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Four-ingredient squash parfait.

Jena Chopson

I love easy recipes. 

I love it even more when easy recipes taste this good. 

Sweet tooth, anyone? Read on....

It tastes better than it looks...if that's even possible. 

This recipe is super easy if you have everything on hand. I had leftover butternut squash that I cooked up yesterday, so this was literally as simple as mixing stuff in a bowl then scooping it out and layering it into this glass. 

But if you don't already have cooked squash on hand that's been hanging out in the fridge overnight (I mean, why wouldn't you?), then here's the recipe for this gem. 

Don't forget to let me know if this was appealing to your taste buds by sharing this out to your friends or commenting on this post on social.

What you'll need:

1 butternut squash
Liquid stevia (or packets work, too) 
1 serving of plain greek yogurt
Cinnamon
Carmel, Maple, or Vanilla extracts (optional) 
Honey or maple syrup (optional) 

To cook the squash: 

Cut off top 1/2". Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out seeds. Place halves face down in a baking dish with 1/4" water. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes. When done, peel off the skin or scoop out the squash. Place squash in mixing bowl. Add 1-2 TBSP of cinnamon (or to taste), a 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (or 1-2 packets as desired), and 1 tsp caramel extract (or choose your flavor here, optional). Mix with electric hand mixer so it's like a fluff or mashed potato like.  

Side note: Butternut squash tastes amazingly sweet all on its own. Adding in extra stevia might be too much. Try it first by itself with a dash of cinnamon to see if you even need the stevia. If you're like me, you probably don't. This squash is the bomb dot com, baby.

You can, of course, eat the squash right away, but if you want to make the parfait, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. 

For the greek yogurt: 

Place 1 serving (typically 2/3 cup) in a bowl. Add water while stirring to create desired consistency (I prefer a thinner consistency, greek yogurt is a little too thick for my liking. If you like it as is, then skip this step and carry on, you greek yogurt lovin' warrior). Add 1-2 stevia packets or liquid stevia to desired taste. Add in flavor extract of choice, if desired. I mixed in a few drops of maple extract. Blend well in the bowl. 

Side note: If you are new to plain greek yogurt, you may find that you need to add in a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to make it more desirable to your taste buds. I'll give you the green light here, but just don't get carried away, mmmkay? 

Once you have your refrigerated squash and greek yogurt mixture, simply layer them on top of each other at your heart's content. Voila! Heaven in your mouth. 

Now you can tell all your friends you eat dessert for breakfast AND stay on track with your goals.

Cheers,

Jena 

 

Special shoutout to Kevin Butz who showed me the squash ways and gave me several squash recipes. You da man, Kevin! 

If you're a 21-day fix meal plan follower, this recipe counts as 1 green (measured as 2/3 cup), and 1 red. Can we cheers again to that? 


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5 things that happen when you quit telling yourself the BS stories about why you can’t follow that nutrition guide

Jena Chopson

So I recently wrote a blog about excuses and meal prepping. You can read more about that here

But lately, I’ve been hearing excuses after excuses as to why people can’t follow the meal plan. And like I said in the previous post, I completely get it. I’ve done it too—-so many times. 

But what I really want you guys to see is that they are ALL just EXCUSES. I know they sound super noble in your head, and some of them may even be genuinely noble. But they’re still an excuse at the end of the day. You can polish a turd to make it shiny, but it’s still going to be a turd. 

When I was selected to be a part of the Core de Force test group, I made the DECISION that I was going to check my excuses—-ALL of them—- at the door and finally do this shit the way I was supposed to. 

Some amazing things happened when I did that. And you should know about them, because they can happen to you, too if you’re willing to do what you THINK you cannot do (aka, ditch all the excuses): 

 

1.) I spiced up my food life

“But Jena,” you say, “Nothing is spicier than bellying up to the bar and ordering me a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries!” Are you sure about that? I mean, really? Here’s the thing: I love me a good burger just as much as the next person. I can throw back a burger with fries and an IPA like no other. And while it often feels super tasty and satisfying going down, it is almost always met with regret and self-loathing later. 

