5.30.2013

What Protein?

Yesterday I wrote about why I've been eating protein at every meal and why Eating Clean recommends this as part of everyone's meal plan.  Before reading up on nutrition and really becoming interested in it, I would automatically think of meat if someone mentioned protein.  Sure, I knew that there were protein sources that we're meat, but I didn't really think too much about it.

Now that I'm incorporating protein into every meal, however, I had to figure out other ways to get protein because I wasn't really wanting to have chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Before writing this post I went through my cupboards and found the food that I normally eat to get protein at every meal - here's what I had!


Natural peanut butter, tuna in water, tilapia, lean ground turkey, eggs, beans, chicken breasts - love it!!!

This is what I normally have in the house but there are so many other options to get protein at every meal, too!

Here are some of those

Beef Tenderloin
Bison
Canned salmon in water
Chickpeas
Fat-free plain yogurn
Kefir
Lentils
Low-fat cottage cheese
Pork tenderloin
Tempeh
Tofu
Unsalted raw nuts & seeds

I used to think that eating more healthy food would mean I'd be cutting out a lot of things; as it turns out, I have ADDED so many foods to what I eat and I enjoy my meals so much more!  

Who would've thought that eating healthy would also be eating tasty??



5.28.2013

My Transformation Video

Hey guys, I think it's time we get honest.

 I mean really, 100%, truthful-to-the-core type of honesty here.  For the last couple weeks I have been posting about my health and fitness journey, and I've been asking you to join me! 

I've talked to some of you briefly, and some of you for longer stretches of time.  Regardless of whether we have 10, 50 or 100 pounds to lose, I know that being healthy and proud of our bodies is something that weighs heavily on each of our minds.  I started my own journey in January, and since that time I have lost 42 pounds.  I am in now way done with trying to improve myself, but I am darn proud of that weightloss and the changes I can see in myself - both physically and the emotional and mental changes that have come along with it!  

As I gained the weight over the last several years I came up with a million reasons why, and none of them were my own fault.  I would buying sizes on the stores changing how they did their sizing; I would blame my weight gain on settling into "comfort" clothes and the weight I was supposed to be at; I would blame the number on the scale on big bones and family genetics.  

Really, all that I was doing was lying to myself and giving away my own power to decide how my life should be.  Instead of taking responsibility I was shirking it and pretending I was happy with where I was.  All that changed in January when I stepped on a scale and saw a big, fat, scary number: 249.  I know, it's a big number, and I might be crazy for sharing it, but that number doesn't apply to me anymore.  It's where I came from, but it has nothing to do with where I'm going.  I have started changing my life and I am going to continue!  I have become healthier, stronger, more energetic and more well-read on fitness, health and Clean Eating.  I love drinking Shakeology every day and I enjoy my workouts!  

I feel so blessed to have found the Teambeachbody family, and I would love it if you would join me!  My next Challenge Group starts on June 24 - whatever health and fitness goals you have for yourself, we can get there together!  It's easy to say we need to change or we want to change - it's harder to actually put in the effort and dedicate yourself to MAKING the change.  That's where I and the group come in - if you are committed to a healthy lifestyle change, I will not let you fail!!!  

No one has ever reached their goals by thinking about it or wishing!  The next 3 months will pass whether you start to make the change or not; I want to be sharing YOUR successes with you three months from now as we are BLOWN AWAY by the progress you have made!  Message me here or email me at ashleykrek@gmail.com to secure your spot - what do you have to lose besides oversized clothes, being self-conscious and the extra weight that has been weighing you down?  

Here's the beginning of my transformation story in video form - I'm still a work in progress, but over 4 months I have hit so many goals I set for myself!  What goals can I help you hit??  Message me today to commit to the future, healthy you we will create in the June 24 Challenge Group! 

 http://youtu.be/IEzp9PPn4T0

The Proof is in the Protein

A while back I wrote about the switch I've made to Eating Clean and some of the key points anyone should know when starting on a Clean diet. Some of these things were very easy to incorporate into my lifestyle, but some have required a bit more thought.  One that took a while to implement was the importance of eating protein at every meal.  Before reading The Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno, I would maybe have protein twice a day.  Maybe.  Most of the time it was just at dinner, though.  Now, though, I've found it easy to fit protein in to my meal plans and I've seen results in my energy, my scale and my overall health!

