Tagged: journey

Zucchini Bread Recipe

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Good afternoon, this has been a childhood favorite of mine for years. Smelling this bread cooking takes me right back to the kitchen I grew up in. I remember coming in out of the fields and sitting down on my bar stool at the island waiting for my mom to take this bread out of the oven.

Below you can find the original recipe and if you want to make it healthier I will give suggestions next to the ingredients. I always make this bread in small mini loaf pans because my husband and kids like to eat it for breakfast, snacks, it makes it easier to grab and go. It may not be the healthiest recipe but when I bake I always use the everything in moderation rule. I’ll only eat one mini-loaf at breakfast in place of my Ezekiel bread.

Zucchini Bread: 

1 1/2 cup flour (wheat flour)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar (brown sugar)

1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (applesauce)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

*(healthy substitutes) 

  • Mix first 6 ingredients together
  • In a mixing bowl beat sugar, zucchini, egg and add oil
  • Stir flour mixture into zucchini mixture and fold in nuts
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hr (mini-loaf pans, require less time and you will need to check every 10-15 minutes, they don’t take a full hr to cook)
  • grease pan and cook until a tooth pick comes out clean

 

Enjoy and Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

Grief and Remembrance

That sound. If I’m driving, trying to sleep, outside or at my sink washing a load full of dishes. What is it about that sound. That sound its debilitating. If you are on the phone and it’s nearby you have to scream a little louder.

There is something about the sound of a helicopter that gets me every time. If I hear it at night or in the early morning. I get instant flashbacks from my time at Akron Children’s Hospital.

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Every time I hear a medical helicopter I pray. For the patient, wisdom for the doctors and strength for the family.

Angelina’s room was right under the helicopter pad in the PICU. I remember countless times Dennis and I would be sitting on the patio eating at the Ronald McDonald house trying to eat a meal and talking about Angelina’s progress and we would watch them land and take off.

It was pretty awesome to watch at first…

Until we realized that those helicopters are coming and going a lot. That we weren’t the only ones with a sick child. It started to break my heart. I started praying each time as I  would watch the doctors and nurses run to get the patient off the helicopter.

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Hanging out at the Ronald house.

The Thursday before Angelina passed away Ava came to stay with me. She thought that staying at the Ronald McDonald house was the absolute coolest thing in the world. Ava and I gave Angelina a bath that day, bought a bunch of toys and fake nail stickers in the gift shop and watched helicopters land and take off. If you know my daughter Ava she is strong-willed, determined, extremely protective of Amelia and Angelina and has such a nurturing soul. She insisted on laying in bed with Angelina (which Angelina went from extremely fussy to happy the moment she heard Ava), was present at rounds, and was very happy to be with us at the hospital that day. Ten months later she tells me often: ” Mom remember the helicopters and all the sick babies they bring to the hospital, I want to be a nurse and help those babies, just like Nikki (my brothers girlfriend, remember Angelina’s nurse they met at her bedside:0).” We are very thankful for  the Ronald McDonald house and how they helped us tremendously during our extended stays at the hospital you can read more about this organization here:http://www.rmhc.org/about-us

This memory it’s hard, I want to go back to that time in the hospital. It was the last day Ava spent with her baby sister. That night I remember Ava didn’t want to leave. She wanted to stay another night. She screamed as we buckled her in her car seat. Amelia started screaming also. I cried on my way back into the hospital. I longed for my family to be together. I prayed for total healing for Angelina.

Grief it chokes out all the noise in your life.  It’s always present in your life,  you never know when it’s going to strike, one moment you are fine, the next pretty angry, one moment you can’t even drop a tear while someone may be spilling their heart to you and the next you literally are on a break down of uncontrollable crying and you can’t stop. You are almost hyperventilating gasping for air.

You have let it out. I often tell my husband, that grief it debilitates me. I can’t think, remember, get anxiety, stay organized or on task. Once I let it out, I feel a little bit of relief. I release the bad, the ugly,the extremely dark, and then I am able to focus on the intricate beautiful, purpose driven details of Angelina’s short life. I have seen baby steps in my healing process although some days seem like two steps forward and while other days two steps back.

