eat clean challenge

Eat Clean Challenge: Approved and Unapproved Foods

eat clean challenge

Brandon and I decided to start an eat clean challenge.

The hubs and I decided to start an “eat clean” challenge this week. I am running it in combination with my online boot camp program which runs for another 5 weeks. The goal is not to lose weight, but to tighten up our eating and become less dependent on sugar. I am also hoping to redistribute my weight a bit  — basically, I want to be able to see my abs for bikini season.

On Sunday, we created a list of “approved” and “unapproved” food items. We also went grocery shopping and did some food prep including my favorite egg casserole. You can find the recipe on this post from my pregnancy with Cole.

Here is my list of food items for the week. I will also include a sample meal plan at the end. Please note — this is not a diet plan for you to follow. It is simply a listing of what foods I am focusing on this week. I do not count calories. I eat when I am hungry and to satisfaction. I am not working to drop pounds, (I don’t even own a scale) but rather removing nutrient void foods from my diet.

Approved foods:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Lettuce
  • Oats
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sugar free hard candy and popsicles
  • All-natural peanut butter

Unapproved foods:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Sugar and treats
  • Carbs (except complex carbs from approved foods list)
  • Fruit
  • And anything NOT on the approved foods list
eat clean challenge

Sunday food prep with Baby Cole.

Here is an example of what my food log looked like yesterday:

Tuesday Food Log: 


  • Egg casserole
  • Black coffee
  • Water

* I did have half an avocado as well 

Mid­-morning snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Water
eat clean challenge

Yum! I am loving the egg casserole for breakfast.


  • Chicken breast
  • Sweet potato
  • Water

Mid-­afternoon snack:

  • 10 almonds
  • Peanut Butter with celery
  • 2 sugar-free popsicles
  • Water


  • Steak
  • Broccoli
  • Water

Evening snack:

  • Smoothie: 1 cup spinach, 1.5 cups of mixed berries, ½ water, 1/2 banana
  • Water

* I added the smoothie because I am finishing off my berries (even though fruit is on the “unapproved” list for the week. Here is a great article referencing the importance of not eating too much fruit. Eat high carb fruits in moderation (ie: bananas). 

eat clean challenge

New Year’s Resolutions the Right Way

SMARTDid you brave the scale yet after indulging in Christmas feasts? I stepped on the scale for the first time this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that I only gained one pound in the last two weeks! I certainly enjoyed good food over vacation, but I also ran a LOT more than usual. Any other year, I might be upset that I gained one pound. But this year, I am certain that it is baby weight … and for that, I am thankful.

Today I am appearing on Living Dayton TV to talk about making New Year’s resolutions. A resolution is a committment to a goal. I like to put a positive spin on my resolutions instead of depriving myself of something. For example, one of my resolutions this year is to continue working out at least 5 times per week for the remainder of my pregnancy. I log my exercise electronically to add a level of accountability.

Resolutions should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. If weight loss is one of your goals for 2013, a great example of a resolution would be to log your food on this year. That will ensure that you are getting the proper amount of nutrients to fuel your body. Another great resolution is to drink a glass of water 10 minutes before you eat another snack when you are hungry.

Several ladies I know are resolving to hire a trainer this year, and many have enrolled in my successful online personal training program. If you are looking for a 6-8 week program to help you jump start your fitness goals for 2013, request information today!

What are some of your resolutions for 2013?

11 Week Update: Will I “Show” Earlier in My Second Pregnancy?

11.5 weeks pregnant

This photo was taken at 11.5 weeks pregnant.

I am finished with my 11th week of pregnancy! I CANNOT wait to be out of the first trimester. It has been a rocky road, but I am so thankful for a second pregnancy and we are very excited for Emma to have a sibling. This week was a little rough for my workouts, but I did not miss a workout, and continue to believe that exercise is one of the few things getting me through the day — that and my favorite new med — Zophran. Here’s a quick recap of my 11th week of pregnancy workouts.

  • Day 1: 3 mile run outside
  • Day 2: 2 hours of cardio machines, running, and Pilates with gym clients
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: 5 hours of cardio machines, running, and Pilates with gym clients (major struggle this day, but I made it through)
  • Day 5: 25 minutes of filming at-home plyo workouts for online clients, 2 mile run
  • Day 6: 2 hours of cardio machines, running, and Pilates with gym clients
  • Day 7: 30 minutes of cardio and nautilus machine weight training (I have a sinus infection, but never “starve a cold of exercise”)

On day 4 which was Saturday, I almost didn’t make it through my gym client sessions. I tried a new anti-nausea medicine which made me exhausted, and all of my clients were asking if I was “OK.” After the first 150 cals with my first client of the day, I wanted to curl up in bed and sleep for hours, but somehow I managed to ge through all 5 hours.

