Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Overweight Becomes a Lean and Mean Mom of 3

I may not have introduced myself.  Some of you know me, some of you don’t…  some of you I have been friends with for YEARS and some we’ve never met but have only connected online.  I don’t like to post pictures of the kiddos and I’m not all about the selfies as much as others, but you may be able to relate better knowing that I’m a single Mom of 3 and they are my world.  We are just as busy as you and we still make the time to work out.  I keep the kids in sports to make sure they stay busy and aren’t home creating unhealthy habits.  I post a lot about fitness and nutrition but have you ever wondered why I do what I do?

Examples

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

Have you ever wondered what exactly I do as a fitness coach?  Have you wondered how I got here?  Have I always been  shape?  (uhhhh no – I haven’t.)  How did a stay at home Mom turn working Mom with a fitness business?

I haven’t always been into fitness.  But I have always been an athlete.  I lived and breathed gymnastics until I was about 14, then I wanted to do team sports for my school (soccer, tennis, volleyball).   I was in shape but working out was not the fun part of my day.   I used to hate running.  I would do it because a lot of sports needed the cardio conditioning but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t eat right, etc.

Before kids, I could eat whatever I wanted just like when I was a teenager and not gain a pound!  But now, that’s not so much the case.  Once I had my first child, Kaitlyn (with whom I gained 64 pounds!), I could not lose that weight.  I tried every diet under the sun, got a gym membership thinking that would help, etc.

Pregnant but still overweight

Pregnant but still overweight

But I didn’t stick with it.  My husband at the time could still eat whatever he wanted and the scale would not be affected so I would gradually go back to eating like he and I always did.  Then 7 months after giving birth we were pregnant again.  It was what we wanted because I always wanted to have my kids close in age and we knew we weren’t done, HOWEVER, I never got back to my pre-pregnancy weight first.

With baby #2, I was determined not to gain another 64 lbs!  (BTW, this before pic ——–>      was really hard to post!) I did a little working out while I was pregnant with her and I ate a lot better.  Not good, like I do now but better.  I only gained 24 lbs with Britney.

After she was born was right around the time that low carb diets were the thing.  And I was sold when I read that I didn’t need to work out, I could just eat low carb.  HA!  I dropped all the baby weight and then some!  Then it became that the only time I would work out was when I ate really bad the day before.  So now that I knew I could just eat low carb whenever I had some weight to lose I went back to eating atrociously!  Then I would work out twice a week if that.

Well as the girls were getting older, I decided to start cooking and making more home cooked meals at home.  I was a huge advocate for nursing since formulas were getting so much criticism for their ingredients and I was reading more and more about baby foods and how easy it was to make at home AND this way you knew what was going in to your child’s mouth.

That lead me to start watching and learning about the foods I was eating.  All the crap sold in the supermarket were 90% chemicals!  I started trading in the commercialized grocery stores for farmers markets and Trader Joe’s (Whole Foods wasn’t in Phoenix yet).  I also started buying organic whenever we could afford to.  I started with vegetables that grew in the ground and then meats was next.

After seeing and FEELING the results of just eating right it motivated me to want to get toned and in shape especially since I knew how to eat now!  Food was fuel now, not comfort.

Now comes the year 2007, I was in better shape then I was when I was a teenager, even had more energy then I did then.  We were running, biking, I had a gym membership where I would do spin class 2- 3 times a week, my girls and my ex and I all belonged to a dojo where we were all there at least 3 times a week.  I even taught yoga there for a while for some of the moms that had kids in the karate classes.  In June I found out that I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with Baby # 3, my son Frankie!  He was due in December!   So I had 4 short months to plan to have a baby!  But I didn’t want to stop working out.  I was mostly doing cardio anyways:  running, hiking, rollerblading, spin class, kickboxing and yoga at the dojo.

Frankie was born and I ended up only gaining 22 lbs.  My doctor towards the end was concerned that I hadn’t gained enough weight.

