Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie The Combination for Inspiration

Overcoming Obstacles in Your Fitness Journey

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Overcoming Obstacles

Over the winter, not a day went by that I wasn’t met with some kind of obstacle preventing me from reaching my goals. There always seemed to be some unplanned, unimaginable catastrophe, or a last minute change of plans that somehow burgeoned into a major dilemma that required me to drop everything I was planning to do. Sure, some of it was in my head (I’m exhausted. I need a break. I just want to curl under a blanket and read. It’s too cold. Too hot. Too early. Too late. I have too much to do. Tomorrow. Monday. Next week.)

But other times, there’s situations beyond your control. Just being in a relationship, working full-time, and having kids, can completely blow up all your good intentions. I can’t tell you how many times I drove home from work and cheered myself on the entire way home: “I’m throwing my gym clothes on and immediately going downstairs, turning on the music and working out. No One Will Bother Me! Woo hoo!”

Then you get hit with “I have a science project due tomorrow.” “I had a huge fight with So-n-So in school today.” “The washing machine broke.” “I’m working late, you’ll have to start dinner.” “Can you drive me to my friends house?” The list goes on and on, and I’m sure you have many phrases to add to this list. How are you supposed to keep in shape when things keep popping up?

There is always an alternative plan, another path, another way to fit in what you need to do, but it does take organization and planning. Search through your schedule and see what’s possible. I remember years ago, after my 2nd daughter was born, I NEEDED to get back in shape but with two small kids, there was no time. Back then, I realized that I didn’t need to sit in the cafeteria for an entire hour eating and yacking about drama and gossip, and other negative conversations. I found a local gym less that 10 minutes away and decided to work out on my lunch hour. I had it all planned out. 9 minute drive, 1 minute to change clothes, workout for a half hour, change back into work clothes, 9 minute drive back, 10 minutes to eat my salad. Totally doable and didn’t take away any time from my family or my long to-do list. I found sitting in the cafeteria was actually a waste of a good hour! I did this for over 6 years.

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After many, many years, of running on my lunch hour, I decided to try hitting the gym after work. It worked perfectly in the beginning. I changed into my gym clothes before I left work, drove straight to a gym 10 minutes from my house that was on the way home, worked out for a half hour, and went home. Loved it. I got my workout in before reaching home and dealing with any problems. There’s always a way!

When I started writing my books, the problem was in my head. I loved writing and wanted that more than the gym. It was weird at first because weightlifting was always part of my life – for almost 30 yrs. But I wanted to write more. And let me tell you – I found MANY ways to fit in the writing: very early in the morning, late at night, on my lunch hour, I’d even jot down ideas and scenes while driving, waiting in a Dr’s office, while my children did their homework. Suddenly there was pockets-of-time that were never there before.

This past year though, after publishing my third book, I had enough. Sure, coming up with ideas, characters, and scenes was fun, but everything else was becoming a chore, and my family was being neglected, I was moody & miserable and I hadn’t seen my friends in forever. I wanted my life back but found it harder to get back into it this time. I struggled all winter.

I bought myself a huge DVD exercise set for Christmas that I loved, but when I came home from work on many occasions, my younger daughter was either in the den doing homework with her books spread all over the rug where I needed to work out, or my older daughter brought the kids she babysat for over our house to hang out. My workout room was converted into an instant playroom.

Another time, I came home from work and everyone was actually in their rooms! I tiptoed into my room, threw on comfy clothes and snuck down stairs and saw this:

tea party

My full-gym was converted into some kind of tea party for my daughter’s dolls, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it.

Another time, I decided to do walking lunges around my entire basement which is huge and spans the entire length of my house. As I was well into my set, about 10 reps in, I turned the corner and came in contact with this in my way:

base

Apparently, this part of my basement was converted into a classroom.  (As I’m writing this, my husband just called me to tell me our dryer isn’t working! I give up). Which reminded me of the time my dryer broke:

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Anyway. There will always be roadblocks, challenges, obstacles. You HAVE to come up with a new plan. Even if they keep happening (and they will) get to work and devise a new strategy. Grab a pen and paper, a calendar, a scheduler, anything you need and figure it out. It’s better when you write it all down and can see it come together right before your eyes.

I recently switched my workouts to the morning, which is working well. I get up at 6am, which isn’t too bad – everyone is still asleep – workout for a half hour in my basement and jump in the shower. It starts my day on a positive note and keeps my eating on track too.

I mentioned on my Facebook Page a while back that one day when I had a lot to do when I came home, but NEEDED to get my workout in before I seriously lost it, I tried this:

I did one set of tricep dips, then started dinner. Then another set and watered the hanging baskets. Then another set while cleaning up the kitchen and setting the table.
Then I did a set of biceps, cleaned the litter box, then another set, then brought garbage out to street, then another set while straightening up the den.
It felt good. I was getting my workout in and still doing everything I needed to do after work. Instead of resting between sets, I cleaned up.
I woke early this morning and decided to do the same thing again. I did a set of chest presses, then got my clothes, makeup and hair things, ready in the bathroom. Another set and then emptied the dehumidifier, another set and cleaned up the kitchen, a set of pushups and then I packed up my car with everything I needed for work. I just kept doing this until it was time to go in the shower. I only managed 2 sets of back, (I ran out of time) but felt good that I worked out almost my entire upper body AND got things done around the house.
I can’t do it all, but there is always a way out. Always a brand new plan to try. Even if you have a bad day, a bad week (or two) just keep trying.

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I’d like you guys to find a pocket planner that has a time schedule. Look over your day and find certain times of the day, certain hours, where you can squeeze in workouts, runs, gym classes, etc. Then make time on Sunday’s to plan out your week of meals. If that’s too much, plan out your breakfast for the week, and then create healthy snack ideas for the following week. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit and soon you will see it’s doable. You can do something like this: (Whatever works for you).

6:00am – Work out Abs for a half hour

6:30am – Drink 2 glasses of water in bathroom

8:00am – Breakfast: 1 egg, turkey, onion, tomatoes, peppers, with 8oz milk

11:30am – Run up and down stairs at work for 3-4 minutes. Drink 2 cups of water

12:00am – Snack: Kashi Go Lean cereal with 4oz milk, blueberries

2:00pm –  Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, 2 more cups of water

2:45pm – Walk around building before going back into work

7:00pm – Dinner: Salmon with asparagus

7:45pm – Go for a 1 mile jog

You can play around with the schedule and see what would work for your day. Everyone is different. But, sometimes when you write it down, it actually seems possible.

What do you do to overcome your obstacles? Do you schedule things? How do you balance exercise & eating healthy?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Don’t Forget the Chobani Mezi Dips!

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More Benefits of Greek Yogurt! 

All of you should know by now, how much I love Chobani Greek Yogurt. I use it in my protein shakes, in desserts, dips, and for breakfast & snacks. I even wrote a whole blog post on it here. So I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard they created their own ready-made dips! I’ve used plain Greek Yogurt to make homemade dips on several occasions (any opportunity to make things healthier, right?) I love taking classic recipes and tweaking them to give them a powerful punch.

