fitness and nutrition, friendship, healthy hacks

Monday Madness

Today’s post isn’t about a lot of words or wisdom. Rather it’s about practical and useful knowledge.

My day started like most: walking the dog and hitting the box for a sweat session. A little koala challenge to put my Monday in high gear with my gal pal Tashi. Maybe I will describe what a koala challenge is in another post.

Then the average ordinary case of the Mondays set in. It’s a not-so-fabulous word used to describe a Monday: WORK. How do you attack a Monday when it’s rainy and blah? Here’s a nice hack for you:

BUT FIRST COFFEE. And not just any cup of coffee. A protein-packed coffee that is good for your macros. You get the sweet taste and the caffeine but without the calories and creamer you get at the big coffee chains. And most likely you are saving a few bucks.

The hack is a brewed cup of your favorite coffee. Add your favorite protein, mine is, of course, Salted Caramel from Teamkattouf Nutrition. I may be partial just because they list KAT on their tub and those are my initials. Then all you have to do is grab your handy dandy frother and get to work. Actually it’s no work at all.

This little hack can turn a sour Monday into a productive day. Of course it can do the trick any other day as well. Hope you enjoyed my coffee hack this morning.

This post is dedicated to my friend Kim who taught me this trick a while back and let me sample her protein. Everyone needs a friend like Kim in their life.

fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

awareness

Hope Over Heartache

Hope and heartache go together like ketchup and mustard, tacos and tequila, or chocolate and peanut butter.

Hope and heartache follow one through most, if not all stages of life. For me in the past year, I have seen far more heartaches than I should have but somehow found hope in the midst of the chaos.

One afternoon, after having an off morning, I grabbed some coffee with a friend. Not a planned event, just an opportunity that came about. A little coffee, some giggles and then a blog post. That’s right a blog post was like a shot of caramel in my coffee.

Sometimes I get the itch to write or type at inopportune times, but I flex to get it done. My inspiration is normally whimsical to an extent but my content is normally heartfelt and full of hope at the root or the end of the story.  A signature of sorts for this Chick. And with that I decided to blog about hope and heartache. Mainly because some like to read the good stuff. The juicy gossip. The tall tales or even the sweat stories I write.

Today’s post is a little different. It’s somewhat about life’s turbulent times. Life lessons. Speed bumps. Hurdles. We all have different versions of life’s blah moments.

It’s a choice for me. I choose to find hope instead of dwelling on the heartache of negative situations. It works for me. I like to reframe and bend and flex with life’s ups and downs.

The past few months, my life has definitely had some curve balls and some struggles. Through the days I followed my heart, I settled my mind, and I focused on the hope of a new day or a new beginning.

A restart button of sorts. Only time could allow this to happen and no specified time was known. For me that is like tackling the impossible. Not knowing the end game. Not knowing what’s next. Not knowing how long or how much.

Another person close to me was in the same situation. Not knowing what’s next. We can call them growing pains. Not knowing how to hit the restart button. They needed time to sort through the weeds to find the wisdom. The path. The path less traveled because it’s not an easy path.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, hope faded. Hope didn’t disappear, it faded. It took strength to endure the unknown in one area but that same fading allowed for sunshine to illuminate a path not visible to others. You see, sometimes giving up control to gain control is what is most needed in challenging life situations.

We can’t control or anticipate everything but we can control our emotions. How we react to uncomfortable situations, challenging people, and negativity. We choose each day to be happy and see hope or dwell on heartache and anger. What do you choose daily?

Trust me, some days are harder than others. Some days I need a friend to take my volume down a notch and other days I need to practice my patience muscles. Part of my mind balance is to stay fit. Keeping my body and mind stimulated is a must in my weekly routine.

With my mind balance, I choose daily to be around people and environments that  not only challenge me but inspire me. I reduce the negatives and walk away from individuals who wear anger and heartache on their chest daily.  I seek out those who need a pick-me-up. I seek the isolated individual who may have faded hope. I aim to help them see hope through their eyes.

As I write this post today it is my hope that somebody reading this can feel hopeful in whatever circumstance may be challenging them at the moment. Everyone has a battle of some sort in front of them. Most won’t see it daily.

