Mental Toughness + Menu

Physical strength is necessary in the gym (and life). Mental toughness, though, that is where it is at.

I have talked about being positive and believing in yourself, but I feel like mental toughness is more than that. You have to be mentally tough to get through the long stressful days and still force yourself to go to the gym or to not just grab take out. It takes a certain amount of willpower or mental toughness to tell yourself you don’t need that candy bar that has been hidden away in your desk.

You gave in. You didn’t overcome a craving for something so small, that can completely derail your goals. For some people, they can’t just have one fun size candy bar, on one random day. For others, that one fun size bar turns into two and then becomes a reoccurring event. In the moment you feel like you NEED that piece of candy or bag of chips or coke. You don’t. You WANT it. Then you regret it and then you have to dig yourself out of the hole.

I know, I struggle with this. There is a box of candy beside my desk that I will use for rewards with my students. I will grab one piece, on a random day, but then the next day it is two. After that it just spirals. Once I have a piece, I want more. I have the mentality that if it fits into my macros for the day I can have it, but that doesn’t mean I NEED to have those things. My body doesn’t need the sugar or extra fat.

Long days. Babies not sleeping. Stress at work. I know that all too well and they are all great reasons to hit the snooze button.

Just go. Get up. Get moving.

Don’t lay in bed; don’t get into that habit. Once you start skipping, it is hard to get back on course.

Sometimes you just need the mental toughness to get through a workout. Some workouts are just long and repetitive. Maybe you didn’t sleep well or are starting to feel sick or are sore from the day before. It is good to give your body time to rest and recover, but not all week. Sometimes that ache doesn’t mean anything significant and you need to work through it.

You’re not going to feel 100% all of the time. Sometimes bending over to pick up the kids hurts, but once you get into the workout and get focused, that pain goes away. You are mentally focused on what needs to be done. You aren’t feeling or thinking about that little pull. You are fixated on the work that needs to be done in that hour window.

Be mentally tough. Stay focused on your nutritional and physical goals. Creating those healthy habits requires you to have willpower and the mental capacity to know that passing on the cinnamon roll isn’t the end of the world. No, one cinnamon roll won’t hurt you, but if you do not have a solid foundation and cannot resist temptation, just pass on it. It is not worth you back sliding and having a whole day or week worth of bad eating.

M • E • N • U

Pork Chops + Beet Salad

Chicken Salad

Lasagna (Happy Birthday Josh)

Pork Chops + Spicy Roasted Squash


Pork Chops + Beet Salad

I wanted to do a beet salad last week, but beet salad and hamburgers don’t really go together well, so this week we are going to have it.

This is possibly the EASIEST beet salad I have ever made. Orange zest, honey, and goat cheese. I love red wine vinegar with beets, so I am going to mix up the zest, honey, and vinegar to make a simple dressing. No oil needed.

I like to cook our our pork chops on 425 degrees. Depending on how thick you cut your chops, they could only take 8-9 minutes. They make a super fast meal. I don’t usually prep my meat when it cooks that quickly. I will prep all of my side dishes because they tend to take more effort.

Chicken Salad

With lasagna on the menu for Josh’s birthday, we need a healthy low carb, low fat lunch to go with it the day of. I always cook enough food so our supper becomes our lunch for the next day. (I could not imagine making something different for all lunches and dinners.) So the chicken salad for Tuesday night will be Wednesday’s lunch. 👌🏼

My brother in law recently made this for his son’s first birthday party and I bet no one would have guessed it was a healthy chicken salad. Everyone loved and several people asked me for the recipe. So here it is. It is not my own, but I have made a few changes to make it perfect for us.

First, this chicken salad needs a lot of seasoning. I like a creole spicy flavor, but you could always make it more Italian or Caribbean depending on the spices you choose. Second, you need a sauce to go with it. The seasoning helps, but the sauce puts it over the edge.

I add the spices to the “mayo” and then once I put the chicken salad in my wrap, I top it with the sauce. I prefer to use sriracha in my wraps. If you are eating the chicken salad sans wrap, then mix the sauce in with the salad.

Lasagna (Happy Birthday Josh)

• H A P P Y • B I R T H D A Y • J O S H U A •

Calories don’t count for birthdays right? Josh requested lasagna so I am going to make a real deal lasagna. I’m not making the noodles like Half Baked Harvest has done, so the store bought will have to do.

I am not making many substitutions since I have made sure that our lunch is very light prior to this meal. Just because it is his birthday doesn’t mean I don’t want to track what is in our food.

This lasagna requires you to  refrigerate the sauce prior to actually cooking the entire meal. You can skip the refrigeration if necessary. The directions say to add the meat (I’m using ground deer meat) into the pan with the vegetables. It never says to strain the meat, but I don’t think I can leave all of the fat and water in the pan. I am going to brown and strain my meat separately, then add it to the vegetables with all of the seasoning. This is the sauce that refrigerates overnight or can be frozen.

Then you make the Béchamel sauce. Typically I would not make a dish that was this time consuming, but since it is for Josh’s birthday I am. You could always make a crock-pot lasagna or convert this dish into a crock-pot meal.

Pork Chops + Spicy Roasted Squash

The day after a heavy pasta meal, calls for something simple and easy, but with some great flavor.

This spicy roasted squash is not just your everyday roasted vegetables with salt and pepper, it has some real flavor. I am skipping the coconut oil and spraying my squash with olive oil to make the seasoning stick and so the squash won’t stick the pan. I want to keep the fat low, since we are having the lasagna for lunch the next day (if there is any leftover). It calls for a good deal of brown sugar, so I am going to cut it down to 1 Tablespoon and I will be using non-fat feta.

The pork chops are the same as the first meal. I like to cook them on 425 degrees and season based on the side dish. The side dish is usually the main attraction around here, so I don’t stress over meal prepping pork chops. They take anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness.


It is supposed to be pretty cold and wet this week, so this chili will get us through the weekend. Josh could not decide if he wanted to have lasagna or chili for his birthday, so I made it easy and put both on the menu. I make a ton of this chili, so it lasts for several days, which is great so we can have some through the weekend if we want to. The kids even like it!

Last time I skipped the celery and did not miss it at all. Most recipes for chili don’t have many vegetables, but I love mine packed with vegetables. Other than the cheese as a garnish and celery I do not make any changes to this dish. I use ground deer meat or 80/20 when I make this and 2 cans of black beans and 2 cans of kidney beans.

Don’t forget the list!


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