Sunday, January 12, 2014


Weight Watchers has had Simple Start to their arsenal of tools to help new and existing members take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I reviewed the new plan, and thought that it is exactly what I need to reinvigorate my desire to be healthier than I was yesterday. The plan is very simple. You can either chose from a given recipe for your meal or snack or design your own by picking a food from each group of suggested foods (Protein, Carb, fruit, veggie, healthy fat/oil categories). Plus you get 7 points plus value points to use on what every you want (wine, cheese, chocolate for me ;))

Yesterday, I did my grocery shopping for the week. First, I reviewed the recommended shopping list on the back of the Simple Start booklet I received in my meeting. It got me to thinking about what staples are necessary to have on hand to make healthy cooking easy.

  1. Herbs and spices – These are essential for flavoring the food you are preparing. You can find these in the produce section or the spice section of wherever you buy food. Once, I found some in the frozen section of Costco ( The frozen cubes of minced herbs are convenient for crockpot cooking, soups, or sauteing. I also love Gourmet Garden herbs and spices in a tube (
  2. Extracts – Another nice way to add flavor to foods. I added a teaspoon of peppermint extract to my brownie mix with out adding PPV. I saw that my local Super Target has about 5 or 6 different extracts to choose from (I remember seeing vanilla, maple, coffee, and some sort of mint).
  3. Produce – Stock up on what you love and keep it at eye level. Keeping fresh produce at eye level ensures you see it and will grab for it first. I also stock up on frozen produce for roasting. I also roast fresh produce when it starts to look no so fresh.
  4. Whole grain pastas, couscous, and quinoa – You can make a recipe on the fly with this staples. Combine with cooked veggies and a lean meat and voila you have a quick meal.
  5. Fat-free and reduced sodium broth or stock – I like to have on hand to add flavor to the foods I am cooking or to make a soup quickly. For soups I will put broth, chicken breasts, fresh/frozen and/or roasted veggies, and pasta, couscous, or quinoa into my crock pot with some herbs in the morning and will enjoy when I get home from work.
  6. Lean proteins – Fish, seafood, lean cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, and lean ground meat. The key here is to keep an eye on your portion size. A serving of meat is 2-3 oz. Many restaurants serve 8+ oz in a meal. I know that I lose more when my diet is higher in protien, but a 16 oz steak is way too much for me!
  7. Eggs – Hard boiled eggs can make an easy go-to breakfast or snack if you like them and are not allergic. Eggs are my favorite source of protein in the morning.

These are some of the things I have in my kitchen at all times. I do have things that are for the kids only. They are things I don't really care for, so it is easy for me to not eat them.  What are your staples?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tips and Tricks volume 1

People I have been meeting recently have a hard time believing that I used to weigh 205+ pounds.  I get asked all the time for my tips and tricks.  So, I decided that I will periodically share some of the things that have worked for me.  Feel free to share in the comments your tips for others as well.  My goal is that people come here to be inspired to lead a healthier life.  Disclaimer: this is what has worked for me.  Nothing is a quick fix - if it is, it is not going to last.

1. Find an anchor.  This is something that is going to remind you of your goals.  It could be a picture, an article of clothing, a trip, an affirmation or mantra,  a person, etc.  Mine has changed over my journey.  First, it was my children.  Then it was an affirmation of "nothing tastes as good as healthy feels".  As the compliments came pouring it, I regained my motivation.  Next, I used the tokens I received when I hit milestones through Weight Watchers.  My most recent anchors are my progression picture and my size 8 pants.
2. Classify foods as "all the time foods" and "sometimes foods".  I have a sweet tooth and and various times in my life I was treating myself more often than I should.  Sometimes multiple times in one day.  I found that swearing off cupcakes made me think of them more.  The more I thought of them, the more I wanted one or six.  Then, I couldn't control myself.  Now, if I want a cupcake I eat enough of a cupcake to satisfy the craving.

3. Move more than you did yesterday.  Find some physical activity you like.  Do it for 5 minutes today.  Build it up until you are getting at least 30 minutes in a day.  Feel free to switch it up daily too.  Boredom is one of the top reasons people don't stay active.

4. Enlist a buddy.  Tell your friend your goal, exercise with your friend, and/or have the friend keep you accountable.  I didn't have this for when I went balls to the wall with WW, but I have it this time.  It makes a lot of difference.  When I want a doughnut.  She tells me to have a doughnut, but not from downstairs...make sure it is really good and worth every point ;)

5. Reward yourself (and follow through with the rewards).   Just make sure they are not food rewards (you are not a dog).  Even my dog is satisfied with a pat on the head and, "you're a good girl".  Seriously, I created a reward plan for myself that keeps my budget in mind.  Work out 5 days out of 7 - give self mani and pedi.  Reach goal weight - 60 minute massage.  Pants too big - buy new pair throw out old (I LOVE buying pants that are a size smaller - it is a high for me).  Make the rewards exciting to you.

