Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito

black bean burritos

We love Mexican themed food in the McNamara house, so this recipe had us at the word burrito. Plus the fact that it is pretty easily prepared and goes over well at our table. Our Noah (4 yrs old) and Isla (turning 2 years old soon) polished off a burrito each for lunch today.

You can easily make a double batch and freeze these down. They reheat nicely for when you are short on time or energy (let’s face it sometimes you just don’t want to cook another meal.)

What you are going to need:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 red pepper

1 yellow onion

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

8-10 Whole Wheat Tortillas (or tortillas of your choice)

2 tbsp cilantro

1 can of black beans

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice

1 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

In a 9 x 11 baking dish mix together peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, chopped red pepper, chopped onion, chili powder, cumin, and olive oil. Toss to coat vegetables evenly. Bake covered 25 to 35 minutes until vegetables are tender.

In a separate bowl add together the can of rinsed black beans, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt.

Once the cooked sweet potato mixture has cooled off combine it with the black bean mixture.

Then evenly distribute the filling between 8 to 10 tortillas and fold into a burrito.

Place the assembled burritos on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375.

Hope your family enjoys them as much as mine! 

Jennifer McNamara

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You Have Weighty Issues Too

rachel biggest loser

You may have heard the controversy over the Biggest Loser Finale this week. The beautiful and tenacious Rachel who weighed close to 300 pounds lost nearly 60% of her body weight in 5 and a half months, weighing in at 105 pounds to win the shows cash prize. Even the trainer’s jaws dropped upon first seeing her extreme weight loss. It was not long  before the social media “I don’t know you, but I will personal assault you with a vicious tweet” #trending began. I honestly watched the finale with a broken heart.

Why?

“Culture baits us to the edge of moral disaster than chastises us when we cross certain lines.” (Andy Stanley)

The “overweight” Rachel said she felt hopeless, out of control, unworthy, a failure.  The truth is that is how society viewed her as well.  Rachel’s coping mechanism is food, which unfortunately results in her literally wearing the weight of the world on her body.

Your coping mechanism may not be food and it may or may not be as visible as obesity is; But you do have your go to unhealthy comfort.  Is it drowning yourself in social media, alcohol, excessive exercise, gambling, gossip, TV, sex, I can keep going and I will eventually hit something you struggle maintaining a healthy relationship with.

So here is Rachel,

on public display,

deciding she is done,

fed up,

and ready to get uncomfortable and do something about her unhealthy addiction.

 

Our culture is sales driven and the show Biggest Loser is made possible because it is entertaining enough to attract an audience advertisers are willing to “pay for”. Stuck in the middle is a LIFE, Rachel’s and the other contestants lives.

When Rachel was struggling with obesity she may have heard,

“Oh wow, you have really let yourself go”  OR

“Rachel you were so healthy and beautiful, what happened?”

The weight of the comments would be overbearing and just perpetuate her already severely damaging self-talk.

When Rachel stood up and started to do something about it, we are on her side, cheering her on, encouraging her.

“You go girl, you are looking awesome!”

“You are an inspiration!”

“I can’t believe what progress you have made.”

Then Rachel finds herself at the finale; where it is obvious she gave it her all. During her Biggest Loser journey she had mustered up an “envious” amount of strength to do something about the pit she was in. Only to wake up in the same pit she found herself in 155 lbs ago!!

All over twitter you could find quotes like these:

#BLFinale becomes literally “The Hunger Games” with Rachel starving herself for 250K.

“LOL, you are soooo gross.” -Thin Rachel #BiggestLoser #holograms

Now I want to be clear. YES, as a fitness professional I agree Rachel lost too much weight, too quickly. But just like us she will struggle with her weakness for the rest of her life. This was not the END of the story it was just a tiny part of her life we saw on TV.

As I watched the finale, my jaw dropped when she walk on stage and my heart sank with it.  I knew what was coming. I knew it would be all over the news, social media and the morning radio talk shows.  I knew that even though each and every one of us has an unhealthy relationship with something OR someone we would be quick to chastise someone who was doing their best to overcome their worst. The pressure of our culture told her she needed to change, then we cheered her on when she decided to give it her all, and then chastised her when we saw her “failure” win on TV for 5 minutes that night.

