Healthy Dessert: A Love Story

Let’s cut to the chase…have you tried Halo Top ice cream?  If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?  I had heard about this delectable, healthy dessert, but had never tried it.  I bought a pint last weekend and I am OBSESSED.

What makes Halo Top healthy???  See below direct from the Halo Top website.

HOW WE SWEETEN THE DEAL

so where’s the sugar?

In short, we use organic stevia. Stevia is a plant native to Paraguay that’s been used to sweeten foods and beverages for more than 200 years. And, because it’s so tasty, we use it as a sugar replacement. We also use Erythritol, which though it has a rather scientific-sounding name, is actually another all-natural sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes. Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating.

This product is also a great source of protein…24 grams per pint for all flavors.  These are the nutrition facts from the mint chocolate chip flavor.

Flavors include vanilla bean, chocolate, lemon cake, mint chip, pistachio – all 240 calories per pint; strawberry, chocolate mocha chip, birthday cake, sea salt caramel, oatmeal cookie, chocolate almond crunch, black cherry – all 280 calories per pint; peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, s’mores – all 320 calories per pint; chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet – both 360 calories per pint.

I have tried mint chip, birthday cake, and oatmeal cookie…LOVE them all.  The name of each flavor perfectly describes the taste and cannot wait to try the others.  I was also excited to try cookies and cream, but was disappointed.  It tasted NOTHING like cookies and cream:(

I am receiving no compensation or products for this post.  I reached out to the company and they said that there are occasional coupons if you sign up for their newsletter on their website.  You can all find giveaways on their Facebook page.

Healthy Dessert: A Love Stor Click To Tweet

The ONLY drawback that I found was that when I ate a whole pint of mint chip at one sitting (which is less calories than 1 cup of some full fat ice creams), I had some stomach distress.  I can be sensitive to milk protein so getting ALL that protein at once didn’t work for my digestion.  I then ate 1/2 of the container the next time I bought it and I was fine.  Just wanted everyone to know about that in case you too have milk protein sensitivity.

 

5 Mantras I Have Learned from author Jen Sincero

I just finished reading YOU ARE A BAD ASS by Jen Sincero.  It’s subtitle is “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life”.  I have read a lot about personal mantras and You Are a Bad Ass is a book in which I have found daily mantras in order to start doubting my greatness and start living an awesome life.

Mantra #1

“This is about believing, even when things are at their most uncertain or absolute crappiest, that there is a bright shiny flipside within your reach.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.34)

When we are in our darkest moments, it can be very hard to believe that we will ever drag ourselves out and be positive again.  Hence, my first mantra should  be…There is ALWAYS a shiny flipside.

Mantra #2

“It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains,…dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.36)

I am so guilty of this, especially with the onslaught of posts on our Facebook feed each day.  I have unfollowed a lot of “friends” because they made me feel jealous or out of shape or wishing I had more money.  STOP!!!  Those people’s lives are not important and comparison to them is ridiculous.  I feel so much better now and I am working on being more present in what is what is happening to me right now.  “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.” (Sincero, 2013, p.61) is an especially relevant mantra.

Mantra #3

“Holding on to my bad feelings about this is doing nothing but harming me, and everyone else, preventing me from enjoying my life fully.  I am an awesome person. I choose to enjoy life.  I choose to let this go.”  (Sincero, 2013, p. 62)

Just like the song in Frozen…Let it go!!  Let it go!!! Festering on something that is happening just saps your energy, makes you grumpy and unhappy and, hence, makes those around you uncomfortable.  You ARE a good person and I AM a good person, therefore, a suitable mantra probably should be…Let it go and enjoy life!

Mantra #4

“Do not fall prey to the false belief that by forgiving someone you’re letting them off the hook.  Because when you forgive someone you let yourself off the hook.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.123)

I know that this is absolutely true and it is the best thing that I can do for myself.  Holding on to negative energy can make you sick, stressed out, unhappy, lethargic…in addition to other ailments.  As I am typing this, I just had a huge A-HA moment.  It says to forgive, but it doesn’t say you have to forget about what happened.  This is definitely something that I struggle with. I know that the resentment I feel isn’t good for my soul.  Consequently, I can forgive, but I will not forget.  As a result, a fitting mantra is…Let yourself off the hook.

