Fitness Feature: Meet Danielle!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Today I wanted to share with you an inspiring story of an amazing young woman whom I was lucky enough to meet while in college at Ohio State.

Danielle is an inspiring person. She has been on a healthy living journey for the past few years and was gracious enough to share her story with all of you today.

I hope her story inspires you as much as it does me, to continue living healthfully.550358_575369182494273_1332945567_n

Lisa: Tell us a little about yourself.
Danielle: My name is Danielle, I am 26 years old, and I am getting married in September to my high school love. I have been overweight my entire life and I strive daily to live a healthy lifestyle.

Lisa: You look amazing! What inspired you to begin your healthy lifestyle journey?
Danielle: Thanks for your kind words, I feel amazing. I began my lifestyle change almost four years ago when I graduated OSU. I was gearing up to start my master’s program in Europe and I wanted to be less than 300 pound before doing so. At this point in May of 2010 I weighed 320 pounds at 23. When I arrived to Holland, Netherlands in August of 2010 I weighed 295 and I was ecstatic, but still wanting to lose more I continued to exercise daily with a goal of burning 340 calories a day, accompanied with healthy eating. I had gave up beef and pork years ago, but I was conscience of what I ate making sure it was lean and nutritious instead of carb loaded and negative on the body. Within the first year of changing my life for the better I had lost 101 pounds and became a vegetarian. 3 years later I am 120 pounds lighter, still a vegetarian, a runner of half marathons and various races, and a healthy individual.

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Lisa: What keeps you motivated?
Danielle: By 23 I had experienced my first round of mammograms in which they found a lump in one breast, had been diabetic for 10 years and my health seemed to be declining at a rate that was alarming. At 24 years old right after completing my graduating my master’s program, I underwent a double lumpectomy due to the increasing number of lumps growing in my breasts. Although, I had turned my life around and was the healthiest and the lightest I have ever been my body was still enduring the consequences of my previous lifestyle. I woke up one morning after surgery much smaller in my breast region, sore, without the possibility to breastfeed, and begged God to allow me to live a healthy life going forward. This prayer and decree to myself is what motivates me. I love what being healthy has done for me. I no longer have to take my diabetes medicine, which I had been on for 10 years because I can now control it through diet and exercise. I love running now, something I never thought I was capable of doing. Most importantly, I am a living health story for my family. Yes, bad habits can be broken, yes, you (of course You reading this) can turn your life around for the better, and it will feel amazing! It is hard work, and trusts me, there will be moments when defeat reins your head, but remind yourself of this, you didn’t gain that weight overnight, and so it won’t fall off overnight. You’re not a failure because at least you’re trying to change and believe me, you have. Give yourself time and be patient with yourself.

Lisa: How did/do you deal with setbacks?
Danielle: I deal with setbacks by allowing myself to feel what I feel and validate it. Then I jump back on the horse and continue to work out and eat healthy. I just remind myself of how far I’ve come, and that anything worth having is worth working hard for. Sometimes, I groan about how unfair it is that some are naturally small and do not have to work out or eat well. But then, I come back to reality and out of self- pity and realize how grateful I am to be alive, and able to do the things I need to do to live an active healthy lifestyle. Lastly, I have to remind myself not to be so hard on myself, because failure is not me falling back into eating a few more fries than I should or not working out for a couple weeks. Failure is me never trying, and letting those bad thoughts and comments about me win; those that tell me I am not capable of being the very best me I can be, which is a happy healthy and active me.

Lisa: What is your favorite workout?
Danielle: My favorite workout is running. Although, we have a love hate relationship, there is nothing like running off a set of feelings, or the feeling of finishing your first race, albeit, a 5k, a half marathon, a marathon or any other distance when you never thought you could. And of course, reaching that runner’s high makes me feel like superwoman, and I feel happy and free.

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Lisa: What is your favorite healthy meal?
Danielle: My favorite meal is salad! I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Lettuce is one of my favorite foods, and I crave salads. There’s nothing better than a fresh salad with tomatoes onions and vinegar and oil based dressing to fill up the tummy!

