful compliments. Soon you’ll start to see all the good in yourself.

 

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6. Is there something you wish you could go back in time and tell the old you? Oh boy, this is a fully loaded question. There’s so many things I wish I told myself almost 3 years ago. I know that if I didn’t go through trial and error I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’m thankful for my trials and tribulations that I faced earlier. I would tell myself to not compare my progress with others. I would tell myself to enjoy life because it’s so short. Mostly, I would tell myself to take chances even though i’m scared. The best things happen the second you leave your comfort zone.

 

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7. How do you balance your health with the rest of your life? I work in nightlife, social media and partake in other entrepreneurial adventures. I’m lucky that my job isn’t a 9-5 office desk job but when I did have that I would make a clear regimented schedule and followed through. Now, it’s all about staying in check. Limited drinks when working. Trying my hardest to keep my macros in check while out on the scene. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find excuses!

 

8. What advice do you have for people trying to take better care of themselves? Do what you can, with what you have. People often assume you need a new gym membership, an unlimited balance credit card spree at Whole Foods, nice Lululemon workout clothes to start making a difference. You don’t. You need yourself and 10 seconds of motivation. Right now. You can do 10 push ups. You can go for a jog. You can make a difference in your life. I believe in you. You have to believe in yourself and find the courage to pursue your dreams and goals.
Thank you Devorah, for sharing your story and your wisdom with us all. Keep up the excellent work!

 

10 Macro Friendly Lunch Ideas Packed with Protein

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10 macro friendly lunches

 

These lunch options are not only packed with protein, they’re super simple to make and are great for on the go.  All ten lunches can be easily prepped ahead of time. For a healthy yet satsifying meal under 400 calories, give one of these recipes a try!

1. Turkey Chili

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber

254 calories, 30g carbs, 6g fat, 25g protein, 9g fiber (toppings not included)

There are so many things you can do with this low fat turkey chili! Have it alone with toppings like light sour cream or Greek yogurt, tortilla chips or fritos, fat free cheese, or put it on top a potato, turkey dog, lean beef burger, or spaghetti squash.

2. Cheeseburger Wraps

Cheeseburger Wraps

277 calories, 10g fat, 13g carbs, 21g protein, 2g fiber

These cheeseburger wraps are a great low carb option for bringing to work! Simply prepare the wrap ahead of time and microwave for 1 minute when you’re ready to it! Serve with sweet potato fries or chips.

3. Light Mac n Cheese

Light Mac n Cheese

310 calories, 8g fat, 28g carbs, 16g protein, 3g fiber

Hands down the best tasting mac n cheese for the macros! It’s already packed with protein, but to up the content add in some diced ham or turkey dogs, peas (fiber, too!), or even tuna. This is even kid friendly!

4. Starbucks Recreate Tomato Mozzarella Panini

Tomato Mozzarella Panini

425 calories, 40g carbs, 22g fat, 14g protein, 7g fiber

Ok, so I threw in one not so friendly macro meal. But I couldn’t resist, this is SO tasty! I used to buy a Starbucks tomato mozzarella panini every week for lunch at work but that $6.50 a week adds up! Instead I began to make my own and I swear it increased my productivity by 52%!

5. Skinny Fried Rice

macros skinny fried rice

245 calories, 5g fat, 16g carbs, 32g protein, 2g fiber

At 2g fat this obviously isn’t fried, but you’d never tell the difference! Delicious soy sauce and brown rice with chopped eggs and peas and carrots. Add in shrimp and/or chicken and you’ve got yourself a low carb meal with tons of protein!

6. Light Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

bacon cheeseburger

203 calories, 6g fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein

Holy cow this soup is delightful! Have your coworkers jealous with this unique lunch option. At 16g carbs and 20g protein the macros are impressive considering the fact that you’ll feel like you’re cheating while you enjoy this.

7. Taco Cupcakes

These bad boys are surprisingly work lunch friendly. Prep them ahead of time and bring a few to work in a Tupperware container. Throw em in the microwave when you’re ready to eat! You can bring your toppings in a smaller container.

8. Lean Beef Cheeseburger with veggies

Lean Beef Cheeseburger

350 calories, 13g fat, 21g carbs, 35g protein, 3g fiber

Cheeseburgers can be macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat cheese, and a multi grain bun. Serve with fresh, low carb veggies. Yum!

