I am soooo excited to introduce to all of you my friend Todd aka Our Healthy Guy Todd. I have known Todd for almost 10 years now and have seen him go through his own health transformation and it is truly inspiring! Todd is one of the most disciplined people I know! He has taught me SO MUCH and I know he can help so many of my followers! Todd would love to help you with meal planning and just any type of health advice in general! You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
And now introducing.... Our Healthy Guy Todd:
When Jess originally asked me to write this guest blog post, I spent the first few days racking my brain, trying to come up with a way to describe how I maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. After about three days, I still couldn’t think of a description and came to the realization that my approach to eating healthy is very boring and mundane! I don’t have a miracle food I swear by, and I haven’t found a flashy diet that completely changed my life. I would describe my healthy eating habits as extremely consistent. However mundane it may seem on the surface; I want to share with you the satisfaction and change that it has brought to my life.
When I first decided to change my eating habits, I did it simply because I wanted to be healthy. When I was 24 years old, I had high blood pressure, ate a lot of fast food, was “skinny fat” (translation: I was a skinny kid with a beer gut), and seemed to always have a head cold. I just wanted to feel better.
In most everything I do in my life, I try to make things as simple as possible and not over-complicated. When I can dumb things down for myself, it makes life much easier! I took this same approach when figuring out what foods I should be eating on a regular basis. After doing a little bit of research, I created one simple concept for myself:
Only eat foods that come from plants or animals and don’t drink sugary stuff!
I am sure there are multiple, sexy diet names that describe this one concept, but I couldn’t tell you what they are. All I know is that this one concept has helped me feel better over the last decade. My blood pressure has improved, I saved lots of money by not eating much of any fast food, my beer gut turned into a six-pack, I never get head colds and very rarely get sick. In short, my life did a complete 180!
I started bringing my own healthy lunches to work, and spending some time at night cooking healthy meals rather than popping a frozen pizza or TV dinner into the microwave. After a few weeks, I got into the routine of chicken and brown rice for lunch, and variations of fish, chicken, steak, sweet potatoes, and spinach salads for dinner. Instead of trying to find a large variety of foods to eat that fit into my one simple concept, I stuck with a smaller variety of foods that tasted good to me. Remember, I don’t like to over-complicate things.
Some of my co-workers, seeing my Tupperware container full of chicken and brown rice daily, would ask me if I ever got sick of eating the same thing for lunch. I had always eaten the same thing for lunch. I just traded the hamburgers and french fries for a healthier option.
The biggest challenge for me when I started eating healthy was to have the discipline to meal prep. Taking the time to go to the grocery store once a week, instead of once a month, was something I wasn’t used to doing as a single guy. In addition, spending 90 minutes on my Sunday preparing healthy lunch meals wasn’t fun. And guess what….it still isn’t!
I am not going to sugarcoat it for you, because I don’t eat sugar (bad joke, I know), but eating healthy is not fun and easy to do all of the time. My chicken and brown rice does not taste as good as an In-N-Out burger. There are 100 other things I’d rather spend 90 minutes doing on my Sunday than meal-prepping. But the good news is, it does get easier the longer you do it. Your taste buds will change. The 90 minutes it takes to meal prep will become a regular Sunday routine, just like doing your laundry. You’ll probably have a meal (or maybe two) each week where you’ll veer off course. The same thing happens to me, but that’s okay. As long as it is only one or two meals per week, you’ll still see and feel the results.
The results. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. As monotonous and challenging as it is to be disciplined in your eating habits, the long term results you’ll get far outweigh the short term hassles. For me, it was not only just feeling better, but my friends and family saw the changes and the compliments I received obviously helped me feel more confident. It was exciting to be complimented about my body when I wasn’t used to it. That was the justification I needed that my change in eating habits was making a noticeable difference! You need to find what drives you. What future results will motivate you?
Remember, this isn’t a short-term “diet” you are doing. This is a consistent daily routine. With that said, I always have short-term milestones that keep me motivated. That’s a whole other topic that maybe I’ll come back and cover in the future!
Here’s to being consistent in your journey!
Although the main theme of my blog is health and fitness, so much of my life involves my family (husband Eric, 3 year old Landon and 9 month old Riley) and traveling. As a couple, Eric and I love traveling and find it extremely crucial to keeping our marriage healthy and our zest for life alive!
