I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed working out early in the morning, but now I can’t imagine it any other way! Here are my top ten tips to getting in an early morning workout!
1. Be Prepared- One of the most important steps for me to make my early morning workouts happen is to be prepared! I like to have my clothes laid out, my workout bottle filled and ready in the fridge, and my workouts written and ready to go! That way, I get to set my alarm with just enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth, and throw on my clothes. Being prepared means less things to think about when it’s early in the morning!
2. Find Workout Buddies- There is something so much more motivating about working out with a buddy or a group of friends! Not to mention, having someone at the gym to meet you makes it that much easier to jump out of bed knowing that someone is counting on you to be there at a certain time! My favorite workout buddy is my sister, Emily. We meet each other at the gym early a few times a week, (she is a teacher, so we have to meet at 5:30 am so she can get to school on time), but the great thing about our workouts are that they are done before I know it and then we have the rest of our day to enjoy! Click Here for a Circuit Partner Workout!
3. Go to Bed Earlier- Let’s face it… one of the most common reasons many people don’t like to workout early is that they feel too tired. If this sounds familiar, I have great news…This can be solved by getting to bed at a reasonable time! I find that if I get at least 7 hours of sleep, I feel great the rest of the day, despite how early I get up! For example, when I know I am waking up at 5 am to meet my sister, I try to be in bed by 10 pm. To me, that is not too unreasonable and it is totally worth it to me knowing I will feel great the next day after I have allowed my body to get enough rest!
4. Eat a Quick Pre-Workout Snack- I personally don’t like to have a lot of food in my stomach when I workout (it gives me stomach cramps), but often, I like to eat something really light before heading out the door. If you are someone that prefers to eat before a workout, I recommend something with carbohydrates and not too high in protein, unless you are able to eat at least 30-60 minutes before your workout. This gives your body time to digest it. I suggest anything from Dashing Dish muffins, overnight oatmeal, or some dry low sugar cereal. Again, this will vary from person to person, so I recommend experimenting with a few different options to see what works best for you. Also, be sure to always have a water bottle ready to go! Being hydrated is especially important before you’ve had anything to eat or drink for the day.
5. Get in the Mindset- I can honestly say that I enjoy working out early in the morning, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time when I would cringe at the thought of rolling out of bed and working out. However, I have found over time that there are more pros than cons when it comes to getting it done first thing. Here are a few examples of the benefits: Working out in the morning means that I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day, I feel more energized the rest of my day, and I tend to want to take care of my body the rest of the day, knowing that I put in the time and effort to workout!
6. Find a Workout You Enjoy- This might come as a shock to some of you, but I firmly believe that you can and should enjoy your workouts. If you are currently doing something that you find to be boring or you are doing something you dread, I want to encourage you to find something you enjoy. Yes it is possible! With all the options available today, there is no reason that you can’t find something that you love and feel that you are good at, and it doesn’t even have to be done at a gym! Try going with some friends to a work out class, buy some workout DVDs, or sign up for a walk/run/biking event. Do whatever you can to get out of your comfort zone. You never know, you might try something once and look forward to working out the rest of your life! Click Here for Some Fun & Easy Workout Ideas!
7. Workout at Home- One of the greatest reasons for not working out early is that you simply don’t have time! For most of us, the morning can be one of the busiest times of all…But there is an answer! Working out at home is one of the best and easiest ways to get an early morning workout in, because it doesn’t require the extra time to drive to and from a gym. I have plenty of at home workouts that require only a few simple pieces of equipment (such as dumbbells), as well as some that don’t require anything except for your own body weight! Click Here for an At Home Total Body Circuit Workout!
8. Plan Out Your Workouts- Having a plan, especially when it’s early in the morning is key to getting a good workout in! I know that if I didn’t plan my workouts ahead of time on my early workout days, that I would most likely have a hard time pushing myself in the gym. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I can get my brain to do at 5:30 am is plan out a workout, nor do we have time when I am meeting my sister, who has to leave the gym at 6:30 am. The best thing we ever did was buy a simple and cheap notebook from Target and write out all of our workouts every Sunday so that we know what we are doing for the whole week in advance! It is also more motivating to know what we are doing ahead of time and have an organized game plan.
9. Have a Workout Playlist Ready- I don’t know about you, but having an awesome workout playlist gets me in the mood to workout! Don’t have any idea where to start with a ‘clean’ and uplifting playlist!? No problem! One of my current favorites is Hillsong Young & Free! Click Here for a Awesome Workout Playlist!