Until next time, choose happy. Offer hope. Make a difference.

friendship

A Pic is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it Clicks?)

 

This pic says so much about the stories and adventures of Chick 1 and Chick 2, aka KT and Beth. Is it worth a click?

A pic is like a piece of chocolate in today’s internet-crazy world – tempting. One picture can make or break person’s image online. One picture can lure someone to to the darkside. One picture can get a click, a like or go viral. Just one click. Just one pic.

Enter the above picture. Grainy at best. Boring to some. Intriguing to others. A Thelma and Louise duo of sorts. Two trailblazers setting out to tackle whatever life throws at them. Today it may be a road trip but tomorrow it could be a covert operation.

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but that is what #1095Days is all about. The ups, the downs and everything in between that these two muddle their way through on the daily. Endless opportunities right there in the front seat. The pictures captured are part of the stories.

Fulltime jobs, Mom duties, business partners, athletes, mentors, the list goes on as do the adventures and challenges on the ride. Buckle up, you are virtually engaged in this project. Keep following the hashtag online to see more tidbits as they are released. #1095Days

No two days are the same. This pic will be a story told in our upcoming project. A sleuth adventure that neither planned. An adventure that could have left them both in tears but instead it was met with smiles and a “we got this” attitude.

No outfits were planned but when they connected both were in dark clothing dressed for a caper. What a surreal experience unfolding in the blink of an eye. KT grabs the camera to capture the crazy. Beth in her firm tone says “don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!” (Of course, she dared.)

Look again at the pic. KT has a devilish smile as she snaps. Beth has a look of horror as she focuses on road ahead.

Enter the hoodies, a dark night and a zest for life, the duo took on the adventure ahead including sleuthing. True badassery if I do say so myself.

Of course, they found time to stop at Starbucks and fuel their adventure before the suburbanites hit the road. Sorry to leave you with a cliff hanger but that is how the #1095Days project was designed.

As the new day appeared the duo met up at their local gym for an action shot as a fellow gym goer took a pic of the two authors side by side. Normally the Chicks work out at different times but there is one day a week that their schedules collide. It’s a Saturday and both had separate workouts but put in an extra cardio session together. Once again solidifying the adventures of the dynamic author duo. Bound together like book bindings. True adventurers. Another in our #1095Days.

author moments

Well, Poop.

Behind these 2 Chicks is a funny poop story.

Well, sort of.  Poop has been one of those running topics (ahem) that never fails to start a spirited discussion between the Chicks.  For example, Chick 2 will think the nasty poop discussion has ended, and the next day Chick 1 starts a new story with poop as a main event or character. Poop stories always find a new beginning.

When we were writing our first book, The End, Chick 1 wanted to put a poop page in the book.  And not just any regular poop, no! It had to be a BIG old dinosaur poop!  Chick 2, a self-proclaimed “Fahn Suh-thun Lay-dee” would NEV-AH pah-take in a discussion of somethin’ soooo….well, so vahl.  (Translation: she wasn’t a fan of talking about poop, much less putting it in a book! Southern ladies do not discuss such things.) *Fans self.*

If you’ve read our book, you know (and spoiler alert if you haven’t), Chick 1 won this debate. Dinosaur poop made the cut for The End. The illustration is awesome (as you can see above!)  Kids LOVE it.  LOVE IT!  And at our author events, Chick 1 always has to read that part! (Chick 2 still gets a little embarrassed and flushed – ha! – when that page appears.) Coincidentally, that is Chick 1’s favorite page, so it all works out in the end.

Still, poop happens.  Everybody poops.  Poop appeared again in Book 3, where our readers get to be the authors.  Recently, we donated some books to a local classroom.  We got an amazing response, especially to the poop page.  You can take a peek so see what the kids did.  The teacher was caught off guard at first, but how can you resist seeing kids so tickled to imagine and write?!

