Let’s Get Active

Happy Monday, babes!

I hope all of you had as great of a weekend as I did. We spent a lot of time with our friends in the backyard grilling on the barbecue pit and enjoying the fantastic weather. I got a bit of a sunburn but that’s okay. I need a little color in my life. I have really enjoyed being outside lately to enjoy the sun, relax, and even get active with a sport or activity.

I have never been very good at tennis, but it is something I want to try this Summer which is why I’m excited to tell you about the benefits of the sport of tennis. There are so many benefits to the sport of tennis including physical and mental health and stability.

Whether you prefer playing singles, doubles, or against a wall in your backyard, tennis is a fantastic fitness activity that will help you stay in shape. So regardless if you are 14 or 40-years-old, the sport is an effective way to develop and maintain your cardiovascular and muscular system even as you age. Furthermore, there is the game’s mental aspect, which combined with the comfort of playing outdoors allows participants to truly enjoy the best of both worlds.

In the past, I have told told you guys about 5 tips to becoming healthier. That post mainly concentrated on meals and snacks that help you stay in good physical and mental shape. This time, I want to focus on a specific activity that will not only improve your bodily functions, but also better your mind in ways you least expect.

On paper, tennis is not your typical weight-loss program, as it is a start-stop kind of full body workout. That is why compared to more traditional fitness activities such as swimming, cycling, and running, its health advantages are often lost in the big picture. However, by looking at it from a human kinetics standpoint, you can see that the sport works the upper and lower body muscles with all the powerful shots, as well as the quick side-to-side and front-to-back movements.

Since tennis greatly enhances aerobic and anaerobic health, it opens the door for you to burn more calories and fat. Kim Selzman writes that the sport”can help you burn anywhere from 359 to 480 calories per hour during a singles match, and 250 to 300 calories per hour during a doubles match. In addition, it promotes bone and heart health, and increases balance, flexibility, and coordination.”

Contrary to popular belief, tennis boosts brain function, too! It requires players to be more creative when it comes to shot making and shot placement, basically all the tactical factors of the sport. You will also enrich your interpersonal skill and discipline, due to the abilities needed to be good at the game it takes time, patience, and dedication. Play Your Court even suggests it has a deeper impact on adults as, “tennis can function as a social outlet, a form of exercise, and a competitive hobby all at once.”

The beauty of tennis is that despite its sort of exclusivity and difficulty, it really is an all-encompassing sport, a total body workout, and a definite networking activity all rolled into one. To a certain degree, it doesn’t matter if you prefer playing a casual game during the weekend or choose to train competitively, look to lose weight or just as a medium to exercise outdoors; the sport has its own way of fitting your fitness needs. That’s why William Skidesky feels tennis is the best sport in the world, bar none.

With that being said, I am looking forward to giving tennis a solid go and hope that my body loves it as much mentally as it will physically.

Are you looking to try anything new or specific this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

xx

Crispy Cheddar Chips

untitled-9

It’s no secret I’m a lover of food and if you tell me that something has cheese on it, I’m in. Cheese is one of my favorite things to eat on top of pretty much anything, and even by the slice off a block if I have a chance. Well, yesterday I had a craving for something savory and salty, but I didn’t want to spoil my dinner and I wanted to limit the calories I ate for a snack. So, with that being said, I decided I would give a new recipe a try.

The grocery store that I shop at sells these little cheese crisps in a carton for close to $7.00 a package and I thought it was such a simple concept for a hefty price. I gave them one look and thought, “I can do that!” So, in the midst of my salty craving, I tried this recipe out and luckily it was a success! It’s delicious, gluten free, low carb, and make in a total of 10-12 minutes.

I only made one batch of 12 in the event that it was a fail, but you can make as many batches of chips your little heart desires.

Here is how I made these yummy cheddar chips…

Ingredients:

Approximately 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375*. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cut the paper to fit onto the sheet evenly. Next, eyeballing your measurements, sprinkle small piles of cheese on to the baking sheet.untitled-3

Make sure you put about 1 inch in between each pile to account for the cheese to spread as it melts in the oven.

untitled-5

Once you have your cheese sectioned on to the baking sheet, place in the oven for 6-8 minutes.

untitled-2

untitled-6Once you take the cheese out of the oven, it may still be bubbling which is just fine. As soon as it comes out, place each chip onto a paper towel to set. The cheese will harden up once it’s off the hot surface of the baking sheet and then becomes crispy.untitled-7

Yum!

