Transformation Spotlight: Laci

Me and Laci at Summit 16

The best part of my job is helping other women get healthy and feel amazing about herself.  I wanted to spotlight one of the amazing women who has been in my challenge groups and on Team Dream Achievers quietly focusing on her healthy journey–and making amazing changes!

Laci’s health journey a few years ago, long before I was a part of her journey!  She was having some health issues like blood clots, and was dealing with low self esteem and anxiety when she knew she needed to do something to change!  Here are her own words:

“I was 275 pounds when I decided I had to do something about my health and fitness.  I had just gotten married, and my aha moment was when I went up North to visit my husband’s family, who are all very much in shape, and basically I kept getting winded going up the one flight stairs to our room we were staying in. . . and the “straw”  was when I thought I was going to die while hiking with family. . . I was embarrassed, I was out of breath, I was super-slow and I felt like I was slowing them down.  I was just coming off a  big health scare with blood clots and decided I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what. . . So I started researching things that would help me get healthier.  I had managed to lose 25 pounds by watching what I eat, but I was at that 25 pound loss for 6 months with nothing else happening. . . I was just doing my elliptical and kinda watching what I eat. . . I was making my own smoothies, and while I was using a bunch of awesome ingredients like hemp powder, flax, berries, etc. . . It wasn’t really working.  I was still having anxiety and panic attacks, I didn’t feel any more confident than I did when I went hiking. . . I started doing some of Shaun T’s Hip Hop Abs, which I LOVED, but I wasn’t consistent in it, and it was just like one DVD I got off of amazon. . . All I knew about Beachbody was that they produced and sold workout videos. . . but the workouts were fun and that began my love of Shaun T. 🙂  However, I was still an emotional and mental mess that was eating a little better and doing some cardio and occasionally this DVD. . .

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

In the midst of Laci struggling through trying to feel better, she and I ran into each other at a teaching Professional Development day in August 2015–even though we taught in two different districts!  Both of us were very unhappy with our jobs–high stress, anxiety, and depression were things both of us were dealing with.  We ended up spending a lot of the day together, talking about our jobs, our health, and I talked about my experience with Shakeology and 21 Day Fix.

Laci wasn’t on board immediately, and in fact joined a sneak peek group and asked a lot of questions before she jumped in in late 2015. Once she did, though, the rest was history!  She has been consistent with her workouts and nutrition, and has helped others as a coach herself by sharing her journey on her social media.  Laci has been so inspiring!

“My hair stylist mentioned how I hold my head differently and seem more confident, people have made comments about how I’m glowing and seem legit happy.  I’ve started to not put all my measurements in the scale, and have managed to move the plateau in how I look and feel. . . What’s really funny to me, is that I haven’t really lost a lot of weight, but I look and feel different. . . Still growing in my nutrition, but I can always tell when i don’t have my shakeology. . . and I’m all about some working out and PD (personal development)!”
Processed with MOLDIV

Processed with MOLDIV

I am so proud of her and her accomplishments!  Her hard work has paid off with how GOOD she feels about herself–and that’s what it’s all about for me!
Do you want a transformation of yourself and start to feel amazing?  Click the “Join My Team!” link to connect with me! I would love to get you started on your own journey!

Benefits of Core Strength

One of my biggest “problem areas” is my midsection.  Even before I became a mom, I carried extra weight in my belly.  Being pregnant and having a baby just made it worse.

I’m not trying to have a six pack or anything, but I do want a toned tummy and a strong core.  But what does “strong core” really mean and what’s the point of doing it?

I found a really concise article from a few years back that helps explain it here.

I’m hosting a free 5-day August Abs challenge next week on Facebook!  You can request access to the group here!  The more the merrier!

Meal Plan 8.21-25

We’ve been having a lot of trouble in our house with having too many choices for dinner, not eating through our leftovers in favor of cooking something about to go bad, and being lazy and going out to eat when we have a perfectly yummy and healthy option at home!  Always a work in progress, I guess.

My attempt to help with these issues this week was to plan just a few meals instead of a whole week’s worth.  Since I’m home full time now, I can get to the grocery during the week a lot easier, but I suspect that we’re going to have plenty of leftovers to eat through until the weekend.

I also planned for lunches this week instead of assuming that we will eat leftovers.  Some recipes don’t make as much as I anticipate, and then I’m stuck for lunch the next day if we don’t have enough leftovers or if Liam didn’t like the dish.  I’m excited about my lunch this week, and I know Liam will enjoy the deli meat and fruit I got for him!

Lunch for me: Crunchy Detox Salad (I already had some and it’s really good!)

Lunch for Liam: Applegate chicken slices on whole wheat bread (or alone), berries, cheese squares, tortilla chips, cheese quesadillas, leftovers (these are just the options, not what  he eats in one meal).


Sunday: out

Monday: Chicken Fajita Quesadillas (I’m going simple with grilled chicken and sauteed peppers and onions with some chili powder/cumin/salt/pepper)

Tuesday: Turkey Burgers with Lemon  Mayo

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza with sauteed onion and bacon on whole grain crust with homemade tomato sauce

Thursday: Grilled Chicken (maybe sandwiches) with green beans

The rest of the week will either be leftovers or I’ll choose a few meals to get us through the weekend!

As far as my fitness plan, I’m restarting T25 because I let some negativity in my own head mess up my determination.  I’m also adding in running again because I really missed it!  I’ll be doing “long” runs on the weekends and shorter runs during the week (which will mean a couple of double-workout days!).  If the during the week runs are too much with the T25, I’ll drop one or both and stick with the longer runs on the weeks.  I’ll be working my way from 2 miles to 7 miles through the end of October.  Slow and steady!

