I started “working out” my freshmen year in college, in all honesty because my boyfriend at the time was working out and I knew NO ONE other than him and his guy friends. It was either go workout with them or sit in my dorm room. I was always active growing up. I showed cows, was a cheerleader for a while, I even tried out for basketball once and got asked to be the manager, I politely declined. Being athletic was obviously not my jam. I had never actually targeted a certain body part or tried to lose weight or tone up. So when I went to the gym with them all of those machines were foreign to me.
Fast forward a year or so later, I ventured out on my own and attempted to try new workouts. Do you know that there is a “kettle bell swing” workout? That is it, just do 100 kettle bell swings a day and your entire body will be toned. Speaking from experience, it doesn’t work. Did you know that just because you can leg press over 200 pounds doesn’t mean you can put 200 pounds on your back and squat it? Sadly, it’s true.
I used to impress myself with how much I could leg press on a machine. I would tell my family, ‘guess how much I did on this today or that today’. I remember my sister asked me once why on Earth I would even want to move that much weight…I had never really thought about it. My answer was simple though, I told her I just wanted to see what my body could do.
I wasn’t getting a gold star on a chart for working out everyday. I wasn’t at the gym to hangout with everyone, that is a bonus though. I wasn’t going to the gym to meet a guy. I was just there. I was there to get myself healthier and push myself. Even though it was and still is for myself, it was extrinsic motivation. I didn’t give myself a tangible reward for working out and pushing past my previous PR, but that number was my extrinsic motivation. I joined a boot camp at the local gym because it looked fun. It was different from my usual run, machines, run workout. That was intrinsic motivation. I did it just because it was fun and enjoyable for me.
Intrinsic motivation is driven by the desire to complete or engage in an activity for personal or internal reasons, such as enjoying an activity, it is exciting and fun. The activity itself is the reward. Extrinsic motivation is motivation from outside of oneself. One can be extrinsically motivated because of consequences, getting an award, winning a game, competing to win (fill in the blank), etc. The end result of the activity is the reward.
CrossFit is both extrinsic and intrinsic for me. It is my “alone” time and social time. I get to push my body to a point that my mind says I can’t do it, but my body somehow keeps moving and vice versa. I get to compete and push others to go heavier and faster. The high-fives and ‘good jobs’ make you feel good about your effort and progress. My own personal PR board at home and the white board at the gym push me to do more everyday.
Meal prepping came much later in life. I did not grow up eating the foods that I cook today. Growing up we ate your traditional, all-American foods. My sister really was the one that introduced me to a world of new flavors and food to try. Before kids, I cooked every night. I did only grocery shop once a week, but never had a clear laid out plan.
I started meal prepping because I was spending all of my time at night cooking and not spending time with Anderson and Josh. I would get an hour with Anderson before Josh got home and then had to start cooking. After we ate, it was solids, nurse, bath, nurse again, and then it was time for bed. I felt like I was missing out on so much while I was cooking dinner. I could have just said no more and started getting take out, but I wanted good home-cooked meals and time with my family. I started for intrinsic reasons. No high-fives for cooking all our meals in one day. No new pots and pans when my sheet got filled with gold stars, but that would be nice. I simply did it because the outcome made me happy.
Josh and I started counting our macros after I had begun my meal prep. I didn’t have a plan before I started counting, I just picked familiar recipes and recipes that I thought sounded good. Counting macros is completely extrinsic for me now. In the beginning it was intrinsic and extrinsic. It was like a game to see how close I could get to my numbers and not go over. I was excited to learn how to count and create recipes on my app. I started to physically feel better, eat cleaner than what we were, control my portions, lower my body fat percentage, and enhance my performance in the gym. I am motivated to keep counting my macros because of the positive benefits in my health and in the gym. Counting is tedious and time consuming, but we keep going because of the extrinsic benefits.
No matter what motivates you, whether it be intrinsic or extrinsic just start and keep going. Once the new wears off and it gets hard to keep going, find a new motivation. Find someone that will keep you accountable. Reward yourself, NOT with food, for hitting your goals or losing/gaining a certain amount. Rewarding yourself with food gives the impression that healthy food is bad and bad food is good. Remember, every now and then you CAN have the cake/chocolate/beer/wine/candy IF IT FITS in your macros.
I feel like what stops people from getting healthy and sticking to it, is that they see it as difficult and it will take too long. There’s no magic pill or fancy new diet that will keep you healthy for the rest of your life. The pills and fad diets will run their course. You may lose some weight, but if you return to your old eating habits and stop with the pills, all or most of your weight will come back. Fad diets and pills don’t create HEALTHY HABITS, it just gives you a short cut to short term weight loss.
The ONLY sure-fire way I know to lose weight and maintain that weight-loss, is to JUST BE HEALTHY. You KNOW that friend chicken biscuit is bad, but you get it anyway. You KNOW those frozen sausage biscuits aren’t a good choice for breakfast, but you buy them anyway. YOU buy them. No one is forcing you to make these unhealthy choices for yourself. Being healthy and unhealthy is a CHOICE that YOU have to make for YOURSELF. Making healthy choices somehow is seen as punishing yourself by a large margin of people, like you are missing out on life by being healthy, which couldn’t be more wrong. If you continue down your lazy, unhealthy path you will be the one missing out on life.
