How to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for family get-togethers, office parties, and lots of delicious foods & drinks. It’s a common belief that people pack on the pounds during the holiday season. That isn’t necessarily the case. The truth is, while you may gain a couple of pounds, chances are it won’t be anything significant. The holidays don’t necessarily signify weight gain – but overindulging does, and that can happen at any time of year. The key is learning balance. It’s important to focus your time on loved ones rather than counting calories. You should enjoy yourself and some treats, but there’s no need to be reckless! Here are some tricks to beating the bulge this holiday season:

Don’t skip meals! Often times, people think that if they skip a meal it will give them more calories to use later on. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you’re doing serious damage to your metabolism when you skip meals. Your body will go into starvation mode, and instead of distributing the food the way it should, it turns to fat. Ultimately, you will end up being twice as bloated and feeling worse than if you had just had a small meal or snack prior to your party.

Bring your own healthy dish to the festivities. Let’s face it – time is of the essence this time of year. I’m sure the host will be more than appreciative for the help. Offer to make a healthy side dish or dessert. This will not only be a big help to the host, but it will allow you and your friends &/or family to enjoy the time together and not to worry about what’s on your plates.

If making something isn’t an option, practice portion control. This should be something that’s done all year round, but it’s especially important this time of year. Begin with salad or veggies and be sure to pace yourself by eating slowly before going back for seconds.

That being said, you want to choose your indulgences wisely. No one is saying you can’t have your favorite dessert or your family’s secret, delicious dish. Less is definitely more. Have a little bit of everything you really enjoy and move on. The easiest trick to ensure you won’t overindulge is to load up on water & veggies. That will keep you fuller and keep you from grazing the table.

Be realistic with time. This is another big one. Do your best to keep up with exercise – just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference physically AND mentally. This can be walking around the mall or walking when you first wake up in the morning – every little bit counts and will even serve as a great stress reliever.

Above all, focus on what’s truly important this time of year. If you do eat too much or don’t get as much time to exercise, be kind to yourself – you’re doing your best. Don’t feel guilty – just do better the next day. Life is short – don’t waste precious time agonizing over an extra serving of pie or an extra glass of egg nog. Spend that time with your loved ones; you’ll be happier for it in the long run.

Happy holidays to you & yours!

-Gina

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Everything You Go Through, Grows You

Good grief, where has the year gone?!? The holidays are finally over….and so is the year. I’ve spent the last month like most…busy with shopping, get-togethers, family, etc. In this time, my routine was completely knocked off track. Sure, I worked out when I could…but my diet was another story. If only clean eating could include cookies….

I must’ve been a good girl this year because Santa treated me really well. My broken magic bullet was replaced….and I got a new laptop! I even got a new arm band to accompany the new phone that I finally got myself. So now that my life has been upgraded and replenished…there are no more excuses for me to make.

Merry Christmas to me :)

Merry Christmas to me!

Anyway, that’s my little update. On to other business.

I got to thinking about all I’ve accomplished over the last two years of this journey…but most especially this year. I got myself down to a size 2…which I’ve decided doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve become super focused on building muscle and the more muscle I build in my legs and booty, the less comfortable jeans become. Who needs jeans when you can rock leggings anyway?They are not only more comfortable but they make your butt look good too 😉

Not only did I make many physical changes, I made a lot of changes to benefit me mentally and by doing so, I’ve become the happiest that I’ve ever been. I’ve spent so many years miserable..and the last decade was particularly hard on me. I’ve gone back and forth with whether or not to share personal stories on this blog–but this is my story and my journey. While it’s fitness driven., a weight loss journey is much more mental than it ever is physical. Until you overcome your inner demons, you won’t truly conquer your physical ones. That being said….here it goes.

The last decade of my life was spent in a pretty bad place. I graduated college with a dream to becoming a NY Yankees broadcaster (we see how well that turned out…) In addition to floundering in the “real world”, I was in an abusive relationship (mostly verbal but there were some physical episodes.) I was also surrounded by a lot of drama and a lot of negative people. I would go to the bar and get myself black-out drunk. I thought I was just having fun but looking back on it, I was probably trying to mask everything going on in my life.

I decided to this story with you all because it was one of the the biggest hurdles that I’ve had to climb in recent years. There was a lot of verbal abuse and manipulation over those years, which really did a number on my brain. I made a decision two years ago, in the midst of that break up, to get my life back. And so my journey began…and I have never looked back. As the saying goes: everything you go through, grows you. I was one of the lucky ones to get out and I took many lessons away from that experience. You don’t truly know who you are until you go through something horrible. I became much stronger and learned a lot about who I really was during that time…and I’ve learned much more since.

As this year comes to a close, I am in the best shape of my life….physically and mentally. I have gotten rid of the negative people and influences in my life and I’m a better person as a result. The only thing missing is to make my career dreams a reality. Stay tuned for more on that and on how to stick to your resolutions later this week!

My year of progress

We all have our own personal journey and I thank you all for letting me share mine with you this past year. I hope that by sharing my stories, some of you have been inspired and maybe even a little bit motivated. I want you all to see that no matter what obstacle you face, it IS possible! I’ve had to work EXTREMELY hard for everything that I have…and this coming year may be the hardest yet. I will tell myself what I tell all of you—Nothing worth having comes easy!

