Month: July 2017

Air Fried Chicken Tenders

Air Fried Chicken Tenders: A Healthy Alternative to Fried Chicken

I’m always looking for ways to make comfort foods in a healthy way so when I first heard about the air fryer, I had to have one. The first thing I made in it was sweet potato fries. It took no time to cook them and they were so good! Needless to say, I was impressed. I came across a recipe for chicken tenders in one the health magazines I’m subscribed to and immediately thought of how I could make it better. The original recipe is below.

Original Chicken Tenders Recipe

As you can see, this recipe contains 330 calories for 2 tenders and 1 Tbsp of sauce. Well, my version allows you to eat half of the tenders and 1 Tbsp of sauce for 320 calories! Which one do you want to make? Here’s my recipe for air fried chicken tenders…

Air Fried Chicken Tenders
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. + 1 Tbsp. Opa Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing
  • 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloin
  • ½ c. Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Coat chicken in dressing and cover with breadcrumbs. Cook in air fryer for 10 minutes or until done.
  2. **Reserve ½ Tbsp of dressing for your dipping sauce**
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 Calories: 320 Fat: 8.9 Saturated fat: 0.1 Carbohydrates: 8 Sugar: 0.5 Sodium: 695 Fiber: 0.3 Protein: 48.6 Cholesterol: 149

My recipe for air fried chicken tenders is a much healthier alternative than the original recipe. And, using an air fryer instead of oil makes it that much better. Trust me, you won’t miss frying food in oil! If you’re interested in purchasing an air fryer, this is the one I have:

Air Fryer

I got this from Bed, Bath and Beyond but I recently saw the same model in Target. Be sure to give it plenty of room when you’re using it because it pushes all the hot air out of the back. I heard a story of one woman melting her Keurig!

I’d love to know what you think of the chicken tenders so comment below when you’ve tried them. You won’t be disappointed!

Air Fried Chicken Tenders: A Healthy Alternative to a Family Favorite!

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When Should I Weigh Myself?

When Should I Weigh Myself

Weight loss is as unique as we are. What works for one person may not work for another so it’s important to pave your own way. Sure, take suggestions, try new things, but don’t beat yourself up if they don’t work for you. You’re not doing anything wrong. Your body just doesn’t respond to certain things like someone else’s body would and that’s OK! People are always asking me how often they should weigh themselves. My answer is always the same – as often as you want but be prepared for what you get.

Daily Weigh In

When I first began 2 years ago, I would weigh myself every morning religiously. I didn’t miss a day. I got that idea from Candace Cameron Bure’s book “Reshaping it All” so I figured what the hell. The premise behind weighing yourself daily is so you can keep a very close eye on the fluctuations in your weight. Because I would weigh myself daily, I could almost immediately see what foods made me retain water or see what changes in my eating I needed to make.

BUT – after a while of this, I started to become obsessed with the scale. If it didn’t go in the right direction, I instantly became discouraged and even gave up a few times. If you’re going to weigh yourself daily, be sure that you don’t let the number on the scale define you. I’m not going to tell you that muscle weighs more than fat because, the truth is, they weigh the same. One pound of fat weights the same as one pound of muscle – one pound! The difference between fat and muscle, however, is that muscle is more dense, which means it takes up less room on your body. Fat, on the other hand, comes in and sprawls all out everywhere.

Weekly Weigh In

When I got back on the wagon in February, I started weighing myself daily again but moved to weighing in once a week, thanks to the Weekly Weigh In post in the Lose It group on Facebook. At first, it was difficult for me to only weigh myself once a week but, eventually, I got used to it. Stepping on the scale once a week allowed me to see a “bigger” loss than I did when I was weighing myself daily. Well, that was all the incentive I needed to keep it up.

Monthly Weigh In

Back in April, a few of the Lose It group members and I decided to give up the scale for the entire month. I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep track of my progress. I made it through the month and learned a valuable lesson! After a month without the scale, I realized that I CAN stay on track WITHOUT stressing myself out about my weight. On the first day of May, when I weighed in, I had lost almost 10 pounds! Since then, I only step on that blasted thing once a month.

