I really wanted to name this recipe the “‘Tis the Season Sweet Potato Rice Bowl,” but for SEO purposes, that wasn’t the best idea.
As a blogger (and I’m JUST now realizing this), the title of your post is crucial. You can’t just slap up any ‘ole name up there – it has to be very calculated.
With ingredients like pomegranates, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and maple syrup, this dish screams ’tis the season, doesn’t it?! Speaking of, if you’re not already signed up for our newsletter, NOW’S THE TIME, because all newsletter subscribers will receive early-access to our 20% off Cyber Monday deal (on the Inspiralizer®!) Sign up and you’ll receive the exclusive coupon code emailed to you within the hour.
However, if someone was to go searching for, say, “sweet potato, pomegranate and butternut squash bowl,” my recipe would not pop up, because, like a fool, I named it “‘Tis the Season.”
And of course, I want people to discover Inspiralized, I want everyone to become Inspiralized, so I need to play by Mr. Google’s rules.
Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I can barely sit still in my desk chair, I’m so excited about Thanksgiving. I think maybe because I’ve been working around the clock lately and am juggling so many things, I’m just excited to chillax with my family.
Maybe it’s just because this is my first Thanksgiving as a married woman? Who knows, but I’m ready to devour some stuffing and sip champagne.
My Fit Journey: Back to Basics
Speaking of being married and devouring stuffing, I’m launching another “phase” of my fit journey. Ever since Lu and I got married, I haven’t been as diligent with my workouts and healthy eating. I’ve noticed myself falling back into my “old habits.” What are old habits? Mainly overeating and a sporadic exercise schedule.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve gained about 10-15 pounds since the wedding. At the wedding, I weighed about 140 pounds and a lot of that was toned muscle, because I was lifting almost every workout. I felt very lean – I felt my best! Now, I waver between 150-155, depending on the week. Now, I’m 5’8″, so that extra five pounds isn’t life altering, but I really enjoyed that healthy weight – my energy levels were high and I just felt like a better version of myself.
Here’s a before and after, where on the left, I just felt better, my arms were more toned, my legs were more toned and my waistline was tighter. You may not be able to tell a big difference, because of my height (I hide it well)!, but I feel entirely different. Also, my boobs were smaller (on the left), which is an added bonus (maybe not for Lu, but for me, haha!)
Since then, I’ve had a tough time finding the motivation. The summer was a blast and busy, and now as we enter into the winter, my selection of jeans that I can wear are dwindling slightly, thanks to the extra poundage.
So what can I do? Go back to basics and do exactly what I did in the first place: eat clean and exercise consistently. No more running down to the corner store and grabbing a bag of Pepperidge Farms cookies at 9:55pm (5 minutes before they close!) and scarfing them down, only to go to bed an hour later. That’s not healthy and it doesn’t make me feel good, inside or out.
I’ve always struggled with overeating (I’d call it binge eating, but I’ve never been diagnosed, let alone seen a doctor about it.) I think the chaos of getting married and the pressure to fit into my tiny (but beautiful!) dress resulted in a little burnout.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to regress. It’s okay to fall into our old habits. What’s more important is knowing when it’s gone on for too long and it’s time to make a change again.
I wanted to address this in today’s post, because one month from today, I’ll be in Florida, spending the holidays on the beach. I want to focus on this month and more importantly, focus on my health and my body before I have to be back in a bathing suit. And if there’s one time of year that I don’t want to think about anything but my family, it’s Christmastime. It’s just great timing and I work well with time-oriented goals.
You may be thinking, “Ali, it’s the holidays – it’s the toughest time to do this!” I acutally don’t feel that way – the busier I am socially, the more I tend to be focused on my diet and exercise. I think it’s the fact that I have to squeeze it into my days that makes me prioritize it.
And I’m not disappointed or upset with myself for falling off the wagon, because as I’ve said before, I’m a work in progress. I believe that we go in ebbs and flows and some months will be better than others. I gave up body shaming when I first started this fit journey and when I look at the scale, I don’t think, “You’re a failure,” I think, “Okay, let’s recover from this and get back on track.”
However, I haven’t said that yet. There’s a difference between going to bed on a Sunday night and saying, “Tomorrow’s the day!” It’s definitely about a complete mental shift, but it’s also about planning. You can’t go to bed and expect to wake up and turn over a new leaf – you need to prepare for that.
How do I prepare for this next phase in my fit journey? A few things help me:
- Set a goal. My goal is to be down to be wedding weight by the time I leave for Florida, which would mean 10 pounds in 1 month (a very feasible goal.)
- Make a workout schedule, not only picking days to workout but also set which workouts I’ll do on which days.
- Tell everyone about it, including all of YOU. I think this is almost most important, because when you’re out with your friends and you don’t want to order dessert, they’ll understand and you won’t have to repeat yourself or have that momentary awkwardness. Also, if you live with something (whether it be a roommate or a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/parent), they can help keep you accountable.
- Drink a LOT of water. Just start drinking water the second you decide to make a healthy shift – it will clear your mind, give you more energy and put you in a better place to make the right decisions. It seems really simple, but it’s one of my go-tos.
- Prepare – meal plan, set your menus for the weeks, grocery shop, and then meal prep. Get all the tools you need together to set yourself up for success.
If you want to follow me in this journey (I’ll be posting weekly weigh-ins), follow my fitness account, @GetInspiralized. And please no negative comments about “scale obsession.” I don’t live or die by the scale, it simply helps me get back on track in the beginning. After this initial month, I’ll post a “recap” and show my progress!
Thank you in advance, I know all of your comments are going to keep me going and get me back into the shape I want to be in not just for the beach, but for my everyday happiness.
If there’s anything you’d like to me share in the next month that may help you in your own fit journey, please don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments or e-mail me.
Oh and completely unrelated, don’t forget to mark your calendars – we’re having a Cyber Monday WEEK and the Inspiralizer will be 20% off starting on Monday, November 30 and ending on Friday, December 4th.
This is the best time to do all of your holiday shopping, so make a list of what you’re going to conquer on Cyber Monday and get it done – I do this every year and it saves me so much money! And of course, you MUST add the Inspiralizer to that list :)
BUT if you’d like EARLY ACCESS to this promotion, just subscribe to our newsletter and receive your exclusive early access 20% off code!
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers PointsPlus*: 8 points
*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers PointsPlus® calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 large sweet potato
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the maple syrup and half of the olive oil in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Place the butternut squash cubes in the bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss together to coat. Lay the butternut squash out on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until baked through and soft, and slightly browned.
- Meanwhile, remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Rinse the mixing bowl used to season the butternut squash and fill with water. Slice the pomegranate into quarters and submerge it under the water and carefully remove the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the white flesh will rise to the top. Scoop out the flesh with a slotted spoon and then drain the pomegranates into a colander and set aside. Save ¼ heaping cup of pomegranates and reserve the rest for future use.
- Next, peel and spiralize the sweet potato, using Blade D. Place the noodles into a food processor and pulse until rice-like.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the rest of the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the sweet potato rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Cover the sweet potato rice and cook for 5 minutes, uncovering to stir occasionally and then let cook for 3 more minutes, uncovered, or until sweet potato rice reaches your preferred rice-like consistency. Stir in the goat cheese, remove from heat and add in the butternut squash.
- Divide the sweet potato into bowls and top pomegranates.