So, then, this begs the question - why do we need protein at every meal?

As seems to be the case so often when it comes to weight loss, it all comes down to the metabolism!  When we eat, our body reacts to the food by digesting it and sending the nutrients throughout our bodies to where they can be used.  If we have excess nutrients that we don't use through exercise or the basic day-to-day processes we go through, these are stored as fat.

What we eat will affect how our body digests, and in turn how our body stores or uses the food we have eaten.  Protein has the highest thermic effect, or the amount of energy used to digest and process the food.  Because of this, it takes our body longer and uses more energy to digest protein than anything else we might eat.  Eating protein keeps our metabolism and energy revved, whereas fats or carbs don't has such a lasting effect on our metabolism.  So, by including protein in every meal, we are able to keep our metabolism going all day long and stay energetic throughout the day!

Since eating protein with each of my meals, I no longer get sluggish right after eating - I get energized!

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding (but in this case, I'll say the proof is in the protein!)


5.27.2013

Swimsuit Summer

It's official!  Tomorrow when we wake up, the summer season will have started!  Once Memorial Day passes it is summertime - are you ready?!  

How have you been doing with losing weight, getting in shape, eating well and fitting into the shorts and swimsuits that are all over the malls now?  

 

I'd love to have you be a part of my Swimsuit Summer Challenge Group that starts on June 24!  Are you ready to commit to yourself, your health and your swimsuit body??

Here's how it works and what you have to do!

1.  You become a member of my Teambeachbody crew!  You can do that by going to www.teambeachbody.com/ashleykrek and creating a user name and password!  I'll then get in touch with you through the email address you prove and we'll start the process of choosing the right program to meet your needs and I can answer any questions you may have about the challenge group.

2.  Then, together we will pick a Beachbody fitness program that is going to meet your unique health and fitness goals.  We will pick one with your individual ability in mind.

3.  You commit to replacing one meal a day with Shakeology for the duration of the group.  I require Shakeology because it is one meal that you don't have to worry about!  It is the one thing that is going to give you the energy to give your workouts your all, curb your cravings, control your hunger, boost your immune system and keep you the healthiest you have ever been.  If you choose to discontinue Shakeology after the Challenge that is fine, but it's really been the key for so many people and I think you'll find that you love it!

4.  You are an active participant in the challenge group.  This means that you will log into the closed Facebook support group at least once a day to see the daily post and also to post your daily check in.


I will be giving you weekly meal plans, recipes, tips, motivation and accountability! This group is for those that are ready and willing to take their nutrition and fitness to the next level!!!


5.26.2013

Everyday Determined

I am truly so blessed to be able to live my own life.  I have a husband who loves me to the end of the earth and back again, I have family who support me in everything I do and are always there to help me when I need it, I have a group of friends who make me smile, make me hope, make me happy and make me think.

I hope that in my life I'm able to do these things for other people as well, and I think that I have been doing a pretty good job so far.  Sure, sometimes things get crazy and a bad week throws me off my axis, but I am grateful that because of my family and friends I always have been able to find my way back to where I need to be.  

I spend the majority of my day with a million and a half thoughts running through my head - to-do lists, ideas for supper, thoughts on blog posts, whether the laundry is caught up or not - and a lot of times these thoughts bring me back to my own health journey I have been on.  But it's not just a health journey.  It's an entire lifestyle makeover.  Really, when I think back to six months ago I never would have imagined I would be here today, a Beachbody coach, 40 pounds lighter and fitting into clothes that I didn't think I'd ever be able to wear again. 