What about those times you bring a bag of baby carrots to work? Do you pour salad dressing into a tiny Tupperware cup? No need to anymore. Chobani has introduced their line of healthy, delicious dips. The next time you need a dip for you or your children, don’t forget the Chobani Meze Dips!

Introducing New Chobani Mezé™ Dip

Globally inspired flavors blended with Greek Yogurt and real vegetables.

Chobani Meze Dip: 1g Fat, 25 Calories, per 2 Tbsp serving.

Read the ingredients in your dips. Are they loaded with chemicals and preservatives? Do they sneak in extra fats and oils? Chobani Meze Dips are made with natural, non-GMO ingredients, and no artificial flavors or preservatives. Interested? Here’s 4 flavors you can ‘dip’ into this week.

 

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CHILI LIME

 

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THREE PEPPER SALSA

 

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SMOKED ONION AND PARMESAN

 

THREE PEPPER SALSA

 

Important Facts About Chobani Mezé™ Dip

 

I love, love this info-graphic! Get all you colors in!

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Football season is here, and whether it’s exchanging chips for carrots or crackers for cauliflower, what simple ways do you “dip” healthier?

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Results of the Fed Up to Fabulous Challenge!

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First of all, thank you to all of you that followed my daily rant and supported me, as well as each other, through this journey. For those of you that are just tuning in, back on Memorial Day weekend I started a Fed-Up to Fabulous Daily Rant on my Facebook page. Here is my very first post on this: Click Here The challenge started on Memorial Day weekend and ended on Labor day weekend. 3 months to make significant changes in our health.

I was sick and tired of feeling like a big lump. I had published my 3rd book and the stress of it put me over the edge. I gained weight, lost muscle, stopped working out, lost a ton of hair and started feeling depressed. I clearly remember going to the Outlets with my family a little before Christmas and there was a giant Christmas tree set up in the center of the shopping area. What a great place to take a family picture! But, as had become my norm, I was dressed frumpy. I didn’t feel comfortable in my clothes anymore and reverted to wearing big, baggy clothes. I was wearing a big, old sweater that day and my daughter was so fashionable. She convinced me to buy new clothes so that we could take a picture before the movie, and just the task of trying on clothes made me feel worse. I looked at myself in the mirror, unsure why I let myself go.

aaaa

I did nothing though. Nothing for the next 6 months. When Memorial day weekend came, and I had to put on a bathing suit, I had had enough. I tried jogging around the block and felt even more disgusted. I knew the time had come. I had reached rock bottom. I started this challenge hoping to inspire others as I kept myself accountable by posting on my Facebook page.

Posting to the public all the time kept me focused, excited, and pushed me. I’m here today to post my results and hope that all of you that went on this journey with me, will post your results as well. Here we go.

  • I feel better. I know that sounds lame, but I truly feel that is the basis of everything. If you feel good, you want to do more to keep that feeling going and make yourself the best person you can be. Improve yourself even more. We are not here to just go through the motions. We were given the gift of life and we are here to do something wonderful. For ourselves – for others. No more hiding under baggy clothes for me!
  • I feel stronger. Again, you might be saying “who cares”.  I was leaving the gym the other day, and I could feel my whole body moving in perfect alignment. I felt tough. Strong. Powerful. My posture was better. I stood up tall, straight, and felt like a warrior. I definitely didn’t feel that way 3 months ago.
  • I can fit into my old clothes again. I had 2 skirts that were too tight around the waist and I couldn’t zip them up all the way. I had a shirt that had buttons from my neck to the waist and the one by my belly button was always too tight and I had to undo it half-way through the day and close my lab coat to hide it. I had this gorgeous new, black dress that I wore for a party 2 years ago and when I later saw the pictures, I was blown away at how flabby my arms got. Gone was the muscle definition and toned arms. I hadn’t bought new clothes in so long because I didn’t care anymore. I finally went last year with my daughter and the normal size I usually wore was too tight. I should have bought my normal size and lost the weight but, like others, I said “I won’t lose the weight, ever, so I might as well buy a bigger size.” Well, that shirt can now be buttoned, the new clothes I wasted money on are too big, and I look good again in that black dress! I was so excited, I went out and bought all new clothes Friday night. I got rid of a ton of really old clothes!

111111 8yrs ago

  • I can fit into my running shorts again. When I used to be in my top shape, I wore barely anything to the gym. To be able to wear those clothes out in public was inspiring in itself. When you see how you alone transformed your body, you want to stare at it, show it off. Plus, I know it sounds dumb, but when you work out in clothes like that, you work out harder. The past 2 years I wore baggy T-shirts and leggings to work out. The first month I worked out in my basement over the summer, I went downstairs in my pajamas with no shoes and socks. I was half asleep and couldn’t care less. One day, I put on one of my old gym outfits: shorts & a tank top, and my workout soared. I pushed myself like you wouldn’t believe. No more baggy PJ’s for me. It sounds superficial, but wearing flattering workout clothes really does something to your mind. You WANT to work out harder and push yourself farther. The ultimate test: Labor day weekend I set up a date to work out with my buddy Joe, and I wore my workout shorts and a tank top. I was nervous at first, but after 2 solid hours of lifting weights with him, I felt empowered!
  • I am eating healthier. Despite being a Registered Dietitian, I stopped eating clean. From lack of workouts, my metabolism slowing down, and feeling miserable, I was always cold and wanted comfort food. That all changed. The most important element was planning my meals ahead of time and distracting myself when I wanted to munch on something bad. I still like my sweets, but the amount of bad foods I ate has plummeted and good foods have replaced them. I enjoy food shopping now and love planning out meals. My hair started growing back, too!
  • I lost 7lbs. I had weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life. I know that’s not a lot, but I am only 5’1″. So many people told me that weight gain is normal at my age and to just deal with it. I refused to listen to them after a while. There are so many fit women in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and beyond. Maybe others gained all the weight because they too gave up and assumed this was the normal part of aging. Sure our metabolism slows down. Sure many of us become less active. But, what if I became more active and built my muscle back up, thereby speeding up my metabolism? I tried and I did!
  • I lost 4% body fat. This is key. When you diet and do not exercise, you WILL lose muscle, and you can never get that lost muscle back without lifting weights or doing some type of resistance exercise. If I lost weight but my body fat stayed the same, that wouldn’t be good. I knew weightlifting was important. Cardio alone will not build the muscle you need. I hear so many people tell me that they will work out ONCE they lose the weight. They end up dieting, lose a few pounds, lose precious muscle, go off the diet, and gain fat back. I have people tell me they will do cardio now, and once they lose weight, then they will lift weights. Again, you are wasting time, losing muscle, and setting yourself up for slowing down your metabolic rate, making it so much easier for you to gain the weight back. Lift weights. LIFT WEIGHTS. I can’t stress it enough.
  • I joined a gym again. The changes from my short term goals (above) have pushed me to make new goals, and motivated me enough to know that “I can do this. That I can go even farther.” Just as the 3 month challenge ended, I received a postcard in the mail from my old gym asking me to come back for 3 months for $30. I can spend that much in Target in less than 3 minutes! So I went down the next day and signed up. In the next 3 months I plan to take cardio classes on the weekends, (since it is starting to get colder here again in New York), lift heavier weights than I have at home, and push myself to the next level. 3 month stages of goals is perfect for all of us, with a longer goal at the end of 1 year. Small steps leading to big steps.