Then I started to want to help other Moms!  My girls started cheer and would have regular practices in a park, their Coach asked me if I would be the squad’s conditioning coach so now I started doing that every Tuesday and Thursday.  Soon after, some of the Moms of the girls recommended I do a fitness bootcamp where they could come work out.  We did and soon more and more moms showed up.  I would get the girls warmed up for cheer and then I would move over to the Moms!  It was fun.  We all created a close bond and I even helped some of them get ready to run their first marathons.

I started a blog, THIS ONE, hence why its name is Mom-related and not fitness related.  🙂  When I first created it, I started talking about tips to help breastfeeding Moms and nutrition was one of the most common posts because the questions were all closely related to the Mom being able to produce enough milk for a growing baby, etc. and then it started connecting me with women who were likeminded all across the country.

2008It was about this time that my neighbor introduced me to P90X.  Frankie was not even 2, Britney was 7 and Kaitlyn was 8 1/2.  My hands were full.  I was in shape but not getting toned.  I was still doing a ton of cardio.  P90X had weights and I knew I had to add that in.  I was always afraid of weights, always thought I would like a man, etc.  I was ready for a change.  I always wanted a personal trainer and now I had my own in MY HOUSE!!  It was amazing.

1st round of P90X

1st round of P90X

 

This was me in Cabo after the 1st round P90X.  I did the lean program and I refused to eat the P90X way.  I thought I knew more about what my body needed than this nutrition ‘guide’ telling me to eat 100 carbs a day!  At that point, I would barely eat 100 carbs in 4 days!!  I thought I had this whole fitness thing down and all I needed was to add weights.  HAHA.  I would be exhausted half way into the workout, or getting really bad headaches right after.  So I knew something was wrong.

 

 

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

90 days later 2nd Round P90X results

The lack of carbs is why my first round didn’t get me the results I anticipated.   I added a little muscle but nowhere near everyone else’s 90 day results.  This got me so mad!  So then right away, I started the classic program and I ate exactly how it told me to, even bought Shakeology.  I was posting my results pics on Facebook and friends and family were the first to notice.  Then I started helping other people get through their first round of P90X.

After 3 rounds of P90X, I decided to switch it up with Insanity.  I loved Insanity because it was a more intense version of P90X’s cardio days and guess what I started thinking P90X was too EASY!!  On the P90X cardio days, (Tuesdays and Saturdays) I would do the Max Cardio Circuit from Insanity instead of PlyoX.

I started connecting with people on the Facebook P90X message boards and through my blog.  I was helping people get through the programs but not getting paid for it!  And then Tony Horton shared my blog post of How you know You’re Addicted to P90X.

I knew I could help other Moms too… and realize everyone can do this too.   Being a Coach has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.  It got me in the best shape of my life, I have a healthy relationship with food, I have spent more time learning about myself, learning about others, and learning ways to better help YOU.

You do not have to be a fitness expert or nutritionist to be a successful Coach.  All you need is the desire in your heart to help others.  Beachbody is all about helping others.  They provide the tools you need to change your body, the nutrition your body is craving, a Coach who is always there for you… (ME!) and the network of likeminded people that you can connect with on Team Beachbody.

If you are interested on learning more please contact me.   We do a very brief 15-20 min webinar once a week and you will see how it easy it is to do the same thing I do!

Let’s get in touch and work on You together!  What do you have to lose??  You never know, it could be supplemental income for you too OR even become your main source of income!

 

Send me an email:  at CoachChristysElementsofFitness@gmail.com

OR an Instagram:  @FitnessElements4Life

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November 16, 2014 Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Divorce, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Family, Insanity, Me, My Low Carb Recipes, Nursing, Nutrition, P90X, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Phoenix AZ, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women Today, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

Want a delicious dinner that practically makes itself?   Wow your friends at your next party or bring this dish over to the next football party you’re invited to.  Just a warning though – it will disappear and they will ask you to make it each and every time you come back.

