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Happy Wednesday, babes!

Today I would like to introduce you all to my girl, Ashley of the Health & Fitness blog Sanely Skinny.  Ashley’s fitness story is incredible, like you have to check it out, and if you look at her now, you’ll pretty much die (she’s perf right?!) Ashley & I recently got together to bring you a double post for this beautiful summer Wednesday, we both answered need-to-know questions about our fitness stories, what inspires us and what keeps us in the game. Check out my interview on Ashley’s blog, here!

Enjoy!

Ashley1

-Introduction-

Hi All! My name is Ashley Buckley and I am from sunny San Diego, California. I have grown up here my whole life, but this coming fall I will be attending college at CU Boulder and studying Journalism and Mass Communications. I decided to study this major thanks to my blog/baby, SanelySkinny.net. I began this blog about two years ago to share my weight loss story and to help teens and young adult adapt healthy habits in order to live a more fulfilling, fun, healthy life.

-What is your fitness story?

My fitness story began way back in 8th grade. I had grown up playing basketball thanks to my height of 5’9. I would play on my school’s team, but in 8th grade I joined a traveling team in my county and that I guess is where my fitness/ weight loss began. After a few weeks of practices and games, I started to notice a difference in how my clothes fit and I decided to step on the scale and noticed I had lost about 10 pounds without even dieting! After the season ended, I did not want to regain the weight I had lost, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and continue to exercise. I would religiously go to step classes (flashback to the 90’s!) with my mom every morning during the summer going into my freshman year of high school. Along with attending classes, I began tracking my calories with the app Lose It. For that entire summer that was my life; workout and eat the right amount of calories. This continued for a majority of my freshman year as well until I went from 200 pounds to a toooooo slim 120. I have regained some of the weight because for my 5’9 frame 120 pounds is way to slim. I never regret the work I had to put in to lose 80 pounds and am beyond happy to say that I did it!

-What is your advice to someone just starting out on their fitness journey?

My advice for anyone starting a fitness journey is to remember that nutrition is KEY to weight loss. I don’t care how many hours you spend in a gym, you need to eat right to see results. PERIOD. Cut out any processed crap in your diet. No chips, white bread/pasta, soda, or anything out of a plastic bag or can for just one week, and you will see a huge difference trust me! So even though I stress honing in on your nutrition for weight loss, you can’t sit around your house and expect to get results. Go for a 30 minute walk on the beach or take a group exercise class at your gym! Just move!

-What inspires you to live a healthy lifestyle?

What motivates me the most to live a healthy lifestyle is my weight loss. I absolutely LOVE how I feel when I finish a spin class, run, or workout. I also feel amazing when I eat healthy. I am also signed with two modeling agencies in Southern California so eating healthily and working out are an absolute MUST!

Ashley3-What does your weekly workout routine look like?

My weekly workout schedule changes frequently. Right now I am all about shorter, quicker workouts that incorporate full body movements and weights. I recently purchased T-25 and the 21 day Fix from Beach Body and I am LOVING the results! To be completely honest, I am a huge cardio junkie. But what I came to notice about cardio is that it really doesn’t change your body. Yes, cardio allows you to burn an insane amount of calories, but it just wasn’t giving me the results I desired. So I completely revamped my workout! Instead of logging 60 minutes on the spin bike 5-6 days a week, I now only do it about 3 times a week. On the other days, depending on how I am feeling, I will pop in one of my workout DVD’s and log in 25-60 minutes.

-Top 3 go to snacks:
100 pack of almonds (PORTION CONTROL IS KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS!)
Packet of beef jerky
Quest Bars <- these will change your life if you have a sweet tooth!

-How do you combat cravings? What is your favorite splurge?

I personally have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet. I love ice cream, brownies, cookies, you name it, but of course I can not indulge in these items daily. I think the number one thing that has helped me with my sweet tooth is Quest Bars. If you have never tried a Quest Bar, you are missin’ out. These bars literally taste like dessert, I kid you not. They have anywhere from 160-210 calories, hardly any carbs or sugar, and 20 grams of protein! They come in a variety of different flavors, Cinnamon Bun and Oreo to be my top two favorites, and are available online a www.Questnutrition.com, your local GNC or health store alike. Another piece of advice on curbing your cravings other than adding Quest bars into your diet, is to eat frequently throughout the day so that you NEVER go hungry. If you let yourself go too long without eating you are more likely to over eat at your next meal. I advise you eat 5-6 small meals throughout your day, spaced out between 2 to 3 hours. And as far as my favorite splurge goes, I looooove indulging in a California Burrito every now and then. Yes, I know I just said I had a huge sweet tooth, but my Quest Bars keep me happy and satisfied that I actually would probably choose them over ice cream.

