Some Healthy Favorites

Hi friends and welcome to 2020!!!  We made it another decade!!!  Kinda crazy huh!  Though, I’m never going to be the person who sees age or thinks about how long a decade actually is.  All I know is that it’s going to happen whether we like it or not and I’m thankful.  And, also, though I hate the winter and despise January because of being so dark and cold, I do love the thought of an empty canvas and all the possibilities.

Of course one thing that everyone focuses on for the New Year is weight loss.  I too, am this year.  The past couple years I’ve adopted healthier habits, so my goals weren’t really to drop a bunch of weight or attain new healthier habits.  This year though, or at least my goal by the end of April/beginning of May is to drop 8-10 pounds.  I haven’t really figured out a good way to do that yet, but I’m working on it; starting with eating less and trying to incorporate more green into my diet.  I love salads, but at the most, I’m eating one a day which I’m sure is only a quarter of the greens I should be consuming.  I do have a few staples that I always go to when wanting to drop some weight though and I plan on incorporating those into whatever I decide to do.

Some of my favorite healthy foods and snacks:

Zone Perfect bars:  I wish I could say this was an ad, but it’s not.  Haha.  I’ve been eating these since I was 19 and running from class to class on my college campus with no time for lunch.  Brock even loves them, which is a miracle in itself, OK?!  I like them because they have a higher protein count and keep things pretty close to the macros I like to aim for everyday (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat).  My favorite flavors are the fudge graham, salted chocolate caramel and dark chocolate almond.  These can be found just about anywhere now.  Target, Kroger, Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, etc.

Eggs/Toast/Strawberries/Halos:  This is pretty much my go-to weekend breakfast all year long, but occasionally I’ll have enough time to make it during the week before jetting off to the office.  2 eggs over medium (if you need to kick it up a notch with flavor, try using the Trader Joe’s “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning on them!), 1-2 pieces of toast (I use Dave’s Killer thin sliced bread, 70 cals a slice) with no butter and only a natural fruit spread with low sugar, and a cup of strawberries and 1 halo.  Delish!  In the summertime I swap watermelon and fresh blackberries for the halo.

Fab Four Smoothie (Blueberry Muffin flavor): I use to ALWAYS start my day during the week with one of these.  I’ve gotten away from it, come back to it, and gotten away from it again.  When I get into the habit of having them, I don’t stop, because they are so good and so filling.  Here’s the recipe: 1/3 frozen organic blueberries, 2 cups unsweetened vanilla organic almond milk (I use Califia) 2 scoops of Primal Kitchen vanilla coconut collagen protein, 1-2 tablespoons of creamy almond butter with no sugar added (I use Barney Butter…so good and no oil on top!) 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and a handful of organic spinach.  Blend for about 30 seconds (I have a nutri-bullet and it works perfectly) and enjoy!  If you do not use frozen berries, you will need to sub some ice cubes.  This will keep you full at least an hour longer than any “normal” breakfast.  PS, there are tons of flavors out there for these!  This has just always been my go-to.  You can google them, or find them on Pinterest under Kelly LeVeque.  Most of the ingredients I purchase at Kroger and the protein/collagen powder I order on Amazon.

Baked chicken tenders with panko bread crumbs and baked broccoli: I use the big bag of Tyson tenders and bake them for 10 minutes (they come frozen), then take them out, add some panko breadcrumbs to the top of them with some sea salt and a couple other seasonings, and occasionally I’ll add a LITTLE parmesan cheese, continue to bake for 30-35 minutes.  Baked broccoli….yes..baked.  I use the big bag of Birdseye frozen broccoli.  Use a big cookie or pizza sheet, cover in parchment paper or aluminum foil, spray lightly with organic cooking spray (preferably olive oil) spread the broccoli out and cover it with sea salt.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  It’s cooked but crispy on the edges.  Also, I use more sea salt than most.  I have very low BP and using extra salt is not an issue for me, you may want to sub some of the salt with other seasonings like Mrs Dash or even sprinkle with a reduced fat cheese before baking.

So Delicious frozen almond milk bars:  These are so good and my go-to sweet snack in the evening after dinner.  I try to stay away from cow’s milk when I can, so almond milk is usually my go-to.  These mocha swirl bars are sooooooooo yummy!  180 calories.