I’m really kind of concerned about eating enough to fuel the running and workouts, but not so much that I’m not able to tone up and lose fat.  I’ll be experimenting with my eating for a few weeks I think to find the right balance that works for me.  I have to make sure I’m fueling properly and eating enough to have energy for my family, first and foremost!

My Go-To Restaurant Meals

When I was a kid, I don’t really remember eating out that much.  I remember getting really excited when we did eat out, so I feel like it was probably not that often and considered a special occasion.  As an adult now, we eat out waaaaaayyyyyyyy too much.  But it seems like we are not alone–so many people around us seem to eat out a lot too!

If you’re trying to eat healthy, eating out can really cause a struggle. I’ve posted some eating out tips on the blog before, but I wanted to share some go-to meals that I order when I’m eating out and eating clean!  These aren’t necessarily endorsements of certain restaurants–it’s just where we eat.

Chickfila–grilled nuggets or grilled chicken sandwich with superfood side and unsweet tea

Pizza places–thin crust, half cheese, all the veggies (yes, I eat pizza sometimes!)

Panera Bread–Mediterranean Veggie sandwich on whole grain/Chicken Cobb with Avocado, dressing on the side (this might be a seasonal salad–right now it’s the Green Goddess Cobb)

McAlister’s Deli–Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich on whole wheat bread with fruit OR steamed veggies and unsweet tea

Olive Garden–Rosemary Chicken entree

Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai–Chicken with veggies–you can get this pretty much anywhere, but you just have to ask for no rice or brown rice on the side

American food (O’Charley’s/Applebee’s/etc)–Bunless burger with side salad, grilled chicken sandwich with salad

Mexican–chicken fajitas OR grilled fish tacos in corn tortillas with pico, avocado, grilled onions

The most important thing to remember with eating out is to stay away from rolls, stay away from fried, stay away from heavy sauces, and customize your order.

The next time you eat out, don’t let it be an excuse to just give up on eating clean!  Use your head and make a good choice.

Diet Mindset versus Lifestyle Mindset

In my health and fitness journey, I’ve learned that your mindset is a huge part of the battle.  When you tell yourself that you’re not capable or worthy, you derail any successes you have gained.  When you tell yourself that you are strong and fit, you start to self-fulfill that prophecy.

Recently I’ve been discovering that having a LIFESTYLE mindset is just as important.  I’ve been catching myself having a diet mindset–telling myself that I only have to stay away from my dark chocolate for a few weeks, or that I can wait to clean up my diet because my fitness program doesn’t start until next week.  That is NOT what I’m trying to accomplish here.  This is my lifestyle.  It’s not a diet, and it’s not short term–it’s how I live my life.  But we’ve been so trained to think about healthy living as a short term experiment to get to a certain weight or size, and then abandon that diet to go back to our old ways. That’s why so many of us give up on programs, and why we gain weight back after we lose it.

This is a huge struggle for me, and I know I’m not alone in this.  For me, I’m dealing with this in a very simple way: I’m reminding myself every day, out loud, that I eat healthy as a lifestyle and that fitness is my way of life.  I literally say it out loud to myself–in the morning, when I’m tempted to go through the drive thru at Chickfila for a cookie, when I want to take a rest day for no good reason, and any other time I catch myself thinking in a diet mindset.

Am I “cured” of this mindset battle?  Yeah, not so much.  It’s a struggle I’m sure I’ll be dealing with for a long time.  But I’m taking steps to help myself truly LIVE healthy.  By reminding myself of my goal to make this my LIFESTYLE, I’m taking steps to conquer that battle.  And that’s always a step in the right direction.

8.14-8.20 Meal Plan

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a meal plan, not because I’m not doing them, but because we haven’t been sticking to them very well lately, and because it’s been really hard to post a meal plan when I’ve been feeling really uninspired with my meal plans!  Sometimes I look at Pinterest for what feels like hours and nothing jumps out at me and makes me feel excited about cooking.  I’m in a rut.

But, such is life, right?  I still meal plan when I feel like I’m in a rut, so why not share?

I’ve been struggling with finding recipes that my picky husband and toddler child will eat and love, too.  The past few healthy recipes I’ve made have been AMAZING…but only to me.  Sad trombone.

Sunday: Lemon Pepper Chicken with Broccoli Crisps

Monday: Zucchini/Sweet Potato Hash

Tuesday: Paleo Italian Meatballs

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Creamy Smoky Chipotle Pork Chops

Friday: Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza

Banana Double Chocolate Secret Muffins

I loved these muffins!!!  I tweaked the original recipe to have less added sugar, and I thought they turned out great.  Full disclosure: I was the only one in my house that loved them.  Lol.  I’ve added a little more sugar to the recipe here to make it sweeter.  I love chocolate, so it had plenty of sweetness to me.  They would be great for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.

Now, if you’re wondering about what the “secret” of the muffins are–it’s veggies.  1 cup shredded zucchini!  That gives these muffins fruit and veggies, plus healthy sources of sugar instead of adding the processed granulated sugars.

You could certainly omit the maple syrup and banana and add the granulated and brown sugars from the original recipe. You can also use semisweet chocolate instead of dark chocolate to add a little more sweetness.

Banana Double Chocolate Secret Muffins (adapted from Carlsbad’s Cravings)

Wet ingredients

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk (can use whatever milk you like!)

1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup walnuts

4 oz dark chocolate

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners and grease liners.

Mix all wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine walnuts and chocolate in a food processor until finely ground.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, including the walnut/chocolate mixture.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until incorporated but still lumpy.  Do not overmix!

Use a 1/4 cup measuring spoon or ice cream scoop to fill muffin tin with batter–fill each tin about 2/3 full.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until a toothpick comes out batter-free from the center of the muffin.  (The toothpick won’t be clean because of the melty chocolate).

Let cool and enjoy!