A Product of My Lifestyle

As usual I am amazed by how much the Fitbloggin experience means to me every year… and how darn different it is every single year.  The faces change.  New voices emerge.  New opportunities for selfies appear. :)

I feel particularly compelled to write about one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend:  A simple phrase uttered by our fearless leader, Roni Noone, who is responsible for the organization of this yearly retreat.  And, who is a stunning example of how to lose weight, keep it off, and rise above the challenges that appear along the way.

On Saturday morning, exhausted and geared up in an 80’s workout getupI stepped into a session called “Life after Goal” with very little expectation.

Realistically, I am not at goal.  I am still about 30 lbs from it, which to me is pretty significant.  So, why in the heck did I have my butt in that room?  I was there because I wanted to listen. 

Everyone wants to be at their goal weight.  Everyone wants to be safely across the finish line.  And, I too have dreamed of being one of those people.

Even moreso, I’m a girl who is amazingly happy in her skin right now.  Even with the extra pounds I carry every day.  Still happy, but I wanted to hear what the group had to say and to see what I might be missing out by not chasing after my goal right now.

Overall, I heard Kelly, Sarah, and Roni talk about how life is several years after weight loss.  I tuned into Roni’s comments most, as I’d never really heard her speak about her journey and frankly, she has such wise things to say.

My Body is a Product of My LIfestyle | No Thanks to Cake

THIS IS SO ME and resonated completely…

My ups and downs all relate back to my lifestyle.  I’m never truly SURPRISED when I gain a pound or two… I can always track it back to a specific week and what did or did not happen during that week.  And, when I’m feeling GREAT, I can also tie that right back to my lifestyle… it’s all interconnected.

And right now, my body with that regained ten pounds is reflective of my lifestyle for the past few months… and I totally own it, rock it, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a year! I’ve been getting out a little more, vacationing without a hyper-critical eye on my food intake, and I’ve been living freely.

For the past week, I’ve been at the beach.  Wearing the same bathing suit that I’ve worn for the past few years… but feeling that extra weight more than normal.  When it’s all out there and exposed, it’s hard to ignore… but I had these words in my pocket to reference.

Rather than jumping into that space where I criticize every bit of my existence, I took a deep breath and remembered.

It’s ok… my body is simply “a product of my lifestyle.” What a kind way to look at the current state!  Shifting my lifestyle will yield the results I am looking for… and I looked at these words as a gentle hug that I needed during this moment of realization/discomfort.  Now, when I start structuring my meals, making it to my mat regularly, and getting the sleep my body craves… I absolutely know that my body will shed the extra pounds.

I don’t see these words as an excuse, simply a confirmation that my mind has been elsewhere… and that a shift will once again bring change.

Take a look at your lifestyle… is your body reflective of your lifestyle?  I suspect it is…

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Fitbloggin 14: The People

Fitbloggin is 150% about the people you meet at this jam-packed three days of fitness and wellness event.  As a result, I think it’s only appropriate to include a post about the fabulous people I’ve met!

Fitbloggin People | No Thanks to Cake

Now, I couldn’t possibly share with you guys every single person that I met while in Savannah.  There’s just not enough room in the blogosphere for me to gush that much.  Instead, I’m sharing a brief list of people with you that I’d recommend you check out.  People that inspire me, people that bring amazing energy into my space, and people who radiate joy.  Yep, those are my people.  Without further ado… here’s a few of them.

Ashley – Fierce Forward

I met this amazing woman last year at Fitsocial and through the magic of the internet, we’ve become friends.  Her Facebook community and blog is called Fierce Forward, and it’s all about moving FIERCELY in the direction of your dreams…

Fierce Forward | No Thanks to Cake

I absolutely loved having a chance to visit with Ashley, to get to know her better, and to observe the impact she had upon others she met.   She’s one of my soul sisters… follow her here.

Fierce Forward | No Thanks to Cake

Oh, and PS… she’s the creator of those fabulous intention bracelets I’m always wearing.  GORGEOUS products.  Check them out here.

Fierce Forward Bracelets | No Thanks to Cake

Alyssa – Double Chin Diary

Alyssa and I met last year at Fitbloggin during a session where I totally burst into ugly tears… and we’ve been bonded since!

Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to Cake

She also was the grand prize winner of the California Avocado Commission’s Recipe contest at Fitbloggin and the other half of what we called “The Avocado Room!”  After spending the three nights as roomies, I totally adore her even more!  Follow her story at the Double Chin Diary.

