How do you keep your eyes on the prize when it seems SOOO far out of reach? How do you keep showing up to the gym, day after day, when it seems improvement is so slow? How in the world do you keep depriving yourself of chocolate, or overindulgence, when the scale seems to barely budging every week? I will tell you. It’s less about the path, and more about the destination.
There is no way to really have peace during trials if you aren’t sure of where you are headed. There is no way you can motivate yourself without a reward. This could be in reference to a battle with your weight or just ‘yucky life’ stuff. Either way, you MUST know, without a shadow of a doubt where you are headed, and that you are on the right path. If not, you will live in despair, with hopelessness, guilt, shame and/or disappointment because you are not where you know you should be.
I can’t take A1A to California. It’s impossible. A1A runs north and south, not east and west. So, if I want to get to California from Vero Beach, Florida, I have to map it and follow the right paths given to me. Can I go off course? Sure, I can make some pitstops. I can veer off the route to explore on the way there – BUT how often I get off course, how often I stop and hang out, and how often I get lost will only prolong my arrival to my final destination.
So, what am I trying to say here? We need to learn to celebrate life on the way to where we are headed. We need to learn to be patient. If you don’t know for sure if you are on the right path, then you need to stop in your tracks and think about where you want to end up. Once you decide where you want to be, you can begin to map out the course. However, if you are choosing the course (and not the destination), you better look to see where that course is taking you – because, chances are, it’s not where you want to end up.
“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
I believe many people choose the course that looks the the best, without any thought of where it leads. Thomas Merton said it best when he said, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” This is the epitome of what I’m trying to say here. If we want a specific result, we need to look at the desired result and work backwards. We choose the wall, before we start climbing the ladder.
If you know in your heart you are doing the right thing, you are on the right path (no matter how difficult), it’s a lot easier to have patience with the process, and enjoy the journey. If you know in your heart you aren’t on the right path, it’s not too late to turn it around and reroute your life so you are back on track.
“For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many…but the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
I believe that the biggest rewards have the narrowest, toughest path – but they are also the straightest path (getting you to your destination the fastest AS LONG AS YOU STAY ON COURSE).
Just the fact that the narrow path is normally difficult is why it’s not a path well traveled. People avoid it. Christians talk about the narrow path to heaven, but it applies to many areas of our life. Even if you don’t really want to hear biblical principles for spiritual reasons, you can still learn a LOT from scripture – and I PROMISE it will give you excellent direction for your life. For instance, there is a narrow path to a good lasting marriage. There is a narrow path to taking care of your body and staying healthy. There is a narrow path to a successful career. There is no easy wide well-traveled paths to greatness. The path exists, but it rarely takes you any where good. Like the verse says, if “the gate is wide, the way is easy and it leads to destruction”. Scripture warns us ahead of time of the warning signs, “BEWARE of the easy road”. Instead, many of us still try that path anyway. Like we don’t believe God – but you know what they say “if it’s too easy to be true, it normally is”.
However, people still tend to take every other path first before they finally decide to give it a go. The take diet pills, they try to work off the body fat with exercise to avoid discipline in the kitchen. They try everything, and normally try the “narrow path” only when they’ve exhausted every other route that leads to a dead end. In fitness, the right path is hard work and self-discipline. You can’t do what you want, and eat what you want, and get to where you want to go in the time you want.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or enjoy the journey but, like TD Jakes said “Greatness costs what it costs“. You decide what’s more important. Do you care more about enjoying the path, or enjoying the destination? If your destination is great, then it costs what it costs and you will gladly pay the price because you know it will be worth it.
Celebrate your trials. Celebrate your progress, no matter how slow or difficult, not because of where you ARE – but because of where you’re GOING.
If you weren’t a grumpy dieter before Halloween, being around that much candy can turn any dieter into a wicked witch in a hurry. If you aren’t grouchy from being around it, you are grouchy from guilt of giving into it. Either way, with a rise in diet and fitness awareness, it is very likely there will be a lot of witches working front door this Halloween.
If you struggle with your weight here are 10 tips to keep the candy off your thighs and grouchiness out of your heart! <3
- Buy candy you personally don’t like.
- Don’t over buy, to avoid leftovers.
- Eat a healthy big meal the night of halloween.
- Walk with your kids (don’t drive them),
- Look up the calories for every bite you eat.
- Have healthy snack alternatives nearby.
- Cut up a Designer Whey bar into bite size pieces for your own treats (pictured right).
- Chew gum, not candy.
- Do an extra cardio, and plan an active day following Halloween.
