new year’s goal: move more, eat less.

it’s almost time. time to make some goals for the new year. i’m hoping you’ll add a goal of making a change in your life that includes moving more and eating less.  unless you are eating 1 cup of rice day on the show Survivor, you could probably use a bit less eating and a bit more moving.

let’s get started.  if you know me, you know i like to get started. like, yesterday.

moving more. (also known as exercise)

  • figure out what keeps you from doing those things now.  time. work. kids.
  • make a list of the things you like to do.  run, go to the gym, workout videos…i have a few recommendations for that last one. just sayin’.
  • make a list of what you’d need in order to do that exercise.  clothes. music. dvds. dvd player. new shoes.
  • make a list of times that you can get it done. morning will always, always be my recommended time.  get up. get it done. move on with your day.
  • send that list to me.  let me help you make a plan. it’s my thing. and my help is free. so why not?

eat less.  (not called dieting. dieting just sucks. don’t do it.)

  • try limiting your hours of eating to 10 hours a day.  i talked about this here.
  • add more vegetables to your diet so that you eat less crap.
  • drink more water so your belly is full and you eat less.
  • don’t buy the crap that you love that is bad for you.  if it’s not in your house, you won’t eat it.
  • try drinking a meal replacement shake for breakfast that helps curb cravings and fills you up, like my personal favorite: Shakeology.

that’s a start.  and since it’s almost a fresh, new year why not give it a try.  i will help you.  you can do it.  holler at me and let’s do this. contact me here.


mondays require motivation. part 3.

i mean really. really?  the monday before the new year and i come at you with this.  a blog post about nutrition and food. (insert shrug) i guess you could use it as part of your new year’s resolutions.  eat more good food.

that’s right.  i covered move more and then followed that with eat less. and now i’m telling you to eat more.  don’t give up on my yet. let me explain.

sometimes folks get overwhelmed by the idea of eliminating their favorite foods.  so let’s talk about adding foods that you should be eating.  two things will happen–

  • number 1. you will eat said good foods thus leaving less room in your belly for bad food.
  • number 2.  you will enjoy said good foods so much because they taste good and make you feel good so you will want to eat more of them.

I know that these two things will happen because it happened to me.  and my husband. and yes, even my kids.

so let’s start with what to add.

first thing first, if you don’t eat breakfast, that is really okay. really.  i am not a huge morning eater ( i adore breakfast foods so we have breakfast for dinner about once a week), but i look at breakfast as an opportunity to provide my body with what it needs to be a rock star.  nutrition affects everything in your body.  trust me.  if you want your brain to work well, you want to feel good, you want energy, then you need to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. every. day.  I recommend a meal replacement shake or a smoothie for breakfast. they are quick, easy and packed with nutrition. a great way to start the day.

next up, add more veggies.  and no, I don’t mean french fries.  anything green is great. unless it’s mold.  mold is generally not great.  we eat a lot of fresh spinach, salad mixes and broccoli at our house.  low in calories, packed with nutrition and we enjoy eating them.  get the vegetables you like and will eat. not the ones that will rot in your refrigerator.  maybe you like brussel sprouts? or cauliflower? or carrots?  great.  buy them. prep them. eat them when you get hungry.

try new ways of preparing vegetables.  maybe you hate raw cauliflower…try it roasted.  maybe you hate brussel sprouts…try them shredded as a slaw or roasted.  maybe you hate steamed broccoli…try it roasted. do you see a theme here? i love roasted veggies but raw veggies are really the simplest, best way to eat them.  i put out raw veggies as i am getting dinner ready.  anyone who needs a snack (including the cook) can snack on them and not ruin their dinner.

[side note: we buy most of our fruits and veggies at Sam’s or Aldi.  Aldi is much more afforable than any other grocery that I shop and it comes with 100% money back guarantee. if the produce is not good, take it back. they give you a replacement and your money back. Sam’s just has good produce in large quantities.]

now some random items to add to your daily diet. i love random stuff. so here goes: lemon, cinnamon, cayenne and coconut oil.

  • lemon. i put it in my water every day.  because it makes the water taste good. i put a lot. i don’t just add a slice, but i add a hunk that has been squeezed really good.  it’s like lemonade with no sugar and it’s way better than plain water.  i start my day with hot water with lemon. it might sound gross or pointless but it helps wake up my body and hydrates me after a night of no water intake.  a few tablespoons of lemon juice just before or during a meal may also help lower your blood sugar response from that meal which is good for all of us, not just diabetics.  and it can curb your appetite. so drink that glass of lemon water before dinner and eat less.
  • cinnamon. it helps balance blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. it is naturally sweet.  it helps with cholesterol.  it tastes good.  sprinkle it on your sweet potato, your apple slices, your yogurt.
  • cayenne pepper. can help you burn more calories and curb hunger. um, yes please.  one of my favorite ways to add cayenne to my diet is by adding it to my daily chocolate Shakeology. a little kick to get my day started off right.
  • coconut oil.  it’s a fat that can actually help you lose fat.  it can reduce your appetite, increase your energy and increase your fat burning. yep. sign me up.  i also use it as my daily moisturizer for my face.  it’s a well rounded pantry item.  if you are a food geek like me, you can look into why coconut oil (and butter and lard) should be replacing vegetable oils in your pantry here

make some room in your diet for new stuff. new stuff that is good for you. and watch it take the place of the bad stuff.