You can still have your burgers now and then. Even your pizza, too. But what this has really opened me up to is trying so many NEW foods. I have explored foods that I don’t typically eat and I have been more than pleasantly surprised at how much I really love the flavors and how amazing they make me FEEL. 

Gone is that bloated, gross feeling you get after pigging out. Instead, you eat delicious foods and you feel equally amazing afterward

Trying new foods has been hands down my favorite part of this. I make it a challenge to find as many new, healthy recipes I can find using foods I don’t typically eat. I’m often surprised at the amazing stuff I’ve been missing out on. 

Give it a try. There are SO many incredible foods out there. You truly don’t know what you’re missing out on….and your body doesn’t either. Its response to finally getting the nutrition it craves will shock you in the form of more energy, better sleep, and overall higher function.

 

2.) I realized it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. 

I still remember the day I got my 21 day fix package in the mail. I was SO excited. I ripped open the packaging, pulled out those colorful containers, set them on the counter….and then cried. 

“Bbbbuuut, they are SO small!” I exclaimed to myself, in a moment of self-pity. RIDICULOUS! But we all do it, right? The problem was, I hadn’t even given the process a try. I was self sabotaging myself before anything had even begun. All I had done at that point is essentially blow those little containers up with my death defying evil stare and then cry about another “failed attempt” at getting my nutritional shit together. 

It wasn’t until I actually gave the process a try and plated the food out when I realized….holy crap. This isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, and there is a LOT of really good food here! 

Duh, Jena. Trust the process. Stop freaking out about it before you even give yourself an actual shot at being successful. Quit the BS dialogue happening in your head about all your previous failures you’ve had, and about all the food you CAN’T have, and start focusing on how you’re going to make THIS a freaking success…and focus on the foods you GET to eat. 

 

3.) I got results

This should be a no-brainer, but like I said in my last blog post, you’d be surprised at the number of my clients who are shocked that they didn’t get the results they had hoped for after completing a couple weeks of a program. When asked how the nutrition plan is going, I often get the response, “What nutrition plan?” Or…”Well, aside from my couple cheat days a week, it’s going great!” *Facepalm* 

I won’t essentially re-post my prior blog, but get real with yo-self. Results are probably at the very least 70-80% what you are fueling your body with. Period. End of story. If you can’t commit to fueling your body the way it NEEDS to be fueled, then don’t be shocked when you don’t end up with the results you’d hoped for. It’s like your body needing Premium fuel to function but you continually putting in Regular fuel because you didn’t want to spend the extra 20 cents per gallon….and then wondering why there are always engine problems. Hmmm…..

 

4.) I feel freaking amazing. 

I made mention of this above, but seriously….when you fuel your body right, it rewards you tenfold. I have felt so damn GOOD in the past 3-4 weeks, it is truly hard to describe. 

 

5.) I gained CONFIDENCE

I say this all the time, but when you check your excuses at the door and just go get it done, you exude badassery. 

Now that I have officially meal prepped for 7 night shifts in a row (you read that right), and stuck with a nutrition guide I “thought I could never stick with,” I have a renewed sense of confidence. I also feel like I can relate to everyone who has struggled with nutrition in the past (as I have had my fair share of struggles.....you can read a smidge more about that here!). 

But above all, I just feel confident. I know that I CAN do this, despite the obstacles. It just takes a little willingness, some preparation, and above all, the DESIRE to put my health first. 

 

You can do this, too. If you’re struggling and you need help, I’d love to mentor you through the process. As someone who has struggled tremendously in the past, it feels absolutely incredible to have broken through so many obstacles and come out on the other side. 

I can’t wait until you experience these things, as well. 

Til next time,

 

Jena


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Luck.

Jena Chopson

Last night I had someone tell me that I was lucky.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"Well, you're beautiful, you're thin, you have a great job. You're lucky."

Lucky, eh? Here's my take on that:
 

To some extent, she was right. I am lucky that I was born in America, the greatest country on this planet. I am lucky that I was given two incredible parents who raised me in a loving family. And yes, I'm lucky I didn't come out of the womb looking like cyclops. 

But I can assure you that luck had nothing to do with where I have ended up today. 
 