10. Re-Fuel with a Healthy Post-Workout Breakfast- If you do make the time and effort to start your day off with a workout, be sure to fuel your body properly throughout the rest of the day! As important as working out is, nutrition really is the most important component when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle! If you are worried that you don’t have time to workout and prep a healthy breakfast in the morning, no worries! I have tons of healthy breakfast options on Dashing Dish that are super speedy to make and can even be made the night before. I personally like to re-fuel with something that is higher in protein and complex carbohydrates. My personal favorite is one of my Dashing Dish protein shakes! Click Here for a List of 20 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas.
Eating healthy does not have to mean expensive grocery bills. Here are some of my favorite tips for eating healthy on a budget!
1. Plan Ahead- Make a grocery list and stick to it. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to plan what you need before you get to the store. That way you are not tempted to buy things that you don’t need.
2. Be Prepared- Pack your lunches, snacks, and eat before you go out. When you pack your own food you prevent yourself from over eating, you always know what is in your food, and you save time and money!
3. Buy in Bulk- There are times when it is smart to buy in bulk. One example is discounted meat. If you look for discounts on meat and buy it in big batches, you can store it in your freezer until you are ready to use it. It is also smart to buy products in bulk that you use a lot. For example, if you use a lot of lettuce, look for one large bag, and compare the price to two smaller bags. Chances are, buying more of something that you will use will save you money in the long run.
4. Buy Frozen- If you think you won’t be able to use something up before it spoils such as fruit or vegetables, buy them frozen. Not only will this save you money, but it will prevent you from throwing money away on spoiled groceries.
5. Buy In-Season Produce- Food grown in season is not only more affordable, but it also tastes better. Look for root vegetables in the winter, apples, potatoes, and squash in the fall, and broccoli and berries in the summer. Farmers markets may also have a better deal on produce than grocery stores.
6. Buy Generic- Name brands often have increased prices due to the packaging and advertising costs.
7. Clip Coupons- Sign up for newsletters about sales and deals at the stores you frequently shop at. Investing a few minutes clipping and/or printing coupons each week can save you a lot of money on groceries.
8. Get the Customer Card- Many grocery stores hold sales and specials for customer card holders only. Signing up for these costumer cards are often free and only take a few moments.
9. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle- Don’t spend money on soft drinks, juices, or bottled water. Instead invest in a few nice water bottles and refill them. Not only will this save you money, but it will save you tons of sugar and calories!
10. Get Creative with Leftovers- If you happen to have leftovers of some of your ingredients, don’t throw them away. Instead, put them to good use and get creative by putting them into a different recipe, or freeze them if possible.
The holidays are a special time of year filled with family, friends, and seasonal treats. Here are a few tips on enjoying the holidays in a balanced way!
1. Choose a Healthy Alternative- Eating healthy year round, (yes even during the holidays) can be done! It doesn’t mean giving up the foods you enjoy most, but simply swapping them with a healthier alternative! In fact, once you do so, you will notice how good you feel, and I can promise you will wonder why you ever even enjoyed those sugary treats to begin with!
2. Pick and Choose your Treats- The holidays are filled with special treats that only come around this season. There is nothing wrong with enjoying one or two of your grandma’s favorite cookies, or a piece of your mom’s famous pie…But the problem comes when people enjoy every holiday treat that is put in front of them. If you simply think ahead of time about what you REALLY want to enjoy this holiday season, it will keep you from having to work extra hard to take off those holiday treats in January! Plus, the added bonus is that you will truly savor and enjoy every bite of those holiday treats you do have much more when you only have a few of them!
3. Be Prepared- One way to prevent overeating is by eating small frequent meals throughout the day, and always having a protein rich snack before heading off to parties or holiday dinners. That way, when you finally sit down to eat a meal, you will be able to properly pay attention to your body’s hunger cues because you won’t be overly famished to begin with.
4. The party is about MORE than what is on your PLATE- Food is an element of a celebration, but not the defining factor, or the most important thing. If you keep this in mind when you’re on your way to a party, you can remind yourself that spending time with family and friends is the highlight of the event. This helps take the focus off the food and puts it back on the things that matter most.
5. It’s OK to say NO- During the holidays, many people are offering foods left and right as a gesture of love. I have learned that If I’m truly full, it is ok to be honest and politely say, “No thank you”. Most people will respect you when you politely say no. The great thing about this is, it allows you to say yes to the things you truly do enjoy this time of year!
6. BRING your OWN dish to pass- If you bring your own dish to pass, you can bring something that is tasty and healthy! The best part is, Dashing Dish offers tons of seasonal eats that are just as rich and delicious as the traditional dish, so no one will even know its healthy until you tell them!
