Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top 10 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

We ALL struggle with the holidays and maintaining health. There are endless parties, get togethers, dinners out, cookies being baked and alcoholic beverages being consumed. This is usually the time where I will have a free for all, and I can consume twice as much food as my husband can in one sitting. We are drinking because we are merry, and in a good mood (or in some cases because we are trying to take the edge off) and while that is fine for one day, it starts to add up throughout the holiday season as you attend more and more functions. Those small choices start to add up and before you know it, 3 weeks have passed and you've consumed an additional 10,000 calories in alcohol ALONE. 

But but but.... the beer! The wine! The holiday cocktails! The stuffing! The sweet potatoes! the gravy!! The amazing christmas cookies with the Hersheys kiss in the middle!!!! 

I am not saying you cannot have that. I am saying be aware of PORTION control and pick and choose your splurge days.

Here are some tips:

1. RESEARCH your the calories in certain foods before you to an event with a big meal. This is not to spoil your meal or make you feel guilty. It is to provide awareness so that when you serve yourself a portion, you do not accidentally eat 1000 calories in sweet potatoes alone. The average Thanksgiving meal is 4500 cals WITHOUT alcohol. Be aware. Take 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce and half the amount of gravy. You can have those sweet potatoes but take 1/4 cup instead of a mound.

2. Choose your splurge days: If you eat everything in site at every single party you go to, you are destined to fall off track. Choose 3 times that you are going to have "Cheat days" and indulge that Christmas cookie or two, a chocolate martini or some sweet potato casserole. It is the holidays after all. 

3. Bring your own dish to the party: If you make your own dish, YOU know what is in it and you know you can eat it without guilt! Bring enough for everyone of course, you don't need to draw attention to yourself by only bringing a small portion for you. Make something yummy, healthy and guilt free and fill up on that! 

4. Drink lots of water in between alcoholic drinks and throughout the day. Keep your body hydrated. Water will also help to fill you up so that you eat less. It will help you to be less drunk and then less likely to make bad eating choices throughout the event. There are like 25 different reasons I can write here. Water is awesome, so just drink it. A lot.

5. Eat normal meals throughout the day. Stay on track as much as possible. The last thing you want to do is go to a holiday event famished and then stuff your face like a deprived person on a diet. Eat your breakfast, lunch and snack and then you will eat less at your event.

6. Stick to your routine: Do you workouts. Every day. If you get up early and workout then continue to do so! Many people will tell me, "oh I have been eating like crap so I stopped working out and I will start again at New Years." NO! The time is now. Keep to your routine and keep going. It is healthy to workout and your body needs it now more than ever!

7. Eat HALF. Eat half eat half eat half of what you would normally eat. It is about portion control and not deprivation.

8. You do not have to drink at every single function. And if you do, LIMIT your drinks to 1 or 2. If you feel you need to have some liquor to take the edge off of seeing that one relative that makes you crazy, then stick to clear liquor and club soda. The fancy drinks are so high in calorie and have no nutritional value. Steer clear of those.

9. Have a plan Set up your health and fitness plan NOW. Don't just go to the gym and flail around and expect that will be effective. Do some RESEARCH and commit to a program or regime. When you have a plan that starts BEFORE the holiday season you will be more aware and make better choices overall. Maybe get an accountability partner to stay on track with and motivate each other.

10. Eat a lot of veggies. Chalene Johnson recommends eating a cup of raw veggies to help fill her up and get nutrients before a party. Also make sure you add these to your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as to your daily meals.

If you mess up and have a bad day, just get right back on track the next day. No one is perfect, but you can make better choices. You want to enjoy yourself. Focus on conversation and time with family and friends rather than food. The goal here is to still FEEL amazing by the end of the holiday season instead of feeling guilty, bloated and down because of all the nasty food you've consumed. Keep your eye on the prize and let that drive you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Greek Yogurt Cookie Dough: A less sinful way to get something sweet around the holidays!

The holidays are coming and we are scrambling around to shop and get ingredients together to bring to parties, and in the meantime we are worried about our waistline. But we have to live a little right? I know I plan to have something sweet! This recipe is so fast and easy to whip up, and will save you some calories in the dessert department (just try not to eat the whole thing because this is GOOD). I have a party coming up this weekend, and instead of watching everyone enjoy dessert with a billion calories, I will bring my own creation with enough to share for everyone! That way I know exactly what is in it, and how much I can indulge in!