100 calorie packs of cashews and pistachios:  I try to stay away from peanuts because my body is sensitive to them.  Not the easiest task considering I used to travel with my own jar of peanuts as a snack if I was hungry between classes in college.  Kroger actually has 100 calorie packs of almonds, cashews and pistachios in their organic section now.  Sometimes I mix these with the organic dried strawberries and cherries to kick the flavor up a bit.

Sargento Balanced Breaks: Now, let me preface this.  I try to stay away from cow’s milk, so typically I only will eat a few of the cheese cubes (usually 3) and then eat the fruit/nut blend.  Basically I’m too lazy to make my own fruit and nut blend, so I grab what’s easy and portioned out.  Sorry, not sorry.  I also love that I can get different combos that DON’T include peanuts.  The Balanced Breakfast Breaks are good too!

Healthy Choice Power Bowls Italian Chicken and Peppers:  Alright, yes, it’s processed.  I get it.  But it is soooo good and so spicy and really low in carbs and high in protein, and also….quinoa. 🙂

Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax Oatmeal:  I always add fresh blueberries to this and sometimes a little extra cinnamon.  So good!

Atkins Ham and Cheese Omelets:  This is an exception for avoiding cow’s milk.  I ONLY eat these when I’m running really far behind of a morning and need something that takes 2 minutes or less.  I pick half the ham out of it because I’m not a huge pork person, but I am a big omelet person.  The eggs actually taste good that they use and it’s very high in protein.  Sometimes you have to do the easy thing.  I just don’t make it a habit to regularly have these.  Plus, there’s a reason I avoid cow’s milk when I can if you’re picking up what I’m putting down haha.

There ya have it!  Those are the staples I always have to have handy.  Literally, these things are always available at our house.  Some of them may not be 100% clean or preservative or dairy free, but they are all useful in different situations.  Obviously I would love for this list to be longer, and “cleaner” than it is, but hey….let’s not forget, I have an 11 year old and a 6 year old, I work 40+ hours a week, I’m trying to work out, have therapy once a week, write for this blog and also do some influencing on the side along with Rodan & Fields.  My schedule allows for….well, only so much haha.

What are some of the staples you always have handy in your home?  What are your favorite recipes?

Drop them down below in my comments!!

Happy Monday all!!!!!  Let’s get this!

xoxoxox

 

 

 

Why Being an Advocate for Anxiety is So Important To Me

Hey friends!  Welcome back!  I truly hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to me, to continue to tell and share my story about anxiety/OCD/panic disorder.  The obvious reason is that it helps others and helps me continue to push through my own anxiety when I consider the fact that I’ve talked to so many people and pointed so many in the right direction for help.

I wholeheartedly believe that one of the reasons God put me on this Earth was to be an advocate for anxiety.  The ginormous silver lining to the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety since 4th grade, which then turned into panic disorder and OCD, is to be able to get up in front of anyone and tell my story, to help others.  It’s truly a gift.  It really is.

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When I was diagnosed with panic disorder, in the spring time of 2018, I was feverishly searching for someone else who had been through the same situations, someone else who got through it, and had tips and tricks or….just SOMETHING.  I googled, and I googled until I think I killed Google.  I searched for books that had some kind of similarity to what I was going through, asked my therapist for book ideas, searched Netflix for documentaries.  I literally turned up with nothing, which just made me feel so much worse and singled out.  I just wanted to find SOMEONE to relate to, read someone else’s story.

Most anxiety or PTSD situations start out by having some kind of trauma.  I didn’t have that.  I had a great childhood, a wonderful family, a great marriage and perfect kids.  I’m so thankful I didn’t have the trauma, but it always irritated me, because I would ask myself “why me, then  why all the anxiety disorders with no troubled past like the books and therapists say???”  Well the best answer I can come up with is “because it did, now get off your ass and help other people!”

My hope is that I can be “that person” that I was looking to relate to, 2 years ago when all this was happening to me, for others, if that makes sense.  I’ve been down several roads of anxiety disorders and come out on the other side victorious when it comes to panic disorder and general anxiety.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve beat OCD, because I have not, and I’ve definitely still got a long road in front of me on the “stomach issue” part of my contamination OCD, BUT I will say that certain parts of my OCD have gotten better over the past year.  But, like with any anxiety disorder, it can come and go and OCD is generally a harder one to completely conquer since your brain is fighting itself.  That being said, I feel that sharing my obstacles and feelings regarding OCD can also be helpful to anyone else experiencing it.

