Setting Realistic Goals – The Do’s & Don’ts

Happy Sunday everyone! So, throughout my blog I talk a lot about weight management, positive body image, and being happy with yourself as a person. I discuss these often because all of these topics I am very passionate about and have either thought about a lot or experienced aspects of them in my personal life. Today I want to give a good foundation for change. Even if you are practicing good self body image or working more on your own personal happiness, it’s always OK to want to better yourself. There are always going to be things you want to try or want to work on. For example, one of my long term goals since I have been in college is to be a good and competitive runner. When I say competitive, I don’t mean compete in the olympics or run as my career, but I want to PR each time I compete in a race. I want to test myself and see my name crawl up the list from 500 out of 1,000 to 100 out of 1,000. These are personal goals of mine and running is something I enjoy. This brings me to my first “don’t” of setting goals…

1. Don’t compare your goals to others’. To add on to this a little…. don’t set trendy goals. 

This is probably the most important thing to remember when setting your goals. Set goals around something you are passionate about or enjoy. I would never set a goal to compete in crossfit games. I admire people who do this and think they are way stronger than I ever hope to be, but it truly is not something I am interested in. There are plenty of “fitness fads” that come around for a few months and then fade away. For me, running has and probably always will be my number one way to exercise and remain fit. Because of this, I set my fitness goals around running. When I achieve these goals it makes me feel happy, empowered, and want to push myself further!

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Have you ever heard of SMART goals? SMART goals stand for simple, measurable, achievable, realistic (some people say relevant), and time bound. Using this concept is a great way to evaluate goals in your personal life and make sure you are setting yourself up to achieve them. This brings me to a “do” when setting your own goals.

 2.  Do set standards with your goals. Give yourself a time limit, and a way to            measure what you have achieved.

Whether you want to become better at meal prepping or you are training for your first half marathon, giving yourself standards is important! It helps hold you accountable and give you a way to measure your success. For example if you are really working on planning ahead and meal prepping, perhaps set a goal like “By this day next month I will try to prep at least 3 meals/week to bring for lunch at work.” If this time next month you are still dragging your butt and that grocery list never quite makes it to the store to get your supplies, maybe you need some help setting up a new plan or need to find a new motivator to complete this goal. One of my running goals has always been to decrease my half marathon time by at least 2-4 minutes each race. Believe it or not I have been running halfs (I’m not quite motived yet to complete a full) for about 5 years, and each race I have in fact decreased my time. This is something that is always in the back of my mind when training and it is very clear if I achieve it or not come race day.

3. Do set realistic goals and KNOW what is actually realistic for yourself.

Setting unrealistic goals leaves potential for you to feel unsatisfied or frustrated if you fail. It also increases the chances that you won’t follow through with the goal or will burn out early. An example of an unrealistic goal would be: “I will loose 20 lbs in 2 weeks before I go to my high school reunion.” This is unrealistic for a few reasons. The first is 20 lbs in 2 weeks is not feasible and it is not safe. Safe weight loss that remains off is about 1-2 lbs per week. If someone is telling you that you can lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks, automatically know it is a scam (just an FYI!). This goal also has an external motivator, not an internal motivator. Wanting to lose weight to feel better physically or better your health is an internal motivator. Wanting to lose weight to impress others is external. If you do not complete this goal, you are not only going to feel upset with yourself, but you will feel like you are disappointing others. Stick with internal motivators. If you feel like you need more motivation, surround yourself with positive people whom will check in with you and help hold you accountable for the right reasons. For example a friend that will attend fitness classes with you can help you meet your weight loss goal by giving you someone to exercise with and hold you accountable to actually show up to the class!

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The last thing I’m going to touch on is so extremely important and should perhaps be the first thing to think about before even starting the goal-setting process.

4. Do set goals that will make you happy. Happiness is key; goals that can interfere with that should be put on the back burner or adjusted.

Sometimes I cringe when I hear people complaining about goals.

“I can’t believe I signed up for X…. it is such a waste of my time.”

“Training for X has been so stressful. I can’t wait until it is over.”

“Trying to lose 50lbs has been so depressing. I feel like I can’t eat anything on this diet.”

Stress can do so much harm to both a physical and mental state. Setting goals can be stressful, but the satisfaction and motivation of working towards something you want should eventually replace the initial stress of trying something new. If a goal is causing more frustration than satisfaction from seeing progress, you may need to re-evaluate the goal or maybe take a look at why you set it in the first place. I would never tell someone who hates to run to run a marathon. Don’t lose sign of your end results and find ways to motivate you that don’t interfere with your daily happiness!