Dilemma: use, give away or smash the scale?

If you have ever tried to lose weight then you have probably stepped on a scale. or two.
I never kept one around on a consistent basis until about 6 months ago.
I had noticed changes in my body from working out consistently and eating good food.  
I wanted to see what the scale would tell me.

I was also working with several folks who were starting their journey to a healthy weight and realized that many of them were feeling sabotaged by the scale.
They were working out, eating right, sleeping well…doing the things that need to be done to lose weight.
They were even feeling great.
Their clothes were looser.
They could see a difference in their pictures.
THEN they stepped on that scale. THAT scale.
The scale may not have budged or budged very little.
It was totally deflating for them.
They had worked so hard to see hardly any change in that number on that scale.

So it got me to thinking.  A lot.  For a while.  I listened to different viewpoints from the professionals.  
This is what I came up with: do what works for you.  Seriously. Do what works for you.

If you have 50+ pounds to weigh then a weekly check in might really be helpful.
Or it might not be.

If you have reached your goal weight then a weekly check in might keep you on track.
Or it might freak you out when it shows a one pound increase.

If you have 10 pounds to lose it might frustrate you when that scale doesn’t move very quickly.
Or it might motivate you to kick it up a notch.

Here’s the tricky part about scales.  They weigh your weight. Total body weight.  Not just your fat. Not just your muscle. Not just your internal organs.  ALL of it gets weighed on a scale.

And when we decide to lose weight, we really want to lose FAT.  A scale will not tell you how much fat you have lost.  It will not tell you how much fat has been replaced with muscle.  It will only tell you that your overall weight has changed.

For example: I heard a true story about a gal who weighed 155 lbs. and wore a size 12 at the start of her journey. After starting to exercise and eat right, she was a size 6. but still weighed 155.  
Same weight, difference size.  
Did she lose fat? You bet she did.  
Did she gain muscle? You bet she did.  
So the scale didn’t move even though her pant size did.

Fat weighs differently than muscle.  You could lose fat and gain muscle and never see a jump on the scale just like that gal.

So the point is this–if the scale makes you mad, sad, angry or frustrated then please get it out of your house.
That doesn’t mean you have to smash it, you can just give it to a friend.
Then once you are at a more stable weight and no longer actively losing weight, you could bring it back into your house for check ins.

If smashing it makes you feel better, then smash it.

This is what I tell everyone nowadays–do an initial weigh in, find a measuring tape and take measurements of your chest, waist, hips and thighs, and take pictures of yourself.  
The results that you see when you take measurements and pictures will BLOW YOUR MIND.  
The scale may not show a darn thing, but if you are really working–exercising, eating right and sleeping well–then you will see a change in your measurements and pictures.  And quite possibly the scale.

But that scale? It’s not the be all, end all. It’s just measuring your weight.  If it frustrates you, don’t use it.
Eat good food, move your body, sleep well.  Do your best.

chocolate cake for breakfast.

It’s Christmas day. You know what we had for breakfast today?  chocolate cake. We decided to celebrate Jesus’s birthday this year and just eat cake for breakfast. So we did.  It was glorious.

My usual breakfast (as in 364 days a year) is Shakeology.  It’s a meal replacement that is jam packed with good stuff and weighs in at just 140 calories.  And it keeps me full till lunch.  And it has done some pretty amazing things for my health–mental and physical, but that’s another blog post for another day.  Today I want to do a little comparing of meal replacement shakes.

Here we go.

Let’s compare Shakeology and __________(fill in this blank with any protein/weight loss/whatever shake you can find). We will not be comparing carbs and protein b/c those are pretty standard.

