Super easy taco salad bowls!!!
Preheat oven at 350

Ingredients:
whole wheat tortillas
Black beans 
Turkey meat
Spinach
Tomato
Onion
Black olives
Organic salsa
Avocado
Cumin seasoning
Chili powder
Mrs dash salt free southwest chipotle seasoning

Cook turkey meat thoroughly in pot season with chili powder,cumin, and salt free taco seasoning

Lay tortillas on a upside down muffin pan to make the tortilla bowl put in oven for roughly 5-10 min keep a eye on them because some brands cook faster than others

Drain turkey meat add to shells and put desired toppings!

Enjoy!! Share this with others!
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Brussel Sprout Chips

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the tough bottoms off the brussel sprouts and remove any of the outer leaves that may be dirty or damaged. Then continue to carefully peel off the rest of the leaves.
In a large bowl season the leaves with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
Arrange in a single layer on a non stick pan, or cover the pan with foil and then spray it with non-stick spray.
Broil for a few minutes, checking in regularly because they will burn VERY quickly if you forget about them.
Let them cool for a few min and eat. Enjoy!
Stephanie

My Grocery List Staples

“What do I eat?” Everyone asks so here I will tell you 🙂
Here is a list of food I buy for myself as well as my son give or take he gets the good stuff. I only shop every 2 weeks and cook enough food to last a few days to where I do not have to constantly be cooking and focus on the important things!
I usually cook every Sunday and Wednesday!
Protein:  Egg whites, Chicken- baked or grilled, Extra Lean Ground Turkey- Jennie-O brand,Tilapia, Salmon & Tuna!
Complex Carbs:  Brown rice, Plain Oatmeal, Whole wheat bread, Sweet Potatoe patties ( freezer section) ,Whole wheat tortillas.
Veggies: Spinach, Asparagus, Squash,Zucchini, Green beans, Cucumber, onions, peppers, tomatoes.Salad with fat free dressing ( I love the fresh steam bags that Publix has)
Drink: I drink a gallon of water everyday. Flavor it up with Crystal Light, lemons, limes, cucumbers.
Extra Flavor: Salsa, fat free salad dressing, spicy mustard, pepper, cayenne pepper, Mrs. Dash salt-free seasonings.

Why you should NOT diet or do a extreme diet:

Extreme dieting (missing meals, eating low calories and low carbs) may allow you to lose weight in the beginning, but just so you know for every 10 lbs you lose from extreme dieting, 4 of those pounds is lost muscle!!!!
When you put your body through a extreme diet your metabolic rate decreases and you will actually gain more body fat.People might notice you are losing weight, but you are becoming “skinny-fat.”
Right now I weigh 135 in High School I weighed 125 and now I look skinnier to some people now than I did back then, it is because I eat right and workout and my body is toned and does not have a layer of fat I was “skinny fat” in some sense. Muscle weighs more than fat people so dont worry if the scale goes up as long as you see results and you feel good about yourself that is all that matters!
To turn this around and to start to increase your metabolism again you need to:
  • Increase your meal frequency to every 2.5-3 hours. and eat at least 6-7 meals.
  • Drink 6-8 oz. water each day.
  • Choose a lean protein and complex carb at each meal, adding in veggies when possible.
  • Most extreme dieters just diet alone with no physical activity so workout every day to see the real weight loss results!
Fueling your body properly will promote healthy weight loss and allow you to maintain your desired weight your entire life. It is a lifestyle change remember that! Don’t diet. A diet is temporary. Save your body the stress, and nutrients that it really needs from the lifestyle that it is naturally suppose to undergo.
Love in Fitness,
Stephanie

