“Hearty” Chicken & Cauliflower Crumble Soup!

Chicken Cauliflower Soup

 

If you know me, you know that I am OBSESSED with all things fall! If I could eat all fall foods, decorate my house with pumpkins & leaves, & eat all pumpkin everything all year long, I totally would. There’s just something about fall that makes me super happy. <3

This soup is something I threw together last night & we LOVED IT!!! It was very simple to make & minimal ingredients, so I truly believe anyone can make it. I wouldn’t even call it a “recipe” because it’s just great quality ingredients in one soup!  I posted a picture of it on social media & so many of you were asking for the recipe, so I decided to put something on here for you all.

I want to preface this by saying that you do NOT have to use all or any organic products if you don’t want to. I did use organic chicken breast, organic chicken broth, & mostly organic veggies (minus the crumbles & the onions), but it is not necessary at all. It is just what I had at the time. I also feel that you can add ANY veggies that you want & it would probably make it even better! I do feel like the Green Giant Fresh cauliflower crumbles are a must in this, as they gave it a little rice and/or potato vibe to me without all of the carbs. I also think that they have to be those particular crumbles to get the same result I had, but you can feel free to use any type of cauliflower you want. The only thing is, I think the smaller the piece of the cauliflower, the “mushier” it may be & the bigger the cauliflower, the more it actually resembles cauliflower & that wasn’t what I was going for. Hope that makes sense! If you try it another way beside the GGF crumbles, let me know how it turns out!

Ingredients:

2lbs (organic) Fresh Chicken Breast
1 bag of Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles (or one head of cauliflower)
8 cups of Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth (check your ingredients! Also, if you prefer to make your own broth, which is what I usually do if I have the time, you can do that too! It’s even better with homemade broth)
1 Small Onion, diced
3 Stalks of Celery, sliced
3 Carrot Sticks, sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced (or any type of minced garlic you have)
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or coconut oil or ghee)
1 Tbsp. Thyme
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Flavor God Garlic Lovers (optional; if you don’t use this, use 1 tbsp. of garlic powder)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Place chicken breast in a crock pot with a little salt & pepper & a tiny bit of water & cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours or until thoroughly cooked. Once it is fully cooked, use a hand mixer (this is the easiest way!!) or 2 forks to shred your chicken.
2) Chop/dice/slice all of your veggies & garlic up. In a large pot, add olive oil & all veggies/garlic & let saute for 5-10 minutes until softened.
3) Add the broth & all seasonings to the veggies & let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Add the shredded chicken to the pot, add a little more salt & pepper to taste, & let simmer for another 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5) Add any extra seasonings as you see fit & ENJOY! Serve immediately, but know that it is just as good heated up! :)

 

Exciting New Activity Tracker & A Fun Giveaway!!!

Guys! You know how much I love ALDI! I basically share about it weekly on my FB page. Alex makes fun of me because I go there (almost) every single day. I’m not kidding. I live about 2 minutes from our ALDI and I stop there before I go home from work to grab whatever veggies we will need for our meal that night. So needless to say, I feel that I know the ins and outs of the store & always notice if there are new products!

THIS product is one that I am SOOOO excited about! I know most people think about saving money on food at ALDI, but I have noticed so many other great things at the store I shop at. There are always great healthy living products if you just look! The “Special Buy” items are my favorite and are available for a limited time only! And the reason I am writing this blog is no different. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!

One of the top 5 questions I get about healthy living is what activity tracking device I use. I have used so many different ones throughout the years. Some I have loved, some I haven’t. And I’ve been pretty vocal about the ones I love & ones I don’t. Well, on May 6th, ALDI will now have a brand new Bluetooth activity tracker, heart rate monitor, and diagnostic scale as Special Buy items! YES! AT ALDI!!! And you know ALDI is known for its wonderful prices, & this is no different! You get all 3 Bluetooth items (each sold separately) for only $104.97. The activity tracker alone would be that with any other brand.

Bluetooth scale, heart rate monitor, & activity tracker!

Bluetooth scale, heart rate monitor, & activity tracker!

ALDI sent these products to me to test out & share with you all whether I loved it or not. I have been using this product for the past week & I must be honest with you…it is one of the best devices I have used! It is a Crane product & it has its own app just like other brands & it is so easy to use! I love that it all connects right to my phone, which is something that is important to me especially when I’m on the go (and I usually am). You can also wear it as a watch or clip it on if you don’t like the watch look. The armband I got came with both a black armband AND an aqua armband (duh)! I love it!!!

The activity tracker tracks daily steps, distance, calorie deficit, & also has a sleep tracker. You can set up to 3 alarms on it for anything you might need as well. The battery lasts up to 7 days & you can easily charge it with a USB port that is included. If you want to wear the heart rate belt, you have that option too as it comes with the activity tracker. You can track your heart rate, training zones, duration of activity, distance covered, speed, and it even has GPS tracking. I use mine during workouts and absolutely love it. I think heart rate is so important when you are training.

Last but not least, the third part of this special buy is the diagnostic scale. I have to tell you, I am very particular when it comes to the scale I use. I have used the same scale for the past 5 years and I don’t like change very much so I was skeptical! But this scale is AWESOME!!! And I have never said that about a scale before. Just saying. It measures your progress with not only weight, but fat percentage, water percentage, muscle percentage, bone mass, body mass index, basal metabolic rate (calories burned while inactive), and active metabolic rate (calories burned while awake). It weighs up to 396 pounds as well, just as an FYI!

SOOOO…as an exciting extra to all of this, ALDI has graciously agreed to give away one prize pack of these Special Buy items to one of YOU!!!!! :) All you have to do is leave a comment below as to why YOU want/need one of these! And then just SHARE this blog post on Facebook with all of your friends so they can come try to win a prize pack too! We must be able to see the share! It’s very simple & well worth it! The winner will be chosen on May 8, 2015.

