Nutrition & Exercise Smoothie The Combination for Inspiration

Category Archives: Motivation

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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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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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
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  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
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  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:

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  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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