9. Taco Salad using lean beef, reduced fat cheese, and 0% plain Greek yogurt

Taco Salad

365 calories, 11g fat, 29g carbs, 35g protein, 2g fiber

Usually restaurant taco salads are just as many calories if not more than more dishes on the menu. Make yours macro friendly using lean ground beef, reduced fat or fat free cheese, and light sour cream of 0% plain Greek yogurt. Crumble a few baked tortilla chips on top and you’re good to go!

10. Chicken Parmesan Sub

Chicken Parmesan Sub

399 calories, 9g fat, 45g carbs, 38g protein, 2g fiber

One of my favorite lunches is saved for last! A chicken parmesan sub made low fat with grilled chicken and 2% provolone cheese. You could make this low carb by using a wrap but I love me some sub rolls.  The cheese and 4 oz of chicken give it a high protein content.

Find me on Instagram or Pinterest for more meal ideas!

Meal Plan #6

IIFYM Weight Loss Meal Plan

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Meal Plan #5

Breakfast:

Option 1: Meat lovers omelette (1/2 cup Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage crumbles, two slices low sodium bacon, 1 oz deli turkey breast, and 100g mushrooms in a 2 egg & 3 egg white omelette)

Option 2: White chocolate protein oatmeal (1/2 cup oats cooked then add in one serving vanilla protein powder, 1/2 serving sugar free fat free Jello white chocolate pudding mix, 2 servings mini chocolate chips, and sprinkles)

Mid-morning snack: 

1 cup non fat vanilla Greek yogurt, Fiber One lemon bar, 1/2 cup raspberries

Lunch:

Option 1: Sirloin steak Caesar salad (2.5 oz Sirlion steak, 1 serving shaved Parmesan, 2 tbsp lite Caesar salad, and 1 serving croutons)

Option 2: Low carb fajitas (2 oz Sirloin steak with 1/2 cup sauteed onions and peppers and 2 tbsp light sour cream in a low carb wrap

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: Carrots with light ranch dressing

Option 2: Key Lime Protein Cheesecake

Dinner:

Option 1: Jambalaya Pasta

Option 2: Taco Cupcakes

Option 3: BBQ bacon grilled chicken sandwiches (reduced fat Cobly Jack cheese, 1 strip bacon, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce) with a side salad

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (Vanilla)
  • 6 oz Key Lime pie yogurt (2)
  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese (2)
  • Fiber One lemon bars
  • Caesar dressing, lite
  • Croutons
  • Reduced fat graham crust
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Shredded 2% Colby Jack cheese
  • SF FF Jello white chocolate pudding mix
  • 2lb chicken breast
  • 1lb Sirloin steak
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Cajun chicken sausage
  • Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage crumbles
  • 1/2lb deli turkey breast
  • Low sodium bacon
  • Multi grain buns
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Taco seasoning
  • Tomato (2)
  • Green pepper (3)
  • Red pepper (2)
  • Yellow pepper
  • Sweet onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Green beans

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Low carb wraps
  • Steal cut oats
  • Sprinkles
  • Sliced Colby Jack cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • Light ranch
  • Sweet Baby Rae’s bbq sauce
  • Whole wheat penne pasta
  • Italian dressing for side salad
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Protein powder
  • Almond milk
  • Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese



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Jambalaya Pasta

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Another delicious summer recipe! Jambalaya is a summer recipe, right? Anywho, not news to many but I love pasta. I could live off it. I had some extra whole grain penne hanging around the pantry and the last time I went to Costco’s I went a bit crazy on chicken sausages so I came up with the idea for jambalaya pasta!

Macro Friendly Jambalaya Pasta

Recipe:

  • 2 cups whole grain penne pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup 2% colby & monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 Andouille cajun chicken sausages
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked
  • 1/4 unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups diced peppers
  • 1 cup diceed onions
  • Tbsp olive oil
  • Green onions, optional

Cook the chicken sausages in a skillet. Once done, take out and add in the peppers and onions with a tbsp of olive oil and cook veggies. While cooking chop up the chicken sausage and chicken breast. When the veggies have softened add two cups of water and the pasta in and allow the pasta to cook. The water will have evaporated once the pasta is cooked. Add in milk and meat and mix well. Then add in 3/4 cup of cheese. I used a cast iron skillet so I topped the rest of the cheese and threw it in the oven for 15 minutes on 400 degrees. SO YUM!