If you go buy one of these bad boys, PLEASE tag me in the pictures! I would love to see you all using/wearing the same thing as I am to keep us accountable!

Good luck on the giveaway!!!! :) :)

 

 

Note: All of the products above are compatible with Apple iOS 5.0+ and Android 4.3+. Special Buy items are available for a limited time.

Our Love Story — The Beginning :)

Soooooo…we’re engaged!!!! :) :) And we could not be happier!!! Over the past 3 years, so many of you have asked us when we were going to get engaged and the time is finally here! It has been a whirlwind for the past month, and I honestly can’t even believe that I am just sitting down now to write this out.

You see, I feel a connection with all of my online friends and even though everyone can’t be at our wedding, I want to keep you all in the loop (for those of you who want to know) as much as possible because you have watched our relationship unfold. That is such a cool thing about social media these days. I totally understand if you have no interest in this…but here it goes. :)

First of all, I’m not sure that everyone knows how Alex and I met so I will start with that. I think that is a necessary part of the story to fully understand our love! In January of 2010, there were 18 finalists for a brand new weight loss show that was being cast for ABC. Alex and I were both one of those finalists. The reason we had even been called is because we were in the mix for casting for Biggest Loser, so when you are in the casting world, you are basically always in it. So anyways, they called me to try out for this show and I was skeptical. It was mostly because I had no idea what the show was or what the premise was, and I didn’t like that. I went through the casting process, and when they called me and told me I was going to be a finalist, I couldn’t believe it! It was then that I knew that when you don’t try to control every situation, things work out as they should. I was flown to LA as one of the 18 finalists. I met the other 17 people, and Alex was one of those people.

Most of the finalists for season 1 of Extreme Weight Loss :)

 We were quickly told that only 8 of us would make the show, but we had 10 days in LA doing workouts, medical exams, interviews with production, and just overall learning more about each other and Chris Powell, the brand new trainer for this brand new show. All 18 of us spent a LOT of time together. These people truly changed my life!

 It is funny, because most of us were very outgoing and more “type A”, but the one person who wasn’t was Alex. He was so quiet and reserved, and I wasn’t used to people like him. I have always been loud, outgoing, and probably TOO forward at times, so this kid was intriguing to me. All of us that were more outgoing and loud were hanging out constantly, and Alex wasn’t around much. In fact (and I love to tell this story), there were times that he was in his hotel room with the “do not disturb” sign on. I thought that was so weird because I was the person who was having everyone in my room and basically the center location for the partaaaay! Hahaha. After 3 days of being in LA, Alex finally called me and said, “What are y’all doing?” in his little southern accent. He finally came to hang out with everyone and we all found out how cool he really is.

We were informed at the end of the 10 days that they would call us and let us know if we made the show or not. I was pretty confident that I was going to make it. I hope that doesn’t sound cocky. I knew I didn’t have a sad story, but I just felt very confident with the interviews that I did and just how the week went. It was awesome! For the next 3 weeks while we waited on their decision, about 6 of us were CONSTANTLY skyping, texting, and talking every single night. Alex was a part of that group, and he kept opening up more and more. We all became VERY close, VERY fast!

Alex & I one of the first days we met 5 years ago! Both of us over 400 pounds & probably at our worst health wise.

Alex & I one of the first days we met 5 years ago! Both of us over 400 pounds & probably at our worst health wise.

After 3 weeks passed, I received a phone call from a producer. He said, “Courtney, I hope you know how much I adore you. I want you to know that we are taking 8 people for the first season of this brand new show, and you are number 9.” I was in shock. I was sad, but I tried to understand. I didn’t at that point. And it was the first time in my life that I had been MAD about something like that. I was mad because I knew I deserved it (we truly all did!!), and I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I couldn’t do something. So…THAT is when I started losing weight on my own. It fueled my fire to get moving. I called Alex and Wally (the 2 I had become the closest with) and they both informed me that they HAD made the show!!! I was so happy for them, and I told them I was going to do it along with them and we were all going to be where we wanted to be at the end of the year.

Alex started training with Chris Powell on, you guessed it, the very first season of Extreme Weight Loss. The coolest part is that he got to do most of it at home, so we continued to Skype nightly and check in about our workouts and foods for that day. We become closer and closer and we both considered each other best friends. There was no denying that! I tried to learn as much as I could from Alex and Wally, and also stayed in contact with Chris, as he is one of the most genuine caring people I know!

The next 9 months went by, and I lost over 100 pounds on my own! I was on FIRE. There was no stopping me. I was trusting the process and it was working…all on my own with the support of amazing friends, of course. Alex was still losing mass amounts of weight and truly finding himself. In the beginning of September, Alex went to EWL boot camp in Arizona, where he had to go through some difficult things mentally and physically. We stopped talking as much (and little did I know, he really wasn’t talking to many people besides his family) because he was just grinding and doing what he needed to do to finish the year strong. I was upset about that, but again I understood.

About that time, I received a call from The Biggest Loser producers. They were casting for season 11 and they really wanted to talk to me! I told them that I was not interested like I had been before, because I had lost over 100 pounds on my own and I was going strong. I still had at least 150 more pounds to lose, but I was determined to do it. They called again. And again. And again. And finally I agreed to try out again. I didn’t have to go through all of the casting calls and such again, which I what I did NOT want to do. They already had my info so I went directly to on camera interviews. They told me I HAD to find a partner, and hopefully it would be a parent or sibling. I never looked at my parents or my sister as big enough to qualify, but I asked my mom and she was scared, but agreed to try with me. The rest is history. From the end of September 2010 until about May of 2011, we were cut off from the outside world. We were doing our thing at the ranch!