 


Learning from my mistakes…

Alrighty everyone… time for a little personal moment. I have been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks, but honestly was a little nervous about it. Sometimes it makes me squirm to acknowledge my imperfections or my past mistakes because well, who wants to really come face to face with those things?

Yesterday I read Alexis Joseph’s (Hummusapian) post, I Have Been Changed for Good, and so much of what she talked about resonated with me and gave me a little push to share my own story of how I have evolved over the years. If you haven’t read her article, I highly recommend you take a look and see if you feel some of the inspiration that I felt after finishing.Everyone has a “story” or has something about themselves that they dislike or work to change. I’m not going to sit here and talk about all my problems or struggles as someone who works in a profession where talking and thinking about food can consume a good chunk of my day. I more want to reflect back on where I was and who I hope I am becoming now in my career and in this hobby I have adopted, blogging.

No, I don’t have over a million followers. In one day, I really don’t know how many people I reach. My hope is that for those who read this, maybe they can reflect on themselves in a similar way. Maybe you will just get to know me a little better and either appreciate my honesty and flaws or think that my words have little value. I can only hope that what I say might just help one other person.

I have been blogging for about 5 years. I started blogging in college as an outlet and way to help others “eat healthy”. What a blanket statement right? It’s interesting as I look through my various phases of blogging the different names that I took on and how they related to that period of time in my life – Nutritious, Fit Me; Nibble on Nutrition; and now today, Her Healthy Kitchen. Boy, does this bring me full circle. It may not be apparent to you, but to me this timeline truly shows my growth as a person and as a health professional.

When I first started my blog and was in the height of taking nutrition classes and “training” myself to be the best nutrition professional possible, I was doing anything and everything possible to maintain that image. “The perfect dietitian.” What even is that? To me, as someone who wanted so badly to have that title this meant eating perfectly, being at an optimal fitness level, and being a “role model” for those trying to achieve the same.

If I could go back in time, I would change so many things about this point in my educational career.

My recipes and my advice were all about having “less”. Less sugar… less fat…less dairy; the more I took away, the smaller the chance was of me not looking the way I needed and achieving the image that I was going for. I was fueling my body with “diet” products that were filled with artificial sweeteners or weren’t filling or satisfying (rice cakes — AWFUL decision) all to keep my calories where I wanted them. I was extra careful with the foods that I chose and was very proud of my diligence and dedication to “healthy eating”.

At the time, I was training for half marathons and not fueling properly, and when the training was over would struggle with the thought of not continuing to “feel fit” or exercise in the way that I was. I was prideful when people told me I was thin because I was doing it the “right way” in my eyes. Of course I am thin. I mean, I was studying nutrition for goodness sake?

Now, I’m not saying I had a problem with eating. I ate a lot… I was just extra cautious and would avoid foods that I though may effect my body in a way that I did not want or like. I have had many close people in my life struggle with disordered eating, so I am well aware that this is a slippery path that many people can find themselves going down. I don’t think I was at that point, but I do think my perception of food and nutrition was very skewed.

A few things happened to me since that time period.

For one, I actually became a Registered Dietitian. As a Registered Dietitian, my looks and my appearance mean nothing to a 5 year old child who doesn’t know where he’ll receive his next meal if it is not at school. It doesn’t matter to a newly diagnosed diabetic teen who is angry and upset that they cannot eat what their friends eat. Being a dietitian is so much more than teaching people to “eat healthy”. My job helps me build connections with families, children, new mothers, and help them prevent future disease and disparity. I can play a role in breaking the cycle of diabetes for a family by educating a child on how to make themselves balanced meals on a budget. I can teach a mother how to properly feed her infant so that it can thrive and grow at an optimal rate. This is my job, and this is something that I live for.

The second thing that happened is I got married! I have one of the most supportive spouses ever. When I started really getting into Her Healthy Kitchen and revamping my approach to blogging, Jeff was and still is my number one supporter. Being married to someone that has complete opposite eating habits than myself has actually helped me become more balanced with my own eating. I want to fuel our little family with wholesome foods that are not only are satisfying, but nourish us and keep us healthy and fulfilled. While some days the challenge of hiding veggies in our food (sorry Jeff!) can be tiresome, cooking for two has opened my eyes to new recipes, new challenges, and has made me really appreciate sharing a meal with someone else — not analyzing every part of that meal.
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I think about my views on food and nutrition now, and I am so proud of where I am. Five year ago, I was eating PB2 to make sure I didn’t have too much fat from peanut butter. Today, I probably have at least 1-2 Tbsp of full fat peanut butter every day on top of eating handfuls of nuts such as almonds or cashews for snacks while I’m at work. Why did I make this change? Because why miss out on all the healthy fats that REAL peanut butter and real nuts have to offer? Fat is good baby!

