From a Dangerous Low to an All Time High

Prepare yourselves!

This will be a long post I’m sure. Actually I intend it to be because it is being written over a period of time to track my feelings as I go through the beginning phases of this process.

I am about to get so real with you guys and for that, I hope you will respect and not resent me. I preach about fitness, living healthy, making healthy food choices, not focusing on how the media depicts this lifestyle, yadda, yadda, yadda. I still stand by all of this. But while I have been talking the talk, I have been crawling the walk so to speak.

I train about 5-6 times a week and I train hard. But, I only eat about 800-1000 calories a day throughout the week. Lately, weekends I go on a bender and binge on everything in the house. Popcorn, protein pancakes, peanut butter, whatever we have, I eat it. The binging has only started over the past couple of weeks. I began to worry, because I felt so out of control. I knew what I was doing was not healthy but I could not will myself to stop.

The more I thought about it, the more I stressed myself out and the more I binged. I thought about food probably every single hour of the day in which I was awake. This is embarrassing because not only was I out of control, I was damaging my body. As hard as I worked I knew my body deserved and needed more, but I was so afraid of increasing my daily caloric intake.

My fear of gaining weight, after working SO hard to get where I was, was overwhelming and all-consuming. Food in general stressed me out. I ate clean, whole foods, rarely did I eat junk, but I just wasn’t eating enough.

I decided I had enough. I still had a “goal weight” but instead of losing I was gaining on the scale. But it wasn’t so much the scale that made my decision as it was the way I looked and was feeling. I looked bloated ALL. THE. TIME. I looked sad. I felt unaccomplished and tired. My workouts were still decent but it took more talking myself up than usual. My emotions weren’t their normal self either. I decided I needed to change. IF I gain weight, I can always lose it again. I believe that. I have to.

Day 1

I am increasing my caloric intake from 800-1000 a day to about 1500-1600 to start, with a goal of 2000 daily. I am doing this in increments in order to hopefully offset the bloating and water weight that will, I’m sure, show itself within the first couple of weeks.

Let me tell you, finding food high enough in calories that’s not processed and is still good for you, is kind of difficult. My #1 rule: eat a lot of fat. For real. Fat is high calorie in low quantity which won’t leave me feeling stuffed. I made the mistake this morning of eating a HUGE breakfast: 3/4 cup of oatmeal with 3 tbsp natural peanut butter, 2 tbsp walnut halves, 1/2 cup strawberries and 1 cup of veggies on the side. WHEW! I feel miserable. And not long after I had to find myself eating a peanut butter and chocolate protein bar…OMG…I have lunch in 2 hours and DO NOT WANT IT! Unfortunately, I may find myself skipping it . *blush* I am trying! This is HARD! But I know it’s what’s right for my body. I need to fuel it properly.

Therefore, I am making a trip to Target to look for healthy, high calorie, high fat and protein options to add to my day. A good option, I think, is chocolate almond milk. I see protein bars, protein shakes, peanut butter and nuts being a large part of my diet.

 

Day 2

Hey All! Today is the second day of increasing calories. Yesterday I took in about 1600, pretty good from my usual 800-1000. Today however, I will only achieve about just under 1400. This isn’t purposefully, it’s still good progress, after all, it is progress. This morning for breakfast I had a 2 egg veggie omelet with turkey sausage and a slice of whole wheat toast with 1-1/2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. I still felt a little bit heavy but definitely better than yesterday morning. So much better in fact, that by the time lunch rolled around, I was actually hungry and finished my salad with peppers, walnuts and a boiled egg. I even indulged in 1/2 a cup of cherries when I got back to the office.

I have had a slight craving for chocolate today due to Auntie calling me up and saying she would be visiting in the next couple of days. I quickly and easily satisfied this with a hot cocoa k-cup of which the extra calories were very useful to get me close to 1500-1600.

There is so much media about how we should restrict our calories, and maybe this was the right thing to do when the population isn’t discovering health & fitness, but the fitness industry is evolving and I feel that our fitness community is growing and people are realizing the benefits of exercise and nutrition. That being said, the idea of calorie restriction has to be broken and we are having to relearn how to eat now, to be able to  fuel our bodies through a workout.