Over the last ten months we have done a lot of things to remember Angelina. When you lose a child you want to continually celebrate their memory. Talk about them often and especially how they changed you.

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This photo is one of my all time favorites of Angelina. She had a way about her, looking right into your soul. You could connect with her. She captivated us. Her eyes were out of this world beautiful. We all could gaze into her eyes forever. Ava and Angelina had the most sisterly bond. This photo speaks volumes.

I have documented a series of pictures on our journey of celebrating Angelina’s life each day. We look for Angelina through out each moment. Dennis and I constantly talk a lot with Ava and Amelia about her everyday. Last year on this day we were celebrating our first world down syndrome day. We will continue to celebrate this day every year for you our sweet Angelina. We will speak about how amazing that extra chromosome is, educate and spread awareness to the world about down syndrome. You can find out more here about World Down Syndrome day: https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org

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This was one of those moments God gives you that is life-giving. To help you press on amongst the pain.

This first picture was a month to the hour and exact minute Angelina passed into our fathers heavenly hands. We were on vacation with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Walking back from the pool I looked down at my watch and it was like a dagger smashed through my heart. Four weeks since she had been gone I thought. They seemed like an eternity. The girls screamed mom look: I looked up and saw the most beautiful butterfly land on a flower. It spread its wings and Ava and Amelia were able to touch its wings. I felt such a supernatural peace that butterflies would be a symbol of Angelina. It feels like an eternity since I’ve seen her but I get to spend eternity with her. It was yellow and National Down Syndrome colors are blue and yellow. Last summer we saw butterflies every time we were outside. We saw them at dark, on the beach (so windy) and at times when I would be so emotionally low one would fly right in front of me. Angelina truly reminding me she is free and flying amongst heaven, our Angel.

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So Living water flowing through God, we Thirst for more of you Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire Thrive, Casting Crowns

Right before we left for the beach I felt the urge to grab a small amount Angelina’s ashes. We had hoped we would be able to take her to the beach last summer. Before we left we were able to leave a very tiny amount of her ashes at sea. About a month later Ava asked me randomly: “mom when we were at the ocean what did you put into the water.” I told her remember that and some day sweetheart I will explain. On the way to the beach this song came on the radio and it has stuck with me over the last ten months: Thrive: Casting Crowns

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Running for hope, to support down syndrome awareness and in memory of all those lost by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

My sister-in-law and I decided to run and train for the July 4th race. God bless her heart she made these amazing shirts for our family and friends to wear the day of the race. She surprised me a few days before and it brought tears to my tired eyes. I’ve always been a runner and loved racing but now I truly have a cause to run for. I run for the remembrance of those taken to soon by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and to spread awareness about down syndrome.

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Tough Mudder 2014

Then there was the tough mudder. Ya, I always said no to into those crazy mud races because I was worried someone would get hurt. I mean don’t get me wrong. I am a farm girl at heart. I love the mud and I’m not for a second afraid to get dirty and push myself to the limit when it comes to working out and  competing. We decided to do it and it was such an incredible bonding experience to do together with family. We had a blast and I think I picked mud out of my hair for weeks. We felt that we could accomplish things even through the pain and sorrow.

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My husband loves this ridiculous shirt, Grill King

Dennis and I decided to get tattoos together. Angelina is forever etched on our lives, our hearts and truly been a catalyst for change in our lives. Getting a tattoo was really never anything I really felt the urge to do until Angelina passed away. Good thing for good friends who help you from chickening out. The thought of something on my body forever kinda freaked me. The fact that some random person was tattooing me was even stranger. Until Dennis walked in and the tattoo artist realized he tattooed Dennis Italian flag eleven  years ago! IMG_0096It was for Angelina and each day when I am feeling discouraged its my outward symbol of  clinging to hope that God will help me navigate through a very tough time in my life. Telling my dad was a different story. After eating Sunday family dinner and him not noticing my tattoo at all Dennis informed him of my new tat (if you know my father he is pretty old-fashioned). He took it like a champ and everyone really valued why we felt the need to do this together.

