Staying Committed + a Wonderful Steak Marinade!

Well I’m still going strong on my #OxyChallenge and I love it!  It’s really not incredibly hard, but it does take constant commitment and dedication.  I’m feeling very stubborn and committed, so I KNOW I’ll make it through the entire thing.  Quite frankly, I like to think of it kind of like a game….”What would happen if I actually followed this program to a T?”  Hmmmm?  I’m curious and excited to find out!

I love health and fitness and strive to live a healthy lifestyle all the time, but sometimes I get off track, lose motivation and become a little lax.  Programs such as this one make me more committed and usually give me just the boost of motivation I need!

People often ask my opinion about various diet programs out there.  IMO, if the “diet” is healthy and realistic….go for it!  Diets have definitely been given a bad rap over the years and people often say things like “diets don’t work.”  That’s because there are a lot of freaky diets out there!  Things like the Cabbage Soup Diet, mega fasting cleanses, extreme no carb diets and all kinds of funky things.  Those kind of diets DON’T work and usually mess up people’s metabolisms and body rhythms.

BUT, diets that are based on sound nutrition, good clean food, and just common sense are AWESOME!  I learn so much about myself and my body every time I try something new.  I think of every “health challenge” as a learning opportunity and I’ve adopted a lot of permanent habits from several of the “diet programs” I’ve tried.

I’ve also tried a lot of “diet programs” that I’ve failed miserably at!  I never regret it though.  I learn something every….single….time!  Sooo, if you feel like you’re one of those people who start and stop a lot of healthy challenges and “diets,” don’t be discouraged.  Just keep on trying, keep on learning from your successes and failures and don’t ever quit.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I’m not a huge fan of diets like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem.  Yes they work, but I don’t think they’re a great long-term permanent solution.  I know SO MANY PEOPLE who have tried these programs, have had great results and then eventually go back to their old ways and gain back all the weight they lost.  I do like the support system of Weight Watchers though.

BUT, I think in order to be really healthy and have long-term permanent results, there needs to be a complete change of mindset.  Permanent lifestyle changes need to be made.  Instead of counting points, eating “diet foods,” and starving yourself, food needs to be thought of as fuel.  We should feed our bodies real food, stay away from all the crap, eat whenever we’re hungry (using common sense here!) and really get in tune with our bodies.

When we feed our bodies processed, chemical laden, high sugar, funky ingredient foods, our bodies suffer.  Simple as that.  Sooo, the “points system” is great in theory because it keeps portions low and calories in check, but it’s missing a key component; if we eat real, clean, nutrient dense food, we don’t need to count calories or points!  Real food keeps us full, gives us energy, regulates our bodies and is a great long-term lifestyle solution.  When we eat crappy food (even if it fits into the allotted amount of points), our cravings and hunger increase, we become more tired and sluggish and we WANT TO EAT MORE FOOD!  We feel hungry all the time and eventually end up quitting.

Ok, I really didn’t intend to go on a “diet rant,” so I will be quiet now.  Ha ha.  I will just end by saying that I’ve experimented with a lot of diets out there and I always feel my best when I just focus on the quality of the food I’m eating and forget about calories.  I know it’s vital to just commit to eating healthily most of the time….forever.

Live it and love it.

Oh, I will also mention that I LOVE sugar and crappy food!!  I will never cut it out of my life completely.  However, I know how quickly one “cheat meal” or yummy batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies can derail all of my good intentions.  Pretty soon that “one cheat meal” or 3-4 cookies ends up being a week of cheat meals and another batch of cookies the next day….and the next!

I know that scenario all too well, so I’ve found I have the most success if I just stay away from it most of the time.  The #OxyChallange I’m doing right now allows for one cheat meal a week, which I think is just perfect.  However, because I know how powerful sugar can be, I’ve committed to stay away from it the entire 90 days.  My cheat meals (I think I’ll take one every other week) will probably just be some kind of yummy restaurant meal; burger and fries, steak and loaded sweet potato, pasta, Mexican food, etc.

Okay, moving on.