Now can I ask you to bring to mind the unhealthy relationships you are struggling with?

What do you need from me?

May I guess you need my unconditional love, you need me to believe in you, listen to you, get to know you. Most of all you need me to offer you the SAME space and grace I need.  Space to LEARN how to flip the switch from “unhealthy” to “healthy”  and GRACE to do it as many times as it takes.

As a Christian I am called to LOVE unconditionally. I am not able to pass judgement because I am not FREE of my “issues” ever, no matter how perfect or on top of things it may seem.  The only words I should ever offer someone is kind words because I know if the self- talk that is in my head is in their head too that battle is already a difficult one.

Who do you need to extend GRACE and SPACE too? Or perhaps you need to believe you are worthy of receiving it.

Please keep going,

don’t give up

and remember to extended space and grace to the people around you.

Extended to people whether they are people you are close to and have a personal relationship with or someone you got to know a tiny bit once upon a time on a TV show.

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 

Interested in being part of the supportive community I have started on facebook? Pop by my “Ira McNamara” facebook page and let’s connect.

How You Can Eat More and Lose Weight

Eat MORE and lose weight?………well that got your attention didn’t it? 

Before you read on I want to be upfront. There is no magic in this information. No, I am not going to sell you a miracle substance. I am not going to convince you there has been a breakthrough in science and a discovery that will astonish you. There is no thorny once thought extinct plant that you can sprinkle on the cheese burger of your dreams and LOSE weight!  And no it is not available at one low price for a limited time….sorry :(

I am going to just show you a couple slides from a real person’s calorie management device to illustrate the power your small choices have in a day.

What do I want you to learn from it?

2 things

(1) Small choices add up

(2) You can eat more when you move more

When I was a Kinesiology student I remember hearing about some studies where large companies would hire a specialist to come into the sedentary workplace to come up with a plan to introduce more movement at the work place. They did mean things like lock the bathroom door to force people to walk further to another bathroom. They turned off escalators, introduced standing workstations, provided lunch time exercise classes, and several other “forced movement” tactics.

By the way forcing people to do things is never a way to actually change anything.  Change begins from the INSIDE, not by forcing change in the external environment. STOP AND TAKE THAT IN Change is an inside job!!!

FOCUS Ira ;)   Ok back to the experiment. I recall thinking (very sarcastically I might add) “Really? As if taking stairs, parking the car further away or standing at my desk would add up to anything significant.”

Enter the calorie management device.

 I starting working with a device a couple years ago that you wear on the back of your arm all day, you can even sleep with it on. This device measured with over 93 percent accuracy how many calories you burned in a day. I was testing the device on myself and was surprised by the results. On a Friday I had gone to the gym in the morning and done a really intense 1 hour spin class. Then I return home and sat at my desk for a good chunk of the day catching up on administrative tasks. Saturday morning I woke up early,  cleaned around the house, walked around the mall, did some grocery shopping, shovel the driveway (it was winter), and did not workout.

Well guess which day I burned more calories on? I will give you a hint it was not the day I worked out! What the device reveal to me was the vastness of the impact our sedentary lifestyles are having on us. You may go to the gym before or after work but if you are still sitting all day it may come as a surprise to you how few calories you are actually burning.

Here is two days in the life of one of my clients.

DAY #1 A movement filled day!

good day

On this day working out, running errands, walking the dog, shopping around the city her calorie burn was  3201 calories. Which means she can eat 2200 calories and still be on track to lose 2 pounds by the end of the week!

Lets compare that to a couch day. She did not leave the house, she watched TV, read some books, and got up to prepare some meals. In the evening she did a little extra time on her feet cleaning up and preparing a meal.

Day # 2 Sedentary Day

bad day

On this day she burned almost 1000 calories less than the previous example.  Guess what that means? In order to stay on track for a 2 lbs a week weight loss she would only be able to consume 1167 calories. That is nearly 1000 calories less then Day #1!

What does 1000 extra calories look like?

Apple (79)

24 Almonds (163)

Hard Boiled Egg (72)

2 slices of bread (120)

1 cup of cubed avocado(241)

Roasted Chicken Breast (280)

SO how can you eat more and still lose weight, move MORE! This is the way I look at it. Small changes do add up! Moving more allows me to add more nutrient dense food to my daily routines. Food is medicine and if I can eat more of the healthy stuff it is going to help deal with the nutritional deficits that are occurring with the standard north american diet.

