Instant Gratification

You aren’t going to find it here, sorry Sad smile.  Our world is about instant gratification, when we want something we get it, even if it’s not good for us.  How can we slow down and adopt the pace of Nature?

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Beautiful things happen when we put patience into practice in every aspect of our life.  The opposite of patience is frustration, worry, and stress.  Let’s say our kids ask us for something and they nag, complain, talk to all of their friends about how miserable they are, would you still want to help them?  Think about that before you give anything to God! When you give something to God and you still stress, and worry are you really trusting Him?

When you put your trust in God – not yourself, not people around you – you will NEVER be disappointed!  You will begin to enjoy your life while God is solving your problems.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5,6 . God always comes through and not always in the way we want but always better than we could ever imagine!  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20  Isn’t that amazing, we can’t even imagine what He can do with our lives when we really TRUST HIM!  Even when we don’t get our way, right away…..patience!

Change takes time and nothing great comes over night but learn to appreciate the journey. Celebrate one small victory at a time, and learn from each defeat but never forget that each one of us is just a rock but with God we will surely shine brighter than the most beautiful diamond and all it requires is patience!

Love, Shannon

Becca’s Food Diary

Its been so important to me to not follow a diet, but make a life style change that fits you!  I love the foods that I’m eating and that’s the only reason it works.  Through my hardships, God has truly shown me what foods that I need to avoid and what foods are good for me so that I can stay healthy the rest of my life!

Here are 10 Simple Guidelines that I follow:

#1 – I do not count calories – I really can’t imagine adding one more thing to my agenda, so I just watch my portions and eat safe foods.  I try to eat every couple of hours, so I’m not starving, but  I really try and listen to my body for hunger signs.

#2 – I eat about 90% “Gluten Free” – I do however eat sprouted grains, like “Food for Life” Ezekiel English Muffins and many of their products, but for the most part I do eat Gluten Free.  We also bake with “Spelt” Flour which is a sprouted grain as well so its easier to digest because of its high water solubility and the nutrients are absorbed faster into your body.  Many people with gluten allergies can tolerate “Spelt” flour so you may want to check into it.  Keep in mind just because it says “Gluten Free” does not mean its healthy, look at the ingredients and make sure your can pronounce everything.  Healthy Grains:  Quinoa, Brown Rice & Sweet Potatoes

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#3 – I eat Organic or Locally Grown Fruits & Veggies, Grass Fed Beef & Chicken, and Wild Caught Fish. I try to only eat fresh produce and these types of meats and fish to avoid the harmful stuff they put in our foods and spray on our produce.  My motto is shop the perimeter of the grocery store because everything in the middle is filled with all of the preservatives.  If you think about it, its almost like getting back to the way they ate in the bible, whole foods, healthy and fresh – if you cannot pronounce the ingredients, you may want to think twice about eating them.

#4 – Dairy Intake – Typically no milk & no cheese – but I do have plain “Fage” Greek Yogurt in the morning and I still eat eggs.  Milk & dairy are trigger foods for me and definitely don’t agree with my body in large quantities.

#5 – Sweeteners – I do not use any artificial sweeteners or any sweeteners for that matter.  If I do need to sweeten something its typically with Organic Raw Sugar, Beet Sugar or Honey, I just use a touch.  I put French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer or Vanilla Almond Milk in my Coffee in the AM, both have very little sugar and I don’t need to add anything else.

#6 – Beverages – Water, Water and more Water – I drink 1/2 my body weight in water everyday – you would think I go to the bathroom all the time, but you get used to it.  🙂  I drink coffee, red wine here and there.   When I’m craving something other than water, I will drink Coconut Water.  Its amazing after a hard work-out, it helps to keep you hydrated.  It also contains tons of electrolytes and potassium to help restore your balance!!  They even have Chocolate Coconut Water that I give to my daughter every once in a while instead of Chocolate Milk, much healthier, also lower in calories and fat.

#7 – Good Fats – Your body needs healthy fats for many different reasons.  I do not use any products that say “Low Fat” or “Fat Free.”  I use organic unsalted real butter, olive oil and coconut oil for cooking.  We avoid margarine, canola oil and partially hydrogenated oils, these are all processed and very hard for your body to digest.

