Exhale & Smile to Brighten Your Day

Today’s post is going to be a short one. I just want to remind you today how truly AWESOME you really are. NOBODY is like you, NOBODY can be you, and only YOU get to have your life experiences. You are smart. You are capable. And you are hungry to live your best, fullest, happiest life ever – and you won’t settle for less. That’s something to be really proud of. But managing your awesomeness, managing all the amazing things you want to do with your life can leave you feeling stressed, unfulfilled, lonely, and frustrated. I know this, because I go through the same thing regularly – being frustrated with the present as I look to the future I want to build for myself. So do me a favor – when those thoughts and feelings creep up on you:

  1. Acknowledge them
  2. Go find a mirror and look at yourself
  3. Take in your whole face. Embrace the sparkle, the wisdom, the imperfections, the perfections
  4. Take a deep look into your own eyes and see past your face into your passions and ambitions. See your struggles and your successes. You’ve been through a lot and that’s what makes you, YOU – and that’s why you are the awesome person you are
  5. Take a deep breath in filling up your belly with fresh air, exhale and let all the thoughts that aren’t making you stronger leave with that exhale
  6. Now smile at yourself in the mirror and feel the peace and joy that breath and smile are bringing you in this moment. Research has shown that just putting a smile on your face can make you feel happier

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Look at that beautiful smile! You’re ok. In fact, you’re better than ok. You’re a warrior, a fighter, a lover of life, a lover of a good challenge. The strength is in the struggle, and you my friend are STRONG. It’s wonderful to be ambitious, but let’s not lose sight of the great person you already are in the present moment. Look within, exhale, smile – and change the course of your day!

30 Minutes to Amazing Lamb!

I don’t know about you, but prepping dinner can either be a really good stress release, or it can be incredibly stressful. In my experience, I’ve found that the fewer ingredients involved, and the shorter the prep time, the more fun I have preparing my meals and the more I inevitably enjoy them. On that note, I want to share a quick and easy lamb recipe with all of you!

30 MINUTE ROAST RACK OF LAMB

lamb
Ingredients
  • French Rack of Lamb ( I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • Seasonings (I used sea salt and South American Smoke – a Trader Joe’s spice)
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Fat (I used duck fat, but coconut oil, lard, or butter are fine choices as well)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit
  2. Place your cooking fat into a cast iron skillet on the stove and let heat up. In the meantime, season your lamb with salt/pepper/spices…whatever you like on both sides.
  3. Once skillet is heated and meat is seasoned, place the lamb, meat side down, on the skillet to sear
  4. After 3-5 minutes, flip over and sear for another 2-3 minutes. Both sides should look browned
  5. Once seared, place the cast iron skillet into the pre-heated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. The time only depends on how you like your meat cooked. I personally am a fan of medium rare, so I took mine out in about 12 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, when the meat temp reaches 125F, that’s medium rare.
  6. Remove the meat from the oven, cover with a foil tent and let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. That’s also the perfect time to get your vegetables sautéed!
  7. Cut the rack into 2 bone pieces
  8. Serve along side vegetables
ENJOY!

It’s Time to Face Your Fears

I have a confession to make…starting this blog and continuing to grow and develop it has been a REALLY scary process for me. I have so many ideas that I want to share with you, so many things that I want to do through this platform – I want to write you an ebook, I want to lead workshops and give lectures, I want to start to carry cool fitness retail, and I want to impact your life every single day with meaningful content. I started working in the fitness industry because, for many years, I made unhealthy choices physically, mentally, and emotionally – and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it alone! I want everyone to find their inner self-worth and work toward healthy goals like strength and wellness. I want to end the self-shaming and punishment and I want you to truly find the things that make you happy and practice happiness everyday.

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My goal is to help you define your life from the inside out.

These are lofty goals, and for the past few months I’ve been terrified by them. What if I spend a ton of time, energy, money, and passion on these projects and no one likes it? What if I’m all alone at a workshop presenting to no one? What if I upgrade my website with a bunch of shiny bells and whistles and only 10 people view my page? On and on this self-doubt went and my reservations grew and grew. I became paralyzed by this fear. Instead of taking actions to move forward, I took steps backward justifying to myself that with enough reading, research, and prep I would feel ready to proceed. However all this prep for perfection, all this pumping of the breaks, is me just stalling because I’m scared.

The first step in facing my fears, came in admitting to a really good friend and mentor of mine that I was, in fact, scared to fail. Even just admitting that out loud to someone began the process of helping me to face my fears. My friend went on to ask me what truly terrible things would happen if I did actually fail? I thought about it and imagined the failures, one after another. Even though each scenario kind of sucked, I didn’t die. Failure isn’t a permanent state – but I was allowing the fear of failure to keep me paralyzed in a state of inaction.