7. Learn to Bounce Back- I find that one of the greatest downfalls when it comes to overeating is that it sets most people on a dangerous slippery slope. If you do overeat- don’t make that mistake! Remember, it is not one meal that will make you unhealthy so don’t let it get you in a defeated mindset! Just make the simple choice to bounce back. Start the next day by being active and make the choice to get right back on track with a healthy lifestyle! That is what balance is all about after all!
One of my primary goals with Dashing Dish recipes is to keep the recipes simple, quick, and made with a few basic ingredients that most people have on hand…All while being delicious and using ‘clean’ (not processed) ingredients!
With these foods on hand, you are just about guaranteed to be able to almost any recipe on Dashing Dish! Hope it helps keep you organized and prepared to whip together a DD creation any time of day! To find out where I get some of my products, check out my “Favorite Products” page!
Lean Ground Turkey or Beef
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Beans (Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, White Beans)
Protein Powder (I like Designer Whey- Vanilla Flavor)
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Plain Lowfat Greek Yogurt
Unsweetened Almond Milk (or low fat/skim milk)
Cheese (Grated Parmesan, Thin Sliced or 2% Shredded Cheddar, Feta, Thin Sliced Swiss)
Ezekiel Bread/Whole Grain Bread
Low Carb /High Fiber Wraps
Quinoa/Whole Grain Rice
Old Fashioned Oats (use gluten free if sensitive)
Oat Flour (Made from Old Fashioned Oats Ground in a Blender/Food Processor)
Almonds/Almond Flour (Made from Almond Ground in a Blender/Food Processor)
Peanut Flour (aka PB2)
Occasionally: Coconut Flour
Broccoli, Onions, Spinach, Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes, Lettuce, Bell Peppers, Corn
Zucchini, Summer Squash
Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin
Tomatoes, Berries, Avocado, Bananas, Apples, Unsweetened Applesauce
Onion Powder/Dried Minced Onion
Minced Garlic/Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning (or basil/oregano)
Taco Seasoning (or cumin, chili seasoning and salt)
Pumpkin/Apple Pie Spice (in the fall mostly)
Stevia (Baking or Packets)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Honey/Low Sugar Maple Syrup
Low Sugar Ketchup
White Vinegar/Rice Vinegar/Red Wine Vinegar
Occasionally: Tru Whip (in desserts)
I am blessed and honored to say I married my best friend.
I met my husband when I was 16 years old. I moved from Wisconsin to Saline Michigan my sophomore year of high school, and I was petrified that I wouldn’t make any friends, considering that most people already have their established ‘cliques’ at this age. As I left behind everything that was ‘normal’ to me, I remember praying and asking the Lord to provide me with Godly friends in my new home town. As always, He was faithful!
I will never forget the first time I went to my first youth group service at Saline Assembly of God. It was there that I not only met my husband Sean, but it was also the night that He gave his life to the Lord! (God sure did have a plan!) We started hanging out in groups with other friends, getting to know each other, and we started to develop a closer relationship as we spent hours on the phone talking about everything under the sun! We made the decision to start to date a few months later, and over the course of the next few years we truly became best friends.
I now know that God brought Sean into my life at an early age for many reasons. For one, I was pretty shy in high school, and being new certainly didn’t help. God provided an amazing friend through Sean, who was always there for me when I needed a true friend, and someone to lift me up. Sean was also very firm in his faith, and refused to give into the pressures that so often surround kids in high school. When I was tempted to go down the wrong path, he reminded me of the truth, and that I was better than that. I lost almost all of my ‘so called friends’ as a result of refusing to give into what was popular, but Sean stood by my side, and always encouraged me that I had a bright future.
Ten years later, (and almost four years into marriage), I can honestly say that I love my husband more each day. He is truly my best friend, and just as he was in high school, he is one of my biggest cheerleaders and encouragers!
Now, from this wonderful story you may look at my husband and my relationship and think this must mean we have it ‘all together’, and that we never have any problems. This is of course far from the truth. Just as every couple does, we certainly have faced our fair share of challenges, and yes, the day-to-day business threatens to pull us apart at times, and I can honestly say that there have been times where we have even hurt each other deeply.
So…How does our relationship continue to grow and flourish in the midst of the hard times? We are best friends.
To us, one of the most important parts of being best friends means that we give each other grace when we hurt one another. No, this isn’t easy in our own strength, but when we go to the Lord and let Him fill us with His forgiveness, love, and grace, we are then able to pour it back out into each other’s lives. It also means maintaining a humble attitude at all times, and admitting when we are wrong. This is only possible because of the Holy Spirit, who so gently ‘nudges’ us when we are not loving or respecting one another as God has asked us to.