This is much tougher than it would seem. It’d be easier if I ate junk, but I am a pretty healthy girl. I don’t like processed food or fake food that isn’t nutritious and natural. Except cookies! I eat real, balanced food, with simple ingredients that I am cooking myself. In order to reach a high calorie goal on low calorie whole foods, I am having to eat A LOT! And my tummy is not used to this and I think it’s trying to figure out how to digest more food now…oh wait…that means my body is having to work more which means its burning. See where I’m going?

I cannot wait to see what the next few weeks bring. I’m still slightly concerned about fat gain, but I’m confident in my body’s ability so I need to push those false thoughts out of my mind!

Day 3

Today has been pretty great for the most part. I have actually felt hungry at times and fed my body appropriately. I still feel a bit puffy but that could be PMS so Im waiting to see. I have gone from 123lbs up to 125.5 as of last night. So, in my head I know, there’s no way I gained fat that quickly, but everything I’m used to tells me it is. Everything I am learning tells me it’s my body adjusting. I am anxious to see what the next couple of weeks bring. Overall, I haven’t had any cravings but I have been eating very clean, whole foods. Vegetables have been at least half of my meals, and a fat is incorporate at each meal, staples include peanut butter, walnuts, and avacado. I am trying to keep my meals light which is allowing me to munch on healthy snacks often, such as fruit, yogurt, dark chocolate, and popcorn. I will be honest, it’s still difficult getting out of my own head AND trying to eat so much food. Next week I am adding in chicken and sausage to up my protein and get my calories easier.

 

Day 4

Yesterday evening after I got home and began working out, I had a breakdown. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw were “love handles” and a round belly. I felt pudgy and soft. Where was the leanness and the progress I have been working years for? I felt like a failure whom had placed her self right back into the position of being depressed, out of shape, and unhealthy 4 years ago. Although I knew in my head I was psyching myself, all I could see was my current state in that mirror and I lost it…mid-workout I just began to ball. I was not sure I could continue taking in this many calories. I felt sick, like eating disorder sick. I couldn’t get out of my head to see passed this.

I tried to push through my workout but I kept being overridden with fears, doubts, and tears. In a frantic, I gave up and sat down, emailing the friend who was walking me through this process and helping me get healthy again. I was losing it, considering restricting my calories again, and I needed reassurance and someone to help me stay grounded. Almost immediately, she emailed me back reassuring me. Insisting that the puffiness and pudge I was feeling was only from 3 things:

  1. PMS
  2. Increased Fiber Intake
  3. Increased Sodium Intake

She told me to trust her and that I was doing so well. She said I need to keep going and that together, we are going to get my body to look the way I wanted while eating food in a quantity that was not restrictive or unhealthy.

Today I feel a little better. I’m still having doubts but I keep forcing myself to eat my meals and calories even when I’m criticizing my current state. All of my foods are still healthy, nothing has added salt, but I am eating more vegetables, more of everything really. I did start, which is a slight condolence and gives me hope that my friend is right, and to give my trust to her. Either way, I need to keep pushing passed this. My journey to get fit and lean and eat right, has turned into an unhealthy restriction due to the media, of which I am now staying away from.

My health is my own. I have the knowledge of what my body needs, I have studied specifically for this lifestyle. I need to stop overthinking and stop listening to the outside world, and start making my own reality. I workout hard, I eat very healthy, and I am strong. I am doing exactly what my body, mind and health need in order to regain control, quit obsessing, and stop stressing about every little bite I take. I also need to set such a better example for my followers. For being unhealthy, I am so sorry if you feel I have let you down.

Day 5

I am going to end this blog today, but I will keep you updated on my progress. As I looked in the mirror yesterday I was so motivated by what I saw! I look great! I look strong, lean, and impressive AND I ate like 1600 calories yesterday. The only thing making me feel any kind of yuck is Auntie came in, but that’ll last two days and be done. Today’s calories will be about 1500 but guess what? It includes 2 cups of of So Delicious cashew milk caramel cluster ice cream! WOW! The rest of my day has been healthy & I have a whole healthy weekend filled with calories planned! I am so happy and excited to where I go from here and how my body will grow and change. I owe a very special thank you to someone who has really helped me along this journey. She is welcome to disclose herself but as I don’t want other people to overwhelm her with questions, I will keep her identity concealed. Thank you so much for helping me find true health and change my eating habits because I was going down the wrong path, a potentially dangerous, unhealthy, and damaging path. Thank you for being there when I broke down and doubted myself, thank you for your support and motivation. Truly, you are an inspiration and such a great person for caring enough and taking the time to walk me through this. I feel so much happier and livelier. And my husband is also happy that his wife is no longer burdened by food 24/7, and stressing about whether or not 100 more calories will add fat to her body, because realistically, it will not!