Here’s what I’m learning while working through my fears to reach my goals: if fear is your foundation, then there  is no room for genuine inner strength or progress. Through the eyes of fear we can only see threats, danger, and doom – none of those things encourage us to move forward. Fear can be all consuming. When we are fearful we can’t allow other emotions like joy, happiness, or excitement to surface. Fear robs us of our inner power and passion. Making decisions from a place of fear is the epitome of playing small and if your goals are big and grand, there’s no room for small. That doesn’t mean that fear can’t be a helpful too. In small doses, fear can be helpful because it keeps us humble, keeps our egos in check, and the bump in adrenalin can give us extra energy and heightened awareness – but we can’t let fear be the foundation for our actions (or inactions).

So today, I’m going to ask you to look at your goals, the things that you want most in your life and ask yourself what’s truly standing in your way. Is it fear? Acknowledge it, look that fear square in the face and take your power back. It’s time for us all to stop playing small and work from a foundation of strength, passion, confidence. 

No Bake Chocolate Truffles!

Are you ready for an easy, no bake, decadent dessert that will leave your taste buds begging for more? Today, I wanted to share a recipe for Chocolate Truffles that I like to make and bring with me to special occasions. These bad boys taste super indulgent, but the prunes are great for your digestive system, the walnuts are packed with Omega-3s, and the chocolate is a great antioxidant! Personally, I love desserts that don’t skimp on the taste or flavor, but also deliver a host of benefits and don’t leave me deep in the sugar blues later. Enjoy!

Lina’s No Bake Chocolate Truffles

truffle

**Disclaimer: Please judge me by the quality of my baking NOT the quality of my photography 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 package of Non-Sulphured Prunes from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 cup walnut baking pieces
  • Dark Chocolate — if you find some that isn’t held together with Soy Lecithin, even better – I personally prefer Enjoy Life brand!!
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • Unsweetened Coconut Shreds (optional for garnish)
Directions
  1. Soak prunes in hot water for about 15 minutes to an hour. You want them to be plump and juicy NOT dry!
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  3. Using a double boiler (or fashion your own), melt 1 bar of chocolate or 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Do this slowly, on low heat, and stir so the chocolate doesn’t burn
  4. Place walnuts in the food processor and pulse until you get a nice fine crumbly consistency
  5. Pour food processed walnuts into a medium sized bowl
  6. Once prunes have been soaked, drain the water (or drink it!), and place prunes in the food processor
  7. Pour food processed prunes into bowl with walnuts
  8. Add salt and vanilla to the bowl & mix thoroughly
  9. Mix the melted chocolate from the double boiler into the bowl
  10. Using the double boiler again, go ahead and melt the rest of your chocolate. It can be anywhere from 2-3 bars to 3/4 of a bag of chips, you just need enough to coat all the truffles you’re about to roll!!
  11. Roll the batter into 1 inch balls
  12. Immerse each ball fully in the melted chocolate and place on parchment papered cookie sheet
  13. (Optional) Sprinkle the chocolaty lovelies with unsweetened shredded coconut (or if you are super trendy with your tastes, you can garnish with sea salt!)
  14. Place in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate hardens and you get a nice candy shell

Busting Through Stress – Attack & Breathe

I don’t know about you guys, but Tuesdays always seem to be the hardest day for me. Part of it may be that it’s still on the bottom half of the week, but the other part I think is just the luck of the gods – things always seem to be “goin up on a Tuesday” in my world.

Last week we talked about getting all the chaos out of our heads and onto a piece of paper. Now you’re looking at that piece of paper, and you begin to sweat and develop heart-palpitations because in order to get through that list, you have to be at least 3 people. So now you are stressed all over again. The next step in busting through stress is to use that frenetic energy and focus it into something positive…

It’s Time to Attack & Breathe
  1. Attack tasks one at a time. Once we set our task list, it can be easy to be overwhelmed and start tackling multiple things at once, forgetting parts and pieces, and because we aren’t focusing on the details of a particular task, we probably aren’t doing it well the first time. This means we are probably spending a lot more time working on multiple tasks. Your takeaway? One. Thing. At. A. Time. Each task that you’ve written down deserves your focus and full-attention. Get one thing done, cross it off the list, and move to the next thing. Not only will you get through tasks more quickly, efficiently, and successfully, but you will also feel more accomplished because tasks will begin to disappear from your list.
  2. Two Words – Focused Breaths. When the overwhelming feelings begin to creep up on you and you start wearing your shoulders like earrings and you feel like you want to scream or cry or both,  close your eyes, take a BIIIIIIIG breath in, sit-up straight, exhale forcefully through your mouth and pull those shoulders down and away from your ears. Repeat these strong, focused, deliberate breaths 3-4 for more times, and then return to your task.
Exhale and let it all go…

Doesn’t that feel better? Every time you begin to feel the anxiety rise, or your heart rate quicken, repeat this focused breathing exercise. This really helps me reset and reinvigorate myself for the challenges ahead.

