Sunday, September 29, 2013

Up for a challenge?

Who is up for a challenge??   It is the start of a brand new week, and the first week of the Fit.Fun.Lifestyle Facebook page.  I'm posting a challenge for all Facebook followers so everyone can be involved and hopefully it will be motivating for one another!  It's simple...50 squats for 5 of the next 7 days! (Take two days off for muscle recovery, but not 2 days in a row). 

Beginners: 5 sets of 10
Intermediate: 2 sets of 25
Advanced: 1 set of 50 (or more if you are able to)! Max it out!

It won't take much time out of your day!  Who's in??  Ready...Go! ;)

~Erin Leigh

Proper Technique

Think someone else would like to join the challenge? Share the Fit.Fun.Lifestyle page!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Best Healthy Carrot Cake Ever!

I am not one to eat donuts or bagels for breakfast...I try to always start the day healthy because it sets the tone for the rest of the day, BUT I am a sucker for leftover carrot cake or my favorite peanut butter cookies with coffee! 

Yesterday was my mother in law's birthday so we had them over and I made dinner and a homemade carrot cake for dessert.  I have a healthy recipe that my mom had gotten from a dietician and I tweaked slightly to give some more flavor.  Everyone always loves it so I thought I would share the recipe.  It is very specific but super quick and easy! 

Carrot Cake
Stir together the following:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat four
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
**You don't have to add nutmeg and allspice but those are my two favorite spices to add to baking, especially in the fall!**

This is where it becomes specific...
With a wooden spoon add the following ingredients SEPARATELY, stirring each completely before adding the next.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots

Pour into 2 round pans - GREASE AND FLOUR
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (I cooked mine for 35)

Frosting (Not so healthy, but totally delish!)
2/3 stick of butter softened
8 oz cream cheese (I use 1/3 fat)
1 box powdered sugar (1 pound)
2 teaspoons vanilla

This recipe is so good! It is a Thanksgiving favorite turned into an anytime favorite! And because it is as healthy as possible, and even has carrots, I don't feel so bad having it for breakfast the day after :) 

The only thing better than a good carrot cake is...a healthy carrot cake...for breakfast...with coffee ;)

Try it out and let me know how you like it!!

~Erin Leigh

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 Year

I cannot believe how fast a year goes by!  My baby just turned 1! (I still cannot believe I have two toddlers)!  So, with the year benchmark, I decided (since I am all about tracking progress) to take a 1 year photo to compare. (You can read my previous post about Proof of Progress).  Now to preface...this post is not to brag by any means. I am not perfect nor do I claim to be.  For anyone who knows me would probably be surprised that I am "putting myself out there," but I feel like if it motivates one person to make a change, keep pushing on, make new goals and/or feel better about themselves, then it will have been worth it.   

I like data.  I am definitely a numbers person.  I currently am 2 sizes smaller and 12 pounds less than when I started the pregnancy journey.  I was a size 4 or 28 prior and now I am a 0/1 or 26 (depending on where I get my clothes).  I am sharing this data to prove it is do-able.  You CAN make a decision to do something and do it.  You can lose the pregnancy weight (or weight in general). Yes, those last pounds are definitely hard to lose...I won't deny that...What makes it the hardest is the juggling of your many duties, including but not limited to: parenting, working, taking care of the house and family, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, then trying to find time with your spouse and possibly have a social life...add fitness and the time for fitness to the mix... It is definitely a lot!  But with self control, discipline and a little creativity with your time you too can find a balance and make it work!  This is my 1 year progress...

38 weeks pregnant - 1 year post pregnancy
This is not to say that I am perfect because I am not. 
This is not to say that I cannot improve because I can and will.
This is not to say that I am done because I have more goals.

This is to say that you CAN lose weight whether pregnancy related or not!
This is to say that you CAN be disciplined with your diet!
This is to say that you CAN make a change!
This is to say that you CAN find the time!

Do not get discouraged if you don't see a change takes time!
If I can do can you! Keep pushing forward and making new goals! :)

~Erin Leigh

And while I am at is a picture of my 1 year old (who is making me a sleep deprived mama these days)!  :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

First day of Fall!