#8 – Healthy Snacks – I’m in sales and in my car all of the time so its important to have healthy snacks on the road.  I bring fruit, veggies and raw almonds with me so I have something healthy to eat.  I also love Lara Bars, they have all different flavors and the ingredients are very wholesome.  Mary’s Gone makes great crackers and even pretzels that have very healthy ingredients and are “Gluten Free.”  Every once in a while I will have a protein bar, but I have yet to find one that is actually healthy.   I will eat the “Think Thin” protein bars, they are Gluten Free and sometimes on the road its the best that I can find.

#9 – Desserts – So we all crave sweet things at times, I try to keep some healthy “Gluten Free” treats in the house and once again watch the portions.  We make our healthy cookie recipes that are made with spelt flour, all organic ingredients and taste good too.  They are typically sweetened with honey and often do not have any added sugar.   This is one of my favorites from the “Well of Life.”

#10 – My Food Has to Taste Good – I love food,so the things I eat have to taste good.  I do have one secret, my husband loves to cook, and he makes dinner every night.  We both find great recipes and he will substitute any ingredients that do not follow our guidelines. I feel very fortunate and I don’t know what I would do without him.  But we both work full time and the key is to find meals that are quick, easy, healthy and that ultimately taste good.  I will do my best to upload pictures of some of our favorites and post the recipes.  In addition we all fall off the wagon at times, its important to know that it happens to everyone and remember to pray and ask “God” for the strength to get back on track.  I love the verse, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”  1 Corinthians 10:23  It helps to keep my choices in check!!

Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • Fage Plain Greek Yogurt with Fresh Berries

  • 1/2 Ezekiel English Muffin with Butter

  • Coffee with Coconut Creamer

 

Lunch

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  • Typically a Salad with tons of fresh veggies, avocados, and a protein like Grilled Chicken or Roasted Turkey.  Here is a picture of one of my recent lunches.  I’m also on the road throughout the week, so I love going to different places and getting a nice big healthy salad.  My favorite greens to have in the house are Spinach and Arugula.  “Braggs” Health Vinaigrette is amazing too!!  I’m a big fan of leftovers for lunch too, so the days I work from home, I definitely will re-heat leftovers for a healthy lunch option.

 

Dinner
  • We always have some sort of protein with a vegetable and  a healthy carbohydrate.  This is one of photo (35)-003our favorites, “Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry over Brown Rice Pilaf or Quinoa.”

Snacks

  • Throughout the day I always snack on fruits, veggies, nuts and some “Gluten Free” crackers and hummus.  I also love “Kale” chips they are amazing!!  I try to eat every couple of hours so I’m not starving by the time I get to dinner!!

I’m excited to share all our healthy and delicious meals with you!

Shannon’s Food Diary

Becca and I have both lost a lot of weight and gained muscle but our approach to food is different.  The most important thing is you listen to your body and ask God to help you crave things that will benefit you and not harm you.  I hope this helps you find some tricks to incorporate into your diet!

Ok, I love food, I’m hungry often and I hate to be hungry so this is my tricks to be satisfied, feel my best, and keep me from junk food! I try to get protein, a healthy carb, and lots of vegetables at almost every meal. 

So here it goes!

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4:45am Depending on what I ate the day before and what we are doing at the gym I will sometimes grab a 1/2 of a protein bar (like a Luna or Cliff bar) to give me some fuel at the gym.

7:00am  I love breakfast and go to bed dreaming about it, weird I know.  Sometimes it’s egg whites and oatmeal but right now I’m in love with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (not that sugar loaded stuff), mixed with 1Tbl Chia seeds, whatever fruit I have on hand, my favorite is bananas or strawberries (nothing fresh = frozen blueberries), then a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean crunch, or Fiber One!!

10am I don’t leave the house without snacks and I love Fiber One and an apple in case I’m hungry.  So sometimes I have this and sometimes I don’t.  Listen to your hungerclip_image003

12pm Lunch sometimes happens at 11am ( I told you I’m hungry!)  It’s always leftovers- always a clean protein (homemade turkey burger, chicken, salmon), a healthy carb (brown rice, sweet potato, Quinoa), and lots of veggies that are either cooked or in a salad!

1:00pm I don’t have this in the picture but after lunch I want something sweet and I’m tired so my favorite thing to make up is a cup or two of Chai Green Tea (I just boil water and throw in tea bags) it’s the perfect afternoon pick me up!  This is a dangerous time of day because if you are tired your body naturally craves sugar for energy so if the tea doesn’t help then I move on to veggies!