So this week, I want you to Plan, Attack, & Breathe through everything that comes your way. You are in the driver’s seat, you are in control of how you react now that you have more tools to deal with the incoming crazy.

#TBT Coconut Macadamia Creamy Spread Recipe

Happy #TBT friends! In the spirit of throwing it back, I wanna throw it back to a really delicious snack recipe that is not only Whole30 approved, but is also totally easy to make and really tasty!

Before starting Size Strong, I first played around on 2 different blogs trying to figure out my voice and what I really wanted to write about. One of those blogs, 321Feast.blogspot.com I used to write with my husband and we’d post all kinds of cool recipes we were trying out at home. Well I stumbled across this oldie, but goodie, and can’t wait to make it again – so I thought throw it back for all of you. This spread is full of healthy fats and has a natural sweetness, so it will satisfy your sweet tooth and – because of the fat content – will leave you satiated without a sugar crash on the back end. ENJOY!

macadamia butter

Coconut Macadamia Creamy Spread

Ingredients
  • 2 cups Macadamia Nuts (I used dry roasted, raw are great too)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Directions

1) Blend all ingredients in a food processor, beginning with the macadamia nuts

2) Process until you get a nice creamy consistency

3) Eat off a spoon, put on celery, or top onto whatever other goodies you’ve got!

Busting Through Stress – The To Do List

Let’s be honest, stress is a reality. Although it would be nice to escape to a private secluded beach every once in a while, the fact is a lot of the things that we love exist only exist in this fast-paced, urban, driven, go-getter environment.  So if you are like me and love the thrill of living in the city, the excitement of challenges at work, the competitive spirit that drives you to surpass your perceived limits, and the desire to interact with others, stress is going to exist. The question to ask yourself now is are you going to let stress rob you of your energy, strength, and health?

Stress bites!

Or are you going to learn how to manage it and harness that energy to help you stay focused, driven, and present?

The past few weeks have been exceptionally stressful for me and in order to not only “survive” it, but to enjoy the ride, I’ve started to develop some techniques to help alleviate the pressures of stress and the anxiety that goes along with it. Is this list exhaustive? No. Are these techniques helpful for me to keep my cool when the waves of anxiety and stress set-in? Yes.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with these tips/tricks/strategies and I want to give each one the spotlight and allow for the ideas to sink in. Accordingly, I will be sharing a couple stress busting techniques with you over the next two weeks. I challenge you to begin implementing each one immediately really pay close attention to which ones seem to help you.

Stress-Busting Technique 1:  Get it out of your head, and onto paper

I cannot even begin to explain to you how immediately the stress begins to lift off your shoulders when you take it off that merry-go-round in your head and put it down on a piece of paper. For me, the simple ritual of physically writing out the tasks I need to accomplish seems to free up space in my head to actually deal with those things. I’m also a very visual person, so seeing on paper the tasks that I need to tackle makes it all appear a lot more manageable. Making lists also helps me to eliminate the fear and anxiety of forgetting to do something. There is relief in not needing to trust your memory to accomplish something, putting it onto paper removes the burden of forgetfulness. Finally, the “gift” of making a list is the incredible feeling of checking things off said list. Nothing seems to quash feelings of stress like accomplishing tasks and then drawing a big fat juicy line through them.

To implement this strategy successfully I recommend creating a ritual around it; making your list shouldn’t add to the stress of all the other tasks you need to accomplish.

  1. Go buy a fancy new notebook, one that feels special to you. Find a notebook that leaves you enough room on each page to make a list, but not so big that it becomes awkward to carry around with you.
  2. Each morning, before taking on your day, sit down for a maximum of 5 minutes (maybe with your morning cup of coffee) and let all the things just pour out of your head and into your notebook. Don’t strategize yet, don’t judge yet, don’t allow yourself to panic. Just let things pour out onto the paper.
  3. Next, look back at your list from the previous day and move over any items that haven’t been completed yet.
  4. Once this is done and you see everything you’re working with, now you can strategize, now you can plan your attack. I find it’s helpful to highlight or star tasks that must be completed first or that are time sensitive.
  5. Try to keep your notebook open when you are working. Let the list from time to time remind you of things that are time sensitive or of greatest importance.
  6. Cross off items that you have completed. Really indulge in the strike through! It feels gooooood to get thangs done!
  7. Revisit your list in the late afternoon if you haven’t looked at it since morning to see how you’re tracking.
  8. Sometimes if I find myself stressing in the evening, I will preemptively make my list before bed so I can get the thoughts out of my head and get the good night of sleep that I’ll need to tackle the list the next day

Try out this tip and see how it works for you. I know some people like to make their to do lists on the computer, I personally really enjoy writing things down by hand. Whatever your preference, get your to do list out of your head so you can use your head for all of the important things it should be used for!