Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Screw being skinny.....

I DISLIKE being the "skinny" girl.  Did you ever think you would hear someone say that?  Probably not, but now you have.  There are multiple reasons as to why I feel this way.  I've always been the skinny framed girl, even called Katie Anorexic by people I considered my friends when I was in middle and high school.  It was their way of getting my attention in the lunch room, on the bus, or in the hallways.  Sadly enough it didn't always bother me because I thought they could be calling me worse things.  That was until I realized that being called "Katie Anorexic" really wasn't a compliment.  As an adult now, I would always get upset whenever people would tell me how skinny I was, how lucky I was or that I was crazy if I thought I needed to lose weight.  I actually can't take it...because the truth was I wasn't happy and had my own insecurities.  Has this happened to you?

Now of course, I consider myself lucky in some aspects of my frame, but I haven't always been happy with how I have looked.  First, I follow my paternal grandmother genes and have what I call a buddha belly.  I have always had fairly slim limbs, but all my weight (whenever I gained) always went to my gut.  Not my chest or my glutes (where I could use it...LOL), but the buddha belly.  The reason I would always get upset whenever someone commented on my weight was because it was how I felt about MYSELF.  I get that many people would be happy at my weight, etc...., but these were my feelings.  I knew when I wasn't eating right or working out enough, because I felt it.  I felt it through my clothes and the skin I was living in.  I always joke back and tell people that I can hide the weight there well.  So although, I "looked" skinny,  I always felt self-conscious because I didn't like the skin I was in.  I knew I COULD be in better shape.  I knew I SHOULD be eating better, (boy, could I eat) and should try to rid myself of my sweet tooth.  Was I overweight, no.  But to me the true question to ask myself was if I was happy, and I would always answer no.  I'm sure many of you can relate, no matter what your weight or what your clothing size.

We often say that life seems to get in the way.  About 5 years ago, my life felt like it was in pure turmoil and I didn't put myself first.  I drained all of my energy into something in my life that I COULD CONTROL, the things I was good at; teaching.  At the time, everything that was being turned upside down was out of my control.   It was then that I realized that I dedicated my entire life to my job. I didn't watch what I was eating or even exercise.  So of course I was unhappy,   That was until, I realized that I need to be putting myself first and taking care of myself.  You must make time.

Fast forward a few years, finally I told myself that there were no more excuses.  I got in control of my life and tried to find balance.  I was going to the gym regularly, not a few days here and there, but on a consistent basis.  Let me tell you, it gave me a high like no other.  Screw being skinny, I wanted to be STRONG!!  Little by little, I was able to run longer and faster.  I was able to lift heavier weights.  So heavy in fact, that I was squatting weight larger than some 40 year old men in my class, or even the same if not more weight than the instructor.  The more weight I packed on, the more I sweat, and the longer the fat burn.  I was losing and firming at the same time.

I changed what I was putting in my body too.  I started doing the nutritional plan of Tone it Up and became a part of a community of women that motivated one another or held one another accountable.  I took before pictures and posted them on Instagram (no, I will not be sharing...LOL) because these women knew nothing about me so I wasn't in fear of being judge, because if I didn't want to see them again, I didn't have to).  They wouldn't lie to my face because they were afraid of hurting me.  I posted my daily meals or me sweating from a crazy workout.  But I will say one thing....not one of them told me how skinny I was or how I shouldn't be there as part of the community.  They just told me to keep going.  That was the first time, I felt that others got it.  It had nothing to do with my size, but truly how I felt about myself.    I will never forget posting a side by side of my before and after.  I was shocked at my changes but also proud of my accomplishments.  It's true what they say....being fit is a lifestyle!!! You must make it part of your life if you want to see and maintain the results.  I am not where I want to be, but now I am happier with my body and proud of what I have accomplished.  Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.  You must believe to achieve.

I am still on my journey.  Want to join me?