But again, it's not just the physical things.  I'm happier.  I'm healthier.  I'm more engaged with my own life.  I am more efficient in everything I do.  I'm less tired.  I have better focus.  I'm more driven.  I finish my to-do lists everyday because I have no desire or need to turn on the tv.  And really, at the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing - I'm happier.  

I'm not happier just because I've lost weight.  It's a million little things that have gotten me to this point, and I can't wait to see where it takes me six months, a year, five years from today.  I'm not stopping anytime soon because I have truly learned to become a different version of myself - a better version, because it's a happier, healthier life that I have now.  

And it wasn't a one-day decision that got me here.  It was an everyday, focused, meaningful series of decisions to make myself better - and it won't stop anytime soon. 


What do you want out of your life??  What are you going to do today to get yourself there?  And, after you do that, what will you do tomorrow?



5.24.2013

Stop Wishing Start Doing

This morning, as I do every morning, I sat down and wrote my to-do list for the day.  I've been doing Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Challenge for Organization and Achieving Goals, and it has been incredible.  

If you haven't already done it, I encourage you to.  It's not hard, it's not time-consuming, but it's so worth it!  It has helped me focus in on what I really want and also how to put a plan together to get there.  Everyday I make my to-do list, and at the end of the day I can go to sleep knowing that not only have I completed everything I wanted to for the day, I'm laying the groundwork for all my major goals to be completed!

Everyday there are some pretty menial chores on my to-do list - laundry, clean the kitchen, pay the bills.  But having those on the list, on my phone makes it easier to just get them over with!  I love being able to cross them off and then focus on the things I really enjoy doing: working out, checking in with my Challenge Group, helping people choose what program they're going to do next, getting everything organized for my next Challenge Group, hanging out with my husband!  By just keeping track of everything I want to get done in a day it makes it easier to buckle down and do it!


It's not even 10 am and I've already been able to cross several things off my to-do list - this is going to be a great day!  What's on your to-do list that you haven't gotten around to?  

I recommend adding Chalene's 30 Day Challenge to the list - and starting it today!  

If anything on your list could progress through living a healthier lifestyle, losing pounds or inches, or making better food choices, email me at ashleykrek@gmail.com!  I'd love to have you in my next Challenge Group!  



5.23.2013

Peanut Butter Chronicles

This is a dumb post.  I'm ok with admitting that.  Not because peanut butter is dumb, and not because I think I'm dumb, but the thought process that led me to being able to write this post was dumb.  So, therefore, a dumb post!

Now that we've cleared that up, I'll continue.

When I first heard about clean eating, I was a bit skeptical.  It seemed like it made a lot of sense - I could understand that eating fruits, vegetables and cutting out pop, Egg McMuffins and Oreos would benefit me a great deal in the long run.  I was ready to try and live a healthier life.  The part that was difficult for me to wrap my head around was that I am actually the type of person that could do it.  I had lived my entire life without really paying much attention to how or what I ate - who was I to all of a sudden start changing that?

I was comfortable (even though I really wasn't) and I couldn't picture myself doing what I knew I should do. So, I dragged my feet for a bit.  Over the DUMBEST things.  (Again, back to this being a dumb post).  What, exactly, caused me to drag my feet?

Peanut Butter.

Yep, good ole-fashioned butter made from peanuts.  I was reading everywhere I looked for healthy food advice that Natural peanut butter is the way to go.  The ingredient list should just be peanuts.  Maybe a little bit of salt.  But really, just peanuts.  Not a list a mile long of things that I couldn't pronounce let alone tell you where they came from.  But, in my mind, I wasn't ready to accept that I was really going to change how I ate - I couldn't really wrap my head around the fact that things needed to change - both big things and little things!  So, even after I started eating clean, I didn't buy natural peanut butter.  I stuck with the peanut butter I was used to.  Every day for a morning snack I was having an apple with peanut butter, and every time I went to the store I replaced an empty jar of peanut butter with the same type - not natural.