20160919_071455 The Black dress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve accomplished a lot in 3 months and I am so glad I pushed myself through it. Yes, it was hard in the beginning, but that’s because I was out of shape and miserable. I feel inspired now to do even more. One last thing that I feel is truly important. Some might find it superficial, but it’s so important to feel good about yourself. For such a long time I hated pictures of myself. I half-heartedly got ready for work every morning, not caring what I looked like. Buying new clothes on Friday has me excited to dress for work tomorrow. I even went out last month and got a real haircut with layers and angles. My Brady Bunch hair had to go. I’m even putting highlights back in my hair next weekend. I started wearing jewelry and mascara again, too.

I think it’s all part of the package. A catch 22. If you feel good, you take better care of yourself. If you don’t feel good, you don’t care how you look anymore. But, it shows on the inside and outside. I was miserable last year. I’m sure I was a big Debbie Downer for sure. No amount of primping was going to make me look or feel good because I was faking it. You can’t really fake a smile in a picture. It shows. I can look back at old photographs and can clearly see when I was on top of the world, and when I was completely stressed out.

How about you? How did you do over the past 3 months? Make any changes? See any results. I’d love to know.

I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo, author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it.

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Black Bean Edamame Burgers

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bean

Black Bean Edamame Burgers

Tired of hamburgers by now? Can’t bare to eat another one? Looking for something healthier? Something with more fiber? Are you vegetarian and can’t eat the piles of burgers, dogs, and sausages everyone serves? Well then, I have the perfect dish you can make for yourself, or your guests. You can even make extra and store in your freezer.

RECIPE:

Ingredients:
Two 15oz cans of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp each of Cumin and Garlic powder
1/4 tsp each of Black Pepper and Chili Powder
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Frozen Edamame, thawed and drained
2 cups Roma Tomatoes, chopped, drained, divided in half
4 TBSP Chopped Cilantro, divided in half
4 Green Onions, trimmed and chopped fine, divided in half
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Oat Bran
1/2 TBSP Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup, finely ground Triscuit Crackers
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of Sea Salt & Black Pepper (salsa)
1 Firm Avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place back beans in a large bowl and mash well
  3. Place all seasonings and salt in a small bowl and grind until fragrant
  4. Add Seasonings, Edamame, 1 cup Tomatoes, 2 TBSP Cilantro, 2 Chopped Green Onions, Olive Oil, Oat Bran, and Soy Sauce to black bean bowl. Mix well. Mixture should be fairly stiff.
  5. Using half cup measuring cup, scoop up bean mixture and shape into patties. Roll each patty into Triscuit crumbs. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve with salsa:
  6. Salsa: In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 cup Tomatoes, 2 TBSP Cilantro, 2 Green Onions, Juice of 1 Lemon, the pinch of Sea Salt & Black Pepper, and Avocado. Mix well. Serve with Black Bean Patties.

Okay, so let’s run through what you have to do. First thing first, I took 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained them and then mashed them in a bowl.

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Then I ground up the seasonings in a small bowl, put that aside for a second, and then added the tomatoes, edamame, cilantro, green onions, oat bran, soy sauce, and olive oil, along with the ground seasonings to the black bean mixture.

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*I recruited my younger daughter to help me with the Edamame. You can definitely buy it already out of the shells, but everytime I do that, my daughter gets mad and says “I wanted to do that part.” So, this time I bought the frozen Edamame in a bag, cooked it, and then when it cooled, she popped all the soybeans out of their shells.

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After smooshing everything together into normal sized patties (they will NOT shrink like regular burgers – keep that in mind) you cover them in whole wheat crackers. I used Triscuit since they only have 2 ingredients, and I love their taste!

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Then place them on a baking sheet. You should cover the baking sheet with parchment paper, which I could not find at first, so I cooked them without it, and just sprayed the baking sheet with olive oil spray. (Of course I found the parchment paper later on).

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While that cooks for 15-20 minutes I make the salsa to put on top. That’s the best part to me. I love avocado.

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Yum! Do you have any healthier versions of your favorite BBQ foods? Any great vegetarian suggestions?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Delicious & Healthy Desserts You Can Make Quickly

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desserts

Delicious AND Healthy Desserts? Isn’t that an oxymoron? No, Never. So many healthy recipes taste delicious, and I’m here to share two of my favorites with you. I’ve made these for parties (and for myself) and they’re a big hit, take minimal time and taste so good! The best part is, who wants to turn that oven on in this heat? These require NO baking!

An easy one that you can make as you want it, is this one:

blueberries My Berry Tarts.

Buy a Keebler Ready-Crust Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust (I think they’re $1.oo!) and whenever you’re in the mood, plop some Vanilla Greek Yogurt in, some berries of your choice, and voila! You can even drizzle a little chocolate syrup on top if you want.

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Another great one, is this Mini Berry Cream Pies.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 15 frozen mini phyllo cups (1.9-ounce package)
  • 15 fresh blueberries
  • 15 fresh raspberries

phyllo

PREPARATION

Beat cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add sugar; beat until stiff. Fold in yogurt. Divide the yogurt cream among phyllo cups, keeping the cups in their plastic tray. Top each with 1 blueberry and 1 raspberry. Serve immediately, or chill for up to 4 hours.

That’s it! Cold, sweet, & easy to make.

Have a party and need to bring a dessert that doesn’t look like you stopped at your local 7-11? Don’t know how to bake? Too hot to cook something? Need something quick? These 2 are perfect, AND healthy. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite healthy dessert? Want to share any recipes?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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The Power of Protein Shakes

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final protein shakes

Protein Shakes.

I had a few people tell me that didn’t like oatmeal (neither did I until I tried Steel Cut Oats instead of the ones that come in a pouch.) So I suggested protein shakes and surprisingly, I got a lot of:

  • How do you make protein shakes?
  • I don’t know what to put in them
  • What if I can’t drink regular milk?
  • Where do I get the fruit from?

Um, okay. So, let’s start from the beginning. Protein shakes are a great way to get a ton of nutrients in you pre & post workouts, for meal replacements, and when you don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up a mess from a big, elaborate meal! The best part about them: you can put ANYTHING in them. Any…thing.

What you need:
A Blender
blener
-Ha Ha! That’s it!