Mantra #5

“Set honest goals that are just outside your comfort zone and build from there.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.238)  I LOVE this.  Don’t make these HUGE, hard to attain goals.  Move forward in small increments and you will reach those goals and feel a sense of success.  Finally, a mantra for this quote should be…Go just outside your comfort zone.

In conclusion, no compensation or products have been exchanged for this post.  I enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with others since it was helpful to me.  What books are you reading that have given you an A-HA moment?  I’d love to hear from you.

Here is author Jen Sincero letting it go and enjoying life:)

My Yoga Journey

I have wanted start a yoga journey for quite awhile.  I took some yoga classes years ago and never went back to it due to, now realizing in hindsight, I wasn’t quite ready for the full journey.  It will be good for my body and soul, therefore, I have decided to dip my toe into the yoga pool. I cannot remember many of the poses so I feel that I am a beginning beginner.

One of the reasons that I haven’t been to a yoga class in forever is because I will feel embarrassment.  What if EVERYONE in the class knows all the poses hence I am the only one who doesn’t know them?  When I give it a second thought, however, I know that most yogis want to spread their love and knowledge of yoga so I shouldn’t be embarrassed.  If any group can be understanding of a beginner, it would be this group.

When I look for local classes, I have seen some beginning beginner classes, but they don’t fit into my schedule.  I want to start this journey NOW so I decided to do some research and take the first step.  Much needed information and supplies are a click or stretch away.  As a result of said research, I discovered some wonderful realities.

EVERY JOURNEY STARTS WITH THE FIRST STEP.

What do I need to start this wonderful journey?

Versatile clothes?  Yes!

Informational books?  Yes!

For the mind:  True Yoga: Practicing with the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment

For the body:  Mindfulness Yoga

Especially relevant…helpful videos?  Yes!

Do Yoga With Me

My Yoga Journey Click To Tweet

Okay…no more excuses and full speed ahead.

Finally, I would love to know any resources that you cannot live without in regards to yoga.  Please tell me about any music you listen to,  essential oils you use, videos you follow…I want to hear about all your yoga non-negotiables.  A yoga journey update will be forthcoming.  Namaste.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Foam Rolling

Foam rolling…have you heard of it?  What is it?  Why do it?  I am going to give you an overview of this awesome muscle “massage” and why I swear by it.  I have hip dysplasia, which started when I was about 3 years old when I had to get PT to walk.  My hips were fine all my life until I was pregnant with my son 15 years ago.  As a result of that added weight and the long ago dysplasia, I went from arthritis in my hip to the current state of my hip bone going through my pelvis.

Eventually, I will have to get a hip replacement, but for the past year there has been no deterioration so I am good to go.  Due to this ailment, I have limited movement in my hips, therefore, my IT bands are as tight as they can be.  (IT bands run from the knee to the hip on the side of the leg.)  Foam rolling is the only thing that gives me any relief.

Foam rollers are just what they sound like…a huge roll of foam…about the diameter of a log.  They come in different sizes, textures, lengths, and colors.  I have 2 different rollers:  one is smooth and the other has the texture of a mountain bike tire.  You roll whatever muscle you need “massaged” on the roller and, as a result, it hurts like %$#&*.  After you are done, however, it feels AWESOME!!!

 

Foam rollers are pretty readily available:  Amazon, Target, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.  In conclusion, I have included links to some wonderful articles that explain more about foam rolling and how to do it.  Although one of the articles is written for a running magazine, you can use these exercises for any workout or sport.  I don’t run at all because of my hip so believe me…foam rolling works for with sports and workouts.  Give it a try…it will NOT disappoint.