You will LOVE this!

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt1 tbsp nut butter1 tbsp pure maple syrup1/4 tsp pure vanilla (free fix food for those on the 21 Day Fix)1 tbsp mini chocolate chips.

Directions:Combine Greek yogurt with the nut butter, pure maple syrup, and vanilla (1 yellow container for fixers) Mix until smooth. Top with mini choc chips and enjoy!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Facing Your Fears: Motivation from The Sound of Music after 31 years

As a young girl my favorite movie in the WORLD was The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. I would watch that movie over and over and drive my parents CRAZY with my obsession. That movie is what drove me to music. I began singing in choirs and taking lessons because of it. It is what inspired my to spend a semester of study in Salzburg where it was filmed. I learned and memorized probably every single word to that movie. That movie has shaped me in so many ways at so many different points in my life. Today, Maria's words are still playing strong in my head as I hear her words as she returns from the convent to reunite with the children: "Oh Liesl, you cannot run away from your problems, you have to face them!"

In my process of bettering myself and my life, I am working hard to face my problems and fears and talking about it openly. I am taking this one thing at a time and one step at a time. I hope to relate to someone, anyone in this situation and perhaps we can bond over our similar fears and create a plan to face them together.

This is the day that I have been FEARING for the past 6 months. I have lost sleep, fretted, gotten sick, looked down on myself, put this off and watched as the days crept closer and closer to facing this problem. I have literally woken up in the middle of the night sweating and having nightmares. Every time I think about it, I get a cramp in my stomach and I force myself to think of something else.

It is no secret that I have taken out student loans to pay for my degrees in music. When I began to take out loans, I did not quite understand what that meant. I did not really care actually. I wanted to pursue my passion and it did not matter what I had to do to get there. I did not read or research or pay attention to what I was doing. I signed the paper and took the money and went after a dream. I am not advocating for, or against taking out student loans. I have mixed feelings on the subject. For myself personally, I have been able to learn and do so much that I could not have done. Through being granted these loans I have met amazing people (including my husband), and filled my life with music, art, travel and education. I have become (I think anyways) a great teacher, with so much to offer my students in the way of music, singing and life. I am the person I am today because of all these experiences. But there is always a looming fear in my mind of the debt I had collected to get this life, and it sometimes hinders me so much that I cannot enjoy the life I've created. What I am advocating for today is facing my problems so that I can live a fun filled, anxiety free life.

Today, November 10 2014, is the day that I had to deal with student loan payments. After all my years in school, I am finally at that dreaded 6 month mark where it is time to start to pay. I waited until the LAST POSSIBLE DAY to deal with this. It has been a source of deep anxiety for me. Wondering how I would pay and how much. Wondering if I would need to take on 6 jobs to survive the outrageous monthly amount.

It's weird how things happen right at the moment you need them. Conveniently, I am reading a book right now that has helped me to psychologically prepare for this moment. Brian Tracy's book "No excuses", discusses facing your fears. He explained that worrying about them could be actually worse then facing them. So, armed with words from Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music and encouragement from Brian Tracy in his book, I made the call. I was shaking and tears were running down my cheeks, and I am pretty sure my voice was cracking I was so afraid.

The call lasted 10 minutes including the wait time to talk to someone. A very nice lady asked me a few questions about my income and family and together we worked out a number that I could afford to pay each month. She said she would send me some follow up documents I should fill out. THAT WAS IT. It was done. The anguish and torture that compounded through WORRYING AND WORRYING about today was over in 10 painless minutes. Imagine how much anxiety and time I could have saved if I had just faced this problem months ago??

What a moment for me. What a break through for my anxiety driven personality. Afterwards, feeling so much better, I proceeded to make a list of other fears I wanted to conquer and made a plan to face those as well. I will sleep much better tonight armed with knowing that I can face my fears and survive them.

Julie Andrew's and The Sound of Music continue to influence my life even at my adult age. The influences change as words take on new meanings. That phrase ringing in my ears today, I probably did not even understand when I was young.

