Mission Hot Body version 2.0 – Day 1

Here we go!! Day 1 of this 6-week summer shred…aka Mission Hot Body version 2.0 is here! My workout didn’t happen today…because myself a new car! Being stuck at the dealership way longer than anticipated didn’t leave me any time to workout as I initially planned. Oh well…life happens sometimes. This is how my week will shape out, to adjust for not working out today:

  • Tuesday – legs
  • Wednesday – PT
  • Thursday – cardio
  • Friday – PT
  • Saturday – legs
  • Sunday – cardio

There is some wiggle room with my weekend but that’s my plan as of right now. Despite having tons of junk in the house – I stuck to my guns and was very strict with my diet today. Here’s what day 1 looked like:

Breakfast:

  • 1/4 cup of oats with cinnamon & flax
  • Caramel latte protein coffee (made with almond milk)

Snack: 100 calorie almonds

Lunch:

  • tuna with avocado (4oz)
  • carrots

Snack: RX bar

Dinner:

  • Two turkey cutlets (4 oz)
  • 2 oz butternut squash
  • 2 oz string beans
  • Salad with chick peas and a sprinkle of cheese tossed very lightly with balsamic vinegar and a drop of olive oil
  • Raspberry like seltzer (2 cups)

Water – 6 glasses 

Macros on point 👌🏻


Looking forward to another day of delicious food…and a hardcore workout. Have a good night everyone 🤘🏻

-Gina

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Clean Eating on a Budget

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m ALWAYS on a tight budget. However, despite whatever financial struggle I’ve faced, I’ve still managed to lose and maintain a weight loss of about 70lbs….all while keeping my diet clean. It hasn’t been easy and some months it requires a little extra patience and strategizing…but I’ve been able to do it for less than $20/week (or about $50/month when shopping in bulk). I’ve written about this in a previous blog post but I thought I would shed some more light on this topic..since it’s a very common issue.
Organic vs. Not – Personally, I never jumped on this train. To me, a vegetable is a vegetable. I never understood the purpose behind spending twice as much for something labeled “organic.” This is a personal preference thing – if you really feel strongly for eating this way be my guest, just know that it will ALWAYS cost you more. People have their reasons and beliefs for why they believe this is the way to go but in general I wouldn’t bother. If it’s not a big deal to you, shop the sales like me and you will be able to eat clean while staying on budget.

Frozen Vegetables vs. Fresh – Whenever possible, you should always get the fresh vegetables. However, depending on the season (and the sale) it may not always be possible. I usually stock up on some of my favorite frozen veggies when they are on sale…which usually means each bag will be just $1. That way, if the fresh variety isn’t accessible I still have exactly what I need.

Name Brand vs. Store Brand – I have never been a label whore. Whether it’s clothes, food, shoes…I never care. If it looks good, fits good, or tastes good…to me that’s all that matters. You will notice that 9 times out of 10, the store brand has the same ingredients as the name brand…and is half the price. So why spend extra just for a name? Drop the ego and grab your generic store brands and you will notice a big difference in your wallet.

Meat/Fish – This is the one area that can get tricky. Buying meat or fish will almost always cause your bill to be higher. However, you have to shop smart whenever possible. Head to Costco or any other bulk grocer and get your chicken. The Costco brand usually has about 15 or 16 boneless, skinless breasts (sometimes more) per pack and it will run you less than $20. You can also grab the packs of ground turkey or chicken when they are on sale and keep them on hand in your freezer. Anything from the butcher or fish counters will run more money…so plan accordingly and stock up whenever possible.

Make a list and always check it twice! I can’t tell you how helpful this one is. Keep a running list on the refrigerator and add things as they run out. Right before you go shopping, go back through the cabinets/pantry and fridge/freezer to be sure you didn’t miss anything. You can then skim through the flyers and see which store has most of those items on sale. My favorite store to shop in by far is ShopRite. They always have the lowest prices and biggest variety for what I need. Another favorite is Trader Joe’s. I don’t buy many things there (they tend to be a bit pricey) but you can find some good deals on otherwise expensive ingredients. Plus, they always have bananas for 19 cents – so how can you go wrong?!

When in doubt always shop the sales. You can never go wrong when you do that. Sure, you may not get every item on your list but you will have money leftover to put towards the next shopping trip. Like other things on this weight loss journey it won’t be easy but with a little patience, I promise it IS possible. Take the extra time and you will save a lot of extra money in the long run.

Happy shopping!!