You don’t need a Nutri Bullet, Nutri Ninja, a Juicer, VitaMix, or any other expensive machine. Where would you store it anyway? Don’t you have enough gadgets? Isn’t cabinet space in the kitchen limited enough?

I’m going to make the ingredients interesting, delicious, and fun. We’re going to pretend we’re at a Chinese restaurant and you’re going to to choose 1 item from each column. Or 2. Or 3. Because it’s all up to you!

Liquid: I usually use regular milk, but you can use:

  • Soy milk, Coconut milk, Almond milk, Water, Coconut water, Coconut milk, or any Juice. (the calories and carbs pile up pretty quickly with juice though, so I’d go for water instead.) Also regular milk has more protein than all the other milks.

Protein: I use 100% Whey Protein powder (no carbs or fat) but you can also try:

  • Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla). Almond, Cashew or Peanut butter. I’ve even heard people using Silken Tofu, Tahini, and Cottage cheese.

Fruit: Anything goes with this one. Honestly.

  • Everything from berries, papaya, bananas, mangoes, melons, pineapple, to peaches, pears, apples, kiwi, dragon fruit…I can go on & on. Try one you love that I haven’t mentioned and let me know how it tastes!

Veggies: I know what you’re thinking. Ew! But there’s so much sweet fruit added you don’t even taste them!

  • Spinach, Kale, Carrots, Cucumber, and Zucchini.

Healthy Fats: Fat is not bad. It will keep you full longer. Just choose healthy fats.

  • Avocado, Nut-butters, Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Ground Flaxseed.

Make it Spicy: Any of your favorite spices can be added. What do you love?

  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mint leaf or Mint extract, Ginger, Allspice, Cardamon, Vanilla or Almond Extract.

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I know what your next question is: “But Christine!  How do I know what combinations work well together?” You don’t actually. Hee hee. But it’s fun to try new combinations. Remember the strongest flavors will come out on top. Don’t add a TBSP of nutmeg unless you want a mouthful of it. And, bananas or peanut butter will always override the taste of things with less flavor like flaxseed or spinach. But, of course, I will give you some great combos here!

 

My favorite one reminds me of a tropical getaway, so I’ll call it:

Christine’s Island Getaway
pineapple

  1. 8oz Coconut milk
  2. 1/2 cup Pineapple – frozen
  3. 1/2 cup Mangoes – frozen
  4. 1 scoop Whey protein powder
  5. Dollop of Vanilla Greek yogurt
  6. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed
  7. Sprinkle unsweetened Coconut on top if desired

 

Another is full of berries so I’ll call it:

Berry Blast Off
strawberry

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries – frozen
  3. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  4. Dollop of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Chia Seeds

 

Elvis Would love this one so…

Peanut Butter & Banana Burnin’ Love
elvis

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. 1 Frozen Banana
  3. TBSP Peanut butter
  4. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed

 

How ’bout going green?

Kermit the Frog Green Smoothie
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  1. 8oz Almond milk
  2. Handful of Spinach
  3. 1 Frozen Banana
  4. 2 Pitted Dates
  5. 1/2 TBSP Chia seeds
  6. TBSP Almond Butter

 

Saw this one online:

Carrot Cake Protein Shake:

cake

  1. 8oz Carrot Juice (you can also make your own!)
  2. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  3. 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  4. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

 

Need Coffee in the mornin’ to get you started?

Coffee Protein Shake
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  1. 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  2. ½ cup (chilled overnight) Brewed Coffee
  3. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  4. 1 Frozen Banana
  5. Drop of Almond or Hazelnut Extract if desired

 

Okay, so there’s a few to get you started. Which ones were your favorite?
I love hearing from you!

Want more. Here’s a website with 13 Quick & Easy Protein Shakes.  My favorite is #5!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Are you Holistically Hot? You Can Be!

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3DBookCover-updated (1)Your Holistically Hot Transformation by Marissa Vicario

Pre-sale (May 22 – June 5)

My friend Marissa Vicario just released her first book, a wonderful account of her personal journey toward becoming Holistically Hot (aka healthy, fit and balanced), without resorting to deprivation or fad diets. If you or someone you know struggles with confusion around nutrition, yo-yo dieting and self-judgment you’ll definitely want to check this book out! Available now on Kindle & for print pre-order at http://bit.ly/HHTransformation

If you’re tired of fad diets, confused about conflicting nutrition information and sick of negative self-talk and judgment every time you “slip up” or “get off track,” this is THE book for you! Your Holistically Hot Transformation by Integrative Health Coach and Women’s Lifestyle Expert, Marissa Vicario, is available for pre-order through June 5th. With your purchase you get TONS of free goodies like

  1. Marissa’s 3-Minute Breakfasts eBook,
  2. A gorgeous downloadable meal planner,
  3. A signed copy of the book and more.

Please share this post if you have friends who would benefit from this book as well! Trust yourself to make slimming, nutritious and energizing choices without fad diets. Marissa Vicario’s new book is a great resource!

I personally read her book and think it’s not only a great resource, but the behavioral, motivational, and inspirational real-life tips at the end of the book are perfect for everyone that knows what to do, just can’t get their head to participate in the journey.

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So, what do you think? What prevents you from reaching your goals?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Yummy & Nutritious BBQ Ideas

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BBQ tips

Barbeques!

When most people think of BBQ’s, the first thought that comes to mind is fatty meats, greasy appetizers, sugary desserts and calorie-loaded drinks. How are you supposed to stick to your diet when you’re hosting one? Or attending one? But there are many delicious, healthy alternatives that will leave you and your guests full, yet feeling satisfied. For your next BBQ cook up some of these delicious meals, or bring some to your next BBQ. Inspire others to cook & eat healthy, too.

I always tell people to pick their poison. If you can only eat your Aunt Bertha’s delicious potato salad once a year at the family BBQ, eat it. But, don’t choose things that you can get all the time, like chips, store bought macaroni salad, the typical hot dog, etc. Also, eat a little before you go. I hate arriving at someone’s home starving, and there’s no food to be found for the first hour except a bowl of cheese doodles. Right? Eat a small, healthy snack before you go and then choose your menu items carefully.

Instead of the usual burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and the classic potato and macaroni salads, why not come up with some new ideas?

  • Grill chicken breasts or thighs.
  • You can try turkey fillets, and all kinds of fish like salmon, swordfish, and shrimp.
  • Start a new trend. Buy a few bison or turkey burgers or turkey tenderloins. Cook them up and then cut into pieces and serve with toothpicks for your guests to sample—they might have it at their next BBQ.

Kabobs! final kabob

Kabobs are easy and you can be as creative as you like. Anything goes. Look in your fridge and see what you have lying around:

  • Meat: Chicken, steak, salmon, swordfish, shrimp, even Tofu!
  • Veggies: Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, button mushrooms.
  • Fruit: Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples.

Speaking of Veggies…final veggies

You can throw them directly on the grill. Just spray the grill with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray.