2:00-5:00pm I munch on raw veggies all afternoon and I use a little Bolthouse Ranch dressing and this keeps me from eating dinner while I cook it and it fills me up so I don’t go crazy at dinner!

5:30-6:00pm Same as lunch, we have clean protein, veggies all different ways, and a healthy carb.  We will post lots of our favorite meals for you guys to enjoy!

7:00pm I have a sweet tooth and if I don’t have a little something then I’m depriving myself and I go crazy, so again BALANCE!  I make a cottage cheese dip with apples that I love, don’t worry I blend it in the blender and it’s smooth and creamy (I promise to post the recipe) or I will have just a couple almonds and dark chocolate chips if I’m craving something sweet and salty.

Wow, I eat a lot but it has gotten me to where I am today!  My rules are I stay away from too much processed food, no trigger foods in the house (things that cause me to eat way too much, example: hummus, technically healthy- but who can eat 2 Tbl. of that stuff, not me).  I drink tons of water, I have a 32 gallon jug that I try to fill 3 times, I also pee a lot :/ Lastly, I stay away from sugar I’ve loved it too much, for too long so I broke up with it! Every once in a while I do have sugar but in very small doses and I treat it with CAUTION!

I have come such a long way with my food issues (I’ll forever be a work in progress) but the most important thing to me is balance!  If I’m hungry I eat and some days that means I eat A LOT but I know the next day I probably won’t be as hungry and I’m not going to be crazy about it.  God wants us to trust Him in this and not make ourselves crazy.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:30

When you trust God the burden is light, and if you are still stressing, depriving, bingeing, ask yourself this –

Are you really trusting God?

With Love, Shannonclip_image003[1]

Our Workouts

Moving your body is so important not just for your body but also your mind.  Studies show that exercisers learn faster, remember more, and think clearer because it increases blood flow to the brain delivering nutrients and oxygen.  Exercise can also give you such an endorphin high that a lot of people can even get addicted to it.  We are striving for balance – please keep the balance in both food and exercise!!

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You are stronger than you can imagine, and the only boundaries you have are the one you set for yourself.  Never say you can’t, say “you can” and if you can’t at the moment, say “ You Will!!”  We do as much as we can every time we workout, we try to lift more, add reps and continually be the best we can be and that is what has changed our body!

Our workouts are often circuit training which is doing 8 to 10 exercises for a duration or for reps that include both muscles and cardio. We then repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times.  We rarely do the same circuit twice because we get bored easily.  We hope to share our circuits with you and as we get better at this blogging thing and we promise to get you a video of some of our favorite moves!!

Here is a picture of our usual week.  We get to the gym at 5:30am (that’s when they open) and we leave by 6:45am we both have to be home by 7am!

Monday – It’s our spinning day, which we love because we don’t have to think!  We trained for a race in the summer that started with a 1 mile sprint so we start our Monday at 5:30am with a 1 mile sprint (as fast as we can).  Then we do a little abs which we change-up every time (just google best ab exercises and you will find tons of moves) but we always end holding a plank – it’s our little competition because neither of us want to be the first to drop!Winking smile

Tuesday – We set up circuits and we get our moves from all over the place like www.crossfit.com and www.bodybuilding.com.  We generally work on two muscle groups with cardio in between each muscle move to keep our heart rates high.  Tuesday is back and biceps so we will do a muscle move like bicep curls followed with jump rope and up to 8 more moves than repeat the circuit 3 times.  Go here for some of our circuits!

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Wednesday– A day of rest.  Rest is when your muscles grow and your body gets stronger.  If you don’t rest you don’t gain muscle you actually lose it!

Thursday – Chest and Triceps circuits and we often add some abs at the end.

Friday– We try to kill it on Friday (we try to everyday) but it’s our favorite – Legs and Shoulders – this is a killer and we are lucky if we can walk out of the gym on this day but it’s really fun (I promise)!

Weekends -This is really up to how we feel, in the summer when we were training for a race or just for the fun of it we would go for a run on our own.  Both of us consider a long run relaxing time with God we both listen to our Christian music and it’s really amazing how you get stronger and fitter every weekend.  In the winter we are taking little breakSmile

We can not stress the importance of using your muscles and focusing on getting stronger.  There is no such thing as “getting bulky” , fat makes you bulky, muscles make you lean!

  This is a great article on the benefits of resistance training!

