The Beauty of Balance [ & Sweet Potato Fries! ]

Hi everyone! I haven’t blogged in oh about a good month now! I sat down at my laptop and literally forgot how to sign into WordPress. Big brain fart.

I have been incredibly busy… school started on August 20th and we have been out of town every weekend for the past month… lake house in Texas at Lake Kiowa, Minnesota for a wedding & to see Jimmey’s family, and Tulsa/Lake house Labor Day weekend! LOTS of driving, especially the whole 14 hours to Minnesota. I had never been to Minnesota before… it was beyond gorgeous. The weather was perfect, everything was so green, and there were lakes everywhere you looked. The past few weeks have been a blast..here are a few pics from our trips!

about to go out on the boat with Jesse & Emily!

we look so dumb but i just love this… after dominating the whole pitcher of beergaritas! i miss you!!

Jimmey and Jesse decided to jump off a 40 ft bridge into the lake those little daredevils

fun dinner with Joel & Verna in Minnesota!

Okay so, with all the traveling, I had to spend ALOT of time preparing food to take with me on the road. I looked like a crazy lady in Minnesota carrying a huge cooler and two grocery bags of food with me, but I’m glad I was prepared. Even going to the lake, I brought lots of healthy eats because I never want to assume wherever I’m going will have food I can eat. Better to be safe than sorry!

Some things I brought with me on the trips:

-Spicy Orange Crock Pot Chicken (duh!)

-Lemon basil crockpot chicken

-Lemon blueberry protein bars

-Peanut Butter cup protein bars

-sweet potato fries (Recipe to follow!)

-bananas

-grapes

-Greek yogurt

-cottage cheese

-kamut puffs

-Truvia & stevia

-dijon mustard

-Reduced sugar ketchup

-Romaine lettuce

-Steamed broccoli

-Avocado

-Unsweetened cocoa powder

I did let myself have some fun, though.

I found Jose Cuervo Lite Margarita Mix at Wal-mart when we were at the lake… NO calories!! You just add the tequila and in our case, a few beers to make the “Beer-ita.” Definitely loving that stuff.

Okay so now I want to talk about something a little more personal… and something I think is really important in life, and that is BALANCE.

When I first started working out, eating healthy, that whole thing, I let it take over my life. I didn’t mind it, I loved spending two hours a day at the gym and coming up with new & exciting (at least to me!) healthy recipes. But I let my social life fly out the window and spent Friday nights at the Y instead of hanging out with friends and acting like a normal college student. Everything revolved around getting my workouts in. Luckily those days are long gone… I have found a better balance and have come to the realization that my happiness should not depend on how my body looks. I was extremely thin at some points because of exercising excessively and not having an adequate diet… I didn’t eat a carb for like an entire year! (Exaggeration: I ate whole bags of grapes for a meal. Those were my sole source of carbohydrates. I was OBSESSED with red grapes). I was young and uninformed and trying to look my best and get a six pack the best way I knew how. I remember the first bite of bread I had after I had gone without eating any grains for probably a year… It was a piece of toasted whole wheat bread with mustard and deli chicken. I remember eating it driving to work and thinking “Oh my gosh, I’m in heaven.”

I didn’t deprive myself; I didn’t crave sweets or anything that would potentially cause me to gain weight. I just ate alot of the healthy things I enjoyed, but I wasn’t eating enough. I lost my period for 4 years and just got it back this past Fall of 2011. Four years is an EXTREMELY long time to go without it and is severely damaging to a woman’s body. Obviously this wasn’t normal. At the lowest, I was around 88 pounds and looked awful. The gynecologist told me I would need to weigh around 106 pounds to be able to have a period again. I remember hearing that number a few years ago when she told me, and it sounded astronomical to me… I could never imagine carrying an extra 15 pounds on my small frame when I was just at around 90 pounds at that point.