Farewell my loving and precious audience. :-*

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Burritos

Mmm..num-num-num-num!

Happy #samplesunday that’s for sure!

This stuff was super easy and delicious! I let it cook, pretty much all day last Saturday, and did not feel guilty eating it. I loaded mine up with veggies as soon as it hit my tortilla and because my other half is not into my oh-so-delicious-colorful veggies 🙂 .

 

Here’s the main ingredients with some things I added like peppers, spring mix, and avocado. Other than that, the base of this dish is chicken. diced tomatoes, spices, and later rice, black beans, and corn.

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When it comes to my weekends, they’re either busy or I am really craving some time to myself. The last thing I am aiming to do is spend too much time cooking, especially when in my house it usually means making two meals, 1 for hubby and 1 (healthy) for me. 😀 With this dish, you just dump everything in, first your chicken, tomatoes, and spices. After that cooks for a couple of hours, you add in your rice, black beans, and corn.

Just look how delicious it’s already looking:

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It cooks for a few more hours or until the rice is finished, then you can plate it! We made ours in tortillas but you could just have this over a salad because it was dripping with juice but the chicken was tender. I added my veggies, rolled mine up, toasted both sides, and served with sour cream and salsa. Um, yum!

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Get the full recipe below:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or a mix
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock, divided, plus more if needed(I used more)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn

Optional toppings:

  • shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, salsa, hot sauce, diced green onions, shredded lettuce, peppers

Combine the chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, chili powder, salt, and cumin in the bowl of a 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Make sure the chicken is covered, and add additional stock if needed. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the lid and add the rice, black beans, frozen corn, and the remaining chicken broth. Replace the lid and continue cooking on low for another 3 to 4 hours. Check the rice periodically in the last hour of cooking, stirring once or twice to make sure the rice cooks evenly and adding more chicken broth if the mixture seems dry. Cooking is done when the rice is tender — if the rice is done while there is still liquid left in the slow cooker, remove the lid and cook on high to let the liquid evaporate.

Use two forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. You can do this either in the slow cooker itself and then mix it into the rice, or you can transfer the chicken to a cutting board if you prefer to keep it separate. Taste the burrito mix and stir in more salt or other seasonings to taste.

Serve with a selection of toppings or in tortillas. The mixture will keep for 1 week refrigerated or for 3 months in the freezer. This recipe makes about 7 total cups.

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Friends, I cannot explain to you how much I love cookies. Truly, it’s a relationship without judgement or shame. A friendship of love and honesty. I mean, they’re convenient, beautiful, crunchy and soft. They can have so many different tastes and go great with a delicious cup of almond milk! But let’s face it, my heart and body are not in a mutual agreement about this relationship. My heart says “yes” but my body goes “here’s my revenge!”. *sigh*

With that in mind, it seemed only fair to try and share today’s #samplesunday with my fellow #healthylivers (HAH!):

HEALTHY BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES!

These are so versatile! I opted to add in walnuts, but you could add anything really. Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanut butter, nuts, m&ms, dried fruit, the possibilities are endless. You could drizzle some white chocolate on top, whatever! They can be as healthy or as naughty as you like 😉 Most importantly, the base is two ingredients: bananas & oats.

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As you can see, I added in some PB2, walnuts, and a dash of vanilla for sweetness. You could do honey for sweetness too!

Your base is simple, mash up your ripened bananas and mix in your oats. From there, mix in any additions.

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Once you have whatever concoction you desire, we are going to spoon them out onto a greased cookie sheet and put them into our preheated oven. Now these won’t really spread out so as you spoon them out (preferably with a tablespoon) sort of flatten them and shape them as you like.

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And here are these boogers hot & fresh:

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Get the full recipe below:

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 – 1 cup quick oats

Optional:

  • Be Creative!
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • chocolate chips
  • nuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
  3. Mash bananas with a fork in a medium size bowl until most-all lumps are out.
  4. Mix in oatmeal and add any additional ingredients.
  5. Using a tablespoon, spoon and shape mixture onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Put into oven and set timer for 15 minutes checking halfway through.
  7. When timer goes off and cookies edges are browned, take out of the oven and set to cool.

Enjoy!

 

@faithengenellis101

#samplesunday

One Pan Chicken Fajitas Recipe

Happy #samplesunday !!