Macros (per serving of 4, serving about 2 cups): 367 calories, 13g fat, 34g carbs, 31g protein, 4g fiber

Key Lime Protein Cheesecake

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Summer is here and I am miserable. Ha! Living in the center of Florida it is HOT. With the humidity today it feels like 99 degrees! But I’m cooling off with this refreshing, protein packed key lime pie cheesecake! I love this cheesecake recipe because well, it’s got a load of protein, but it’s also very versatile. You can use any different type of yogurt to create different flavors!

Key Lime Protein Cheesecake

Recipe:

  • 2 blocks fat free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 6 oz key lime pie yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition vanilla whey)
  • Reduced fat graham crust
  • Sweetener, optional

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Blend or process cream cheese, yogurt, eggs & egg whites, and protein powder.  Pour mixture in crust and bake for 30 minutes, then increase temperature to 350 degrees and cook another 20 minutes or until the center is firm.

Macros (per slice of 8 slices):  231 cals, 6g fat, 23g carbs, 19g protein, 1g fiber



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Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

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In the beginning of my journey to lose 100lbs I was only concerned with one thing: decreasing the number on the scale. For the first 50-60lbs I simply focused on being at a calorie deficit. I did this through cardiovascular exercise and counting calories. I was successful in dropping the weight but I wasn’t happy with my body. Even though I was smaller my body shape looked the same and now I had loose skin. I wanted that “toned” look so I began to research how I could achieve it.

What I learned was that toning simply means losing fat and gaining muscle, or at least maintaining muscle. The toned look occurs when you lower your body fat percent which will allow your muscles to become defined. I realized that in order to achieve that look I needed to focus less on losing weight and more on losing fat. To do this I began strength training and tracking macronutrients.

Without proper proportions of macronutrients during weight loss you will lose muscle and reduce your BMR. When tracking proper macronutrients you will be able to maintain as much muscle as possible while still being at a deficit, thus targeting fat loss and not muscle loss. To learn more about tracking macros, or IIFYM, check out this post. Strength training is also important to maintaining muscle at a deficit. You can even increase strength at a deficit. The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns at rest because it takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle mass.

 

weight loss vs fat loss

In the left photo I weighed 125lbs and in the right photo I weighed 128lbs. I actually gained weight! But what looks better? In the right I have more muscle and less fat than the left photo giving me a leaner look at a higher weight. Imagine if I let the scale increasing affect my progress. This is why you need to throw out your scale!

There are many reasons why focusing on losing fat as opposed to just weight is beneficial:

  • Improved body composition
  • Increased strength
  • Improved metabolism
  • Peak performance
  • Focuses on calorie quality as opposed to quantity
  • Delays aging and disease



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Honey Nut Cheerio Protein Cereal Bars

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Growing up I LOVED cereal bars. That sticky and sweet crunchy deliciousness! It’s hard to only have one. So I set out to make a homemade version that was packed with protein. That way I can have more than one and it’s of reasonable macros.

protein cereal bars

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
  • 3 servings Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used ON whey vanilla ice cream)

Heat the honey and peanut butter on the stove on medium to low heat. Once it’s thinned out remove from heat and stir in protein powder. Once the mixture is smooth add inthe cheerios. You may need to add a few drops of water if the consistency gets too hard while you’re mixing. Put on parchment paper in a glass dish and allow to harden for an hour. Enjoy!

Macros (1 per serving of 12): 149 calories, 4g fat, 20g carbs, 7g protein

5 Minute Dark Chocolate Protein Clusters

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I love adapting my easy no bake protein bars into different creations. It’s always nice to switch things up! I threw together a few things I had on hand like almonds and dried cranberries. This reminds me of a trail mix cluster. Plus it’s packed with protein! Can’t beat that…

Five Minute Dark Chocolate Protein Clusters

Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used Optimum Nutrition vanilla ice cream)
  • 12 almonds, chopped
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries

Heat peanut butter and honey on medium low heat on stove until it has melted and is easy to mix. Take off heat and add in protein powder. You may need to add a tbsp of water to get a good consistency. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 30 secs then mix until smooth. Add melted chocolate to peanut butter mix, then add in almonds and dried cranberries. Mix well. Place in baking cups that are oiled. Allow to harden in the fridge for at least an hour. Enjoy!