Lisa: What advice would you give to people who want to start a healthy lifestyle journey?
Danielle: Take it one day at a time, and celebrate each milestone reached, not by eating but by a new physical activity. With each new milestone I added a new activity I wanted to do, but was too afraid to. I would take a new dance class from bachata to belly dancing. I started spinning, running, water aerobics, riding horses, and even hiking. When I was at my heaviest I thought I could never do these activities, not because I was too heavy, but the fear of others seeing my body move paralyzed me. However, I realized that I too deserve to live the life I want regardless of my size or how it may offend some. Guess what happened? I realized, I love to dance, I love to spin, I love to hike, I love to run, and I love to stay active. So, my rewards all became things I can’t see my life without now.

Lisa: What is your ultimate goal for your healthy living journey?
Danielle: Ultimately, I just want to stay healthy and active. Size and numbers will become less important and the joy of living healthy will become the most important.

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Lisa: What is the secret to being successful in healthy living?
Danielle: The secret to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to have FUN! If you’re having fun doing the activities you are more inclined to stay with it. I love to dance so taking dance class wasn’t to lose weight but to have fun. It just so happened that I lost weight in the process.

Lisa: Who has helped you the most in your journey?
Danielle: The most influential person throughout my journey has been my fiancé. He loved me at my heaviest and has always made me feel beautiful. He keeps me grounded and relaxes me when I feel manic about achieving a certain weight goal. He rubs my calves after each half and he’s always my number 1 cheerleader. Most importantly he loves me exactly how I am and that’s a feeling that doesn’t come with a number.

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“Like” this post or leave a comment for Danielle!
(respectful and encouraging posts only – we are positive here at The Wife Life!)

A big THANKS goes out to Danielle, again, for sharing her story and being an inspiration for so many people out there starting and living a healthy lifestyle!

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Recipe of the Week: Italian Pizza Bread

Sooo…I know it’s technically not Sunday anymore, but I did make this delicious Italian Pizza Bread yesterday for my lunches this week.

This is a twist on the classic Pepperoni Bread I enjoyed as a once in a while treat at my house growing up. My sister and I used to beg my mom to buy a loaf at Giant Eagle or (even better) make her version of this bread at home!

In honor of her Birthday today (Happy Birthday Mom!!), I’m sharing with you all my take on the delicious concoction. I won’t put measurements for the meat/cheese fillings as everyone likes their filling differently. I will say, though, that I cover my surface by slightly overlapping each meat layer. You can also cheat and buy pizza dough from your local grocery if you don’t have the time to make it from scratch, although I do believe it is totally worth the extra effort to make it homemade!

Italian Pizza Bread

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1&1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Sliced Mozzarella or Provolone cheese
Sliced pepperoni
Sliced Salami
Sliced ham

Directions

For the dough:
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and rosemary in a stand mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix well.
2. Heat the milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until it reaches 120 degrees. Stir I Beth melted butter.
3. Add milk/butter mixture to dry ingredients and put mixer on speed two. Let this combine into a dough. You may have to help it along a little bit with a rubber spatula.
4. Once a dough has formed, let it knead on speed two for 3 minutes.
5. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for one hour.
6. Punch down dough and let rest for ten minutes.
7. Stretch dough into a large rectangle.
8. Start by covering the surface with cheese, making sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch border for rolling/sealing. Continue with layers of pepperoni, salami, and ham.
9. Starting at the short end , lift the dough up and roll, ensuring that you are not just pushing the fillings off the end. Continue rolling until complete. Seal edges by pinching the excess dough together. It should look something like this.

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10. Place on a buttered sheet pan, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes.
11. Melt an additional tablespoon of butter and brush the surface. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese to coat. (This step is completely optional but who doesn’t love a buttery, cheesy crust?!)

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12. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes.
13. Let bread cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Cali Travel Pt. 4: 59-Mile Scenic Drive, Episode 2

So I posted last Saturday about our start of the 59-Mile scenic drive. We continued this week and found so many cool things! A visit to UCSD was filled with whimsy, La Jolla was beautiful, the Aquarium was awesome, and driving through three parts of town produced amazingly large homes and beautiful ocean views along with some gliders!

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If You Are What You Eat, Then Consider Me Bacon

I love bacon. I truly believe that it is one of God’s greatest gifts. Apologies to any vegetarians…I could never give up bacon.