Workout bag essentials

I often people watch while at the gym. Especially while doing cardio on the stair stepper, since it is the highest machine that’s not equipped with a TV to watch, so what better thing to do right? Here lately I look at others walking in the gym with their gym bags wondering what they would have in their bags trying to guess based on the size and type of person, don’t judge I’m just trying to pass time. I figured I would let you all in on what my work out bag essentials were.
I carry a huge Nike gym duffell bag , pink of course. Inside I have what I use on a daily basis. First thing I do once I get to the gym is remove my makeup with these handy travel size makeup cleansing cloths. I also carry extra deodorant and a travel size body spray just in case I’m running to the store or to pick up my son afterwards. I always have a arm band and these amazing ear phones called Ear Buds they are specifically made to fit a woman’s ear. They literally sound like a boom box and sound is crystal clear. I also have my workout gloves which I honestly rarely use but they are good to have handy in case I feel like doing ropes or use heavy weight on some bars. Along with my gloves I carry my water bottle and my towel, but not just any towel. This towel absorbs water and keeps you cool throughout your workouts, you can get them anywhere in the sports section I got mine at Academy Sports for around five to ten dollars. I have my boxing gloves for my one a week boxing cardio session with the bags in my gym. I carry my Thing Big workout log journal that I got from Walgreens, TJ Maxx also has super cute motivational workout books/journals. Then I have my inspiration binder filled with inspirational photo’s quotes along with my workouts and recipes and eating plans.
What do you pack in your gym bag you never know if a girl on the stair stepper is trying to figure out :).
Love in Fitness,
Stephanie

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

“Because sometimes you just need a spoon full of Peanut Butter”
1 scoop chocolate peanut butter protein.
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg white
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened milk of your choice I love Almond Milk
1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
Mix together first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
Spray a mug with nonstick cooking spray and fill with batter.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 30 seconds.
Top with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter.
“The peanut butter will melt because the protein is hot if not put it back in for 15 more seconds 🙂
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List of refined processed carbohydrates:

List of refined processed carbohydrates:
This is important information for health or weight loss. Processed carbohydrates are the major cause of weight gain, obesity, specific skin conditions, and many diet related diseases including heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
You should switch from a sugar-burning to a fat-burning metabolism for optimum health, for weight loss, or for treatment of diet related diseases. When digested, all carbohydrates become sugar. If you consume a lot of carbs as well as fats and proteins, your body will burn the carbs and increase your percentage of body fat.
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To reduce your percentage of body fat, we recommend, on most days, keeping your total daily carbohydrate intake to 25 grams or fewer. You should, though, have one weekly cheat day of one or two meals in which you get plenty of calories as well as carbs and fats. (Pizza is fine!) This will prevent your body from going into starvation mode and decreasing your metabolic rate.
Processed or refined carbohydrates are such things as:
  • tacos
  • corn chips
  • wraps
  • pizza
  • croissants
  • pasta (of all kinds)
  • rolls
  • muffins
  • flour (of all kinds)
  • crumpets
  • pastries
  • bagels
  • bread (of all kinds)
  • buns
  • pretzels
  • doughnuts
  • cookies
  • biscuits
  • cakes
  • polished rice
  • wheat
  • all products containing wheat
  • corn
  • cornflour starch
  • all products containing corn
  • candy
  • toffee
  • sweets
  • potato chips
  • batter
  • breadcrumbs
  • pastry
  • pastries
  • desserts
  • jams
  • jelly
  • jello
  • dumplings
  • pasty/pastie
  • pies
  • batter
  • all sugars
  • all products containing sugar
  • granola bars
  • breakfast bars
  • cereals
  • soft drinks
  • sodas
  • foods containing corn syrup
  • sugary drinks
  • cordials
  • store bought cooked meats/cold cuts if they have added sugars and additives)
  • sausages/hot dog frankfurters if they contain carbohydrate fillers, additives, or sugar
For either health or weight loss, strictly limit all processed refined carbohydrates (apart from the occasional treat). Refined processed carbohydrates are a major cause of weight gain, obesity, food addiction, overeating, and many diet related diseases.
If you are counting carbohydrates, use low carbohydrates vegetables and fruits.
If you are insulin resistant (and many overweight people are insulin resistant without knowing it), it will seriously affect your ability to lose weight if you include foods high in carbohydrates (like the ones listed above) in your weight loss diet
In other words, you will be attempting to lose weight but there will be little to see for your efforts. If this seems to be your situation, you should be counting carbs. You need a low carbohydrate diet and you need to eliminate, or strictly limit, your intake of processed (refined) carbohydrates.
Here is an excellent weight loss tip.
If you use pre-prepared or ready-made foods, start reading food labels.
You may be surprised at how difficult it is to eliminate sugar; it is added to many processed or pre-prepared foods.
The nutritional void that is sugar has many names such as: brown sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, granulated sugar, icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn sugar, invert sugar, corn sweetener, isomalt, malto dextrins, maple sugar, molasses, raw sugar, sorghum, turbinado sugar, and well as maltose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, lactose, levulose, sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, malt syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and fructose.
Refined carbohydrates are considered to be of comparatively low nutritional value and are therefore best avoided or at least minimized to favor a healthy diet. When plants with a high concentration of carbohydrates are broken down using a process that leaves nothing behind but its starch or sugar, the resulting product is known as a refined carbohydrate. Refined carbs are essentially like concentrated carbohydrates that provoke a strong glycemic response in the body and are generally of little to no benefit in a traditional sense.