My takeaway:
1. Read personal development. What? READ??? ME?? Listen to an audiobook. Many are free on youtube.com. This 30 minutes a day I have been putting in are actually changing my life.
2. ID your fear: Just writing it down so you can think clearly about solutions help greatly.
3. Just take the first step. Your fear of your fear is probably worse than actually facing it. My problem of debt is far from being solved. But I took the first step today and am now motivated to continue.
4. Watch The Sound of Music: this isn't a takeaway, but seriously if you have not ever watched this movie you need to. Right now. Go.

 My health and fitness journey have driven me to be a better person, and I would love to help you find your way too.  Please subscribe to this blog, and "like" my Fb page fitoperasinger.facebook.com. Send me a message. REALLY! I want to hear from you!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Egg Muffins! Fast, easy 21 day fix approved!

Hey you!

I always struggle with healthy breakfasts. I am so busy in the morning and do not have time to make anything fancy. Well today my husband and I made this breakfast during our normal Sunday food prepping and we are so excited to share with you!

Watch the video!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Shakeology Recipe

I LOVE Vanilla Shakeology! I was drinking Chocolate for so long and never thought to give Vanilla try. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Here is a recipe I just tried this morning:

~1 cup Almond Milk
~1 Scoop Vanilla Shakeo
~1 tsp Almond Butter
~1 Vanilla Extract
~1 tsp Cinnamon
~1/2 a banana
~1 tsp Honey
~8 pieces of ice 

GREAT holiday treat for when you are craving something sweet! Interested in Shakeology? Post here!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting Uncomfortable: Lessons and rewards from going out of my comfort zone

This past week I was asked to be a guest on the Linwood Jackson Radio Show here in Delaware.  I was so flattered by this opportunity, but immediately told Mr. Jackson that I had to think it over.


I have never been comfortable with public speaking. I am a performer, but typically lose my focus when I know I am being listened to and am expected to speak eloquently without a script. The thought of doing this made me nervous, and was definitely outside my comfort zone.
My wonderful husband always challenges me to do things that I am not comfortable with (when they are to better myself). He would not let me say no to this opportunity, and I am grateful to him for always pushing me. As I get older and am trying to mold my life the way I see fit, I have had to begin learning to do things outside of my comfort zone to get there. I've learned that I do not get ahead by staying my own "comfort bubble" as I call it. And it IS hard. But when you have goals and dreams you do what it takes.

So with a deep breath, I accepted the spot on the radio show. I was anxious about it, so I began to think of things he could possibly ask me, and prepared answers to those questions. I had to make sure that I was organized in my mind. This calmed me down a bit.

The day came and I was ready. NERVOUS! But ready. I steadied my breathing and spoke positive thoughts to myself. I CAN do this. I AM confidant! etc etc.

This whole time leading up to this, I was worried I wouldn't sound like everyone expected. I was worried that I had to manufacture this presence that was not really me. But when I went in, I was just myself and that was enough in my book. Was I perfect at it? No. There were definitely things that I needed to work on. But I did it. And more importantly, I LEARNED from it and I grew as a person, as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I walked out feeling accomplished, brave and successful. And what is great is that I said to myself "phew, now I will know how to do this even BETTER next time." 

There are so many times recently that I had to step out of my comfort zone. Sharing my weight loss transformation story, talking about my experience with cancer openly, starting a new job, moving to a new place, exploring new avenues with my singing and my online magazine for singers, reaching out to people I didn't know to ask questions and seek advice. Now that I think about it, you know what? A pattern is developing. The MORE I step out of my comfort zone, the MORE I am attaining my goals! I have had a few successes lately, and I believe that is the DIRECT result of getting uncomfortable.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. This concept can apply to anything. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and you workout and eat the same way for months and months without success you will continue to not have success. But if you need to step out of your comfort zone and CHANGE if up, you will! Try a new program, research a new way of eating, push a little harder. It is scary, but it results in getting you to your goal.

 Looking back, how COULD I even think to say no?? My goals are to inspire young singers to be the best they can be and to implore others to take control of their health and fitness. If I expect the people I work with on a daily basis to step up and start a fitness program that is out of their comfort zone, than I can certainly expect the same of myself and get my butt to the radio station and talk about myself for 20 minutes. :)

So get up. Get uncomfortable. Get successful. Share your story with us here.