I made the choice to spend 7 years in higher education, busting my ass to be a nurse practitioner. I made the choice to start a business 4 years ago and I have worked consistently at it so that it could create a designed life for us. 
 

Every day I make the decision to eat healthier and exercise so that my body feels vivacious enough to do anything and everything I want to do. 
 

Do you notice a trend here? Choices. Decisions. While most of us walk around thinking life happens TO us, the reality is quite the opposite. This life is the product of the decisions WE MAKE. 
 

We can change our reality at any given moment. It just takes the desire to change and actually act on those decisions. 
 

When you see someone who is successful, I can assure you it isn't luck that got them there. 
 

Behind every success story was someone who dared to do what the majority of others won't do. It's a story of someone who decided they weren't going to settle for ordinary, and so they put a vision into action and made a change....oftentimes making tons of hidden sacrifices along the way. 
 

Luck? I don't know much about that. But I do know a lot about hard work and sweat equity. And I'll choose that path over easy any day of the week.


SIGN UP TO GET JENA'S MOTIVATION, DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX! Subscribe to the Inspired By Jena Mailing List and receive regular fitness communications that include recipes, exercise tips, featured Beachbody® products, and motivational stories from Beachbody Coach Jena Chopson and others just like you.

When you don't see eye to eye....

Jena Chopson

I get a lot of questions about what to do when you have an "unsupportive spouse" when it comes to your health & fitness journey, or when it comes to your new business. 

Although Doug is doing a workout program with me now, it most definitely has not always been this way. Allow me to show you a picture of what our workout partnership has looked like for 99% of the time we have been together: 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

This is a topic I get really passionate about. Allow me to share a little bit of my story....

I've always been into health and fitness my entire life. Don't make fun of me--I literally have memories of running around the playground at recess as a young child with the GOAL to work up a sweat. Not exactly what most little girls aim to achieve at recess, right? 

Even though I haven't always been healthy (you can read more about that here), being athletic, active, and conscientious about my health has always been a huge passion of mine.  So of course as opposites tend to attract, I wind up marrying a man who basically has zero interest in all of the aforementioned topics. ZERO. 

Let's be honest. I married him this way. I knew the man I was marrying going into this whole thing. Still, I would be lying if I said it didn't sting a little bit every time I headed out for a run, or downstairs to do my workout, alone

This great divide became all the more apparent when I started a business as a health and fitness coach. I'm not going to say he was unsupportive, because to me that means he was basically doing everything in his power to make sure I didn't succeed. He was more, shall I say, standoffish. "Do whatever you want babe, but I think it's all ridiculous." That was a better way to describe it. And even though that's better than being completely unsupportive, it still sucked.  This was a HUGE deal to me and a HUGE passion of mine, and something I was really excited about....and he just wasn't excited.  

So what did I do? You might think I came up with some elaborate plan to bring him over to the "dark side," right? Well, you'd be wrong. You see, you can't change other people. Even when that person happens to be your spouse. The only thing you can do is better yourself and aim to become a better person, spouse, individual, whatever and continue to set the example along the way. 

I had no idea if Doug would ever develop an interest in his own health and fitness, but I always knew that he would have to come to terms with that on his own. If you're in the health & fitness space, you know as well as I do that we cannot force anyone to want to change, they have to want it for themselves first. 

I asked Doug about a week ago, "What was it that finally made you commit to your health?" And he basically responded with, "I was tired of being the fat kid. And I knew it would only bring us closer. So I went all in." That's the Doug version of saying what we hear all too often from people who finally hit their breaking point and are ready to make a change: Enough is enough. Something has to change. 

The key point here is this: If I had given up on him, on myself, on the journey....then he might never have come to these terms. If you feel like you have an "unsupportive" spouse, if you feel like your significant other will never make his or her health a priority, if you feel like you are alone--Don't. Give. Up. 

Stay consistent. Stick with it. Continue to work on and develop yourself. Pray for him or her, for your relationships. And who knows? You may one day be taking sweaty selfies with your spouse after crushing a workout---together. 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Relate to this story at all and want to chat more? Feel free to reach out to me, I'd love to talk. 

Xoxo, 

Jena 


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