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Working out first thing in the morning is great. Waking up at 4:00 a.m. is not great but I get it done and get my day started off right if my mind is right. My performance in the gym usually sets the tone for my day. If I don’t work out at all, it’s typically going to throw my whole day off, it can even put me in a funky mood. I know it is stupid, but it is my me-time and without that time my morning is all thrown off. I move more slowly getting ready, my mind is not ready to take on the day, and I honestly think even more about the food I am eating when I know I haven’t burnt the calories I need.

If I do poorly on a workout I am pretty rough on myself from time to time. Some days, I go into the workout knowing I am not recovered enough to do my best or that the movements programmed just aren’t in my wheelhouse. Other days I am there to “show-out” and know what is programmed is right up my alley. Granted, I don’t look at the board to see how everyone else did, but I always ask Josh how he did to know if I did well or not.

A few weeks ago, I PR’d my squat clean and was so proud of myself. I am not a very strong “athlete” compared to other women in the gym. I would like to be really strong, mainly in my legs, but it just isn’t there yet. I don’t think I have ever smiled so much after doing a lift. A few weeks before that I PR’d my back squat and was immensely disappointed. I went up by the same amount of weight on both lifts, yet I was elated over one and completely mortified with the other. Why? I tell my students, up is up, no matter how small the gain, it is better than a loss, but I find it hard to tell myself that.

A victory is a victory no matter how small. They should all be celebrated.

I had this number in my head that I wanted to reach and I didn’t get there. I went up but not enough to reach my goal. I truly think I could have hit it, but I fell short. I only went up by 5 pounds and that just wasn’t enough. I set a goal for myself which is what you should do, but at the same time, it should be a reachable goal. I know all of these things but that doesn’t prevent me from getting inside of my head and letting all the negative thoughts flood in. I am my own worst enemy. I am the obstacle, preventing me from reaching my goals.

Typically once I fail at a weight I am not likely to keep trying, I simply give up because I tell myself that I’m not capable and then I continue to fail. I have had moments where I push through and keep on rocking, even after failing. Those are some of my prouder moments. When I have failed and just give up, my mindset has changed and even my body language changes. When I keep trying and pushing, I am Immensely more confident and it shows.

When I failed on goal weight for my back squat, I kept trying. I didn’t just stop. I tried and tried until the time ran out to get a higher number. I still think I could have gotten to a heavier weight and that is important. Believing in yourself is powerful. If you don’t believe in yourself, then you will never succeed.

I try not to be the obstacle that prevents me from reaching my goal, but more often than not it is my mind that is weak not my muscles. I see people quitting workouts or giving up as soon as it gets difficult, taking too many breaks or simply stopping. I practice a lot of positive self-talk when I am grinding through a difficult workout. I remind myself of more difficult workouts I have completed, that the pain is temporary, or tell myself only 5 more times, halfway done, whatever the case may be to keep myself going.

I know that the pain or discomfort is only temporary during a workout, but the results are worth it. The work you put in will show, usually slowly and the work you don’t put in will show even faster. If you have the choice to get out of your own way and stop being an obstacle, why wouldn’t you? No one really has all the time in the world. Everyone has to make sacrifices to put in the work and see results, but if you want to make a change bad enough, you will. You are completely capable of moving mountains if that is your desire, but you won’t even budge a rock if you don’t ever try.


Farfalle Mushroom Pasta


Cabbage Roll-Ups

Deer Stew

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

Farfalle Mushroom Pasta

Usually, this dish kills my carbohydrates, until I swapped to carba-nada pasta. It is not the same type of noodle, but I don’t mind changing up the noodle to gain more protein and decrease the number of carbs.

The macros, per serving, were 349 calories, 11.6 grams of protein, 39.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.1 grams of fat. The last time I made this, it was 10 servings. You can make your servings larger or smaller depending on your macro needs. If you aren’t worried about your macros, just keep the same pasta and eat it as the recipe originally intended. If you are counting macros and want to be a little conservative, I suggest you look at the changes I am making below.

I like to use Carba-nada so I don’t feel so bad about eating the pasta or feel like I can’t have so many carbs throughout the day. The macros listed above are without the meat figured in. I add that in separately to my app. I always cook 3 chicken breasts in the oven to add-in to make it a full meal. 

*Changes I make to meet my macros.

16 ounces uncooked whole wheat farfalle pasta
2 tablespoons butter
*1 tablespoon 
2 tablespoons oil
24 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
*680 grams 
1/4 cup minced garlic or shallots, or a combination of both
a splash of white wine (about 1/3 cup)
*2 ounces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/2 cup whole milk 
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (as needed)
*2 cups Vegetable broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
*low fat Parmesan 
2 cups spinach, chopped
6 ounces goat cheese
*4 ounces
*cooked chicken breast


The spaghetti sauce I use is adapted from a bolognese lasagna sauce. It is a thicker sauce, with lots of meat and vegetables.