- Set candy rules for everyone in the house, including you.
You know, it also wouldn’t kill you to just give the candy away. One of the biggest problems wives have is feeling like they need to keep treats in the house for their husband or kids. If you are dieting and don’t want to “punish” your family, remember, candy is just not healthy. Even if the rest of your family is not overweight, that still doesn’t mean having candy in the house is good for them. Know your limits, and do what is right for your family too. Some families aren’t tempted to abuse candy in the house, while others…well, not so much.
When it comes to bars, I’m a bit picky. I want at least 10gms of protein, but I also don’t want that many calories. I also want it to taste good. I’m not going to eat cardboard just because it has protein in it. Sorry, I want to enjoy my food thank you very much. Ufortunately, many bars are extremely high in calories. Thank goodness, more bar companies are making smaller versions of the old 30gms-of-protein-and-a million-calories kind of bars. Even if it’s packed with protein, it normally tips the caloric scale for most calorie-conscience people. Then SMART enters the world.
Before I give you the scoop on SMART, I should tell you I have probably 5-6 types of bars in my pantry right now. I like chocolate ones, peanut butter ones, caramel ones, crunchy ones and gooey ones. Some are higher in calories and protein, some are lower in calories and protein. Some make great snacks, and some are more like a meal replacement when I’m in a bind. What I’m saying is, there are different bars for different people and different purposes. The SMART bar, however, is definitely one of my favorites for light snacks and breakfasts.
I could tell you how healthy it is, that’s gluten free, low in sugar, and all that jazz (and don’t worry, I will in a sec), but first I’m going to just tell you what my taste buds say about the bar – because honestly, if they don’t like it, it ain’t going to make it past them to my belly!
As a coffee lover (don’t hate! Everyone has their vise, and mine is coffee – LOVE IT!), I really enjoy having a bar with coffee when I don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast. However, some bars are too sweet for me and they upset my stomach. The SMART bar is an oatmeal bar that is mildly sweet, which makes for a great breakfast bar on the go. Unlike regular cereal bars, the SMART bar is low in sugar (only 4gms!), which is 50-80% less sugar than many of it’s competitors. It has 10gms of protein and 3gms of fiber so it is filling and stays with me. And the best part, is it’s SUPER low in calories – only costing me 130 calories to eat!
Not only is this bar low in calories and tastes good, this bar is sure easy to take on the go because it doesn’t melt or crumble like a lot of chocolate covered bars. This makes it a great bar to keep in your car, purse or gym bag in case of emergencies. It also makes it a great bar to grab for the car ride to work (like you see at the top of this blog). I actually took this on the way to work last week when I discovered I nearly forgot about an early morning appointment. Since this bar is a soft bar with a nice moist solid consistency, it makes eating and driving mess-free. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten out of my car only to discover a doo-doo brown chocolate smudge on the back of my pants because a bar crumbled in my lap with each bit! ha! (Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens too???!!!!)
After I read the label, I knew it would crush a lot of snack bars. Most low-calorie breakfast and snack bars are much lower in protein, but higher in carbs and sugar. Protein bars that have 10gms of protein or more are normally much higher in calories, carbs, sugar and fat. And, if you are going gluten-free or paleo, a lot of those bars are high in fat and/or carbs but lower in protein than I prefer – and normally way higher in calories. While I will still enjoy all these type bars too, (like I said, there is a place for all of that), I just love having a low-calorie healthy option.
It’s one thing for ME to tell you I like this bar, but it’s another thing for YOU to see how it compares for yourself. So, I did a little research. I picked a few different types of snack-like bars (from cereal bars to paleo bars) that were comparable to the SMART bar to compare nutritional information.
After doing the research and listing the information, it is clear that SMART bars are a SMART choice if you are looking for a bar low in calories, carbs, fats and sugars with a healthy dose of protein in it. Awesome snack bar! Check it out!
Smart Bar FAQs
- Low in Calories
- 50-80% less sugar
- Certified gluten free
- 9g of whole grains
- 3g fiber
- Certified gluten free, organic rolled oats
- Real organic or baked fruit
- 38% organically raised ingredients
- No hydrogenated oils
- Cocoa and palm kernel oil is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fairtrade, and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
- Minimal artificial sweetener (Stevia) because it relies mainly on the sweetness mainly from fruit
- Not Vegan or Kosher (however they do use a certified porcine free gelatin source.)
See all the FAQ information on their website.