-Any advice to readers who want to lose weight without “dieting”?

My advice for anyone who wants to lose weight with out dieting is to quit dieting all together. Begin viewing food as fuel, something your body NEEDS. Eating healthy is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. You can not live off of frozen diet meals and diet protein shakes. You need to feed your body properly whether you are trying to lose weight or not. Begin by cutting out all processed foods in your diet, and add in more fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. You will notice a difference immediately!

-Favorite way to relax after a stressful week?

My number one way to relax after a stressful week is to climb into my bed and binge watch Orange is the New Black or House of Cards.

-Number one Skinny Tip?
Sweat every morning before you eat anything! This will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day!

Ashley2

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In my house, taco night happens at least once a week, sometimes more.  We grill spicy chicken, make guacamole, dice up fresh veggies, and basically just get down.  It’s kind of amazing.  The guac we make is pretty legendary, but even we have to change it up from time to time.  So, during our last taco night, I opted for a tostada salad and made an avo dip/spread/salad dressing.  I love making my own dressings because you know exactly what the ingredients are, and they’re fresh (x a million), with NO preservatives or additives.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetLove.

And welp, in case you were wondering- this turned out freaking incredible.

You.Have.To.Try.This.NOW.

Ingredients:

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Fage)

1/2 Avocado

2 Green Onions

1 Garlic Clove

2 Tbsp Lime Juice

1 Tsp Agave

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Hanful Organic Cilantro

Directions:

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetToss all into a blender, blend until smooth. Serve as a dip, toss in a salad, or use as a spread!

Couldn’t be easier, I mean, really, and the taste….

Think creamy, savory, delicious.

What’s your favorite homemade dressing?

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Let’s get real for a moment, shall we?

photo 3

It starts out as a casual happy hour with your ladies, you go in with good intentions, one drink and you’ll just squeeze a lemon into your water for the rest of the evening. Same thing, right? Except you don’t order water after your first drink.. You order more drinks, oh and you enjoy that. You deserve it!  You’ve had a long week and YOLO?  Ya, YOLO.  Cut to you and your ladies piling into an UberX (you’re not taking reg Uber, you don’t care anymore), scaring your driver with your insane remarks and rolling up to Taco Bell like a wild animal out of its cage.

Er..

I mean, that’s totally never happened to me.

Ahem.

photo 4Anyways, whether that story seems familiar or a few too many glasses of vino while watching your favorite trash TV is more accurate, the point is, s%it gets really real the next morning when you’ve gone a little too far. I’m talking- thoughts of never drinking again/feeling like you may never leave your bed/making excuses for not getting out of bed, and the list goes on.  But here’s the thing, you have to get out of bed. No one’s going to do the job of being YOU for the day, so on this rare occasion that you are hungover, I have a cure, and it’s not too complicated.

Basically every health loving person I know, knows all about JUICE. Green juice, that is. Juice is a powerful thing and we’re talking the kind YOU (yesh you) squeeze or juice at home, not the bottled crap from the store. I hope we all know to avoid those now, just like we would avoid sodas (you are avoiding sodas right?!?!) Post on that soon.

Why this rocks:

-Carrots are nutritionally dense- high in Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, B6, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and contains a variety of phytonutrients which promote healing in our bods. Carrots help to alkalize your body (restore the pH balance in your body, a post on this soon!) FYI- Alcohol throws off the pH balance in your body because it is highly acidic. Carrots help to restore this balance. Carrots also aid in hydration, the juice is a natural diuretic and aids in constipation. It naturally rids your body of toxins.

-Apples are high in fiber, pectin, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and a number of phytonutrients, which contain anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants and ward off cancer. Apples are great for maintaining bone density, digestion, and they replenish much needed vitamins and minerals depleted from the body.

-Ginger has twelve types of antioxidants, and helps to ward off diseases, and the common cold.  Ginger also aids in digestion, fatigue, muscle soreness, inflammation.

-Kale is extremely nutritionally dense, helps to maintain bone and brain health, and reduces inflammation in the body. It is a powerful contender in this recipe for its many healing and nurturing properties.