My "food baby" the day after Thanksgiving. 9 weeks pregnant.

My “food baby” the day after Thanksgiving. 9 weeks pregnant.

I have often heard that a woman “shows” earlier in her second pregnancy, but the truth is — I am not sure if that is true for me yet. My suspicion has always been that women “show” earlier because they have some left over fat tissue and/or stretched skin around their midsection (which is also true in my case). However, I do not think that I am “showing” quite yet — unless you count the food baby from Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.

I have gained 2 pounds already this trimester. But again — I am not sure if that is pregnancy weight gain, or vacation/Thanksgiving weight gain. My guess is 1 lb of both. One thing is for sure. I am not going to obsess over the numbers like last time. I had never owned a scale before my first pregnancy, and I purchased one just to be sure that I was gaining “enough” weight. Well, that was a mistake. Some weeks I would gain 1 pound, others I would gain 3, and some I wouldn’t gain any. I was so concerned, and it left me worried for no reason. At the end of the pregnancy, I had gained a healthy 28 pounds. I have every intention of continuing to eat well and workout, and I know my body will take care of the rest!

Two Upcoming TV Spots to Promote My Prenatal DVD Series

I look forward to rep'ing my friends at FitFluential in my upcoming TV spots!

I look forward to rep’ing my friends at FitFluential in my upcoming TV spots!

Since I officially announced my second pregnancy on Monday, my Fit Pregnancy and Parenting assistant has been busy writing press releases, emails, and brainstorming ways for me to promote my upcoming Prenatal DVD Series. On Tuesday, we sent through a press release to a local TV station. Within minutes I got a response from the TV producer who asked me to do TWO 4 minute spots in the next few weeks.

A huge thanks to Tasha, my wonderful assistant, for her hard work, great ideas, and press release writing skills. I absolutely could not be marketing my fitness business without her — but I have actually asked her to slow down because I currently have a long waiting list of clients. But no complaints here!

My first TV spot is on Monday, December 17 at noon. I will run over to the station during my lunch hour and do a quick 4 minute cardio, butt, and legs circuit for the camera. The second spot is on Monday, December 31 at noon. I hope to talk through some ways to make 2013 our healthiest year yet and promo my DVD series.

Another cool aspects of these spots is that I am going to rep’ my friends at FitFluential by wearing my new FitFluential shirt. I am also going to rep Under Armour thanks to my new friends in the marketing department there. I plan to wear my new Under Armour shoes and am waiting to get some other items to wear.

Local ladies (Dayton area) be sure to tune into WDTN’s Living Dayton show at noon on December 17 and 31. I am super pumped to be on TV again and I always love to hear your feedback.

Here is a quick preview of some of the moves I will be doing in the TV spot! This is a rough draft of some of the moves I will do for the Prenatal DVD series. Try this Fit Pregnancy and Parenting cardio, butt, and legs workout and let me know what you think! I am 12 weeks pregnant AND I have a cold, so if you’re good at reading a pregnant girl’s mind — you can see me consider that I am probably going to throw up at any minute. HA.

The Unexpected Long Run

LOVE this fit mom featured guest blog from Sarah Kurz. She has an awesome perspective and her committment to a healthy lifestyle is inspiring. Read more about Sarah and her kiddos at Run, Mommy, Run.

sarah Kurtz, fit mom featured blogger

Sarah, fit mom featured blogger.

When I signed up for my first half marathon I knew it would be a challenge. With my hubby away for work and two young children, neither of them in school yet, training was going to involve them just as much as it did me. There were countless times that I stared at my training plan and those double-digit miles and thought “No way. There’s no way I’ll ever run that far with a double stroller.”

January 15, 2012 was an unseasonably warm day for Nebraska weather. Unable to resist the urge to run in shorts in the middle of winter, I loaded the kiddos up to go for a run. My run was going to be fairly easy. Just six miles, which I had done countless times over the years on my own and a handful of times with the stroller.

We headed south on the bike trail like we normally do, preparing to run the three-mile out-and-back that had become the norm. But today was different. For whatever reason, our usual trail was closed and we were forced to take off in the opposite direction. Perhaps it was running in a new area or the warm, sunny weather, but something took over me. I wasn’t worried about how many miles I’d run. In fact, I was barely paying attention. Before we knew it, the new trail had led us to a familiar one and we ended up at the ponds five miles from the park where we began. At first I was nervous that I’d never make it back without walking. I had never before ran that far alone and most certainly didn’t think I could with a three-year old and a five-year old in tow.

It took me one hour and 32 minutes to run my first ever 10 mile run, and not only did I run every step of it, I did it with both of my children happily riding along. The high I experienced once we got back was the first of many more to come and I felt silly for ever doubting myself or my abilities.