WIN A BOX OF SMART BARS
What flavor would you like to try? Apple or Blueberry? Comment below for a chance to win a box of SMART bars to try out yourself! I’ll pick 3 winners HERE and 2 winners on Facebook when you share this comparison chart from my facebook page!
(Note: Cranberry coming soon)
Detour SMART bars are available online at www.detourbar.com and bodybuilding.com, and in select retailers including GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin World, with the bars becoming more widely available over the coming months.
Since yesterday was the first day of boot camp and Steve’s schedule was jam-packed with non-stop training from 5:30am to 6:30pm, I thought I’d make him his favorite meal – a grilled steak salad. I actually had never made one but planned to replicate a salad he once ate at a restaurant and loved. It was absolutely DELISH so I thought I’d share it.
First I cut the vegetables crosswise to make onion and pepper rings. Then I marinated my steak, onions and green pepper in a Honey Teriyaki Marinade and I sprayed olive oil over everything, dusting it all with a season salt. I placed the steaks and veggies straight on the grill. After flipping the steaks and veggies, I took the veggies off as soon as I felt they were nice a charred like we like them, and left the steaks on to finish cooking. As soon as the steaks were ready it was dinner time!
I threw the mixed greens in a big bowl with a little cheese crumbles, Craisins and almonds and tossed my homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette in with it. Once all the ingredients were well coated, I put the salad mix on plates and topped them with the sliced steak and grilled vegetables. The end result was quite a yummy treat!! Steve will keep me for at least another year! ha
I have to admit I don’t use measuring cups, and really have a clue what I put in last night’s dressing, but if I had to guess, it was something like this. Feel free to alter it or play with it
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup Balsamic Vineger
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2-3 Heaping Tbsp of Light Hellman’s Mayo
1-2 tsp Stevia (depending on how sweet you want to make it)
1 tsp honey
A few dashes of Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
Note: Most dressings call for a lot more oil – sometimes more than twice the amount of oil than vinegar. I add water to cut the vinegar instead of a lot of oil to save more calories. Then I add light mayo to help thicken the dressing. Sometimes I don’t even use honey and just use more stevia.
Blend in a blender until the consistency turns a light tan and thickens slightly. Enjoy!
Here’s a similar recipe I found online (from someone who actually measures! Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
4 Salad Tips for Dieters
1.) Avoid big clumps of gorgonzola, or blue cheese, crumbles. You can get more taste in each bike with smaller crumbles. I like Stella Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles.
3.) Don’t go nuts for nuts. I love Almond Accents because they are super thin. Regular whole, or chopped, nuts don’t go as far, which means you will eat more to get a similar taste. More nuts, means more calories.
4.) Toss, don’t pour. I use SO much less dressing if I toss it in my salad instead of pour it on top. Tossing your salad in dressing allows the dressing to coat every leaf so every bite has flavor.
For more tips and salad recipe ideas, check out my latest article for DetourBar, “Tips for Salad Lovers“
WARNING: This is a rant. It’s a helpful motivational rant, but still a rant. This comes from years of watching people try every stupid diet, try every silly fitness gadget, take every useless diet pill, hire every lame trainer and take every ridiculous short cut – when, if they did fitness the right way, they’d be super fit by now. With that said, here we go!
As a fitness professional, I have seen a lot of people try everything under the sun to avoid doing what they know works because it’s harder. We live in a world where we like to push boundaries. We want to get away with as much as possible without getting in trouble.
If you don’t think you are one of those people, then let me ask you a simple question. If the speed limit is 70, how fast do you go? I’ll be honest. I’ll go 79. Why? Because I think that’s as fast as I can go and get away with it without being pulled over.
Some police officers say they give people 10-15mph leeway on the highway and 8-10mph break in residential areas. Of course officers could give a ticket for going 4 miles over the speed limit if they wanted, but the point is most people are pushing the limits. We all do it on some level.
The same goes with fitness. People try to eat as much as they can and get away with it. They often avoid workouts they need the most (like cardio) and do the most what they need to least.
If you think you have a chance of getting fit and still having your cake and eat it too, you bet you are going to try it. The problem is, no one is barging in your house and fining you for breaking diet laws. Your “fine” is the scale – and what you see in the mirror. So really, you never get away with it.
Listen, it’s super rare someone can eat cheeseburgers and be shredded. Have I met people who are like that? Sure I have. I also know that person worked out like a FREAK and had genetics made for professional athletes. Since I know I will never workout THAT hard, I also know I shouldn’t ever eat THAT much. Plain and simple.
“Find a trainer who cares about your body more than your checkbook.”
