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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Partner Helps Big Time... But Here's What Doesn't Help!

A Partner Helps Big Time... But Here's What Doesn't Help!
Having a partner in crime, I mean exercise, can be SO HELPFUL!

Recently the hubby and I ran our first 5 mile run in preparation for our half marathon in October. It was the first time either of us had run 5 miles, and I was super excited about having completed it. It helped having my husband there beside me, someone to motivate me to keep going, especially when I felt like giving up.

And boy did I feel like giving up!

But before I talk about the BIG MISTAKE I made, let me tell about what we did right, which is also what you can do when preparing for an extended run.

First, before we left the house, we mapped out our run using Run Keeper. We both knew exactly where we were running to. We had a goal. And we both wanted to get it done in under 50 minutes. Goals help. Planning helps.

What doesn't help? Not eating properly.

You see, it was the last night that Jake and I were hosting Faith Group at our house. (A Faith Group is a small group of fellow believers from our church who meet every week). Jake and I have been one of the host homes, but since we're moving in a few weeks last Thursday was our last night. Sad day :(

And since it as our last night we decided to have a little camp fire. And in rural New England it's practically illegal to have a campfire without S'mores! Well, as I've said before I LOVE SWEETS! So, first it was some hot cocoa... then a S'more... then a piece of cake, because, you know, no one else was eating it. And I consumed all of that an hour before running!

Can we say CRAMP!

About 75% of my run was spent enduring this cramp, and, honestly, had I been alone, I probably would have given up and turned back. But, thankfully, I had a partner. Someone to push me. Someone to encourage me to control my breathing or slow my pace so as to make the cramp easier to bear. Someone who WOULDN'T let me give up! And you know what? I didn't give up! I completed the run! I made it in 48 minutes and 50 seconds! I didn't die!

Having a partner or a group of people can be so helpful in keeping you on track. Whether it's someone you can physically workout with or a community of like-minded individuals such as my Challenge Groups that hold each other accountable and encourage one another.

So if you don't have someone on your team pushing you on, encouraging you and walking alongside you on your journey to being healthy and getting fit, then you need to change that. I would love for you to be a part of my next challenge group! But if that doesn't work ask around and find a friend with similar goals who will help keep you motivated. It's so very essential to your success.

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, August 25, 2014

Making Exercise Fun! (When Exercise Isn't Much Fun)

Making exercise fun! — when exercise isn't much fun
I'll be the first to admit it, I don't really LIKE to exercise. I know some people live for it, but that's just not me. However, I know it's good for me, and since beginning daily exercise routines I'm in much better shape and have more energy to do the things I love. And so I keep exercising.

But as much of a chore as exercising can be at times, that doesn't mean I don't also have a little fun with it. And I find the best way to make it fun is to keep shaking things up.

On top of doing my Beachbody program, which currently is PiYo, these are some things I enjoy doing:

This summer I invested in a summer pass to our town pool. It really wasn't that much money and with how many times I was able to go it was worth it! Sometimes I would go just to relax in the sun on a hot day. Other times I would go and swim laps for 30-to-45 minutes. Swimming is a great all-over workout and it's low-impact so it's not hard on my body.

Though I don't play as much as I would like to, it's a fun way for me to get in some exercise! They have courts in town we can use for free, so the only investment is rackets and balls. If you buy them at a place like Walmart they are not too expensive, and if taken care of they will last for years.

Roller Blading
Once again, not something I have done a whole lot in my adult years, but FUN! (Last summer I got a pair at Walmart on clearance for about $20.) Earlier this week, on one of my cross-training days, I broke out the roller blades and took advantage of one of the newly paved roads in my neighborhood. It was fun + a workout!

Me playing in an alumni soccer game
I enjoyed playing soccer when I was in college, but since then I've only ever gotten to play once a year during an alumni game at my family's high school. I enjoy soccer very much—for some reason when I'm running around focused on kicking a ball with my feet I forget how much effort I'm putting in. I would love to find a women's league to join so I could play more often.

I live in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire and there are TONS of hiking trails for all ages and abilities just a few minutes away. Earlier this summer I hiked Mt. Washington. It's a challenging hike, but so rewarding.

I love walking with friends. Over the past few years I've walked with several friends and it's a great way to catch up but also get in some exercise.

So, if you are anything like me and struggle with your exercise consider changing it up with different activities. It makes achieving your fitness goals a lot more fun!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Spice Shakeology Recipe

With fall right around the corner I had to test out a perfect fall weather Shakeology—Pumpkin Pie Spice.

This gurl loves Pumpkin Pie, and so if I can find a way to get my Pumpkin Pie fix AND give my body the nutrients it needs PLUS keep my diet clean, that's a major bonus right there!

I have to say, this recipe is a real winner, and you can count on me drinking it a lot as the fall colors change up here in New England.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Shakeology Recipe

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Scoop Vanilla Shakeology
5-6 Ice Cubes

Place everything in the blender and blend until all ingredients are mixed well and ice is broken down.

