Author: Kimberly Gold

#bern200: Good Eats – Spaghetti Squash Carbonara by @koreangold

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It’s cold here in El Paso and by cold I mean a low of 32. Don’t judge me; I’ve been in the desert too long. This blast of chilly weather has me pushing my typical protein and veggies for something heartier and I need heartier without the heavy. Here comes my savior; the spaghetti squash.
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#bern200 – Good Eats: Pizza Spaghetti Squash Bake by @koreangold

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After the holiday madness of parties, dinners, get togethers, and epic cheat meals, I found myself missing the familiarity of my somewhat healthy kitchen creations. This weekend I had the pleasure of entertaining for some good friends and decided to introduce them to spaghetti squash. In my eagerness, I made WAY too much squash. As I opened my fridge and looked at the mountain of spaghetti squash, I was inspired to utilize what was already in my fridge and pantry to make something delish. I came up with this pizza squash combo and it tastes great!
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#bern200 – The Single Mother Fitness Struggle by @koreangold

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I don’t have time.
I’m a single mom.
I work full time.
I work over 40 hours a week.
I have a school age child that I need to spend time with.
I have my family I need to make time for.
Gym memberships are so expensive.
I’m too busy!! (We all are!! I’m writing this as I’m facilitating an event at work)

If you’ve said any of the above things when it comes to reasons why you CAN’T work out / lose weight / get in shape / or ANY goal you have, you have effectively made up an EXCUSE. As long as you are making excuses, you will NOT achieve your goals. Goals with excuses attached to them are DREAMS! Wake up, smell the coffee, and PUT IN WORK!!!

This may sound harsh, but sometimes the truth is harsh and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Like a medicine that may leave a bad taste in your mouth, the truth will get you the results you desire, if you take it.

My truth came the hard way when clothes stopped fitting, when I was tired ALL the time, when my chin was touching my neck, when I started to experience chest pain, when my boyfriends weight was getting close to my weight, when my size 7 feet hurt from carrying over 200 pounds, when I realized I didn’t want to eat in front of others so they wouldn’t see how much I was eating, when I couldn’t do anything outside of work because I was too tired and too self conscious to be out and about. These truths HURT me and even though it hurt, I waited for something. Maybe I was waiting for zero calorie food to be created, or maybe I was waiting for a magic weight loss pill. I don’t know why I was waiting to be honest. A part of me thinks that I thought something magical was going to happen and take control of my weight and health without me lifting a finger.

I waited and waited and waited some more and nothing happened. The number on the scale didn’t go down, my eating habits didn’t change, my clothes felt more snug. I was doing something wrong; I was doing nothing.

It was time to take a long hard look in the mirror and do something about MY health. I needed to exercise some authority and control in my life! My life, my choices, my actions!

Being a single mother, my schedule is pretty booked. Work from 730-430 while the kid is in school and daycare. After work it’s time to pick up the crumbsnatcher, make dinner, homework, bathe her and me, and before you know it, it’s time for bed. Time is precious and limited!! We don’t have enough of it!! So how do you squeeze more into an already jam packed day??

1. Sacrifice

I’m TIRED and I want to spend my mornings sleeping but 4 times a week I get up and work out before work!!! This doesn’t take away from anyone’s time but my own! Would I rather work out in the evening or during the work day? OF COURSE, but that’s not an option! I work with what I have and it requires sacrifice! But you know what; I can be tired from working out or I could be tired from being fat! I choose the first, because at least that’s something I can be proud of!

2. Planning

I plan my meals and grocery shop for the week. Nothing crazy and nothing elaborate and I make sure that meals are interchangeable. Prep work is done on Sundays and the week flows smoothly. (More to come on this very SIMPLE and BUDGET FRIENDLY grocery list)

3. Letting Go Of Bad Habits

This is the hard one. You have to evaluate how you’re spending your time in order to maximize it. Once you do you’ll find that you’re wasting a lot of time on: sleeping, eating, Facebook, Twitter, IG, checking email, water cooler talk, going out to eat, day dreaming, web surfing, mindless tv, etc. Once you can pinpoint what those time wasters are, you can start replacing that time with more productive things such as a workout, meal prep, or self reflection. Let’s face it folks; we waste a lot of time. Even the busiest people can find time that they wasted that could have been out to more productive use.

The truth is everyone, single mother or not, ONLY has 24 hours out the day! We can’t change that but we can change how we use those 24 hours. Time can never be returned to you. Either you make the most of it or squander it. What are you willing to do to maximize it? How do you maximize your time? What are some ways you know you waste time?