  • Ever try roasted Cauliflower or grilled asparagus?
  • Roast corn on the cob, whole portobello mushrooms, and even eggplant.
  • Cut a vidalia onion in half and cook face down.
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half and do the same.

Speaking of Fruits…final fruit

Want a great, delicious, nutritious, low-cal dessert? How do these look? Grill fruit kabobs on the grill as well.

  • You can even grill whole pineapple slices or bananas in their skins on the BBQ.
  • Make a mixed rainbow-colored fruit salad for dessert with: strawberries, mandarin oranges, mangoes, green grapes and blueberries.
  • Make angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.angel2

Need an idea for a side dish to make or bring to a BBQ?final side dishes

Make fresh spinach salads, 3 bean salads, or a Quinoa salad. Quinoa looks like couscous but is high in protein and fiber. Simply cook as you would for rice. Add a can of rinsed black beans, cherry tomatoes and chopped scallions. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and cilantro and voila!

Here’s my favorite Quinoa recipe: Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quinoa-salad-apples-walnuts-dried-cranberries-gouda.aspx

The trick is a lot of food, not a lot of calories! Remember, the real reason you’re there is to enjoy the company and catch up with family and friends. Not to stuff yourself with thousands of unhealthy calories. Then I’ll have to hear it the next day with: “What do you think about this new Detox Cleanse I heard about.” Ugh. If you ate healthy people, you wouldn’t need to cleanse! (Hee hee)

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Want more great BBQ Tips? Check out this FREE Webinar by Guiding Stars – “Healthy Grilling

So, what do you think? What will you try at your next BBQ? What was your favorite idea on here? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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How to Start Your Weekend Off Right

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Have a Busy Spring Cleaning Weekend Ahead of You? Start Your Morning Off Right!

I just wanted to share my favorite breakfast with you that is easy to prepare and takes no time. It’s also high in fiber and protein. And, it keeps me going for hours. I start with some Steel Cut Oats…

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They’re nuttier and crunchier than regular flat oatmeal pieces.

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What I love about oatmeal in general is that it’s like making stew. You can throw just about anything in there. I toss in ground flaxseed which I store in my freezer. I also plop in whatever nuts I have in there too: almonds, walnuts. I even sprinkle some unsweetened coconut flakes in there! My favorite way to get more protein in, is to toss in Whey Protein Powder also. I leave the oatmeal a little watery so that when I add the flaxseed and protein powder, it isn’t dry.

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Have leftover, mushy fruit in the fridge and ready to toss it? DON’T! Cut it into pieces and plop it in the hot & steamy oatmeal. You can also store your “getting-yucky-looking” fruit in the freezer in a tupperware container or tiny snack bags and then when you’re ready to make a protein shake you have frozen fruit all ready to use. No need to add ice.

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One Saturday morning before food shopping, I had no fruit left in my house except grapes. I thought “Ugh, I can’t put grapes in my oatmeal!” Or…can I? Hmmm.

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Let me tell you this was the best oatmeal I ever had!  The grapes were so plump, juicy and flavorful! Best…Oatmeal…Eva! I just cut them in half and tossed them in too.

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I pour all the ingredients into the bowl while I’m waiting for the oatmeal to cook. Yes, it takes about 20 minutes, but on a Saturday morning I’m running around cleaning the house and starting laundry anyway, so I have the time. Once the oatmeal is cooked, I pour the hot stuff into the bowl and mix all those healthy ingredients around. Cooked it too long? No problem, just add a little milk to thin it out.

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YUM!  Now you’re all ready for the gym, that run outside, or to tackle your garden! Enjoy the weekend knowing you started the day with proper nutrition!

What’s your favorite things to add to oatmeal? Have you ever tried Steel Cut oats?

I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Give New Energy to Your Weight Loss Plan with Chobani!

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Chobani Yogurt + Meal Planning + Exercise = Healthy Weight Loss!

As you all know by now, I love Greek Yogurt and recommend it all the time for weight loss, healthier eating, pre & post workout snacks, breakfast options, and as a topping or a condiment replacement. You can use it for just about anything at every meal and snack. The best part: it tastes great and packs a high-protein punch! For those of you that eat it regularly but aren’t sure why it’s so fantastic, or for those that have never tried it, here’s a quick list of some of it’s benefits:

Healthy Benefits of Greek Yogurt

  • Protein! My favorite. Protein is so important in helping you feel full and satisfied after a meal so you don’t grab unhealthy snacks later on. Protein helps build those sexy muscles, too. Regular yogurt contains only 8gms of protein. Greek yogurt has between 10-20gms of protein! As much as 2-3 eggs.
  • Probiotics! Not only does it ensure proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients you’re eating, but it acts as a ‘warrior’ protecting your intestines from bad bacteria that can cause illness and diseases, such as cancer, lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Calcium! As we age, we tend to drink less milk and therefore, take in less calcium which is important for our bones. Osteoporosis=Bad. Calcium and strength training/weight lifting, will ensure your bones absorb plenty of calcium.
  • High Blood Pressure! Dairy is an important element in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Wouldn’t you rather eat delicious yogurt then take another pill?

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“What a great way to start the morning. Create your own combinations. Add berries, nuts, mangoes, flaxseed!”

Delicious Greek Yogurt Ideas & Recipes

  1. Substitute Plain, Fat-free Greek Yogurt for sour cream in tacos
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: mix in a blender with dried cranberries. For veggies: blend in cucumber and dill, or see dip recipe below.
  3. Drizzle in a little honey, cinnamon, and walnuts for a true Greek dessert.
  4. Make a baked sweet potato even healthier with Plain Greek Yogurt dolloped on top
  5. Roll a banana in yogurt, then in healthy, crunchy cereal. Cut into bite sized pieces. You can freeze it, too!
  6. Dip Strawberries or Apples into Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
  7. Smear a whole grain waffle or pancakes with yogurt, then top with your favorite fruit like diced peaches.
  8. Add to your protein shake in addition to milk. See recipe below.
  9. Add fruit to Greek Yogurt to make it even healthier.  Try mangoes, blueberries, or raspberries.
  10. Use Plain Greek Yogurt in place of mayo on your sandwiches, or in tuna/chicken salad.
  11. “Stuff” French toast slices with Greek Yogurt and strawberries.
  12. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

Craving something sweet and unhealthy like doughnuts, cookies, or chocolate? Chobani has a great new line called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch. Why not grab a 100 calorie Greek Yogurt with some crunchy sweetness instead? In addition to the 10gms of protein, it is extremely low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and only has one carb per serving. You can’t find that in doughnuts. It adds fruit and just a dash of sweetness from yummy things like chocolate, cookies, or waffle pieces. Remember, it’s all about moderation!  You CAN have it all. Healthy food, that tastes great, and some sweets. I tried the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle and it tasted just like a chocolate covered strawberry! A much healthier dessert.

