The Word is Alive

John 1: 1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

Merry Christmas to all the children of God on this most blessed day, the day our savior was born!

 

Fit in your Faith Today:  Be sure to spend some quiet time after the gifts have been unwrapped, after the last sip of egg nog, after the final goodbye to relatives. Spend time in quiet prayer in awe and wonderment at the true meaning of what this day signifies to all of us and to you.

Finding the Spirit

A few weeks after my bodybuilding competition, around Halloween, my sister Nicole and my nephews, Matthew age 11 and Sean age 5, came over to hang out.  My sister all of a sudden had a desire to decorate the house like our Mom used to.

My mom was beyond festive.  She decorated the house for every holiday.  It was adorable and sweet and so fun to walk into the house, even around St. Patrick’s Day, and see little shamrocks everywhere and the house decorated in green decorations.  You know how most people just have boxes in their basement labeled “Christmas”?  Yeah, we have ones labeled “Easter” Valentine’s Day” “Memorial Day” “Halloween.”  You get the drift.

So Nicole started bringing up boxes from the basement and in the closets that were labeled “Halloween/Thanksgiving.”

She opens up the first box, reaches in…and sees a little note with my Mom’s handwriting on it.  “Take care of each other, Love Mom” was written on it.

We were just in awe.   It was of course a bit of a shock to see my Mom’s writing on something in a decoration box of all places.  But we assume she must have thought “Well, they’ll have to go through this box at some point” to ensure that we found it.  It was such a last-minute decision to even decorate the house, knowing we couldn’t do it justice like Mom did, that I almost thought it was luck that we even found it.

Nicole took the note home and rightfully so.  None of us thought we would find any more…until…

Fast forward to just after Thanksgiving.

My sister and I decide we are going to try to bake my Mom’s dessert bread.  This bread is very special.  It’s a recipe my Mom found years ago when we were little and she made it for her friends for Christmas and she made it for Easter too.  This was HER bread.  And it tasted amazing!

Nicole and I baked 4 loaves and they turned out just like Mom’s!!! They are a little gummy in the middle but I recall she had that problem too sometimes.  No big deal.  Slap some butter on that and you don’t even notice.  My nephews tasted it too and they agreed: “Just like G used to make.”

photo50.jpg

While we waited for the bread to rise, I asked my sister if she and the boys would help me put ornaments on the Christmas tree.  It’s been kind of hard to get in the festive spirit but we put on some Christmas music and started opening up the ornament boxes.

Guess what we found in the first box?  Yes, another note from Mom!!  She actually wrote it in 2011, just a quick little line about “I’ll always be near you.”  Then she wrote underneath that note in 2012.  “I miss all of you.”  At first I thought she just got the years wrong but Nicole and I think she just wanted to write notes even when she wasn’t sick, just in case.

We hung up the ornaments and I went through some other boxes of decorations to see if I could start to put things up around the house.

I immediately started looking for this mailbox she had.  It has a snowman on it and it’s pretty big but small enough that she kept it on our island in the kitchen.  She would put little toys or pieces of candy in there for the boys.  So everytime they came over, she’d say “Check the mailbox!”  She always had two of everything she bought – one for Matthew one for Sean.

Well, I found the mailbox.  And you know of course I thought to myself “There’s gonna be a note in here.”

Of course there was.  🙂

And it was intended for Matthew and Sean.  It was dated January 16th of this year and it says “I’ll always love you.  “G”

I quickly put the mailbox on the island so the boys wouldn’t see and I went back into the family room and said “I found the mailbox, why don’t you guys see what’s inside?”

So they walked over and opened it up expecting to find candy or something from me…Sean can’t read of course but Matthew saw it and started to smile.  I told them “Go show your Mom.”  So they went over to Nicole who didn’t even know I had found the mailbox and they showed it to her.