Monica – Run Bang Run

And, then… there’s Monica.  Oh, how I love this lady.

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit: Carrie D. Photography

Monica and I refer to each other as “life twins” because, seriously, we have a ridiculously similar and parallel journey.  We’ve both lost about the same amount of weight and have been working to navigate the “after” life.

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to Cake

While it wasn’t NEARLY enough time, it was SO great to have a chance to spend time with her “in real life” and to get photobombed by so many of our Fitbloggin friends… smooches, y’all!

Run Bang Run | No Thanks to Cake

Dawn – Fit Dawn

And, then… there’s Dawn.

Her journey to lose weight is one that inspires me incredibly, because it’s so much more complicated than mine.  Dawn has two gorgeous baby girls that are constantly craving momma time… and she still makes time for workouts and to take care of herself.  If Dawn can do it, I totally can.

Fit Dawn | No Thanks to Cake

True story:  Dawn lives two blocks from my brother in Virginia.  So, I know I’ll be seeing her pretty face again in December…

Jessica – Racing to Zen

Jessica came up to me at the badge making session to say hello and introduce herself.  And, to talk about my yellow dress… she had seen me post it on Instagram the week before.  One of the first people at met at Fitbloggin, it reminded me of how connected we all are before we even walk in the door… the power of social media. :)

Racing to Zen | No Thanks to Cake

I seriously can’t say enough awesome things about this lady.  We had an opportunity to have dinner twice during Fitbloggin, and she’s from Ohio not too far from where my family lives… so, lots in common.   She writes her story over at Racing to Zen.  Check her out, folks!!  Love this one….

 Lynne – The First Pancake

And then there’s Lynne.  I met Lynne through Dawn… another Virginia lady that I hope to see over the holidays.

Lynne | No Thanks to Cake

Lynne is a new yoga instructor working on gaining her first job as an instructor.  I cannot WAIT to hear all about her journey to inspire others through my favorite practice.  We talked our way through the Fitbloggin 5K on Sunday!  So glad to have had a chance to get to know her!

Lynne… I wasn’t kidding, I’m totally taking one of your classes over the holidays… xoxo

Alan – Sweating it Off

I finally had a chance to get a selfie with Alan this year… three years later!  Alan has been mentioned as the “Justin Beiber” of Fitbloggin in another recap I read this week, but I’m not sure that’s a solid nickname for this powerhouse.  He’s incredibly inspiring, driven, and he’s a freakin’ triathlete.  Beibs couldn’t handle all that… So great to see you, Alan!

Sweating it Off | No Thanks to Cake

Lauren – Breathe Deeply and Smile

Lauren and I also got to spend quite a bit of time together during evenings at Fitbloggin, including our ghost tour! Her story and passion for fitness is incredibly moving.  I am so glad we had a chance to meet, lady!!

Breathe Deeply and Smile | No Thanks to Cake

There really were SO MANY OTHERS…  Here’s a collage of many other lovely people I got to meet.  And, I am so sad that I didn’t get more pics of the rest of you guys!

Fitbloggin People | No Thanks to Cake

Legitimately, Fitbloggin is a lifechanger… and as mentioned above all about the people.  Thanks to each and every one for taking the time to chat it up with NTTC this weekend…

Thank you for making this experience so incredible, folks!!! xoxo

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7 Things I Loved About Fitbloggin ‘14

While there are really about 500 things I loved about Fitbloggin 2014, I did my best to condense the list to just 7 highlights… If you’ve spent time out in the healthy blogiverse over the past week, I’m certain my other blogger friends have filled in the gaps with their recaps.

Fitbloggin 14  7 Things I Loved About This Conference | No Thanks to Cake(Photo Credit:  Carrie D. Photography)

7.  Thought-Provoking Sessions

Fitbloggin 14, as in years past, came with a full list of sessions that I could attend to grow my blog in new and exciting ways.  I attended a little bit of everything, and walked out with notes from just about every session.

As someone who takes way too many notes everywhere I go, I decided to spend time in the moment this year rather than attempting to capture every word spoken.  Instead, I walked out with a simple notepad speckled with a few notes and a quote or two.  These “nuggets” of information are all I need to upgrade NTTC in the next year… no transcription needed.