I’ve seriously been loving this challenge!  It just makes so much sense to me and I’m seeing and feeling significant results in only 2 weeks!  I’ve lost 4 pounds, but the changes I’m feeling and seeing in my body feel like more than 4 pounds.  I actually feel thinner, I’m seeing a little more muscle definition, my clothes are all fitting better and I just feel GOOD.

I took my measurements and some scary “before” pictures at the very beginning and it’s recommended that I take progress pictures every 2 weeks.  I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, but I’m hoping to do it tomorrow!  I’m going to re-measure myself too to see if I’ve lost any inches.  It will be fun to see the progress!

This program really isn’t rocket science; I’m eating a lot of the same things I usually eat, BUT I think the KEY is that I’m eating very clean, staying away from sugar, exercising 6 days a week (mostly short, yet effective workouts), eating a lot more protein and doing a lot more weight training than I usually do!  It is a magical combination!

I did a lot of meal prep the first week, but I didn’t do a lot this week.  It really does help when I have healthy, yummy, ready to go meals in my fridge!  I usually have a lot of things on hand that make meals easier though.  Here are some of the things I almost always have in my fridge/freezer:

  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Cut up veggies like carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers and broccoli to dip in hummus or Greek yogurt based ranch or to add to salads, stir-fry, etc.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Grilled Chicken in the fridge or freezer
  • Stuff for protein shakes; spinach, kale, protein powder, etc.
  • Ezekiel bread

I think that about sums it up.  I will often just open up my fridge and make a random meal out of random things.  For example….

Random broccoli, egg, chicken salad and Ezekiel bread meal

I had this as a meal today; Ezekiel toast topped with natural peanut butter, leftover chicken salad, broccoli and a hard boiled egg.  Weird, but good.

I had this yesterday…

My random hard boiled egg, veggie and hummus lunch

3 hard boiled eggs (mostly whites) with some veggies and sweet potato chips dipped in hummus.  Mmmmm.

I made this for dinner a couple nights ago…

My Chicken, quinoa and veggie dinner

It was quinoa, chicken and steamed veggies (carrots, onions, zucchini and summer squash.)  This was SOOOO good!

I made the quinoa and veggies in our rice cooker and it was so slick….

My quinoa and veggies in the rice cooker

I have to say that Kev’s brother gave us this rice cooker for Christmas several years ago and we have loved it SO MUCH!  I never thought we needed a rice cooker, but we use it all the time!  It also has a delay timer setting which I love.  In fact, we’ve loved this rice cooker so much that we bought one for Kev’s other brother for Christmas a couple years ago!  Ha ha.  This particular rice cooker is from Costco, btw.

I just kind of made up the chicken recipe and it turned out good!  I cooked up the chicken in my electric frying pan and seasoned it with a little lemon pepper.  Then I added some low-sodium chicken broth and mixed some corn starch with water to thicken it and made a yummy gravy!

This looks a little “mystery meatish,” I know, but it was GOOD!

My interesting chicken and gravy

I didn’t eat much of the gravy, I just fished out the pieces of chicken.  I made some mashed potatoes for the kids (they aren’t fans of quinoa) and they were very happy.  They put the chicken and gravy on top of their potatoes.

I actually just bought these mashed potatoes at Costco a couple weeks ago and made them for the first time…

Mashed Potatoes from Costco

They were really good!  Yes, I’d much rather feed my kids mashed potatoes from scratch, but I was impressed with the ingredients in these.  It definitely simplifies my life too!

I’ve been having this for breakfast pretty much every day…

My Oatmeal, eggs and lemon water breakfast

It’s just some warm lemon water, 2 scrambled egg whites topped with a little natural ketchup and a bowl of YUMMY oatmeal!  I just mix 1/2 cup of oatmeal with a small handful of raisins, add enough water to cover everything and microwave it for 2 minutes.  When it comes out, I add a scoop of Sunwarrior  vanilla protein powder, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a pinch of pure stevia (no added fillers or ingredients), a splash of vanilla extract and a dollup of natural peanut butter (I sometimes use PB2 instead.)  I usually have to add extra water to get it to the right consistency too.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!  I actually crave this breakfast.  It tastes good, fills me up and is so satisfying!  I will probably keep eating it every day until I get sick of it!  I know some people add eggs/egg whites to their oatmeal before they cook it, but I much prefer to eat mine on the side.  I really like eggs, thank heavens.