One last note, be conscious of how much movement you are doing in a day. Each day may not present itself with the same opportunities to move. So if you find yourself on a day where you are moving less, eat less.  Equally as important if you are moving more, EAT MORE! Not just for the sake of eating more but also to keep up with your ENERGY demands!

Why Your Personal Trainer Is A Tool?

episode 7 tv

Play on words intended, got your attention didn’t it?

Have you ever said “well if I just had a personal trainer and personal chef I could be fit too?” OR have you had a trainer or fitness program promise that they are going to get you fit. If a relationship is founded on these statements, failure is inevitable.  Watch and find out Why Your Personal Trainer Is A Tool.

Slipped Up On Your Resolution Already? Why You Can’t Start Over

comfort zones

As much as you don’t like your old habits or what they produce, they are what you know and what you are comfortable with, getting rid of them is going to be uncomfortable.  Prepare yourself to push through the uncomfortable.

There is comfort in familiarity and lets be honest we like to be comfortable.  Being UNcomfortable is, well, UNcomfortable. Our disposition for familiarity is no secret either. Case in point; big box stores go to great lengths to create familiar environments.

Have you ever visited a Starbucks 5000 miles from your home that makes you feel like you never left home?

We crave the same old, same old. On the other end of the spectrum we yearn for something new.  So somewhere in the middle we desperately flounder to either IGNORE our dream or make failed attempt after failed attempt to go for it. This struggle is much more present during the NEW YEAR as we look back at what might have been and with renewed vigor set our sights higher this year.

Years ago I read a book by Bruce Wilkinson called the Dream Giver it’s a modern day parable about a man named Ordinary that lives in a place called familiar.

“For the most part, not much happened in Familiar that hadn’t happened before. Ordinary thought he was content. He found the routines reliable. He blended in with the crowd. And mostly, he wanted only what he had. Until the day Ordinary noticed a small, nagging feeling that something big was missing from his life. Or maybe the feeling was that he was missing from something big. He wasn’t sure. The little feeling grew.  And even though Nobodies in Familiar didn’t generally expect the unexpected, Ordinary began to wish for it.”

The New Year has a unique way of poking at those nagging feelings doesn’t it?

Can I ask you to trust that little nagging feeling was placed inside of you?  

Can I beg you to go get it?

Here is the truth.

The pursuit of any dream worth pursuing is not going to be easy. If I were a statistic kind of guy I would tell you right here how many people fail to use their newly purchased gym memberships a month after they purchase them.  Lucky for you I am not a statistic kind of guy. You might call me a statistic HATER!

Why? Because in that simplified sometimes skewed number is a sense that you might as well give up before you start. You feel like you already know which side of the statistic you fall on. Let’s face it you’re a victim to those numbers and you are never going to change  it.

…….WRONG! Picture me jumping up and down right now telling you “STOP, just STOP it, STOP believing these numbers have any POWER over you!

Guess what? Your comforts are literally killing you.  As much as you hate them they are going to BE HARD to get away from. You are going to want to give up, and curl right back up in those familiar habits. You need to acknowledge the journey is going to be hard. You need to prepare yourself to stay in uncomfortable for as long as it takes.

You are powerful and need to POWER up and BUILD up your RESOLVE to be uncomfortable long enough to conquer or perhaps take back some territory and expand those comfort zones. WHY?  There is much more to life on the other side of comfort.

I want you to really understand this. You are normal when not even a day into your new journey you suddenly find yourself sitting on the couch with a tub of ice cream proclaiming “what am I doing?” as you hastily throw another spoonful in. It’s easy to fall back into familiar.

How about every time you slip up you commit to getting back up, rather than feeling like you have to start over?  There is a difference.

When you are always “starting over “ it means you have  an expectation that venturing out of your comfort zone was going  to be as easy as flicking a switch.  Well it is not that easy, it takes time, it requires grace, it requires learning, it requires you to get back up and keep going.

Be faithful in the small things my friend! Over time the small ADDS up to BIG VICTORY in your life. You just got to keep getting back up. Will your spirit and ask God to make you strong and courageous as you step back into uncomfortable.  You are ready to rise above what keeps knocking you down.  You got this!