1415572554957LEMON CHICKEN

1 3-4lb whole chicken, fat trimmed, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lemon, halved
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3 rosemary sprigs (optional)
3 TBL parsley, finely chopped
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBL reduced sodium soy sauce
8-10 small red potatoes

Place 1 bouillon cube inside chicken.  Squeeze lemon, reserving juice and put rinds and 1 garlic clove inside chicken.

Place chicken, breast-side up, in slow cooker.  Sprinkle paprika and parsley.  Add onions and remaining garlic, then pour soy sauce and lemon juice over chicken.  Crumble remaining bouillon cube over chicken and line the sides of the cooker with potatoes.

Cook on high 3-4 1/2 hours.  Discard lemon rinds, skin and bones.

Half potatoes and serve.

 

fitness screenshotFor more low carb recipes, click here.

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November 9, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Family, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean Eating – Parmesan Crusted Chicken

You’re not going to believe how easy this is to make and how GOOOOOD it turns out until you make it – and it’s HEALTHY!   The chicken comes out so tender and juicy!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup grated and/or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix the first 5 ingredients and then spread mixture over chicken on both sides.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes

parmesan crusted chicken

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Discipline, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Products That Work, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthy Sour Cream Substitute

If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know that I love making recipes healthy that would otherwise not be “allowed” on ANY diet.  And I do it by just swapping out a few things.   Check out my protein pancakes or all my healthy alternatives for snacks, chili and casseroles.

 Today I was talking to a client who has the hardest time giving up the fatty foods she loves and occasionally gives in to.   Like me, she loves anything with cheese, or bacon and absolutely loves sour cream whether to dip or dollop.  So I started to tell her about my sour cream substitute and she immediately started with how she doesn’t like greek yogurt.  But guess what?!  There’s something even better to use than greek yogurt…… its cottage cheese!!

cottage cheeseIt may not sound very appetizing at first but neither did the greek yogurt idea when I first heard that!   But cottage cheese is LOWER in carbs and HIGHER in protein than greek yogurt!   All you have to do is blend it up with a splash of lemon juice and white vinegar and VOILA!…. a sour cream alternative that is healthy and you can barely notice a difference!

If you don’t like the hint of lemon, try it without it and just use white vinegar.   Nutritionally, this sour cream copycat recipe is considerably healthier than regular sour cream.  The only issue with using cottage cheese is that it is very high in sodium; so I recommend using a low sodium cottage cheese to eliminate that problem. 

Put the cottage cheese, lemon juice or vinegar, in a blender or food processor and blend until it’s smooth like sour cream. Depending on your blending appliance, you may need to stop blending periodically, scrape down the sides, stir, and blend some more until it’s smooth.  An immersion blender works faster and better.   Check Amazon for the Kitchenaid immersion blender.  It’s the best for small quantities like this.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (whole, low, or no fat; use low-sodium, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar*
Directions
*Use white vinegar for a taste that is most similar to sour cream. Use lemon juice if you prefer a faint hint of lemon taste.

Combine ingredients in blender, food processor or with immersion blender. Blend on high until smooth, stopping and scraping down sides as needed.

Serve a dollop on baked potatoes, chili, nachos, enchiladas, or stir into recipes in place of sour cream. Great for sour cream based dips.

Store in refrigerator.   Makes 1 cup.  Recipe may be doubled.

 

Throw a dollop (or 2) on chili, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, or tacos. Use it in recipes that call for sour cream. It’s an especially good substitute in sour cream based dips.  Tastes like the real thing.

(Guiltlessly) Enjoy! 

🙂

 

 

September 5, 2013 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, P90X Recipes, Products That Work, The Critic, Things To Do, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Carb Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken

fettuccine alfredoWell, I figured since my tuna noodle casserole is so popular that I would add my low carb fettuccine alfredo recipe.  It is delicious.  After all, the only thing that separates it from traditional fettuccine alfredo is the carbs from the normal pasta.

 

1 box Dreamfields low carb linguini (yes linguini and not the fettuccine)
1 rotisserie chicken (traditionally seasoned) chopped/cubed
1 stick of butter                                     
3/4 pint heavy cream
1 pinch of garlic powder
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup peccorino romano cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Start the pasta as indicated on box.  (As soon as you put the water on high and wait for it to start boiling immediately start alfredo sauce).