6. Listen to your mom: "Eat your veggies".  There are a lot of good nutrients in them that fuel your body. If you like them swimming in sauces and dressings, gradually cut back.  My favorite way to have veggies is roasted with seasonings like garlic, basil, and other herbs.

7. If you fail to plan you plan to fail.  I never planned out my meals per day and time.  I planned my meals for the week. When I make my grocery list it is: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinner, 14 snacks, and ad hoc stuff for the kids.  I make sure there is a variety of grab-n-go for the nights that get choatic and things that need more time to cook for when I have the time.  If something comes up Tuesday, I am not freaking out that I was going to make chicken and rice and have no back up.  It is more like, oh well, we will have chicken and rice on Wednesday and fresh fruits, veggies, and sandwiches tonight. Also, schedule exercise like you would anything else. Write it in your calendar.

8. Be kind to yourself.  There will be times you feel like a failure.  DO NOT beat yourself up over it.  Stand up, brush yourself off, and move on.  What can you do better now?  What can you learn from the set back or obstacle?  Dinner party where you had too much wine (this is what I am most guilty of) -  get back on track in the morning.

9. Acknowledge that it isn't easy.  It is a challenge.  One I believe you can overtake.

10. Be brave.  Try new things.  Start crossing stuff off your bucket list.  Live your life!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Themes


Since January 1, 2012 I have been taking steps to improve my life.  I started with losing weight and embarking on a journey that supports a healthy lifestyle.  I worked on eliminating the toxic relationships in my life.  I worked on becoming a happier person.  2013 was a journey of divorce.   My ex and I weren't on the same page with many things in life; not even following the same book.  We tried to get to the same place in life, but we just couldn't get there. 

A few days ago I was contemplating New Year's Resolutions and a friend shared this article with me:
Why A New Year's Theme Works Better Than A Resolution.

Click on it :)  I could really relate to it.  I was about to create a bunch of goals that I did not know if I could achieve in a year.  After reading the article I decided to adapt a few themes for 2104 to help me work towards being the person I want to be.

1. Minimalism.  I think we are a culture that demands tangible things and immediate rewards.  These are two reasons I am not a big on-line shopping.  I want instant gratification.  I digress...back on topic.  I live in a small apartment.  I have stuff that has been in boxes since 2002.  Have I looked at it in the past 12 years?  No.  Why do I still have it?  How much better would I feel walking into an apartment free of clutter?  What value does all this stuff give to me?  These are questions I have been asking myself for a couple of years actually. I already started this in my kitchen.  I just cleaned out my fridge.  Two trash bags and two trips to the recycling bin fridge looks pretty empty, but it contains the amount of food I can consume in a week.
(there is a pic of my cleaned fridge I have been trying to upload here - blogger isn't cooperating)

2. Health.  This is a continuation of the past two years.  Why?  Because it is one of my values.  I like the way I feel now much more than I felt two years ago.  I love the way I look - although, I think that is a work-in-progress.  Who doesn't love a compliment?  Who can honestly say they look better at 33 than they did at 18?  This girl!
***Part of my health theme is working towards eating cleaner (sorry deep fried cheese curds...).  I am going to be following a this plan to get me to eating real food (which I am fairly good at, but there is plenty of room for improvement)
100 Days of Real Food Pledges
I woke up this morning and went grocery shopping I stocked up on semi-in-season fruits and veggies (it is the upper Midwest after all).
***Next is to get back on the physical fitness bandwagon.  I miss it.  Why did I stop?  The reasons are pointless excuses.  I found challenges that I can do to keep my head in the game and accountable, and that is what is important.  I am debating if I want to start running again, but in order to do that I need to commit to a 5K or something...
***Eliminate unnecessary stress is the last part of this theme.  What causes me the most unnecessary stress is worrying about money.  I will be following Dave Ramsey's principles to help me reach financial freedom.  From time to time you may here me reference this in the blog.  The second, I would say is my stuff, clutter, and mess.

I really believe that being minimalist will help me support and lead the ultimate healthiest lifestyle I can lead.  What are your goals/resolutions/themes?  I am interested in your off to work out :)  Happy Sweating Peeps!