Strong is the new skinny!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Celebrating My New Blog Design with a FREEBIE

I am so excited to share my new blog design created by the fabulous, Laine Sutherland at A Little Peace of Africa.  She was so great to work with and was very accommodating.  Those of you that know me, know that I can never make a decision and with her help and that of my friends and family; this was the outcome!    I am celebrating in every way!  I hope that this can add to my business; because teaching (and fitness) is what I am passionate about and what makes me happy.

So because I am feeling so pumped; I wanted to share a FREEBIE of mine.  How many of you are like "If it's free; it's for me!"?  Well I am feeling totally that way every September.  As teacher, we spend so much on our classroom and supplies at that start of every school year.  So much money, that I don't always have the funds available to purchase items for my classroom prize box.  Throughout a school year, I can easily spend between $400-$500 on items for my prize box.  (Trust me, sometimes, I feel like it is worth every penny.) But now as I try to save for a house too, I totally did not want to purchase anything especially at this time of the year.  As many of you feel the effects too; the last time I got paid was in June.  Plus, I need a couple of months to catch up and pay those bills I racked up over the summer.

So....I decided to create these incentives that were free or would cost me little to no money.  Let me tell you; they are truly a hit.  I never knew how many kids actually wanted to eat lunch with me, or sit in my chair.  They would save their hot tickets (my classroom incentive...stay tuned for that post) for that over a small foam football.  It is a win-win situation for all of use.  I hope you can find use for them too!  Let me know how it works out for you?


Here is the direct link to my store:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Love to Read Inspiration

This summer, I was asked to read Book Love by Penny Kittle and it was truly about promoting reading in the classroom. Something that we all want; to promote lifelong readers! When told I was to read it, I mentioned the book to my cousin whom is a 7th and 8th grade ELA teacher to see if she had ever heard of it! Of course, she said yes and that it was good, but that she had a better book that I should read because it changed  the entire way she taught. That book was called The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller! If you teach ELA at all, it is a MUST read! 

So I added this book to one of my must read professional books over the summer! It was a very quick and easy read and I haven't been the same since... LOL! After reading this book, I was so pumped to get back in the classroom! I couldn't wait to get my "kids" pumped about reading too! 

Day One, I asked my students how many books they thought was a lot to read in one school year. I got responses such as twenty, five, ten and sadly, even one.  It was then that I brought up Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge.  The look on some of my students' faces was pure shock that myself and my co-teacher would be asking them to read at least 40 books this year.  I think my enthusiasm became so over the top that my students were starting to believe that they could actually do this.  My enthusiasm was so over the top that I pulled an Oprah moment..."You are going to read 40 books, and you are going to read 40 books, and you, and you."  I pointed to every student stressing that I believed that they could make this feat.  I also wanted to know where the students saw themselves as a reader, I had them complete my Reading Inventory.  This can also guide me to assist students in choosing books to read.  One of the greatest things about this challenge is that the students choose their books.  Students tend to hate reading when they have questions to answer or a project to do afterwards.  This challenge is to have students be exposed to different genres, yet given the "power" to choose their books they read.  Additionally, they don't have to do a project after every. single. book.    

The next day, I discussed the different genres and provided examples of books that fit these genres the students are familiar with.   Our school has started a Drop Everything and Read time built into our daily schedule.  I had students identify the genre of the book they were reading and the reasons why it fell into this genre.  My co-teacher and I wanted to make our pledge to read 40 books official, so we signed a poster board that I created making our pledge.  Then we asked our students who wanted to join us, and one by one each of our students signed the pledge.

To add more excitement for reading we also decided to make our Friday D.E.A.R time a "Flashlight Friday."  Students can read in the dark with flashlights.  Oh my!  I've never seen kids so excited to read before.  We even had parents write us letters saying that their child had disliked reading, and now were coming home to read during their free time.  Seriously, I'm not even joking!  This totally makes my heart smile!

Later, we wanted our students to maintain a Readers' Response Notebook to keep a reading log with a rating system, as well as a visual to see what genres they have read, or have left to read.