Fitbloggin Small Groups | No Thanks to Cake

The small group sessions are always the most moving for me.  I love hearing my peers talk about their experience and sharing my story as well.  I attended two in particular that I loved:  Maintaining the Mojo and Life After Goal.   I’ll tell you more this week about how I was inspired by Roni Noone herself in one of the sessions….

6. That 80’s Dance Party

Every single year, it’s my favorite class.  The energy is fantastic.  The smiles are abundant.  And this year, it was 80’s themed!??  Totally tubular….

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

This Zumba-inspired class was incredible with Sue, Sam, and Nellie making sure that I shook my money maker and laughed all the way through.  I got to dance with Monica, Aliyah, Dawn,  and Nathan and 100 of my closest friends. What’s not to love??

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

PS… This outfit made an appearance.  Thanks, Amazon…

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

Lastly, if I could have squished Sam and Sue (and Thing 2) into a carry-on, I would have brought them back to Denver with me… so that they could make me sweat and dance it out on the regular.  The fact that we’ll be dancing in Denver next year makes me SOOOOOOOO happy.  Thank you for inspiring me… every single year!

5.  Ignite Fitness

In past years, I’ll admit I haven’t loved Ignite… but this year, the presenters REALLY outdid themselves and made it an incredibly interesting, motivating, and entertaining session!

We listened to Dre rap (thanks for the shoutout!), heard Allie’s tremendous story of competing on behalf of the US, watched Alan take the stage, and even learned how to make a proper cuppa tea!

Ignite Fitness | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit:  Carrie D. Photography

I love the personality and preparation that the team brought to the table.  It’s not easy to rock a mike like they did… and they crushed it!  Can’t wait to see what Fitbloggin 15 brings… 

4.  Savannah Shopping

Oh my, Savannah was so hot… this girl was super sweaty throughout the weekend.  Thank goodness there were a bunch of cute shops to pop into to cool down!

I found two unique culinary stores to stop into that I’m so glad I found.

The Savannah Bee Company:  How often do you walk into a store that offers honey tastings??  It was so awesome!  I ended up with a few flavors for myself (Savannah and whipped honey!) and a few jars for gifts.

Savannah Bee Company | No Thanks to Cake

I was heading to the airport when I stumbled upon The Salt Table, and couldn’t pass it by!  The Foodette sent me to this awesome store, and wow… she made an amazing recommendation!

The Salt Table Savannah | No Thanks to Cake

The shop was full of flavored salts and sugars…. Popcorn seasonings, dips.  I was in heaven!  I ended up walking out with some mesquite flavored salt, maple salt, coconut sugar, and some Ghost Pepper salt for my bro for Christmas!  It was probably better that we were in a hurry.  Had I more time, I would have bought the entire store… and had to figure out a way to get it home in my carry on (along with Sue and Sam)…

3. The Avocados

Prior to the conference beginning, I entered a recipe into the California Avocado Commission’s Culinary Cutting Edge Contest.  And, as luck would have it, I was named to the finals with the lovely Alyssa and Kia, for this recipe!

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

The session on Avocados was amongst my favorite because I got to learn all about one of my favorite fruits… and they announced the big winner:  My roomie Alyssa!!!  While my caprese salad took second place, it was Alyssa’s yummy tarts that brought home the grand prize!!

California Avocados Contest Fitbloggin | No Thanks to Cake Photo Credit:  Double Chin Diary

The chef even did a live demo of her recipe and they let us try the winning recipe!  So delish!!!

Avocado Cream Tarts Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit:  Double Chin Diary

I loved this contest for many reasons… my love of avocado being one of them, but also I love the art of creating deliciously healthy dishes.  I put some time into coming up with just the right dish to present… and I’m incredibly proud of what I entered.  I also am bursting with ideas for more avocado dishes.  So get ready, readers, there’s more avocado recipes on the way!

Lastly, it also made me really consider the types of brands that I want to work with in the future.  These guys completely align with my vision for NTTC… so, expect more like it in the future!

2.  Reflecting on the Year that Passed

2013 was a rough year for this girl.  So much going on… and frankly, not a lot of happy.  I battled with myself trying to figure out what my next steps were going to be… and felt a little lost at Fitbloggin 2013, as a result.

There were multiple sessions where I just cried.  (Yep)  I cried because the topics touched a little too close to home… and I felt sort of lonely in a crowd of people.  It’s not something I’ve spoken of until now, but it was a tough time… mostly, I was just trying to Pollyana my way through, hoping that it would pass.