Last night was a LONG night to say the least...I will spare you the details but if you are interested it was similar to last Sunday night which you can read about here: 

Anyways...although I was overly exhausted this morning I decided to, with the "help" of my children, make some homemade healthy apple cinnamon muffins with the apples we picked last weekend.  I like to bake but I always try to make recipes healthier yet still taste good. They were delish! I thought I would share the recipe including my modifications for anyone interested! Happy Fall! :)

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled (old fashioned) oats
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix these dry ingredients together in a bowl

In another bowl combine:
1/3 cup cream cheese (I used low fat)
1 (6 oz) container of Greek Yogurt (I used apple flavored, you can also use plain or vanilla)
1/4 cup applesauce (I used natural applesauce)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped apples

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.  Spray muffin pan. (I made the mistake of using liners and the muffins partially stuck to the sides of them so if I were to redo I would definitely just spray the muffin pan!)

Spoon into muffin pan and fill about 2/3 of the way to the top.

Mix together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small dish.  Sprinkle a little on top of each muffin and then place into the oven.

Cook for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (Mine cooked for about 18 minutes).  Let cool for 10 minutes (my son waited 3 so that is perfectly acceptable as long as you do everything possible to cool it off before you devour it like he did).  Then enjoy!

A perfect way to start the first day of fall...exhaustion and all! :)

If you try the recipe let me know how you like it!  Enjoy!

~Erin Leigh

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Inspire

So, my next step in this whole blogging journey I am on is to start a Fit.Fun.Lifestyle Facebook page to help motivate others by posting daily tips on fitness and nutrition.  I already have a twitter account @fitfunlifestyle and I use my existing Pinterest account to post my blogs so Facebook is next!  Everyone can use a little motivation throughout the day right?  Sometimes I like to see little motivational quotes or tips here and there that are quick to read (since time is not always on my side).  I thought short and sweet posts would be the way to go!  Maybe even some fun fitness contests and challenges to help people motivate one another...I have other ideas in the works too...the options are endless!  What do you think??

~Erin Leigh                                    

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Day - Another Goal

I wouldn't say I am one to have bad days. Busy work days, tough days with the kids, so much to do but not enough time...these things don't typically phase me much. I am a very "go with the flow" type of person.  But, two nights in row of less than 3 hours of sleep starts to get to me!

My kids are amazing sleepers. They nap for 2-3 hours every day (at the same time as each other) and sleep from about 8-8 each night...but...out of nowhere comes the dreaded and unexpected teething and/or sickness and they are completely different little people from 8pm - 8am.  Now, I don't "baby" my kids too much or try not to, but when they are sick or uncomfortable I tend to...I mean, who doesn't want to be babied when they don't feel well?  I know I still do! So, I have as soft spot and extra patience when they don't feel well, but last night brought it to another level.  It all started Sunday night into Monday...with 3 nonconsecutive hours of sleep because Anya (my 1 year old) is cutting 2 teeth.  I then worked all day and then bedtime came around again...they went to bed at 8pm and then the ridiculousness began...(I seriously cannot make this stuff up). 

Jaxon (my 2.5 year old) was coughing, crying and very stuffy by 8:30.  (You know then and there it is going to be a long night)!  Then Anya woke up at 9:30 and while I was in with her, my husband went into see Jax again because he was once again coughing and crying.  We got them settled down and decided to try to get some sleep while we could.  Anya woke up again at 10:30 so I went in to settle her down (which took no less than 20 minutes). I was silently walking towards her door and she started crying again.  I went back, rubbed her back and got her comfortable and when she was asleep I headed for the door again and immediately Jaxon started I (quickly before Anya woke up) went directly into his room.  Settled him down and then I went back to bed.  My head literally hit the pillow and Anya started crying (I don't know how she always knows the exact moment my head hits the pillow but she does)!!  So, I went back in with Anya and rocked her back to sleep.  I put her in her crib, waited for her to settle in, took a silent step away, and once again, she sensed that I was not right there and began to cry. (On a side note, I still cannot figure out HOW kids know when you step away even if you don't make a sound.  Anyone else have this problem?  It is so crazy to me. They can be fast asleep and breathing heavy and you think you are in the clear and you make your move towards the door as quiet as possible and they still know and you get sucked back in)! But anyways, I decided to take her into the spare room and see if she would fall asleep with me since Nate had to work in the after she did a lot of tossing and turning, smiling at me and saying hi (which was not amusing) and snuggling with her stuffed animal, she eventually she fell asleep and I put her in her room at 12:30...but...once again, as I silently walked away, Jaxon started crying.  He was pretty stuffy so I elevated his mattress, gave him some water and he went back to bed.  Now I seriously cannot make this up...I got in bed, finally started to relax and I think I might have even dozed off for a few minutes and what do you know?!...Anya was crying again!!  However, by this time it was the magical hour that she could have another dose of Advil (not that it helped the first half of the night), but I still re-medicated her and I honestly cannot remember if I rocked her at that point nor will I bore you with more of the same details I just shared...but basically the rest of the night was a blur of the same back and forth and back and forth between their rooms...I finally slept from about 3:30 until the 5am alarm was (loudly) going off.  Anya was awake at 6am for the day and there you have it...worst night ever!