Angelina spoke from the heaven on Dennis 30th birthday as we sat in the drive way talking about how incredible she was. She gave Dennis this amazing present from the heavens.

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A birthday greeting from the heavens

The gym that I work and workout at often, bought a tile and an apple tree for us to honor Angelina with.

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Angelina’s Tree

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Angelina’s tile

Angelina’s birthday and Christmas came and passed. It seemed very slow and painful. Over the months I have done a lot of processing. I am going to be honest I am angry. I scream out to God a lot.  I have mentioned something along these line before. I can allow the passing of my daughter to paralyze me. To choke out the noise, life, the good, God, and my family.When I think of how fast a helicopters propeller spins as it flies, I sometimes feel like my head, heart and life are spinning in a hundred different directions at once. I have allowed grief  to spin my life totally out of control at points throughout this process. God picks up my brokeness up off the floor along with my husband, family and close friends.

When I get up off the floor tiny parts of my heart have mended and the scar tissue, it’s still there and will always be but it’s a matter of learning how to navigate amidst the extreme pain. This last week I felt that God was saying: ” Michelle she is at peace and she was a small glimpse of heaven in your life”.

My life for a second stops spinning, and I see that the pain is a catalyst for growth. I can take this experience and use it for good. It doesn’t mask the pain but it allows me to live life fuller than I ever have. It allows me to be reminded of how Angelina changed my heart and how I perceive situations that arise each day throughout my life much differently.

Angelina taught me how to be bold, to love like I have never loved, to not only share my faith but to be more intentional about living it out, to look for the good in every single person I meet, to live out my passions, to not only dream but to go after my dreams even if I fail, to embrace my husband, children, and family here on earth, to be content in life, to  be thankful,to be myself-the unique person Christ created me to be, and not to worry about what people think. Because Christ is the only person I have to impress,to trust, to worry about today and not the next five years, and tell people about Angelina always and the depth of her short little life lived on earth. My friends, I get asked often how many children I have. I have three. One just happens to get raised by Jesus. The author and finisher of our faith.

This is what we can do to heal, to live the way she taught us. Just as Christ lives in our hearts so does, Angelina.

I read a book on grief titled: A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser. Jerry talks about his journey through grief (he lost his wife, wifes mother, and his daughter in a car accident. They were hit by a drunk driver).

I can relate with him on every level in this short few paragraphs from his book: ” Yet the grief I feel is sweet as well as bitter. I still have a sorrowful soul; yet I wake up every morning joyful, eager for what the new day will bring. Never have I felt as much pain as I have in the last three years; yet never have I experienced as much pleasure in simply being alive and living an ordinary life. Never have I felt so broken, yet never have I been so whole. Never have I been so aware of my weakness and vulnerability; yet never have I been so content and felt so strong. Never has my soul been more dead, yet never has my soul been more alive. What I once considered mutually exclusive sorrow, and joy, pain and pleasure, death and life-have become parts of a greater whole. My soul has been stretched.

Above all, I have become aware of the power of God’s grace and my need for it. My soul has grown because it has been awakened to the goodness and love of God. God has been present in my life these past three years, even mysteriously in the accident. God will continue to be present to the end of my life and through eternity. God is growing my soul, making it bigger, and filling it with himself. My life is being transformed. Though I have endured pain, I believe that the outcome is going to be wonderful.  

The supreme challenge to anyone facing catastrophic loss  involves facing the darkness of loss on one hand, and learning to live with renewed vitality and gratitude on the other. This challenge is met when we learn to take the loss into ourselves and to be enlarged by it, so that our capacity to live well and to know God intimately increases. To escape the loss is far less healthy(and far less realistic, considering how devastating loss can be)than to grow from it.

Loss can diminish us, but it can also expand us. It depends, once again, on the choices we make and the grace we receive. Loss can function as a catalyst to transform us. It can lead us to God, the only one who has the desire and power to give us life.” 