A few years ago, I also fell into the thought that I shouldn’t eat whole eggs and would only eat egg whites; now I eat eggs almost daily for breakfast INCLUDING one big, tasty egg yolk. I now happily eat chicken, turkey, and pork (actually, I hate going a day without one of these proteins) whereas I previously avoided meat at all costs. I now look at whole foods as my fuel. I eat fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and some grains, and you will very rarely find me looking for a “low fat” product.

While I still support eating for good health and love posting all of my recipes, I think my life has become much more balanced and my approach to talking about food and nutrition has changed.

No, I still don’t support going to McDonald’s and ordering an extra large fry and thirst buster of soda, but I see the obsession that people can develop with eating “perfect” and never making a “bad decision”. Yes, there are circumstances where “low fat” or “diet products” have their place, and I recognize when those arise during a consult or counseling experience.

Today, my hobby for blogging incorporates my world of balance. Her Healthy Kitchen shows everything that I love about food, nutrition, and living my version of a healthy lifestyle. I love to eat! I want to be able to help others without creating obsessions or making people feel bad about themselves or who they are as a person. There is such a blurred line between being obsessive with healthy eating and eating for good health. I choose the latter and hope that I can help and inspire others to do the same!

 

 


Vegan Carrot Cake Protein Bites

Happy Sunday everyone!!! Is anyone ever ready for Monday? I think my case of the Monday’s gets worse with each week, especially when there is a holiday around the corner. This week, my family flies in from Ohio and I can’t wait to see them! Even though they were just here in Christmas, it seems like forever since they have been here soaking up the Arizona sun!

With Easter coming up next weekend, I was trying to think of something a little creative and fun to make for the week. Jeff and I are still going strong with our Lent goal of no sweets until Easter Sunday, so while pastries, breads, and cookies, sounded fantastic, I couldn’t bring myself to cheat! While these little protein balls may taste like dessert, they are made without any sweetener or sugar. The sweetness you taste is from one of my favorite ingredients, dates, and maybe a little from the protein powder.

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These are raw and require no cooking, freezing, or chilling before being eaten (although I do think giving them some time in the refrigerator enhances the flavor — they are also better cold!). They are made with all vegan products, including the protein powder. I am happy to say they came out better than expected as this was the first time I actually put a raw vegetable into one of my protein bite recipes!

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These are best kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. I used a vegan vanilla protein powder from Sprout’s Farmers Market. Sprouts does not pay or endorse my page, I just truly love their products and their store!! I am not sure how other protein powders would compare, and I tend to by vegan brands regardless so if you use something different I don’t know if it will alter the taste. I really hope you give this one a try! If you celebrate Easter,  I hope you have a wonderful and relaxed week! I’ll be enjoying the time I have with my family, so HHK will take a back seat for a few days, but expect an update on some of our local eats once they leave! Enjoy!

Vegan Carrot Cake Protein Bites

  • Servings: 12-14 bites
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 6 dates
  • 2 Tbsp vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot

Directions

In a food processor, grind all ingredients except the carrot and raisins. Stop and stir occasionally. Grind until a find meal forms that can be pressed together with your fingers to form a solid. Add the carrots and pulse a few times to incorporate them into the meal.

Remove the blade and stir in raisins. Rolled gum ball sized bites with hands and place on a cookie sheet or large plate. Once finished, either cover with foil or place in an air-tight, sealed contained and refrigerate. Will keep for 5-7 days in refrigerator.

 

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Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

It’s hump day!!! With hump day has to come a yummy recipe right?

Are you a fan of fried rice? Hub LOVES fried rice; I could take it or leave it. I have been wanting to test out some new recipes this week and since this was one of his favs, I thought I would work on a little healthier version of fried rice. Surprisingly, both Jeff and I loved this dish! I could definitely see it becoming a staple in our weekly meal rotations!

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Another really positive thing about this dish was it only look about 25-30 minutes total including the time it took to bake 2 chicken breasts to add on top. It was so easy and so fast, which is ALWAYS a positive in my book. I chose to use quinoa because it is higher in protein and one of my favorite grains. I would put quinoa in just about any dish and enjoy it! I think it can be extremely versatile and is a great alternative to rice. It is also gluten free for those of you who eat gluten free.