After it’s sat for about 1-2 minutes, your chips are ready to place on a serving tray for you or your guests to enjoy. It’s that easy!

untitled

I gave one to Kelly as a taste test and he was sold! Very simple and yummy snack that was a hit. I have a strong feeling these will be making an appearance in our house again soon.

xx

My Weight Loss Update | 5 Tips for a Healthier You

In recent months, I’ve found a new passion for health and a desire for a better me. I will be honest and say that the pressure of wearing a gorgeous wedding dress in front of 150 people at the end of the year weighs heavily on me. But, I’m happy that the pressure of my wedding day has found me because I have great determination to get in better shape than I am now for my wedding day. With that being said, I have no exact number in my mind or loss of inches I’m striving for. Although I believe a great way to work towards a goal is to have specific goals in mind, I don’t want to feel disappointment if I don’t hit that specific number by a certain deadline. However, I do know I have a vision for how I want to look and a way I want to feel and that’s what I’m working towards. Ultimately, I want to feel my best and work hard at reaching that goal until the big day and beyond then.

acai-bowl-4

image via

Now, I would say that it’s been since the beginning of May that I have been trying really hard to focus on my health and shedding any extra weight I can. It’s been a solid 2 months which is longer than I’ve devoted myself to a healthier weight than any time before. Believe me when I say I’ve occasionally woken up frustrated because I feel like I have zero progress and that I’m working hard for nothing. But, then I get on the scale for a check-in and I’m pleasantly surprised. Would I like for the weight to come off a little quicker than it is? Sure. But I remind myself that it’s a process and it will pay off in the end.

What I want to do today is share what I’ve been doing to focus on shedding weight at a healthy and steady rate. I’m not following any sort of strict diet or workout regimen and am learning as I go. I remind myself, “This is a process. This is a process.” I learn new things along my journey regularly and know I will continue to do so moving forward. Here are a few tips I have for anyone trying to shed extra weight and things that have helped me along the way:


  1. First and foremost, I’m drinking a ton of water. I never focused on my water intake before and this step alone has helped me out incredibly. I make it a point to drink at least 3 liters of water a day. I do this 1) because hydration is a key factor in keeping your muscles functioning properly 2) it can help curb my appetite by tricking my body into thinking it’s more full than it is and 3) it helps shed extra toxins and water weight that I may have been holding. I have a new love for water and will do a whole post about it on another day. But, my strongest bit of advice would be to drink more water. Period. (On a side note, I want to add that I have limited myself to drinking alcohol only 1 day a week.)

  2. Log everything you consume in a food journal. This has been so beneficial for me because it helps remind me what I have already eaten for the day and keeps me on track to make smart decisions throughout the day. Even when you aren’t being strict about your diet, logging it in a food journal helps because it will show you how many calories really are in those mozzarella sticks that you wouldn’t have thought twice about had you not needed to log it. Yeah, guilt can set in because the nutritional facts are a lot worse than you expected, but you will learn that the next time there is an opportunity to eat them and you’ll maybe want to order a healthier option. Or not. It’s all about balance. Logging your food is always a good idea when trying to lose weight because it holds you accountable and conscious of your eating habits. I use an app on my iPhone called MyFitnessPal and it’s technology is way more advanced than it used to be. It measures macro-nutrients of your food, calories, and also reminds you to log your food if you may have forgotten. You can add friends through the app to help keep each other accountable. If you want to add me, my username is: marylsnodgrass.

    6bec7b117d6f698e325bee4dbf6fe1f5image via

  3. I know this one may sound obvious, but it’s so important, and it is to stay active. This one is hard for me because I loathe working out. I don’t enjoy cardio workouts because I tend to get bored, and I hate lifting weights even more because I have no idea what I’m doing. But, I have a goal that I want to reach and I’m not going to reach it without working out on a regular basis. When we moved to Houston, we were fortunate enough to find an apartment we loved across the street from a gym. Once we got settled, I got a gym membership and tried out a few of the classes. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with a class that is taught on Mondays and Wednesday. Through March and April, I saw some results but not much. I learned that a 45 minute workout twice a week wasn’t going to do much for me. So, on the days there was no class, I put my headphones in and went on a jog. I found a nice path that I enjoy and I see it now as “me time”. Since I started working out about 4 times a week, that’s when my results started to really start showing. There are days where the last thing I want to go is put on my tennis shoes after work to go workout, but I do it and always feel amazing afterwards.

  4. Green tea. I’ve never really been a tea drinker. I am a sole believer in black coffee and will love it to my grave, but I read an article that green tea is extremely beneficial in lowering cholesterol and naturally eliminates triglycerides that your body is storing. I will say, it’s no magic pill, but it does help curb my appetite for a snack in the afternoon and is a bit of a healthier alternative than the cup of coffee I would be drinking in it’s place. It does have somewhat of a bitter aftertaste, but it’s not overpowering to the point that I’m forcing it down with a disgusted face. I enjoy it. Fat loss is a specific goal of mine and I have seen results with the combination of healthy diet, exercise, and green tea. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?