Until one day I just tried it.  I sucked it up and bought the natural peanut butter.  It was a bit strange to have to stir the peanut butter before I used it because it had settled, but I dealt with it.  And, much to my surprise, I couldn't taste a difference!  It was still the peanut butter I was used to.  Buying the healthier peanut butter didn't change my identity.  But, in some small way, maybe it did.  Because, at least in my own head, I became the type of person who buys food that's healthy rather than just comfort food.  I tested the waters and learned something about myself in the process.



So, yes, maybe it was dumb that it took me that long to make a healthy change.  But, now I can say that I MADE THE CHANGE!!!  I'm learning to live a healthy lifestyle, but learning that healthy doesn't mean scary, or gross, or weird.  It just means healthy.  And that's a pretty good thing to be :)


5.21.2013

Choose to be Happy

I have only one today.

I can spend it however I wish.

I can do whatever I want.

I can be happy, joyful, hopeful and optimistic.

Or I can be sad, lonely, discouraged and scared.

I can believe in the good and forget the bad, or I can focus on the negative until the positive seems to disappear.

I have only one today to spend however I wish and to do whatever I want.

I know how I will choose to spend my day.  How about you?



Today I'm going be be driven, grateful, kind & cheerful.

Tomorrow I will get to decide again.  And everyday, for all the days with which I am blessed, I will choose the same way.

Which way do you choose?


5.20.2013

Egg White Muffins

One good thing (and there are plenty more!) about living in a town that has a high population of farmers is that you're likely to have friends able to supply you with mass quantities of eggs for little to no cost.  

I probably wouldn't have been able to use all these eggs before I started changing my diet to eating clean, but now I can't seem to get enough!  It's sometimes difficult to find healthy, easy snacks to make but this has become one of my favorite snacks because it's both of those things!  

Here's the recipe for egg white muffins:

8 egg whites

1 whole egg

Whatever vegetables you have around!  

(The first time I made them I used carrots I had sliced really thinly, cherry tomatoes, olives & peppers.  This time I used just peppers & spinach and they're still great!)

A bit of seasoning if you choose.  I don't use any seasoning, but you might want to - experiment every time you make them to see what you prefer! 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a muffin tin with any non stick cooking spray, and fill each tin about half to 3/4 of the way full.  Pop in the oven for 11-13 minutes, or until they muffins are firm.  

These are perfect to have in the fridge for a quick and easy snack or even for breakfast!  



I Will Be Strong!

Just when I thought Minnesota was turning the corner towards summer, we're smacked with huge thunderstorms!  I guess we're still stuck in spring - but at least we made it through the winter!! (I hope!)

As I write this I'm just a couple days into Brazil Butt Lift and I'm absolutely loving it!  I must admit, when I knew that Insanity was going to be wrapping up and I was moving on to Brazil Butt Lift, I was pretty darn skeptical.  I assumed that after the intensity of Insanity, BBL would be a walk in a park - a leisurely, summer afternoon, picnic lunch type of walk.  

Not. True.

It's completely different, and yet I still have the same day-after burn that I would get with Insanity!!  I'm not jumping all over the place now, but BBL has a lot of small, focused movements that are working muscles I never knew I had!  My quads are sore, my abs are sore and I am finding it difficult to walk up and down stairs!!  But I love it and I can't wait to see how this transforms my body over the next 60 days - I think it will definitely help me lose some of the tummy fat so I can start to see the muscles I've been developing between these two programs.  

Everyday I'm reminded of why I started my own weight-loss journey: it was always to "lose weight".  I just wanted to drop some sizes, wear a tank top and I thought all would be well.  Well, little did I realize that I have much BIGGER dreams for myself than just that!  I don't want to be a skinny girl that used to be overweight but lost it all.  I want to be a girl that used to be overweight but is now fit.  And strong.  And determined.  And able.  I want to be able to see arm definition, ab definition, leg definition.  I don't want to be skinny, I want to be strong.  