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Here’s a great dip. My kids love helping me make this. Like Hummus? Like Edamame? Try:

Edamummus!
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1 1/2 cups cooked, shelled Edamame cooled
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 medium cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 TBSP fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP fat free Plain Greek yogurt
In a food processor combine Edamame, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Process til mixture is paste like and Edamame is finely chopped. Drizzle olive oil and blend until well mixed. Add yogurt and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Tropical Protein Shake

½ cup frozen Mangoes, diced
½ cup frozen Pineapple, diced
8oz Coconut milk
4oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Mix all in a blender, pour and serve.
While you’re at it, make extra and pour into popsicle molds and have a frozen, high protein treat!
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Of course, exercise also plays an important role in keeping your weight under control. While you’re crunching on Chobani Simply 100 Crunch, here’s a cool way to “crunch the numbers” and burn 100 calories by keeping active and having fun. Which is your favorite way to burn calories?
chobani_100cal_12version

Want more Greek Yogurt snack ideas? Want a free coupon to buy Chobani? Visit their Simply 100 website:

http://www.thelightthatsright.com/

Follow the party on Twitter too! #Simply100

So what do you think? Do you eat Greek Yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Any special recipes?

I love hearing from you!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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New Ways to Eat the Foods You Love

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Tired of the Same Old Foods?

Want to eat healthy but not sure what else to come up with that fits into your meal plan? Here’s a list of some of your favorite foods and new ways to eat them.

Banana

  1. Add a half banana and cinnamon to a peanut butter sandwich on 2 Kashi waffles
  2. Bake bananas into bread
  3. Cut a banana in half, spread peanut butter on both sides, slap a stick in between, push together, cover in chocolate and freeze
  4. Roll a banana and peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla
  5. Blend a banana into a protein shake with Greek Yogurt
  6. Add bananas to pancakes
  7. Trifle with bananas, vanilla wafers, and vanilla pudding
  8. Cut bananas into pieces, freeze for 2 hours, blend in blender and eat!  Instant ice cream.

Greek Yogurt

  1. Substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream on tacos and baked potatoes
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: blend together with dried cranberries. For veggies blend in cucumber and dill
  3. Add to protein shake instead of, or in addition to, milk
  4. Plop in some honey and nuts for a true Greek dessert
  5. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

vegan-greek-yogurt1

Tuna

  1. Make tuna salad with with plain Greek Yogurt instead of mayo, and add celery, carrots and/or red onion
  2. Add tuna into pasta salad with fresh crunchy veggies
  3. Mix tuna, avocado and some lemon juice and smear onto a whole grain English Muffin, then add a tomato
  4. Tuna Burgers!
  5. Add walnuts or cranberries to your next tuna sandwich

Whole Grain Cereal

  1. Add whole grain cereal, like any Kashi variety, into Greek Yogurt and fresh berries
  2. Crush the cereal and use as a breading for chicken or fish
  3. Mix with dried fruit for a healthy trail mix
  4. Cereal, milk and fruit can make a great dinner!

Sweet Potatoes

  1. Bake sweet potato and top with plain Greek Yogurt and chives
  2. Mash sweet potatoes with cinnamon or nutmeg and finish with topped pecans
  3. Cut and bake into sweet potato fries and sprinkle with cumin or paprika
  4. Sweet potato and spinach quesadillas http://livehautehealthy.com/2013/02/14/dinner-for-two-spinach-sweet-potato-quesadillas/

So, what do you think? What’s your favorite? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Goals to Strive For in 2016

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Goals 2016

By Christine Ardigo MSRD

Nutrition & Exercise Goals to Strive For in 2016

Okay, my friends. Holidays are over. Your week-long vacation is over. 2015 is over. Back to work and school tomorrow and a whole, fresh new year is ahead of us. This year will be your year to finally meet your goals. And, I’m right there with you. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, Christine, how hard could it be for you? You live and breathe it every day, right? Well, no. Not in 2015 at all. Not so much in 2014 either. Why? What? Huh?

As most of you know, I published two books in the summer of 2014, and just completed editing book 3. Many people ask me how I can possibly work full time, raise two daughters, maintain a home, run a Nutrition & Exercise Website, and write books while keeping in shape. The answer is: I can’t. Impossible. (And, I NEED my 8 hours of sleep at night!) Something had to give and it did. My immaculate house is a little less clean, I spent less time with my daughters and friends, AND, exercising was constantly put on hold for my book. Eating healthy all the time, too.

Now granted, I did lift weights here and there, started running on a treadmill and outdoors, and rode my bike over the summer, but, compared to my 7 days a week of exercising, I was lucky if it was once a week.  My butt has left an impression in my desk chair. I’d write for hours, my stomach would growl, and I’d run upstairs and grab a cookie to shut it up. Not good.

I cannot tell you how much I wanted to just finish this book and be done with it. Most importantly, to get back in shape. Starting tomorrow, I am starting the:

21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!

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STEP #1:

I know what you’re thinking: Does Christine even eat this stuff? Well, over the past 2 years, yes. (Especially the chocolate part!) They say it take 3 weeks to break a habit so tomorrow it begins for me. You don’t realize how fast these calories add up, and it takes FOREVER to burn off. (Especially when you’re sitting on you hiney writing.) So, no more. Hopefully I wont crave chocolate anymore after this and less calories means less I have to work off. I have fallen in love with something else!

PicMonkey Collage

I love these suckers!  Plums and mandarins/clementines. I found that after I eat a meal, I hate that residual taste in my mouth, so I’d always reach for a cookie or something sweet to get rid of it. Now I grab one of these. They’re sweet and cleanse my palate and, even better: healthy, less calories, high in fiber. YUM! So, hopefully the added calories from junk will be gone. That is step one for me. Eating healthier, BUYING healthier food for the house, not eating junk.

Step #2

Exercise! I have belonged to gyms for 30 years, I love ’em. I love the music, the fellow exercisers that motivate me and give me great, new ideas, all the billions of machines. What’s not to like? When I transformed my body several years ago, I used to go to the gym on my lunch hour, and that truly was the best time for me with a 1 & 6 year old at home. I did this every single day for 3-4 years, then when I worked at a gym part time as their dietitian, I worked out there, too. I loved it and I was obsessed! But, after four years of rushing out on my lunch hour, and rushing back, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was draining me. My life had become stressful around then, and I just wanted to rest. Relax. Not run ANYWHERE. I switched to going to the gym after work and this worked for a while, too. Until I started writing my books.

I must say, I love trying new things, and when I fall in love with something, I only want to do that. Like weight lifting, rock climbing, running various races.

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(By the way, I was 41 years old on the left. No excuses!)

Writing became my new passion and that’s all I wanted to do. I’d have my gym clothes in the car, drive within a few blocks of the gym, and then say “No! I’d much rather go home and write that new scene I thought about today.” I tried everything. Working out on weekends. Going directly after work. Working out at home. Biking and running outside. But, nothing would get in the way of writing. Last year, hubby and I bought a home gym for the basement. This was it! We assembled it ourselves and the workout began. I felt great again. February, March, and April I pounded away at the weights. I had two huge reunions coming up in the summer and it was now or never.