#bern200 – Good Eats: Four Ingredient Crockpot Spaghetti Squash ‘Spaghetti’ by @KoreanGold

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I literally have no clue what to call this. No jazzy name comes to mind but the meal speaks for itself. A no cook, no fuss ALL delish meal! This is a perfect meal for those days when you feel like doing NOTHING for dinner. Spaghetti with squash instead of pasta for the Paleo freaks out there!

Ingredients

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  • 1large Spaghetti squash (approximately 5 lbs)
  • 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24oz can Spaghetti sauce (check the ingredients!!!!) (My own recipe will come soon but for this we used a Sprout’s version)
  • 15 Meatballs (again; CHECK the ingredients!!!) (Again, my recipe will follow but for the sake of being lazy and not wasting what was already in the freezer we used Kirkland brand frozen meatballs)

The Sauce
Toss your carefully chosen spaghetti sauce and meatballs in a crock pot on low for 4 hours or 6-8 on warm.

The Squash
We chose a pretty large squash but only because we used the leftovers for a yummy curry.
-Preheat oven to 400.
-Halve your squash and scoop out insides. Discard insides and lightly coat squash with extra virgin olive oil.
-Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper ( you don’t HAVE to do this, but who wants to wash a pan when you don’t have to). Place the squash flesh side down. Using a fork, poke holes in the squash. Place in oven for 40 minutes.

Your squash is done when you can easily pierce it with a fork or knife.  Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the squash out of its shell in a vertical motion. The squash will come out in strands and should come out very easily. Make sure to get to the shell; you can get A LOT of our your spaghetti squash if you exercise patience.

The Meal
Top your squash with your crockpot sauce and BOOM your meal is done!

The “Gold”en Touch
Make your squash a few days ahead of time. This will save you a lot of time during your week. Squash stores well in the fridge. One large squash makes about 6 hungry man servings or 8 reasonable portions.
Spend a day making your own sauce and meatballs. Both can be frozen and stored. This will save you tons of hidden calories and preservatives.
While the above tips might make this meal labor intensive, it is a ONE time labor intensive project that will make your week day meal planning so much easier. And if you lack the time or energy to make your own sauce and meatballs, that’s OKAY. Semi home made is ALWAYS better than your fast food or casual dining options; for your waistline and your wallet.

Also, keep in mind that spaghetti squash is NOT spaghetti. It doesn’t swirl on your fork like spaghetti nor does it have that bite like a piping hot bowl of al dente pasta but you’ll soon forget that once it registers that 1 cup of spaghetti squash has a whopping FORTY TWO calories!
Try it and let me know what you think! Leave a comment below!

#bern200 – Maintaining, The Paleo Way By @KoreanGold

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Food should be good. Food should taste good. Food should be good for you.

I can honestly and sadly say I have lost and gained about 300 pounds since puberty. My problem has never been getting the weight off; it has always been maintaining weight loss. Falling out of habit, 5 pounds become 10 becomes 20 becomes 50 becomes 80. So this go around, it’s more important to learn and sustain healthy eating habits and to learn how to deal with stress the right way NOT by stuffing my face with sugar laden, fat laden food.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my body doesn’t respond well to certain food. Unfortunately, cakes, cookies, pies, breads, muffins, and other foods filled with bad carbs are the ones I enjoy the most. Being locked in a bakery is a common reoccurring dream! It seems as though my body holds on to these foods. Sometimes, I like to think that my body is literally allergic to these foods. Sounds crazy, huh?? Until I found out that many people feel this way and as a result they resorted to the Paleolithic diet or more commonly known as “Paleo”.

The concept of Paleo is simple enough. Quoted from RobbWolf.com, “The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.” This diagram sums it up.

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A diet like this can be a real life changing routine. It gives you the ability to eat a variety of great tasting, nutritious food that is good for you, while excluding everything that’s not.

After extensive research (Google) and personal interviews with those who have adopted the Paleo lifestyle, I decided to give it a go for a month in February. I REALLY enjoyed the results. I had more energy and I could see a noticeable change in the way my clothes fit. However, those old habits kept calling my name, so I told myself I would do a week of cheat meals for the first week of March and resume the Paleo lifestyle. Needless to say this did NOT happen! Who plans a week of cheat meals? That’s planning for failure. Still, it matters not how many times you fail but instead how many times you get back up. Therefore I’m back at the Paleo lifestyle as a way to enjoy food without the guilt of processed foods.

To change your life, you must first change your life.  Weight loss is about finding a lifestyle change that works for you. I love food and I love to cook and I love to look good! Follow me as I explore this Paleo lifestyle!

To learn more about the Paleo diet, check out http://robbwolf.com/

Have you adopted a certain diet as a means to stay healthy? Have you tried Paleo? What’s your favorite “diet” food?