I got to come home for Christmas, and right when I got home, Alex had called me. Now remember, we weren’t talking much before I went to the ranch, so I didn’t expect it! But it was SOOO great to chat and when I saw him on Skype (it was about 3 months since I had seen him) I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! He looked like a COMPLETELY different person. See, those 3 months that he wasn’t talking to people much and just grinding were the 3 months that he FULLY changed his life. I was so proud of him, and he was so proud of me!

We both had people we were interested in, and I was helping him with his girl problems and he talked me through my guy problems. That is what best friends do. I always knew in my heart that I loved him, though. Little did I know, he felt the same way. Neither of us wanted to force anything though, but we knew God would work it out. And HE DID!!!…..

You see, I feel like you all need to know THAT part of our story so you can understand the love that we have. I KNOW for sure that I was a finalist for Extreme Weight Loss (even though I didn’t make the show) because Alex and I were SUPPOSED to meet that week! God had a plan for us, that this was it. I didn’t understand at the time why I didn’t make that show, but I 1000000% understand now. It was so I could learn how to change my life ON MY OWN. So I could have the opportunity to go on TBL because that is part of my life story. And most importantly, so I could meet my soul mate!!!

TO BE CONTINUED :)……….

Putting it out there in 2014!

Hey everyone!

So as you know, I was on a very popular weight loss show a few years ago & that’s how most of you know me! It was the greatest experience of my life & I made life long friends & learned so much about what works & what doesn’t work for myself & my overall health for life! I feel like all great things require learning both wonderful & not so wonderful things to make it the best experience (just my opinion).

With that being said, YES, I was on a TV show…but NO, the show does NOT define me, nor does my weight. I feel as though that is a very large misconception out there about what is on TV and the reality of the situation. At the end of the day, every single contestant is a REAL person with REAL feelings and REAL emotions who legitimately just wanted to get their lives back. The show is based on numbers on the scale, but if you really think that is the WHOLE picture, then you need to take a step back and look at what is really going on. The scale, again in my opinion, is a very small portion of overall health & it is important to know that, ESPECIALLY as a fan of the show.

When we are at the ranch, all we do is fight for a number. I totally understand for the sake of what we are doing….going from morbidly obese individuals to healthy and fit individuals is the point. There is more to that than weight. And for me, losing 230 pounds plus having skin removal surgery made me LOOK like a completely different person. And I changed in SO many ways for the better!

But I also let some of the other superficial things get to me. For example…I weighed in at 213 pounds at my finale. To most, that was not “skinny enough” and I can’t tell you how many THOUSANDS of people kept saying “keep going so you can get to your goal weight!” or “Hope you get to 150 soon!” amongst many other things. The REALITY of the situation is that, according to the doctor, I WAS at my goal weight. I WAS at the weight that I am supposed to live at for life.  213 pounds for a woman? No way. Well…WAY! I’ll NEVER weigh 150 pounds. I have an extreme amount of muscle for a woman, so the number on the scale isn’t going to reflect the same way it does for someone standing next to me. I was born strong and I am PROUD OF THAT (now), but I didn’t understand that coming off the show. I was so proud of how far I had come, but all I could think about is how far I had left to go…and I just wanted to make everyone happy.

There have been many days where I told myself “you need to lose more weight” and I obsessed over the scale. I didn’t talk about this often because I didn’t want to be “that person”. This only happened for a short time until I MADE myself stop. I knew from losing 112 pounds on my own before I ever stepped foot on the ranch that I was mentally strong…and the entire journey was MENTAL. But I found myself letting my mind getting the best of me.

I found that what I manifested (I was too fat, I had too far to go, comparing myself to others) is what I became. It was SOO unlike me to think this way. Ask anyone who has known me forever and they will tell you I have always been a confident person, even when I weighed close to 450 pounds. Literally. I found myself starting to be something I didn’t want to be and started to go backwards…more so mentally than physically, but a little of both…and I didn’t like it. I told myself all of the wrong things and ultimately it negativity affected me.

It wasn’t until the beginning of last year (2013) that I started seeing the WHOLE picture. I started seeing that it was NOT just about weight and it was about health. I started doing my own research about what it means to be healthy. To my surprise, that DOESN’T mean eating foods that are all zero calories just for the sake of eating low calories when all those foods contain are chemicals. That meant to eat nutrient dense food and eat plenty of them. I learned that healthy fat doesn’t make me fat…it actually helps me burn it more. I learned that sugar is really not okay for MY body, even if it is in the form of a 50 calorie snack. If a 50 calorie snack has 10 grams of sugar…that is a problem for me. These are all things I didn’t understand before. Truly. I know it sounds crazy, but I just didn’t. Since the very beginning of when I started losing weight, all I did was count calories and exercise. I even got to the point of eating WAY too little, which is ultimately what affected me and my metabolism so bad and I have had to fight for the past year to build it back up. I can say I am successfully doing that now, and I am so happy.

I have learned A LOT from this process. The most important thing I have learned is that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be what someone thinks I should look like. I have gained about 40 pounds back (and still kept off around 200 pounds…how can I be upset with that?) and I feel as though I have been very open about it all. But it was from manifesting all of the wrong things. It was all MENTAL. It was all from over thinking. It was all not seeing how far I had actually come. I see it now. And nothing & no one can take it from me…ever :)

I am committing this year to being the BEST VERSION OF MYSELF that I have ever been. That has nothing to do with a scale. That has nothing to do with what other people think of me or tell me I should do. It has everything to do with ME. And loving ME for ME. And I can honestly say that I DO!!! I am so happy. And I am so proud of myself for not giving up. It’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up…truly!!! I believe that now that I am fully understanding this concept again, EVERYTHING will fall into place the way it should…weight, self-worth, health and happiness!