So, as I chugged a cup of coffee while watching a little Sofia the First and having some more bonding time with my sweet little girl at 6am, I was not in the greatest place.  But, I had two options. To be completely miserable and drag myself through the day or to do something that would cheer me up.  When all else fails, I decide to achieve a goal.  I had been wanting to do a 5 mile run.  This may be a lot to some and not a lot to others but regardless, it was the next step in increasing my mileage.  I honestly tend to feel slightly guilty about taking the kids on long runs because I always feel that they could be running outside or playing with toys, but today I had zero guilt.  Not only did they keep me up all night long, but they didn't feel great so it was relaxing for them. (Anya actually fell asleep at 1.5 miles so it was a pretty peaceful run).  So, I did it. I ran 5.01 miles. I am on my way to a 10K! AND I feel so much better than this morning!

It is truly amazing how exercise is such a positive outlet and can change you mentally if you let it!  I am so glad I went for that run and made myself feel better rather than dragging my tired self through the day. (Don't get me wrong, I am definitely still tired and actually drinking a coffee right now), but now I feel accomplished and can cross another goal off my list! :)

Use exercise as an outlet next time you feel like your day isn't starting off right! I promise it will help! :)
~Erin Leigh

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's All About Modification!

I am not one for going on a "diet."  Diets tend to restrict your eating.  They usually are eliminating carbs, eliminating sweets, and increasing protein.  Sometimes they are unrealistic and hard to stick with, very expensive, and/or time consuming if you need to learn and make all new recipes and the list goes on...then, if you stick to it and then go back to normal eating, it can be a huge waste of time because the weight goes right back on...especially if you were depriving yourself of necessary nutrition...Who has time for all that?? 

Now, I know that some people could argue and say a diet like that has worked for you.  These diets I am sure scientifically work if you follow them, but I think for anyone that is busy, who does not have time to live in the gym or to stay home cooking all day, losing weight can feel very difficult.  Having more of a custom eating plan designed for you specifically can make losing weight do-able! It has to be something you can easily do and stick with!  In being very busy myself and also trying to be healthy I have come up with a modification eating plan that has worked for me so I wanted to share!

It's very simple:

1.  Eat 5 times a day (Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner)
2.  Drink water all day
3.  Modify your normal diet

If you modify what you typically consume, you can continue eating as normal but save calories here and there. 

Let me give you my own example of ways I have cut down on calories:
-Instead of 2 eggs for breakfast with cheese and a slice of wheat toast,
now I have 2 egg whites with only 1 yoke and a slice of whole grain toast.
-For lunch instead of a ham and cheese, turkey and cheese or tuna sandwich,
now I will have an open faced sandwich (1 slice of bread), or the same sandwich on a whole grain wrap (typically you save about 80 calories here depending on the type of wrap you buy), or I will have a salad with protein on it with dressing on the side.
-Dinner is where I typically eat what I would normally eat but I cut down on my carb portions.  I would eat a whole baked potato in the past, now I will just have half, or a smaller scoop of rice than before.
-For snacks instead of having junk food or foods high in calories, typically I will have some raw almonds for 1 snack and a chobani yogurt for my other snack. 