I weighed around 95 pounds most of my sophomore year of college. I still had the body I was happy with and most importantly, my six pack showed. I was so proud of it (and still am) because I am not genetically blessed with a naturally flat stomach. I had to eat clean consistently and work my butt off to get those abs. However, I was still spending TONS of time at the gym and not enough time focusing on other things in life that truly matter.

Then, in May of 2011, Jimmey and I started dating. This meant spending less time at the gym than usual, which I was totally fine with. I would take Riding the motorcycle with him any day over being at the gym. After a few months I became more relaxed with my once extreme eating habits: Only allowing myself dessert or even a cheat meal twice a year, on my birthday (December 19th) and Christmas. I would now allow myself to eat steak and not feel awful about it and even had a beer or two. These were improvements and steps into living a semi-normal life! 🙂 haha. But seriously, I started being easier on myself and it felt very freeing.

I knew I was slowly putting on a few pounds because my abs started to fade away. And at the magical point of 106 pounds, I finally started my period again after four years. And somehow, I didn’t feel like a huge whale. 106 pounds used to seem so big to me. Most people think that is such a low number, but then again I am only 5’1, so it’s normal for someone of my height to weigh that much. I had put on muscle and started eating much needed healthy fats. And side note: I was able to move out of the little girl’s bras and into the women’s section again! Praise God. I was wearing a 30 or 32 bra. No cup size. Just a number. Yeah, depressing.

Now I am around 105 pounds and content with my body [for the most part.] I have found it’s alot harder and perhaps a bit unrealistic to have the abs I used to have and loved so much. But I can live with that. I wasn’t internally healthy when I looked my leanest and fittest. Now I am a little curvier and not a straight-up-and down little boy.

Thankfully I have found a balance with exercise and diet, something that used to be so controlling of me. It has led me to see just how unique everyone’s journey to health is. You have to find what works for you and what doesn’t.

This summer I was doing probably 2 HIIT cardio sessions a week and running 3-5 miles three additional times a week and lifting weights 5 days of the week as well. That takes up a heck of a lot of time!  However, since school has started and I’m going to be busier, I decided to tone it down on the workouts. I decided I’m not going to be as intense as I was this summer . My routine is now 2 HIIT cardio sessions a week and two days doing any sort of cardio I feel like (2 or 3 mile jog at the lake, taking the dogs on a walk in the morning, riding a bike, etc) and a split of Biceps/Tris/Shoulders, Lower body, Chest/Back, and Abs. I am being more relaxed and somehow I have found with the decrease in cardio my abs are actually tighter, my stomach flatter, and I am happier with the way I look! Knock on wood because I hope it stays this way! I have also only been eating when I am hungry. I used to eat every 3 hours but am being more intuitive now and letting my body tell me when I need food instead of letting the clock decide.

So there’s my novel… sorry if I bored you to death! I just think it’s really important to take a step back and look at where you’re spending all your time and ask yourself if you’re doing it for the right reasons. People can easily let themselves be controlled by an ideal body they want to achieve, how far they want to run, etc. The mind is a powerful thing. Everyone needs balance in their life!

Now on to the fun stuff….

Baked Sweet Potato Fries!

Up until recently I had never made sweet potato fries or even tried them. After buying the frozen kind for our healthy lunch program for kids through work, I discovered how freaking addicting they are and decided to make my own!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray. Wash and pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave until soft enough to cut into french fry shapes. Place fries on the pan and then:

-Drizzle with 1 tbsp Olive Oil

-Drizzle with 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

-Season with Sea Salt

*Cook for about 20 minutes, stir up the fries on the pan, and cook another 10-15 minutes.

I eat mine cold and also dip them in my pb2 mixed w/ sugar free maple syrup!!!  Talk about addicting.

On a sad note, Stihl cut her paw REALLY deep and also the padding of her little foot… She’s been depressed and moping around the house because she can’t be her active awesome self and play with her ball. If everyone could say a prayer for Stihl to get better and be happy again, it would be much appreciated 🙂

what’s the point of life if you can’t play frisbee???

Thanks for reading!! Have a lovely night! 🙂