Maybe you just don’t have the right intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to make you think differently. Find those motivators and make those healthy choices for yourself!
M • E • N • U
Spaghetti • Squash •
Chicken + Lemony Linguini with Zucchini
Hamburgers + Grilled Corn Salad ∗Happy 4th of July∗
Chicken + Cuban Quinoa Bowl
Steak + Roasted Fajita Vegetable Bowl
Spaghetti • Squash •
Who doesn’t love pasta? Who can actually afford all the carbs that comes along with a plate full of pasta? ….Not I. Enter spaghetti squash. I have posted this recipe before and made sure mention that spaghetti squash does not taste like any kind of pasta. Even if you close your eyes and picture the pasta, it still won’t taste like pasta. It IS good though! I wouldn’t make it if it wasn’t good.
I used to buy tomatoes and make my own real-deal homemade sauce, but I have not done that since I tried my brother in-law’s lasagna. I made a few changes to his sauce to make it a little more macro friendly, but it is still delicious. There is wine and a yellow bell pepper in the sauce and the longer it sits, the sweeter it gets to me.
I put a link on the squash in case you decide to give it a try. There is a video that walks you through how to properly roast your squash. It is really very simple. Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Generously cover the inside and rim of the squash with EVOO. Place the squash on pan cut side up. Let it cook in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes, until you can stick a fork all the way through to the skin. Let the squash cool and then “rake” out the “noodles” with a fork.
Brown the hamburger meat and drain the fat. While the meat is cooking, finely chop the onion, garlic, yellow bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook down the vegetables and then add the meat, 4 cans of tomatoes, and tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. I typically season with fresh basil and thyme, and use the fire roasted tomatoes because they have more flavor to them. Then stir in the milk and then mix in the wine. Let simmer and enjoy!
Chicken + Lemony Linguini with Zucchini
This week my goal is just simple easy meals, mainly one bowl dinners. I love when everything can mix together in one bowl and taste delicious.
This recipe calls for linguini and zucchini noodles. Our neighbors gave us a bag full of zucchini and squash perfect for spiralizing! If you are watching your carbohydrate intake then skip the linguini or put in half of the recommended amount.
I love a light pasta sauce, I’m not really into heavy, thick sauces. This lemony-garlic sauce is perfect for that light summer pasta you are craving. Add in the fact that you can ditch the actual pasta and still get the same delicious meal, it’s a no-brainer.
I am going to cook some chicken breasts and toss them into the pasta, so I don’t miss out on any protein and don’t have to have any separate plates/bowls for a main meat dish.
Hamburgers + Grilled Corn Salad
∗Happy 4th of July∗
Wednesday is the 4th of July and the grill will of course be fired up! What is easier and more American than hamburgers?!
Hamburgers are not inherently unhealthy. The bun and toppings are what can really send you into macro overload. There are many ways you can make your hamburger healthy: make it a lettuce wrap, no mayo, no cheese, no bacon, etc.
The salad I have paired with the hamburgers will have a decent amount of carbs, so skip the bun on that second-helping of burgers and enjoy the salad!
I am going to make a recipe for the corn salad but skip the avocado on the main recipe. I will wait to top my salads with avocado, so I have an accurate weight of how much I am eating.
Chicken + Cuban Quinoa Bowl
Only two more bowls to go!
Again I am going to add chicken to this bowl. The great thing about a lot of these bowls is they are completely vegetarian friendly but can easily have protein added to them without compromising any flavor.
This bowl has a lot of parts to it, but don’t be overwhelmed when looking at the ingredients list. The great thing about this recipe is you can start one thing, let it cook, while it cooks start the next step…so on and so forth. You will need a blender to make the dressing. I am going to make double the amount of dressing since I am adding in chicken to the bowl. I don’t want the chicken to taste dried out.
If you are worried about too many carbohydrates, leave out the black beans. Beans do have protein, but add way more carbs than protein to the dish. The quinoa is worth the carb intake versus the black beans or just keep both but only do 1/3 cup of each.
Steak + Roasted Fajita Vegetable Bowl
Last Bowl of the week!
This time I am going to add steak to this fajita bowl instead of my go-to chicken breast. 🙂 I am going to season the meat with the same seasonings as the fajita bowl and cook it in a cast iron pan on the stove-top. To cut the cooking time down, I am going to pre-slice the meat before cooking it and also let sit seasoned before cooking it.
The recipe calls for brown rice but I am a quinoa fan. Plus, I am already using it in another meal, so I am opting for quinoa and not brown rice. That is what is great about meal prep, all I have to do is add in another cup of quinoa and that part is done for all the bowls. I have found that about half an avocado is 1 once. Make sure you aren’t going too crazy with the fat.
While you are chopping the vegetables for this bowl, go ahead and cut the vegetables up for the rest of the meals as well. Once you cut up the vegetables for this meal and weigh them, stick them into the pan so you don’t get confused as to what produce goes together. I always keep a pad and pen near by so I can write down all of my weights. And if it is a recipe I already have in my app, I will just change it right then.
Don’t forget the grocery list!