4 Replacements for those cravings you just can’t drive off.

Let’s talk about replacing not so good for you cravings with healthier options. I’m not going to sit here and say that these work 100% of the time but I will say 3 out of the 4 replacements do 99% of the time! I’ve been working on having a healthier lifestyle rather than just dieting and these are a few of the replacements that I use to help me with that!

I don’t deny myself of ice cream, or chocolate or having a full blow 1,500 calorie meal, I’ve accepted that every once in awhile it’s okay to do that!

Replacement tip #1Hot Lemon Water. Coffee is good for you in moderation if you drink it black without all of the added sugar and cream, or milk. I am not one of those people, if I’m going to drink coffee I’m guaranteed to get a 500 cal coffee from a coffee shop or I’m adding cream and sugar to my coffee at home., which isn’t that great for you, especially every day. So one thing I do is drink hot lemon water first thing in the morning when I get up. I squeeze half a lemon into some hot water and sip on that throughout the morning as I get ready.

Now I will say this: the first day you decide to cut out coffee, okay the first week, you will still want coffee to some degree…. if you can push through that first week that craving for coffee will subside substantially. For me personally how I knew this was working is I stopped having coffee last Monday, on Sunday (day 7) I was working on photos for the blog and had  a coffee, now it was great and divine, HOWEVER, my body hated me the rest of the day for it and because of that reaction I knew the lemon water was working. So you just have to give this one some time (as little as 3-4 days)!

Replacement tip #2: Sparkling Water. Do you crave soda? I use to all the time! It didn’t matter what flavor it was because I didn’t crave any soda in particular I really just like the carbonation and wanted something other than just flat water. I didn’t have any trouble cutting out soda but I still had the craving so my first attempt to cut down on soda was only drink it when I went out to dinner, this didn’t work so well. I then recently (a few months ago) have found that whenever I’m craving a soda (or anything besides water really) that I reach for a sparkling water. It gives you the carbonation you’re looking for and when you find the right flavor (this is important because not all of them taste great to me), you’ll be reaching for a sparkling water over a lemonade or soda!

Side tip: If you like a margarita and are looking for a skinny version try 1 oz. tequila, 1 tbsp. agave, fresh squeezed lime juice and add lime flavored sparkling water to top it off! Tastes great and gives you a little fizz action!

Replacement tip #3: Chocolate No Bake Cookies. I am a chocolate lover and this craving is almost everyday! Now chocolate is good for you in moderation, especially dark chocolate it has some health benefits to it so I’m not saying you need to cut anything out of what you eat. In fact you just have to accept that having a chocolate bar every once in awhile is okay and that it’s not something to be disappointed with yourself about! This cookie recipe was a life save when I was on the 21 day fix diet and honestly I would rather eat these then the fat filled version! If you have a strong aversion to coconut I wouldn’t suggest these as they do have a coconut flavor added! Just one of these will fill your chocolate craving for the day, they are moist and chewy, just yum!

All your gonna do is melt 1 c. natural peanut butter (I use almond butter), 3/4 c. honey, 1/2 c. coconut oil in a sauce pan making sure to stir so it all gets incorporated and nothing sticks to the bottom, I would suggest doing this on medium heat. Once everything is melted remove from the heat and add 2 tsp. vanilla, 6 tbsp. cocoa powder, and 2 1/4 c. oatmeal (I use the quick 1-minute oats to ensure the oats will be cooked), combine everything together and just drop the spoonful on parchment paper. You will need to place these in the fridge to harden and keep them in the fridge when storing or they won’t necessarily stay together well! This will make about 25-30 cookies depending on how big your spoons are! I find that an ice cream scoop helps with size consistency.

Replacement #4: Veggie Chips or Carrots. Now this replacement may be a bit of a stretch but it’s helped in times when I want something crunchy or I’m just craving something unhealthy, doesn’t matter what it is. This actually happened to me last night, I was just hungry and wanted something crunchy but crunchy in the sense of a piece of pie or chips, get my drift? So I made the conscious decision to grab the bag of carrots and eat those instead, I was SHOCKED with how well this worked. By the time I had finished one serving (bout a cup) of them I was full and was no longer craving anything!

Another thing you can grab are pea crisps or veggie chips, these are definitely good if you are craving chips because you’ll get the chip crunch as well as the salt. I would be careful as to which veggie chips you buy because there are some out there that are just as bad as some chips are and I would stick to the serving size!

These are the main replacement I use everyday to help me have a healthier lifestyle. I think it’s important to remember when you are eating healthy it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge on the foods that aren’t healthy. For me this last week I didn’t indulge in one thing and then Saturday came around and I ate out twice in one day – definitely not the best but I didn’t get down on myself for having a meal that I enjoyed. When this happens I just tell myself that it’s okay and that having an indulgent meal once in awhile is okay! It’s important not to get down on yourself for not being perfect while choosing a healthier lifestyle because some days it’s just not easy, especially if you’ve had a stressful day at work and just want to come home and have chocolate cake – have that cake, just have a smaller piece than you normally would and move on.