Dangers of Refined Processed Carbohydrates

The debate as to whether carbohydrates on the whole are positive or negate things for a healthy diet rages on. Realistically though, it’s all about achieving a healthy balance and cutting nothing out entirely. In the case of refined processed carbohydrates more, these are examples of foods and ingredients that must be kept to absolute minimums in order to benefit health. And for those who consume refined carbs in large quantities or on a regular basis, the consequences can be severe.

1. Weight Gain

Long-term studies have confirmed the ongoing suspicion that individuals who eat refined carbohydrates as a part of their daily diet are much more prone to weight gain that those who abstain. What’s more, those that eat wholegrain carbs instead have been found as the least likely to gain weight. The simple reason is the way in which wholegrain cereals and products contain essential fiber in higher amounts and also don’t provoke nearly as intense a blood sugar reaction, thus assisting with the control of a person’s appetite. By contrast, refined and processed carbs are known to have the opposite effect and encourage overeating.

2. Insulin Resistance

The body depends on the insulin it produces in order to manage blood sugar levels and promote healthy abortion of essential sugars by the muscles. Research has shown that as intake of processed refined carbohydrates increases, so too do the body’s blood sugar levels and thus the levels of insulin released. Over time, the body can begin developing a resistance to the insulin which no longer has the desired effect and can lead to various health problems, including diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

3. High Triglycerides

A diet that includes an excessive intake of sugar has been linked to an increase of triglycerides in the bloodstream. These fatty cells have the potential to build up to such a point that the blood is no longer able to flow as freely and easily as it should, which can in turn lead to serious health problems like stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. Refined processed carbohydrates are known in some instances for their extremely high sugar content, which in turn means that the more refined carbs that are consumed, the bigger the risk of triglycerides becoming excessive. The recommended daily intake of sugar stands today at no more than nine teaspoons – the average American however consumes at least 22.

4. Nutrient Deficiencies

The human body depends on micronutrients like antioxidants, minerals and vitamins to get by, just as it needs macronutrients like protein, fat and carbs. As such, the more of your diet that is taken up by refined carbohydrates, the less room there is left over for the good stuff your body needs. Overconsumption of processed carbs can therefore contribute to nutrient deficiencies, which have the potential to cause head to toe health complaints from vision impairment to skin problems to headaches to mood swings and more.

How to Cut Out Refined Processed Carbohydrates

Complete and total elimination of refined processed carbs from your diet has the potential to seriously benefit your immediate and long-term health. And while it may sound like a pretty large-scale operation to do so, it’s actually more about making a series of smaller lifestyle changes. Once you get into the habit, you won’t even realize you’re making the effort anymore but can take comfort in knowing you’re a full 70% less likely to develop heart disease.

1. More Fiber Intake

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For example, one of the best ways to get started is to make a concerted effort to increase the level of fiber in your daily diet. The benefits of a fiber-rich diet are multiple and abundant, beginning with the way in which fiber helps the process of removing fatty substances and other harmful element from the body. Insoluble fiber travels through the body, effectively picking up and pushing out a variety of negative elements along the way and thus promoting health. And what’s more, fiber is also known to keep you feeling fuller for longer, which in turn makes you less likely to overeat and crave unhealthy refined carbs.

2. Wholegrain Carbs

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Another great habit to get into is that of replacing refined carbs with unrefined carbs, more commonly known as wholegrain. These are vastly more nutritious and beneficial alternatives that use the whole of the grain and thus retain much more goodness than refined carbs. The bran, endosperm and germ are all used in the wholegrain products and thus represent a source of fiber, folic acid and healthy oils. Products to look out for include whole-wheat bread, pasta and brown rice – all of which are leagues ahead in terms of nutrition.