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May came and my husband and I were doing so much gardening, ripping out things, relandscaping our entire backyard, and maintaining our pond, that the weights were put on hold. I argued with myself that I was burning so many calories outside, that it was the same as lifting weights. But, by June, I started editing my book. I truly just wanted to finish and get it published, so the weights were put on hold again. I supplemented with jogging and biking around the block. The muscles started to disappear. The muffin top started to appear. Throw in that lovely peri-menopausal “slowing metabolism, while your appetite sores through the roof even though you just ate” and I knew something had to give.

I have almost 3 published books under my belt, but I’ve been miserable. Maybe it was the lack of endorphins I was so used to. Maybe it was my jeans being tighter, my arms not looking as cut, reverting back to old ways of wearing baggy tops (hiding), not being as strong, running out of breath by doing simple things. Who knows, but I had enough. I plan to publish book 3 soon, and I think that will be it. At least for many years. I’ve lost my body, my good mood, time with my family and friends. I kinda want my life back.

So, to jump start my exercise, I had to make a choice. Go back to the gym? Hmm, at this point, winter is here again and I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into that just yet. Start lifting weights with the full gym again? Sure. I have a great set up downstairs and with the book almost behind me, I have no excuses. But, I missed the atmosphere of the gym, and I know I desperately NEEDED cardio. I am so out of breath I’m angry with myself. I can’t even mop my wood floors without huffing and puffing. So, what did I do? I looked into exercise DVD’s. No, not the ones from the 80’s with leg warmers and 2 lb weights. I needed ones to fit my needs. Ones where they had cardio, but also heavier weights, and fun things like Kick Boxing, and Boot Camp. One without annoying background music or voices that after a while you have to turn the volume off, and play the stereo. Well, after much research I found it:

Cathe

http://shop.cathe.com/ICE-s/119.htm

I bought this 7 DVD collection for myself for Christmas and started doing it every day. Cathe ICE. I love Cathe so far, and she inspires me. The music is a techno sound, but low, and no singing. Her voice is motivating without being too smiley and annoying. There is always one girl in the background that does it with a slower, or less strenuous move. You can choose your own weights. They’re using twelve pounds? Use 3lbs. They’re using 3lbs? Use 10. You can do whatever level you’re at. I hurt my shoulder over the summer while gardening and I learned to not do any moves that involves lifting my arms out like I’m flying. My knees have started to hurt (probably from all the sitting) and I know that I need to do any squat/lunge moves slower. I also lose my breath constantly!  But, the great thing about a DVD? You can pause it and catch your breath as many times as you want. And, if that’s what I need to do in the beginning, I do. Also, if you don’t have time to do the full DVD, do as much as time allows and finish it later, of tomorrow. There are 7 DVD’s so I have 7 different workouts to do every week. Some DVD’s also have bonus tracks (like Ab specific) and you can do those too.

I’m not trying to sell anyone on anything. Just letting you know that there’s always another way, another avenue you can try. My goal is to do these every day and supplement with weights in the basement. I hope to have my body back by the summer. In case you don’t know, there are plenty of Youtube workouts you can do as well. When my legs were hurting really bad from all the sitting, I went to my TV upstairs and Googled “Yoga”, and found a ton to do on my giant screen TV.

As a present to you guys, I pledge to post more often. I went from twice a month, to once a month, and now I haven’t posted in almost 2 months. I miss it and I think it will motivate you and me. I might even post quick, short ones here and there to keep you on your toes. If you’d like daily motivational tips, please join my Facebook Page, where I post a little something EVERY day.

So, what are your Healthy Goals for 2016? Share some on here so we can all be motivated. Do you have specific ones? Any tricks any tips?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

Let’s start with the one above. Maybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the artistic designs. But, I love this visual from Parents Magazine for alternative sandwich ideas. I can’t bear to toss it, although I’ve posted it before. I have piles of Nutrition articles and colorful handouts, but this cute little guy always catches my eye. Great sandwich ideas too! Give one a try this week.

 

meal plan 2

This was actually one of my meal plans that I wrote up. I don’t remember what computer system I was using, but you were able to input everything you ate in a day and it would print this out for you. This was basically what I ate while I was trying to drop my body fat down. (I eat 2 Whole eggs now, though, in the morning.) 

Here is Another One: (I use Steel Cut Oats, but couldn’t find it in this computer system). 

meal plan 1

 

Here’s another ‘cute’ little thing I’ve saved over the years. Again, the artistic designs and colors grab me, but it won’t let me throw it out. Every few years I find it and it makes me laugh. I have no idea where I got this from. It must be over 7 years old.

Meal Plan 3

 

I love this visual. Tired of eating “lame-snacks”? Have a Mini-Meal instead. Same calories but you feel like you’re eating something more substantial. 

 

meal plan 4

 

Last one. High Fiber means a lot of things to different people. I have SO many people tell me they eat a lot of fiber and when they give me their daily recall, they’ve eaten 4 baby carrots and some instant oatmeal. No. No. No. Here is a great visual of 3 different Fiber intakes, and how to make yours better. 

meal plan 6

Mmmm. Much better, eh? Big difference. Try to increase your fiber intake this week and let’s see how you do.

Okay, so I hope my little walk down Nutrition-Memory-Lane from my piles of papers helped you again. There’s some great tips here to make some positive changes today. What do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Happy & Healthy School Lunches

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Nutritious, Delicious and Kid Friendly School Lunches

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer, and the school year is going well, so far. This post is dedicated to healthy school lunches and snacks to start this year off right. You have all weekend to plan, shop, and cook!

I actually love when there’s nothing on the school menu for my daughter to eat. Then I can pack her lunch and know that it will be healthier than:

  1. Cheese and Pepperoni Stromboli
  2. Turkey and Mashed Potatoes topped with Nacho Cheese
  3. Meatball Dunkers with Sauce

It also gives me the opportunity to be creative and have a little fun. With childhood obesity increasing, and the money in our wallets decreasing, it’s a great way to provide healthy, less expensive foods. 2/3 of their meal should be fruits, veggies, and whole grains. The other 1/3: lean proteins. Cut foods up into tiny pieces so they won’t waste time doing it themselves. Foods they can pop in their mouths are fun.