I’ve said it before, but I’ve always been a story teller.  I’ve always wanted to write a book, about my life, and I would love nothing more than to be followed around by cameras most days of my life–haha!  So, if I can use whatever platform I have (though it may be small), to help other people through their anxiety struggles, I want to do it.  I want to be that person.  I want to be an ear for your irrational thoughts, because I’ve probably had them, I want to be the person to try and put your mind at ease and let you know that it’s not uncommon and so many more people have the same thoughts and same worries as you do!

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Just know, no one goes through (or should have to) go through any type of anxiety alone or feel isolated.  It’s such a common aspect of daily life now and it should be talked about.  Talking helps people work through it.  I’ve learned this time and time over, so now I’m reaching out….my ears are open and so is my heart.  If you don’t feel like you can talk to a professional or just aren’t ready to take that step yet, just know you will always have someone (me) to listen and offer some support.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Years and that your 2020 starts off blissfully and stress free 🙂

xoxox

 

Last 90 Days: Check In!

Roll call!  Who’s still very much into the Last 90 Days Challenge?  Me! Me! Me!

So, but really, how’s everyone doing?  I am still going strong!  Sure, I’ve had days where I didn’t get all 70 ounces of water, but came really close.  I’ve had 2 days where I found myself eating tortilla chips (I gave up all chips because they are a major trigger for me!), and I’ve had 2 days where I just laid around and didn’t hop on the treadmill, or trampoline or do pilates, because I knew my body needed some grace.  Overall, I’m pretty stinkin’ proud of myself!

The thing that surprises me the most is that I actually LIKE getting up earlier.  I get up about an hour earlier, but what I’ve found is that by the time I make a cup of coffee,  let the dog out, feed her and get to my office, I only have about 35 minutes of actual time for myself.  So I think I need to make some adjustments, but I never ever thought I would be one to get up an hour earlier.  I fought it for so many years and this challenge just made me realize I should give it a try to say I actually tried it!  BOOM!  Love it.  Not only that, but most days Brayden gets up earlier now too.  He’s our early riser anyways, but he likes to get up early now to have some time to fiddle around and relax before school.

As a reminder, the 5 concepts that go along with the last 90 days are:

5-to-Thrive

This is not a weight loss challenge, this is an “I don’t give up on myself” challenge.  It’s all about showing yourself you can commit to something for 90 days.  Obviously, the hope is that you can make these new habits stick well beyond the last 90 days of the year.

If you are participating, I’d love to hear how you are doing!  What tips can you share?

Have a great weekend, all!  Make good choices and take care of you!

xoxox

october 2019

 

Five Quick but Extremely Therapeutic Ways to Battle OCD

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Hi friends!

Now that we have discussed what OCD is, what types are out in the world and how diagnosis usually works; I wanted to give my 5 best, most helpful, tips on overcoming an intrusive thought spurred on by the OCD.

These are tips I’ve picked up in my years of therapy and through the many books and documentaries I’ve read and watched.  I truly hope they help.

1. Be present.  When an intrusive thought “attacks”, try to take yourself out of the situation mentally.  Be mindful of every single detail of your surroundings and try to focus on this.  What’s the air like?  Is it a pretty day?  What color is that tree?  I wonder when that field will be harvested (sorry, Indiana girl here).  Force yourself to take that thought, pick it up, and move it aside.  Sit with it, be ok with it, and move it aside by thinking grounding thoughts.

2. Breathe.  It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s life changing.  Breathing calms the body down like nothing else can.  Focus on your breath.  Breathe in through your nose for a count of 5, release through your mouth for a count of 5.  Do this about 10 times to regain control of your emotions and thoughts.

3. Pray.  I’m Christian, so this is one I use a lot.  However you choose to be spiritual and practice that; bring those tools to the table for this one.  Pray for relief and understanding, pray for a sense of calm and confidence. Don’t repeat the same prayer, try to keep it simple, to the point and mindful.