And there you have it...eating 5 times per day can seem like a lot but when the portion sizes are small it isn't that much and keeps your metabolism going all day! These are all small modifications I have made over time and I feel that it makes a huge difference.  If you pair modified eating with fitness you will see a difference in your body.

Do you have questions about ways you can modify? Here are some more examples of easy trade offs:

Do you drink soda or juice during the day?  Then eliminate it.  If you feel you cannot eliminate it, cut down.  If you cut back you will save those calories.
Do you get bored with water? Add lemon, mint and/or cucumber to give your water a fresh flavor. You can infuse overnight and have water for the whole day.  Lemon helps boost metabolism too so its a win win!
Are you hungry for a snack?  Have fruit, veggies with hummus, raw almonds or a chobani yogurt instead of chips, candy, cookies or other foods high in calories and sugar.
Do you HAVE to have dessert at night? Then go for something healthier.  Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.  Or try out my personal favorite here:
Do you like fried chicken? Make grilled instead.
Do you like salad dressing on your salad? Put it on the side and dip rather than saturate your salad with it.
Do you love fries? Make your own baked potato fries and season yourself or have sweet potato fries.

Don't get me wrong, I typically have a cheat day (and by cheat day, it's usually a MAJOR cheat day). I'll eat pancakes for breakfast, pizza for dinner....if I know I am cheating I usually go all out!  Usually I regret it the next day, but there is nothing wrong with indulging now and then if you are consistently eating healthy. 

So...there it is! A super simple way to cut calories if you are trying to shed a few pounds.  Pair it with burning calories through exercise and you will see a difference in no time! 


Do you have any specific questions on ways you can modify your own eating? Let me know, I am happy to help!  Any other ways people have found effective?  Hope this is helpful information! It has been super helpful for me :)

~Erin Leigh

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You don't have to be Great to Start!

I know I talk a lot about running, but I have learned to love it. I spoke before of my pure hatred for running in the past but now that I feel like it is something I have conquered, I actually enjoy it!  It does take time to build up to that, but I feel like it is one of the best forms of exercise and every time I am able to run a little farther, it makes me feel good.  I always swore I would NEVER run a marathon...I still think I am not a marathon runner but who knows...maybe I will put that on my bucket list!
The important thing to remember is you have to start somewhere! 
Some tips:
1.  Mentally prepare yourself and commit.
2.  If you don't have a good pair of running sneakers, buy a new pair. I love buying new sneakers! They help motivate me! (Actually, I love buying shoes in general...and clothes...who am I kidding?!)
3.  Put on your sneakers, put on a good playlist or a good station on Pandora (I love the Afrojack station on Pandora for running!)
4.  Start your map my run app to track your distance/time/route/calories burned.
5.  Turn up the volume and start running!
"You don't have to be great to start."  So true!
Start by making small goals and doing a little better each time!
Here is an example:
Choose to run for 2 miles.  Run as far as you can in the beginning of the run, if you feel you need to stop, walk for a minute and then begin running again.  You don't have to run fast. It is the distance you are aiming to reach, not speed.  Trade up the walking and running until you reach your two miles. Next time, do the exact same route but walk less than you did the first time.  Keep track during these beginning runs of how many minutes you ran/walked each run so you can see your improvements until you are running the full 2 miles!
Once you are running the full 2 miles, whether it's your 1st run, or your 25th, you have accomplished your first goal!! Congrats!! Then you want to do 1 of 2 things.  Increase your time in those two miles, or increase your distance. (This becomes goal #2). As you follow this process you will see yourself build up to faster times/greater distances which equals more endurance, a better fitness level and more calories burned!
I encourage everyone to give this a chance.  Maybe running isn't your thing but this process can be applied to all forms of cardio! Or who knows...maybe you will be like me and running will BECOME your thing :)  I would love to hear about your progress if you choose to take the challenge! Good luck!
~Erin Leigh
For moms:  Do you have a hard time finding time to run?  Purchase a jogger and bring your child/children with you! My kids love it! It can help teach them the importance of exercise and they are able to get some fresh air and see the world.  Yes it is heavy, but you can overcome it!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Blog

So, I have created a new blog which is why I have been MIA! During this time I have learned quite a bit so I figured I would share with you! First of all, the new site is

Many people had asked me about how to "follow" a blog, which at the time I had NO clue.  I did a little research and learned a little bit. (I still feel pretty clueless other than what I am about to share so if you have any tips I would LOVE to hear them!)