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(Mmmmm…brown sugar bacon biscuits…)

But seriously, now, I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts from friends and acquaintances lately that have been talking about their weight loss goals. Most of them are starting some “wonder diet” that will get them down 30/40/250 pounds down in a month…like, really, guys?

Now I’m not bashing their want to get fit and healthy, but I feel like so many people are quick to jump on a drink/frozen meal/pill regiment and then get disappointed when the results reverse quickly after stopping the plan.

I saw a great quote the other day that said “Abs are made in the gym and seen in the kitchen.” How amazing is that?! It’s so true! Eating is the number one ticket to weight loss.

As I said before, I have a (probably unhealthy) obsession with bacon. It’s one of my all time favorite foods. With that being said though, I don’t eat it all the time. Mostly, I eat awesome things like this Rosemary and Garlic Salmon with Roasted Veggies…

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Can I share with you a secret to weight loss without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of your favorite foods? Everything in Moderation. It’s that simple. If you want ice cream, eat ice cream; but only have 1/2 cup or try for some low-cal frozen yogurt instead. You want chips? Great! Eat them! But follow the serving suggestion on the bag and stop there! Know your calorie intake and stick to it. Try keeping a food journal or tracking your intake on a cool app like My Fitness Pal. Splurge every now and then, but within limits. Yesterday we had takeout Chinese for dinner. Yummy? Definitely! Good for my health? Noooo way! But I went for a serious uphill run yesterday and ate consciously the rest of the day to make up for it!

Eating healthy and exercising consistently is hard work. I will not, for one second, downplay the strength and willpower it takes to succeed at this. It will be difficult. You will have to be conscious of everything you put into your body. But with time and hard work comes results!

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Do you have a favorite food that you could never give up? Tell me about it! Starting a new weight loss goal? I want to hear it! Looking for help or suggestions of healthy and delicious recipes? Get at me and I’ll send you some!

Happy weekend-ing! Eat well and deliciously!

Catch up!

Remember that time I swore I wouldn’t get behind on blogging again? I don’t know how, but somehow between what felt like two hours, it went from being Sunday to being Thursday! Yikes!

Ever have weeks like these? They seems to be more often lately for me 🙂

Here what you I missed on the blog this week:

Monday: I have put myself on yet another shopping fast that is currently indefinite. Since we bought the truck and are trying the pay off our (healthy) debts, I cannot warrant shopping for new items. Besides that, I go to work every day in soft-as-silk tees and a pair of jeans; plenty of which I have. So here’s to recycling and rewearing outfits umpteen-thousand ways until you’ve exhausted ever mix and match combination! If you’re interested in this kind of Fashion Lifestyle, check out this awesome blog I found, Putting Me Together. This girl is a fashion genius!!!

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Tuesday: Oh what to do, what to do. I’m kind of looking for a little help here. The school year has started for many kiddos around the country, but I am not teaching this year, making it like salt in a wound for me to post about teaching tips on Tuesdays. I’m looking for suggestions on a new Tuesday Topic. If I choose yours, I will send goodies your way! Leave me a comment!!

Wednesday: Not so much a picture tour of something amazing in our home, but a funny story instead. Last Friday we heard a huge BOOM in our kitchen. We checked the cabinets and the garage (attached) and saw nothing so we figured the guy who lives above us dropped about ten bowling balls simultaneously. It could happen, right?!?! When I went to get dressed the next morning, however, I realized something was blocking our closet door from being opened. That is when we discovered that the big BOOM was, in fact, our entire closet shelf that had ripped itself off the wall. It was obvious why, though, because we later saw that it was only being held up by some construction adhesive and a few brad nails, none of which were in studs! Yikes! It’s all fixed now, but what an adventure!

Today (Thursday): I have noticed that most of my pins have been focused on Splurge Worthy Foods lately…not so healthy, but I haven’t made any of them yet, so I’m still good, right?

I’m thinking about making one of these amazing splurges, eating one and then sending the rest off to my friends! I’m such a good friend, right?! 😉

S’mores Ice Cream Cake

Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary Chicken

Puppy Chow Bars

Let me know what you guys think for the new Tuesday feature and I hope you all have had an adventurous and amazing week!

Recipe of the Week: Honey Oat Bread

So today I was feeling nostalgic. Although we live in an area that is sunny and 75 every day, all of our friends back home in the Midwest are gearing up for cooler weather and football season. In honor of them, I planned on making chili and cornbread and posting the recipe for both today.