Stay strong & stay in the fight

-Gina

6-Week Summertime Shred

HERE WE GO!!! Every year I create a challenge for myself…and this year is no exception. Join me as I get summertime fine with this 6-week shred!

The original plan for this 6-week shred was to happen a bit closer to summer. However, with an upcoming trip to Florida fast approaching I figure there is no time like the present. Besides, better to get into good habits now rather than wait until its beach time anyway. Everyday I will document my meals, using MyFitnessPal as well as all workouts.

The workout plan that I will be using for this round is taken from Bodybuilding.com and is based upon the 30-Days to a Fitness Model Body plan that Kelsey Byers created. I will be adapting the workouts to last an additional two weeks…and to not further injure this bum shoulder.

The workouts alternate between specific muscle groups each day, varying the weight and reps with each week. It also incorporates a lot of cardio. Now, as I posted on my Instagram account (@FinallyFit23) not so long ago, I will be aiming to run a race before the year ends. In order to keep with that mission as well as this training plan, I will be doing fasted cardio 5 days of the week, barring the two days when I have to be at work for 6 a.m. On those two days, I will incorporate a different type of cardio routine into my daily plan. No matter what, there will be two-a-days happening from here on out.

As far as diet goes, I will be making it a lot more strict but no where near what it was the last time I did this. No fish for breakfast for this girl! I have been practicing flexible dieting a lot and I believe that there is a way to be just as shredded without making yourself gag first thing in the morning. Personally, I like to have certain things at certain times of the day. Call me crazy but chicken or fish first thing in the morning just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my life NOT eating breakfast…but even though our body has no idea what time of day it actually is…I know. And it’s something I can’t bring myself to do. To each is own. I will be having my normal meals, at their normal times, but I will be limiting my dairy considerably as well as my sugar – God help us all.

Jokes aside, I am very excited to be embarking on a new challenge. I invite you all to join me on the quest to become summertime fine! I am offering free meal plans and workouts to anyone who wants to participate. Shoot me an email at the address below for more details. Let’s make the summer of 2016 the sexiest summer yet!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

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

Gather ‘Round the Dinner Table

Dinner just may be my favorite meal of the day. There’s so many options and so many different foods to enjoy. Being on the #Whole30 diet hasn’t changed that. In fact, I’m learning to appreciate the beauty in all of the colorful foods that are compliant on this diet 🙂

I try to make enough at dinner to yield me leftovers at lunch. If that isn’t possible, I usually make my lunch while I’m making dinner to save time. Since grains are not allowed and I’ve been eating sweet potatoes earlier in the day, dinner always consists of a protein and vegetables. A lot of vegetables. I have also been on a balsamic kick since starting this diet. I had no idea that you could use it to make SO many things taste amazing!

As with my breakfast plan, these recipes all serve one but I am more than willing to assist you in making these recipes work for you and your family.

Tilapia Bruschetta
1-4 oz. Tilapia filet
1/2 can of diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
Black pepper
Paprika
Pinch of salt
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Parsley

  • Begin by drizzling olive oil in a small pan; heat on medium-high
  • Season tilapia with pinch of salt, black pepper (to taste), a drizzle of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of paprika for color.
  • Place in pan.
  • Cook for 5 minutes then flip for another 5.
  • While that cooks, grab a small pot. Place diced tomatoes, pinch of salt, red pepper flakes (to taste), and Italian seasoning in pot and place over medium heat.
  • Remove fish from pan and top with sauce. Serve alongside your favorite veggies and enjoy 🙂
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Tilapia Over Italian Stirfry

*I make this all the time. When I’m not doing the #Whole30 I place fish over brown rice and serve with asparagus.*

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Cutlets
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1- pound (or a package) of chicken cutlets (or a 4 oz. chicken breast)
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt

  • Begin by drizzling olive oil into a grill pan and placing on medium-high heat.
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.
  • Place chicken into pan and season the other side.
  • Cook for about 5-7 minutes (for the cutlets; about 10-15 if it’s a whole breast) and flip. Cook through.
  • Once chicken is just about done, add balsamic vinegar. Flip chicken to completely coat. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and serve over salad or alongside your favorite veggies!