Vanilla Shakeology Recipe

Fall Shakeology Recipe

Enjoy a little fall treat, and stay on track with a healthy diet!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Dream To Run!

Training for my first half-marathon
I've always wanted to run in a race, but I'm not really sure why. The idea has always sounded good to me.

In years past I've set my sights on a race I wanted to run, trained for two weeks, three maybe, then summer would come and it would get too hot outside to run, so I'd stop.

The next year? Same thing.

So much for running a race.

But then I started doing PiYo, a workout by Chalene Johnson that combines Pilates and Yoga, and after about a month I started to feel stronger. Before long the idea of running a race entered my mind again.

Ironically, I married a man who has always wanted to run a marathon. Jake says it's been on his bucket list for years, but, like me, has never had the focus to summon the determination. But this past spring he begin doing Insanity—a workout by Sean T.—and he really got into it.

We started talking about running a race together—maybe not a full marathon, but perhaps a 5k or a half marathon. One day the two of us went for a run together to see how our new and improved bodies liked to idea of running. We were amazed at the east in which we were both able to run a mile. Woot-woot! Yay us! A whole mile!

We were pumped. So we did what anyone would do after successfully running a mile—we signed up for a half marathon.

When you're done laughing I'll continue.



I had seen a friend of mine post that she was creating a team to run in the CHaD (Children's Hospital at Dartmouth) Hero run on October 26, 2014. We signed up to be a part of her team and even talked my younger sister Erica into joining us.

The three of us are on a training schedule now that includes a mixture of distance running and cross training—along with my PiYo and Jake's Insanity we should be ripped and ready to go come race time!

I tell you all of this for two reasons:

  1. Telling people about my journey has helped keep me accountable. Working out with Jake and staying in touch every day with members of my Challenge Group keeps me focused and motivated. Too often when we keep our dreams and goals to ourselves it's easy to put them off and forget about them.

  2. I am not a runner, but I am becoming one. I have found that through some hard work and dedication it is possible to achieve the things that you want to do.

Furthermore, the CHaD Hero race goes to support a worthy cause. All the money raised helps families receive the medical services their children need, whether or not they can afford them. So, if you would like to support me, Jake, or Erica, just click our names below to be taken to our fundraising pages. Our team goal is $3,000!




Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for an update on our training for the CHaD Hero!

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Friday, August 15, 2014

So, What Is A Challenge Group?

Beachbody Challenge Group
Workout Completed!
I'm glad you asked :-)

Challenge Groups are the very core of what I do as a Beachbody Coach.

Initially, when someone is interested in working on their fitness goals, I gather info about where they are at, what they are looking to accomplish and what types of exercise they would be interested in doing. Then we figure out which program would be the best fit for them. Through me, they purchase a Challenge Pack, which includes the workout program, a month's supply of Shakeology and a 30 day club membership to

Beachbody Challenge Group
Strike A Pose!
Water Challenge
A few days before the Challenge Group starts I invite all my Challengers to a "secret" Facebook group, where everything will take place. Each day I post encouragement, assignments, and ask questions to keep everyone accountable. The Facebook group is also a place for challengers to post questions and reach out for help.

One of the bonuses of doing a workout program this way is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home, at whatever time of day works for you. And challengers can come from anywhere—in my current Challenge Group I have people from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Texas!

Beginning September 2, I am starting a Fall Back Into Fitness Challenge Group. If you think this is something you might be interested in than contact me by clicking on the Contact button at the top of the page or friend me on Facebook—Dani Grant—and let me know you would like to join.

Fall Back Into Fitness Challenge Group

All the photos you see here are from assignments I've completed in my own Challenge Group, but don't worry if you don't have a smart phone or easy access to posting photos, you can still participate.

Dani the Fat Gurl Inside

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Delicious Zucchini Pizza Recipe

Zucchini Pizza Dough

8 cups of shredded zucchini
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder (can sub garlic cloves)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt


Zucchini Pizza Crust

Preheat oven to 550F (or the highest temperature your oven will go) with a pizza stone pre-heating in it.

Zucchini Pizza Dough Recipe In a large bowl, mix the shredded zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the squash by wrapping it up in a clean dish towel and wringing it out, discarding the water.

After all of the excess moisture has been wrung out (and discarded), place the shredded zucchini back into the bowl and add the sharp cheddar cheese, flour, garlic, basil, thyme, eggs, and salt.
Zucchini Pizza Dough Recipe

With your hands, blend all of the ingredients together well.

Place the zucchini mixture onto a piece of parchment paper at least 15” in diameter.

Using your fingers, spread the zucchini crust mixture to form a circle about 14” in diameter, 1/2" thick. Pinch the edges up so that it forms a nice crust, just like regular pizza.
Zucchini Pizza Dough Recipe

Once the pizza crust has been shaped, transfer the crust on the parchment paper onto the heated pizza stone, which can be done by sliding it off the counter onto the stone. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.

When the zucchini crust is browned on the bottom, pull the stone out of the oven.

