Finding Strength through Struggle

“Never let any disappointment in life define who you are.”

I recently saw this quote on social media and it really stuck with me. Lately, I’ve been going through a really tough time and despite my best efforts, I’ve let the stress from my personal and professional life really get the best of me. It’s really gotten me to a point where I never feel well and my workouts suffer. This time last year, I finished a very strict challenge that I gave myself. The result had me in the best shape of my whole life. This year…is an entirely different ball game.

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Birthday girl last year vs. this year

I love to work out. I love how it makes me feel. However, I’ve been in such a rut lately that my workouts haven’t been consistent and my diet, while mostly healthy, has also been hit or miss. As a result, even my blogging has suffered.

This year, my plan was to exercise just as hard and eat clean but not be AS strict as I was last year. I wanted to see if I could look how I did by living normally. I also wanted to make sure to not lose all of the muscle that I built during the winter. BUT I never gave myself that chance. Quite frankly, even when I did the Whole30 diet, things didn’t go well. I blamed the diet but I really do think that my stomach has been such a mess from the stress, no diet will be able to fix it right now. Sometimes you have to fix your situation before anything else can fall into place. I’m learning more and more that some of my stomach issues are, in fact, stress-related.

My birthday is this weekend and with it also comes 10 years since I graduated college. My life is nothing like I expected it to be 10 years ago…and maybe that’s another part of my rut. I’ve worked so hard to transform my life and make changes to better myself but many things are still lacking. I had a very clear plan for myself….for much of my life…and it just hasn’t happened. I know they say you have to take control of your own destiny…but I’ve found that every time I make a plan, it somehow fails me. I guess the saying that we plan and God laughs must be true…and if so, I’m sure I’ve had him cracking up for years.

Despite years of disappointment, I am going to attempt to reboot myself….again. With a new found (and somewhat unexpected) freedom in my professional life, I would like to explore the possibility of turning my passion for fitness into a full-fledged career. My original career plan of sports broadcasting may not have worked out…but maybe that wasn’t what I was meant to do. I have always loved helping/teaching others and I would love nothing more than to take all of the knowledge that I’ve built up over the last few years and use it to help others in their own journeys. In the coming weeks, I will be exploring every avenue possible to pursue just that. My first course of action will likely be to get my personal trainer certification…but we shall see. With everything happening in my personal life, I’m thinking that having the flexible schedule that comes with being a fitness coach/trainer would be amazing.

Some things happen in life that we can’t control. However, I’ve learned that its better to keep moving and live life rather than dwell on the negatives and let life pass you by. I may not look how I want to look on my birthday…or be where I expected to be when I graduated 10 years ago…but that’s life. I fully intend on enjoying this weekend and, above all, getting the relaxation that I so desperately need. It’s time to make the best of what I have and find strength from my struggles. I know that it will all be worth it in the end. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

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This too shall pass…

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Well…I’m back! I know it’s been a little while since I last blogged but I needed some time to regroup. Since Christmas I’ve had a lot of unnecessary stress at my job and it’s really been effecting my health. My stomach is the worst that it’s been in years…I haven’t slept very well…my skin keeps breaking out…I’m just a mess. My body has gotten very rundown and as a result I currently am getting over a bad cold. Between the stress and the horrible northeast winter, my workouts really haven’t been consistent. I completed the #Whole30 diet but due to everything going on, it was a failed experiment. Truthfully my life right now just isn’t conducive to such a strict diet with the stomach issues that I have. Once things settle down, I will have to give it another try.

I’ve spent the last few months doing the best thing that I could possibly think of – I’ve focused on the things that make me happiest. I’ve spent time doing things that I enjoy and seeing people who bring me joy. It’s been great balancing out my life and it’s allowed me to forget about the stress, if even just for a moment.

Unfortunately, my fitness has really taken a backseat. My workouts have been sporadic, at best. Between my stomach acting up and the sheer exhaustion from not sleeping well, I just haven’t had the energy or motivation to workout. Some people say they use stress to push them. Well, right before I got sick with this horrible cold I promised myself I would do just that. Truthfully, I feel like I’ve undone a lot of my hard work…and I want it to stop. Now with my stomach being very blown up, it’s a bit hard to get an accurate weight and size but nonetheless I’m not happy with myself these days. I’m not so sure that working out will necessarily change anything physically until I can get rid of the stress…but it will make me feel better mentally.

I recently discovered this fabulous app from Bodybuilding.com:

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It allows you to select workout programs based on your individual goal. Whether you want to tone up or become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, they have a plan for you. Last year I followed a diet and workout regimen that mimicked that of a figure competitor. Well….this app has several programs geared towards just that! I will be starting one of the plans this week and incorporating it into my 4-weeks to fit challenge, which is coming in about 2 weeks! I also have to get back into doing cardio. Any workouts that I’ve done this winter have centered around lifting. I struggle with running so much due to my breathing troubles that it’s become a chore for me….but with summer rapidly approaching it must be done. While I do prefer lifting (and feeling bad ass), if I want to look good on the beach….cardio has to happen too.

I’ve gone through much worse situations than this in my life and I know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be an uphill battle but I will try my best to keep my head up and use the stress as motivation rather than letting it keep me down. If you are facing a similar situation or if you are struggling in another way, remember this too shall pass. After all, nothing worth having comes easy. Work hard, lift heavy, and NEVER GIVE UP!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

My Whole30 Breakfast Plan

Breakfast has been one of the bigger struggles for me. I’m used to having oatmeal or a yogurt everyday…and both of these are no-no’s on the Whole30 diet. I’m also used to having coffee creamer or some flavor in my coffee…which is also not allowed. So I’ve had to adapt. Since beginning this diet, I’ve been eating eggs most days. I’m used to only eating egg whites but I’ve had to incorporate the yolk as well to make it more filling. I also have learned that you must incorporate some sort of meat or vegetable into your breakfast or else you will be starving all day.

