Thursday, March 29, 2012

My "Never Give Up" Song

When I get to the gym in the morning half asleep with no coffee (or anything actually) in my system, I put this song on and suddenly I am so determined to do this, to finish this. I'm doing this for me.



Fifteen minutes left to throw me together
For mister right now, not mister forever
Don't know why I even try when I know how it ends
Looking like another "maybe we could be friends"
I've been leaving it up to fate
It's my life so it's mine to make

I ain't settling for just getting by
I've had enough so so for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
Just enough ain't enough this time
I ain't settling for anything less than everything, yeah

With some good red wine and my brand new shoes
Gonna dance a blue streak around my living room
Take a chance on love and try how it feels
With my heart wide open now you know I will
Find what it means to be the girl
Who changed her mind and changed her world

I ain't settling for just getting by
I've had enough so so for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
Just enough ain't enough this time
I ain't settling for anything less than everything

I ain't settling for just getting by
I've had enough so so for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
Just enough ain't enough this time

I ain't settling for just getting by
I've had enough so so for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
I ain't settling no, no, no, no, no, no

So raise the bar high

What's your favourite motivational songs?


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Competitor Friendly Recipe - Salsa Chicken

I had heard of cooking chicken in salsa in the crockpot before, and never tried it out until a few weeks ago. I am HOOKED! This is so amazingly delicious. My husband is asking for it every single day. I'm so excited about it I was showing random people at the gym my lunch and telling them they had to try it. Yeah. That excited! It's the easiest dinner ever.
All you have to do is this:

Take one large jar of salsa. Put two or three chicken breasts (can be frozen, mine I bought fresh and then froze individually) in the crock pot. Put the whole jar of salsa in the crockpot covering the chicken. If it's not covering the chicken, add some water. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. When it's finished, take a fork and shred the chicken.
It may not be pretty, but I promise it tastes awesome!

You can add more chicken, just add more salsa and/or water so it doesn't try out.
I LOVE this served over a serving of brown rice. You can also add black beans if you like. Let me know if you try it!


On Cheat Meals

Last weekend, I hit up a local pub with some friends for a cheat meal. I was ready for something more decadent than protein shakes. I decided on a grilled cheese sandwich with yam fries. It was delicious, but not as good as I thought it would be.

I have mixed feelings about cheat meals. I eat super clean during the week and then sometime on the weekend I'll have one cheat meal with dessert. This is a huge change for me, prior to starting the contest prep, I was having a lot more things that would be considered cheats. It's so easy to justify eating what you want, isn't it? When you really want something, it's easy to make excuses on why you should have it. For me, I would think "I will work this off", "I never have this" (conveniently forgetting I may never have "this" but I do have "that, that, and that" ALL the time) or "It's a special occasion" (What, a Tuesday?)

How to keep a handle on cheats? This is something I really want to figure out for after the competition is over because although it is normal and a little necessary to put a bit of weight back on, I don't want to undo all my hard work. This is what I've learned so far:

1. Keep cheats to ONE meal. For me, I've had meals at the Keg with bread, and whatever I was eating with dessert after and as long as I got back on track first thing the next morning, my progress kept right on track.

2. Only eat what you REALLY love. Don't waste cheats on something that is so/so. Plan out a special meal ahead of time, whether you go to your favourite restaurant or make your fave mac and cheese, just make sure it's something that you really love and will satisfy you. People bug me about this, but I only get one cheat a week so you can bet your ass it's going to be something good!!

3. Always keep your cheat meal in the evening as your last meal. My diet has been so clean that when I have my cheat meal, I usually am SO TIRED after. One time, I'm not even joking, I fell asleep in the parking lot leaving Olive Garden. So this part is fairly easy for me.

4. Friday, Saturday, Sunday is best for cheat meals. If you have a hard time getting back on track after a cheat meal (which is normal, because your body might crave more carbs ect) save it until Sunday night, then have it in your mind that Monday is back to your regular routine.