Long story short….how often you weigh yourself depends on who you are and what you can handle. There is no right or wrong way to weigh in so find one that works for you and stick with it. Way back, I never would’ve thought that I could handle weighing myself once a month but now I can’t believe there was a time I was so obsessed with the scale. Weight loss changes you in so many ways; you’ll learn to let go of shit that once irritated you because it no longer serves you, but more on that in another post.

How often do your weigh yourself? I’d love to know what works for you so leave a comment below.

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My Workout Skincare Routine: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

My Workout Skincare Routine

I’ve had problem skin since, well, since birth, I’d say. For as long as I can remember, my skin has given me issue after issue. Now that I’m older, my skin is taking on a freakin’ life of it’s own. What used to work, doesn’t work anymore. It’s gotten worse since my hysterectomy and I’m just thrilled about that {insert sarcasm here}. But, I’ve managed to come up with a workout skincare routine that, so far, seems to be working rather well.

Many people don’t realize that our skin is our largest organ. It covers every inch of us and renews itself daily. It’s subjected to all sorts of elements and toxins and needs constant care. Each skin type is different, and, since I’m not a dermatologist, I’m only going to speak about my experience with my oily, acne-prone, problematic skin.

Pre-Workout Skincare Routine

In the morning, my skincare routine is pretty much the same, whether I workout that day or not. I wash my face with Oxy face wash, tone with witch hazel, and apply moisturizer with sunscreen. Yes, I use a moisturizer even though I have oily skin. Why? Well, because my skin still needs to be hydrated and there’s sunscreen in it. I’m currently using the Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer with SPF15 and it doesn’t make my face greasy.

Post-Workout Skincare Routine

This is where my routine gets a bit different. When I get back from my walk or finish a workout, I always take a shower. Now, I don’t wash my face with the same stuff I use in my pre-workout routine because that would be too harsh. While I’m in the shower, I wash my face with my Dove bar soap. It gets all the sweat, dirt and grime off my face without adding a bunch of chemicals I don’t need again so soon. I still apply a moisturizer after this because the soap leaves my face really dry. If I’m not going anywhere, I’ll use the Neutrogena again. But, if I have to run out, I use the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation because it’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Before heading off to bed, I wash my face again. This routine is very similar to my pre-workout routine in that I use the Oxy face wash and tone with witch hazel. From there, I spot treat any trouble spots with Neutrogena spot treatment and head off to bed.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that benzoyl peroxide works best on my acne so I look for products that contain that. My spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and generally clears up my blemishes within a day or two, depending on how bad they are. You see, I suffer from cystic acne which is very different than any other type of acne.

I’d love to learn about your skincare routines, whether you workout or not. Comment below and fill me in on your favorite products!

My Workout Skincare Routine pin

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I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More!

I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More

I lost 100 pounds! I lost more than my youngest kid weighs. It’s an amazing feeling, but it hasn’t been easy. I fought for every ounce I lost, scolded myself for every pound I re-gained, and celebrated every single step I took toward achieving my goal. During this process, I dealt with countless obstacles and it would have been so easy for me to give up. I even did for a little while. When I first began my journey, I weighed in at 278.6 pounds and had type 2 diabetes. But, y’all already know that. Right now, I’m 178.6 pounds and in no danger of being diabetic!

According to the Lose It! app, it took me 23 months and 16 days to achieve my goal of losing 100 pounds. Not too bad considering that I stopped trying for quite a few months and was limited on physical activity due to having a hysterectomy. Once I was released, it was on! I may have lost 100 pounds but I’ve gained so much more from this journey!

Love, Acceptance & Patience

Before I began, and even during, this journey, I didn’t love or accept myself and you can forget about having patience with myself. I didn’t hate myself but I wasn’t pleased at all. Each time I looked in the mirror or caught a glimpse of myself elsewhere, I would cringe and automatically focus on my flaws. My face was fat, my belly stuck out further than my boobs, etc.