Macros (per cluster for a batch of 12): 88 calories, 4g fat, 7g carbs, 4g protein

2nd & 3rd Trimester

boy gender reveal

It’s a boy!! Wahooo!! Admittedly, I totally wanted a girl. I wanted a little mini me! But I am SO happy to hear it’s a boy. Thomas is going to have a little mini me!! Plus everyone keeps telling me boys are a bit easier and it’s nice to have a boy first. Either way I am so excited!!

DSC_0356

Second Trimester

The second trimester was so much better than the first. I had more energy, didn’t feel sick, and could workout no problem. We got everything we needed for the nursery and even stocked up on diapers while they were on sale. Good thing we did all that because by the third trimester I was back to no energy but this time I had a huge belly! Towards the end of the second trimester we went down south to Naples where Thom and I’s moms hosted a baby shower. It was a blast and we got SO much stuff!

Photo Dec 13, 2 21 05 AM

baby showerThird Trimester

Misery has set in. I fall asleep every time I sit down. Working out is the worst as I can barely squat down and I certainly can not tie my shoes. How the heck do those women squat 100+lbs during their entire pregnancy when I can’t do one body weight squat? What the F! Good thing I got all that stuff done in the second trimester. Anyways, back to that big belly. Wow. During the first and second trimester I was so anxious for my belly to get big and beautiful but now I am SO miserable!! It’s a fight to get out of bed, I have to pee every five minutes, my back is killing me, I’m always hungry. This kid better be worth it!! Just kidding I already know he is. I’m just moping.

7 months pregnant

I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard to watch the scale creep up. At full term (37 weeks pregnant) I’ve already gained 45lbs. More than what I should have but Marshall and I are healthy so I have to realize it’s going to be okay. I’ve been stressed and hormonal and anxious and I just need to focus on feeling better by eating better and ignoring the scale. I’m not typically hormonal or an emotional person all those feelings are rough.

How to Kick Ass at Restaraunts (IIFYM or Not)

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By far one of the most common questions I get from clients tracking their macros is, “what do I do when I eat out?” Tracking macros is quite simple eating out. The MyFitnessPal database has most chain restaurant’s meals already computed, however it’s always best to double check with the website since they are user added. If it’s not in the database check the restaurants site and if the restaurant doesn’t have nutritional values online you’re going to have to guestimate. To me, that is the easy part about eating out! The hard part is actually ordering something that will fit into your macros or lifestyle. Here are some pointers to stay on track…

How to Kick Ass at Restaurants on IIFYM or NotRecently Thomas and I visited a burger joint for lunch. I ordered this burger (oooh was it good- smoked Gouda cheese, bacon, fried onion straws, and a jalapeno aoili. I checked their website and compared to the already user added submission in MFP) and ate half of it as well as splitting a basket of fries with Thomas. By splitting I mean having a few because that kid can suck up food like a vacuum. I fit half the burgers and half the basket of fries into my macros and that meant having grilled chicken and peas for dinner. Balance, yo!

  1. If you know you’re going out to eat, plan accordingly. Keep it light the rest of the day but don’t starve yourself or you will want to order everything off the menu.
  2. Have a piece of fruit or light snack before heading to the restaurant so you aren’t overly hungry and tempted to order something you wouldn’t normally.
  3. Take a look at the menu online ahead of time to see what some options are that fit your needs. This is especially helpful because you can look at the nutritional values. You’ll be surprised at meals that sound like they’d be light and are not.
  4. Say no to a bread basket or chips and salsa, or at least practice moderation. It’s one thing to have a slice of bread with a tiny bit of butter, it’s a whole other story to eat half the loaf.
  5. Plan to only eat half your portion. You can even ask for half the portion put in a doggy bag ahead of time. I personally feel silly asking this so I just tell myself I’m only going to eat half and I do it! I’m always plenty satisfied and I can save the other portion for when I’m hungry later.
  6. If you order veggies ask for them to not be cooked in oil or butter. You can do the same for your meats.
  7. Once you’ve picked something that fits your macros or something that is light don’t keep lurking the menu. You will be tempted!
  8. If you practice IIFYM you have two options: bring your scale and weigh your food or estimate portions. It’s always best to overestimate carbs & fat and underestimate protein.
  9. Skip dessert. Tell yourself if you really want dessert later you can grab some non-fat frozen yogurt.