Today’s recipe is super easy, versatile, and great for lunch or dinner. Plus, it won’t create a bunch of mess for you to have to clean up. That’s a great thing to hear for us busy-bodies trying to get a nice meal on the table for everyone to sit down to and FINALLY relax. The added bonus: it’s healthy AND delicious! Therefore picky husbands (and even kids) will love this one.

As always, I lay out my ingredients first so I can grab from the pile as I work (it’s just easier).

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From there, I preheat my oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray my sheet pan with Pam spray. Then I begin cutting my chicken into thin strips, cutting up a whole onion and few peppers or one whole bell pepper into strips.

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Then I can take my fajita seasoning (Old el paso is what I used) and mix that with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl.

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After that you can put your chicken and veggies on a sheet pan together, pour the fajita seasoning mixture over top, and make sure all of it is coated before baking for 15-20 minutes.

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When the timer goes off, leave them in just a couple minutes longer and switch over to broil so your chicken and veggies will get a small char.

Then chow down!! Add some pico de gallo or fresh avacado too!

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Ingredients
  • 1 Bell Pepper (or more to your preference) sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 1½ lb chicken breasts, ¼-inch thick slices*
  • 1 packet of Fajita Seasoning per pound of chicken
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil per Packet of Fajita Season

Optional Ingredients

  • Sliced Avacado
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Cut your chicken into thin slices, and cut up your onion and pepper and throw onto sheet pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix your fajita seasoning and olive oil. Pour mixture over the chicken and vegetables and coat evenly.
  4. Cook in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping and shaking halfway through. When the timer goes off, broil for another 2 minutes, watching closely, to get a bit of char onto the chicken and veggies.
  5. Place on a tortilla and top with optional ingredients or eat over a bed of greens.

ENJOY!

@faithengenellis101

The Fitness Industry: Weighing in on the Negativity

For months now I have been battling with myself on a huge topic. I am in the final stages of getting my certification to be a personal trainer. I am wildly excited but also stressed because I’m having a hard time gaining exposure through social media. You see, my passion is helping people discover a healthy lifestyle and learning how to enjoy it and make it fun. More so then building a workout for an individual, I want to help them build love for themselves and positivity. Now that I think about it, I might be better as a coach rather than a trainer. I will return within the next few months to learn coaching and nutrition as I feel that is my utmost passion.

Along the way, I have been battling with the ways to gain more exposure. I have tried so hard to build my social media pages in hopes of people finding me, for whatever reason, looking to me as inspiration, and by some miracle, messaging me to talk and ask advice. That’s what makes me warm inside and feel like I have finally reached success is to see that people trust me enough to ask me questions and they feel safe enough sharing their reality and truth with me. I’m not judging you if you tell me you just ate an entire box of doughnuts alone in a closet. There are plenty of weak moments I have endured that I am not-so-proud to admit.

Here’s the thing: I want to build a name for myself by helping people and changing their lives. In order to do so, I NEED exposure. While there are options that may help with that, it would mean standing for something I don’t believe in. Companies like BeachBody (just wait, don’t hate me). I LOVE BeachBody’s workout programs and their inspiring trainers. I have considered becoming a coach in order to 1)gain the needed exposure and 2)maybe one day meet the trainers. While I can back their programs, I cannot back their “nutritional” products and supplements. I also can’t back the fact of what it means to be a coach. What I mean is, ANYONE can be a coach…with absolutely no experience or education. Now, I don’t know what BeachBody tells it’s coaches to say BUT, I have seen many of these “coaches” post the wrong information, some of which could actually HURT the people who follow them and read this stuff. Not all, but some. These coaches pay a monthly fee and from there they are given this label to which most of the public believes they have some sort of special education. They do not unless they are also certified or have a degree within the field. To build on that, I do know some certified personal trainers who also are BeachBody coaches, although I’m not sure I understand that fully. As a personal trainer, you should not recommend supplements as they are not FDA approved. Although I use supplements, and have for years, they are only safe until proven unsafe and considered safe only by the manufacturers. They are not required to be FDA regulated.

I will forever love this company and many more similar companies, but, it’s companies like this that are money hungry and they may not be doing what they’re doing for the right reasons. Which brings me to the industry’s image as well. Do any of the images below ring any bells?