As We celebrate World Down Syndrome day, We celebrate Angelina. To the Ma Ma’s I have met on this journey you and your children are amazing! I will stand up and spread awareness for your children and continue to always support and pray for your children, you and your families. The Down Syndrome Community is such an incredible place and I have been blessed to know you all.

As time moves on the painful reminders have turned into gorgeous ways we can allow Angelina’s memory to live in and through us each day. From helicopters, to butterflies, tattoos, road races and mud runs she may not be here in flesh but she is always with us in spirit.

Blessings, Michelle

 

 

 

 

Half Marathon Training

Greetings Friends, These first four weeks of training have flown by so quick and I am coming up on my 6 mile long run this week. I am excited as I have forgotten how much of an outlet running is for me and how it gives me time to unplug and process. If you are behind on reading you can catch up on my first 3 weeks of Half marathon training here:https://livefitwomensfitness.com/2015/02/21/half-marathon-training-2/ I have been trying to perfect my head stand which is one of my 2015 goals. I have just really been amazed at with time, consistency and a weight lifting plan how strong I have become. I love weights and the many benefits of weight lifting. I have written about it before which you can read here: https://livefitwomensfitness.com/2013/08/13/why-weights-part-1/

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Practicing my head stand

Over the years I have really realized that health isn’t being bone thin. I ran throughout high school and college and my goals mainly focused on being fast and very skinny. After the birth of my children I really came to a cross roads. I couldn’t run 4-6 miles a day and losing weight seemed hard. When I became a personal trainer I realized that my idea of healthy body composition had been completely off. I needed to find workouts that fit into life with kids. I started incorporating weights and have been amazed at how much better and stronger I feel. I feel so much stronger while running and have realized that strength is not only power but the new healthy. Making slow progress on that head stand. My hubby bought me these lululemon spandex for Christmas and I may be in love. I am wearing them in the picture. I have a workout clothes addiction and these may be the most comfortable spandex I have ever worn! They don’t slide around, are made of such high quality fabric, and are so comfortable! You can find them here:http://shop.lululemon.com/home.jsp?k_clickid=cd3cc474-737f-422c-98c2-8fb10af55ee5&k_trackingid=11×20422&cid=Google&gclid=CjwKEAjwxKSoBRCZ5oyy87DimEcSJADiWsvgz_K2O_xFDpMMxSoC69GGDwSihWjjEhov3ScyIjcVuRoC2MTw_wcB The first few weeks of my training I have been extremely sore and week four I finally was finding some relief. My body has started to readjust to running more and I was able to get outside for a run last Sunday and hit my four mile mark in around 30 minutes. I love using the treadmill in the winter as a training tool. It helps me learn my pace and I often try to power through long runs at my desired mile pace on the treadmill. My goals are an 8:30-8:45 mile pace for the race. Here is weeks 4-5 training plans:

Training Weeks 4-5

Training Weeks 4-5

After my long run on Sunday I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my hip flexor and IT band. Which led me to do a lot of reading and I have spent a lot of time on my foam roller. I think I have really neglected a huge component in my routine which is stretching. Maybe be on the look out for a foam roller post in the near future!! I have listed 5 reasons why stretching is so important:

Don't forget to stretch!

Don’t forget to stretch! This photo is vintage. My oldest was helping me touch my toe!

1. Reduces risk of injury 2. Enhances muscle performance (allowing you to get a better workout in the next time you workout because your muscles aren’t tight) 3. improves your posture and prevents back pain 4. Helps keep joints healthy 5. Provides physical and mental relaxation I took it easy today and plan to stretch more tonight. Circuiting through my stretches 3-4x holding each stretch for 15-20 seconds. I always listen to my body and rearrange my running schedule to allow my body more rest if I feel it needs it. I often tell my clients this. I swapped days and will be doing my repeat day tomorrow. Hopefully fingers crossed my hips and IT band will feel better after being more intentional and consistent with my stretches! Here are weeks 6-7 training plans: IMG_3261 Are you training for any race this spring? Comment below on how training is going!? I really need to register for my race!! Blessings, Happy Running If you are looking for accountability, help with your fitness goals or a weight training program tailored to your needs lets connect!