Then in a med size sauce pan, combine all remaining ingredients except parmesan cheese and bring to a moderate boil.  Once bubbling turn down to med high.   Once pasta is prepared, drain and serve.  Then top with the parmesan cheese.  (You can top with a little parsley too.  You could also add artichoke hearts, peas, or broccoli).

This is a very simple, fast and easy recipe that the whole family will love.  Each serving yields about 10-15 carbs depending on how ‘big’ your serving spoon is.

The pasta is controlled carb pasta so while it is significantly lower in carbs than traditional pasta you should only eat 1-2 servings because too much will actually convert to sugar in your body thus, being totally counter-productive to a low carb diet.  But, if you don’t eat much that means leftovers! 

So enjoy it for dinner tonight and again for tomorrow’s lunch.

Happy Low Carbing…

Also, to all Atkins or low carb followers out there, Atkins has come back with their bake mix and their own low carb pasta.  I just pre-ordered mine today!  Can’t wait to start baking! 

Look to the right for more of ‘My Low Carb’ recipes.      —————->

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Low Carb, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Low Carb vs. Lower Carb. What’s Right?

Nobody seems to agree on what “low carb” really means.  I mention it a lot on my blog so I thought I should clarify what low carb means to me.  To me, it means 25 carbs a day filled with healthy, unprocessed meats, cheeses and veggies and organic whenever possible. 

low carb food pyramid

Yes, I am an Atkins follower, however, I do not eat fatty meats, nitrate filled bacon and sausage or processed foods all day.  When Dr. Atkins wrote his first book he states that induction should be at least 2 weeks long.  This 2 week period is just to switch your body to burning fat instead of carbs for energy.  That’s it!  The problem here is not many people hang in there long enough to graduate to the next phases of Atkins.  So please take every negative thing you’ve heard about the “Atkin’s Diet” and realize that for someone who has been eating a high carb/sugar unhealthy diet that the 2 week adjustment period is much needed.  It basically gives the body a much-needed shock.  It’s not a long term committment. 

There are others, such as bodybuilders, who believe low carb is 40% of their daily calories should come from carbs instead of the traditionally recommended 55% to 60%.   But this really isn’t low carb at all because the majority of the calories are coming from carbs…yet some people do call it that.

There is a different carbohydrate intake number for everyone.  Not everyone can lose weight on 40, 50 or 60 grams of carbs a day.  It took me a long time to figure out that 25 carbs a day is where I need to be to lose weight.  And sure, I go over that number occasionally but it’s what I stick to as my guide.  Frank’s number is 55.  I envy him for that but he’s also a guy with a very muscular build so I get it.

But for anyone, the most important aspect to your success is to burn more than you eat.  But where carb intake becomes important is in how it affects hormone and blood sugar levels.   That’s why you can’t even cheat here and there ‘just a little’.  Because that tiny bite of Ben N Jerry’s ice cream will send your blood sugar levels way off kilter and make you crave more sugar.

My typical low carb dinner is a protein and a veggie (no carbs except what’s naturally in the vegetables).  This meal is quite filling and will last me until breakfast the next day.   But if I eat a pasta dinner from, let’s say, Olive Garden I will want seconds and possibly dessert at the end!  Because that’s what carbs do – they stimulate cravings and make you want more of them!  Why?  Because your body is not getting what it truly needs.  It doesn’t need all those carbs to  survive.  When you ingest too many carbs at one meal your body makes you keep eating more carbs in hopes that you’ll finally feed it something nutritionally abundant.

Think of it this way, go back to basics.  Eat the way our ancient ancestors did:  an all natural diet filled with meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. 

Happy Low Carbing!

Here’s a link to my most popular low carb recipes:

Low Carb Shrimp Fettuccine
Grilled Cheese
Low Carb Tuna Noodle Casserole

July 2, 2009 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Low Carb, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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