Friday, February 15, 2013

Living Fearless

In order to cut back on the long, drawn-out blog article that I started this morning, (yes... I can be VERY long winded when I want to be :)  I'm going to bullet point a couple of important things so I can avoid boring you to death and get right to the point :)

  1. I come from a rather large family with ten children. 10 girls, no boys!  (Yes, I know... everyone says it... YOUR POOR FATHER!!!)

  2. I've had several sisters tell me that I got whatever I wanted and was spoiled.
I woke up this morning to see this image posted by one of my high-school girlfriends.  I LOVE it!  You see... I didn't just get whatever I wanted as a kid.  Maybe it's because I'm a middle child.  Maybe it's because I was a strong-willed child (still AM :)... I really don't know.  But, the reason I got what I really wanted is because of the 3 Simple Rules you see in that pic above.  When I wanted my dog, I asked, and asked, and begged, and asked, and pleaded and asked again.  SO guess what?  I got that dog for my 10th birthday!

I realize that not everyone is born strong-willed and hard-headed.  But these rules have made a huge difference in my life.  I know I have my Mother to thank for this... My attitude is not to ask why... it's to ask WHY NOT?

Why not try out for a band?  Why not coach soccer?  Why not get my doula certification?

No... I don't have everything figured out.  I DO know this :)  I'm a pretty hot mess at times, and fairly disorganized... but getting out of my 'comfort zone' is something I actively force myself to do.  When I'm 60 looking back, I want to know that I really tried.  

Yes... I'll fail... and I have failed... but like the country girl I am... when I get kicked off my horse... I just force myself to get right back on.  (And now that 90's Chumbawamba song is dancing through my brain... "I get knocked down... but I get up again..." My life's theme song for sure!)  

What it comes down to is this...

I, Michelle Hillaert, am determined to live my life FEARLESS!  And... as someone who has experienced the hurts and the thrills that come with it... I have to tell you, IT'S WORTH IT!  And I want to encourage you to do the same.

Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone.  Take a step toward that one thing you really want to do.  Finally...  KEEP WALKING.

Life is a crazy ride, and the fun only begins when you make it happen :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Change CAN happen... sometimes you just need a little help.

About five years ago, my hubby and I read a book that had us write down the most important goals for our lives.  One of the top items on that list was that we both really wanted to be fit and healthy.

Even then, I knew what my real priorities were...  or at least... what they should have been.  There were too many excuses, however, getting in the way of me reaching that goal.  The kiddos wouldn't let me work out... I didn't have the time... I didn't have the money... There were plenty of excuses, and I was quick to grab hold of them... and to accept them. 

As a result, I spent the next five years with my weight fluctuating... my energy low... and constantly battling depression...  In all actuality... I let the scale determine whether I would be happy or sad each day.

Five months ago, I said ENOUGH.  If you go back and look at some of the articles I wrote toward the beginning of this journey, it's very plain to see... change was not easy for me.  Doing the workouts every day... trying to change my eating habits... etc... none of it was easy, and it involved a LOT of little daily decisions, quite a bit of diet-breaking (that I DIDN'T blog about... I was too embarrassed!)...  and the constant mantra of change... change... change...

I've discovered something pretty awesome, these five months later... that thing we KNOW... that thing we hear about in almost every serious diet book... I've actually done it!  I have changed my lifestyle.  

It has FINALLY become easier to make healthier choices.  Instead of being tempted to sit down at the couch with a bag of Doritos and a soda at night, I'm okay enjoying my cup of decaf coffee.  I love my peanut butter and banana snacks, and I just don't have to have that glass of wine every night.  (WOOSH!  Looking from the outside, I have to think... is that really ME???)

I'd be lying to you if I said... "Yeah, make the change... It's EASY!"  Because, no... it is NOT easy.  In fact... it's hard.  It's VERY hard for some.  

The decision to change is a daily thing... an hourly thing... and sometimes it has to be made every five minutes.  I CHOOSE to be fit.  I CHOOSE to be healthy.  Every day, I choose to be that person that I want to be... because I really desire it, and I'm ready for change.

