Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Be Healthier and Happier: My Favorite Breakfast Lately

I'm linking up again this week with my friend Casey over at Hey, Momma! Go check out her blog! It rocks!

Hey, Momma!

Breakfast is probably one of my strangest meals of the day. I either grab something to take in the car on the way to school, or I grab something and don't eat it until I get to school. So breakfast, in a few words, needs to be fast, easy, healthy, and filling. Sometimes I just grab a Luna bar and a banana, but 1) that gets old quickly and 2) it doesn't usually tide me over until lunch. I recently started realizing that I'm going to need to do something different this year once school starts. And, happily, I found the perfect go-to breakfast! Refrigerator oats!

Honestly, my first thought about refrigerator oats was, "Blech! That can't taste good!" I thought about oats sitting overnight in Greek yogurt. Honestly, I didn't think this sounded like a winner. I couldn't imagine thick, Greek yogurt mixed with oats sitting in the fridge overnight. I'm not one for thick textures in my breakfast food, especially oatmeal. But for some reason, I decided to give the recipe a chance. 

I had recently purchased The FitGirl Guide which lays out meal plans and exercise routines to help you eat healthier and loose weight in a safe and thought-out way. One of the breakfast recipes was refrigerator oats. So I decided to give in to the hype and try them out. Let me just tell you, they are delicious, they are filling, and they are super easy! The texture is nice too; it's not too thick. It's just the right consistency. The oats soak up the milk and yogurt and really turns the oats into a satisfying meal. You can eat the oats cold or heated up. I prefer them cold right now; it's been so hot lately this summer. 

The base recipe is as follows:

1/3 cup oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
1/2 cup chopped frozen fruit (your choice)

I put my overnight oats in 16 oz. Mason jars that I purchased from Target. Keep an eye out on these jars! Target has been putting them on sale on and off this summer. I got my 6 pack for $7.99.

Ball 6ct Heritage Collection 16oz Jars - Purple

You mix all the ingredients together in the Mason jars. The most important thing is to mix all the ingredients together really well. The honey and the nut butter add nice flavor to the oats, but they can't if they're not mixed! I use a knife to mix the oats because it fits nicely in the jar and seems to help everything combine nicely. 

I switch up the fruit that I put with the oats. Sometimes I do dark, sweet cherries, blueberries, peaches, or mixed berries. All of them have been tasty!  I even added a little bit of cinnamon and ginger to the peach oats to make it taste like peach pie! Yum!

If you'd like some more ideas for refrigerator oats, I pinned some on my Pinterest Board "FitGirl Recipes." You can follow it here

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal. No cook. Great grab-and-go breakfast!  #refrigeratoroatmeal

Banana Bread Overnight Oats | The Wheatless Kitchen

These are healthy recipes that I've found based on the premise of FitGirl. They are not necessarily FitGirl recipes. To find out more about the FitGirl Guide, click here

Have you tried refrigerator oats? What do you think? What is your favorite go-to breakfast?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Motivation to Be Healthier and Happier

Last year I completely (practically) stopped working out. I was coming off a huge depression caused by different migraine medication I was taking at the time. I had never felt so unmotivated, down, dark, and hopeless in my life. I am a pretty "glass-is-half-full" kind of person. Going through such a dark time in my life really took the wind out of my sails. 

I truly enjoy Zumba and dancing. I used to go a few times per week and also go to group dance classes (salsa, swing, hustle, bachata, waltz, etc.) at least once each week. Last year all of that stopped when I couldn't even get off the couch or get out of bed. I felt miserable, not myself. My body felt like it didn't belong to me. I felt inhuman--I don't even know how else to describe my feelings at the time. I had no emotions and the things I loved did not bring me any joy. I could hardly even take the dogs outside, let alone think about going to a dance class. 

At this moment in my life, I feel 110% better. I feel more myself. I've been weened off the last of the medication causing me problems. My head feels clearer. My body feels my own again--I control it, not vice versa. And my mind is living in a more suggestible state at the moment. It's easy to convince it of the benefits of working out and making my body follow through. 

In general I am pretty good at pushing myself to do something. I've never lacked the ability to motivate myself to do something, especially when I know it is good for me. Exercise is a huge anxiety release for me. If I feel my anxiety creeping up on me, I know I have to work out. My head feels so much clearer after a good exercise stint. That in itself is usually good enough motivation to get me to workout.

Feeling good after a workout at home

It is, however, not easy to restart a habit once you've lost your momentum. Here are a few things that I did to help motivate me to stay on track with my exercise routine:

New Shoes

I have plantar fascistic. When I wear out a pair of shoes, my feet are not happy campers. I usually wear out my shoes and continue to wear them over and over because I just don't want to suck it up and get new ones. I haven't really found a great pair of shoes that I love to workout in. However, I decided that I needed new shoes if I was going to workout as much as I am this summer. I found THE PERFECT shoes, and I love them! I think it was just luck, but I don't care because my shoes rock!

I looked up some good shoes to Zumba/dance in. So many running shoes are not good for me because they have too much traction on the bottom. It's hard to twist your feet, turn, and move quickly without twisting your ankle. I ended up ordering the Nike Free TR 5 Women's Training Shoe. I can move really well in them, and they give my ankles great support (old dance injury). I love them!