Here is what makes Shakeology different:

  1. No soy. Soy is cheap to make and companies like cheap because it means more profit for them.  It is not good for your body.  Study after study after study shows it.  It’s especially bad for your thyroid.
  2. No artificial flavors. These are used to make shakes taste like a Frosty from Wendy’s.  Unfortunately, they wreak havoc on your metabolism and digestion.  And they are chemicals.  Ick. I might use chemicals to clean something but I do not. want. them. in. my. body.
  3. No artificial sweeteners. Hundreds and hundreds of studies that show that these darn chemicals increase your insulin production, increase your carb cravings and inhibit fat loss.  Um, that sounds like all the things I don’t want.
  4. It has Superfoods. They wear capes. They fly thru the sky. They are amaze-a-balls.  Really, they are.  There are 70 of them.  Google Shakeology superfoods and you’ll see all of them.
    • They increase your immunity (knock on wood. the flu has not gotten us down.).
    • They decrease inflammation–every illness/health issue stems from an inflammation in the body.  Even migraines.  So folks on Shakeology will have decreased migraines.  Sweetness.  Decrease inflammation in the body and the body begins to heal itself. Double sweetness.
  5. It has digestive enzymes and probiotics. Think good gut health….the gut leads to the you-know-what.  It takes care of those kinds of issues.   IBS?  Cures it. Constipation? Fixes it. The digestive enzymes and probiotics allow your body to absorb the good stuff you are getting in Shakeology.

Are you thinking about trying a meal replacement?  Which one and why?


6 months of change.

Sharing this makes my armpits sweaty.
Sharing revealing pictures can do that to a girl.

I am proud of my transformation over the past 6 months,
not just physically but mentally.
That doesn’t make it easier to share it.
But  I love transformation pictures.
They show what a scale never will–how our bodies truly change.

2014 transformation

Here’s what you see in these pictures:
I am leaner. I lost 8 lbs. I lost numerous inches in various places.
I am stronger. I gained muscle in my back especially.
I feel great. I might be able to beat someone up if I had to.
I am no longer self conscious about my body. I have always been self conscious of my waist and upper body.
They are waif-ish and I don’t like waif.
I can see how my waist and upper body are now more in proportion with the rest of me!
So there it is. My 6 month transformation in pictures.

How can I help you get your transformation started in the new year?
Would you like to try what I did?
PiYo and P90 workouts from Beachbody.
Shakeology every morning. Focus on whole, good food.
Developing an early morning routine to start my day off right.

Or maybe you have another idea of what might work or you need a different idea.
Holler at me. That’s my thing.  Another transformation in my life this year.
I put what I do in my daily life to work as a career. Helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

I did it and now I can help you do it. Let’s do this.

mondays require motivation. part 2.

There are a few things I’m working on.  The more I read books and listen to podcasts about health and nutrition, the more I find things I’d like to work on.  These are the things I have figured out that I need to do and since I was able to do these things, I know you can too.  You might just need a bit of motivation.  Let’s do this.

  • Move more.
  • Eat less.
  • Add good foods.
  • Cut out the crap.
  • Drink more water.

I covered move more here. That leads us to the dreaded EAT LESS.

Now I can just hear what some of you are thinking…”but I love food!” “It tastes so good!” “I like to eat!”  “Why do I want to eat less?”  If I could shake you. I would. But I can’t. So I won’t.

I will say that I totally understand. I have been there, done that for most of my life.
I should have shaken myself 6 months ago, but instead I decided to change after hearing a podcast about the 8 Hour Abs Diet (I hate the word diet and wish it wasn’t used here but it is.  just ignore that word and carry on with me.)
I changed when I was allowed to eat. Yep, I said allowed. Because that’s really the simplest way to think of it.

Kind of like not eating before bed but a bit more deliberate.  Eating this way doesn’t require I keep track of my calories or journal my food intake (though that can be INCREDIBLY helpful for folks). It does require that I pay attention to the clock.

I eat in a 10 hour window.  10 hours from first bite to last bite every 24 hours.
No matter the day or holiday, I eat all my food for the day in 10 hours.

I typically eat my breakfast at 9 a.m.
One Shakeology meal replacement shake and nothing but water and coffee before that.
No nibbles of cereal. Nothing.

After my breakfast of Shakeology, I eat a lunch and a snack or two.
Then dinner with the family about 6 p.m.
Here comes the fun part:
I am DONE eating at 7 p.m. at the latest. 9 a.m. to 7 pm.=10 hours.

I eat good food.  I eat normal quantities. No overindulging because I know I won’t be eating all night.
I drink lots of water after dinner/before bed because sometimes I think I am hungry but really, I am just thirsty. Really.     And sometimes I might be truly hungry because I didn’t eat enough during the previous 10 hours.  That’s okay.   My body can just burn through those fat stores. Please. And thank you.
The first 2 weeks were the roughest. It took some getting used to, there is no doubt.  But now, it’s just how I roll.

So what are my results of eating less?

  • I buy less food which means I’m saving money.
  • My stomach is now flatter than it has ever been. EVER. no pooch, no flab, no nothing.
    Is that worth not eating after dinner? Hell yes it is. I can put on any jeans I own and nothing hangs over the button. That is pretty awesome in my book.
  • I have extra energy to get stuff done because my body is not wasting energy digesting food all. day. long.
  • Lastly, I truly don’t battle with myself over having a late night snack. Ever. There is no late night snack.