If you have a smartphone, download the app called Feedly.  You can enter in the website for any blogs you like to follow and as new posts are made it will update in a feed style (similar to Facebook) so that you can stay up to date on the blogs you like to read without actually inputting the site into the web. 

Another way is if you go to someone's blog, and many times they will have a place to subscribe and you can get email notifications when new blog posts are published.  Simple as that.

Those are the two ways I now know. Any other tips? 

Hope you like my new blog which is a work in progress! I have some projects I am working on...will share soon :)

~Erin Leigh


Everyone wants to be successful right?  How is it measured? It is rare that you come across someone who actually does not desire to be successful in some way.  It is a natural human instinct to want to succeed...or to be frustrated if you don't.  I came across this (on Pinterest of course) and gave it a lot of thought so I wanted to share!

21 Suggestions for Success!
1.  Marry the right person.  This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery. 
(Check!)  :)
2.  Work at something you enjoy and that's worthy of your time and talent.
3.  Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
4.  Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
5.  Be forgiving of yourself and others.
6.  Be generous.
7.  Have a grateful heart.
8.  Persistence, persistence, persistence.
9.  Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
10.  Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
11.  Commit yourself to constant improvement.
12.  Commit yourself to quality.
13.  Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
14.  Be loyal.
15.  Be honest.
16.  Be a self-starter.
17.  Be decisive even when it means you'll sometimes be wrong.
18.  Stop blaming others.  Take responsibility for every area of your life.
19.  Be bold and courageous.  When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.
20.  Take good care of those you love.
21.  Don't do anything that wouldn't make your mom proud.
                                                                       -H. Jackson Brown Jr.

What I love about this is that it goes through "21 Suggestions for Success" and not once does it mention getting that next degree in school or being good at your job or how much money you make.  I feel that these 21 suggestions are to help make you successful at life in general.  Of course these qualities or characteristics will help towards success in the workforce, but they seem like qualities to help mold your character and then, in turn, set you up for success. 

My Dad always taught me about the importance of character when I was young, and now (unfortunately I cannot consider myself young any longer), I can completely understand why it was something he always emphasized.  Smart man he is :)  So anyways, I wanted to pass these suggestions on to others that also might find it motivating.  Do you see an area you feel you could work on to better yourself?  Character development never ends. I hope to instill these same characteristics in my children. All 21 of them!

Thankfully, I am able to cross #1 off my list ;)  - and I plan to work on # 4!

~Erin Leigh

Turn it Up!

Tip of the day: Push hard at the end of your workout.
Extra tip: Turn up the music!!

Ok, so my FAVORITE part of my run each day is when I turn back onto my street.  My street is exactly .15 miles from when you turn onto the street to the cul de sac.  When I turn on my street, I push hard that last stretch.  It isn't a far distance, and by this time I am ready to cool down, but I feel like it makes me finish I sprint (ok, I don't actually sprint, at least not with the double jogger...I just can't figure out a better word).  I run much faster down the street to the end.

I actually read that doing this is good to build endurance.  I have always been one to do just a little more when I am about to finish a workout, and this is the routine I have gotten into these past 6 months that I have been running.  What makes it easy?? Turning up the music! I swear it works!  There is nothing better than turning that corner, with a good song on, turning it up loud and just go. 

The benefits? Burns a few extra calories, you finish strong, and a little extra sense of accomplishment for pushing yourself a little further that you thought you could!

So, try to take your workout a step further next time!  Maybe it's an extra .25 miles, a few extra push ups, a few extra squats.  When you are ready to stop, turn up the music.  When you are ready to stop again, turn it up once more and finish strong!  Don't knock it til you try it! ;)

~ Erin Leigh

New Week - New You!

Happy Monday! The start of a brand new week! 

Tip of the day:  Make a REALISTIC workout goal for this week. 