I hope that any of you reading this who may have had some ups and downs in your life read this and see that self-worth and being happy with who you are, what you’ve done, and where you’re going is the most important thing in life. I don’t have all of the answers. I’m certainly not perfect. I’ve messed up a lot in the past and I will mess up again. But I do have a strong mind and I have faith in myself that I will do all that I need to do to live the healthiest life possible forever.

I love me. I love Courtney Lynn Crozier. And I hope that you love you too. Here’s to an AMAZING & HEALTHY 2014!!! WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!

 

PS–I also must say that I feel SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED to have the “fans” (I hate saying that…I like to say FRIENDS!) that I have gained through this entire process. Even though I have haters sometimes, for every hater there are 10,000 WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL souls who support & love me daily…and I can’t thank you all enough for that!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the energy you give me too!

 

living

 

Meet Kristen Kinney!

Hey everyone! I had the pleasure of interviewing Miss Kristen Kinney for next Grimmway Farms weight loss success story!!! And you guys will be blown away when you read her answers!!! Thanks for answering all of my questions, Kristen! You rock lady!

 

1)    When did you start your weight loss journey?

 

I started my journey on June 26, 2012. I have lost 144.2 pounds since then.

 

2)    What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?

I’ve tried to lose weight a thousand times before. Sometimes I would succeed, but I would always gain the weight back because I had only learned how to diet, not how to live a healthy life. It took me a very long time to “get it.” I truly believe that I had to get to the point where being obese was harder for me than losing the weight would be. Last June, having reached an all-time high of 328 lbs, I finally reached that point. It wasn’t any specific thing that triggered my change, but rather realizing just how much of my life obesity had stolen from me.   I was 27 years old, but my body felt more like 77 years old. I wasn’t living my life. I was merely existing. One day I just realized that I could not go on living that way. In that one moment, I decided that I had the power to change. That belief has made all the difference for me, and I have never looked back since.

3)    Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?

 

I do not have a personal trainer. I just did what I could in the gym at first, and then I took advantage of my gym offering to design a free personalized strength training program for members. That was really helpful since I was kind of clueless about the machines.

 

4)    How often did you work out when you were losing weight? How often do you work out now?

 

To be honest, when I first started, I mainly focused on my diet, and not working out. I did that because during my past weight loss attempts, I had tried to change everything in my life all at once. It was way too overwhelming! I knew I was just asking to fail if I tried to go from a completely sedentary fast food junkie to a health food-loving gym rat all at once. I tried to make small changes a little at a time so that I could actually maintain them. All those little changes add up to a very big change eventually if you are patient. For example, in the beginning I just tried to walk outside for half an hour around 4-5 days a week. Now I work out for an hour in the early morning and an hour later in the day, 6 days a week. Also, I usually try to squeeze in an extra-long workout of 3-4 hrs the day before I weigh in. It sounds like a lot, but once it becomes routine it is much easier. I have to make it a priority. At the beginning of the week, I look at my schedule and actually put my workouts in as appointments on my phone planner. It seems more like a commitment that way, and I am less likely to make excuses for missing a workout when I already have the time blocked out.

 

5)    Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look like for you? Is what you do now similar to what you did to lose weight?

 

Well, sometimes my workout starts right as I wake up (at a soul-crushingly early hour) when I exert myself enough to throw my alarm clock into the wall. Well, not really, but I feel like it sometimes! I always try to get my metabolism going early with an hour of cardio in the morning, usually half an hour on the elliptical and half an hour on the treadmill. But now that I can actually run more than 30 seconds at a time, I like to run outside some mornings and watch the sun rise. Usually two mornings a week, I switch to swimming laps at the YWCA. Then for my later workouts, I do half an hour of cardio, and then half an hour of strength training. I switch up which muscle group I focus on every day so that each one has enough time to recover before I torture (oops, I meant exercise) them again. Now that I’m in decent shape I am looking to get into more sports and race activities too.

 

I still have around 55 pounds to go until my goal weight, so I am not at the maintenance point yet. When I do reach that stage, I think I will do pretty much the same thing except maybe not have 2 workouts a day quite so much. Right now, sometimes it is a struggle for me to not go to the gym too much and push myself too hard (never thought I would say that!). As I get smaller, it gets harder and harder for me to lose even a pound. I have a tendency to take things to the extreme, so when I see a low weight loss number, part of me is screaming to do “MORE! BETTER! FASTER!” But I try to remind myself that this is the way I am going to spend the rest of my life, and I can’t spend my whole life in the gym. It’s all about moderation for me.

 

6)    What types of food did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are staples in your refrigerator?

 

I have gotten introduced to a whole lot of new foods while losing weight. My diet before this began could be summed up in two categories: “in a box” and “from a drive-thru.” I ate garbage, and so I felt like garbage. And when I tried to lose weight before, I would always eat “diet” food that was full of sodium and left me hungry. But now I try to eat mainly “real” food. I always have on hand grilled chicken, tons of fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, whole grain bread, and steel-cut oatmeal. I have gotten pretty obsessed with using a crock-pot now too!

 

7)    What keeps you motivated and accountable?

 

When I have tried to lose weight before, I always was pretty private about it. I was so ashamed, and I didn’t want people to see how much my weight hurt me, both physically and emotionally. But this time, I decided to put it all out there for the world to see. I’m not going to lie; it was incredibly scary to do that! I keep my Facebook friends updated regularly on how I am doing, good and bad. I weigh in every Wednesday, no matter what! I even took my scale with me while visiting relatives over Christmas. I also started a blog where I write about all the different parts of my journey. I didn’t know if people would care about what I was doing or what I had to say. But I couldn’t believe the response once I got started. Seeing all these people respond to me and being able to help some of them on their own journeys is definitely something that helps keep me motivated. I feel like as I have lost the weight, I have found my voice.