Poor Sean asked “What does it say??”  None of us, not even Matthew, could get the words out, we were so choked up.  I finally blurted  out “Do you recognize that letter?”  And he said “Yeah it’s a G.”  I said “That’s right, that’s from G.  It says that she’ll always love you.”

And of course my sister just kind of cried and I started to tear up but I didn’t want Sean to think I was sad and it was interesting because his reaction was sort of joyful.  Almost as if he thinks “Well duh of course she misses me.”  My mom’s big concern was that Sean would not remember her and I assured her he would.

He probably mentions her more than any of us at really random times. I think my Mom speaks to him through him.  I wouldn’t doubt it.  He dreams about her a lot too.

Since that night I have found one more note in a wreath box that was dated in 2011 as well.

It was so nice having this little treasure hunt of sorts around this time of year.  It’s obviously the first Christmas without her so it’s been a little difficult. But knowing she left these notes for us to find after she was gone has helped ease the pain.

This Christmas, as my family and I sit down to dinner, we’ll attempt to make it as festive as we can.  It won’t be the same but now we can tuck these notes away and take a look at them when we miss her the most, and see that she’s still here.

Watching, making sure we’re taking care of each other, knowing that she will always love us.

gsnote

Holiday Treats Healthified & Survival Guide

During my nutrition lecture I hosted yesterday, I baked a few recipes for my clients to try and these were all big hits.  I literally just searched for these on Pinterest.

Interesting things to note:

  • I made my own almond flour in my Vitamix blender by putting a little over a cup of almonds in there.  Just had to be careful to make sure I didn’t put it up too high or else turn it into almond butter. 🙂
  • I purchased coconut flour ages ago and finally found recipes to try them out on.
  • This was the first time I purchased and used coconut sugar – I will definitely be using it again.
  • The roasted banana and sweet potato mash tastes better the day after and tastes good cold OR steamy hot.  I spoke to someone who said they used orange peel and orange juice instead of the banana to make “mashed” sweet potatoes.

All the attendants of the nutritional lecture walked away with a “Survival Guide” for the day before, day of, and day after a holiday celebration.  It’s a great way to be held accountable, you can even email me afterwards to let me know how you did!  If you’d like to purchase this 3 -day plan you may email me at FromFitToFigure@gmail.com for a price for this download.  I’m always happy to share the knowledge!

In the meantime – enjoy these recipes!

Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash – SkinnyMom.com

sweetpotatomash-224x300

Ingredients

  • • 3 medium sweet potatoes – cooked and peeled
  • • 2 large bananas, ripe
  • • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roast bananas for 10 minutes–then let cool.
  3. Mix together the potatoes, bananas, spices, coconut milk and mash until desired consistency.
  4. Serve immediately. (This is also great for baby food!)

Apple Coconut CrispDeliciousByDre.com

applecoconutcrisp.dbd_.pin_

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of apples (i used 2 honeycrisps–yep, one pound each…now that’s a real apple!)
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) organic coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour (make your own!)
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats (*paleo substitution* use 1/2 c chopped pecans or slivered almonds)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp organic flax seed
  • 2 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp agave (optional)

Instructions

  1. preheat oven to 375
  2. core and slice apples (i used an apple corer, peeler, slicer i found for 10 bucks!)
  3. toss apples with a light sprinkle of cinnamon before placing in 8×11 (ish) glass dish
  4. optional lightly drizzle 1 tbsp organic agave over the apples in the dish (gives a more caramelized taste/effect without using brown sugar!)
  5. separately, mix the egg whites and the flax seed together and let sit until needed
  6. add all remaining dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix up with a fork
  7. next add melted coconut oil and vanilla along with the egg white & flax mixture
  8. mix together with fork until it creates a nice crumble
  9. spread evenly across the apples in the dish until completely covered and put in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
  10. once finished, let cool for at least another 30 minutes or so.

Notes

**i recommend covering this dish lightly and storing in the refrigerator (if there’s any left over!) sealing it tightly will cause the crumble to absorb the moisture of the apples and it will no longer be crispy!

