Thursday, November 1, 2012

If you are into awesomeness…

…and, who isn’t??!! Check out my pal, Jamie’s, kick ass and inspiring blog post!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A family that cooks together stays together

One of the biggest contributors (if not the biggest) to your success for losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle is your environment.  If everyone in your household or immediate social circle is focused on healthy living, it makes it much easier for you to stick to your commitments as well.

For quite a while, my husband has been struggling to lose weight (aren't we all??!!).  I'm so proud of him, because he's lost about 15 pounds this month.  It's really helped me out quite a bit because we've been planning meals, shopping and cooking together.  It's been a long time since we've done this together and it's great to have a partner so we can keep each other in check.

I've started a recipes page here to share some of the great things we've been eating.  My husband is a good cook, but neither of us like to spend a lot of time cooking, especially on weeknights.  Our recipes are healthy, but don't taste like you are on a diet.  Most can be made ahead of time or you can make extras for leftovers the next day.  Give them a try!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why do we do it?

Today’s post is inspired by the lovely Renee and her post: 

The question is…when you have certain health/wellness goals, why don’t you do the things to achieve them? Or, maybe the question is: why do you do things that will put you further away from your goals?

When I journal my food intake and exercise for a consistent period of time, I feel better, lose weight, and, most importantly, I get closer to my goals. I feel like I’m in control of my decisions and my life. I feel proud that I’m actually taking control and accomplishing what it is I set out to do. Nothing beats this feeling!

When I eat without care (read: OVEREAT), skip a workout or miss a weigh-in, I feel disappointed and disgusted, not to mention bloated! I feel like I’ve taken several steps backward and that I will need to work even harder just to get back where I was before. I hate being in this position!

So, if one set of behavior is wonderful and the other set of behavior causes self-loathing, why is this so difficult? I should institute the good behavior all the time, so I never have that bad feeling again. Yet, I will go an entire weekend and eat “freely” without bothering to journal. I’ll have a beer, but tell myself it’s only three PointsPlus when it’s really five. I’ll order pizza when I know I only have enough PointsPlus left for grilled chicken and veggies. I’ll tell myself that I’m too sore to lift weights, so instead of at least going for a walk, I skip the workout all together. Shall I keep going?

I once had a friend tell me that she loved Weight Watchers because all you had to do was follow the plan and it worked. I told her that I wish it were that simple. She said to me, “It is. Just follow the plan.”

I will reiterate what Renee stated – why is it so difficult to let go of habits instilled in us so long ago? Why is it so difficult to just follow the plan?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friend Makin’ Mondays

I know it’s Tuesday and no one wants to re-live a Monday, but I’m trying this out after reading a couple of good blogs that participate: and

How you play: Please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

In the Kitchen

1. How often do you cook at home?
I’m a big fan of cooking a bunch of food on Sundays so I don’t have to do it during the week. Plus, then I’m prepared – no excuses to eat out!

2. Do you eat more fresh produce, frozen or canned produce?
Definitely fresh in the summer when the farmer’s markets are open. But, I’m in St. Paul, so that doesn’t last long. I go frozen most of the winter because it’s cheaper, tastes better and lasts longer than what we get here in the winter fresh-wise.

3. What are a few unusual staples that can always be found in your kitchen?
I’m not that adventurous, but I try. Right now, maybe quinoa and edamame? I get more adventurous with different types of mushrooms and seeds (ie: chia, flax).

4. Look in your fridge, then tell us about the healthiest thing in there.

5. Now share the most unhealthy thing in it.
Cheese or coffee creamer

6. Do you eat leftovers?

7. Do you use coupons at the supermarket?
Yes! Also have the Target RedCard for 5% off everything!

8. How often do you try new recipes?
I try to at least a couple of times per month. Just posted a new one in my blog last week that was SO GOOD.

9. Do you make grocery lists?
Always always always. Otherwise, I stray and it’s not good…

10. If you could buy one food item that would magically be calorie-free, which item would you choose? I’m just going to be honest here…it would have to be VODKA!

Friday, August 10, 2012

New fab WW recipe!

I made this last night and it was really good!  I added mushrooms as well - yummy!  Eating leftovers as I type...ENJOY!

Philly Cheese Sloppy Joes


1 lbs 95% lean ground beef, raw
1 large (softball-sized) white onion, diced
1 medium or large green bell pepper, diced
3 T steak sauce
1 cup fat free beef broth
Salt & black pepper to taste
5 light wheat sandwich rolls
5 slices 2% Provolone cheese
(I added mushrooms as well.)