If you have been trainer-hopping (or workout partner-hopping) trying to find someone who will tell you what you want to hear, maybe it’s time to suck it up and try a trainer who cares about your waistline more than your checkbook. (PS: I’m not soliciting – I am not taking clients.) Maybe it’s time you find someone who is willing to tell you the truth, work you out harder than you ever have, and diet like you have never dieted before whether you like it or not – BECAUSE they know no matter how much you may hate them at that moment, you will love them when you reach your goal.
It’s time to quit waisting time
Quit wasting time trying to take short cuts, trying to see how much you can get away with and still reach your goals. AND….If you are one of those people who eat crap and have abs, keep it to yourself because most people can’t do that – and your big mouth will make some poor sap think they can do it too and your bad influence will cost them success.
Do what you KNOW you NEED to do, not what you WANT to do – because if you do what you NEED to do, you will get the results you WANT to get!
If you watch a MMA fighter in the cage, it can get pretty ugly quick. It doesn’t take that long to figure out they really need to be able to take some punches. They have to learn to get out of bad situations, and they have to have a lot of stamina to endure some of those strong holds - and fight through the pain.
It’s really not much different than life, as well as our fitness journey. To the outside world, they may see us getting beat up day after day – constantly dieting, constantly working out. They may see us get knocked down, and they may even see us get knocked out – BUT, that doesn’t mean we are failing.
How many fighters get pummeled the entire fight, only to win? How many guys have you seen get knocked out, only to turn around and reclaim their title.
What can appear as struggle, really can be a sign of someone not willing to give up. Because, if you aren’t struggling at all, you aren’t trying hard enough.
Hang in there, keep fighting, be ready to take some punches and be ready to throw some punches too…because you can be a winner!
Many people are big-time procrastinators. We wait until the very last minute to do a project, pay a bill, book a hotel room, fill up with gas, schedule a check up, turn in tax returns…the list goes on. If we didn’t risk running out of gas, getting our electric turned off or having to pay extra fees, we may never get around to any of it – and fitness is no different.
We put off taking care of ourselves simply because we think we can get away with it. No one is going to send us a late fee and Obama isn’t going to increase our taxes because we didn’t drop 20lbs. While there is a penalty to unhealthy living (weight gain, muscle weakness, poor health and low self-esteem), apparently the penalty is not quite harsh enough to get us to move faster.
I want to challenge you today to think about what you do today and how it affects your future. You may not think it matters much, or maybe you just plan on starting tomorrow, but tomorrow will come – and what you do today affects your tomorrow whether you realize it or not.
What you eat today will greatly determine how you feel tomorrow. What you say today can set you up for success, or failure, tomorrow. What exercise you do today can make you healthier and stronger for tomorrow. How you invest your money today, can change how you live tomorrow. And if you do what you need to do today, over and over and over again, you have made big strides. Your many small improvements turn into one big success.
Are you making a better you today?
Why are we so quick to forget how bad food makes us feel? We are so quick to remember how great it tastes for a short moment, and forget how yucky we feel for such a long time afterwards. We are fooling ourselves if we think for a minute that there are not repercussions to our poor choices – AND we need to be equally reminded of the positive rewards that follow our healthy choices.
Eating healthy and living healthy lasts longer than your best cheat meal. While you don’t have to give up cake, or never eat a potato chip again, we all need to keep a realistic perspective on our eating and how it affects us long term. We should treat a cheat meal like we treat any other splurge in our life. We enjoy the moment, but we don’t get lost in it. Eventually, we come back to a healthy reality that is balanced in moderation, self-control and discipline.
The same way we come back from a vacation, maybe it’s time to come back from your eating vacation – and get back to investing in a healthier future.
Let’s commit to no longer allow our tongue to rule us and guide our future. Let’s make each word, each bite, each move we make count – doing what is right, healthy and good. And, if we mess up, let’s commit to making corrections. We can do this!
“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly…”Philippians 3:19
Sometimes you just want a nice cool crisp pasta salad to munch on that isn’t loaded with calories. Yesterday was one of those days, so I whipped this little creation together and it came out super yummy!
Box of Rotini Whole Grain Pasta
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cup Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
1 Cup of Chopped Scallions
1 Chopped Green Pepper
28 Slices of Turkey Pepperoni (14 slices per serving)
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic
Salt & Cracked Pepper (to taste)
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
Boil the pasta as directed. Drain the pasta and let it cool. Add all the cold ingredients and chill for nibbling later! Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve! I added diced grilled chicken (seen here in this pic)! YUM!