The World’s Healthiest Cookie – FoodieFiasco.com

These are bite sized! Teeny tiny bites!
These are bite sized! Teeny tiny bites!

Nutritional Info

*Update: There has been some question about the nutritional info, and for clarification, these having only 6 calories each is based upon a bite-sized cookie. If you only make 8 cookies out of this recipe to make them more traditional sized, they will have about 15 calories each.

Per bite based on 16 bites

Calories: 6 (about 8 or 9 with chocolate chips)

Fat: <0.5 grams

Ingredients

2 Tablespoon coconut flour

2 Tablespoon mashed banana or applesauce (I prefer banana. Personally, I think applesauce gives them too much of an apple-y taste. That’s just me.)

pinch salt

stevia or other sweetener, to taste

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3 Tablespoon almond milk, or milk of choice

chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, mix coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in masked banana or applesauce and stir. Add in almond milk, one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by tablespoon or teaspoon, depending on how big you want them, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I used a silicone mat. Flatten the dough into cookie shapes.Bake in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes. Let cool before scarfing them all down.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie – Food.com

crustlesspie

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1 (15 ounce) cans pumpkin puree
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking ( see NOTE)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream or 3/4 cup light cream

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Pour into a well sprayed pie pan.
  3. Bake at 350′ for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. NOTE: DO NOT use Splenda packets

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies – DitchtheWheat.com

Banana-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-1

Yield: Makes 18 medium sized cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh ripe large banana, (200 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, (slightly warmed for easier mixing. Room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup of chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixing machine combine the banana and the egg. Slowly add the coconut oil (coconut oil must not be hot or it will cook the egg. You just need to the coconut oil slightly warmed enough to mix smoothly). Add the coconut flour, vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Mix until smooth. Lastly add the chocolate chips.
  3. Using a spoon, drop 1 inch balls of batter onto the baking tray leaving space between each cookie. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the cookies to a flat cookie shape. *The cookies will not naturally flatten, you must do this manually.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.

 

The Anti-New Years Resolution

I’m officially sick and tired of the “New Year New You!” mantra plastered over Fitness and Health Magazines every January.   Gyms and health clubs are guilty of these slogans and promotions too.  You walk into any gym for that matter in the month of December and January and there are specials and deals going on usually meant to entice that vulnerable gym newbie who wants to accomplish the usual for the new  year:  lose weight.

This time I’m going to do it.  This time I won’t give up and I won’t give in and I’ll diet and I’ll workout everyday and I won’t stop.

But every year, usually in mid February, they do stop.  They slack off .  They don’t have support at home.  They get caught up at work.  They stop coming to the gym. They fall off the wagon.  They give up and they feel like they failed.

resolutions

This vicious cycle creates a sort of animosity I have noticed among the frequent gym freaks patrons.  Comments are made, looks are exchanged and gestures are made.  Granted of course, not everyone does this.  I am generalizing here.  But speaking from the standpoint of a trainer, I can assure you there are people out there who really look down on those people coming to the gym for the first time and treat them like the plague.  I have witnessed this juvenile behavior from adults more times than I care to remember.

This time around, how about we make a resolution to leave the NYE’ers (New Years Resolutioners, yeah I just made up that word) alone and let them be.  No approach.  No pouncing.  Just letting people do their own thing with no judgement.

motivational quotes for weight loss (14)

For those looking to lose weight, you can start January 1st but why set yourself up for failure?  I had repeatedly told my consultations “I highly recommend you start out really slow with this long term goal” in the beginning of January.  They wanted no part of that.  They wanted results and they wanted them quickly.  I’ve heard from many people “Oh no, I’m going to come here everyday for this entire month.  Otherwise I won’t come at all!” 