*What is a Foam Roller and Why does it hurt?  Breaking Muscle.com

*How to Use a Foam Roller Runner’s World.com

*7 Awesome Ways to use a Foam Roller Womens Health mag.com

OOTD: Affordable Fitness Style

I LOVE new workout clothes.  There is so much fun fitness style out there now and I get motivated to do my workouts when I have a new fitness OOTD.  Many brands of workout clothes are quite expensive and not worth their price.  There are also brands that are cheap, and there is a reason why they cheap…they just don’t last.  I have found some quality workout clothes that look great and don’t break the bank.

SNEAKERS

My absolute favorite brand of sneakers is Asics.  They fit my foot the best and are great quality.  There are so many great styles and colors to choose from.  Almost all of my sneakers have come from the Asics website.  They have an unbelievable clearance section with a great range of sizes.  I wear an 11 or 11-1/2 women’s sneaker and they always have my size in stock. Most noteworthy, free shipping and returns.

LEGGINGS/TIGHTS and SPORTS BRAS

Athleta is my absolute favorite place to get leggings.  The quality is fabulous.  There is a huge selection of prints, colors, thicknesses, lengths and sizes.  I have an Athleta store near me and they always have items on their clearance rack.  If you have a GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic or Athleta charge card, you can earn reward points for purchases.  The reward points accumulate into $5 credits that you can use at any of that family of stores.  If you find something on the clearance rack AND, in addition, use the credits you earn, you can get quite a deal.  I recently found the cutest sports bra on the sale rack, too.  The website also has a sale section, but sometimes there isn’t a huge selection of sizes.  You can also find plus and petite sizes on the website.

** Side note: C9 leggings/tights from Target were voted #1 by Good Housekeeping for durability, quality and fit.

SPORTS BRAS

If you want a no-nonsense, supportive, long-lasting sports bra, you should go to Old Navy.   In addition, I love that they have removable padding….key feature.  They have gotten cuter styles recently, but a lot of the cuter styles have low support.  I have had some of these bras for several years and they have held up very well.  I have no complaints whatsoever.  Furthermore, you can also use those reward credits for these purchases.

TANKS

I recently went shopping at the GAP and I love the GapFit section.  The fabric that the tanks are made of is so soft and hangs well on the body…not too clingy, not too loose.  LOVE them.  Again, hit that clearance rack and got some tanks for a STEAL.  I will definitely be visiting that clearance rack when I need, or WANT, some new tanks.  Reward credits can be use here too.

Most of all, I hope you found some useful finds in this post.  I am so happy to share fabulous finds with others and  I’d love to hear about your go-to workout wear brands…brick and mortar locations OR online merchandisers.

Finally, here is an Athleta link for $20 off $100 if you want to receive an even bigger discount.  ***affiliate link***

5 Energizing Interval Workouts that You Will Love

here are some interval workouts to use with the tabata stopwatch pro

I absolutely love the Tabata Stopwatch Pro app that I reviewed in my previous post. No compensation was given for reviewing the app…I just love it so I wanted to share it with others.  Here are some energizing interval workouts that you can program into the app and…BOOM…you are on your way to feeling great.

Fabulous Arms

This is a great arm workout.  You can add more circuits as you build up your strength.  This is the what the screen of the Tabata Stopwatch Pro looks like when I input the reps, circuits, etc.  I added a 45 second warm up in order to do windmills and crossovers to warm up my arms.  I actually needed 30 seconds to complete the 12 reps…you can input however many seconds you need to complete the 12 reps.

Total Body Tabata

Warm-up  Interval = 1 minute, Exercise Interval = 40 seconds, Rest Interval = 20 seconds, Number of Sets = 8, Recovery Interval = 0, Number of Cycles = 3.

Bodyweight Booty Workout

Warm-up Interval = 4 minutes (treadmill, elliptical, walk in place, etc), Exercise Interval = 1 minute, Rest Interval = 30 seconds, Number of Sets = 12, Recovery Interval = 0, Number of Cycles = 2, Cool down = however long it takes you stretch out

Legs and Glutes

Warm-up Interval = 2 minutes, Exercise Interval = 1 minute, Rest Interval = 1 minute, Number of Sets = 5 sets, Recovery Interval = 0, Number of Cycles = 2.  BE SURE TO SET HALFWAY BEEP FOR THIS WORKOUT BECAUSE YOU NEED TO CHANGE TO THE SECOND EXERCISE IN THE CIRCUIT AT THE  HALFWAY POINT OF THE EXERCISE INTERVAL.

