Getting that Spring Break Beach Bod

Spring break can be a lot of things. It could be going home to see family – and if you’re lucky – going on a trip with family (yay for free vacations!). It could also be spending time with old friends, catching up on sleep, traveling to see friends or exploring the world…for the unlucky few it could be studying, but for many, spring break is hitting the beach with friends! This year, I am part of the family trip crew. Some people may say it’s a bummer not to be spring breaking with people from school, but let’s be honest… free food, free drinks – really a free trip – and the Puerto Vallarta beaches in Mexico? I’m feeling pretty great about my decision! Like so many other girls (and guys), I’ve been trying to get that beach bod so I look good in my new suit. Also like so many others, I’ve been happy, disappointed, and just felt “blah” about my body every time I look in a mirror.

After a 5 week internship in Ecuador, I was definitely ready to get back on track and work out again. I started the Insanity workout by Shaun T, a workout I have done about 3 other times, and have not missed a day since I began 37 days ago. It has been 37 days and though I am not perfect – I like to eat out sometimes and I enjoy the occasional milkshake or alcoholic beverage – I eat pretty healthy, drink a ton of water, and try to get a good amount of sleep every night (though this is the part where I struggle the most sometimes). For some reason though, I still feel like I am not where I “should” be. But seriously. What does that even mean!?

Yesterday, now a week out from heading to Mexico, I went through my closet looking for all of my shorts. I figured I would try them on and see which ones still fit, feeling pretty confident after over a month of hard work. After trying on 11 pairs of shorts, how many actually fit right? By “right” I mean actually fit and felt like they wouldn’t pop open if I ate a burger on vacation. 2. TWO… TWO!? At that moment I truly felt like all of my hard work wasn’t paying off, yet there was still a little voice in my head that said I was wrong. I have worked so hard the past month and far beyond that! Trying on shorts that don’t fit shouldn’t completely alter my personal body image.

I have been pretty conscious of my body and how I felt about it probably since high school. My dad bought Insanity when it first cam out and I said I would do it with him so he had a partner. We would get up every morning before school and before he went to work and do the workouts basically everyday for 6 weeks. I played volleyball at the time, in school and for club, so basically year round, and I felt like I was in pretty good shape. I was by no means overweight, and honestly I didn’t think I had much to lose, I just thought I was a little bigger because I had muscle from volleyball. After completing the full Insanity workout I went from 128 lbs to 111 before starting college. WOAH. I couldn’t believe it! I was definitely in the best shape of my life. Then, college hit. I kept working out along with playing volleyball, but I slowly started gaining weight, my progress and hard work disappearing. It is definitely hard to do it all in college; with workouts, sports, homework, trying to make friends, extra-curricular activities, a boyfriend, family, and work, balance was definitely something I have been working on. I still don’t think I have it completely figured out, but hey, I’m getting there.

Fast forward 4 years, 2 months before my college graduation, and I am 133 lbs. Over 20 lbs more than I weighed freshman year, and about 5 lbs more than I was when I truly started my “fitness journey.” I am still very conscious of my body, but I have definitely gone from focussing so much about the scale, to just making sure I am happy with how I look. I still struggle sometimes, but overall I base my body confidence on how I feel rather than numbers on a scale or the opinions of others. Ultimately, there is not perfect model for how your body should look, so why compare ours bodies to anyone else but ourselves?

Basically, if you’re in the same struggle, trying to get ready for spring break, and working hard to get that beach bod, just remember the only one you should work to please is yourself. One of the most important things I have realized is that I shouldn’t lower my body confidence because of the scale, how other girls look, or how my clothes fit. Honestly, I should probably just buy bigger shorts.

Happy Spring break!

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Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

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I am definitely not a vegetable hater, but I am still learning what veggies I like and don’t like. A big part of this is cooking them right; I don’t like mushy vegetables, and I want them to be seasoned well. I definitely won’t be going vegetarian anytime soon, but these brussels sprouts are definitely going to be one of my go-to veggies when I need something quick, easy and delicious!

 

Servings:4        Calories:  127              Prep: 5 min       Cook time: 15 min           Total time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 16 oz bag of brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c chicken broth
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1/4 c onion sliced thin (or 1 shallot)
  • 1/8 tsp

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or sauce pan, cook bacon until crispy on med-high heat
  2. While the bacon is cooking, slice the onion and cut the brussels sprouts (mine were large so I quartered them, but cutting them in half is okay too)
  3. Once cooked, remove bacon, but leave 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon fat (this is the best part)
  4. Add brussels sprouts, onion, and salt to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring 1-2 times, the sprouts should get some nice color to them
  5. Add the chicken broth and then cover and let cook for 3-5 minutes. If you want them to have a little crunch, I recommend cooking only about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove the lid and check that tenderness is to your liking with a fork
  7. Add red wine vinegar and maple syrup and cook until the vinegar has evaporated
  8. Remove from the heat and crumble bacon on top
  9. Enjoy!

Banana Cookie Butter Quesadilla

img_3721This recipe is definitely one of my all time favorites, especially when I am craving something sweet! I try my best to eat healthy, but sometimes it’s hard to deny the desire to eat something sweet, rich and yummy. Luckily, this quick snack is all three of those things! Honestly, I’ve eaten this for breakfast too and it does the trick. Add some fruit for a little extra substance and freshness if you need it! The best part is, there are only really 3 ingredients!

 

Servings:1        Calories: 290        Prep: 3 min       Cook time: 7 min           Total time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium banana
  • 1 Whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 Tbsp cookie butter (any nut butter would also work, though it will be less sweet)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil (coconut oil will also work)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized pan heat olive oil on medium heat
  2. While pan is heating, spread cookie butter on one half of the tortilla
  3. Slice the banana and place on top of the cookie butter in an even layer
  4. (Optional) Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of cinnamon sugar over the bananas
  5. Fold to make a quesadilla and place in the pan
  6. Cook on each side for about 3 min or until golden brown
  7. Place on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil
  8. Sprinkle with left over cinnamon sugar, and enjoy!