Of course these tips are designed for if you want to stay on track while at a restaurant. Some nights it’s nice to have an un-tracked meal! If that’s the case, just don’t stuff yourself silly. You won’t feel well after and likely be regretting it.

Meal Plan #5

healthy meal plan on a budget

These plans are made to feed two people so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. The meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros.:)

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #4

Breakfast:

Option 1: Kodiak protein waffles w/ sliced strawberries, bananas, and light chocolate syrup (same as last time because I can’t get enough. You can find the mix at Target and I made a bunch and froze them. Macros are 2g fat, 15g carbs, 8g protein!)

Option 2: 1 egg & an egg white on a bagel (could do bagel thin or low carb wrap) with laughing cow pepper-jack cheese 

Mid-morning snack: 

1 cup non fat vanilla Greek yogurt, strawberries, protein granola

Lunch:

Option 1: Macro friendly pizza: Flatout bread, 2 tbsp pizza sauce, 1 serving reduced fat mozzarella cheese, 1 serving turkey pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers

Option 2: 3.5 oz chicken breast, 1 serving brown rice, 1 serving steamed vegetables mixed together with 2 tbsp Greek yogurt

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: Faux cobbler: Handful blueberries & half a peach mixed together with a splash of vanilla and brown sugar topped with granola and baked for a few minutes

Option 2: No Bake Protein Samoas (I promise they are SO easy!)

Dinner:

Option 1: 2 oz whole grain spaghetti, 1 cup sauteed spinach, 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, 2 laughing cow sun dried mozzarella cheese wedge

Option 2: 3.5 oz lean beef burger on regular bread with sauteed onions and mushrooms and a serving of fries and steamed veggies

Option 3: Breaded chicken tenderloin (bought frozen), light mac and cheese, and peas

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt (Vanilla)
  • Low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Laughing cow cheese wedges: pepper-jack and mozzarella
  • Protein granola
  • Flatout bread
  • Bagels (or bagel thins, low carb wraps)
  • Pizza sauce
  • One minute brown rice bag (2)
  • Reduced fat vanilla wafers
  • One package Kraft caramels
  • Frozen peas
  • Bag steamed veggies
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Small onion
  • Green pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Peaches (4)
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas (4)
  • Strawberries

Stuff I Already Had:

  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Frozen chicken tenderloins
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Kodiak protein mix
  • Macaroni noodles
  • Whole grain spaghetti
  • Light chocolate syrup
  • Frozen french fries
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Protein powder
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut flakes
  • Light cream cheese
  • Almond milk
  • Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

How to Calculate Macros While Pregnant

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Not news to many, but I’m pregnant! I’m full term actually at 37 weeks. This is my first pregnancy and Thomas and I are beyond excited for our little guy to get here! As you can see I’ve been currently stocking up the freezer with meals for when Marshall arrives to make our lives easier and keep me from living off of fast food and junk…

IIFYM while pregnant

 

A common question I get is, “are you still practicing IIFYM?” Heck yes I am! I haven’t been strict about it but I’ve been tracking for two reasons: 1) I want to make sure I reach my micros and 2) I don’t want to go too crazy, because lord knows I could eat 1,000+ calories a day.

So the next question I get is, “how do you calculate macros while pregnant?”  It’s actually quite easy! *Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, contact yours first to see what they recommend for calorie consumption.

The first trimester you don’t really need extra calories so you just want to be at maintenance calories. Again, check with what your practitioner says as I’m not a doctor! In the second trimester you’re looking at anywhere from 150-300 calories above maintenance (ask your doctor) and in the third trimester about 300-500 calories. Listen to your body when adding calories.