Funny story, when I first met Eric, he hated traveling. He would tell me how much of a homebody he was and that he was happier staying at home doing projects. Coming from a family who traveled often when I was growing up, I thought "I'm going to change his mind." So I bought us some Disneyland tickets and booked a hotel in Anaheim. We drove from Phoenix to Disneyland. He had to drive us there in the POURING RAIN, in the dark and in crazy California traffic. FAIL!! O.K., lets try this again...our next trip was to Vegas. (If any of you know us personally, you know how this turns out.) So we check into Caesars Palace and get upgraded to a suite, and I don't just mean get upgraded to a suite. I mean PENTHOUSE STYLE needs its own elevator and special key to get to the floor upgraded. Say what?! AND TO BOOT, we won money! Who actually wins money gambling in Vegas?! So needless to say, he LOVED Vegas. Like a kid in the candy store LOVED it. So fast forward 9 years and we have traveled a lot of super cool places.
So when we started having children, we talked about how it was important for us to keep traveling and make it a priority to take family vacations. Some of my fondest memories growing up were our family vacations and I wanted the same for our children. So we took Landon on his first plane ride at 6 months old and Riley at 8 months old. Landon has been to Wisconsin 2 times, San Diego 3 times, Disneyland 2 times and hotel stays at local staycations in Scottsdale and Flagstaff/Sedona. Riley stayed in a hotel in San Diego with us when she was 7 weeks old! I'm no expert by any means but feel like we are really getting the hang of it and traveling as a family keeps getting easier and easier! It makes me sad when I hear other people say that they don't travel with their kids because of the headache! It is so worth it!
So here are some of my tips and tricks for traveling with young children and babies:
For Travel with a baby:
1. Wear the baby through the airport
Ergo baby 360 or Solly Baby wrap to the rescue! Your hands are full enough trying to get through the airport. Wearing the baby will help a lot plus baby will get to look at all the new sights and stay happy and occupied! At security, they will more than likely make you take baby out but again, not too much of a headache.
2. Stroller advice
If you must bring a stroller with you, and I mean MUST, gate check it at the gate. You do not want to check it with your bags as it will not get handled with care. Our strollers are basically as pricey as a car payment (or more!), so we need to keep these suckers in good shape! It will be a pain to get it through security mainly just from the time stand point so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get through security.
If you think you may be able to go on your trip without a stroller, I recommend not flying with one. We have traveled a couple times where we didn't bring a stroller and just bought an inexpensive one at Target when we got to our destination. We have even borrowed ones from friends/family. Traveling without a stroller makes the aiport/travel day way less stressful.
Tip for driving with a stroller- most strollers' wheels come off making the amount of space it takes up in your trunk way less
3. Food, Bottles, Nursing, Milk, Etc
If it isn't stressful enough packing for a baby, now you have to worry about packing for a long day of travel for the baby. Keep in mind most airports do not have baby food, baby formula or diapers for sale. So pack heavy on those. How terrible would it be if your flight was delayed and you were all out of milk/food for baby? How stressful!
At security they may test your baby food/milk/formula, so be sure to have items that are well marked. One time we traveled with homemade frozen baby food. (oh because for baby 1, Landon, I was such an awesome mom who made organic baby food for my kid..how dare I buy prepackaged? Second kid, hahaha, not so much) Anyways, my containers didn't say "gerber" or brands on them since I had made the food and of course we had to deal with 50 million questions about it and then they tested it. It wasn't terrible but added more stress than necessary. So I say put aside your organic mom holier than thou attitude and just feed your kid prepackaged food/pouches for travel days.
If your baby is eating finger foods/purees/pouches, remember to bring a bib (plastic one that can be rinsed off). I always put inside a freezer bag, a bib and food pouches and finger foods so that when baby is done I can put the dirty bib and food wrappers back in the freezer bag and not get the diaper bag all dirty or deal with finding a trash can, etc. We are also obsessed with this pouch buddy holder too!
And if your babe is on formula, this formula dispenser is a MUST or some brands like Similac even make travel pouches...genius.
Also, this little brush and dryer rack is a must buy for cleaning bottles while traveling
4. Crib and/or Pack N Play
No need to travel with a pack n play, most hotels offer cribs and/or pack n plays. If you are staying at a friends or family, try to reach out to someone in advance and arrange a crib or pack n play, surely someone in the area has one. Worst case, buy a cheap one at walmart/target when you get to your destination. Walmart usually has inexpensive pack n plays for $35-70.
I always bring our own crib sheets if staying at a hotel and bring wipes to wipe down the hotel crib but there can't be any more germs on a hotel crib then in an airplane. Right?