Within the fitness industry, like most industries, sex sells. While I get it, if I’m a trainer, my body is my product. I am like my own walking billboard. BUT, to those just starting out or trying or wanting to make a change, how intimidating is it to go to a trainer’s website and see pictures of them posted all over, in teeny bikinis or, for men, shirtless with raging pectorals, clear cut abs, and perky booties? I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m just saying it’s overdone and to the general public this is not inspiring, it’s intimidating and used to SELL, SELL, SELL!

You’re probably wondering at this point if I’m saying we should offer our services for free? Absolutely not. Like any service, of course I expect you to pay me for my time. I do have a family after all. I’m just saying that when it comes to a profession like this, within this industry, I think it’s becoming less and less about helping people change their lives, and more and more about shoving crap down their throats because we’re “hot” and have “perfect bodies” so they’re going to buy from us!

That’s another thing: I don’t workout to be “hot” and I don’t strive for this “perfect body” I hear about. I workout, I eat right, I do what’s good for me because I want to feel good and strong, and a nice looking body just falls into place if that’s done properly.

On a final note, I know I post a lot on social media. And usually these photos are during my workout where you’ll see me in shorts and a sports bra. This is not to “show off” and it isn’t provactively done. You will never see me working out in a bikini (I’ve seen it. And hey if that’s you, do your thing) or my underwear, or posting about how “hot” I am. I do it to help keep me accountable (because I worry less about the scale) and because I get so damn HOT! and sweat so freaking much! 😀

Bottom line: Be careful about who you choose to help you along your journey. Make sure they are qualified and make sure their main goal is to help you.

 

Love you guys! ❤

 

@faithengenellis101

Nice Cream Recipe

Hey Guys!!
We have a great #samplesunday for these hot Summer days here in North Carolina. Where are ya’ll at? I am a NC girl born and raised, but I HATE HEAT!
Anyways, to offset this heat a little, I was thinking ice cream. Regular ice cream not only hurts my stomach, it isn’t good for you! I have tried the kind with almond milk but the ingredients are still questionable, as well as the sugar. Sure, Halo Top and Artic Zone are go tos for me, but why not just make my own? Oh wait, I did :).
Nice Cream!
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This is not only super easy to make, but so versatile! You can add anything to it: protein powder, different fruits, chocolate, caramel, ANYTHING!
It’s also FEW ingredients:
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 Salt, milk (any kind), and some ripe bananas!
What you need to do first is chop up your ripe bananas, and freeze them. Make sure they’re good and frozen before you begin.
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Look at those beauts!
Okay guys, get the full recipe below and remember to follow @faithengenellis101 on Instagram to keep updated on our latest post 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2-3 overripe, frozen bananas
  • milk of choice, if needed
  • pinch salt

Instructions

Start with bananas that are turning brown. Peel and cut into large pieces, then freeze in an airtight bag or container. (You can freeze a whole bunch at once so they’re ready whenever you want to make banana ice cream.) To make the ice cream, throw around 2-3 frozen bananas into a blender or food processor—adding a pinch of salt and 2-4 tbsp milk of choice for smoother blending if desired—and blend until you achieve a soft-serve texture. You can serve immediately, or transfer to a container and freeze an additional 30 minutes, then scoop out with an ice cream scoop.

 

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Additional

  • Throw in cocoa powder, peanut butter, and protein powder for a delicious, filling Chocolate and Peanut Butter Banana Protein Ice Cream.
  • Toss in some strawberries for Strawberry Banana Nice Cream.
  • Make it for breakfast! Add in protein powder, slivered almonds, and peanut butter for Peanut Butter Banana Almond Protein Breakfast Nice Cream.
  • The possibilities are ENDLESS!

How I Started My Fitness Journey

I don’t know that I have ever shared my story as to why  I chose this lifestyle. I won’t go deep into the details, however, I wanted to share with you guys why I changed my lifestyle and how it changed my health and my life.

The Illness

A few years ago, about 5 now, I was diagnosed with an illness that could, potentially, be life-threatening. Although it never got that far, thankfully, it was all because I changed the way I was living.

After much research, I found that there were cases of people beating this illness through a healthy diet, no alcohol, and all of this building up the body’s immune system, therefore, fighting off the illness entirely.

I was living like an average person just out of their teens: fast food, convenient, drink too much late at night, wake up late the next morning and cure the hangover with greasy fast food and way too much sweet tea (I am in the south ya’ll!).

Granted, I ran consistently in those days, but nothing could offset my poor diet. I constantly felt tired, I had many headaches, and now this.