Whenever you start a new workout routine go slow, ad heavier weight and new exercises as you go.  If you aren’t struggling to perform the moves you either need to up your weights or add more reps.  Example: When we started we would struggle to do 50 jump ropes without stopping now it’s 150.  Keep pushing yourself and remember “There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone”.  

Love, Shannon & Becca

Becca’s Transformation Story

Everyone has a story; I’m only sharing mine in hopes that it will help someone going through similar struggles with their weight, faith and starting a family.

So here is my family now, that I truly thank God for everyday, but it took a while for us to all get here…..

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Here are my before and after pictures, but once again, I am a work in progress and it took battling through a few road blocks to get here…..

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My Story………………

You could say my life started being surrounded by food. My dad ran a restaurant with his brother that my Great Grandparents started back in the late 1940’s that served good “Old Fashioned” Pennsylvania Dutch food. When I hit the teenage years, I was always concerned about my weight; I played sports and was always active, but was never thin. When I went off to college I had no idea what I wanted to do and being that I “LOVED” food, grew up in the restaurant business and was always trying to figure out how to lose weight, I thought that majoring in Nutrition would finally help me get on track. After 4 years at WVU I graduated with a BS in Human Nutrition & Food! Wow you would have thought, that after studying the human body and how food affects it, I would have been able to figure out how to lose weight, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. After college I spent 6 crazy years working at my family’s restaurant.  While making work my main priority it completely put my life out of balance. I now weighed close to 175lbs and was struggling with food, exercise and my faith was non-existent.

My mom was the most amazing Christian women you could ever imagine. She made “God” a huge part of our lives. When we were younger, I remember vividly reciting bible verses with her from memory in our kitchen. Although I always considered myself a “Christian” I relied on my mom’s faith and didn’t have my own relationship with God.

Over the next couple of years I continued to struggle with my weight.  I went on and off diets, I would start to exercise and lose some weight, but it always came back. Fast forward several years, I got married to my college sweetheart at 26 and after 5 years of marriage we welcomed our first daughter into the world. Eight months after the birth of my first daughter I developed random hives, severe joint pain and swelling and found out that I had a positive ANA. After several trips to different specialists, no one could figure out why I had hives. The only suggestion that each physician had was to take a daily allergy medication and if the hives were really bad, steroids.

For the next year or so, I just lived with the hives and joint pain and accepted it for what it was. However, when we started trying for our second child, things changed. I became pregnant right away, only to find out at 14 weeks, the baby did not have a heartbeat. This is when God began to work on me, one of many times in my life but now I was “almost” ready to listen. About 8 months after my first miscarriage, we were so excited to find out we were pregnant again, only to have another miscarriage at 7 weeks. OK, I knew the saying that “God is never going to give you more than you can handle”, but this was truly devastating. I continued to pray and trust that God did have a plan for us, but it was difficult.

I needed to know what was going on so I started doing some research on-line in regards to my diet and ended up going to a holistic nutritionist. She gave me amazing nutrition advice that helped me tremendously. I completely changed my diet, cut out all of the things I grew up loving, like Gluten, Sugar and Dairy!!! It sounds terrible, but it was amazing how instantly things started to change. My hives had started getting better and my joint pain was completely gone. The bonus was I started to lose weight and I was feeling great. The only problems was the nutritionist had put me on 25 different supplements and I was putting all my faith and trust in her to help heal my ailments rather than God.

I woke up on New Year’s Day of 2011 and picked up my bible and said Lord, I need your help, please give me peace about this situation and help me through this journey, because it’s consuming my entire life. That day I read this verse, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8. I could not believe what I was reading; it was definitely a message from God saying “Becca, Trust Me, stop taking everything and just trust me!” I stopped every supplement and gave the whole thing to God, knowing His plans are better than my own. Whether I ever had another child or not I was giving it to God although it was hardest thing I ever did. Exactly 2 years later from our first miscarriage we welcomed our second beautiful baby girl!! Every time I see her it’s a reminder of how much God has truly blessed us!

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Now with God’s help it was time to finally conquer the life-long weight battle. I started back on my Gluten-Free diet and running intermittently.  In addition, my cousin Shannon started dragging me to the gym with her at 5:30am, which I never thought I could do at the beginning, but now look forward to. Needless to say, after 7 months of crazy training, spiritual growing and back to my healthy eating I’ve lost over 55lbs and am happy to report I feel amazing. My hives and joint point are completely non-existent.  I give all of the credit to God, for giving me the strength to take care of my body and teaching me through my hardships how to fully trust him and not this world!! I also thank God for putting Shannon in my life and helping me stick with a regular exercise program.