Go through your schedule and figure out where it is possible for you to fit in your workouts.  I know schedules are busy, but this helps me a lot!  It lets me figure out where I can set aside the time I need for me.  It has to be somewhat pre-planned since I always have so much going on, but it works!  I love starting my weeks this way! And you already know I love making goals :)

So, what are YOUR workout goals for this week? I would love to hear them! Once you write them down, there is no turning back!!

I'll share mine:
-Run a minimum of 3 miles on Tues, Thurs and Fri
-Continue squat challenge
-20 push ups every day
-Ab circuit - 3 days

Can't wait to hear yours! Good luck :)

~Erin Leigh

Lifestyle - Dedication - Habit

You see all these fitness headers like, "Tone your arms in 7 days," and "7 days to a tighter tummy."  Or even this and look like this... 
Now, I am not saying it isn't possible to tone up your arms (a little) in 7 days or follow that routine and look like the picture above, but let's be serious...the media does not paint a realistic picture!

When I was pregnant, I would browse Pinterest dreaming of getting fit (and honestly, dreaming of not being pregnant). I know some people love being pregnant and love everything about it but I was not one of those people. I loved the fact that I was having a baby and bringing a baby into the world, but I hated every physical thing about it...(ok, I did like feeling the baby move....but only between 8am-8pm...and for some reason, they always seem to move more AFTER 8pm!)   Anyways, my fitness board on Pinterest is filled with all these types of workouts.  I was trying to come up with a plan in my head of how I was going to whip myself back in shape.  But, being realistic, you do not get fit in 7 days.  It is a decision you make.  It is a lifestyle. It is dedication.  It becomes a habit.

So...where do you start? I love this...
It's so true!  You need to start somewhere.  Thinking about it doesn't get you any closer to your end result.  What do you do??  Start by making a goal?  Long term AND short term.  Something you are striving for - an end result, and something you can find satisfaction in soon so that you don't lose motivation.

I will give you my own, real life example:  

Here were my goals: 
Long term goal: My goal was to weigh 4 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant. When I got pregnant for the 2nd time, I was 4 pounds less than I was when I got pregnant the first time.  So that would be a total of 8 pounds less than before pregnancy.  (Might be hard to follow written out).  But anyways, that was my long term realistic goal.

I made and met many short term goals in the meantime.

Short term goals: 
1. Get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. 
Next was...
2. Fit into my smallest jeans comfortably.
I felt so accomplished when I met that goal.  This was around the time I was at my pre-pregnancy weight.  Then, those last few pounds are the hardest to lose, so I started working out more and made another goal. 
3. Drop down another inch/pant size.

I met these short term goals and my long term goal around 8 months post pregnancy.

Now, I am currently in the process of working towards another short term goal which is dropping one more inch/pant size.  I then plan to continue working out consistently, stay dedicated and motivated to maintain my size but continue to get more toned.  To stay motivated and dedicated to fitness and health.

I definitely do not have all the answers, but don't go through a 7 day workout expecting to see significant results and then throw in the towel when you don't.  Think realistically. Make a long term goal and start with 1 short term goal! Get fit by next summer! Get into your smallest jeans!

Maybe a goal is to be fit by next summer? That is a great
long term goal. Now make a short term goal. Something you can reach
within a month.  Try to comfortably fit into those smallest jeans you own.    When it is something measurable then you know when you meet it and you can feel accomplished.  Then start all over again!

Hope this helps motivate you to get started.  Remember, it is a lifestyle, it is dedication, it becomes a habit! Good luck! :)