Pretty sure you can guess what happened.  They came in for about a week straight and then POOF! they were gone.  What a waste of time, money and effort.

thCARD05GT

If you have tried to lose weight every January unsuccessfully, then perhaps a new approach is needed.  My best advice is baby steps.  Break it out into phases.  And don’t call it a resolution.  That word itself carries with it such a stigma of “Ugh, not THIS time of year again!”   Just call it what it is:  a goal.

Ask yourself:  Have you ever MET anyone who actually stuck to their Resolution? I mean really stuck with it?  Maybe I’m in the minority but I have found people stick with their goals when they start them when the TIME is right, and usually, it’s not January 1st.  Start when the time is right for you.  Don’t let any of these magazines, tv shows, (ahem Biggest Loser), co-workers, family, friends, social media..tell you that “The Time to start is January 1st!! ”

No, the time to do it is when YOU decide.  When YOU are in a good place mentally and financially (yes its going to be an investment) to do it YOUR way.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the best month to make your new years resolution? August.  According BusinessWeek.com here http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-25/how-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-make-them-in-august

Mini Update on Me, because, lets just admit this is all about me:  Currently awaiting my new meal plan since it’s been almost a month since hiring my Coach.

The “Lose 5bls between Thanksgiving and January 3rd” bet I have going with my friend Craig is in the bag.  That’s $20 is as good as mine since I’ve actually lost 7lbs.

Aiming to lose 1 more by the 3rd since I hate odd numbers.

Probably one more post coming before the end of 2012.

-Michelle

Step Away from the Dessert Table

This weekend was the infamous Dessert Party thrown by my former client Lina and her hubby Jeff.  Lina spent the better part of her December and probably November baking all kinds of delicious treats for this annual festive event.  I attended 2 years ago and although I remember indulging in a few treats I honestly can’t remember what I had.  I’m guessing I just didn’t care because I wasn’t really watching my weight too closely back then.

This year is obviously a different story.  Declining the invitation was not an option because once again, I want to prove that losing weight is possible during the holidays.  Plus, I don’t see the need to be anti-social when you’re watching what you eat.

Here is what was presented to myself and their guests upon walking in the door:

Can you say, YUM?
Can you say, YUM?

I don’t think this picture does it justice…so here are just a few close ups:

67058_10151123109115373_1987706485_n63115_10151123109350373_1592820183_n381972_10151123110000373_2020606976_n

 

So what do you do when you’re trying to lose weight but you’re invited to a dessert party?  You have plan.  My plan was to eat enough to be satisfied but not too much that I felt guilt and gluttony.

You also need reinforcements.

I brought a friend with me, Brian, who I assigned the task of “Spotter” to.  I told him to spot me and make sure I didn’t go overboard.  Unfortunately Brian doesn’t know me well enough to know what is considered overboard in my mind. BUT, he did a great job regardless. 🙂

Lina and Jeff also did a great job supporting me by showing me things that I could have without the added guilt.  So awesome of them to think of little old me!

I was going to take a picture of what I ate but I didn’t want the guests there to think I’m an Instagram freak or strange even though it’s becoming quite normal to take pics of your food.  So I’ll just tell you the damage:

  • About 4oz of a white wine spritzer (About 2 sips in I thought “I want to EAT my calories, not DRINK them!”) and switched to water
  • 1 cup of a mix of berries that Lina and Jeff said they provided specifically for moi.  Thanks guys! Fruit is always good.
  • 1 tablespoon and a half maybe ( I didn’t bring out measuring spoons but the thought of breaking those things out in the middle of a party makes me laugh)  of Angel Food cake with that pudding and strawberry combination.  Is it just called Angel Food cake or strawberry shortcake?? Whatever it was it was also very good and although I tried not to spoon too much pudding on the plate I did get a good chunk of it.
  • 1 of the cookies in the middle of that picture there…The one with the green icing in the middle. I WAIT for these cookies when my Mom makes them and Lina’s did not disappoint.  A little thicker than how my Mom makes them but oh so good!!!

I stopped for a while and chatted up some people….Taking a break from the madness.