When the doctor first told me, I was depressed for the first two weeks. I mean seriously depressed, constantly crying, I wouldn’t go out of the house, I was scared and just wanted to figure out how to pick myself up and move on from this point.

The Change

After my research, I decided that I was going to make a solid change. I wasn’t messing around this time. I would dedicate my time to a solid workout regimen and drastically clean up my diet and completely eliminate alcohol.

My motivation was pretty obvious at the time: do this or put your life at risk. That’s pretty substantial motivation I think. I started working out at the gym at least 3 days a week and I was picky about what I ate. I limited sugars and tried to eat as clean as possible. I made a big change very quickly.

As the months went on I wasn’t really feeling different, I had gained weight, and this worried me that I might actually be making things worse instead of better.

I attempted to make another change with determination in my head and my heart that I would be one of the few cases I had researched that completely beat this!

I started working out from my home. I wondered if, when I was at the gym, I felt like I was working out harder than I really was. There were so many distractions and moving from machine to machine took time. I wondered if I was able to motivate myself at home, if I would be better focused.

Sure enough, it worked. I began to lose weight which made me work harder and eat better. This kept me going and helped me feel as if I was making some progress.

The Checkup

When I went back to my doctor for a routine checkup, about a year and a half later, we ran through the tests again to see where I was, and to be sure there was no sort of progression.

I waited what seemed like forever to get my results back. I worried that everything I was doing was for naught, or worse, that this had actually progressed into something more.

I remember when my doctor called, I let it go to voicemail first. I prepared myself before I called him back. The feeling I had when he said I had beat this and I was healed was so surreal. Everything I did, actually worked! My immune system was stronger, my body was stronger, and I was healthy!

The Present & My Future

This lifestyle has turned into a passion of mine because I see that if I take care of my body, it will take care of me. It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of if we just care for them properly.

This lifestyle has led me to my passion and I want to share that with everybody! I want everyone to be able to experience true health, energy, focus and motivation. You are STRONG. You are BEAUTIFUL. Love your body for all of the amazing things it can do!

 

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy #samplesunday Grammers/Pressers and fellow readers!

If you aren’t doing so yet, please follow my Instagram page @faithengenellis101 to stay up to date on the latest recipes, workout videos, and tips to leading a healthy lifestyle.

I tried, tasted, and tasted again, these soft, gooey, delicious Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies! They are a healthier alternative to store bought cookies, however, with them being SO delicious they quickly grew to be unhealthy. If you guys have listened before, I am an addict when it comes to sweets. I made these for those of you who can control themselves but want a small, decadent treat here and there.

First, I got all of my ingredients together (as I always like to do):

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(Note the husband’s Frisbee in picture 😀 )

This just makes cooking/baking easier for me personally when I have everything in front of me and I can just grab as I go along. Now I used semi-sweet chocolate chips because I could not find dark chocolate chips at Aldi’s. If you’re somewhere else and can grab dark, I would opt for those. Semi-sweet were very sweet to me.

Be sure your cream cheese and butter have sat out to soften up. The butter should be unsalted and your cream cheese should be regular full fat. No whipped or low fat alternatives for this recipe!

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I mixed my flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt first and set that bowl to the side.

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Next, I put my sugars, butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla into a bowl to mix with my stand mixer. You will beat these together until smooth and fluffy, and little by little, mix in the flour mixture. Soon you will have a nice dough!

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Once you have your dough, you can mix in your chocolate chips and put this in the fridge while you preheat your oven and spray your cookie sheets.

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I took a large spoon and started forming my cookies onto the sprayed cookie sheet after about 10 minutes of them sitting in the fridge. I didn’t really “form” them so to speak, I just kind of spooned and set them on the sheet. I patted there edges a bit to make sure the cookie was together, but they won’t really spread so just keep that in mind.

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Then you can pop these babies in the oven and bake them for about 12 minutes. NOTE: The edges will be brown but the tops will appear white-ish, almost like the middle of the cookie is still doughy. It’s not. If the edges are brown, take them out. They firm up after they sit but I guess with the cream cheese they have a white appearance.