1. Bring a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the ground beef. Brown beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Once cooked, add the peppers and onions (and mushrooms) and continue to cook for a few more minutes until vegetables are softened. Mix in the steak sauce, beef broth, salt and pepper and bring to a bubble. Allow the mixture to bubble for about 5 minutes.

2. Make sure you have an oven rack in the top third of your oven and pre-heat the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Open the sandwich rolls and lay both sides cut side up. Using your fingers, press the middle-inside of the bottom half of the roll to make a little more room for the meat mixture. Scoop about ¾ cup of the meat mixture onto the pressed bottom half of each roll. Top the meat mixture with a slice of the cheese. The top half of the rolls will be bare and cut side up.

3. Place the baking sheet onto the oven rack in the top 1/3 of the oven and broil for about 1 minute (check at 30 seconds and again at 50 to prevent burning – broiling happens fast!) Cover the loaded bottom half of each roll with its toasted top half counterpart and serve!

Yields 5 (3/4 cup meat mixture + 1 roll & 1 slice cheese) servings. WW P+: 8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on

Nutrition Information per serving from 334 calories, 33 g carbs, 9 g fat, 31 g protein, 6 g fiber

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sharing a blog I can really relate to! Well said, Jamie!

Sweaty Hugs: Choosing to push through...: I think there is something to be said about those who choose to challenge their selves daily.  Yes, daily. Not just once a week, not ...

Passed the test!

For a long time, I've wanted to get certified as a personal trainer.  I've been studying diligently and I am happy to announce that I passed my exam this morning!  I'm officially a Certified Personal Trainer!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Are you better now than you were at age 20?

This morning I heard a recent quote from actress Cameron Diaz saying that she thought she was in better physical shape now than she was at 20-years-old. I realized that I think the same thing about myself.

At 20, I never ate breakfast. At lunch, I had whatever the college cafeteria served. Or, sometimes my roommate and I would simply grab an order of breadsticks from the Student Center restaurant. For dinner, we would split a box of Rice-A-Roni. I’m sure you can guess what my exercise routine consisted of: 12-ounce curls at Mel’s Midtowner Bar!

At 37 (and holding!), I eat breakfast every day within an hour of waking up. After that, it’s four or five small meals, which I try to keep clean most of the time. I exercise almost every day and I can lift a lot more than 12 ounces! Most importantly, I drink water constantly.

Sometimes, we focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves and the accomplishments are overshadowed by negativity. (OK, most of the time!) I do it all the time to myself. I focus on the fact that I want to lose 10 more pounds or that I ate pizza on Saturday night when I could've made a better choice. But, I forget how much I’ve improved my healthy habits over time. These accomplishments cannot be forgotten! This is your motivation to help you move forward and improve yourself even further. Unlike material items, the human body is the one thing that improves the more you use it.

We think of aging as a deterioration process. But, after reading this bio on Tosca Reno, I realized I’m actually younger now than she was when she started her journey. It’s never too late to start. It’s never too late to start again. It’s always too early to quit. Next week, I'll turn 38 - Bring it on! Hell, I think I’m ready for 40!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Good tool for goal setting and motivation

If you are setting goals and trying to stay motivated, you may want to try this.  I just sent myself one :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Small Wins = Big Victories

Last week I told you about how I avoided "free" french fries.  This week I went out to dinner with friends again.  I've become very good at planning and prepping for day-to-day meals.  But, when I get off of my routine, this is when my mind gets weaker.  I begin reading a menu or give myself permission to eat off plan just this once because I deserve it!

Since I'm focusing on clean eating, it was really difficult for me to find anything on the menu that was completely clean.  So, I decided to ask the server if I could make my own meal instead - and it was a success!  I ordered a grilled chicken breast with a side of grilled asparagus.  It was inexpensive, delicious and healthy.

When everyone around you is eating off the menu, it can be difficult to do something different - either due to pressure or lack of wanting to think outside the box.  This is a mental game - just keep you goals in mind, focus on the fun with your friends and remember that food is fuel.  You will be successful!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free French Fries

Last night I went out to happy hour with my girlfriends.  I have been doing SO GREAT with my clean eating, that I didn't want to mess it up.  I planned, which is key as you know!  I ate a healthy snack just before I met my friends and planned to eat dinner when I got home.