So here’s what you do:

-Gather your ingredients from one or more of these sources (local farmer’s market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, co-op).

photo 2-List of ingredients: Organic Carrots (full size), Organic Apples, Organic Kale/Spinach, Organic Ginger.  I recommend to always have these available so it’s not a chore to hunt these down. This should be part of your routine.

-Think about not being hungover.

-Move your body to the kitchen (if you live in a small apartment or house, consider yourself lucky, as this step now takes less effort).

-Open your refrigerator (feel the cool air, it’s so nice).

-Gather your ingredients and wash them.

-Find a cup to place under your juicer. (Seems intuitive, but I have forgotten this step in the heat of the moment).

-Start juicing!

-Once your done, clean your juicer (this is the most agonizing part, but you get a reward, don’t worry).

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset-Drink your miracle juice.

-Feel all the feels of love.

 My juicer of choice, you ask? Buy here. Well worth the dollaz.

What’s your fave juice recipe? Any great hangover cures?

;)

 

 

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There are things that come naturally to us, and then there are things that come with a little more prep/work/focus. For me, eating is an example of something I know how to do flawlessly. Cooking, however, not so much. When it comes to summer, I’m thinking easy, fresh, yummy, pretty (yes this matters), and healthy. Not complicated, 1 million ingredients, have to think, nastiness!photo 18

Enter my Stupid Simple Summer Salad. Soooooooo simple it’s stupid. All ingredients are organic (doy), and fresh, so get to chopping, throw in your salad spinner and viola! This is an easy-peasy, throw together what you have in the refrigerator type dinner.  I start with romaine or spinach (whatever I have on hand), fresh berries, avocado (forever), and whatever other veggies I have around. Think squash, carrots, peppers, they’re all delicious!

photo 19Tip: Start cooking your quinoa first, so it’s ready when you’re done chopping/assembling.  BTW- this quinoa= best ever, seriously. 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 FYI- this is totally easy to take on the go as well, it’s light and so delicious!

Enjoy! Let me know what your fave summer salads include!I’m always down to try new recipes. :)

 

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When I go to the grocery store, whether it be Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, a Co-Op, whatever, you better believe I’m being a total FREAK about checking labels. I’m not calorie counting (hello, what year are we in? 2005??) No, I’m straight up looking at ingredients.

Almond Acai BoxAs a rule, my cart is full of the following items: organic fruits, organic vegetables, and lean proteins (nuts, beans, turkey, eggs, etc).  But let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t have the time OR energy to fix up an amazing huge salad or a full cooked dinner, so I always keep other options around the house, such as bars.  The thing is, bars and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love that they’re quick and usually tasty, but I hate that they are thinly veiled unhealthy, sugary beacons of crap.  The so-called “healthy” protein bars, meal replacement bars, granola bars, etc are commonly jam packed full of artificial sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives, I mean- no. I thought they were all the same until one day…. (dramatic song playing)

Basically The Perfect Bar fell into my lap while shopping at Costco (hello- best place ever). Each bar is full of over 20 organic super foods, they’re all GF (gluten free-ftw), Non-GMO, have no preservatives (except Organic Honey- which serves as a natural  preservative, I mean if you’re into that sort of thing), and straight up taste like heaven on a stick.Cranberry Crunch Bar

Don’t believe me? Check the label on my personal fave- the Cranberry Crunch:

P1

9G of WHOLE FOOD PROTEIN, be still my heart.

So basically, my buds at Perfect Bar sent me a whole bunch of bars to try and all of the crazy amazing information on their company, how it got started, and what inspired this amazing journey to create the Perfect Bar. Insert biggest smiling emoji ever, here.

(little background story)

Their flavors are amazing. Original Peanut Butter, Carob Chip, Fruit & Nut, Almond Butter, Almond Coconut (o.m.g), Almond Acai? Oh, and made in sunny San Diego, so rad! Each full size bar varies from 200-310 calories, and the mini’s are 100 cals. Although these bars have to be refrigerated (they can survive for 2 weeks at room temp though, btw), they are incredibly convenient to grab on the go.

I keep one in my gym bag, just in case I need a boost, and have been known (on more than 1 or 10 occasions) to grab one of these for breakfast instead of going through the lengthy breakfast process every day.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBuy here or buy here, and consider the Perfect Bar your new best bar friend.

 

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