 

My family and friends have been very good at motivating me as well, sticking with me through sometimes questionable new recipes, going with me to the gym, and taking my progress pictures every month. I have never even met some of my friends though. At the very beginning of my journey, I joined a Facebook weight loss support group called “Destination Skinny.” We keep each other accountable by weighing in weekly, and keep each other motivated through all of our ups and downs. I can post anything on there, and I know they will understand because they are going through the same thing.

 

I have inspirational quotes all over my bedroom and bathroom. It may seem weird, but it works for me, and that’s what matters. I just tell people that they can’t argue with the results! Above all else, I strive to be honest with myself and stay accountable. I lied to myself for a long time before, and all that did was get me to over 300 pounds and miserable. So whenever I am tempted to not write down something in my food journal or to skip a workout, I remind myself that I am hurting no one but myself.

 

8)    What is your number one piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?

Anyone who has been through this with me will tell you that the number one thing I preach is moderation. It has always been an all or nothing thing for me before now. I was either making a permanent butt indention in the couch shoveling ice cream in my mouth and watching TV (embarrassingly enough, sometimes while watching The Biggest Loser) or I was starving myself by eating only iceberg lettuce and canned crab (yes, weird true story) and running 15 miles a day. I had no sense of balance at all. But in order to succeed on this journey, you have to have some moderation. After all, this is something you should be trying to do for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live the whole rest of my life without a cheeseburger every now and then. The key words are “every now and then.” It doesn’t have to be either “all the time” or “never.” If you can honestly tell yourself that you are making healthy choices most of the time, that is good enough. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about becoming better than you were the day before.

 

ANYTHING ELSE?

I would love for you to check out my blog! I don’t hold anything back there. I’ve got funny gym stories, thoughts on being overweight, news about what crazy recipes I’m trying, basically just everything related to this weight loss adventure of mine. The web address is www.thespaceinbetweenallornothing.blogspot.com

My weight loss has made such a huge impact in my life that now I just want to help everyone else to be able to do this too. Let me tell you, I’m not some kind of super human weight loss machine. I’m a normal, regular person. I have a normal, regular life. I know people say this all the time, but it is true: If I can do this, so can you! Most people think weight loss is primarily a physical thing, but I am here to say to that it is mainly a mental thing. Once you decide to believe that you can lose the weight, nothing can stop you!

Meet Kevin Riley! :)