The best part about these recipes is that they all take 15 minutes or less to prep and cook. I make all of my food the night before so I can grab it and go to work. They can all be easily microwaved and all taste just as great the next morning. All of the recipes seen here serve one, as I cook for myself. However, I can certainly assist you with expanding whichever recipe to feed more.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Scrambled Egg with Sweet Potato Hash

1-large egg

1-small sweet potato

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

  • Begin by grating the sweet potato. Toss shredded potato with black pepper. Take a paper towel and drizzle some olive oil on it; rub oil onto a small pan.
  • Add shredded potato to pan and place on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes then flip. Continue this until cooked through.
  • Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper (I also had a pinch of parsley) as well as a drop of water. Poke the yolk and scramble egg with a fork. Set aside.
  • Remove potato from pan and add egg mixture. Let it set for a bit then flip eggs in pan. Cook for a total of 3 minutes. Lay egg over potato and enjoy 🙂

 

Egg in Avocado

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1-egg

½ avocado

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

Lemon or lime juice (to drizzle over avocado)

  • Begin by preheating an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice a medium avocado in half. Using the half without the pit, drizzle lemon or lime juice on top. This will help prevent browning. If using a large egg, scoop a little extra avocado out of the center.
  • Place avocado in a baking dish, such as a ramekin. Crack egg into avocado hole. Add salt and pepper.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I don’t like runny eggs so I cook until the yolk is firm, however you can cook for less time if you like it that way).
  • Remove from oven. Serve alongside fruit or sweet potatoes and enjoy 🙂

 

Scrambled eggs with leftover turkey “chili”
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2-eggs (one whole + one egg white)

approximately 1 cup of leftover turkey chili (no sauce)

black pepper, to taste

pinch of salt

pinch of parsley

  • Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl. Take the second egg and separate the white from the yolk; add the whites to the egg in the bowl. Add a drop of water, salt, pepper, and parsley to the bowl; scramble together.
  • Take a paper towel, add a little olive oil and rub onto a small pan. Heat pan on medium and add egg mixture. Cook for a total of approximately 3 minutes, stirring around throughout to cook evenly. Set eggs aside to cool.
  • *When I made turkey chili, I made sure to take about half of the meat and peppers out of the pot before making the sauce for it. I then portioned that half out and used it for two days worth of breakfast.
  • Take your leftover “chili” out of the fridge. Once eggs are completely cool, add to “chili” and place back in fridge for your morning breakfast.
  • **If you are making this to eat right away, reheat meat prior to cooking eggs. Set aside, cook eggs, and pour eggs over the meat.

 

Strawberry Smoothie

*This shouldn’t happen everyday but once in a while it’s a nice addition to break up all of the savory foods.*

approx. 1-cup of frozen strawberries

1/3 cup of light coconut milk

1 tbsp flax seeds.

  • Place all ingredients in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend and enjoy along side a banana.

 

Coffee
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This is where I thought I would struggle most. I love my coffee creamer and sweet flavors from Dunkin and Starbucks. However, I found that canned coconut milk is creamier and slightly sweeter than what I was used to. I add about 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, which is the serving size…and while it sounds like a lot, trust me you will need it! I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Somehow that’s a fake-out to making your mouth think you’re having something sweet. Anyway, this has actually been working really well for me and I don’t really miss the extra sweetness in my cup of Joe. I even found you can alter your favorite Starbucks drink with it! I got a Grande Americano, black then I went home added the coconut milk and blended with some ice. Topped that with the pinch of cinnamon and boom—Coconut Blendicano 🙂

Water: I’m making a point to add this. I have a bad habit of forgetting to drink during the day. I don’t really know why or how it happens but I do. I’ve found that the more water I drink early in the day, the less hungry I am as the day goes on. I didn’t invent that theory but I figured out how true it was when I was starving during the first few days of this diet. So, it may not be the most exciting beverage and you may already know to do this…but be sure to get at least your 8 glasses in while doing this diet.

 

This diet, like everything else on this journey, is extremely hard. Remain focus and remember why you started. It may not get easier but you will feel so much stronger for doing it. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2Befit@gmail.com

Healthy & Hearty Italian Dinner

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Ladies and gentlemen….tonight’s dinner 🙌

In under 30 minutes you have a super easy, delicious, and healthy dinner! Here’s the recipe:

Pasta Primavera (serves one)
1 cup of whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
1 cup of frozen zucchini (this was the Shoprite brand, which is already cut)
A handful of frozen pepper strips
A handful of mushrooms (sliced or chopped)
Diced tomatoes (approx 1 cup)
A drizzle of olive oil
Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-Boil water for pasta in small pot. Once water is boiling, dump the cup of pasta in. Stir until water boils again. While that’s working, grab a small pan and put all ingredients (besides the mushrooms) in.
-Wait about 5 minutes, then mix mushrooms into pan. Cook pasta for about 10 minutes, or until tender.
-Drain pasta, leaving a tiny bit of water in the pot. Return to stove and remove veggie mix from heat. Mix the veggies with the pasta and serve in a small bowl. Enjoy 💖
*I topped mine with a little cheese (as all good Italians should 💁) before eating…feel free to do the same!

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. This whole meal costs under $5 and took about 15 minutes to cook. You can adjust the amount of ingredients based on the number of people you are serving. Feed your body well and you will notice how amazing you feel.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com