I hope that you find these helpful to you and if you have any healthy food replacement tips that you use I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Crossfit Craze

I have failed when it comes to home workouts, the motivation for working out at home doing the same workouts over and over, has completely ended for me. I think the hardest part about working out at home for me is that I have to come up with the workout that I plan to do. Yes you can get memberships to online videos but that will cost you a pretty penny and even then it’s the same routine every week, and that gets a little old and boring. If you don’t have an online membership you have to scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to figure out what the workout is going to be, and by the time I’ve figured that out my motivation for the workout that day is gone and I’m ready for some cake.

Recently I’ve been feeling really down about working out and the fitness journey that I’ve talked about being on in previous posts. I haven’t worked out in a few weeks and I honestly don’t have any excuses besides the fact that I have no motivation and just haven’t cared until I stepped on a scale early last week and realized I was at my heaviest weight I’ve been at in my ENTIRE life. My eyes literally bugged out of my face, and I knew it was time to lose some weight and get back to having a fit life. I knew that I couldn’t go back to doing home workouts because it fails after 1-2 months every time. So I went on the internet to find the other options in the area.

Now I knew that I needed somewhere that I could have the workouts already figured out for me, or classes I could take that are not the same routine every week. This way I wouldn’t get bored, and I didn’t have to think about what the workout was going to be. I also was being cost aware because if I was going to buy some supplements as well I didn’t want to spend more than $100.00 on a membership a months. The first option that came up was the university gym that’s in town, while it was very cost efficient it nixed the idea of having the workouts already figured out.

The second option that came up was Crossfit. I’ve heard so much about Crossfit, both good and bad, about how it’s not good for your body but there are SO many success stories and those that are involved with Crossfit rave about it on every platform they can. So I decided to look up a Crossfit box in my area and I went to try it out. The first thing I noticed was the sense of comradery that the box (this is what the gym is called)had, it was welcoming and they were so open to answering any questions that I had. So I decided to give it a try.

Before I could become an official member they have you go through on-ramp classes which teach you the fundamentals, the vocabulary and basic moves. You do this to see if you joining is something that you actually want to do and so that if you do become a member that you know the basics of the workouts that you are doing. They talk about nutrition and taking care of your body so that you know when you need to rest and aren’t overworking your muscles, which could lead to injury.

I finished the on-ramp classes last week and I will tell you it was not easy but it was fulfilling. After the first class I went home and said what have I decided to get myself into, my legs were hurting that night even though the workout was 6 minutes, an INTENSE 6 minutes. It wasn’t easy because I hadn’t worked out in a few weeks and was out of shape, I’ve been eating like crap and of course that doesn’t help your energy levels before you work out. But I was excited about how I was feeling cause while my legs were in pain I was so energized and felt so much better that I was actually doing some sort of physical activity rather than just lazing around all day in my free time.

I decided that I definitely wanted to pay for a membership because it was reasonable prices but mainly because the atmosphere of the box is so encouraging and non-judgmental. I was hesitant to join a gym because I haven’t worked out in front of other people in a long time and am self-conscious about whether they are judging me because I’m not as fit as they are, etc. But this atmosphere is completely opposite they care where you are in your fitness level but they also are encouraging you to get stronger in a positive way.

I have my first class today that is not on-ramp, it is a full WOD (Workout of the Day) and I’m slightly nervous because I know it’s gonna be killer but I’m also excited. I’ll check back in about how my first week went next Monday! I am going to the lake this week so I’ll only have 4 days that I do Crossfit but again it’s so much better than not doing anything!

Are you a part of a gym? If so, what’s your favorite part of being a member??

Mediterranean Salmon

Mediterranean Salmon
Mediterranean Salmon

With me starting to workout, I knew I should start to eat healthier as well to see the maximum results! With the 21 Day Fix you can eat Salmon and other fish, but Salmon is my favorite so it’s a go to for the house!

This week I made Mediterranean Salmon, I got the salmon from Aldi, so it came with all of the spices already! The cooking instructions for the salmon are just like if you were to cook your own salmon which I do about once a week.

Of course the wine isn’t a part of the healthy eating, but I’m a sucker for some good wine. With the 21 Day Fix you are allowed 2 glasses of wine in exchange for your yellow container (which are your starches)… obviously I did not stick to this rule and kept the starch as part of the dinner.

I love quick dinners (30 minutes max) after a long day at work, especially on a Monday!

This dinner is super simple, see the recipe below:

1 Pre-marinated Salmon from Aldi (can get any kind of marinated salmon from the store, or marinate it yourself!)

1 can Green Beans

10-15 quartered baby potatoes (I seasoned mine with Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Salt and Pepper, tossed in a tablespoon of Olive Oil.)