Hi everyone!! Another new week which means yet another amazing weight loss journey to share with you! Please meet my new friend Kevin!!! Kevin has SO many wonderful and insightful things to say and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to interview him! Thank you Grimmway Farms for introducing us!
KEVIN RILEY
1)  When did you start your weight loss journey?  
I started my weight loss journey in April of 2011.
2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Let me paint a picture.   I was unemployed.  Around 560 pounds.   Depressed.   My life was going nowhere.   What was worse is that I was so big I could actually feel myself dying.   Everything hurt.   I was always out of breath.   If I stood up and/or walked for more than 10-12 feet, my back would be in excruciating pain.  Simple tasks were beyond me.   I had to take time out to catch my breath when taking a shower for crying out loud. Most concerning for me was my mental state.  I’ve always loved taking care of my niece and nephews.   Babysitting was one of the few joys in my life.  However, now my depression and poor health were making it so I could no longer care for them.  If anything went wrong, I would have a crazy anxiety attack.   As horrible as this was, it was the thing that saved my life.
My family was concerned for me and had planned an intervention.   Now I can be a stubborn fellow so this may not have gone over well.  I would have been defensive and probably would have fallen into a deeper depression.   My sister, Erin, was smart enough to realize this and went with Plan B.  She invited me out to dinner (let’s be honest, I was always down for a good meal).   At this meal, she told me how worried the family was and offered a suggestion.   She wanted me to meet Marty Wolff from Biggest Loser Season 3.   She had attended some bootcamps with him and thought he could help me.   That is what started me on the journey.   My dear sister gave me that little push to get started.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
As mentioned above, I met Marty Wolff.  He is my trainer.  I have met trainers in the past and I have always hated that first meeting.  Because every trainer I met would look at me with either an expression of “oh lord, look how much work I have to do” or an expression of outright disgust.  So, I was not particularly looking forward to my meeting with Marty but I knew I needed help.  I was pleased to find out that Marty looked at my like a friend from the get-go.  He greeted me warmly and said that he saw strength in me.   He promised me that we could make this work if we met halfway.   We tried to walk as we talked, but I only made it half a block and then we sat on the curb and talked there.  He never made me feel bad for not being able to move.
Marty went above and beyond for me.  He was describing the nutrition plan and that a group of people were meeting to walk through a grocery store together and learn what was good to buy and what was bad.   He wanted me to attend but could see that I was upset and asked me why.  I told him that I couldn’t walk a grocery store.   My back would hurt too much.  His solution?   We drove to the grocery store where the event was planned to take place.  While I waited in the car, Marty went inside and a) found out that they had a motorized cart I could use to attend the walk-through and b) bought me some groceries to last me the three days until the walk though.  He wanted me to start right away.  That level of commitment was amazing to me.  And I can never repay that faith in me.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I started, I worked out for 60 minutes twice a week.   My initial workouts wore severely limited.  I would walk across the gym and sit down.  We would talk.  I would walk back and sit down again.   That was all I could do.   However, things improved fairly quickly.  For most of my journey, I would work out 4-5 times a week and sometimes more if I snuck in a hike or swim on the weekends.   I am still on my journey so the workout regimen is the same.   At times, I have fallen off the wagon and done less.  At times, I have done more where I work out twice a day multiple days of the week.   The goal is to try and keep moving forward.
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
At Square One Health Club (Marty’s new club exclusively for People of Size), most of our workouts are 45 minutes long and they take the form of games or bootcamps.   We do circuits and timed challenges.   Much of what we do is to build strength while still keeping ourselves moving for the cardio benefits.   Mini-competitions tend to push us to work harder as well.  Even though there is never a prize on the line, we push ourselves so our team can do the very best it can.   Surprisingly, no one is ever belittled, demeaned or saddened for poor performance.   We just chip in to make the difference.  It is a lot of fun.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
The core of the nutrition plan is simply to fill yourself with nutrient dense foods.   We get a calorie level that is based off the amount of lean muscle mass we have.   After that, we try to use those calories to eat natural, non-processed foods.   As we go, we tweak the amount of protein we take in because that is what keeps us full for longer periods of time.  I was encouraged to drink lots of water and decrease (if not eliminate) the consumption of diet soda.
I don’t know if I have “staples” in the refrigerator.  However, greek yogurt, spaghetti squash, Kashi cereal and lots of berries and vegetables tend to be on hand most of the time.  Egg white quiche is a key for me.  It fills me up for most of the day.  So I will often have turkey sausage, egg whites, low-fat cheese, and a variety of vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onion, etc) on hand to make quiche regularly.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
Well, to be honest, I am having a low motivation period right now so this is hard to answer.  It happens from time to time.   This is a long journey.  Every time some skinny person tells me that I should just “eat less and exercise”, I want to point out that those are only tools.   Telling someone who is morbidly obese to just “eat less and exercise” is like telling someone to just “go run a marathon or two”.   Most people can eat less and exercise for a few weeks and drop the weight they want to lose.   Someone like me has to do it for YEARS.   Sorry, off my soapbox.
The community of people at Square One tend to keep me motivated and accountable.   We all look out for each other.  We rejoice in our victories, commiserate defeats, and can sympathize with each other’s difficulties.   This is 100% of what makes this place more successful than other programs.  We know that the weight loss journey is primarily a mental journey.  Support groups, friends, and trainers help us to stay on track and work the mental side of what we do.  I also keep a blog.  This helps me to stay motivated because it reminds me of where I came from and where I don’t want to return.   So, despite my low motivation period right now, I know that I will get it together because I want it, my friends and workout partners are looking out for me, and my trainers are there to help push me to greater success.
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys? 
Look.  It isn’t easy.  It is a long journey.  But here’s what I can promise you.   It will be easier than you think and the benefits are well worth the effort.   I used to look at the fact that it would take me years to lose the weight and that was my reason not to start.  It was too hard.   However, you don’t have to hit your goal weight to be successful.  You don’t have to wait until you are there to feel better.   That happens right away.  In my case, it took a very short time (just a few weeks) before I was reaping the rewards.   I felt better.  I could breathe better.   My depression was going away because I was doing something to change my circumstances.  In 4 months, I went from a guy who couldn’t walk a half a block to a guy who walked a 5k!  I couldn’t believe it.   And like rolling a snowball down a mountain, the benefits just kept getting bigger and better the longer I stayed on the journey.
You all are worth it!   Change your life.  Change your circumstances!   And most importantly, try to find some friends to do it with you.   Not that skinny friend who will order nachos while you are having a salad.   They are fine, but the ones you need for your journey are the people who will enjoy that salad with you, work out with you, and walk the path with you.   My Square One friends are a dear part of my life and a HUGE reason for my success.
 
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I would like to invite anyone who is interested to check out my blog.   It is long and I primarily do it for me.  However, I have shared it with others and some have found it helpful to them on their journeys.   I believe that if it helps or inspires one other person, then it is worth the effort of writing it down.   It begins in October of 2011 and starts by recounting the beginning of my journey and how bad I let it get before starting.
^You should DEFINITELY check out Kevin’s blog. He has so much great info on there and I know you will love it just as I did!
Also, don’t forget to sign up to potentially be chosen to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort for 2 on behalf of Grimmway Farms!!!! Check out all of the details here…. www.justcrunchem.com
GRIMMWAY BL RESORT

Meet Allison Jones! :)

Helloooooo again, everyone! It’s that time of week again! We have our fourth success story to feature…and let me tell you, this girl is BEAUTIFUL inside & out! She took the plunge into a healthy lifestyle fairly recently and she is looking FABULOUS! I love that she has taken this one choice at a time so far…and is well on her way to all of her health goals! It’s my honor to introduce you to the gorgeous Allison Jones!!
ALLISON WEIGHT LOSS
1) When did you start your weight loss journey? 
I began my journey, two months ago, on January 7th 2013. I have lost 32 pounds since that day.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
After two months of marriage, my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I spent up to 10 hours in the hospital, by his side, while he received his chemotherapy. On January 7th, in the middle of the hospital, I decided it was time to change my life. My husband did not choose cancer,yet here I am committing slow suicide. I felt so selfish. That was my moment. I watched him fight for his life and it was time for him to watch me fight for me. From that point on I dove head first into my weight loss. I came home that day, emptied my cabinets, weighed myself, activated an online food journal and I haven’t looked back.

3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
No trainer. I have done everything so far on my own.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first began losing weight, I worked out 3-4 days a week for about an hour each day. Now, I workout 5-6 days a week for close to two hours each day. I still have about 100 pounds to lose so I know that I will have to keep up with this routine for some time to come. I am totally okay with that. Working out has actually become enjoyable for me! I am in LOVE!
 