Now... I'm not saying all of this to brag...  "Look at me... I'm so great... I'm so fit!"  If you really know me, you know I'm a mom.  I'm a wife.  I'm a freelancer.  I'm a doula.  I'm a sister.  I'm a soccer coach.  I'm a singer in a band.  I wear a LOT of hats.  It's not always easy getting that workout in... sometimes it's early in the morning... sometimes mid-day... I've even been known to do a workout at 11:30pm.  I'd be lying if I were to say that it was all because I'm just that great... but it's not.  I have friends and challenge groups that are constantly inspiring me, helping to push me to keep going.

My life has NOT been perfect.  I've had good times, and I've had some pretty bad times.  But right now... I'm finally happy with where I am... and finally at peace.  And my point is... if I can help you to get to that place too... I WILL.  If you need a little cheering... I'll cheer you on.  If you have a question that I can help with... I'll answer it.  If you need a plan... I'll draw you the map.  

I've been there.  It's not worth it to live your life in such a way that it negatively affects you, your family, your friends, etc.  Change CAN happen.  Sometimes we just need a little help.  I'm living proof of it... and you can be too.  Just give me the word, and if I can... I'll help you to get there.

Because... if I can help just ONE person to feel the energy and excitement that I've been feeling?  If I can possibly be an inspiration to one person to say yes to the change they truly desire?  Then this accomplishment goes way beyond my own personal fulfillment and a simple lifestyle change.

I've been able to take this gift that has transformed my life and to share it fully with people who have also been there... who are there... and who just need someone to believe in them enough... for them to start believing in themselves.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday Diet-Breaking GAME PLAN

Picture courtesy of Abigail Johanna Photography
As we all know... I’m the queen of all diet-breakers. If there’s something to be snitched, I’ll snitch it!  If you hand me a cookie... I won’t even think twice... I’ll eat it.  It will be gone in 3 seconds or less!  It’s not until after the cookie is meandering down my esophagus, and I can feel the inherent sugar rush, that it hits me...  I just cheated.  In all seriousness though... what would life be like if we couldn’t relax a little and enjoy some guilt-free cheating?

So, knowing that the Super Bowl is around the corner, along with Super Bowl parties and LOTS of yummy snacks and fun spreads, I thought this would be a PERFECT time to come up with some great “diet-breaking” rules.

RULE #1 - Give yourself a specific time period in which you will be allowed to cheat.

Kickoff is at 6:30pm EST. I think it’s important to build a little bit of pre-gaming into your time allotment. I mean... come on... it’s SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!  In order to do it right, you just have to do some tailgating.  Right?  Essentially, you need to figure out what kind time period is realistic for you.

Diet-breaker’s cheat time:  5:30pm until 1/2 hour after the game ends (about 5 1/2 to 6 hours).

RULE #2 - Rate the individual dishes in the spread from 1 - 10

Rating your food... who knew??  I’m so grateful for this advice from Sommer Tucker, an pretty cool lady in my BeachBody upline.   This is a first for me, but it makes so much sense, so you can bet your bottom dollar... I’ll be following it!  Sommer suggests that you look at all the foods on the spread and rate them from 1-10.  Ten being something to which it is nearly impossible to say no, and zero being something you’d gladly pass on, because you just wouldn’t eat it anyway.

Is it something you absolutely cannot resist?  Give it a 10!  So, if I see some buffalo wings and hot sauce on the table (Yeah... I can’t resist me some HOT WINGS!), hands down...  I’m giving it a 10.  If it’s potato salad, I enjoy it, but I don’t have to have it, so I’d probably give it a 5 or 6.

Point is... mentally rate your food, and ONLY allow yourself to have a portion of the items that are clearly listed as a 10. This will help you to restrict yourself a bit from piling your plate high with a variety of high calorie foods that you could easily say no to... but give you the lee-way to enjoy your favorite snacks!

RULE #3 - Pre-think your drinking game.