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When we listen to our bodies and eat the proper foods, it’s amazing how your body can truly transform, heal itself and stay healthy and fit not just for you but your family and God! My hope is that “Our Story” will help women find their “Inner Strength” in God, because through him all things are possible.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

-Becca

What Is Worse Than Being Sick?

So, what could be worse than being sick? Being sick with 4 kids! Our household has come down with something that is wreaking havoc in the form of fevers and miserable children. In my former way of life this would call for baking. Don’t ask me why but when I was tired, grumpy, and feeling sick baking something delicious always cheered me up! I’d lick the batter, eat it fresh out of the oven (to make sure it was safe for everyone to eat) and then eat it the rest of the day which then = feeling worse than when I started!

Be proud, No baking today!! We honestly didn’t do anything but snuggle our sick butts under the covers and watch movies. I did learn a gem of wisdom from Remy in Ratatouille. images

This little rat was very selective about what he ate. He didn’t just eat because it was food, he wanted to eat because it was delicious but also good for him.  It reminds me of a great bible verse.

“Everything permissible but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 Aww so true!

Today I didn’t cook and thankfully we had lots of healthy stuff on hand to grab otherwise I might have ended up baking!  I also am staying far away from the gym, I wouldn’t want to infect anyone. It’s also good to give the body a rest, especially when it’s fighting illness.  The key is to not let a couple days of not going to the gym or exercise turn into a week or more.  Don’t you worry I will kill it MondaySmile

In this random, not feeling so hot post I’m going to give you a little motivation and a silly recipe!

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I know, hold onto your socks this is a crazy gourmet mix. If you don’t love a pbj like me than no judging, but this is a great way for me to have a pbj with great health benefits!  Check out that fiber content:Winking smile 

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I hope this finds you happy and healthier than me and my crew!

With love,

Shannon

A Peek Into My Craziness:)

Since you’ve seen me in a bikini I might as well show you a peek into my craziness!  I know everyone is crazy, running faster then the speed of light with not enough hours in the day to get it all done.  I can sympathize with all of you, that is why I meet with God at 5am every morning #1 It’s quiet, #2 No distractions and the most important #3 I’m a train wreck without Him!

Something He is teaching me right now is “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians: 4 22-24  Isn’t that awesome to know that if we don’t put off our old self we will continue to be corrupted by our deceitful desires but if we put on our “new self” that we are created to be like God.  This is exactly what happens to me when I don’t have time to read my bible or just have a quiet time with God, I easily fall back to my former way of life.

After God teaches me something new and I pray for motivation to move my body I give 100% to my workout (most of the time).  For me it’s not about being the strongest or fittest but being the best I can be.  Here is a peek at our craziness at the gym!  Just jump over something, the bigger the betterSmile

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When I get home at 7am I wash the gym germs off my hands and it is breakfast for the troops and getting my husband off to work.  My breakfast has been the same for a while because I LOVE it!!!

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You can read the details here!family

Then it’s on to home schooling my crew!     It’s a long story about how I ended up home schooling but we love it!  I won’t bore you with all the details but just know it’s a little crazy!

Time for lunch!  Food is constant in my house between prepping, cooking, cleaning, and eating it’s a full time job.  So the only way we eat healthy and I don’t lose my mind is making a ton of food at once.  Monday is usually our big cooking day, this week we grilled up 4lbs of homemade turkey burgers, 5lbs of chicken, tons roasted veggies, a rice cooker full of brown rice and a couple cups of Quinoa.  It sounds like a lot, but it makes the rest of our week so much easier and it’s nice having all those healthfridgey options just waiting for us!

You’ve seen me in a bikini, now I’m showing you my fridge. Here it is, stocked up for the week, packed to the brim and in just a few days it will be close to empty. One of my favorite things to have on hand that everyone loves including Paige is our veggie filled turkey burger courtesy of my sister in California.  Paige and I eat our turkey burgers mashed up in brown rice or Quinoa with a bunch of cooked veggies thrown in, it’s a microwave meal in minutes!  My husband takes them to work and my kids love them on a bun with ketchup!

This is the recipe and on a side note when I shred my veggies I do half coarse (or larger) and half finely shredded.

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I’m tired and I only got to lunch, so later this week I’ll give you a peek at the second half of my crazinessSmile

Don’t try and be perfect just be the best you can be!

Love, Shannon