As luck would have it, the restaurant offered a Foursquare special if you checked in - free french fries. And, not just any french fries.  You could get:

AMERICAN FRIES: straight up with Heinz
PARMESAN FRIES: with a trio of sauces
TRUCKSTOP FRIES:  covered in chipotle cheese sauce
PICKLE FRIES: with horseradish and honey mustard sauces

And, let's not forget:
DISCO FRIES: Canadian 'poutine' style with melty mozzarella, slow cooked pot roast and gravy

Everyone ordered fries - they were free, right, so why not!?!  And, if I hadn't already eaten my cheat meal for the week, I probably would've, too.  But....I didn't!  I came home and ate a healthy dinner.  It was tough sitting there with everyone eating, but mainly because people kept offering me food.  I hate to make a big deal about my clean eating, especially when others are indulging.  I really don't want to come off as being too good for something, but it's not worth giving up my goals.

Just because something is free, doesn't mean it's a good deal.  When I got home, I was SO happy that I planned and stuck to my guns.  I ate a healthy, satisfying dinner and did not miss the fries.  I also missed out on a lot of calories!

Good gravy - literally!  In case you're curious, here's what I passed up! 

Calories 524
Fat 24g (12g saturated)
Carbs 44g
Fiber 4g
Protein 17g
Sodium 852mg

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eat Clean, Train Mean, Live Lean

I'm about to share (again) the most valuable information I've learned during my 'journey'. If you truly want to transform your body, you must strength train! I'm so passionate about strength training and lifting free weights because it will help shape your body and burns calories around the clock.

Does muscle weigh more than fat?

This is a constant debate, but a pound is a pound is a pound. If you are only using the scale as your gauge for progress, I hope to change your mind - measurements are more important!

A pound is a pound. But, what you do with that pound makes a difference:

Take your measurements!

The scale does not tell your whole story. This is not me, but is a perfect example of why you should take your measurements, pay attention to how your clothes feel and look in the mirror to get your feedback. It's not all about the scale!

When I first reached my goal weight of 140 in 2006, I was thrilled to be a size 6. (Right??!!!)  But, I knew I could bite off even more. I started lifting weights and my weight didn't change at all, but I eventually moved into a size 4. Not only that, my body had more shape, curves and I felt STRONG!

Don’t be a cardio queen

Now, ladies, when I say lift weights, I mean LIFT. I was in the weight room a few weeks ago and saw a woman in her 20's doing bicep curls with three pound weights. It took all of my strength to bite my tongue! She was doing absolutely nothing for her body with those “curls”.  Three pounds - five pounds - eight pounds...these weights are not for you! You have to lift more to promote change and muscle development. Make it difficult and change things up.

I recommend lifting weights three times per week, not consecutively.  One to two cardio workouts in addition to this will be sufficient.  The cardio queens who workout on the elliptical every day have patience, but they are not STRONG!

This is a great article about what lifting can do for you. Start now and you won't be sorry!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's always time to set goals

I was feeling really overwhelmed this week. I've started training for my (first!) half marathon, which requires three days of running per week. Last year when I trained, I dropped by weightlifting days down to 2...then 1...then zero days per week. I love lifting and I don't want to fall behind again, plus it will help me keep my weight down. So, I've also scheduled lifting three days each week, which leaves one rest day. I am doing my best not to double up workouts, so I can dedicate my energy appropriately, but that doesn't always work.

With six workouts per week, a full-time job, our cleaning business, etc. etc. etc., I wasn't sure how I was going to fit everything in. Plus, I always have other non-fitness goals going on in my head because I can't sit still :) I have a lot I want to accomplish yet this year and I had to get organized.

I went to my favorite coffee place and sat down with my GTD binder:
  • First, I scheduled all of my workouts on my personal calendar. These are appointments I cannot miss - especially if I want to be prepared for my half.
  • Then, I wrote down two other things I wanted to accomplish this year, but I had to break these goals down further: 1) What is the first step I need to take to get started? 2) What is the next step after that? 3) Schedule time on my calendar to take these steps.
  • Finally, I wrote down where I wanted to be at the end of the year and another item to start planning for in 2013.

I have everything organized and know the small steps I need to take every day to achieve them. I keep the plan with my personal calendar so I can look at it every day as a reminder of where I'm heading.

Also, I read a great article this morning on goal planning and this guy suggests the GTD system as well. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting your head straight

I learned (or re-learned) a couple of things this week:

1) Small changes can make a big difference.
2) The mental game in this journey is the key to success.

Of course, I know these things already. In fact, I'm in the middle of writing a health/wellness book that focuses on getting your mental game together to successfully get to your goal weight. But, apparently, I easily forget these things myself!