And that's just what I'm going to do :)  

How about you?  As a Beachbody Coach I'm here to help you realize all your own fitness and health goals!  Believe me - if I can do it you can too - it just takes one first step and you're on your way!  E-mail me at ashleykrek@gmail.com and I can help you get started!


5.19.2013

Clean Eating

When I first started working towards my goal of losing 70 pounds, I truly thought that if I started working out more often and ate less food I would get there in no time!  Little did I remember at the time that if you go from a lifestyle that included very little physical activity to working out - especially with a program like Insanity! - every day, it would simply not be possible to eat less and expect to still function!

Luckily I learned about the Clean Eating lifestyle.  It's not a diet, it's not a quick fix, it's not even a weight loss program.  It's simply eating in a way that makes my body function at its highest possible level.  I don't get hungry, but I also don't get tired after eating!  I don't ever feel like I'm lugging myself around as my body digests what I've eaten; I feel good throughout the entire day and don't lack in energy until it's actually time to sleep - and I can both fall asleep and stay asleep!  It's completely changed how my body functions, and as such it's completely changed how I live!

Any weight loss or health changes we want to make will mainly depend on what we eat, not how much we workout.  Food fuels everything else, so without clean, healthy, enriching food our workouts will not be as productive as they could be.


Tosca Reno's book The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! has changed how I think about food and nutrition, and here is the beginning nitty-gritty of what she writes about.  The book is FULL of information, so I recommend purchasing a copy as soon as you can - it'll help with your own meal planning and healthy living!






5.08.2013

Why do it?

Over the last few weeks, I have had several people ask me why I'm doing what I'm doing.  Why am I coming home from work everyday and instead of relaxing, I'm working out?  Why am I turning down the glass of wine I used to have and replacing it with another glass of water?  Why am I completely ignoring my television set unless it's playing Insanity and is giving me a chance to sweat away the stress of the day?

Because really, all of that is hard.  It's not always easy to make the good decision, the healthy decision.  Sometimes heating up a frozen pizza seems like it would be so much simpler and quicker than making a clean, healthy dinner.

I've struggled with how to answer them.  Why am I doing all these things?  When it comes right down to it, I'm done with taking the easy way out.  I'm finished with accepting any less than the best I have to offer myself.  I always excelled in school, worked hard at my jobs, tried to be the best friend and family member I possibly could.  So I finally realized - if I'm willing to put that much effort into work, school and other people that I love, shouldn't I be putting that much effort into myself?  Shouldn't I go to bed every night being completely proud of the life I'm living because I know that I'm giving myself the best possible future?

I think I should, so instead of putting myself on the back burner for an elusive "someday" that will never actually get here, I turned today into someday.  I'm doing it today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.  Because to live a completely happy, peaceful, engaging life I have to be committed to myself - so here I am today, healthier, happier & prouder than I ever have been before.

I suppose this is my long-winded answer to everyone who's asked me why I'm doing what I'm doing.

So, now I ask you?  What are you doing?  Are you proud, happy, healthy and engaged in your own life?  If you're lacking in any of these, I ask you to join me in my next Challenge Group starting May 27th.  Together we'll get there - together we'll rock!

5.07.2013

Fishy, fishy

Growing up I never liked fish or any type of seafood.  Besides tuna, but I'm not entirely sure that actually counts as fish.  All through childhood, adolescence, teenage years and even college I couldn't stand any type of seafood - fish, crab, lobster, any of it was completely unappealing to me.

This was really helpful when I was in late elementary school and my parents won a fishing trip to Alaska off a Coke can.  (Yep, apparently those contests are legit and people actually win the prizes!)  The trip was great for my parents - they had a lot of fun and came home with tons of stories and tons of fish.  Seriously, tons. of. fish.  Two freezers full of salmon and halibut that they had caught.  