When you calculate your macros at www.iifym.com calculate your maintenance macros using your starting pregnancy weight. Then add the surplus of calories to your TDEE where it says “custom macros”.

IIFYM Pregnancy

So for me my calories came out to be 2039 for the second trimester. Then I did .9g protein per pound of bodyweight and .4g fat. If you want to maintain your muscle I recommend not going lower than .8g protein and .4g fat is the minimum I’d recommend being at while pregnant. The rest of your calories will come from carbs. Wam! Bam! And that’s all it takes you calculate your macros while pregnant. 🙂 In rare cases, is possible to consume too much protein so always be sure to check with your doctor on what numbers you plan to use.

Drop a comment below if you have any further questions or concerns, and remember to talk to your doctor about your plans!

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Freezer Friendly Skinny Taco Pasta Bake

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Another venture of freezer meals for when Marshall arrives and this time we’re going Mexican for dinner! Because who doesn’t love Mexican food? With this taco pasta bake my love for noodles and Mexican have been met. I actually made this for dinner tonight and doubled the recipe so I could freeze the extra portion. Freezing instructions, and as always calories & macros, are included below!

Freezer & Macro Friendly Taco Pasta Bake

Recipe:

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 15 oz can Hunts tomato sauce
  • 1 small can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chiles
  • 1 and 1/2 cups 2% Kraft Mexican shredded cheese
  • 8 oz dry Cavatappi noodles or elbow (use whole grain to up fiber & protein amount!)
  • Sour cream, Greek yogurt, guacamole or tortilla chips for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking brown beef with seasoning of choice. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. Once beef is done drain and add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, then add noodles. Top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes. I topped mine with crushed tortilla chips and Greek yogurt and it was delicious!

Macros (per serving of 8 servings or about 1 cup, not including garnishes): 260 calories, 9g fat, 24g carbs, 21g protein, 1g fiber

To freezer simply put in an 8×8 tin pan and once completely cooled cover with tin foil. It will last up to 3 months. Reheat at 350 degrees for 30 mins covered and 15 mins uncovered.

Freezer Friendly Skinny Taco Pasta Bake

Why Every Woman Should Lift Weights

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Weightlifting has changed my life and transformed my body. Many women (I was one of them) are afraid to get started on the weight floor for several reasons. For me personally I had no idea where to begin and I wasn’t exactly concerned with building muscle. My original goal was to look lean or “toned”. After losing the first 50lbs I wasn’t impressed with what I saw in the mirror. Cardio had left me lighter, but with a lot of loose skin. I knew it was time to try something new. So I began to research weightlifting…

why every women should lift weights

 

Why women don’t lift weights:

  • They think it will make them bulky
  • They are too comfortable doing cardio
  • They just want to get “toned”
  • They’re not sure where to start
  • They’re afraid to get on the weight floor

Why women should lift weights:

  • They won’t get bulky- women don’t have the testosterone to get bulky
  • Cardio is boring and does not target fat, lifting weights can be a lot of fun
  • Weight lifting will give women that “toned” look aka build muscle & lose fat. Remember, one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat
  • Starting is actually really easy! The resources are definitely out there. Just start simple, you’ll learn as you go. For a beginner’s weightlifting routine check out my beginner’s 6 week eBook
  • If you’re still really afraid, hiring a trainer for a month or two will take away the fear of the weight floor and give you the confidence you need
  • It makes every day activities easier- I never realized before how beneficial it is to be stronger, and man does it feel good
  • For aging women, it is especially helpful to increase bone density thus controlling bone loss
  • Lifting will increase your metabolism. A higher level of muscle mass means your body burns more calories at rest

To learn more about my transformation from weightlifting, check out this post. Keep in mind, it’s not like I started weightlifting and was instantly lifting heavy with an intense routine. I worked my way up to the point I am at. This is a learning process but I can ensure you that it is well worth it. You will likely enjoy working out more, you will love the feeling of increased strength, and you will feel more confident in your body. If you need help email me at malzisfit@gmail.com.