Grilled Eggplant
*this recipe can serve 4…or yields many leftovers!*

1-medium eggplant
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Black pepper, to taste
Pinch of salt

  • Begin by peeling the eggplant and slicing into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • Drizzle olive oil into a grill pan and heat on medium.
  • Season eggplant slices with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Place slices in pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes and flip. Cook through and remove from pan.
  • Continue this until all eggplant slices are cooked.
  • Serve alongside other veggies or as a side dish with chicken. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash:
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1- medium spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

  • Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees and lining a baking sheet with foil.
  • Slice the squash length-wise; scoop seeds out of middle and discard.
  • drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place both halves cut side down onto baking sheet and place in oven.
  • Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Using a fork, shred the inside of the squash, making “spaghetti”
  • Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Sides:

Brussel Sprouts:
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These have a terrible stigma. I saw a bag of frozen sprouts in Trader Joe’s for only $1 so I took a chance….and it changed my life. They are phenomenal! Here’s how I cook mine:

1/2 bag of frozen sprouts
pinch of salt
black pepper
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
drizzle of olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees; cover baking sheet with foil.
  • Place sprouts on sheet; season with salt and pepper and drizzle the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Bake sprouts for approximately 20 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  • Remove from tray and serve alongside chicken or other veggies

Kale Chips:
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1/3 bag of kale (I use the one from Trader Joe’s)
Olive oil
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Spread kale onto baking sheet. Drzzle with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Serve as a snack or alongside your favorite protein dish.
    **I tend to use frozen veggies most often but frozen kale WILL NOT work for this. Trust me…its not pretty.**

String Beans: These are an absolute staple for me. Since being on this diet, I’ve eaten them every day for lunch and many times I also eat them for dinner. They are extremely versatile and I prepare them in many different ways. Some examples of this are: balsamic glazed, steamed and seasoned simply, and Italian style (with diced tomatoes). Typically I buy a bag of frozen whole green beans and go from there. They take hardly any time to cook and are delicious!

Italian stir fry: I wrote a blog on this a couple of months ago however it’s worth mentioning. I basically call anything with zucchini and tomatoes my Italian stirfry 🙂 Depending on what I have available, I add things such as peppers, mushrooms, and diced eggplant to that mix. This is a quick and tasty addition to your dinner table.

I hope this has been helpful. I will continue to post new recipes as they come to me. This diet isn’t easy and it may eliminate many of your favorite foods. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate flavor. Spice things up and make them look pretty and you won’t even miss some of that other stuff 🙂

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

Whole30 – Week One Recap

As of today, week one of this Whole30 experiment is officially in the books! I’m not going to lie…this diet is much harder than I thought it would be.

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I have been really strict with this and really following all of the rules. I thought coffee would be my biggest hurdle..seeing as I can only put coconut milk in it. However, that hasn’t been an issue. My biggest problem at first was with hunger. I’m used to eating small portions multiple times a day. Well I realized with this diet portion sizes go out the window. I can’t speak for everyone on that…but since I am unable eat some of the bigger, more filling foods I have to bulk things up a bit. I started using MyFitnessPal again to track everything and I was horrified to learn I was hovering around 700 calories…by the day’s end! 

Enough was enough so I decided to play around with adding more protein (ground turkey and chicken) to my breakfast and lunch, respectively. I also bulked up my portion sizes and added more fruit. This seems to have really done the trick…however now I’ve caused another issue. My IBS is on fire! My guess is that it’s being caused by my significant increase of fiber. Either way, this experiment won’t work unless I nip that in the bud.

Here’s how my diet looked week one:

Breakfast: egg with avocado (most days, a couple of days were just egg whites), egg with sweet potato hash, strawberry smoothie* and banana, egg white omelette with asparagus and home fries, egg with sweet potato hash and ground turkey. Coffee with coconut milk and pinch of cinnamon.

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Lunch: tuna with avocado, chicken burger with avocado and string beans, string beans and sweet potato, string beans with eggplant, a chicken tender and a small salad, mixed veggies with small salad.

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Dinner: tilapia with veggies, chicken cutlets with warm kale salad, chicken burger with Brussels sprouts and string beans, chicken breast with brussel sprouts and string beans, turkey chili with warm kale salad, chicken with kale chips.

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Snacks: apple with cinnamon, grapes, cantaloupe, banana, almonds, larabar.

Despite severe sugar cravings and IBS flare-ups, I’ve actually managed to lose weight this week. While that wasn’t my goal…its always nice to see!

Week two I will be focusing on curing this IBS mess that I created. I will be limiting my intake of high fiber veggies and to continue these new eating pattern. Hopefully with all of this, I will feel better and have more energy to get back to my workout regimen.

I will be posting some of my recipes later this week. If you are interested in anything you see above or have a request, feel free to let me know 🙂

Until then…stay strong and stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com