Far too often we don’t have enough faith in ourselves. Worry and fear take over and begin to blur the visions of our dreams as we focus so hard on what needs to be done. Ignore everything for a while. Spend some time simply living in the moment and enjoying yourself. You’ll be happy to find some unexpected surprises and see that worry and fear aren’t as big as you once thought.

A fit mom IS a happy mom

a fit mom is a happy mom

A fit mom is a happy mom!

Today started out like many days. Emma woke up before me and fussed her way through my struggle to get out of bed and ready for work. She had a runny nose, and wasn’t too interested in breakfast. I had to run into work for a meeting, and a college girl at the University I work for watched Emma for an hour. She was happy as can be with her sitter, but as soon as she saw me again — grumpy. Emma grumped around the house for a while before my husband got home from work. By noon, I was very ready to go for a quick lunchtime run. Thankfully my husband watched miss grumperpuss while I burned off some steam and got myself pumped up for the second half of the day.

I came back from my run refreshed, and happy to be with Emma — even if her nose is runny and she is whiney. I share that short little story from my day to remind us that a fit mom IS a happy mom! Often, I need a few minutes alone to exercise and clear my mind to rev up for the second half of the day. A huge part of the reason I workout is to maintain a stable emotional state. Working out keeps me happy … and when momma’s happy — everyone is happy.

Five Marathon Running Training Tips for Moms

A big thanks to Kelly L. McNelis, Ph.D., for this great fit mom guest blog with her top 5 marathon running training tips for moms. Kelly is a Social-Personality Psychologist, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and owner of New Leaf Wellness, LLC. You can read more about Kelly and her wellness business at her website

Kelly McNeilis

Kelly McNelis, fit mom and featured blogger, with her girls.


Last month, I crossed “run a marathon” off my bucket list. I went into the race with tons of helpful tips from friends who have run marathons, ironmans, and ultra-marathons, and during the race, I learned a few tricks of my own.

Here are my top five marathon running training tips for moms:

1. EAT WHILE RUNNING. Eat early and often. One of my most-trusted running friends told me to eat every 3 miles. She said it would feel excessive at first, but that I’d be thanking her at mile 20. Thanking her, I was! When I was doing my marathon running training, I learned that it’s easy for me to eat early but food loses it’s appeal after mile 15 – so it’s especially important for me to eat before that point in the marathon.

2. TRAIN. Running 26.2 miles is scary. Anything can happen when you’re tackling a distance like that. You have to figure out when and what to eat, and you have to know how to cope when your body wants to stop during the marathon. Those are some of the things you’ll figure out when training. You can keep your fears at bay during the race by telling yourself, “I’ve felt this before. It’s normal, and I can push through. I know what to do.”

3. BE REALISTIC. Don’t make a goal of qualifying for Boston with your first marathon. You’ll either injure yourself before race day or be disappointed in your finish time. Train to finish. For my race, I didn’t even wear a watch. Covering 26.2 miles on foot is an incredibleaccomplishment, regardless of how long it takes you to finish. This is one of the most important marathon running training tips for moms.

4. DON’T START OUT TOO FAST. No matter how good you feel at the beginning, the end of the race is going to be tough. Be smart and save some energy. You’re going to need it.

5. PLAN FOR THE LAST 6.2. This is  the last, but certainly not the least of my marathon running training tips for moms. The last 10k of the marathon is going to be physically and mentally challenging. Come up with a game plan to get you through it. One of my strategies was asking my friends to post words of wisdom and support to my facebook page, and then asking my husband to read me their posts at mile 20. I also spent time thinking about past challenging experiences that I conquered (like giving birth to my second daughter without any drugs!) and toward the very end, counting in my head. There’s something about counting while running that can distract you when all else fails.

Overall, I had an amazing, empowering marathon experience and I would highly recommend adding one to your “bucket list”! Best wishes if you are a fellow mom who is committing to a marathon running training program.

To hear more tips from Kelly, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram: Facebook: New Leaf Wellness Twitter: @kellymcnelis Pinterest: @kellymcnelis Instagram: @kellymcnelis

Hi. I’m Superwoman. And So Are You!

Thanks to Kayla for an awesome fit mom featured post and perspective. Kayla blogs over at Fit For Moms. You can also follow Kayla on Twitter at @fitformommas. This post was originally shared on New Leaf Wellness, but it is so good, and resonates with so many moms, that we are sharing it here too!

Kayla, fit mom featured blogger and superwoman!

Kayla, fit mom featured blogger and superwoman!