New Workout Gear

Since I gained weight, a lot of my workout clothes felt a little tight on me. I ended up going to Old Navy and buying two pairs of great workout leggings and a few shirts on super clearance! I also bought a few new pairs of cute socks because I couldn't find any matches to the ones I had! It felt good to have my workout clothes fit well. And I felt like I looked good in them because they fit. It is definitely a motivator to be able to feel comfortable in what you're wearing!


The second week of July I had been working out solidly and tracking my calories in My Fitness Pal for a good month. I never drink frappucinos from Starbucks, but the 
S more's Frap sounded delicious as a treat, so I decided to get one. I got a tall, light frappucino. It satisfied my sweet tooth craving, and it was amazing! I don't plan on ordering another anytime soon, but who knows? Maybe I'll have one next month as a treat to myself. If there's something you would really like to treat yourself to, everything is okay in moderation. I don't plan on depriving myself of things I enjoy just because I'm trying to lose weight. I added it into the calories I ate for the day, and I was still under. Seriously try this one if you're into S More's or Starbucks. It.is.to.die.for.

Workout Friends

I love the people in my Zumba classes. It's fun to be there and dance with people you really enjoy being around, but I also convinced my sissy to come back to Zumba too! She is my ultimate workout partner. I am so happy she started going with me again! I also occasionally get to go with one of my long-time friends from high school. I love being able to see her more than I normally do. It's super fun, and it keeps me going to class even if I'm trying to talk myself out of going for the day. 

Grabbing lunch with my sissy after working out.

Try Something New

Sometimes you just need to do something different. I found a dance studio that has adult modern dance and hip hop drop in classes. I'm so excited; I'm going to go to the modern dance class next week if it's offered. I haven't really "danced" in about 13 years, so wish me luck! I am SO EXCITED to try it! Dance, dance, dance! Try to find something you love to do to get your exercise in. Dancing is totally me; I was a dancer for about 18 years. That's why I love taking the classes I do. I don't really feel like I'm working out when I'm on the dance floor.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated in your workouts?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Be Happier and Healthier Update #2

Today I'm linking up with my friend Casey over at Hey Momma! for a Linky Party! Make sure you check out her blog and link up!

Hey, Momma!

Getting My Sweat On

I've been doing a great job of being more active lately. I finally started regularly going back to Zumba classes. Last week I went Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I did The 21 Day Fix's Plyo fix on Friday. Wednesday was my rest day. I woke up with a migraine and decided against doing any intense workouts for the day. 

This week, I didn't Zumba Sunday or Monday. I had horrible migraines, so I also decided against any kind of exercise. I think this weather is really getting to me. I did go to Zumba yesterday. I will go today with my friend, Jessica. I also plan on going Thursday-Saturday, sans migraines hopefully. 

I am so happy to be back excising regularly! It helps me sleep better, and it really combats my anxiety! I had a few random anxiety days lately and going to Zumba made me feel instantly better. Endorphins for the win!

Eating Habits

I've also been happy with my eating the past few weeks. I've been using recipes from the Fit Girl's Guide, and I'm really liking them. Here is one of my favorites:

These are so delicious! I used peanut butter instead of almond butter. Sometimes almonds trigger my migraines. I also don't put chia seeds in either. I have used cherries, peaches and cinnamon, blueberries, and strawberries for this recipe, just to switch up the flavor every few days. The oatmeal fills me up, and I feel very satisfied after eating this breakfast.

You can find out more about The Fit Girl's Guide at this website or online @fitgirlsguide.

The last time I met with my neurologist, she told me the amount of water I was drinking before, during, and after working out was probably flushing all the vitamins out of my system. I put so many vitamins into my body each day to help combat my migraines, and I was just flushing them out of my body. I also told her I get a migraine every time I exercise (hence the previous statement). She told me to drink Gatorade before, during, and after working out. I have to say that it's been helping. 


I also tried out a few new workout videos on The Daily Burn. You can get a free trail month through Hulu before you start being charged for the workouts here. After the free 30 day trial, it is $12.95 per month to stream the videos. I have mostly done the dancing and Zumba-based workouts. I've come to find that traditional workouts are completely not my thing. They never have been. I always thought if I did them long enough, I'd get used to them and keep doing them. So I kept doing them. It didn't work. I get bored really easily with workouts, and I need to get out of my head. In a traditional workout, I am constantly thinking, When is this over. This really sucks! The Daily Burn does have a 19 minute stretch video that I love and have done multiple times. I really love that one. It feels so good to stretch before bed; it's really been good for my sleep.

I do not think that I'll keep The Daily Burn for more than the trail period, since I just don't do most of the workouts. I really do like the 15 minute Zumba abs video and the short dance videos though. They go by really fast, and you don't realize you're doing a 30-45 minute workout when you follow two or three videos in a row.

Here's a preview of a few of the MOVE! dance videos on The Daily Burn:

I enjoy the 21 Day Fix the most even thought they are more traditional workouts. The rounds are short, and the 30 minutes goes by so quickly. I also like how there's a choice of so many different workouts: cardio, plyo, arms, legs, abs, pilates.  And, of course, Zumba and salsa dancing are my favorites!

I think I've been doing a great job sticking to workouts and healthy eating. I always feel like I've eaten healthily; getting back into regular workouts was the hardest part. But I plan on continuing my healthy journey, so I can start to feel better!  

To read my other Be Happier and Healthier Posts, click here and here.

Have you tried any new workouts lately?

Love and happiness <3 Holly