If we are going out or have a party that will mean eating later, then I adjust my morning start time. Last week I knew I’d be eating later in the evening so I had my first meal at 11 a.m.  It worked out perfectly since my last bite of food was at 9 p.m.
This way of eating, sometimes called intermittent fasting, isn’t hard. It isn’t a cinch. It just is.
Because I feel so much better when I eat this way.

I guarantee you’ll see results.  The more I learn about intermittent fasting, the more I want to do.  It’s not about being skinny.  It’s about being healthy.  My body is at it’s best when I’m not eating all day long.  It needs the break from constant digesting and cuing hormones.  Give your body a break from eating and you give it a chance to help you feel your best. Optimal health for the best version of you.  I truly believe that everything we feel is tied to our nutrition.  Disorders, diseases, depressions, skin conditions, you name it–it can be fixed by feeding your body properly.  It’s no secret how to do it.  Feed yourself good food.  Just enough.  Move your body.  Just enough.  

This is the “diet” that inspired my plan.   I modified it for me because I wasn’t ready to go 8 hours.  That’s my next step.  The author explains the why behind this way of eating. You can read it or you can just go for it.

Eat in an 8 to 10 hour window.  Good food.  Reasonable portions.  Then stop.  And let your body do its thing.

the struggle is real.

Some days I really struggle with finding balance.  Lately I feel my work and home schooling the kids has gotten out of whack.  I devote 2 hours a day to work but that can be hard to stick to.  Helping folks sometimes requires helping outside of the “work hours”.  So what’s my struggle with work and home school? And is it really that or is there another issue?

Homeschooling was a choice we made for our kids because it just felt right for us.  We had problems at the public school that we couldn’t justify or solve. So that’s the choice we made for our family.

But let me be real.  I have been struggling since day one of having both kids home which happened in October.  Part of the struggle comes from the simple fact that I like to be alone.  I like my space. I like my time to get things done without interruption. I like my work and find it hard to do it at home with 2 kids who talk, eat and breathe.

Emma has been at home doing online public school with K12 for 2 years so that’s simple and easy. She’s a good student and quiet. Likes to read in her spare time.  The challenge came when I brought Jack home.  This time it’s a simple traditional home school program for a kindergartner. It’s easy. I can teach it.  The problems that occur have nothing to do with the schooling part. It’s the being a family part.  In a house together all day long. Every day.

Each child has a list of things they need to do each day–eat, brush teeth, school, chores, exercise, rest, free time.  Emma wants her space and to do things at her own pace (slow) and wants to be left alone to get it done.

Jack likes to hang around in between getting those things done so there must be redirecting on my part, reminding at times.  And he usually spends that time hanging out in the room where Emma is.

Here’s the crux of the problem: They aren’t the best of friends that most home schooled kids are. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl and he’s a boy.  Or that there is a 3.5 year age difference.  Or that they just have different personalities.  Whatever it is, they don’t adore each other.

Jack wants Emma to play with him and he tries hard to get her attention (not always in good ways).  Emma just wants to be left alone to do her thing and spend time with me.

Can you see how this would create conflict? Jack wants Emma’s attention. Emma wants to be left alone and be with me. I want to get my chores and work done without interruption.

I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I love that I can teach them at home and take care of them rather than work full time. They don’t always listen. They don’t always do what they are told. They don’t always love and take care of each other the way they should and the way I need them to.  It’s frustrating.

I love my work. I love helping people and every single person who asks me for help wants my help.  They will try their best to do what I suggest.  They will listen. They will do.  It’s invigorating and fun.

And now I must figure out how to balance home school, home life and work. I must figure out the right daily schedule that allows me to merge my two loves–my kids and my work.  It would be very easy to put them back on the bus to public school, but I know I can’t do that. I realize as I type this that it’s not a matter of finding balance as much as it’s a matter of clearing up the conflict between the kids and between the kids and a mom that now has a job.

Blessings abound–the blessing to be home with them and to not have to work full time outside the home, but those blessings have their own challenges. I need to learn how to teach them to be good to each other, good to their parents, strong in their faith, positive in their attitudes, responsible to their commitments and for their actions.  That’s just a few of the things I need to teach them. And that’s a lot.

I will not be overcome by this struggle. I will find a balance. I will find that daily schedule that works for us. I will stop feeling guilty for working. It might take a serious family sit down once a week. It might take more prayer than I think I have time for. It might take help from others. It might mean that I need to love my kids more even if the kids don’t always do what I say.

I love my work.  I love my kids more. Homeschooling is a choice and I choose it. I choose to make it work and be successful at my work of helping folks become healthy.

I just need to find that healthy balance in my life.  Writing this blog post has really helped.

What is your struggle? How do you work out a solution?  I’d love to hear it.