Drinking & the Super Bowl.  It’s kind of like mac & cheese or peanut butter & jelly... they usually go together.   As we all know, though... alcohol can be very ‘expensive’ when it comes to caloric intake.

So... what do we need to do?  We need to come up with a drinking plan!

A drinking plan needs to have two facets.
  1. Game plan for the amount of alcohol you will consume.  (And you are all old enough to decide how much is enough, and when to stop drinking if you are the designated driver.  No drinking and driving please!!! :)

  2. Knowledge of the calories contained in the drinks you choose to consume.  (And don’t forget.. when alcohol is digested... it breaks down into sugars.) 

Beer Drinkers:  If you enjoy a light beer, there are quite a few low calorie beer choices, such as Bud Select 55 or Miller Genuine Draft.  I’ll admit, I started drinking beer when I lived in Austria as a student, and as a result... I really can’t stand to drink the light stuff.  So... I would personally stick with a darker, higher calorie beer like Sam Adams or Guinness Black Lager, and just restrict myself to drinking less.

Wine Drinkers:  The more common wines are about 100-150 calories per 5oz. If you’re a Pinot Noir, Merlot or Cabernet type of person, you’re looking at about 150 calories per drink.   White wine lovers (Savognion Blanc, Pino Grigio, Moscato, etc...) can expect to consume between 100 and 125 calories per drink.  I would do a Google search on the wine you want to purchase to get more specific information on its caloric intake.

Liquor Lovers:  Most mixed drinks contain several shots, as well as a good amount of syrup-based sweetners.  Liquor itself doesn’t have a ton of calories per shot. Many basic liquors have between 60-70 calories in each shot.  So, if you want to go with a harder drink, you may consider going with something like vodka and seltzer water with a squeeze of lemon and lime. If you feel like you need some sweetener, purchase some agave nectar (the organic kind) and sweeten your drink with that, or you can also use a small amount of your favorite frozen juice (all juice) concentrate.

RULE #4 - Prepare some healthy snacks ahead of time, so you won’t be continually tempted to re-pile your plate with high-calorie items.

I have a terrible track record when it comes to planning my diet-breaking ahead of time.  Actually planning to cheat is a first for me.  I refuse to go into this weekend without preparing myself to enjoy my family, my friends and good food.  No complete restrictions here!  I’m going to break the diet-breaking trend and plan it ahead of time.  I’m saying good-bye to the days where I would say... “Well... I already broke the diet... might as well do it all the way!!!”

So... here are a few recipes to give you a some lower calorie snack items that you can add to your spread, and enjoy, fairly guilt-free :)

Low Calorie Veggie Dip (about 130 calories per cup)
Cut up some of your favorite veggies and enjoy this easy low-calorie veggie dip!

1c Greek Yogurt
Ranch dressing powdered dip mix

Add the ranch dressing mix to the greek yogurt to taste.

Low Calorie Fruit Dip (about 190 calories per cup)
Cut up some of your favorite fruits for dipping and enjoy this easy low-calorie fruit dip!

1c  Greek Yogurt
1T Honey or all fruit jam

Add the honey or all fruit jam to the greek yogurt to taste.

Low Calorie Boneless Buffalo Wings (about 129 calories per serving)

Check out this recipe as a healthier substitute for buffalo wings.   No, I haven’t made this particular recipe before, but I wanted to put a buffalo wing substitute option in this article.  I searched online for a good low-cal recipe, and thought this looked like a pretty great option for a Super Bowl Sunday spread.

Now, I’ll be honest... if I make this recipe, I’ll probably skip the breading, spice the chicken, and cook it as is.  Then, I’ll add a lot more of the buffalo sauce, because that’s my favorite part!

Low Calorie Boneless Buffalo Wings

Rule #5 - Remember that rules are made to be broken... well... guidelines... at least ;)

Now that you have a guide to create your game-day strategy, go and get your diet-breaking plan together.  On Super Bowl Sunday, remember that plan, pack your snacks, and ENJOY THE GAME!!

When you wake up on Monday morning, you won’t have that... “I ate too much” hangover, and you’ll be ready to face the week... GUILT-FREE!