To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan (mushrooms are not in the lasagna). Once the mushrooms have cooked down, drain any excess water. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.

Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the spaghetti simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.

I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand. I don’t use noodles anymore with my spaghetti. If you still want noodles, Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option!

Once I tried spaghetti squash I never went back. It really is not that difficult to make. I cut my squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, spray with olive oil and bake in the oven on 425 degrees until I can stick a skewer all the way through the squash to the outside (not through the outside). I allow the squash to cool and then use a fork to scrape noddle-like strands out of the squash. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash is 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.

4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes 
1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup)
3 cloves Garlic
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) 
2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained (depending on amount of people serving, I use 3.5 pounds typically and always have leftovers for the kids)
8 ounces Whole Milk (optional)
4 ounces Red Wine (optional)
Italian Herbs 

3-4 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice  

Cabbage Roll-Ups

These bad boys are so delicious and make a pretty presentation when plated. They seem difficult to make just because of their presentation, but I promise they are super simple. There are two key players in this dish that can blow your macros out of the water, the rice and hoisin sauce. The hoisin sauce is key though, don’t skip it, but don’t get too happy with it. You have to mix it with water and then cover the cabbage rolls with the diluted sauce. Make sure you are measuring it out, so you don’t overdo it, a little bit of sauce can go a long way.

In order to make these you will want to break the cabbage leaf about 1 inch from the bottom, fill the top of the leaf with an equal amount of mixture (if tracking), then start rolling from the top to the bottom. The break in the leaf allows the rolls to sit freely. If you are basing your measurements off of the changes I make, keep in mind that I double all of my recipes to have for lunch the following day.

Each roll was 190 calories, 18.7 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 9.2 grams of fat.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
*0.5 tablespoon
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
*8 ounces 
1 lb ground pork
*around 40 ounces 80/20 or pork
1 cup cooked jasmine rice
*reduce to 3/4 cup if cutting calories 
1 large carrot, shredded
*4 ounces matchstick carrots 
3 scallions, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
*2 tablespoons 
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 large head Napa cabbage, leaves separated and thick white core removed
¼ cup hoisin sauce
*40-50 grams 
2 tablespoons water
*enough water to thin down, around 1/3 cup  

Deer Stew

When deer season rolls around, deer stew is always something that I like to make. I am not a fan of fried meat anymore, french fries heck yeah, but I just don’t like my meat fried. I searched and searched for recipes with cubed steak that did not include flour and grease/oil. It took me a while, but I found a few good ones that I have stuck to come deer season. I don’t recommend using cubed steak in fajitas, it just doesn’t hold up, but this recipe is a great option.

The only thing I am going to change is the amount of butter used in this recipe. It calls for 1/2 a stick, but I am going to use 1/4 a stick instead. I am using small new potatoes, not baking potatoes and I like to use a cubed steak. If you don’t have deer meat, you can always use any thin, low-fat strips of steak.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3-4 Potatoes
*8-9 New Potatoes 
3-4 Large Carrots
*16 ounces baby carrots 
1 Onion 
*1-2 cups
*1/2-1 cup 
*1/4 stick 
*4 slices or 6 ounces 
Cubed Steak or Thin Lean Steak 

Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

I don’t think I could ever get tired of this dish, it is delicious and beautiful

This is one of those meals that you tuck away in the back of your mind for the next time you have company and want to impress them without having to try too hard. I simply loved it and the macros weren’t that bad either. You could definitely cut back on the amount of orzo used and bring down the carbohydrates. I used 1 cup, but I might even do 3/4 of a cup this time so I don’t feel as strapped on my carbohydrates the days I eat it, but the orzo is so good.

Tracking the macros on the peppers was not super difficult. I made sure each pepper had the same amount of pasta, chicken, and toppings so that no matter which pepper was picked, they were the same.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 red bell peppers, halved 
*4 peppers 
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
*spray olive oil  
3 sprigs fresh oregano 
kosher salt and pepper 
1 cup dry orzo or quinoa 
*285 grams or less 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives 
*76 grams  
2 pepperoncini, chopped 
*66 grams 
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped 
*Omit nuts 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 
*non fat feta  
Lemony Basil Tomatoes: 
1 cup fresh basil, chopped 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
*lemon juice  
crushed red pepper flakes 
zest from 1 lemon kosher salt  
*add cooked chicken breast to peppers

E N J O Y !

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