5. Make your clean food taste GOOD! If you are competing, this does become a little limited. However, you will find certain things you really enjoy that are on your meal plan. When I feel like I need a cheat, I make extra lean ground turkey or beef with homemade taco seasoning (no sodium) and have it over a big bowl of lettuce with salsa! It makes me feel like I am having tacos even though it's keeping me on track. I will be posting recipes that help me stay on track.

I read once that if you did your cheat meal right, you should feel satisfied and ready to get back to healthy food after. Every one I've had has made me feel that way. Eat what you love, enjoy every bite, and move on! :-)


Saturday, March 24, 2012

8 weeks till Bikini!

Today marks 8 weeks before the Western Canadians Fitness Competition (Bikini Division). It seems so far away but I know it's not. When I think I've already been doing this for 12 weeks (I started December 31, 2011), it makes it seem easier, although my works out and diet are getting more regimented.
I want to blog about this, but I don't know how to. It doesn't seem to belong on my regular Life of Taren blog, so I've made a new one. I think I want to keep my Life of Taren blog for fun stuff, and this one is the real how I'm feeling about this competition stuff blog.
8 weeks.
To be honest, I am totally happy. I am having so much more fun with this than I thought I would. Watching my body change has been so bizarre but very cool. It hasn't really hit me yet. I've been so busy I haven't quite had a chance to get dressed up and go out. The last time I did was about a month ago.
This is November 2011:

Let me just be honest for a second. From this time period in my life was probably one of the heaviest I'd ever been. I was doing weights and working out fairly often, but I was super stressed and just could not get my eating together. My starting point in January was something like 151.4. I told you, I was being honest. As much as I look at this picture and somewhat wince, I need to be honest with you guys. I know for a fact that so many people feel this way. I knew at this point that I was planning on doing the competition, so I wasn't that worried about my weight. I do wish I had gotten in better shape for my sister's wedding but I still had lots of fun. 

This is me on February 18, 2012.
The mere fact that I'm wearing this dress means that I already felt better about myself. My sister has been trying to talk me into wearing it for ages and I didn't feel comfortable. I felt great this night! I will be posting more recent photos soon, I honestly just haven't even had time to take any!

I've been preparing for this competition for almost a year. Mentally, I started thinking about it, learning about it, preparing myself for what I knew I would be doing. I think this is a huge factor in why I'm doing so well. I still have a long way to go, but from my starting point, I have lost 17 lbs.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. I am not doing this just for me. Yes, I want to feel great and accomplish something, but more than that I want to show whoever needs it that YOU can do whatever you set your mind to as well. In the past I have been lazy, crabby, depressed, unmotivated, overweight, not toned. I set out to do something and pulled this amazing disciplined dedicated person out of myself. It's like an out of body experience.

My hope in starting this little side blog is that maybe other newbie competitors will read or maybe someone will be inspired to start their own fitness journey. Or maybe it will just be therapeutic for me. Either way, I'm good with it.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm doing something a little crazy...

I've debated so many times whether I should blog about this or not. I knew once I did, there would be no going back. Once I hit publish, everyone will know what I've been trying to do and everyone will know if I don't do what I said I was going to do.

So here goes:

On May 19, 2012 I will be competing in the Bikini Division of a Fitness show. This one to be exact:

I have had this little tug in my heart wanting to do this for over a year, I would say. I never really thought I could do it, but I kept thinking and thinking about it and and before I knew it I was training for it. With help from an amazing trainer/coach (You rock, Claire!) I have been preparing since January and I am now less than 9 weeks out. 

Some of you may be wondering why I would subject myself to weeks and weeks of eating plain chicken and salad and spending hours in the gym. The answer is actually pretty darn simple.

I want to show myself that I can.

For my entire life, I have just gone along, never really giving anything my all. I want to prove to myself that I am capable of this and anything else I put my mind to.

There is one other reason: In doing this crazy thing, I truly hope that I can inspire someone else to pursue their own goals. Maybe it's a fitness related goal, or maybe not. But I hope by working this hard that someone will maybe see what I'm doing and want to work this hard on their own goal. 