3. Other Alternatives

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Aside from these obvious substitutions, you can also take in your recommended daily allowance of carbs from extremely healthy sources like fresh fruits, which also carry the bonus of various vitamins and fiber. Potatoes and raw vegetables are also excellent sources of healthier carbohydrates, which likewise contain fiber and other essential nutrients.
Resource: Lasting-Weight-Loss.com & Med-Health.com

About me

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My name is Stephanie and I have a passion for living healthy and being fit.  I took my love for fitness to the next level and obtained  my degree in Human Performance/Exercise Science from Huntingdon College in Montgomery Alabama. Even though I have lived a life of being physically fit my body went through a complete metamorphosis when I became pregnant with my son, along with pregnancy I overcame many obstacles during my journey to get to where I am today that challenged me mentally, emotionally, and physically .
All my life I have been physically active, while in High School I constantly stayed in the gym or ran at the park in my hometown of Phenix City, Al. I picked up the love of doing pageants from school pageants to and even Miss Alabama pageant’s. I fell in love with getting all dolled up and getting on stage to show the judges what I got.  I competed in my first and last Miss pageant my senior year when I was at my lowest weight of 125 lbs and at 18% body fat.
Soon after graduating High School, I  married my High School Sweetheart of 3 years and soon realized I was pregnant with my soon to be miracle in disguise.  While being pregnant I came to find my not so sweet sweetheart was not the person I knew and fell in love with in High School. I will not go into much detail but I was in  a very bad place in life mentally, emotionally and physically. And all that stress effected me in many ways, one being in weight.
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Average weight gain for a pregnant women is 20-40 lbs. I gained a whopping 85 lbs. in 9 months!!!!!
I went from 125 lbs. in July 2007 to 210 lbs. in April 2008.
My body fat went from 18% to 34%.
Shortly after having my son I lost the normal baby weigh gain of 30 lbs. I was at 180 lbs. 30% body fat by the time he was 3 months (July, 2008). Soon here I was a full time college student ,basically  a single mom and full time worker.  I lost another 10 lbs. due to breastfeeding but I still remained at 30% body fat around this time.
Before I knew it my son who still to this day is my baby was turning 1 year’s old and I was still at 170 lbs. still 30% body fat (April 2009). This was the same time I decided to do something with all aspects of my life to better our lives. I was having a hard time on my own and the stress that my husband was putting on me literally tore me down  mentally, physically, and emotionally. I slowly started to go walking when I could and it helped me to focus on what I needed to do to get my life where I truly wanted to be. During this time I filed for divorce July 2009 and became completely focused on Jon and I and our future, with doing this I was able to focus on me and fall back in love with working out.
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I was going to the gym everyday and eating healthier when I could, depression and stress from the divorce, being a single mom, as well as school and work kept me from eating the way I should.  By December 2009 I was weighing 160 lbs. with a body fat of 28 %. I soon became comfortable with where I was and decided to focus completely on school and getting my GPA to where it should be, divorce definitely put a  dent in my GPA and that was a huge let down for me since I have always been good in school. Once school ended I was able to work out again during the summer and got down to 150 lbs. 28% body fat. At this time  I was more focused on what the scale said, which now I know doesn’t really matter.
Fast Forward to Fall 2010 I walk into my school’s dining hall and have numerous people compliment me on how good I looked and it felt great. I yet again became comfortable with where I was and focused on school and worked out when I could. I yo yo’d between 147-150 that year and soon summer was here and I got a job at gym here in Montgomery which really helped me refocus.
Fall 2011 my senior year in College I was focused on everything Jonathan, school, work, my health and I even made the school’s dance team, things finally started going right. A couple 4.0’s and Dean’s High List of Honor’s and soon I was graduating which was a huge deal to me! With the support from my family, friends, and work I made it through my last year in college studying something I loved Fitness and the Human Body and how it works. With my knowledge that I gained and the ability to finally balance everything I got down to 135 lbs. and a body fat percentage of 22% in May 2012 the month that I graduated from Huntingdon.
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Now that I have graduated, I’am able to completely focus 100% on my diet and exercise and overall health. And with a rekindled love of working out and being fit I am planning on getting into competing in my first bikini competition one day . And along my journey I found confidence and self-esteem and true love for myself for once. I decided to tell my story and progress to not only motivate me to keep going, but to show others that anything is possible if you stick to it. I hope my fitness and health tips can help someone live a better life!!!No matter how long it may take it can happen if you are determined, and don’t give up!
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Love in Fitness- Stephanie