Half-Marathon Training

Greetings Friends,

If you missed week one of training you can catch up on this post: https://livefitwomensfitness.com/2015/02/12/half-marathon-training/

It is so cold here and the snow just keeps falling, falling and falling. Not the greatest recipe for the opening week of training as I want to stay curled up on the couch with coffee, my leg warmers and a good book.

This week I put one foot in front of the other as I began my half-marathon training. I had a fair amount of days that I wasn’t feeling my run but after completion I was loving the endorphin rush and boost of positive energy.

Here’s a recap of the week:

Week one Half Marathon Training

Week one Half Marathon Training

I always loved interval workouts and Wednesday I hopped on my treadmill and ran my 400 repeats. I broke down my desired mile pace for the half-marathon and my time for sprinting the 400’s (2:07) and took about a 3-4:00 minute break of running in between to fully recover between all four of the 400’s. I was able to finish up this interval (track repeats) workout in around 30-32:00 minutes. Thursday I ran 3 miles in around 26:00 minutes. Running on the treadmill has been a little hard to jump back into, but over time I will start to get used to it again.

Sunday I hit the local gym with my sister in law and we ran 3 miles on the treadmill in around 27 minutes.

I want to encourage you this week with this: Don’t Let comparison steal your joy.I was working with a training client who has done absolutely amazing. She started comparing herself to other women in the gym. I stopped her in her tracks and I said “Don’t ever compare yourself, stop and look how far you have come.” She is able to lift heavier, run farther, and hold yoga poses longer. My friends don’t waste your time comparing and worrying about everyone else’s journey. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other and running your race. Those comparisons creep up everywhere from the gym, to at work, church, and between you and your friends. God has us exactly where he wants us and the beauty is found admist the struggle of overcoming the tough stuff, whatever it is in your specific life. This reminds me of such an important lesson this week. To stop comparing my journey to others and to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

“May The Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5

This week my prayer is to try to become better at focusing on how to love like Christ and to pray for his perseverance when I am feeling weak. To appreciate exactly where he has me in this specific season and to not allow comparisons creep in to steal the joy the Lord fills me with. 

Here is my half-marathon schedule for weeks 2-3:

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Happy Running, Blessings

Michelle

Half Marathon Training

Greetings Friends,

IF Gathering 2015

IF Gathering 2015

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the IF Gathering. You can find out more about what the IF Gathering is here: https://ifgathering.com

The IF means, What IF God is real… then we need to start living like it.

I was so incredibly encouraged by these women. They are gathering, equipping  and encouraging us as women to live out our purpose in Christ.

Over the last almost nine months I have been going thru an up and down battle and grieving the loss of my daughter. You can read Angelina’s story here: https://livefitwomensfitness.com/our-down-syndrome-journey/ I can see a small glimmer of hope and a light on the horizon on some days. While others I shrink back, pull the covers over my head and just don’t want to face the day.

Isn’t it funny how God he always shows up. He never has failed me and the very first opening segment at the IF Gathering was about a women who lost her two sons in a horrific tornado in Arkansas.

How is she breathing, how is she sharing, how is she facing each day? I kept thinking to myself? Tears just flew of my quivering chin as I sat and listened to her journey through grief and loss.

Then as her session of sharing was near ending she said something that has just stuck with me: “My boys are healthy, safe, they’re with the one person that loves them more then me-Jesus! Selfishly I want them here. But it will be like a moment to them.”

She is right, Angelina is in the arms of the one person that loves her more then our family.

I can grasp this, but am I ok with it yet? Maybe…..it’s taking time and on some days time means healing while on other’s I have such an intense longing to be with my sweet baby.

Towards the end of the conference, Jennie Allen asked: Pick a word for 2015 that describes the step of faith you want to take:

I sat and prayed so intently, worshiping, and learning from these women. I was asking God how do you want me to move forward. I’m not ready to let go, I’m not ready to move on.