I also used a low-sodium soy sauce from Sprouts Farmer’s Market in this dish. I tend to not use a lot of salt in my cooking in general, so whenever I’m choosing a condiment for a meal I try to pick a low-sodium option so I don’t overwhelm myself with an overly salty taste that I’m not use to.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend <2,300mg of salt per day for good heart health! Take a look at some of your commonly used boxed, canned or packaged foods and see what the sodium content is. I bet you will be surprised! In general I recommend <300mg of salt per serving of food as a general way to try to stay within the 2,300mg/day.

This recipe can be paired with another protein of choice, such as pork, beef or tofu, or even an extra side of veggies! It is also super yummy on its own. I hope you give this one a try, and as always feedback is welcomed!

Simple Quinoa Fried Rice

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1.5c)
  • 1/2 cup frozen pees
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (or cooking fat of choice; could also sup for 2 Tbsp butter)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut in half (or 2 medium size breasts)
  • Low sodium soy sauce (abut 1/3 cup for the quinoa); I used Sprouts Organic Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Seasonings:

  • 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder (depending on how garlicky you like it!)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Chicken seasonings: pinch of black pepper, garlic powder, and ground ginger

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, season chicken and cook for about 25-30 minutes.

In a small skillet, scramble two eggs in a little cooking spray, butter, or oil with a pinch of black pepper and salt. Set aside once finished.

While chicken is cooking, bring 1 cup quinoa with about 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir quinoa frequently, about every 5-8 minutes until water begins to evaporate. You may need to add a little more water as the quinoa cooks to assure it’s tender. Total cooking time should be about 20 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, sauté diced carrot, onion, and garlic with seasonings in 1 Tbsp olive oil for about 7-10 minutes or until onions have began to caramelize. Once quinoa has finished cooking, add to to the pan with another Tbsp of olive oil, soy sauce, and frozen peas (waiting until this time to add peas helps them hold their shape and color!). Lastly, stir in scrambled egg.

Once chicken has cooled, slice and lay on top of the fried rice.

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Overnight Chocolatey Chia Oat Pudding

Who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast?! Ok… this isn’t really DESSERT, but bear with me. It’s lent and hub and I gave up sweets, so I’ll take whatever I can get right now! In all honesty, eliminating sweets (we all know I have a REALLY bad sweet tooth) has actually been really good to help get my sugar cravings back in check. I giggled this morning when I was watching the news because they were doing a segment on how addictive sugar is. Well, living proof of that right here! Hello my name is Chelsea… and I’m a sugar addict.

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OK… I’ll stop! Sorry everyone it’s been a long few weeks, and I think the lack of sleep and constant high gear at work and home has began to get to me. On to the recipe, that’s the important part right?

I have tried overnight oats and chia pudding before. Chia pudding isn’t my absolute fav; I’ve realized I’m not a huge fan of the texture. When combined with oats, I enjoy the flavor a lot more and enjoy the little change in breakfast from my usual eggs. This past weekend, I purchased a few of the vegan protein powders from Sprouts to try out. I tend to not really use protein powders that often, but thought maybe I could find a use for these. A little extra protein for me never hurt!

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When it comes to oats, I always use banana as a base. It adds natural sweetness, plus the banana flavor that I love. It’s also no secret that huge amounts of nut butter tend to find its way into my breakfast every day, so of course that served as one of my topping for this sweet little bowl. This is super easy, can be made in advance, and is perfect for all of you sugar-nuts out there like myself. The good thing is outside of the sweetness from the banana, the chia seeds, and any sweetener in the protein powder, there actually isn’t any added sugar or sugar substitute such as agave or honey! I really hope you add this recipe to your weekly breakfast rotation! It is definitely going to become more of a regular for me!

P.S. It is SUPER filling! I actually could’t even finish it and ended up eating the second half after work, so be prepared for a little leftovers. It keeps great in the refrigerator, but I wouldn’t suggest keeping it much past 24 hours.

Overnight Chocolatey Chia Oat Pudding

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 heaping spoonful of Sprout’s vegan chocolate protein powder (about 1 1/2 Tbsp) OR your favorite chocolate protein powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice, have not tried with others)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbsp nut butter of choice
  • Toppings of choice: fruit (berries, bananas, etc), shredded coconut, raw nuts, extra chia seeds, chopped Lara Bar

Directions

In a medium size bowl, smash 1/2 banana until fairly smooth. Add oats, chia seeds, almond milk, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined then transfer to a  mason jar or tupperware with a lid. Let sit overnight for at least 7-8 hours in the refrigerator.

In the morning, agitate with a fork to fluff the oats. Add toppings of choice and enjoy!

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