January 03, 2014

{Happy New Year!}

Happy New Year Craft Monkey Friends! 

Wishing you a year full of adventure and excitement!

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August 11, 2013

{My Healthier LIfestyle; An Update}

Well I'm SUPER excited to share that I've lost over 41 lbs so far since April!
Down 41 pounds!!

I have to admit, it's actually MUCH easier to follow a healthier lifestyle now that I've been doing it for awhile.  What's that saying when you do something for so many days in a row it becomes a habit...well I now have a healthier lifestyle habit and I couldn't be happier!

So today I thought I'd share some of the apps and websites I've been using to help me along on my journey.  I'm no expert, and certainly I've still got a LONG way to go on my journey, but I really feel like if I can do this ANYONE can!

If you follow me on instagram you've probably seen one or two (or 397) of the meals I've been making lately.  I've always loved cooking and now I'm enjoying the challenge of turning some of our favorite meals into healthier, lower calorie options. I'm watching my calorie intake, so it's easy to do things like use low fat cheese instead of regular or greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I've also found a ton of great recipes at Skinnytaste and on Pinterest.
chicken verde stuffed portobello mushrooms
I'm also still drinking my Vi shakes! They give me so much energy and help me start my day off right, which makes it easier to eat right the rest of the day.
120 calories of deliciousness to start your day off right!

(I am not being compensated for mentioning these apps, I just actually use and love them).

My iphone is my lifeline and I've figured out a few apps to help make my healthier lifestyle a lot easier. My very favorite, couldn't live without app is My Fitness Pal (MFP).  It's a free app that helps you track calories and exercise and record your progress. Every food you can imagine is in this app and if it's not, you have the option to add it.  There is also a super neat barcode scan feature so you can just scan the barcode on whatever you are eating and it will automatically pull up the calories and nutrition information. I really feel like MFP has been key to my success, you can add friends (find me I'm CraftMonkey) so it really helps you be accountable and aware of what you are eating.

Another app that I love is Map My Run, it's a gps app that tracks how far you are running (or in my case walking). It also calculates calories burned but I don't think it's very accurate. I love using this app when I go for walks, I have been walking about 3 miles every other day, it tells you your pace and distance and is a great 
motivator to just keep going and reach your goal.

Now that I'm pretty good at completing my 3 mile walks I've started trying to add a little jogging into the mix.  Which is where the Ease into 5K app comes into play.  I just started using this, I'm literally only on like the 3rd day of the training.  But this great app syncs with your favorite playlist and trains you to run a 5k (which is one of my goals).  You start off with a warm up, then the app tells you to run for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, etc. and eventually you add more running time and less walking time until you are running the full 5k.  That day is still a long way away for me, but I love that I have this neat little tool to help me!

Another favorite weight loss tool is my Polar Heart Rate Monitor. I love that this calculates how many calories I've burned on my workout. (I always make sure to track those in MFP). This monitor has a chest strap, I'll be honest I was most worried about the chest strap actually fitting me because I was so large, but it did fit and there is plenty of room for adjustment. The heart rate monitor is another great motivational tool because it makes me want to work harder to burn more calories!

And of course, the best weight loss tool of all...
We still look this awesome after 2 full hours of Zumba! BOOM!
Encouragement and support from your friends & loved ones.  It's so much easier when you have great people cheering you on and reminding you how far you've come, especially on those extra hard days when you don't want to do it anymore!

So those are some of my favorite weight loss tools.  I hope you found something useful and if you have any questions feel free to ask! I'm by no means an expert but I'm happy to share what little knowledge I have! :)   
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June 27, 2013

{My Weight Loss Journey}

So if you follow me on instagram you probably know I've been working pretty darn hard to live a healthier more active lifestyle over the past few months.  I've been making healthier meals for myself and my family, working out and spending more time outdoors being active and having fun.  It's been hard, but fun and I'm finally seeing it pay off.  

As of today, I've lost 29 pounds so far!

That may not seem like a very big number, but for me, a girl who has been a big girl nearly my entire life, that's probably the most weight I've ever lost at one time. So that 29 lbs is a HUGE deal to me!  

You're probably thinking 29 is a random number, and it is.  This week my goal was to hit 25 lbs lost, but I managed to exceed that and hit 29! Of course it would be amazing to say 30 lbs, maybe next week! :)

I still have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying 
celebrating this small milestone.

I don't have any amazing before and after pictures,   not yet anyway.  But I'm working my way there one day at a time.

Like I said before, I've been eating healthier, trying to keep my calories down and working out.  

One of the ways that I help lower my calorie intake is with this delicious shake mix a friend turned me on to.  It's Visalus nutritional shake mix. It's a 90 day challenge, I have a shake every morning for breakfast (mixed with a cup of unsweetened almond milk it's only 120 calories!).  I haven't quite reached the 90 day mark yet, and I've already dropped 29 lbs!

Vi shakes are seriously delicious, they taste like cake, and you can find tons of "recipes" to create with the sweet cream shake mix.  My very favorite is a "peach cobbler" recipe I created using one of 
the Vi flavor mix in packets.

The really cool thing about the Vi shakes is you can get yours FREE!  If you sign up for the challenge, and have 3 friends sign up for the challenge too, then your shake kit is free! Pretty sweet deal if you ask me! If you are interested in losing weight, getting in shape or just living a healthier lifestyle check out Visalus or email me for more info! I'd LOVE it if you joined me on my weight loss challenge!

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May 16, 2013

{Sleep Talking}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ZzzQuil for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Most of my adult life I have had horrible problems sleeping.  I can be EXHAUSTED, not able to keep my eyes open, but once I get into bed, BOOM WIDE AWAKE! Or, my most recent sleep problem, I fall into a deep, deep sleep for about an hour or two and then wake up (around midnight) WIDE AWAKE and unable to go back to sleep.  I don't know why, and I've tried everything from over the counter sleep aids to prescription medications that had me sleep shopping...yes, I would shop from my phone in the middle of the night and have no recollection of it until a package arrived at my door. CA-RAZY! (THAT was an expensive prescription! HA).

So you can imagine my eagerness when I was offered the opportunity to try the new ZzzQuil from the makers of Vicks Nyquil! It looks and taste similar to Nyquil, but doesn't have all of the cold ingredients, it's only for helping you sleep! The first night I tried ZzzQuil I waited until the weekend, because I sometimes have a hard time waking up the next day after taking a sleep aid and I hate that groggy "hung over" feeling you can sometimes get.  But, that didn't happen with the ZzzQuil! I woke up feeling well rested and not groggy at all! I LOVE that! 

I have since used ZzzQuil several times when I want to get a really good night's rest and I just love it! I will definately be buying more! I tried the liquid version, but I think I'd like to try the pill version, I'm not a big fan of the taste of the liquid, tastes too much like cold medicine for me. 

Want to learn more about ZzzQuil? Like them on Facebook, check them out on Twitter and visit their website ZzzQuil. Make sure to include #ZzzQuilNight to be included in the conversation!

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