For Travel with young children:
1. If flying with a 1 year old or older Buy this- CARES- Kid Safety Harness
If your child is 22 lbs and 1 years old and up, this is awesome! The first time Landon was going to be flying and not be in a infant car seat, I was freaking out that he was not going to want to stay in the seat. This helped a lot with that! It has a similar buckle to a car seat, so it gives the illusion of "stay put"
2. Buy this too- Buckle Toy- $24.99
This toy literally kept Landon occupied for a long time, like 20 minutes! That is like 2 hours in toddler time LOL. We gave this to him on the airplane and during my sister-in-law wedding rehearsal and wedding for quiet play.
3. Have new toys that are for this special trip or plane ride only
This last trip to Disneyland, my mom had bought Landon a little Mickey Mouse backpack and packed it full of new fun stuff. Lots of stuff from the Target dollar spot and different stickers and toys. He loved it and felt so cool walking through the airport with his own bag!
I am not afraid of a little bribery and bring it out when I need to. "Ok, CHILD you want that brand new paw patrol toy? I will buy it for you but you need to be good the whole trip." Does it work every time? No. But hey, its worth a shot.
5. Limit iPad/iPhone/tablet time to the LAST HALF OF THE TRIP
We learned this the hard way our first drive to San Diego and now will never do it any other way. Whether you are driving or flying, if you allow your child to watch a tablet, wait until the last half of the trip. The first half of the trip they should be excited about the new sights, sounds, etc. especially if flying. The airport and plane are such new exciting places that you shouldn't need a tablet or even toys right away.
When you get into desperation mode, bust out the tablet.
6. If budget allows, just buy a damn seat for the child
Excuse my language but just trust me. I get it, the kid is under 2 so its free for him/her to be a lap child. But seriously think about it. Is your flight over 2.5 hours? If so, I'd think think long and hard if you want your child on your lap for that long. And I know, you're going to say next, well he can sit on my husbands lap or we can take turns. Think again. Kids smell our fear and anxiety and in these situations they just know how to stress us the F out and not nap, not stay still and cause a ruckus for the whole plane. Again, think long and hard and try to budget for a seat.
Even when they are little babies, I still recommend buying a seat. Most infant car seats fit in the seat. You will put the car seat by the window and buckle it in. And if your babies are like mine, the sweet sound of the airplane engine humming and the comfort of the car seats lulls them to sleep for the whole flight.
1. Use grocery delivery services
Depending on the length of your stay, where you are going, what you need, etc. it may be easier to get groceries delivered to you. We just did this with Vons for our Disneyland trip and it was awesome! We had milk, bananas, the baby's purees and mum mums, water and alcohol delivered straight to the hotel!
That meant so much less to pack in our bags! And since it was our first time, I found a promo code for free delivery!
2. Get a hotel room with a separate living room and bedroom
My kids go to bed at 7:30pm and are used to sleeping in rooms by themselves with no tvs on. I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to bed at 7:30pm. And I definitely don't want to sit in a dark room laying in a bed with my kids in a crib next to me fearing any little movement or breath will wake them up. No thank you. Vacation with kids can be relaxing but you have to do a little preplanning.
If it is a trip more than one or two nights in a hotel, try to find a room that has a bedroom separate from a living room. If budget doesn't allow for that, try to take a look at the hotel floorplans online and find one that appears that the bathroom area may be big enough for a crib or pack n play. Many times we have put Landon or Riley in a crib in the doorway to the bathroom so they are away from us and we can still lay in the bed and watch tv. We also like to get rooms that have patios, especially if we can't get a room with a separate space for the crib(s), then at bedtime for the kids we will get some adult bevs and sit out on the patio.
3. Forget about their schedule
Sure when we are at home, I am all about that routine. My kids are 'Babywise" kids (more on that at a later date) and daily we have a schedule and routine which creates happiness, predictability and organization in our daily life but on vacation, YOU HAVE TO GO WITH THE FLOW. I repeat, you have to go with the flow.
Car seat nap? No problem.
Missed a nap? That is ok.
Fell asleep an hour before bedtime? No worries.
Woke up at 5am? Order a coffee
4. Plan some mommy (or daddy) alone time
If our trip allows, I usually try to schedule some spa time for me and golf for my husband. We each take turns with the kids for a couple hours so we can enjoy our alone time. It is glorious. I also try to stay healthy and on track with my fitness on the trip and that is where Beachbody on Demand is a lifesaver!
Just remember, traveling as a family really is all about the memories! You won't remember what you forgot or the stressful travel day! You'll remember those moments you have together and your kids will too!
Goals. We all love setting them. Especially at the beginning of a new year but what do we actually do to PLAN for these Goals?
I'm no expert. In fact, I pretty much suck at new years resolutions and goals. But what I am good at is making a PLAN and sticking to it.