When I woke up from an early afternoon power-nap, I had the sudden urge to make homemade bread. There’s nothing more comforting than eating a fresh, warm slice of bread with half-melted butter, right?

I found this awesome recipe from Bakingdom for Honey Oat Bread. Let me tell you, I was sold on the honey-brushed loaf the minute I laid eyes on the pictures. It was super easy and quick, and so so delicious!!

I kept true to the recipe, but used white whole wheat flour for a little added texture and fiber.

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Honey Oat Bread (modified from Bakingdom)

3 cups whole wheat flour (white or brown)
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 packet/ 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter/margarine
1/4 cup honey

In a mixer bowl fitted with a hook attachment, combine flour, oats, yeast, and salt.

In a heat-proof measuring cup, combine milk and water. Heat for 2 minutes in the microwave. Add butter and stir until melted. Add honey and stir.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix using dough hook. This process should take about 2-3 minutes.

When a dough has formed and you can no longer see any dry ingredients, put the mixer on speed 2 and knead for 10 minutes.

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray or line with parchment.

Place kneaded dough in an oiled bowl and cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Pat out dough into a rectangle, then roll into a loaf, tucking in ends as needed. Place in loaf pan and cover/rest for another 30 minutes or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 and place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. This will help the bread rise and stay moist.

Brush the risen loaf with a little warmed honey and a sprinkling of oats. Place bread into oven and bake 40-50 minutes.

Let cool in pan for 30-45 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you’re like me, you’ll cut a few pieces while its still a bit warm and slather it with butter, letting it deliciously melt as you enjoy each bite 🙂

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P.S. I did make chili 🙂

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Cali Travels Pt. 3: 59-Mile Scenic Drive, Episode 1

Happy Weekend everyone!

This week was quite a doozy, making it difficult to do anything but catch up on sleep early each night 🙂

Today Jeff and I started our first episode of driving/touring the 59-Mile Scenic Drive around San Diego. This ride is a great way to hit a whole bunch of hot spots around San Diego. You start at the pier downtown and the visitors center sells the self-guided tour packet with directions for 50 cents. You could avoid paying the cost, though, if you want to print it from their website found here.

Here are some pictures from today. If you look at the website link above, we did stops 1-7 today since we spent so much time at the tide pools and Cabrillo National Monument.

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Missed Blogging Opportunities

Hey guys!

I know it’s been awhile since I have posted, but this week has been physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Next week should be better as its segued in by this weekend! Look for some more consistent posts this week(end)!

Cupcake Tasting Results!

Phew! Yesterday was a big day! I never realized how exhausting having a free cupcake tasting would be!

Jeff and I got up at 7 a.m. and started cranking out minis (I did all of the baking, he helped with the bacon, lining muffin pans, and running to grocery twice for me! What a sweetie!) It took me until 1 p.m. to get it all finished, but that’s not so bad considering I made 24 dozen minis from scratch, both cake and frosting!

We headed up to our apartment’s Sky Lounge at 1:30 to set up and were planning on staying from 2-4…we ended up staying until 6:30, however, since people were still trickling in from the complex! We ended up having leftovers (crazy, right?!) but all in all I think it went well.

Our Flavors that we put out for the tasting included:

  • Signature Vanilla
  • Signature Chocolate
  • Red Velvet
  • Strawberry Patch
  • Sugared Lemon
  • Upside-down-Rightside-up
  • Smores
  • PB&J
  • Chocolate Espresso
  • Maple Bacon
  • Margarita

The biggest hits were the Chocolate Espresso, Upside-down-Rightside-up, and Strawberry Patch, but it seemed like everyone enjoyed each one they tried and many people are already talking about putting in orders! How exciting!

Here’s what our set-up looked like:

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I cannot tell you guys enough how exciting it is to see my hobby start to resemble a business! We are going to be spending the rest of this calendar year doing what we can to get the business established and hopefully seeing it reach for the stars!

If you’re curious about the company, check out our facebook fan page. If you happen to live in San Diego, feel free to order!

Forgive my totally self-centered post today. I am just so excited! I’d love to hear if you’ve ever pursued a passion like this and turned it into a paying endeavor! Leave me a comment! I’m inspired by all small business owners!