60 Second Tabata

Warm-up Interval = 3-5 minutes of light cardio, Exercise Interval = 1 minute, Rest Interval = 0, Number of Sets = 6, Recovery Interval = 1 minute, Number of Cycles = 4

I have other workouts that I will be posting at a future date.  Hoping that these motivate you to try the app and get energized.  If you aren’t sure how to do some of the exercises, google them.  There are tons of videos that will show you how to do them.  Get out there and get moving:)

Fitness Obsession: Tabata Timer

home workouts taken to another level!!

I must admit that I have a new obsession to the Tabata Stopwatch app; a tabata timer.  I take an arms/abs and booty class at my friend’s fitness studio.  The instructor for the class always uses a tabata timer when we do our rotations.  It would give cues for when to start the exercise.  There would be three beeps when the rotation was coming to an end.  It would then tell you to rest.  I got so accustomed to this routine that it was hard for me to do classes any other way.

If you aren’t familiar with a Tabata workout, it is basically an interval workout with periods of high intensity exercises followed by rest periods.  Although I am using a tabata timer, the workouts I have done are not the true definition of tabata, which is more of a HIIT (high intensity interval training).  I do exercises with weights, squats, lunges, etc. followed by periods of rest. (I will be writing another post including some of the circuits that I have done or will be trying in the future.)

free in the app store

This is a description of the Tabata Stopwatch app taken from Itunes:

“Tabata Stopwatch Pro is the ultimate Tabata Interval Timer that works for ‘all’ your interval training needs. Use with Tabata, HIIT, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, interval running, sprints, etc.

Tabata Stopwatch Pro is a universal (both iPhone and iPad) feature packed interval timer for people who follow the Tabata training method. The main thing the Tabata app will aid you with is automating your exercise, rest, cooldown and other intervals. As simple as this sounds, it has a profound effect on your workout. You will be able to concentrate much better, won’t have to constantly count and honestly the whole workout just goes by faster. Try it with your Tabata, HIIT, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, interval running, sprints, and other workouts.

Designed with both beginners and advanced users in mind Tabata Stopwatch Pro comes ready to use with basic Tabata already set up for you. As you gain more experience you can customize all intervals to match your pace. You may even create and store your own interval presets to quickly change to different workouts.

Tabata Stopwatch Pro is loaded with beeps that help identify what part of a workout you are in, interval beeps for example tell you when a new interval has started. Tabata Stopwatch Pro also has voice support that announces intervals to further help you focus on your workout. Oh and what would an exercise app be without music, select your favorite tracks from your iPod and blast through that workout.

 

 

The Apple Health app is supported and the Tabata app will write your Tabata workout times, calorie burned estimates and heart rates (needs a chest strap heart rate monitor and Pro purchase) after each workout.

By far the best app for Tabata training available for your iPhone and iPad, Tabata Stopwatch Pro includes:

+ Pro grade Tabata timer.
+ Ready to use out of the box. Classic Tabata already set up for you.
+ Simple to use, just push play.
+ Works on both iPhone and iPad.
+ Comes with 2 beautiful themes.
+ Color coded display visible from afar. Colors represent the amount of energy you are using in an interval.
+ Customize initial countdown and warmup time.
+ Customize exercise, rest, recovery and cooldown intervals.
+ Adjust the number of sets and cycles to match your pace.
+ Jump between intervals in the middle of a workout as needed.
+ Build presets to support your multiple interval training needs (Pro purchase needed).
+ Pause your workouts if needed.