  5. Keep a positive attitude and remind yourself daily of your goals. I know I said it earlier, but there are definitely bad days where I just want to order pizza and drink red wine to comfort myself and relax after a long day. But I know when I get that craving and if I were to buckle and cheat, I would feel incredible guilt and I would erase a lot of hard work that I put forth to achieve results. I’m not exactly sure how much weight I intend to lose and I’m not exactly sure how much more strict I want to be or if I even want to ease up a bit. Like I said, I am learning as I go but as long as I keep a positive attitude and remind myself of what I’m working towards, it will motivate me to keep the path and that results will eventually follow. No matter how big or small. What I do know is I feel healthier than I ever have before and love it.

Everyone’s journey is different and everyone will achieve results in different ways and at different times. I’m learning a lot about myself and my body along the way that success is not achieved overnight. If you have any tips, tricks, secrets, or overall encouragement send it my way! I love hearing different bits of success that people have and I hope to motivate someone with my story. Trust me, I have quite a way to go but I’m excited to see how my hard work will pay off. I appreciate the kind words from everyone along the way and hope to continue to surprise you all!

xx

5 Must Have Items In My Fridge

Fridge Must HavesI’ve been living on my own for going on 6 years now and I had a hard time in college learning that Hot Pockets and Kraft mac-and-cheese were not essential items to live off of long term. Through trial and error, I have pretty much sealed up a consistent grocery list that specifically has 5 items on the list each time. Each one is a go-to item for me in a pinch for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here are my must have items in my fridge/pantry at all times:

  1. Eggs: I’ve always loved eggs and also grew up in a household that had the occasional breakfast for dinner. My mom stressed the importance of protein at the beginning of the day so I ate eggs a lot. But I appreciate that now because I’ve learned to do so many things with eggs for all three meals. I usually have eggs for breakfast and you also never know when you’ll need to whip up an emergency batch of cookies. They’re great to always have on hand!
  2. Black beans: I can count on one hand how many meals I usually make for dinner during the week. And three of those meals involve black beans. I love Mexican food and making skinny versions of my fave meals. Black beans are so easy to make, are tasty, and enjoyed by Kelly as well, so that’s a win. I usually serve them with rice, zucchini, or just plain with a baked chicken breast, which brings me to my next staple…
  3. Chicken breast: I ate chicken every day. Every. Single. Day. In the rare instance we run out of chicken in the fridge, I either go get more or revert to a boring can of soup, which probably has chicken in it. Most of my favorite recipes have chicken in it and it’s great to whip up for a protein packed meal with low calories. I either bake it in the oven or sear it on the stove top while my vegetables are cooking. Love, love, love chicken!
  4. Peanut butter: I feel like peanut butter is a staple in every home in America. Who doesn’t like a peanut butter sandwich? It’s an easy item to store and revert to when you have nothing for lunch. Whip up a peanut butter sandwich and a handful of fruit and you’re good to go. Plus, my dog won’t take his heart worm pill unless it’s coated in PB.
  5. Frozen fruit and veggies: Don’t get this confused with me not eating any fresh fruit and veggies. I love to slice and dice fresh vegetables and cook them in a pan, but in the instance that my fresh produce goes bad, I always have a frozen alternative on hand to avoid the excuse that I didn’t have any other option. I love freezing fresh fruit as well for a good smoothie in the morning.

Those are my 5 must haves for my fridge. What are you staples that you can’t live without having on hand and in your fridge??

xx

Whole Wheat English Muffin Pizzas

With altering my lifestyle and diet, I’m learning to be a bit more creative with what I’m making for lunch and dinner in order to stay in line with the calories I’m allotted for the day. I’m happy to cut the cals, but I still need some flavor. So, my mom used to make my sisters and I these little bagel pizzas when I was little for a quick and yummy dinner. So I took that idea and just altered it a bit.

Yum yum yum yum.

untitledThe prep on these little discs of heaven is next to nothing and you’ll be eating them a lot sooner than the time it would take to order your own pizza. And 1/4 the calories. Try and beat that. I dare ya.

Anyway, the recipe is below. And the best part is that it’s customizable to anything you enjoy on your pizzas. Calories permitting, of course.

Ingredients:

4 whole wheat english muffins

1 cup organic, natural pizza sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Turkey pepperonis

Sliced green olives, optional

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400*. Separate english muffins into halves evenly on a baking sheet. Then, place the english muffins in the oven for 5-6 minutes and toast them to your liking. I like them a bit crispy to really resemble pizza crust. While the muffins are toasting, heat up your pizza sauce over medium heat on the stove top. Once muffins are done toasting, remove them from the oven and turn your oven up to Broil.

While the oven is heating further, evenly spread a spoonful of heated pizza sauce atop each muffin. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce and then add your toppings. I used turkey pepperonis and green olives. I add a smidge (technical term) more cheese on top just to have it melt over the toppings a little. Once the oven is fully heated place the small little pizzas in the oven.

Take them out once the cheese is melted and enjoy! I love how creative you can be with each one and especially how low calorie they are!

2 of the discs are 180 calories.

So easy and so delicious!

Enjoy!

xx