Happy Holidays! My Plans Today

Although, I do not currently practice any particular religion, I respect everyone’s spiritual beliefs. However, since I was raised in a Catholic household, I celebrate Christmas with my family. I thought it would be fun to detail what I am doing for the holiday I follow. My day in general is filled with love and tasty food, so here we go!

What I am doing today!

Morning

I am starting off my day with a run and lower workout, followed by some holiday breakfast.

I will get cleaned up and wake up my family to feed them and help them get ready for our traditional eggnog and cookies with our closest family friends. We toast to a blessed year and the new year while we share a lot of love.

We usually open gifts before a light lunch.

Afternoon

We just sit around and chat while watching holiday movies and playing games (both of the board and video varieties).

Evening

We end the day at a long time family friend’s house. We have known these folks since my Mother was a baby and this is my opportunity to catch up with them all each year since I no longer live in my hometown.

What I am eating today!

Check out my Instagram today to see exactly what I eating because I am going to try to post  pictures of everything I consume. Just know, today is special so I am eating sweets, but I try to focus on just enjoying food until I am comfortably full. However this is how Christmas day typically goes:

Breakfast: Tea, Rolls, Eggnog and cookies

Early Dinner: Turkey sandwiches with Brie and Cranberry Sauce

Dessert: Pie

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Before bed: Traditional Medicinals Belly Comfort / Eater’s Digest tea

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! And please feel welcomed to share your holiday traditions in the comments below! I am always curious to learn more about different cultures than mine 🙂

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Fitness When It Becomes Cold/Snowy/Icy Out

When I first moved to the city after graduate school, I just stopped working out regularly. Though I tried to eat things I thought were healthy and not over eat, I gained weight. I really was not moving enough. That was the Winter of 2013/2014 and it was brutal.

It may seem like winter puts a halt on fitness for some, but you can certainly still get a workout in. Heck, you can still run and walk in Winter, even with snow. You just have to invest in the right cold weather gear. I typically ask for fitness and running gear for Christmas. In the past 2 years, I only needed to buy my running shoes and one set of weights because folks were kind enough to purchase some gear for me. I have really appreciated the support and generosity because it has helped me feel great! Here are a few of my favorite outdoor Cold Weather pieces:

  • Under Armour ColdGear tops (preferably the turtle necked ones) and pants
  • Insulated running jacket with hood, mine is from Target and does the job well!
  • Running gloves
  • Hats with a flap for your ponytail
  • Ear band
  • Winter running socks
  • Yaktrax

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However, even with all the right gear, I do not always feel up to bundling up for that chilly run/walk outside. Thankfully there is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I have to say it is not my favorite, which is likely why I save it for particularly horrible weather. HIIT burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time and is said to increase the amount of calories you burn at rest. One thing I like about it is that I can combined cardio moves with strength training and complete a full workout in 30 min

Some of my favorite HIIT moves:

  • Burpees
  • Jump Squats
  • Jump Lunges
  • Plank Jacks

Then the strength training moves I am really into right now are glute builders:

  • Weighted Deep Squats
  • Weighted Bridges
  • Deadlifts
  • Ninja Kicks

How have you kept up with fitness during the Winter months?

Holiday Activities: Keeping the Balance!

For some of us, it seems like every day in December there are holiday treats and festivities around, especially at the office. My co-workers definitely bring in the most junk food during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually to share treats they really want, but do not want to be left alone with in their apartments. I do not blame them, I wouldn’t either. On top of this, we hold a cookie exchange, holiday party, several potlucks and an outing to a local Christmas event in town.

For me, I digestively just can not do it all. After talking with friends, they can not do it either. So why do we do this to ourselves? Its fun to take part in the holiday festivities and you still can while also keeping balance. Last year I enjoy about one holiday treat a week and an activity (usually a free one). I have found that with making delicious, healthy meals 80% of the time, I do not feel as tempted to eat all the treats lying around and my budget kept me from going to every event as well.

I have thought about what I really enjoyed, and attending the zoo holiday lights or even just riding the public transit holiday bus are some simple and affordable fun that are right up my alley! Earlier this month, I rode the holiday themed ride home for the same cost as my usual trip, last weekend I baked some red velvet gooey butter cookies to enjoy with REAL, homemade eggnog and this week I will be heading to the Christmas market downtown with my coworkers for hot spiced wine.

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I like to keep it realistic. Since it is too expensive to do everything and unhealthy for me to pile this all into one week. Do I sometimes indulge in a little more than plan? Yes, and that is ok because I will get back on track. It physically hurts too much not to. Also, remember it is the season of giving, so you will likely be spending more than usual. So once or twice a week I plan to enjoy the season’s jolly moments, especially if its free. How have you been enjoying the holiday season so far?

 

My Guide for Choosing a Protein Supplement

Protein powder and other supplements (bars, gummies, etc.), I had always thought were just for body builders, like the ones you see on Muscle & Fitness magazine. However, when I started running and working out in 2012 I had seriously sore muscles and felt fatigued all the time. My doctor recommended I take a protein supplement after my workouts to see if that would help. I just went to the store and purchased one of the most affordable protein powders, Muscle Milk.

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Then in 2015, I had to stop using Muscle Milk because the sweeteners they use were identified as triggers for my IBS. Since I am not big on wasting money I finished off what was left while I began to research a new option. I asked by asking myself the following guiding questions to aid my search:

  • How much do I want to spend per serving?
  • What ingredients or types of protein do I want to avoid?
  • How much protein do I want per serving? What kind of macro-nutrients do I expect my protein powder to have?
  • Do I care about the source of my protein powder?
  • Do I care what type of packaging it comes in?

You should really be asking yourself what you want from your protein powder! This will help you save space, time and money on having a bunch I products that do not meet your needs just sitting around the house. If you use protein powder and have been searching for the right one or you are looking to start using protein powder, know that there are SO MANY varieties out there and you can find something that works for you.

Here is how I followed this guide to find a protein powder I absolutely love, I was looking for the following:

  • I want to spend less than $1 per serving.
  • I want simple ingredients without sweeteners or flavoring so I could add it to a smoothie or food without it disrupting the taste much. I also wanted to avoid hemp protein due to an allergy.
  • I want it to have between 15-20g of protein and not much more than 100 calories per serving.
  • Not a requirement, but a plus, I want it to be locally sourced (made in the USA) and have recyclable packaging.
From this criteria I found: http://promixnutrition.com/ It has 20g of protein per 100 calorie serving, its 91 servings for $80, they have an unflavored version which has no sweeteners, they TRY to source it from grass-fed cows AND recyclable packaging! $80 is a lot to shell out all at once, but so far I find it so worth it. It tastes like powdered milk in my opinion, but I like that taste so it works for me. Now, they have changed their suggested serving size since I started using it, but it is the same product so I just measure out the 25 grams I had been consuming before.
Know that you do not NEED protein powder. I plan out my meals to have plenty of protein. I now only take protein supplements when I need to according to how I am eating. You should talk to your doctor to see if you really need more protein and if you can not adjust your diet enough to get that protein then consider getting some protein powder.
Do you use protein powder? If so, what kind(s) do you love? Comment below!