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Poop still rears (?!) its smelly head throughout the 2 Chicks’ lives. Did you poop today? Did you read the poop book on the back of John’s toilet the other night? Do you ever struggle to poop? Did you see my poop emoji shirt? Why, oh why, do we have to write about poop? Well it’s just a topic that is interesting that provokes conversation.  It stimulates the mind in a strange way but doesn’t seem to get old because everyone poops. And if one is struggling to poop on a regular basis it’s still a conversation piece. From gag-gift books in their circle of friends, to making models from brownie batter bars, it’s just a part of life.

Let’s all embrace poop. Encouraging kids to talk about, giggle about, and read and write about it is just another way the Chicks are a bit different than most.

balance, giving, perspective

Holiday Smoliday

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This holiday season has looked a bit different than years past and different than I planned in my mind, but peaceful all at the same time.

This month I spent time on gratitude. I wrote hand written notes to those who made an impact on me. I shared some sweet Starbucks treats as an added bonus and it made me feel so happy to see the smiles for those who didn’t know they were coming.

I received as well. I met some girlfriends for an annual exchange event. It was a blast and I received some treasured keepsakes. A pickle ornament. Random but special. A notebook. A super secret notebook to pencil my ideas and visions. A bracelet. An intention bracelet that reminds me to love others unconditionally.  Stickers. Seems simple enough but they were motivating stickers. Power stickers to use as momentary reminders to take action. The infamous tank top. A bold statement given on a shirt to see if I have the brass to wear it in public. The answer is yes! My gal pals know me so well. They are also part of my inspiration. I continue to evolve as they support my goals and dreams.

I made my annual donations at Goodwill, coats to the homeless, books to kids and made some other charitable donations to warm my soul. Giving will always be part of my holiday season.

I spent some time rekindling with family and friends near and far. Sometimes when you only have the ability to make a call it’s still is better than no call at all. Technology offers the flexibility of FaceTime or Skype as well.

I cleared some clutter on the home front. Shifted some furniture and mindsets. I made some shifts personally and professionally to be aligned for the new year and all the crazy that 2019 has waiting for me.  Put up a new vision board to help focus on moving forward with vim and vigor. As part of this process I took some time to invest in myself as well. Nothing major, just aligning of key resources to support what’s ahead.

In order to be a strong leader, one must take slivers of time when they present themselves as opportunities to recharge your batteries. This could be in the form of pampering, it could be in the form of extra rest, some time alone, some time thinking, or maybe even a shopping spree. I won’t tell all my secrets here but I will stress the importance of self care. Self care is often overlooked and can cause stress for some.

I also emphasize the ability to give up control to gain control. Sometimes you battle so hard without seeing results, requiring you to let go in order forge ahead. This could be translated to business, personal or even relationships. Letting go can be hard but can be a necessity to reach the ultimate outcome you want or need.

The above leads me to risk. Every day one is faced with risk taking. Some take a cautious approach while others stare it down with optimism. I look at risk with ambition and optimism. I trust the process. I look ahead knowing what the worst could be, but smile at the thought of what can be.

As 2019 approaches for you, be fearless. Connect or reconnect with a loved one. Try something new that you have been putting off for whatever reason. Step out of your comfort zone and invest in YOU. The power of YOU is something you control!

I leave you with one of my cards from a vision board I use. It may help with any ups and downs you face in 2019.

More rants and blurbs to come in 2019 along with cool new projects on the horizon. #kt247

 

fitness and nutrition

KT’s Week 11: Protein Power

Yes, I get it. OMG I really do get it!

Protein is power. Protein helps rebuild your muscles after a hard workout and protein is needed to lose weight. Duh! My coach has been telling me this all along with the protein factor she has put in my weekly numbers.  But, for whatever reason, I found some excuse not to hit my protein numbers time and time again. It only took me like six months to register this. This doesn’t actually surprise me since it took me almost nine months to buy in to macro counting after a friend shared her successes.

It seems so simple but yet it is really a hard task to consume a mountain of protein when you really want everything carb-related. What an irony, but your body actually feels better and not so sluggish when you have the right balance. I guess this is why I have a nutrition coach. Her job is to remind me what I already know and motivate me when I find a reason to not follow directions. In reflection, it’s the same reason I go to CrossFit to have a coach. One who pushes me outside my comfort zone. I think some forget those benefits when they face healthy living alone.