Freezer Friendly Crockpot Cheesy Broccoli Chicken

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Freezer meals for baby Marshall continues! This mama won’t have any excuses to eat out all the time when he arrives. A few tips for freezer cooking in Ziploc bags: use Ziploc not store brand, put vegetables on bottom and meat on top so when you dump it in the slow cooker the meat is on the bottom, when sealing the Ziploc make sure you get as much air out and once you there is an inch left before closing completely squeeze bag to get any last air you can,and make sure you properly label bag (see photo below).

cheesy broccoli chicken

 

Recipe (per bag):

  • 1lb chicken breast, raw
  • 170 grams frozen broccoli (half a bag Bird’s eye)
  • 14.5 oz red potatoes thin sliced (a little under 1lb)
  • 1 small can healthy request condensed chicken soup
  • Dried parsley
  • 4 oz 2% Velveeta cheese

Add all ingredients into bag except for Velveeta cheese. Add potatoes and broccoli first, then chicken, parsley, and soup. Make sure to write on freezer bag that you’ll need to add Velveeta cheese. You will dump contents into slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Add the cheese and stir for five minutes.

Macros (per serving of 4 for one bag plus cheese): 315 calories, 7g fat, 27g carbs, 33g protein, 3g fiber

 

 

Meal Plan #4

Meal plans designed from a girl who's lost 100lbs! Recipes are lightened up versions the whole family will love.

These plans are made to feed two people, so if you have more people in your family double the amount you buy and/or consider adding an extra option. I choose two options for breakfast, two for lunch, a few snacks, and three dinner options. We eat leftovers every other night and that leaves us one night to eat out! I spend about $50 per week at the store. These meals are designed for a balanced diet. If you eat proper portions and especially track your macros or calories, you will lose weight!

*Some people have asked if I can provide macros for these plans but I don’t find it to be necessary since we all have different macros. Just portion out these meals to meet your macros. 🙂

You can also check out:

Meal Plan #1

Meal Plan #2

Meal Plan #3

Meal Plan #5

Meal Plan #6

Meal Plan #7

Breakfast:

Option 1: Kodiak protein waffles w/ sliced strawberries, bananas, and light chocolate syrup

Option 2:  Egg white, low fat cheddar slice, & turkey sausage english muffin sandwich (I prepped these ahead of time and froze them!)

Mid-morning snack: 

1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, 3 sliced deli turkey, 2/3 cup steamed vegetables, 1 tbsp ketchup

Lunch:

Option 1: 3 oz breaded chicken tenderloins, 3 cups salad mix, 1 tbsp light Italian dressing

Option 2: 2 oz light tuna, 3 oz macaroni, 2-3 tbsp cream of chicken, 1/2 cup peas

Mid-afternoon snack:

Option 1: 1/2 cup non fat Greek yogurt, chopped peach, granola

Option 2: Banana with one tbsp peanut butter

Dinner:

Option 1: 2 oz whole grain spaghetti, 1 cup sauteed spinach, 1/2 cup squash, 1 oz feta cheese

Option 2: Taco pasta bake

Option 3: Lemon & garlic chicken (lemon juice, oregano, chopped garlic, season to taste) with roasted potatoes (boiled then broiled for 5-10 mins with Mediterranean sea salt)

week 4 meal plan grocery haul healthy

Grocery list:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt (plain)
  • Low fat cheddar cheese slices
  • Granola
  • English muffins
  • 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
  • Frozen bag corn
  • Frozen peas
  • Bag steamed veggies
  • Frozen chopped spinach
  • Frozen chicken tenderloins
  • Frozen turkey sausage patties
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • Deli turkey
  • Peaches
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Two salad kits
  • Squash
  • Light chocolate syrup
  • 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. low fat Mexican cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp green chilies (half of 4 oz. can)
  • Tortilla chips

Stuff I already had: 

  • Feta cheese
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Italian dressing
  • Kodiak protein mix
  • Cream of chicken
  • Macaroni noodles
  • Whole grain spaghetti
  • Light tuna
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano

Macro Friendly Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

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Since I am preparing for the arrival of my first born in the next few weeks I’m starting to prepare freezer meals to make my life easier once he arrives. These breakfast sandwiches were my first project and were really easy. I made six for Thomas that included a whole egg, full fat cheddar cheese, and a sausage patty. But the six I made for myself were much more macro friendly…

freezer english muffins

 

Recipe:

  • Six high fiber english muffins
  • Six turkey sausage patties
  • Six low fat cheddar cheese slices
  • Six egg whites
  • Salt & pepper

I baked my eggs in ramekins as they fit nicely in the english muffins. If you don’t have any use a muffin pan. Measure 40g egg whites (3 tbsp) in each ramekin and added a little salt and pepper. Bake for 13-14 mins at 375 degrees. Once they are done lay on english muffin, top with turkey sausage patty, and slice of cheese. Allow to cool then either put in large ziploc bag or wrap in foil. Be sure to add date and reheat directions. Reheat for 60-75 secs wrapped in paper towel. These should stay good for up to 3 months. Enjoy!

Macros (per sandwich): 264 calories, 8g fat, 29g carbs, 19g protein, 8g fiber

Protein PB Cups

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I know few people who do not love a chocolate peanut buttery combination. Those are people I wouldn’t want to associate myself with anyways. Haha! So I made two different versions of these and I’ll leave it up to you which you’d prefer. One was half the fat using cacao powder but it was bitter. I really enjoyed it chopped in some frozen yogurt or in a protein shake. The other was made using chocolate chips and was much sweeter. It’s perfect by itself.

protein peanut butter cups

 

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (could also use cacao powder)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used ON vanilla ice cream)
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice (I used cashew, you could use water)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup PB2
  • 1/4 scoop protein powder
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp water

Mix together cocoa powder, 2 scoops protein powder, milk, and 2 tbsp water in one bowl. Layer silicone tins (you’ll want to use silicone if you want them to keep their shape, otherwise use cooking spray on paper liners) with half the chocolate mix. It will cover about 1/8 inch. Throw them in the freezer for 15 mins and while you wait make the peanut butter mixture. Mix together PB2, 1/4 scoop protein powder, and 6 tbsp water. Once mixed together add in peanut butter and mix. Add the layer, then add the rest of the chocolate to the top. Freeze for at least an hour. Then store in freezer wrapped in tin foil until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Macros (per cup, recipe makes 8): 72 calories, 3.8g fat, 10g carbs, 10g protein

If you’d prefer you can use chocolate chips instead of the cacao or cocoa mixture. This would call for 3/4 melted chocolate chips. Doing so will reduce the protein content and double the fat.

 

Day of Meals for IIFYM

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A lot of people ask me what a day of IIFYM looks like for me. Well, I suck at remembering to take pictures of my meals haha! I’m too excited to eat/care too little to get a nice picture. But I’m working on it! In the mean time I will share them with you.

Meal 1 (pre workout): 1/2 cup oats with a scoop protein powder, apple, ground cinnamon, peanut butter

Meal 2 (post workout): 1/2 cup OJ with a scoop protein powder, handful of mixed frozen berries, blended

Meal 3: 1-2 eggs, 2-3 egg whites, spinach, a meat (ham, bacon, turkey sausage, etc), fat free cottage cheese. Sometimes a piece of toast of half a bagel on the side if I have enough carbs.

Meal 4: “Bro food”: Chicken breast, fish, or lean beef mixed with potatoes or rice and veggies of choice. Important to buy a few good seasonings and garnish with a macro friendly option, for me that’s usually ketchup, hot sauce, or Greek yogurt

Meal 5: Greek yogurt with fruit and sometimes granola

Meal 6: Dinner is always different for me. Check out my main dish recipe tabs for some ideas.

Meal 7: Treat of choice, usually 1/2 cup of ice cream, 1 cup cereal, or 1/2 Poptart

As you can see I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day. This keeps my tummy satisfied so I don’t make any poor choices or feel the urge to binge eat. Everyone is different and this may not be the most viable option for you. That’s fine! In regards to weight or fat loss, it doesn’t matter when you eat it only matters that you’re eating at a deficit. So eat whenever it works for you! Just be cautious that you don’t go over at night because you didn’t eat enough during the day. And yes, I eat mainly the same thing every day. I do switch up variations but I typically don’t get tired of foods and I love that I know this is what will fit my macros. I like to get creative at dinner and keep the rest of the day simple. I also have many different “bro meal” options. Maybe I’ll do a post with a bunch of example bro foods.

Check out an example of IIFYM meal prep here.