Now for the rest of the family this was heaven.  They made fish sandwiches, broiled fish, fried fish, grilled fish, had fish pot lucks for the neighborhoods and even supplied fish for our neighborhood's National Night Out celebration that year.  Everyone loved it.  Except for the lone fish-hater in the group.  Me!  Let's just say I ate a lot of vegetables back then.  They filled their plates with fish, I loaded up with potatoes, carrots, and anything else that wasn't a relative of Ariel and Flounder's.

Not eating fish served me pretty well for most of my life until I realized over the past year or so that I'm actually starting to like fish.  Believe me, I'm as surprised as the next guy!  I never thought I'd see the day.  The other day someone posted a picture of baked tilapia and my mouth instantly started watering.  So, I did something I've never done before.  I bought fish.  I bought fish and I made it - and it was terrific!  


It was one of the easiest meals I've ever made, as well.  So if you're like me and are a bit frightened of making fish, don't be!  It's so easy!  Here's what I did for a clean, healthy, quick, yummy weeknight meal!

Thaw out however many filets you'd like.  I bought frozen tilapia that were individually wrapped, so I was able to put the wrapped fish right in a bowl of lukewarm water for about a half hour until they were completely thawed. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350, and as that is heating up line a cake pan or cookie sheet with raised edges with tinfoil.  

Put the fish directly on the tinfoil, and drizzle lemon juice over each filet.  After that season them with whatever you'd like!  I chose lemon pepper and it was great!  

Bake the seasoned fish for 10-12 minutes and while that's cooking get some veggies ready to go along with it!

Love it!

5.06.2013

My Reputation

Lately I've had a million and a half thoughts running through my head - I can't seem to switch them off so I just let them run wild and see where they take me :)  

Since starting my own fitness journey and becoming a Beachbody Coach, I have begun to think more about who I currently am and who I'm striving to be in terms of health.  When I started working out, my main goal was to lose weight.  Which is a great goal for me to have started with - it gave me a kick in the rump and got me off the couch and into some workout clothes!  But now that I've been eating healthier, drinking Shakeology, doing Insanity and just taking better care of myself, I've been really thinking about what my long-term goals are. 

Because eventually I will hit my weight loss goal, and then what?  We have to continually be reinventing ourselves and our goals in order to keep being successful.  If my only goal was to lose 70 pounds, then after those were off my body I'd have nothing left to work for! Or, if the only thing I cared about was losing weight, I could do it much more quickly by doing a fad diet or working out too often and ultimately do damage to myself.  At the end of the day, I have much more important and long-lasting goals than simply the number on the scale.  

I want to live a life that I'm proud of.  I don't want to be lazy, large, an awesome cook of bad-for-you food. At the same time, I don't want to be skinny, tiny or someone who only eats weird, unsatisfying food.  I don't want to be on either side of that spectrum.  I want to be fit.  Healthy.  Strong.  Someone who can be asked for help in doing things.  Great cook of healthy AND tasty food.  Someone who knows how to make any dish healthier.  A role model and inspiration.  

Those are the things I want to be, both to myself and others.  So although I've been on a weight-loss journey, I'm really on a lifestyle makeover journey.  I know who I want to be, and I know that person is a part of me already.  I will find her, and I will lose the weight, and I will be the best person I can possibly be. 

Who do you want to be?


5.04.2013

30 pounds down, much more gained

So a couple days ago I posted the picture below on Facebook - I felt like a junior high schooler again because I was so nervous!  You never know if people will be nice or what people will think, and putting up actual pictures of myself scared me!  I've written about my progress and I've mentioned what I've been doing before, but this was different.  I wasn't putting out ideas or facts and figures - I was putting myself out there!  I was putting my own face out as a testament to what I've been doing - and that's scary.  


At the end of the day, I'm SO glad I chose to deal with being scared and just do it.  No one was mean.  Not one person.  I had a ton of people comment, a ton of people "like" it and a couple people even share with me the struggles they've been having in their own journeys!  It was a great reminder to me - it's always worth it to take a chance, take a shot, make a change and share it with people.  

Because really, what's the point of being happy and proud if I'm too scared to admit it?