~Erin Leigh

Running Progress


I vividly remember the moment about 10 (maybe 12) summers ago.  My Dad said, "Come on Erin, lets go for a run.  You need to build up some endurance before volleyball season starts."  My response..."you are kidding right?"  Running wasn't my thing. But, since I knew he was right, I put on my sneakers and we went for a run together.  A father/daughter run.  What a nice bonding experience right??  Well, we got about half way around the block and I was in tears and complaining how I hate running and I can't do it...bla bla bla, excuse excuse excuse...and so, on he went and I walked home.   We look back now and we laugh about that.  Seriously...we are talking about 1/4 mile. Haha.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago.  My husbands parents moved into a new house, in a new neighborhood, which is very hilly, and includes a monster hill! (Seriously, it's huge!)  It climbs up the street right behind their house towards the other phase of the development.  Of course, my husband (this is before he was my husband) would say "lets run."  So, we would get ready and run, and of course, I would give up about a quarter of the way up that hill.  The hill was so high I couldn't wrap my head around getting to the top so I would run a little of it and then stop to catch my breath and throw in the towel while he would proceed to the top.  (In my defense, I made it farther than with my dad the few years before...I would make it around the block and to the hill, but would never make it up the hill.)  I always would have a little bit of a guilty feeling after like I should have put in more effort but it didn't stop me from constantly not going up that hill.  Thankfully, he still married me ;) 

Fast forward to now and I am addicted to running.  I am not lying. I literally think about it all the time.  I would run every single day if I could.   I run with the kids, without the kids, doesn't matter to me.  Although, running without the kids is easier, running with the kids is a challenge.  Pushing a double jogger (it weighs about 75 pounds with the kids in it) up and down hills for between 2-3 miles has got to burn extra calories for sure!  Plus, my son gets so excited when we turn back onto our street.  He always says "we did it!" and gives me a high five. So sweet...(although the first time he said that it was about 100 degrees out, felt like 150, and I did think to myself...seriously kid? "we" did it??)  But, in all seriousness,  I love that it is something he feels we accomplished together.  I myself know that his weight only made it harder but I appreciate his enthusiasm :) So, either way it doesn't matter.  No excuses from me now about running.  I have even been saying to my husband how I want to go run in his parents
neighborhood and up that hill! I am up for the challenge!

What changed?? When I said the other day how I wanted to run through my in-laws neighborhood, I thought back and was trying to figure out what changed.  When I evaluate the change and try to figure out the difference I know exactly what it is.  It is all mental!  There is no way I have more endurance immediately after having two children than I did when I was younger and playing sports.  I hadn't worked out in 10 months, twice.  The difference is, I had decided that I was going to get fit and lose weight and when Irun, instead of thinking about how I hate running,  it isn't for me, it's too hot, I'm tired, excuse after excuse,  I think about the end result.  I think about being healthy.  I think about my personal goals.  If I want to stop I tell myself to JUST KEEP GOING!

Through these examples (and many more that I will not bore you with), I have realized that your mind dictates your actions.  If you decide on something and commit because you WANT to and all of your thoughts are positive about it you CAN do it!  YOU choose your path and your destination.  You cannot count on someone else to hold you accountable.  Hold yourself accountable.  Excuses only hurt yourself so don't make them!  In my first two stories, others were asking me to run with them so I was doing it for them because they asked.  The difference is now I do it for myself!  You need to start somewhere, so make the commitment and start! :) Good luck!

~Erin Leigh

PS.  You should definitely download the mapmyrun app.  It is an app that tracks your workouts, calories burned, routes and other data.  You can friend request people so when they finish a workout, you get a whistle notification that they completed a workout.  This is also another motivating tool.  So download the app, then friend request me.  I'm always up for more motivation and hopefully I can help to motivate you too! ;)

The Dash

My cousin passed away last week and I attended her wake and funeral these past two days.  She was 26 years old and was born with cystic fibrosis.  She received a double lung transplant last year but since then, she had complications, and a fungal infection that lead to strokes took her life.  At the funeral yesterday there were so many special stories shared and it was a really great tribute to the amazing person she was.  There was one particular part of the service that has been on my mind more than others.  My uncle (her father) spoke and during his speech he read "The Dash."  I have not been able to stop thinking about this poem so I thought I would share it.

The Dash
by: Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone,
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

I feel that this poem is so powerful and really made me think.  It is so easy to become consumed with the ins and outs of daily life. It so easily can become routine and can make it easy to get frustrated, to not think outside the box but instead, just think about putting one foot in front of the other to get through the day...but this poem reminded me that sometimes we need a reality check.  We need to remember YOLO (you only live once).  I love this phrase.  This one life on earth that we live happens only once so make the most of it.  Yes, this phrase is used mainly for people to validate having fun (and I use it in that type of scenario too), but I think it is so much more! YOLO, so make the most of YOUR Dash . 