 

#bern200 – The ‘We’ In ‘Weight Loss’ by @KoreanGold

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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much “ Helen Keller

I made a bet 7 months ago. It was a weight loss bet; a challenge to see who could lose the most percentage of body fat. I’ve gained and lost weight before, so I figured it was going to be an easy win! The prize for the winner was a plane ticket to see the other person. Lose the weight and get to see the man I’m interested in at HIS expense? This was going to be an easy win.

Fast-forward 7 months; he’s lost 130 pounds, I’ve gained 10. In that 7 months I acquired a trainer, modified my eating, stopped going to the trainer, and started eating WHATEVER I wanted again. I had the desire to lose weight. I also had the knowledge; eat less, work out more, eat healthy. But I could not exercise the control or discipline to maintain consistency. Food was/is my drug and that, coupled with my unhealthy relationship with exercise, meant I was headed on a road to extreme unhealthiness.

Week 1 October 14-20: one of the HARDEST weeks of my life!

As a single mother working a mid career professional in an understaffed non-profit organization, to say I am busy is an understatement. Looking at my schedule, I decided that the BEST time to work out at 4:30am before work. I’m not even a morning person at 5:45am to get to work by 7:30am, so this 4am alarm clock was NOT going to be my friend. However, achievement takes sacrifice, so good-bye sleep.

The workouts weren’t so bad. The “diet” was pretty easy.

But the way my body was responding to the combo was MURDER. I was dog-tired every day of that week. I wanted to quit EVERYDAY, but I didn’t because I wasn’t in this fight by myself. I had someone struggling with me everyday, someone encouraging me everyday, someone who was eating the SAME thing I was eating everyday and that partner made those workouts, wake ups, and meals easier to endure.

This brings me to my point. The decision to lose 1 pound is hard, the decision to lose almost 100 seems impossible and it can only be done 1 pound at a time. No human being is an island, sometimes you need help, and with a massive goal you need some serious help.

I am fortunate enough to have a team to help me. I am fortunate to have a man who holds it down with me at work, a close friend who plans activities that do NOT revolve around food, and close friend at work that stashes healthy snacks for me in her office.

When making this hard lifestyle change, supportive people around is THE most positive thing you can do for yourself. The value of a team to keep you encouraged, share healthy recipes with, and to relearn how to have fun without food is immeasurable.

So many people will tell you that you CAN’T do it. You CAN do it. Find those folks in your life that believe in you and your ability to do whatever you can put your mind to. This not only applies to weight loss but in ANYTHING that you desire to do. The ‘we’ in ‘weight loss’ means more than you think.

#bern200 – ‘But I Don’t Have Time For Breakfast!’ Tips From @KoreanGold

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“I don’t have time for breakfast.”

“I’m not hungry that early in the morning.”

“I don’t know what to eat.”

“I don’t have time for breakfast” is the excuse I most commonly hear when I talk to others about starting the day off right. I don’t have time either but I MAKE time. My job, my family, fitness, and Facebook take up a good chunk of the 16-18 hours I am awake but we still MAKE time, EVERY SUNDAY. Prepping food for the week ensures we have time for breakfast every morning, and since it’s the most important meal of the day, you can’t skip it.

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Every Sunday we get our groceries for the week. Every Sunday, I’m dicing up bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cilantro for the week. I sauté them up and off they go to the fridge waiting for me throughout the week to make one of the best omelets EVER.

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I like to top my omelets off with some salsa. The salsa just adds that extra ummph to the omelet. I normally buy salsa from the store. However, in an effort to save on sodium and money, I made my own salsa. Living in El Paso for the last few years, I’ve learned to really enjoy GOOD salsa. If you MUST buy salsa, Sadie’s salsa is THE way to go. Below is the recipe I use for my home made salsa.

Ingredients

6 roma tomatoes
1 can of organic tomotaoes
handful of cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers diced
½ of large yellow onion diced
1 bell pepper diced
juice of 1 lime
minced garlic to taste
sea salt to taste (be easy on the salt; the jalapeno goes a LONG way)
Pulse to desired consistency and store in fridge.

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In the mornings, as I’m getting ready for work I take an egg or two and some egg whites (in the carton), throw the veggies in and top the omelets with some of the above homemade or Sadie’s salsa and breakfast is DONE in 10 minutes or less. That’s 10 minutes; you have 10 minutes. Get off of Facebook for a few minutes in the morning, don’t make that trip to (insert fast food chain here) etc. and give yourself time to make yourself a delicious and healthy breakfast.

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What do you usually eat for breakfast? Leave a comment below!