The small changes I made were with my diet since that makes the biggest difference. I changed up my morning and afternoon snacks:
- In the morning, I typically have fat free yogurt with granola and instead I had a hard boiled egg and grapes.
- In the afternoon, I usually have an apple with melba toast and a Laughing Cow wedge. I swapped the melba toast out for cucumber and sprouts.

Clean clean clean!

Mentally, I kept in mind my hunger levels and truly only ate when I was hungry. Also, I started a difficult weightlifting workout. For the last two months, I've been doing a 3-day split workout I created myself. I thought I was prepared to begin this workout (TNT Advanced), however it was more difficult than I anticipated. It took quite a bit of self-talk at the gym to push through and complete it!

As a result of these small changes, I lost two pounds this week!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Spinning…is what I’ve been doing for arguably about a year and a half now. And, I don’t mean the kind of spinning where I’m on a bike. I mean the kind of spinning where I follow my health plan for a bit, but fall off a bit due to a variety of excuses work/weather/holiday, etc. – you name it. Now, I’m ready to be done spinning. But, how?

I don’t want to short-change myself on the significant lifestyle changes I’ve made – the gym is still a priority for me 4-6 days a week, I diligently plan healthier meals to avoid eating out and I’ve kept 25-30ish of the 40 pounds off that I lost in 2006. But, I haven’t seen my goal weight in quite a while – a year and a half to be exact.

Considering how much time and energy I put into thinking about and studying health and wellness, the execution mojo has escaped me for quite some time. Honestly, nothing can mimic that first time of losing a significant amount of weight – the pride, the constant motivation from the scale and the extensive compliments. But, after that ends, it’s just a daily struggle to maintain and you have to be your own cheerleader.

I’ve thought endlessly about the series of events that got me to this place mentally considering I used to be so stringent and strong about my diet/exercise plans:

  • Working many hours at a job I loathed, then getting laid off from that job. I found a great new job, but it was still a new learning process and the early morning meetings associated with it cut into my beloved morning workout time.

  • My favorite weight loss partner (aka my husband) completely fell off and gained back 50 pounds that he lost and more.

  • Weather – always tough for me. I experienced the worst winter of my life in 2010-11. However, this past winter was the most mild I’ve experienced. Even so, there’s not a lot of outdoor activity to be had in January in Minnesota. It’s still cold and dark.

  • I don’t really have a go-to weight loss plan anymore. I used to be convinced of Weight Watchers, but over time I moved more toward eating clean (which, Weight Watchers new Points Plus plan has as well.). But, the things I used to do to lose weight just don’t work anymore – or at least not nearly as quickly. I’m afraid that’s just damn old age. So, when I try a method of tracking food and it fails me after a few weeks it just adds to the discouragement and makes me wonder – what’s next?

    While these events are triggers, they are really just excuses, right? Getting the motivation to get past these obstacles to see results is what I need to dig deep to find again. But, I have learned something from my excuses and these learnings will need to be the core of my motivation:

    Working out is a priority to me and must be no matter what time of day. It’s never really been a problem for me to get to the gym, but my efforts while I’m there have dwindled. Like my food plan, if I don’t see results with something quickly, I change it up right away rather than just sticking with it. I signed up to run my first half marathon in September and I’m not hauling these extra 10 pounds 13.1 miles. Now, I have a consistent appointment schedule to run three times per week and lift weights three times per week. I have no excuse not to stick to this.

  • I need a partner to help stay motivated. Luckily, my husband has gotten back on track and has lost nine pounds so far.

  • Spring is here! I have already been out for my first outdoor run of the season and it was great! I need to take advantage of this weather.

  • And, the toughest thing for me is the diet portion – which is 80% of this whole effort. I really need to buckle down here, be honest with myself and food journal every day – not just weekdays. I’m focusing quite a bit on eating lean protein and veggies throughout the day. More and more, I’m trying to move away from processed foods. I think this will be easier as the farmer’s markets start to open up. I’m going to be sure to get in a cheat meal once a week and a little bit of dark chocolate or red wine each day. Must keep those cravings away!

    So, what is different this time? It’s been a year and half – I’ve really been in a slump and not feeling like myself. These 10 pounds have really been in my head on a constant basis. But, I’m just spinning and stressing over it constantly. You know what? I’m tired of this constant spinning taking up all of my energy that could be put to a much more positive use. Not to mention, I consider health and wellness my core platform in life. It really stresses me out to be so hypocritical. I think my weight gain and job drama affected my confidence and boosted my ‘I don’t care’ attitude more than I’d like to admit. But, I DO care and I CAN do this (again).