This week’s post is dedicated to protein and its power to fuel and rebuild my my body and muscles.

Chicken: eat more chicken! Chick-fil-A got it right and guess what? Their chicken nuggets fit nicely in my macros so I am a huge fan of chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A. I even get the fried ones since that fat evens out my numbers on the protein side. This chicken is just as much of a treat as a candy bar to me.

Shrimp: I like mine spicy. Not too spicy, just spicy enough and I can’t have it too much during the week or I will burn out so balance is key.

Tuna: I’m a pouch kind of tuna girl. Albacore white in water. But yeah, nothing great to say about this. It’s TUNA. And if you can stand the smell (or your breath after you eat it) then it’s helpful to your macros, but once every other week is enough for this chick.

Chicken: I’m back to chicken because you can eat it a million different ways and it’s different each time. But for this week I’ll talk about kabobs. Peppers, onions, zucchini and lots of chicken marinated in Italian dressing. Big yummo to me!

Hello, chicken again: rotisserie chicken flavored Boar’s Head deli meat. Yup, I said it. Sandwich meat. Not the processed nasty stuff that comes prepackaged. I’m talking about the freshly sliced deli meat, sliced thin so you can feel like you are eating more. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a good protein to eat. See my scale pic for this yummo. And I can add this to the end a day to top off my protein numbers.

Cheese: I eat a cheese stick almost daily. It hits my fat and my protein so it’s a double whammy. Warning: don’t eat too much cheese or you can get backed up. Yes backed up on the backend. Hope that gives you a giggle.

Yogurt has plenty of options and the Greek varieties are essential in planning a good day. Protein and a small amount of carbs and little or no fat. I stretched this week and bought some yogurt drinks in case I’m on the road again.

New week, same numbers. If it’s not broke don’t fix it! just need to keep nailing my protein digits. Scale is moving on down!

This week’s crisis came when MyFitnessPal crashed at dinner time. I had to take out pen and paper and do math to calculate my macros before my meal time. This is when preplanning your day comes in handy but for me I always wiggle some until the end of the day. This day was one of those days so yeah, I had a mild panic attack as did many others who couldn’t access their app. Epic tech fail Under Armour! I guess my premium service doesn’t get 100% uptime.

I rolled out of crisis mode one day and moved onto a big scale victory the next day. A milestone of some sort. No need to advertise the magic # but a mini celebration was had internally. Now it’s time to reset and realign. New goals to aim for as original goals are nearing and the bar must rise to stay chasing the the finish line.

In closing, I should not forget to post about this fun Friday fact: I opted to indulge in the Red Cup Friday offer at Starbucks this year. I got a holiday drink but not just any holiday drink. I got the Grande Carmel Brûlée Latte. All 400-plus calories loaded with about 70 carbs, 13 fat and 11 protein. What was the justification? The free red cup that I can use the rest of the season and put another skinny coffee in and imagine I am drinking the calorie and carb-loaded caramel brûlée. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing. But, I suffered the rest of the day to stay within my macros so in the end it wasn’t worth it because I can have a skinny option of another drink to fuel my Starbucks addiction. This drink was to me what ice cream is to others. We all have moments of weakness we just need to find a healthy balance. For me this time around I opted for this holiday treat to reward myself for nothing particular. I sometimes do that to myself. But in reality thank goodness for Alex the macro barista who posts all the healthy ways to order your Starbucks coffee. He is a gem if you don’t follow him.

I guess self-pampering is a thing and as I reflect I think I am pretty good at it. #retailtherapy #hairandnails #shoesfordays #girlproblems #massages #girlstrips

Oh how I laugh out loud typing this! I commit to myself. I am accountable for myself and my progress or my demise. Just me! Don’t wait for someone to push you over the finish line. You have to do it for YOU.

I also did not touch, smell, unwrap or eat even one piece of Halloween candy this year so I won that holiday battle just a few days earlier. This blog captures the ups, the downs and everything in between on my journey to fab at fifty. Hope you embrace the knowledge, laugh at the hidden humor and celebrate with me virtually.

Until next time Turkeys! Happy November to my online peeps.