I felt him say, “GO, BE, Be Still,Trust me, and RUN Michelle.” Run Your race.

The nights Sky after the conference ended

The nights Sky after the conference ended

All these years my life verse has been: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 

I kept saying I am running, “Right, God.” You have set this out before me this really hard race and I’m doing it, “Right?”

My answer  has been right in front of me all along. I came back to this verse and kept reading:

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you don’t grow weary and loose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

He loves us so much: “He endured the cross for us.”

He wants us to consider it pure joy when we face trails to produce perseverance in us. He lets perseverance finish it’s work so we may be complete and mature lacking nothing. He has plans to prosper us to give us a hope and a future. James 1: 2-4, Jeremiah 29:11

I have been growing weary because I haven’t been running to HIM, I been running this race by merely keep HIM in mind and reading his word.

All this week I feel him saying: “RUN TO ME!” “TRUST ME” “LOOK TO ME first, MICHELLE.”

So.. Thats what I’m going to do each day I am going to Run to his arms. I am going to look to him first and stop trying to handle this burden of grief on my own hands. I am going to trust, be who he has created me to be, and be still as I allow him to work powerfully in my life. I can’t do this on my own and without him I would be bare lying on the floor without hope.

I have really felt God calling me to just run physically and spiritually. I was a runner throughout college and I coached  track. I haven’t trained seriously for awhile and for me it’s a time where I connect with God.

My run is when I unplug from reality listen to worship music (somedays christian rap radio:0) and connect with God. I pray, thank him, ask for forgiveness, and listen. I haven’t done this in sometime and I am ready to have that back. Writing has also been a very therapeutic way to help as I process through sorrow and grief.

It’s never easy to get back into a fitness routine but I know that he will give me the strength. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Each week I am going to post my weekly half marathon workouts, encouragement, tips and scripture verses. I hope you can journey right alongside with me.

I am ready to Run this race well and to him. I have a long way to go as I continue to journey through grief  but the best I can do is continue to move forward, to run and to share how great God is. 

Today I will share my first week of training with you and will be back to update this series weekly on Wednesday or Thursday.  I am a seasoned runner and this is an intermediate to advanced training plan. You ask why bootcamp and full body strength on monday? Well I teach a bootcamp/full body strength class on mondays and I have to figure this into my training as I workout with my classes. Your training may look different but please share this journey with us as we can encourage hold accountable and run this race together both in the physical and spiritual. (maybe you are training for a 5k or just starting to workout) Each of our races are unique to our purpose in Christ Jesus.

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Half Marathon Training Week 1

“Remember it’s always crucial to warm-up your body prior to working out and cool down the body, stretch once you have completed your workout. I am not liable to any injuries/health issues that result from exercises from this site. Consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any workout regimen. If you feel pain or any discomfort while exercising stop immediately.” 

Blessings and I’m excited to dedicate this time to God and share this journey with you. Week one starts on Monday, Let’s do this!

Michelle

 

 

 

Four Ways to Stay Motivated All Year Long

Greetings Live Fit!

It’s February  and I’m sure you have seen countless buzz words floating around the internet since the first of the year highlighting “new years resolutions.” I feel like everywhere I turn from my inbox to the television that I hear the New Year, New You push.

I love the buzz, the energy, the gym being packed and people are aiming to live a more fit and healthy lifestyle.

As I work with personal training clients, teach group fitness classes and motivate myself to stick to my own personal workout plan I continually ask myself how can I encourage and motivate people all year long?

Personal Trainer Michelle shares about Four Ways to Stay Motivated All year long

Personal Trainer Michelle shares about Four Ways to Stay Motivated All year long

Below are four tips that I came up with to help you Stay motivated all year long:

1. Believe in yourself. Have confidence that you can do anything you put your mind to. That confidence brings a positive energy that will keep you from negative feelings about your workout that may un-motivate you to stick to the new excitement you first felt when you were beginning to feel good about consistency and striving to live a fit and healthy lifestyle.