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
My typical workout activities are the elliptical, jogging (never thought I would say that), and a class at my gym called body combat! To be honest I am a little obsessed with that class. I sometimes do that 3 or 4 times a week. I also do strength training 4 times a week. The type of exercises I do now are very similar to the type I did when I first began. I have,however, increased my length of time spent training and my intensity.

 

 
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
When I first began losing weight, I was completely clueless. I read into a few of Jillian Michaels’ books and I began to grasp the concept of clean eating. I limited my foods based off of the rule, ” If it has a mom or came from the ground it is okay to eat.”. Another rule I used was, “If it has a commercial on T.V., it doesn’t go near my mouth.” That seemed to give me a pretty good guide of what and what not to eat. I also began counting calories like it was my job. I had no idea how many calories I was consuming until I put it all in front of me. When that was made a reality, I was able to see how much I needed to cut back! Right now, the food that ALWAYS makes an appearance in my refrigerator are eggs! They are my go to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I have found so many new healthy recipes to use them in! Absolutely my favorite right now.

7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
My husband and my little boy, of course. Also, since starting my journey I have been very public about it. I posted it on my facebook and my instagram. I have so many supportive people that make it a point to check in on my progress.A few people have messaged me saying that I have inspired them to make changes themselves.I would hate to let them down. They help me stay on track and focused on days I feel like quitting. I think being very open about my journey was one of the best decisions I have made.
 
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?Oh goodness. Just one? Haha. There is so much I would love to say. However, the most important would be to not give up. EVER. The best part about losing weight is that there is no such thing as an ultimate failure. You have the choice, with every breath you take to say “This is NOT how I am going to live.” If you mess up, which you will, you will have another opportunity around the corner to be successful. It is a beautiful thing to finally realize that you can not fail until you stop trying. Ask the people who love you most to support you, encourage you, and be honest with you when you need it. Crawl,walk, run, fly…whatever you need to do. Just do NOT give up!
I LOVE everything Alison has said here!! She is so right…NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!!! That can’t be in your vocabulary when you decide to take the plunge into a healthy lifestyle! It’s for LIFE, even with the ups and downs! Also, Allison…please know that we are ALL praying for you, your husband, and your families in all of the ups and downs that life brings. We are proud of you for being a fighter! Just know you are always in my thoughts and prayers!
allison weight loss 2
Remember, if YOU want to be featured as one of our weight loss success stories, please check out Grimmway Farms website and submit your application! It can be any type of loss…5 to 500 pounds! We are all in this together! :)
Until next time…
xoxoxo
Courtney

Meet Michelle Jud! :)

I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to interview some wonderful people who have been on the same journey as I have for a while now! Our next story is an AMAZING woman who lives and breathes a healthy lifestyle! Please take a look at the question she’s kindly answered and maybe you, too, can be inspired by her! Please meet my new friend, Michelle Jud, everyone! :)
MICHELLEJUD
1) When did you start your weight loss journey?
I started my journey in the summer of 2010.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Looking back now, I think it was a little bit of both.  I remember being sick of myself and finally fed up with not being able to do anything.  My twins were 5 at the time, and I remember being sad at the kind of mother I had been up to that point.  I was a horrible example, completely inactive, and I could barely get up and down off the floor to play with them. 
When I found out that The Biggest Loser was holding auditions here in Omaha, something inside me said “This is your chance!”.  I felt that my life was about to change, although I had no idea what that really meant yet at that time.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
I did it with the help of an amazing trainer and an awesome, supportive community of people just like me! 
In line at the audition, I met former Biggest Loser contestant, Marty Wolff.  He was offering a “beginner bootcamp” for people with 100 pounds or more to lose.  Since I didn’t get a call back from the show, I remember thinking that I was still going to do something about my weight.  I made my cousin come with me to the info session for the bootcamp. After hearing Marty’s story, I thought that if he could do it, I could do it too!  I joined the beginner bootcamp and became good friends with many of the others there who were also bigger like me.  After the beginner bootcamp was done, I joined up with Marty’s regular ongoing bootcamp and I have been doing the same thing ever since!
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first started, I usually worked out 3 times a week.  I also spent the first year of my journey doing races just to prove that I could.  Now that Marty has opened Square One  (a health club specifically for people of size), I have more opportunities to work out and usually try to hit 5 or more workouts per week.  I still enjoy doing races.  Just 2 weeks ago I did Trek Up The Tower (a race up 40 flights of stairs) for the 3rd year in a row and managed to beat my best time by almost 3 minutes!
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
I just try to stay really busy which helps me control my eating.  In the morning I go to one of my jobs, and in the afternoon I go to work at Square One.  I usually work out in the evenings, either doing a single class or back to back classes. 
Even though I am not yet in the maintainence phase, what I do now is nearly the same thing as I did in the beginning, bootcamp style classes and trying to get in lots of cardio.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
I really just focused on keeping in my calorie range with as many nutrient-dense, real foods as possible.  In the beginning it was a lot of “eat this, not that”, just making small changes and substitutions so as not to be overwhelmed. Instead of pasta, I would have spaghetti squash.  Instead of using regular milk, I would use almond milk. 
Most recently, we have made a huge change in the way we eat in my family.  We are converting over to a clean eating lifestyle, and so far it has made a huge difference!  It is definitely not an easy process, but I have started a blog and a Facebook page so that I can continue to learn, and hopefully help others as well.  If you are interested in checking it out, it is called Grownup Spinach.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
These days, it is helping others on their journey. 
I still weigh in weekly, and I am actually not done losing weight just yet, but what really keeps me going is encouraging people and helping them see that they are stronger than they think they are!
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?
It is not a diet but a lifestyle change.  However thinking of it that way can be overwhelming.  If you start out with small changes it is easily sustainable and will eventually snowball into bigger changes. 
The other thing is that you just really have to believe you can do it.  I know it sounds cheesy to say “If I did it, anyone can do it”, but I truly believe that. 
Finally, I would say, find a source of inspiration and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories.  Winning the small battles makes it easier to see that you can win the war.
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I just want to thank Grimmway Farms & Cal-Organic Farms and also you, Courtney, for giving me the chance to tell my story. If anyone is interested in any of my other ramblings, my facebook page is
and my blog is
^Check out her blog!!! You guys will LOVE it!! :) Doesn’t this lady, ROCK?! I love what Michelle said about this being a lifestyle change & NOT a diet. I think almost anyone who has had success with weight loss preaches the same thing. I’m glad we’re on the same page, girl!
Also…another huge thanks to Grimmway Farms for introducing Michelle and myself. The things this company are AMAZING and they make a difference!!! If you haven’t signed up for a chance to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort thanks to Grimmway, click HERE now! :)
GRIMMWAY BL RESORT