I feel like I should start this post as if I am at an AA meeting. “Hi, I am Kayla and I’m the wife of an airline pilot…” B and I met in college and we always knew that his career choice would mean travel and time away. Yet here we are 5 years of marriage and 2 awesome daughters (ages 3 and 1) later finding ourselves still learning to balance time apart, time together and time alone. Currently, 70% of the time I am home solo with our girls…did I mention I have a full-time job and that I’m training for my first marathon? Time is not necessarily something I have a lot of – so when I do have time – I prefer it is well spent.Over the past 5 years, specifically the last 3 – I have really started to focus on how to balance exercise, eating well, mommy-hood and being a great wife to B – even when work takes him clear across the world. In reality, all I need to do is harness my inner superwoman. I’m going to let you in on 4 of my secrets. But shhhh….it takes a lot to be superwoman, so don’t go and tell everyone where you got your power.

1. Carve out time in your day for yourself for exercise – whether it is 10 minutes or 2 hours…getting your sweat on will always feel good. I am lucky to have a job that is flexible (so I start closer to 9 most days) and a fabulous daycare for the girls. I drop them off and head out for a run or to our local gym. Sweat + strength = one rejuvenated momma.

2. Plan and prep your meals on the weekend (or whenever you have a good chunk of time). On one of the days that B is home, I try to get all of my cooking/prep work done for the entire next week. I religiously use Once A Month Mom and her fabulous meal plans. When I get home from work and haven’t seen the girls all day – the last thing I want to do is cook. Planning ahead lets me either toss something in the crock pot in the morning or easily warm it up in the oven – and still get a healthy meal on the table quickly.

3. Be productive quickly. As soon as I get the girls to sleep, I set a timer for 30 minutes. I wash dishes, clean the counters, toss a load of laundry in, take the garbage out – whatever needs to be done to keep our house “in working order.” But, the timer helps me not try to do too much and ensures that I get time for myself each evening. I could easily clean and do “chores” all night – but I thrive on having some ‘Kayla time’ each night to sit down with a good book.

4. Fake it. Let’s be honest. There are times where I would like to pull my hair out and trying to balance all of this gets the best of me. My answer? Tell myself that I am strong, awesome and truly superwoman. It usually does the trick.

It isn’t always easy being a mom and a wife. It is a balancing act. One that has led to the greatest adventure I have ever been on. Even if it is just a few minutes a day that I wear my cape – I feel like superwoman when I get a great workout in, serve a delicious and healthy meal, have a well-kept house or just feel the occasional spurt of awesomeness. Most of all – finding a way to create a balance in my life that allows me to just enjoy and cherish every second with my husband and daughters – that is when I feel the most like superwoman.

Three Ways to Encourage a Fit Baby

Tara Sabo is a fit mom featured blogger, certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, wife and mother. She writes about these roles and more at, and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

One might call this post “how to raise a fit baby,” but that sounds so definitive and by-the-book when most parents know that raising a baby is anything but. Especially when it comes to raising a fit baby. It’s not like an infant can do drop sets or sprints. But an infant can, with some guidance, embrace a fairly fit life.

As a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and new mom to a vibrant girl of seven months—I am a huge fan of the fit life. I live it, teach my clients about it, and hope to pass it on to my daughter. But the fit life is something one can’t force on another. It can only be encouraged with guidance and by setting an example.

That, of course, is the essence of being a parent: We are tasked with the opportunity to guide by example. Therefore, it is truly possible to encourage a fit baby.


1) Have fun with healthy foods. Don’t put Baby on a diet, but offer healthy foods to encourage Baby to choose them on their own as they grow. Breastfeed if you can, but don’t sweat it if you can’t. And when the time comes, make your own baby food—it’s so easy.

Raise a fit babyLike, five minutes for 10 servings easy. Or go the baby-led weaning route and offer fresh veggies, wholesome grains and more. Baby’s food, like yours, doesn’t have to come out of a jar or box. And if Baby doesn’t like something, don’t make them eat it. Healthy eating should not foster dread or disgust.

2) Promote active playtime. No matter how old your baby is, stimulate them with engaging activities that encourage movement. Hold and move hands and feet as baby lies in awe of you. As Baby grows, tummy time strengthens the upper body and leads to rolling, crawling and more. Bouncers help legs develop strength. Balls give little bodies something to chase. If you sit your child in a chair all day, well…they won’t need to use their muscles as much. Just remember, Baby will need a break from all the activity—and that’s perfectly fine.

3) Teach by example. Get outside and take your baby for walks in the stroller. Use a jogging stroller when Baby is old enough.

running with baby strollerLet your baby see you working out (and eating healthy). Babies are incredibly absorbent from day one, so foster an environment that helps them absorb healthy habits from the get-go. It might take them some time to comprehend said habits, but it’ll click someday.

Throughout all of the above, remember to talk to your baby as well. He or she might not comprehend exactly what you are saying, but you can rest assured that they are working on it from the get-go. Someday they’ll get why cheese is better than cheese puffs. Or why walking is more fun than riding in a stroller, or that a bike seat is better than the couch cushion.

Question: How do you encourage your children to live a fit life?