Throughout this journey, somewhere, and I can’t pinpoint where, I fell in love with myself. I learned to accept myself for who I am and not worry about what I’m not. My patience was severely tested each time the scale didn’t move or someone would poke fun at me for measuring my food. I learned that I had to wait for my body to catch, which it always did. And, for those who poked fun at me, who’s laughing now, huh?

Perfect Does NOT Exist

For a type A person like me, perfection is always the end-result. Well, forget about it because that shit doesn’t exist. Repeat after me: there’s NO such thing as perfect! If you wait for all conditions to be perfect to start, you’ll never start anything. Life isn’t perfect – there’s highs and lows and in-betweens and you gotta learn to roll with it. Enjoy the good moments, learn from the not-so-good moments, and chill out in the in-betweens.

I’m Capable

I’ve learned that I’m more than capable to achieving anything I set my mind to. My body is capable of working hard and doing more than I ever thought possible. I’m capable of making changes and sticking with them. I’m capable of walking away from food when it doesn’t serve me in a positive way. I’m capable of processing my emotions without using food for comfort. The point is, I’m capable!

Strength, Confidence & Determination

I cannot begin to articulate just how strong, confident, and determined I feel now. It’s amazing to feel this way about myself and I’m enjoying every second of it. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’ve already come so far. My confidence is through the roof these days and that’s taking some getting used to. I’ve always been somewhat determined and everyone tells me they wish they had my strength, but I don’t remember the last time I truly felt strong and determined. I’ve never felt it like I feel it now, I can tell you that.

I used to give up fairly easily when things weren’t going the way I thought they should go. But, one quote has changed my mindset for the better:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore and I’m much happier because of it!

Food Isn’t Evil

I’ve never thought of food as evil, but I’ve had many other thoughts about it in the past. I’ve learned that I don’t have to give up the food I enjoy to achieve my goals. It all comes to moderation! I still get my iced coffee from Dunkin’ but I get a small or medium instead of a large. You notice I said “a”? I only get one when I used to get multiple. I try to stick to no more than 2 Dunkin’ runs per week. I don’t feel deprived of something I enjoy but it’s not enough to wreck all the work I’ve done.

I no longer run to the chips or cookies or cakes when I’m upset, which is much less often these days. I’ve actually started craving healthy foods, like celery. Who the hell craves celery?! I know that’s what you’re thinking. But, I do. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about food and nutrition and getting healthy the proper way that it no longer bothers me when junk food is brought into the house. I’m just like, “eh, whatever” and I keep it moving.

What’s Next?

I’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time and this still isn’t my stop. I’ve set a new goal of 160 pounds and I’ve added strength training to my routine. I currently walk 3.25 miles most mornings and workout with weights after that. I wake up at 5 am every day so I can get an early start on my walk to beat the heat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (it’s very hot and humid here). I’ll evaluate things again once I hit 160 and go from there. I’m not aiming for a specific number on the scale; I’m aiming for what makes me happy and healthy.

Lost 100 Pounds But Gained So Much More

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Coffee Protein Shake

Coffee Protein Shake

It’s no secret that I love coffee; I drink it all the time. But, because I wanted to incorporate more protein into my diet, I thought that protein powder was a good place to start. I mean, c’mon, there’s only so much chicken a person can eat, ya know?! A few weeks ago, I bought some Quest chocolate protein powder while I was in Walmart. On the way home, I was thinking of how I could mix this up so it would taste good. Fortunately, that container of powder had a little recipe booklet attached to the top. I perused it when I got home and came up with the idea of blending it with coffee and ice. When I first started out, I was adding 2 tablespoons of sugar-free caramel syrup to it, trying to get it to taste similar to my Dunkin’ coffee. After one or two times, the caramel syrup went away and I was left with ice, my powder, and my coffee.