2. Love what you do. This is going to look different for every single person. In this day and age there are so many options when it comes to working out. Maybe you just want a personal trainer to do the work for you and prepare your workouts, maybe you like doing dvd’s in the comfort of your home, or holding poses longer in Yoga. Try a little bit of everything(for some people variety is what they like!) and narrow down the one thing that absolutely makes you feel like you want to keep coming back for that endorphin rush.

3. Find the accountability of a partner. That person who meets you at the gym at 5am is pretty special. You aren’t going to want to let your partner down and this is a way to motivate you to get to your workout and have someone to share in the journey right alongside you. You can text and encourage each other every step of the way.

4. Set realistic short-term goals. Think of one extremely big long-term goal. (write it down on a notecard RIGHT THIS SECOND and put it up on your computer screen or a place you will see it often). Now each month of the year set two very realistic short-term goals that will help you move closer to you long term goal. By Making small changes each month of the year you will begin to see improvements and this will give you the confidence to keep that healthy energy and motivation all year long.

What motivates you? How can you keep that motivation all year long?

 

Make 2015 the year you said “I Did.” instead of “I should”

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Blessings, Michelle

If you are in need of an accountability partner or unsure where to start on your health and wellness journey please don’t hesitate to contact me below:

 

Cook With Michelle Thursday: Homemade Wedding Soup

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Good MORNING!

It is blustering cold here. My oldest has a snow day and I want to stay wrapped up in my bathrobe and drink coffee all day. I have wedding soup cooking on the stove and the house smells immaculate as the wind gusts bang against our windows and the girls clang around in pretend high heels and frozen dresses.

As a new season of resolutions and goals begins, my husband and I have really made a commitment to cut out snacking and eating out in the New Year.

Evening snacks are our nemesis. We used to be in a very good grove when it came to preparing a meal plan, eating clean, not snacking past 8pm and limiting our eating out as a family to one time per month.

But, life happens. Right. It throws you for a loop and some of our good eating habits sustained through a difficult season while some of the negative ones returned.

You learn from setbacks and mistakes and use them as knowledge to become better.

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Soups are great to freeze for future lunches

One thing I love to do is prepare meals for lunches and freeze them. Easy and quick to grab when you are in a rush and this also prevents my husband from buying his lunch. I feel the winter can be a hard time to fit your daily serving of vegetables and soups are a great way to get those servings of vegetables in.

Here is my homemade wedding soup recipe:

Ingredients:
1 bag of celery
1 bag of carrotts
1 full chicken
1 3lb can of chicken broth
meatballs (you can make your own or buy tiny meatballs) I cheat sometimes and buy a frozen pre-made bag at a little mom and pop Italian Store in town
escarole (we buy it frozen at the Italian Foods store)
Romano cheese (I also buy this at the local Italian store, can you see the trend that we love Dioguardi’s)
salt
pepper
Acini De Pepe 1lb

Cooking Directions:
I created some of my own chicken broth by boiling the entire chicken in water; enough to cover it a few inches. I cooked on medium to low for 2-3 hours. I removed the chicken (carefully) and let it cool. I bought a Ninja last year at target and am in love with how it dices the vegetables for soups and salads and it is a huge time saver. I placed the carrots and celery in the ninja one at a time and diced them up. I ladled out any remaining chicken and made sure the broth was ready for cooking. I added the 3lb can of broth and diced veggies. Once the chicken was cool I shredded it and added it back to the pot of soup. Add meatballs, Romano cheese, salt, pepper (to taste), and escarole.

Cook the carrots and celery until soft. Boil the pound of pasta separately and strain. Add to soup once cooked and ready.

Enjoy, What’s your favorite winter soup? Hope you will enjoy this Wedding Soup recipe and that it keeps you warm on this cold winters day!

Fitness Tip: 1 cup of escarole is rich in fiber, vitamins K, A, and C. It can help aid in prevention of osteoporosis and hypertension. Dark leafy green vegetables like escarole may produce healthy eye health and prevent development of cancers.

Blessings, Michelle

 

 

Homemade Wedding Soup

Homemade Wedding Soup