I’ve been drinking a protein shake almost every day too.  I try drink it before or after my workout if I can.

My chocolate Protein Shake

My favorite one is very simple; 1-2 cups (I eyeball it) of unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or water with a scoop of Sunwarrior chocolate protein powder, a spoonful of cocoa, a pinch of stevia, two big handfuls of spinach or kale and a bunch of ice cubes (maybe 8-12.)  I mix everything up in the blender and it’s yummy!  I sometimes add chia seeds, PB2 or different extract flavors too.

We had a fun neighborhood BBQ last weekend.

Neighborhood bbq and fireworks

Kev and I brought steaks to grill and they were fabulous!  I also had lots of fruits and veggies.  I marinated our steaks in a wonderful marinade!  I think it will become my “go-to” steak marinade.  I found the original recipe on AllRecipes.com, but I tweaked it a bit so I could use ingredients I had on hand.  Here’s the recipe I used…

The Best Steak Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium low sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • a splash of Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)

Mix all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag.  Add steak and marinate in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.  Cook as desired.

That’s it.  It was simple and fabulous!

I had this interesting concoction on the go the other day…

My Interesting cottage cheese, grape and coconut mixture

It was just some lowfat cottage cheese, mixed with some grapes and some amazing toasted coconut from Costco.

Toasted coconutYes, it has some added sugar in it, so I only added a little bit.  HOLY YUM!  I brought my little concoction with me in an insulated lunch box because I was out running errands.  I was very grateful I brought it.

In fact, I’ve been quite proud of myself because I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in the past 2 weeks!  Anytime I know I’m going to be gone from home for an extended period of time, I always pack food with me.  I’ve had family in town the past couple weeks and I’ve been spending a lot of time with them.  I’ve still been bringing all my food with me!  That’s a HUGE accomplishment for me because I usually throw all caution to the wind when my sister and brother are in town!  Ha ha.

Last week, we went to Lagoon Amusement Park all day and I STILL brought all my food with me!  My sister told me she was very impressed when I pulled out things like my brown rice, veggies, hard boiled eggs, string cheese and protein pudding.  Yay!

Ya know, healthy eating isn’t always convenient, but when I’m committed, I make sure to stick with the plan….no matter what!  There will always be a birthday, holiday, party, special occasion, or a million other things going on that could quickly derail healthy goals, but I always try to stay strong, unless I’ve specifically planned a “special” meal.

In fact, we’ll be out of town for a couple days next week at a family reunion, but I’m definitely planning on packing my own food with me!  Yes, it’s a pain in the bum and I’m sure I’ll probably get a lot of raised eyebrows, but I’m just fine with that.

I’ve also been sticking to the workout plan and haven’t missed a workout yet.  I’ve had some hectic days, but I always plan ahead and make sure I fit my workout in.  I’ve done some workouts first thing in the morning and some at 11 o’clock at night.  I just fit them in where they fit!  I’ve been doing most of my workouts from home, but I’ve been going to the gym 1-2 times a week and running 1-2 times a week too.  It’s just perfect.

I haven’t taken too many workout pics because when I’m at the gym it’s usually during the peak times (hello, I don’t want to be the weird selfie in the mirror chick…at least not when everyone’s watching!  Ha ha), but I did take a pic just before I went for my run yesterday…

Going out on a run with Jim

I started my run out with my sweet little dog Jimmer, but he only lasted about a half mile before he had “issues.”  He loves to go on walks/runs with me, but he’s afraid of cars so sometimes he just sits down and refuses to move.  It’s a tad bit annoying when I’m trying to get my run in, so I just took him back home.  I ended up getting 4 miles in and I felt great.

Well, that’s about all I have to say tonight!  I need to hit the hay.  Tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Yay-hay!



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