I wish you all a very safe and happy new year!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Expressing Gratitude

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! This year has definitely flown by but on this day I want to take the time to express my appreciation for some of the people that have made this one of the best years of my life.

I am thankful to have a core group of some really great friends. I’ve had most of them in my life since high school and they have stuck by me through it all. Many of these friends now have families of their own and I am extremely grateful to be a part of their children’s lives. I am also lucky enough to have a loving family, who has seen me through some very hard times in my life and who supports me through everything, good and bad.

IMG_0944

I’ve been through a lot in my life but I can honestly say that I am thankful for it all. 2014 was one of the best years of my life. I am truly the happiest I have ever been and have found an inner strength within myself that I didn’t know existed. I am grateful everyday for the incredible life that I am living. While I may wish some stuff was different or that things in the past didn’t happen, I realize that I am a stronger person because of it all. I have learned that everything happens for a reason and that everything you go through, grows you.

On this day, be sure to take the time to express your gratitude for all that you have in your life. Cherish the time with your friends and family and enjoy all of the delicious food that today will bring. Try not to waste time agonizing over calories–just eat what you want (within reason.) If you do overeat today, don’t beat yourself up…just make up for it by hitting the gym tomorrow (or the stores like I will for some serious shopping!)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Butternut Squash Soup

With the holidays upon us, I thought I would give you this quick and easy recipe to add to your holiday spread. This soup is meant to be a light, healthy starter to your feast. Initially I thought of providing a recipe for a turkey and sweet potato dish but most people have that stuff covered. Besides, it’s been so cold lately, why not warm everyone up when they walk in with this delicious soup?!

This is the time of year when people tend to really go overboard and wreck their diet. To me, Thanksgiving can actually be pretty healthy. Think about it…it’s turkey and sweet potatoes! Of course there are lots of other delicious options and that’s when people run into trouble. My advice is to just to practice moderation and enjoy everything within reason. Ignore the food noise–rather than wasting time agonizing over food and calories, enjoy that precious time with your loved ones. Count your blessings and be thankful for all that you have in your life – Don’t lose sight of what’s most important at this magical time of year.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Butternut Squash Soup

 

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (I use a small one for myself and it makes enough for two bowls. Use your judgement for the amount of people you will be serving)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch of ginger powder
  • Pinch of parsley (optional)
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
Directions:
1. Cut squash length-wise and remove seeds. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. On a baking sheet, lay the two halves. Drizzle olive oil on top and add the salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fork-tender.
3. Remove from oven and cool. Once squash is cool enough to handle, peel skin off and cube.
4. Place cubed squash and coconut milk into blender. Blend until smooth.
5. In a saucepan, add puréed mixture. Place on medium heat and add ginger powder. Stir to combine.

6. Once warm, remove from pot and serve. Add the parsley and nutmeg.

Enjoy! 🙂

Back to Basics

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is keeping warm in this ridiculously cold weather that we’ve been having!

I’m finally starting to get back on my feet after being sick for almost two weeks. I had vertigo for most of last week. If you’ve never had it, consider yourself lucky–it’s a very annoying illness. You don’t feel sick in the conventional way–you just get incredibly dizzy for no reason…which also makes you nauseous. Vertigo can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days to even a few weeks. Lucky for me, mine was gone by Sunday. However, to treat the vertigo, I was told to buy motion sickness pills.  I was so sick, I didn’t care what was in the pills or what else they could potentially cause—I just wanted to stop being dizzy. So while the dizziness dissipated, I had new issues come Sunday night. Turns out one of the side effects of these pills is that they mess your stomach up…bad. Having stomach issues already, this was a recipe for disaster…and unfortunately one that I’m still battling as I write this.

Whenever my stomach issues (IBS in particular) flare up, I notice a pattern with myself. The longer the stomach issues drag on, the worse I feel mentally. I worked really hard to lose weight and get myself in good shape but during these lovely times, I can’t really workout. Sure I could lift weights or do leg work—but I can’t do the cardio which will get my mind right. Without that, what’s the point? That go hard or go home mentality really bites me sometimes.

I started this blog in the hopes of helping others who may have similar struggles and show anyone that they can do it too. I know that not every day is going to be perfect on this journey and that things happen. We get sick, we get busy…life just happens. The important thing is how you bounce back. I still have moments where where I slip back into negative thinking. When my stomach is blown up and I feel crappy, I tend to think that I look like a cow. Deep down though, I know that once I am able to work out again that feeling will go away. Thankfully, I have surrounded myself with some great (and patient) people who remind me of this and talk me off a ledge when it’s needed.

IMG_7860My game plan is get back to the gym (or maybe even run outside if the weather warms up a little) this weekend. As far as my diet, I think I’m going back to basics. I’m going to start using MyFitnessPal again to keep me accountable. Since I want to lose some more weight and lean out, I want to do some research on reverse dieting and IIFYM. With the holidays quickly approaching, I need to get back on track with everything. I will share my findings with you all as soon as I can.

Stay tuned for a healthy Thanksgiving recipe, to be posted this weekend 🙂

Until then – stay strong, stay warm, and stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com