13 Goals in ’13! :)

13 IN 13

 

Happy 2013!!! :) I know bringing in the new year always comes with a new found drive, motivation, and want for yourself or your loved ones to be better in some way, shape, or form. That is GREAT!!!! But what is even better is when you set those goals and stick to them! Having a support group/community is such a big help when it comes to things like this! I know I wouldn’t be where I am without the love and support surrounding me daily. I want THIS page to be just that. Love, support, motivation, inspiration, etc, to be the BEST you possible and to have other like-minded people near you as well! Or at least a click away when you need it most! :)

I want to start off this year by setting goals & being accountable to them through all of you & my close family & friends who always have my back! My boyfriend came up with the great idea to set 13 goals in 2013 and I LOOOOOVE it!!! And we wanted to challenged all of YOU to write out YOUR goals, hopes, dreams, and wishes for this year along with us! Choose things that will challenge you, but with enough hard work, dedication, and discipline, you will be able to achieve! After all, if you believe you can, YOU CAN!!!

Put these 13 goals somewhere that you can see them daily!!! Alex has a cork board in his room and he wrote all of his on a note card and pinned it on the board. Put it somewhere that you spend a lot of time so you can have a daily reminder of what you need to do this year! It can be ANYTHING! It can be related to fitness, nutrition, academics, family, friends, volunteering, careers….whatever you choose! The possibilities are ENDLESS!!! You can choose to share them with all of us or keep them to yourself! YOUR choice!!! At the end of this week, I will be posting my goals for 2013 so everyone can see! I would LOVE if you posted yours here to share with others and to keep each other motivated!

Let’s start this New Year off right…empower yourself to do ANYTHING you set your mind to! We are ALL in this together!!!

Are you accepting the challenge!?! Can’t wait to hear your goals SOON! :) Stay tuned for mine!!!

xoxoxoxo
Court :)

A few cardio workouts I love!! <3

Hi guys!!! It’s been way too long since I have written!! Hope you are all doing well!!! <3

I wanted to share a few cardio workouts I learned on the ranch from Brett & Jillian so you can try them at home!! I posted Brett’s treadmill workout a while ago on my FB & everyone LOVED it!!! It’s VERY brutal, but it’s a great sweat and you will love it when you’re done!! Here  it is! ;)

 

BRETT’S TREADMILL WORKOUT!:

Warm up in any way you usually do (I walk at a 12 incline at 3.0 for 5 minutes)
-5 sets of jogging intervals! 2 minutes on, 1 minute off
2 minutes on run at a fast jog/slow run (I run at a 7.5-8.0)
… 1 minute of walking at a very slow pace (2.0-2.5)
Do that 5 times for a total of 15 minutes
THEN
-6 sets of sprint intervals! 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off
30 seconds at a full out sprint (I do these at a 10.0-11.0 depending on the day)
30 seconds walking at a very slow pace (2.0-2.5)
Do that 6 times for a total of 6 minutes
THEN
-Jog a half mile at your own pace (I usually do it at a 6.5)
THEN
Cool down! Walk it out at your own pace.

This treadmill workout is usually about 30-35 minutes of a VERY intense, but awesome workout!! When we were on the ranch, Brett had Justin & I do it TWO times in a row! YIKES! haha…I still do it today & it’s killer & I love it!

ALSO…PLEASEEEE realize that the speeds I posted are just MY speeds (because some of you asked), but you do NOT have to run at those speeds. If you can’t run at all, modify it into a walking interval treadmill workout. There are always ways to modify. You can add an incline to your walk as well which is a GREAT burn & great sweat…along with your butt thanking you later too!!! ;) The most important part of it is that you get your heart rate up high & bring it back down over and over again. That will get you the best calorie burn & you will burn the most fat!

 

The next workout that is also quick & brutal is Jillian’s Stairmaster workout!!! It might not seem that bad when you hear it…but try it and you will be dying…in a good way!!! :) Here it is!:

Warm up at a level 5 to 10  for 5 minutes to get the blood flowing

20 second intervals!! 20 on, 20 off (not doing anything…not even a slow step)

20 seconds on at a LEVEL 20
20 seconds off//paused
Do this 20 TIMES!!

It’s a very quick workout and you should be able to get it done in about 30 minutes as well!!! Don’t judge before you try! ;) Level 20 is no joke and you will basically be runnning up the stairs!

Remember that you can modify this!!!! If you are just starting to workout, DON’T TRY TO DO THIS!!! You can modify it at lower levels and build yourself up to this workout!

 

Best of luck to ALL of you on this!!! I think you will love these workouts & let me know if you try them & what you think!!!!! And of course, thank you to Brett Hoebel & Jillian Michaels for kicking my ass at the ranch during these workouts so I could come and share them with you all!!! ;)

xoxoxo

Court <3