(Optional) 1 Avocado (diced and ate with salmon)

Clean and cut the potatoes, then toss in the olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 350° for 20-35 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Then you will want to put some butter in a pan and sear both sides of the salmon, depending on how thick your salmon is you will want to put it into the oven for another 15 minutes or until it flakes with a fork. Once both of the potatoes and salmon are in the oven put your green beans in a pot with some water, lemon juice and butter and let them cook for about 10 minutes (you can also do this in the microwave for 2 minutes).

This recipe serves 2 people.

The Struggle to Start

Alright y’all… It’s been a week and a half since I started working out again, and I’ll say this: I didn’t do so hot. First mistake was starting on a Thursday… because you know, the weekend happens. Second mistake was that I only worked out once the following week. What a shame!

So Saturday I went to Aldi (my new obsession) and got a ton of groceries and started back up again this week. I decided to start doing the workouts in the AM with my roommate which helps tremendously, having someone to do the workouts with not only pushes you to do better but holds you accountable…the waking up part, not so much fun.

When I did this before after the first week of waking up early it got a lot easier to wake up in the mornings, plus you start to go to bed earlier which has not been happening for me. This morning I woke up at 5:45a to start the workout at 6 and man was I STRUGGLING. I did not want to get up, but I told myself that I just have to get through this first week and at least todays workout wasn’t cardio based!

With working out we’ve started to eat a lot healthier as well, not as strictly as when I did it at the beginning but pretty close! The joys of this diet is that seafood is recommended because of the health benefits, and let’s face it, it’s one of my favorite foods. Easy peasy!

Last night I made this Mediterranean Salmon (also from Aldi), with green beans and roasted potatoes, I added avocado to the plate because who doesn’t like avocado!

There are always a couple obstacles that I find myself facing after the first few days of working out. 1. I get extremely sore, which is a great thing, BUT it makes it really easy to say I’m too sore to work out today…which I’ve done quite often. 2. Starting the diet alongside the cravings start and my mind wonders to sweets, which are a guilty pleasure of mine. (I was able to mitigate this with making 21 day fix approved chocolate no bake cookies, which ARE amazing… I think they beat out the regular ones! Let me know if you want me to post the recipe below!)

What do you guys find to be the first obstacle you face after the first few days of working out?

Starting my fitness journey… again.

Fitness… what a struggle! Am I right!?

Lets just get down to it… We all have a love/hate relationship with working out and eating healthy, at least I do! I mean I have an affinity for all things that involve food and good times, so I have a hard time saying no to all that deliciousness!

I love how I feel when I’m diving head first into the deep end of working out, drinking enough water, and eating healthy… but for some reason I can justify so many other reasons as to why it’s easier to not stick to it. I’ve told myself that this is not going to happen this time, I am sticking to it and dedicating myself to living a healthier life without the deprivation!

At the start of this year  I started the 21 day fix, a program through beachbody.com. I’ve done this program before when I was in college and it worked great, and I was pleased with the results… but once it’s over I was ready for all the snacks I was depriving myself of while on the program. Cake, Cupcakes, candy, and overindulging in all the snacks!

After about two months of being on the program, (we just repeated the 21 days), I fell off the wagon. It’s really easy to come up with the excuses of being too busy, I don’t want to workout alone, I couldn’t wake up this morning to work out, etc. So I’ve been off the program for about two months or so, though I have been eating somewhat healthier since being off it, I just haven’t been depriving myself of the foods I love.

So on Thursday I was in one of those moods that you are just motivated to get your life together! Normally I like to start workout programs or plans on a Monday just to keep the schedule consistent as well as easy to remember which day I’m on and weekends are normally a lighter workout. I’m not doing that this time though because I figure if I put it off through the weekend I wouldn’t want to start it and BOOM motivation gone!

I’ve decided with this round there are a few things that I’m going to do a bit differently! The biggest thing that I’m going to be doing differently is I’m going to be posting about my fitness journey here, to bring you guys along! I feel that this will act as a level of accountability that I haven’t necessarily had before, which is going to help me drive to stick to it.

I also am going to be changing my mindset going into it, rather than thinking that I will do it for this amount of time, I’m going to think of it as a lifestyle change. I want to live an overall healthier life, but I can’t achieve that by being healthy for 21 days, or 2 months.

I’m going to be sharing with you all the workouts that I’m doing, as well as healthy recipes and motivating experiences that I have while going through this journey!

I feel like we all face challenges, I’d like to address some of these in a future post of how we can overcome those challenges, or modify what we are doing to make the challenge less of one!  What are your biggest fitness challenges that you face?

Comment below or reach out to me through social media! @cravetheextraordinary on both Facebook and Instagram!