In this blog post I am going to break down some ways that you can PLAN for a successful 2017 in terms of money, happiness and health!
So let's break this down:
So a lot of us make goals to save more money, right?
But HOW? How are you going to do that? Do you know if you want to save $5,000 this year what you need to do to save that amount?
I am a HUGE Suze Orman fan! If you haven't read any of her books, I highly suggest them! She has a theory on having an Emergency Fund and I STRONGLY believe in this idea. She suggests having an 8 month emergency fund. Click here for more information on the Emergency Fund.
So you want to save $5,000 this year.
There are 52 weeks in a year.
Let's divide $5,000 by 52 weeks = $96.15
So you need to save $96.15 per week to do that.
For some people, that is easy. No problem. Set up an automatic bank transfer for every week and call it a day.
Others not, so much. So for those others. HOW are you going to make sure you are saving $96.15 per week?
Let's go through some options
TOTAL SAVED: $107.91
And let's say you can't do some of those thing or your income/budget just don't allow for you to save $96.15/week. Well then your goal of saving $5,000 for the year is unrealistic. You cannot give up. You cannot say F*** IT and not save anything!
YOU HAVE TO MAKE A NEW GOAL.
OK, new goal. Save $3,000 for the year:
So you want to save $3,000 this year.
There are 52 weeks in a year.
Let's divide $3,000 by 52 weeks = $57.69
So you need to save $57.69 per week to do that.
Let's go through those options again.
But you know yourself and your budget and can pick and choose what would work for you.
This topic could go on and on, but hopefully you get the jist. I highly recommend reading some of Suze Ormans books or listening to her audiobooks. I listened to a lot of her stuff several years ago when I started my big girl job after college and am so happy I did.
I'll keep this short and sweet.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Remind yourself daily that what you are seeing online is not the whole picture
That that perfect mom isn't perfect
That she has days where she hides in closet from her kids and cries
That that stick thin girl has problems too
That being thin doesn't make your problems disappear
Just like money won't make you happy
The minute I stopped saying...
Well she can eat that and not get fat
Well she can shop at JCrew
Well she workouts here
Well she lives in a better house than me
Well she drives a better car than me
Well she has a perfect marriage
SHE, SHE, SHE, SHE
We have to stop with all the SHES and focus on more ME
Do me a favor and think of 3 things that you LOVE about yourself? Like truly love about yourself...a physical trait or personality trait only.
1. I love my hair
2. I love how I can make people laugh
3. I love my ability to multi-task and take any project head on
Was that easy for me? Nope.
Did it make me feel good about myself? YUP.
How many times do you hear someone say "I want to lose 20 (or fill in the blank) pounds" as a New Years Resolution?
It seems everyone has a number in mind. A number they want to lose or a number they want to see on the scale. It can be so overwhelming to know HOW to get to that number, right?
The best advice I can give (and trust me, I am no expert! I am still on my journey and learning every day!) is:
Do what makes YOU happy
And NO I don't mean go to Wendy's drive thru and get a frosty and fries because it makes you happy (LOL).
I mean do a workout program that makes you happy (happy does not equal easy by the way). You cannot, I repeat CANNOT compare what workouts work for someone else or what used to work for you in the past.
Before marriage and kids, I loved going to Zumba classes
For my wedding, I had a personal trainer
Postpartum Baby 1 I went to a 5:30am outdoor bootcamp
Pregnant with Baby 2, I did Pure Barre classes
Postpartum Baby 2, Beachbody on Demand in my living room
My journey and workout programs have changed over the years and with my life and lifestyle. That doesn't mean I don't still love Zumba classes (I do!! I so miss my Zumba friends!!) or that I don't want a personal trainer to show up to my house and tell me what to do (I SO do!!) or that I don't want to go to Pure Barre classes (I do! I love tucking!!) or that I don't want to start my day outside on the basketball court at bootcamp (I do!! I miss that group atmosphere and sadly and weirdly I miss running up the hills!).
But I am REALISTIC. I set realistic goals for myself and you need to too.
I know those above are not realistic for my schedule and/or my budget. And if I don't commit to something realistic, I won't do it.
What is realistic for me right now is 30 minute workouts in my living room with my kids rolling around on the floor behind me and because of that I am so grateful for Beachbody.
There has been nothing more exciting for me to take this journey and turn it into not only a healthy body but a healthy mind. If you are looking for some more motivation, advice, personal development, you MUST read (or audiobook) this:
You are a Badass
If you'd like to chat with me about any of this, I'd love to chat!
Email me at email@example.com
Follow me on Instagram @mommyjess_fitness
Hi! I'm Jess