 Kabobs

You can basically put anything on a skewer and how much fun is it to eat! Try these combos:

Breakfast

  • French Toast triangles, Peach slices
  • Waffle pieces, Strawberries, Blueberries

Lunch

  • Grilled Chicken pieces, Broccoli and Carrots
  • Shrimp, Snow Peapods, Yellow Pepper strips
  • Turkey slices, Apple wedges

319383_513793095302963_1937870441_n Live Well with Lynn

Wraps

  • Roll up Peanut Butter and Bananas in a Whole Wheat wrap
  • Roll up Turkey slices, Spinach and part-skim milk Mozzarella Cheese
  • Roll up American Cheese and Tomatoes

1620478_10201482252074334_980162669_n                 St. Patrick’s Day Lunch

Sandwiches

  • Swap plain old white bread and rolls for Whole Grain English Muffins, Tortillas, Pitas, mini Bagels, and Triscuits
  • Swap mayo for plain Greek Yogurt
  • Swap sugary Jelly for Bananas and Berries in Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Swap homemade trail mix for chips Recipes: http://greatist.com/health/21-healthier-trail-mix-ideas

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Miscellaneous

All of these pictures were from my friend Jeannine Z and her crafty creations. Make lunch fun for your kids and they’ll be excited to eat. You may not have time to do these lunch creations every day, but once or twice a week or even on special occasions or holidays is entirely doable. If you still don’t have time, throw in a silly note, some stickers, a tiny toy or plastic flower, a fancy napkin or use cookie cutters to cut the fruit, veggies and sandwiches into fun shapes once in a while.

jeannine1Valentine’s Day Lunch

P.S. Because I love Kabobs so much, I will add a few more for snack time and dinner:

  1. Meatballs, Raviolis and Zucchini Kabob
  2. Sweet & Sour Chicken, pineapple, and Red Pepper Strips on a kabob
  3. Angel Food cake, Strawberries and Blueberries on a kabob
  4. Bananas dipped in yogurt and then dipped in Low Fat Granola or crushed Chocolate pieces on a kabob
  5. Apple, Brown Rice-Cakes smeared with Peanut Butter kabobs

P.S. My all time, FAVORITE, school lunches. You gotta check these out! http://www.parents.com/kids/nutrition/lunch/healthy-school-lunches-snacks/

P.S.S For those with a lot more time on their hands then me: Gotta love this one: http://reductress.com/post/bento-boxes-that-will-establish-your-dominance-over-other-moms/

What are some of your favorite lunches to make for your kids? Let me Know!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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From Couch to Gym: An Author’s Path to Fitness!

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1 Jay Walking Tour Banner

Today, I bring you a special guest. My good friend and author, Tracy Krimmer. She has a brand new romance novel that revolves around Nutrition & Exercise and she’s excited to tell you about it. I loved her first book: Caching In, and I especially love how all her books have a fitness related theme. You know I’m all over that! Because of that, and her inspirational story, I bring you her tale of Positive Change:

“Thunder Thighs, Thunder Thighs. Here comes Thunder Thighs! Boom! Boom! Boom!”

I was in sixth grade and Sal (named changed for some reason to protect the jerk) was the new kid on the block – and apparently thought I was fat.

I grew up in a small town and my parents lived in a tiny neighborhood. Often I would take walks to the grocery store or gas station to spend my allowance on little stuff. Whenever I approached Sal’s house, these words exploded from his mouth. He laughed hysterically. Sure, funny for him. Not so much for a twelve-year-old girl.

elephantI’ll be honest. In grade school and high school I wasn’t overweight. Through my teen years, my five foot two (barely) frame hovered around 120-125 pounds. Most of the weight I carried found home on my backside. It still lives there, having formed a community of fat and cellulite. In my twenties, my weight started fluctuating all the way up to 175 (a little over 200 if you include pregnancy weight).

Sal’s comments bothered me, but never to a point I created a dangerous situation of dieting or not eating at all. I came to terms with my weight and it wasn’t until years later I got serious about my fitness and nutrition. But it wasn’t on anyone else’s terms other than mine. I won’t lie – Sal’s words hurt me, but I didn’t get fit because of one jerk.

If I had to pinpoint when it all began, I’d say 2009. Over the years, I had been in and out of “moments” of working out. I’d commit for a week or join Curves for a month, maybe try Jazzercise with a friend. It wasn’t until my husband introduced me to P90X and Beachbody that I found something I loved.

Fast forward to today and I’ve completed P90X, P90X3, Bikini Body Mommy 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 and now I’m in the depths of Slim in 6. In between there I’ve done workouts with Sharon Mann, Jillian Michaels, Gilad, and a few others. I completed one round of C25K as well. I also lost over twenty pounds doing Weight Watchers and learned so much about portion control.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

A lovely chicken & strawberry salad my husband made me.

These days I’m working out and focusing on nutrition. I have a FitBit, which I love, and also record my meals. I eat much more chicken and fish than in the past, and no longer eat macaroni and cheese. I used to be able to eat almost an entire box of it!

A lot of people compliment me on my commitment to working out, but it comes easily to me now. It’s something I love to do and feel out of sorts if I don’t do it, much like my writing. When I wrote my new book, Jay Walking, I wanted the book to be about a mom finding her passion for fitness while still loving herself. I’m well aware I have a kangaroo pouch and I probably always will. My stomach is tattooed with stretch marks, and I really don’t care. I care that I’m fit, healthy, and setting a good example. I can choose to sit on the sidelines, or I can get up off the couch and move. It wasn’t always easy for me, and some say working out isn’t for them. That’s fine. Our passions are different. The most important thing about all this is commitment. Find something you love and commit, and you’ll be happy you did. I promise.

And Thunder Thighs? She’s still here. Just stronger.

jaywalking_cover_loveYou can purchase my new book, Jay Walking, for only $2.99 during the book tour. On August 16th, the price goes to $3.99.

Synopsis:

Chelsea Wyatt, a single mom trying to build a life for her and her son, is sick of the body she sees in the mirror. A daily diet of Cookie Crisp cereal is not doing wonders for her mood or her figure, and it’s time for a change. Setting out to get fit, she commits herself to a daily walking plan, forcing herself to give up her all-sugar and carb diet, a difficult task at her donut obsessed job.

But her plan goes sideways when a stumble on the ice puts her in the arms of Jay, an attractive young man out on a run. They grab coffee together, and Chelsea finds herself thinking about him long after their short meeting. The thought of dating again hadn’t crossed her mind in years, and she doesn’t even know if Jay is available, or if he would be interested in her despite her unfit body.

Just when she has a handle on her new routine, her past catches up with her, throwing her blossoming relationship with Jay and the rest of her life into chaos. Can Chelsea hold onto the people she loves most, or will a wrong turn set her up for failure?

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

There’s also a giveaway! Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Caching In, the first Pastime Pursuits novel, and a Wilson headband:

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Enter the Rafflecopter to win! US Residents only!

Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Tracy Krimmer:

Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her first romance novel, Pieces of it All, released in May 2014 followed in December with Caching In, a romance mixed with the hobby of geocaching. She also has written several short stories.

Find her online at www.tracykrimmer.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

Thank you so much, Tracy.
Any questions for her? You know I love hearing from you!

Christine Ardigo – Author of Cheating to Survive, Every Five Years, and part of the Peace, Love & Romance Anthology

Both_Books_3D_Facebook_Cover_Art REAL ONE

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