Zucchini Pizza Dough RecipeTop the pizza with sauce and any additional toppings that you'd like. (We used mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and tomatoes.)

After the toppings are on, place the stone back into the oven and bake for an additional 4 minutes.

I was a little worried about what my pizza-loving husband would think about a zucchini crust pizza, but when he went back for seconds I knew I had found a healthy alternative to regular pizza!

Zucchini Pizza Dough Recipe

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shakeology Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shakeology Recipe
On my journey to being fit, healthy and feeling my best I decided to try out Shakeology.

What is Shakeology, you ask? Excellent question!

Shakeology is, essentially, an entire meal in a single shake. Packed with protein. Loaded with nutrients. Full of vitamins. But it tastes ahhhhh-mazing! You could spend more than $700 on supplements, just to re-create all the healthy ingredients in one bag of Shakeology.

If you want you can mix up a shake straight out of the bag—one scoop of your favorite Shakeology flavor (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, etc.), a cup of milk or water. Shake. Stir. Drink.

Or, if you're like me, you can mix it up with one of countless Shakeology recipes at or on the web. Seriously, there are tons! Shakeology is the best, most delicious healthy food plan I've come across and its sweet taste helps curb my cake and ice cream cravings.

Recently, I heard you can mix Shakeology into a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor, so, being the dessert queen that I am, I had to check it out.

Here is my version of this delicious treat:

Place 1-1 1/2 cups of crushed ice in your blender

1/2 Cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 Cup of Milk (choose the %)
1 Tsp. of Vanilla
1 Scoop Vanilla Shakeology
1/4 Cup of Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp. of PB2
Blend well to crush ice, chop the chocolate chips, and whip everything together.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Shakeology

It should put a smile on your face, knowing you are getting a delicious treat without all the calories or bad stuff. Instead it's your best meal of the day ;-)

Dessert Recipes for Shakeology

Drink up and enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

All Journeys Have A Beginning...

All journeys have a beginning
If you had told me six months ago that I would join a fitness Challenge Group, lose 7 pounds and 9 inches, and then decide to start helping other people lose weight or get fit by being a fitness coach, I probably would have shoved you right off the bathroom scale.

Heck, if you had told me that TWO months ago I would have laughed!

I used to always feel self-conscious about how I look. The way I felt about my body always bothered me. No one ever agreed with my less-than-favorable assessment of my weight, but that's either because they were being nice or because I've always been good at hiding my weight under the way I dress. Unfortunately, you can only hide so many pounds under a good sense of fashion.

Truth be told, I had gained ten pounds since Jake and I were married two years ago. Suddenly (ah-hem, or rather, not so suddenly) clothes that used to fit me great were tight and uncomfortable.

But my biggest problem? I never really had the guts or motivation to do anything about it. I would go through spurts where I'd take up running or try to cut back on sweets, but that would only last a few weeks.

My inability to commit was caused by three main hang-ups.

First, I was never very willing to get serious about my health with an accountability or fitness partner or workout program. Such commitment, to me, meant admitting that I really didn't like who I had let myself become—and not just to myself, but to others.

Second, there was the money. I'm a penny pincher by nature, and I could never get beyond the high prices of quality workout programs. At my job where I work third-shift, I've seen plenty of 3am infomercials for Insanity, T25, and other Beachbody programs, but I couldn't justify spending the money on them because I didn't think I had the dedication to make the investment worthwhile.

Finally, I knew that getting fit meant change. Serious change. And this gurl does not like change! In fact, I've been known to cry when things drastically change—just ask my husband! Getting serious about being healthy would mean changing what I eat, what I do with my time, and have a general impact on my life that would be anything but subtle.

But you know what? I finally got over those three things!

It's hard to define what happened. First, my husband and a friend started doing Insanity, by Sean T, a psychotic cardio-filled workout routine that actually made me pass out the first time I tried it. But, after seeing some of the results Jake was getting, I found myself craving for a workout program of my own.

Then I saw a friend doing a new fitness program called PiYo. It looked like something I could actually do without killing myself—or going insane—so I said, "Hey, what the heck? Might as well try it!" I committed to the eating plan. I committed to working out. And, believe it or not, I began to see results.

I found that instead of feeling self-conscience I felt empowered. Having people to hold me accountable made me feel like part of a team.

Instead of thinking that I was spending way too much money on workout programs, I started to realize that the money I was spending was an investment in my health, happiness, and future.

Instead of thinking of eating right and working out as hard, disruptive changes to my lifestyle, I started seeing it all as an enjoyable part of everyday living that is actually essential to how much I'm able to enjoy my life.

If you're like me and you're not okay with how you look and feel, but are hesitant to really do anything about it, you have come to the right place! Come along on my journey to being healthy and fit, and we'll enjoy life together along the way.

If reading this has got you thinking about what you can do to change your health for the better, consider joining me in my next Challenge Group. You can either leave a comment below or contact me.

Thanks for journeying with me ~Dani