I want to make a difference in the lives of others.  I am not 100% sure how to do a better job of doing this but that is a goal that I want to accomplish and I think following the recommendations in the poem can be a guide.  I want people to feel like I made a difference in their lives during my dash.  I think if everyone lived their 'dash' as described and recommended in this poem the world would be a better and happier place. 

~Erin Leigh

PS.  If you have an interest in my cousin's inspiring story, she documented her journey on and also can be found on Facebook at Air for Ashley is now being turned into a nonprofit organization to help raise funding for patients that need lung transplants as that is what Ashley wanted. 

Easiest and Best PB Cookies!

These cookies are by far the best and easiest cookies on the face of the earth...(that I have come across so far).  It is my go-to recipe because not only is it super easy but it isn't that bad for you! It's a win win!  I have modified the original recipe but I will give you both.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 13 minutes

Original PB cookie recipe
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla
43 calories per cookie

Modified/Improved PB cookie recipe
1 cup natural peanut butter (I use Teddy's brand smooth peanut butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla
chocolate chips (I would leave this up to you. If you like a lot...add a lot!)

Bonus Ingredient: add a heaping scoop of dark chocolate peanut butter such as Peanut Butter & Co.  - This has been my newest modification! I almost didn't want to share my secret but I am! ;)

Preheat oven to 350.  Place heaping spoonfuls on non stick baking sheet.  Bake for 13 minutes. Let cool. (I tend to skip the 'let cool' step). Eat and Enjoy!

Seriously...using the natural peanut butter makes the inside of the cookie taste undercooked even though it is fully cooked.  So good.  Whip some up and let me know how you like them!
I would love more easy go-to recipes that you may have because...I will be honest...time is not always on my side! :) 

~Erin Leigh

Proof of Progress

One of the things I did after I had my daughter (child #2) to track my progress was take a photo of my torso every 4 weeks so that I could physically compare photo to photo.  I think that was the best thing I did because it became not only a motivator but it also became proof of progress. After each 4 weeks passed, even though I did not necessarily feel different each time, I could compare pictures and see that my hard work was actually making a difference. 

All I did was take a photo of my torso in the mirror with my iPhone.  Yup, a selfie. Haha.  I would take the photo and compare to the one before.  The first comparison was great because I was comparing to this:
38 weeks pregnant
You can imagine the improvement I saw 4 weeks after that!

Anyways, soon after that, I would say around week 12, I personally started feeling like I didn't feel different.  Like I reached a plateau. Those final pounds are so difficult to lose on the scale.  So, those pictures were the best thing ever because I could physically see the changes in my body by comparing picture to picture.

I wish for purposes of documenting my own journey I kept those photos but I didn't. It's a funny story really.  I deleted them all and I'll tell you why.  My iPhone photos are synced to photo stream so it shares photos with my husbands. That's fine. He sees my torso anyways.  No biggie. But...when we have Apple TV on and the screen saver pops up which is a slideshow of photos from photo stream, and we have guests over watching these cute photos of our kids, and all of a sudden a picture of my torso pops up on the TV while they are all paying close attention...its kind of embarrassing. So, with that being said, I deleted all the pictures because I didn't want to risk to keep having that happen, and I could never remember to delete the photo on photo stream as I took them.  So, for now, I have my 38 week photo and a current photo to compare.  
10 months after delivery
I honestly encourage everyone that is trying to lose weight
to do this.  I want to continue doing this as I work towards new
goals.  Sometimes it is so easy to feel frustrated if you don't see
the number on the scale going down. I have grown to ignore the scale
(typically because I am never happy with the number) and go by how I
feel and how my clothes fit.

So...Proof of progress is tip #1.  It is so motivating. Try it! :)

"It takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, it takes 8 weeks for friends and family, and it takes 12 weeks for the rest of the world.  KEEP GOING."

~Erin Leigh
Welcome to Fit.Fun.Lifestyle where you can find motivation and encouragement to live a healthy life through fitness and nutrition along with some helpful guidance and tips on finance, business and parenting!