+ Works with the screen locked and in your pocket (Pro purchase needed).
+ Interval beeps for each individual interval. Need a separate beep to mark when it’s time to rest, no problem.
+ Interval vibration.
+ Continuous beeps.
+ Three second beeps.
+ Halfway beeps.
+ Voice assist so that you focus on your workout and not the screen.
+ Workout to music from your iPod.
+ Set music to pause to hear beeps and voice assist clearly.
+ Shuffle tracks or albums to suit your taste and workout.
+ Apple Health support”

In conclusion, I can’t say enough about how much I love this app…it has motivated me to do more workouts at home on days that I don’t have time to get to the gym.  Hope you give it a try and that it motivates you, too. *There was no compensation for writing this review.  I just wanted to share it because it has been helpful to me and I want others to benefit from it,*

 

Healthy Living: Grove Collaborative

There are so many chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis…chemicals that we don’t even know and, therefore, don’t know how they are affecting us.  I have been trying to change my cleaning products in order to lessen the chemical load on my family.  Many times, these products are more expensive, but I have found a place to buy them and actually save money.  I’d like to introduce Grove Collaborative.

I have fallen in love with the Mrs. Meyers products.  I use the honeysuckle cleaner in my bathroom and it smells wonderful for several days.  It smells clean, not like chemicals.  I use the honeysuckle and lemon verbena scents and love both of them.  I have used the surface cleaner, dish soap and powder cleanser and have also ordered the tub and tile cleaner and toilet cleaner; can’t wait to try them out.

Grove Collaborative is a website that has all natural cleaners and personal hygiene products.  You can join and get free VIP shipping AND the products are cheaper than buying them in the store.  I haven’t been able to find some of the products in my food store or big box store so this is a great one stop shop to get all the products I need.  You can also set up a recurring subscription so the products are sent to you monthly, bimonthly, etc.  The customer service has been great too.

Use this link to get a $10 credit and start your Grove Collaborative journey today.  Anyone who is a member of the collaborative gets their own link in order to spread the word about the service and then they can get their own $10 credit if anyone signs up.  I have ordered from this site for several months and have had a great experience so I wanted to share with others.

Gym Shaming…Got It All Wrong

I’ve been away for a while, but I’ve done a lot of soul-searching and thinking and I feel like I have more to share so here I am.  Quite a while ago, I wrote a post about gym shaming and said that I felt not quite supported at a workout studio where I had a membership.  I haven’t gone there in over a year, but recently returned and feel really great about it.

First of all, I had taken 99 classes at this studio and at class 100, you get a special reward.  I got several emails reminding me that I only needed that one class to reach the 100 milestone.  They also offered me a free class to get to 100 along with several other enticements.  At the time, I wasn’t ready to go back so I didn’t take them up on their offer.

Fast forward to 10 months after the last class I took, I got another email from the new manager of the studio.  She was very upbeat and really wanted to help me reach the 100 milestone, I decided that it was time to go back and reach that goal.  During the time I was away from that studio, I found that when I took other classes at other studios or gyms, I always used the strategies I learned at that studio.  I also realized that they had a much more personalized approach because if you were doing a move incorrectly or were using the wrong form, they would help you with your form or help you modify if you couldn’t do a particular move.  Instructors at other studios and gyms didn’t always do that.  I also felt that I had much better form when doing the other classes because of methods I was taught at that studio.

I went back for my 100th class several weeks ago and I was welcomed back with open arms.  Instructors that were there when I last took classes were still there and they were happy to see me.  I told them that it was almost a year since I was there and they couldn’t believe it.  My husband bought me a gift card for the studio for Valentine’s Day and when he was buying it, another instructor asked where I had been and told him to say hello to me.  It made me feel so happy and supported.  I think that it was a great decision to return both for my body health and mental health.

I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I left and returned.  I didn’t realize how supported I actually was until I went elsewhere and didn’t get any type of feedback.  I also realized that my workout is MY workout and as long as I am feeling good about what I am doing, it doesn’t matter what others think.  Seeking outside approval gives others all the power and then you become dependent on outside sources for validation.  Your self-worth is all up to you and you need to embrace what you are doing, live in the moment and be grateful for all you can do.