I am just a normal girl. I don't have crazy awesome genetics, I was not born with natural athletic abilities. I have to start from square one, just like everyone else. I have to get up each day with determination and discipline to do this. And it's making me realize how strong I am and how little credit I have been giving myself all along. To be completely honest, every single day that I wake up and stick to my diet, complete my workouts on top of normal every day life (ie working two jobs, being a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and just trying to be a good human being) I feel different. I feel like I love myself a little bit more every day. I think this is because I'm giving myself a life that I always wanted. To be a strong, fit, happy girl.

So that is what I'm doing. I'm so loving this journey and I can't wait to see what happens!

Thanks for reading.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Husband Food - Quinoa Pizza Bites

Last year I sort of made my husband hate quinoa. Since it's so easy to make in big batches, and very healthy, I would give him some to take for lunch every day usually with a little low sodium soy sauce. One day, he came home with his empty containers and stated that he now hated quinoa. Oops.

I haven't been able to fix this until now. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and knew that it was the solution. Mini food fixes everything.

Enter Quinoa Pizza Bites.

Quinoa Pizza Bites
Makes ~40 bites (I used bigger muffin tins and it made one full tray)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped onion (Leigh hates onion and I didn't have any so I used onion powder. Sue me)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I also sprinkled a bit of fresh Parmesan on each one)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (dried is fine)
  • 1 cup chopped pepperoni slices
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried crushed oregano
  • pizza sauce for dipping
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl.
3.  Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (1 heaping Tbs each), and press down gently to compact. 
4.  Bake for 15-20 minutes for mini muffin tins and about 35 for full muffin tins. I wanted them to be crispy.

This is a perfect non-boring snack or lunch for the next day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring is coming!

I have posted about Lauren Conrad before, but I seriously love her style! I love seeing her new photos for her Kohls line come out, because they make me feel happy about spring coming! The outfits are adorable and I love the way the shoots are set up! I haven't bought anything of hers because I don't really order things online and also it's one of those things where I just want everything so I don't buy any of it! Anyways, here are some super cute outfits from her line! Bring on Springtime!

How cute is this camera pendant?!

 More adorable outfits:

Birthdays, Apartments, and Training

Happy Friday Everyone!
I have been so bad! No post for weeks. I thought I should at least write an update on what I've been up to:

Most recently:
The other night I got to have baby snuggles with my bestie Jen's new baby. So freaking cute. This kid has the most perfect little baby lips ever! She's gonna be a stunner when she grows up, that's for sure! Check Jen's blog out for pics! 

Celebrating Leigh's Birthday:
Lasagna rolls, Presents and Cake. Can't go wrong.
DJ Cake!! He loved it.

Apartment Hunting:
I have been looking for a perfect little apartment for Leigh and I. Kind of exactly like what we used to have. Lesson learned, if you love where you live...don't move!! Everything happens for a reason so I'm sure it will all work out in the end. I have a list of exactly what we want and I won't stop until I find it.

Pinning Stuff for Mystery New Apartment
This is very comforting to me lol! I love looking for new ideas on how to decorate and organize! I have been super obsessed with Pinterest lately! Follow my boards here if you like!

image via Pinterest. I love this room so much!

My Training
In between working my two jobs and Pinterest and all that, I have been focusing a LOT on my own training which I'll be writing more about in the future. I'm working with a trainer from my work that I LOVE! I've also been eating a super clean diet to reach my goals. I've always struggled with discipline but I am seriously loving this lifestyle. I'm so excited to say that I've lost 15 lbs! I am debating if I should be writing about my own fitness journey but I'm not sure if people want to read about that. I may start blogging about it on a different blog.

I now have computer access so I will be blogging a lot more often. Not that that's an excuse. I don't know if I mentioned it but I did almost all of NaBloPoMo from my phone! At least I could be disciplined with that! :)

Have a great weekend!