Thank goodness it did!!!!!

AND THIS YEAR… so different.  For the past few months, I’ve been so genuinely happy.  To be at Fitbloggin and to be able to share that “happy” was awesome.  Nice to have my head held high again.  It’s so nice to be back…

1.  The People

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The people are what make Fitbloggin for me.  This picture below is from my favorite moment of the conference…

Fitbloggin | No Thanks to Cake

You’ll notice that we aren’t even at the conference.  We didn’t even find a swanky restaurant to dine at.  We’re at a cheesy Mexican joint across from the hotel that could seat 8 with no wait, and later add a table to grow our group even more.

This is the night I got to meet Beth, hear about Jessica’s job transformation, understand how Sarah’s world is changing, sit next to my girl Monica and unknowingly order the same dinner (life twins!), visit with Dawn and meet her friend Lynne and plan yoga time for my December visit, hear about Sam’s tattoo plans, visit with Emily and gush about how I adore Harper, and spend more time with my girl Ash fiercely getting to know these women.  Awesome night.  Beautiful people.  

It’s moments like this that keep me coming back for more.  It’s people like this that make me want to be a better person.

Roni, I can’t thank you enough for another wonderful conference year.  I can’t wait to see you all in Denver for Fitbloggin 15.

xoxo

Related posts:

Grilled Avocado Caprese

I’m just about three weeks from attending my favorite conference of the year:  Fitbloggin!

Not only do I get to visit beautiful Savannah, Georgia for the first time, but I also get to see some of my FAVORITE people along the way.  So excited!!!

I was particularly excited to hear that one of our sponsors is… the California Avocado Commission!

California Avocado Commission | No Thanks to Cake

Not only will I get to hear all sorts of new information about the health benefits of avocados, but I have a feeling that (fingers crossed!) we’ll be eating some amazing avocado while we are there too!  YESSSSS!!!

And, if that weren’t enough, they’re also hosting an amazing “California Avocado Cutting-Edge Culinary Recipe Contest” for all of the attendees.  To participate, we had to create a unique recipe using this green goodness.  If you’ve read my blog, you know that this wasn’t a stretch for me… I’m a little bit of an avocado fanatic!

To come up with just the right recipe to enter, I got to experiment quite a bit with one of my favorite ingredients.  In the end this is the recipe I loved the most of those I tried… I hope you guys like it as much as I do!!!

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

This is the very first time I’ve ever grilled an avocado, and it certainly won’t be the last.  Being that summer is just around the corner and we’re all firing up our grills more frequently here in Colorado, why not add an avocado to your fire??

Not only does grilling add a beautiful color to the dish and those gorgeous grill marks, but it also contributes a smoky rich flavor to the avocado that is INCREDIBLE.  Paired with traditional italian flavors like tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella, this dish was the clear winner in my house.

Grilled Avocado Caprese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

1 California Avocado, halved

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup boccochini (fresh mozzarella balls)

2 Tbsp. basil, sliced chiffonade-style

salt, to taste

balsamic reduction, drizzled

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat your grill pan to medium high heat.  While the pan warms, cut your avocado in half.  Pour a small amount of olive oil into a small bowl.  Lightly brush the exposed avocado with EVOO.  Note:  For extra flavor, you can also use a basil infused olive oil.  Also, I used my indoor grill so I could control the temperature, but you can also use your outdoor grill!

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

2.  Place the avocados face down on the grill pan for 1-2 minutes until beautiful grill marks appear.  Remove to a plate to cool. Note:  Depending upon the heat of your pan, the cooking time may vary.  

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

3.  To slice your basil, take a small stack of fresh leaves and roll lengthwise, creating a long tube.  Then, slice into ribbons.

Basil Chiffonade | No Thanks to Cake

4.  Place tomatoes, cheese, basil ribbons, and about 3/4 Tbsp. EVOO in a small bowl.  Mix to combine and add salt to taste.

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

5.  Pour tomato mixture over avocado halves.

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

6.  Drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Note:  You can find this at your local grocery store in the vinegar section.  While you can make your own, the pre-made version is incredibly handy and easy to use – – it tends to be my go-to!

IMG_3591

7.  Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

Per 1/2 recipe serving:

CAL 360; CARB 12g; FAT 32g; PROT 12g; FIB 6g; WW Points Plus:  10

Have you ever tried a grilled avocado??

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