Being best friends also means that we take time for one another. We don’t do this perfectly, but in this fast-paced world we recognize the importance for taking time out of our week to talk, laugh, and just have fun! My husband and I have a particularly interesting situation as we both work from home. One might think this would allow for ample time to spend together, when in fact it can pose one of the greatest challenges to know when to ‘turn off’ our computers, and stop working for the day. Because of this we have set specific boundaries and guidelines to ensure that we make time for one another, and put our relationship at a higher priority than work.
Being best friends as a married couple means that we continue to ‘date’ one another. What I mean by this is that we make sure that we block off at least one night a week as a ‘date night’. This doesn’t have to be something that costs money, or something extravagant. In fact, many times some of our best ‘date nights’ are just hanging out in our pajama’s watching our favorite movie, but there are certainly dates where we dress up for each other as well!!! This helps keep that balance of romancing one another and trying to make one another feel special, as we did when we were dating. Although my husband and I don’t have kids yet, we talk about how important it will be to maintain this especially when we do have children. We firmly believe that children feel more secure in their home when their parents have a strong relationship with one another, so this is something that will continue to be important to us.
And last but not least, being best friends means praying together and reminding each other of who we are in the Lord. As I said earlier, our relationship has not always been perfect, and it never will be. We are both people that are running the race for the Lord, which means that we are growing daily in Him, but we still have faults and flaws. When we start each day off by coming together in prayer, it is then that we become a three stranded cord that is not easily broken! I truly believe that God uses married couples in such an amazing and powerful way to further His kingdom, and encourage one another to press on, and pray for one another and lift each other up when one falls down. My husband and I keep the true purpose of our marriage in the forefront of our minds, as we press on towards the goal to which He has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!
As some of you may know, I did a post a few weeks back explaining that I felt the Lord was prompting me to have people share their testimonies on how the Lord has helped them overcome a weight related issue in their life in order to encourage one another! The testimonies I received made me laugh, cry, and praise our Lord! I want to personally take a moment to thank everyone who shared their struggles, their heart, and how the Lord gave them strength to overcome!
You may have noticed that Dashing Dish recipes are unique and different from almost any other recipe. What makes them different is that I create each recipe based on my personal philosophy of cooking…It has to be simple, healthy, and use ingredients that are already in your pantry.
The recipes on this website are one of a kind in that there is no added sugar, butter, or flour in any of them. In fact, the majority of my recipes are gluten free, sugar free, whole grain recipes that are high in fiber and protein. All of these components have been proven to keep you satisfied and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight for life!
Most of my recipes are listed as ‘Clean Eating’, which simply means that I use foods in their most natural state, and don’t include any processed ingredients. One example of this is that I use whole grain oats in my baked goods rather than white or whole wheat flour, (which is essentially a whole grain that has beens stripped of it’s nutrition in a factory).
Here’s What You Will Find in My Pantry, and in Dashing Dish Recipes:
My number one goal is that my recipes are not only enjoyable to your palate, but to your whole body as well! Hope you enjoy!
Ok, so it’s not quite fall yet, but I have already noticed the desire for fall recipes is on the rise! It’s no surprise to me, I mean what’s not to love about the warm spices, comfort foods, and seasonal flavors of fall!?! So, to get everyone ready for this fabulous season, I thought I’d do a quick fall recipe re-cap to start this time of year off right! I have included the 20 most popular fall inspired recipes from the previous year on Dashing Dish! Enjoy!
I have received many emails with questions about counting calories, so I thought I would share my perspective in a post! In general, I do think that counting calories, especially at first can be beneficial for someone who is just starting to read nutrition labels and get familiar with different foods. However, I always suggest that the ultimate goal that people should aim for is to listen to their body, rather than counting calories long term.
Counting calories in the beginning of a weight loss journey can be helpful because you can get a realistic sense of how to space out calories throughout your day to best fuel your body, and you get familiar with portion sizes in general. On the other hand, when it comes to maintaining this long-term, counting calories really isn’t realistic, and it can even become obsessive if taken to the extreme.
I personally found that counting calories for about a month in the beginning of my journey worked well for me, because it allowed me to get familiar with how to space calories out throughout my day in a way that made me feel energized throughout the day. After becoming ‘familiar’ with proper portion sizes, I decided to stop tracking calories and start to listen to my body’s natural hunger cues. This means I would eat until I was satisfied…Not stuffed.