After about a half hour of drinking water and talking I thought I could handle just a little bit more.  Brian mentioned the pumpkin pie would be worth it as well as this 7 layer chocolate chip  graham cracker ecstasy Lina made (Picture above on the silver plate).  So I opted for one little bite of pie and one small piece of the layered goodness.

End result?  Worth it. 🙂  I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t feel bloated. I didn’t feel gross.  I had FUN!  And best of all, I didn’t feel deprived.

HAD I NOT been trying to lose weight I honestly think I would have gone bonkers and probably would have had no self control.  The end result would have been ugly.

At the end of the night I still fit in my size 7 pants.  I haven’t worn size 7 pants since I moved back to Cleveland from Chicago.  And I got them around Christmas time so it’s been 3 years.  And they JUST fit.   So a bit of advice if you’re attending a holiday party of the same magnitude and find yourself with the same doubts:

Wear a pair of pants that JUST fit…that if you went nuts with food you MIGHT embarrass yourself and pop/rip them.

Okay maybe that’s not the best advice but it worked.

Thanks again to Lina and Jeff for putting on a great party!  And thanks for reading my blog!

Interesting Sidenote:  On the way out the door I met a woman whose daughter does Figure Competitions right here in Northeast Ohio!  How random is that??  Feels so good to meet other women who are doing the same things since honestly, I don’t know anyone locally doing/training for a competition.

Weight this morning: 127lbs.  The meal plan Coach Davies has me on is clearly working very well.  I still feel energized, still in a great mood, still making progress!

I did a much better job planning my meals for the week and even had time to help out my family making pierogies yesterday!  YUM! (Potato of course…sorry can’t do the sauerkraut).

HAPPY MONDAY!!

-Michelle

Weekend Challenge

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the holidays are upon us…as in people have started to crowd the malls doing their shopping, the stores have their sales and advertisements plastered everywhere, the carols are playing on the radio and holiday parties are taking place.

Well, I can also tell you I can always tell the holidays are here because the gyms aren’t as full as they usually are.  Or as full as they should be.  I should know, I spend about 99% of my time in a gym of some sort everyday.  It’s pathetic awesome!  I hear from friends and co-workers that clients are canceling or just not showing up for their personal training sessions.  THAT’s how I know the holidays are here.

So here’s a quick little boost to those of you who are suffocating in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and you can’t quite seem to fit your workout in:

a-one-hour-workout-is-4-percent-of-your-day

This has been circulating around the internet lately and I thought it was appropriate for this time of year for all of us.

As for my weekend challenge, and in line with the holiday spirit, I’ll be attending my friend and former client Lina’s Dessert Party.  Yes that’s right a party with JUST DESSERTS.  All homemade as far as I know? And all very delicious.

I’ve searched and searched my nutrition plan from my coach and lo and behold I don’t see desserts listed.  Hmmm…

Well, looks like I need a plan.  Remember my Holiday Pledge?  I’m sure there’s a way to copy my old post in here but I am not savvy enough to figure that out so here’s the picture again:

XmasPledge

Notice #4.  I will not be anti-social.  I will attend this party because it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my friend Lina and her husband Jeff and we have a lot to catch up on.  I’m treating the desserts like part of the background.  They’ll be there but almost like I’m at a museum. I can look but not touch. Ha!  I will most likely cheat indulge in a couple of the smaller desserts without going absolutely nuts.  I’m also planning on eating just like my plan suggests with nothing changing.  Most importantly I’ll be arriving on a full stomach.  There will not be an entrée in sight (hence the point of coming after dinner anyways) so I feel as long as I have eaten my protein beforehand. I should be okay.

This will be my first real challenge since taking on this goal.  I’ll be happy to post the outcome on Sunday morning! 🙂

Also, I am definitely posting progress pics right before Christmas.  I can finally see a difference from October to now in pictures and I’m really jazzed to show them to everyone believe it or not!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

-Michelle