The Numbers

I make this shake for my morning snack because it’s after a workout. Here are the numbers, per shake:

  • 112 calories
  • 23.2 g protein
  • 174.1 mg sodium
  • 4 g carbs
  • 2 g fiber
  • 1 g sugar

How to Make

This is the easiest shake to make! The amount you’ll have depends on how much ice you use. I don’t measure my ice and I’ve started using my blender instead of my single serve blender thing. Here’s how I make it:

  • 1 scoop protein powder (put in blender first)
  • Add coffee (hot or cold) – I use the middle button on my Keurig and brew 1 regular k cup and 1 “turbo” k cup
  • Add ice
  • Blend until smooth

Since I don’t measure my ice, I usually have enough for 2 glasses of this delicousness, and I suck ’em down quick, believe me! My blender is usually about half full by the mix I start mixing. Here’s the really great part – I feel like I get more because I use more ice! One serving of protein powder at 110 calories gives me 2 full glasses of shake. It’s all a mental thing, you see. If you think you have more, you’re less likely to overdo it. Ice is just frozen water so there are no calories! Sometimes, I make 2 of these a day. So, that’s 4 glasses of shake on those days. It’s chocolate and coffee – what’s not to love?!

This coffee protein shake is the perfect 100 calorie (ok, well 112 calorie) snack that helps build muscle and keep you full. Do you have a favorite protein shake? Comment below so I can try ’em out!

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4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

It’s officially summer and, for me, that means BBQs, seafood feasts, pool days, and late nights playing cards. How many BBQs have you attended where healthy food was abundant? Yeah, me either. But, all is not lost. There are ways for you to stay on track during the summer and some of them are much easier than you think!

BYOF

That’s right…bring your own food. Don’t feel bad about this either! Back in April and May, we had birthday parties for my niece and nephew. I brought my own food to each one of the parties and I stayed on track. It wasn’t without some ribbing from the family, but I was able to stay on track while celebrating so it was a win-win for me. In the end, that’s all that matters. My sister hosts an annual BBQ every July and I always bring a covered dish. Last year, I brought cole slaw made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and some healthy apple won-tons.

Even if the BBQ isn’t a bring your favorite dish kind of thing, it’s still best to bring something that you can eat. Even if you’re the only one eating it. Make up a turkey burger patty before leaving and be sure you have your choice of bread to eat it on. There are a ton of recipes online for you to review to make BBQ staples in a healthier way. Do some research and experiment with a few things before the BBQ.

Plan Ahead

Ok, y’all know that planning was going to be included in here somewhere. If you’re a person who schedules a cheat day, it’s important for you to know what’s coming your way. Even if you don’t schedule a cheat day, you should still plan ahead for summer events. By planning ahead, you can adjust your meals accordingly leading up to the event so that your body is better prepared to handle what’s about to happen.

Buy Local

Buying local is going to help you stay on track with your weight loss and your budget. Produce stands pop up practically everywhere so take full advantage of them! Not only is it a great way to support your local farmers, you also get some of the freshest produce available while saving money! Many local farmers don’t use all the crap that’s put on food when it hits the grocery store. How many times have you bought something you thought was ripe only to learn it wasn’t? That’s because, at some point, it was sprayed with a chemical to change the color to make it look ripe.

Soak Up Vitamin D

I try to plan at least 1 pool day a week with family and/or friends. This usually means BBQ’ing burgers and hot dogs and everything else we can find. Instead of indulging in that, I opt for fresh fruit and some grilled veggies…maybe a turkey or veggie burger. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb nutrients we need from foods. It’s advised that we spend no more than 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen in order to get the most out of the sun. Set a time if you have to and then be sure to apply your sunscreen. I opt for SPF 50 by Coppertone Sport because it protects my skin if I sweat.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest so make sure you do just that! You don’t have to blow it all because of a BBQ or a get together with friends and/or family. Just be sure to plan ahead for such events and do your best to work toward your goals each day. I’d love to know what your go-to “secrets” are for staying on track for the summer so feel free to comment below.

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