4. Write the fear down.  Do a “brain dump” of all the feelings you have at that very moment.  Why does that thought make you feel that way?  What brought the thought on?  How do you see yourself getting out of the situation or putting the thought aside.  Treat the thought like it’s a person if that helps.  Give it a name.  It may sound silly, but our brains acknowledgement a feeling better when it’s given a name.  What do you think you have to do, step by step, to defeat this feeling/person/thought?

5. Ground yourself with gratitude.  No really, it works in a moment of fear like nothing else.  When you feel the intrusive thoughts boiling to the surface, stop them by looking around you and seeing the things you are grateful for.  Are you alive and healthy?  Are you at work, out with friends, driving your own car?  Do you have kids?  Can you afford the privilege of college?  Do you have an animal you love? Close friendships?  Supportive people in your life?  Think of them, think of all of it.

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xoxox

Mary

 

OCD Awareness Week :Diagnosing OCD

Happy Friday, compadres!

Today I wanted to share a little about how OCD is typically diagnosed (in my experience) and what to push for when you see a doctor.

  1.  I initially diagnosed myself.  Yep.  How scary is that?  I was on maternity leave with Mason and googled my symptoms/thoughts.  I had an advantage I guess, if you want to call it that, because my grandpa had contamination OCD, so I had been around it my entire life.  My dad mentioned to me one night that I was showing some of the same symptoms and suggested I google it.  SPOT ON.  I immediately made a doctor’s appointment with my General Physician, and also planned to talk to my OB at my 8 week follow up appointment.  At both of my appointments with both doctors, they wanted to talk maybe 5 minutes about it, grouped it in the general anxiety classification and wanted to give me random anxiety medicines (I was already on one) and change what I was on. A few months later, I was officially diagnosed with contamination OCD and general anxiety by 2 other doctors.
  2. PUSH for understanding!   I knew I needed to speak to someone who specialized in anxiety disorders, so I was given information about a psychiatrist.  After our initial appointment, I had a plan that was tangible and we discussed medicines and other forms of therapy to tackle the intrusive thoughts.  Take Away:  Friends, as much as you love your everyday doctors, when it comes to anxiety disorders…you need to speak to someone who SPECIALIZES in anxiety disorders.  So many people have anxiety now that doctors are a bit blind when it comes to a specific type of anxiety disorder.
  3. Find a therapist. Like, a REAL psychologist or counselor that has actual degrees in psychology and is specially trained in treating anxiety disorders. I hate to belittle anything because ‘hashtag you do you’, but a social worker who specializes in couples therapy or general therapy isn’t going to do you much good. I was completely clueless the first time I had to look for a therapist! I knew nothing! I spent a lot of time on psychologytoday.com (not an ad) and a lot of time talking to friends that had a great relationship with their therapists. Unfortunately finding the right fit usually isn’t an easy task or usually correct the first time.  OCD is very tricky and can be harder to work through because of the hold the brain has on intrusive thoughts, so please be sure whoever you go to see has a lot of experience treating OCD and other severe anxiety disorders.
  4. If the doctor you see (unless they are a psychiatrist, of course) suggests medication and you choose to take it, do your own research before committing. Every person is different and our bodies metabolize medicines at different speeds. For example, I had NO idea my body metabolized pain medicine at warp speed and that my brain literally had receptor blocks to several of the most popular anxiety medications. My psychiatrist had me do genetic testing to see which medication would work best for me. I was soooooo thankful he had requested I take the genetic test! It helped him decide what anxiety medication would work best for me long term.  So please, please, please do some research and ask a lot of questions before committing to a medication.
  5. Finally, if you have been diagnosed with OCD of some kind, please know, as I am proof, it does get better, but understand it will take time and work.  My contamination OCD is pretty severe at times, but after 5 years of work, 2 therapists, multiple doctor’s appointments, multiple doctors, multiple types of therapies and a psychiatrist later, I finally feel like I have the appropriate combination for kicking it’s ass.  I finally have an amazing therapist who continues to educate herself on anxiety disorders and also teaches at a local college on the topic, I finally have a plan for medications and have found one that works for me, and I’ve put in major work through personal development, mindfulness, commitment to myself and confidence that has put me on a road to recovery (hopefully forever!).

you are not broken

Please, if you feel like you have OCD, please, please, please reach out to someone….even reach out to me!  No one needs to suffer through the thoughts.  There is help available, and I will help guide you in the right direction as well as I can.

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xoxox

Mary

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