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They were delicious!!!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened (don’t use fat free, light or whipped cream cheese!)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together in a medium bowl the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and vanilla together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. I use a stand mixer.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. After each addition mix until just incorporated. I do 5-7 small additions.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to distribute.
  5. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes while you proceed to the next step.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350° and spray baking sheets with a light mist of non stick spray. When ready,  scoop the dough and place 2” apart on the cookie sheet. These cookies really don’t spread that much.
  7. Bake 11-12 minutes. The sides should just be starting to brown. You don’t want them to be brown. Just have a nice kiss of color. Let them cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Zucchini Chips Recipe

Welcome to today’s #samplesunday!

If you aren’t already, be sure you’re following our Instagram page @faithengenellis101 for recipes, tips, videos, and more!

 

Today we are bringing you Zucchini chips! Which were actually pretty good. Tip: Leave them out! I munched on a nice crispy one right out of the oven, but then I put them in a bag and they went from crisp to sog 😦 Don’t make the same mistake.

Other than that, these surprised me because they were crisp and delicious, and they didn’t take a lot of time.

I used 2 medium sized zucchini which was the perfect amount. I think, while you are making them, you might as well make a few!

First off you slice up your zucchini and start getting the slices into the milk to let them soak it up before battering.

While you get some of the slices soaking, go ahead and mix up your dry ingredients for your “batter”.

Continue to soak and batter as you lay each slice out on a cookie sheet.

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Mine looked quite pretty 🙂 Once all of the slices have been soaked, battered, and laid out, you can go ahead and bake them.

These are very simple to make but they make for a delightful, healthy snack as opposed to chips!

And here’s my finished product:

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Easy and delicious! Remember to let them sit out and cool COMPLETELY before putting them in a container or bag. Otherwise, their beautiful crispness will turn soggy 😦

Ingredients

  • 1 (large) zucchini, cut into 1/8″ – 1/4″ slices
  • 1/3 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, reduced fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine in a small mixing bowl, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Dip zucchini slices into milk and dredge into bread crumbs to coat both sides. Note: It may be necessary to press crumbs onto zucchini slices to ensure the crumbs stick.

Arrange zucchini on a non-stick cookie sheet and lightly spray with a non-stick cooking spray.

Bake 15 minutes, turn over and continue baking until golden, approximately 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing.

 

Cloud Bread Recipe: Only 3 Ingredients!

Hey Fellow Pressers, Grammers, and all wonderful people!

 

We have another GREAT #samplesunday for you. This recipe will be highly useful yet super easy on your calorie intake and carb intake (for those of you watching that). Macro-watchers, I can see this being beneficial for your fat intake due to the use of eggs.

 

CLOUD BREAD YA’LL!

 

Anyway ya slice it (HA-HA) this recipe is fun, simple, and delicious. I freaked out because you have to move quickly, but once I did it I was like “Oh, my how easy that just was!”

 

I am so happy to share this tried, tested, and tasted recipe with you guys. Here’s the breakdown:

 

First, I sat out all of my (yes, ALL) ingredients:

Ingredients

So many things!! No, not really and I LOVE that!
Okay, so when you separate your eggs, be careful not to get any of the yolk in the whites. I did the first egg I cracked! Therefore, I had to dump it and start over 🙂
From this point, you just beat your mix your egg yolks and cream cheese until smooth, and beat your egg whites and baking powder until stiff.
Once all that fun is done, work quickly to fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and get on a baking sheet.
Once you have all of them on, put those puppies in before baking! Keep an eye on them or they could get too brown, but mine turned out perfectly.
Now you can sit back and count the ways to use them. I used them as a burger bun the first night. They held up, even though they dont feel like much.
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It’s delicious! Be sure to store them in the fridge or freeze them.
Ingredients
  1. 3 eggs, separated
  2. 3 Tablespoons cream cheese (Room temp)
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking powder (or cream of tartar)
  4. Optional: 1 Tablespoon Honey or some natural sweetener, salt, garlic powder, rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Separate the eggs, there must be no yolk in the white.
  3. In one bowl, mix together the egg yolks, cream cheese and honey until smooth.
  4. In the second bowl add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder to the whites and beat the whites with the hand mixer on high speed until they are fluffy, form a nice peaks and hold their peaks.
  5. Slowly fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and mix carefully, you don’t want to break the fluffiness of the egg whites too much.
  6. Do the following as quickly as possible or the mixture may start melting – Spoon the mixture into 10-12 even rounds onto lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle with rosemary or your favorite spices and put it in the oven.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack. Then broil (cook the top) for 1 minute or a minute and a half and watch it until they become nice and golden brown. At this point make sure you watch them so they don’t burn
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool and enjoy!