Instead of doing projects after reading their books, Miller suggests on doing "Book Commercials" to sell their books to classmates.  This is do be done at least once a marking period, and most importantly, not for every book.  Since I teach third grade, my co-teacher and I thought the students needed some assistance at first to organize or summarize their feelings about the book.  We also needed to stress that the students are not to give away the ending, or tell us too many details.  

We are excited to see how well and how far the challenge goes!  Will you take the challenge??

Happy Reading, 
K. Mac

Get my activities here:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Meal Prep

As a teacher, September tends to be a crazy month! There is so much to be done for the new school year that often times I find myself working 10-12 hour days! The last thing I want to do when I come home is cook, let alone make it a healthy meal! It was so much simpler to have a bowl a cereal, but definitely not good for the waistline. 

From all the health blogs I read, many of them say that meal prep is key to stay on track! So last week, I gave it a try and let me tell you; I'm hooked! Granted, I only have to cook for myself, so I was able to make my breakfast, lunches, and dinners; I still found it beneficial. Even if I had a family to feed, what I made could at least make breakfast and dinner for the week!  

I love breakfast!!! I love it so much that I can have breakfast foods anytime of day (even cereal for dinner :( ). So I started my meal prep with making a batch of protein pancakes. They are so easy to make! The Tone It Up girls have this recipe! I use half of a banana, mash it up with some almond milk, a scoop of my favorite protein powder (Perfect Fit Protein in Vanilla is my favorite for this recipe), a quarter cup of egg whites and a couple of dashes of cinnamon! That makes one pancake and will leave you full throughout the morning! I cook it on low heat and I add some fresh fruit to the top or in the batter.  These aren't the perfect pics but I made about six ahead of time and freeze them with a piece of wax paper between them in a Ziploc bag.
I also made my favorite TIU recipe, true banana chia seed muffins! To get the recipe, go to search for recipes and this recipe will be under the breakfast tab! I have sent so many of my fitness to this site because so many of them have tried and loved these delicious muffins! I can make about 20 muffins with this recipe! I keep them in the fridge. They are great for breakfast or a snack. I just hear them in the microwave for 30 seconds and they feel like they have just come out of the oven! 

Moving onto lunch and/or dinner! I started by getting spaghetti squash! The hardest part of this recipe was cutting the darn thing open in half. Afterwards, I ripped out some of the seeds.
I took some olive oil and drizzled it in open halves of the squash. I rubbed in the oil and sprinkled on black pepper and pink himaylan salt. I then placed the squash open face down on a baking sheet and cooked for 45 minutes on 350. Once it is finished all you have to do is scrape the inside with a fork and Voilà; you have spaghetti squash. In a small pan I heated up some coconut oil, put in a spoonful of garlic and some lemon juice and parsley. I drizzled it on top of the spaghetti squash and it was delish! I'm going to add some shrimp to it next time! It even fed me for five meals! There was no guilt because it was a vegetable!

My next recipe was quinoa stuffed peppers! The funny part of all of this is I was supposed to use 3 cups of cooked quinoa, and on accident I made 6 cups, because it basically doubles in size when you cook it (duh, Katie)! Oh well, I'll just freeze the extra for another week of meal prep... LOL! I got about a bag of 8 peppers from the produce market and was able to use all 8 because they were fairly small! This recipe would normally fill 6 large peppers! I placed the quinoa in a bowl, added some black beans, cut grape tomatoes, 2 jalapeño peppers, some corn, cilantro, Mexican blend cheeses (1/2 cup) and some taco seasoning. Mix it together and place mixture into the peppers. I use parchment paper to line a 9x13 baking dish, especially for the overflowing goodness! Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

I also had some fresh watermelon and grapes to snack on too throughout the week! It took a little bit of time, but well worth it; knowing I'd be eating healthy morning, noon, and night! 

Next time, I'll be making homemade Lara bars.... Can't wait to see how those turn out and maybe save myself some mulla in the long run! 

Happy prepping,