Gardening is the activity!

Gardening is one of my very favorite things to do. We choose to use the square foot gardening method. We have raised beds that are built with 1X6s. The soil, we mix 2-3 different composts (mushroom and manure), vermiculite, and peat moss. This method we have found lessens weeding and is easy to maintain the size of the plants. Also every year our soil is ready to use and the boxes weather great.


Our garden in April after planting seeds.

Every plant or seed we have used is fail-proof. Not only does gardening give me benefits of saving money on grocery bills, it keeps me active. It’s a daily activity that requires attention, keeps your mind off of being lazy or eating. I put a lot of effort into planting this garden, I should be enjoying what I have grown. What better reason

Green beans and Peppers

Green beans and Peppers

to eat healthy food!

Not only do we eat fresh foods out of our garden, I also can with the cucumbers, grapes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, whole tomatoes and jalapenos. I freeze corn, green peppers, zucchini, and green beans. I dry my herbs. We are still using grape jelly I canned in 2011!!



One thing I think about when I want to start a garden is, what I want to have on hand all the time. So I think of things I buy at the grocery store weekly. Lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, carrots (I haven’t had good luck with carrots yet, hopefully this year), this pretty much takes care of my salads for the summer. I love the salsa recipe I have used! Here is the link: Best Salsa EVER! I make sure to plant all of the ingredients I am going to need to make this recipe. With the exception of a couple of spices and the vinegar this should all come

Our garden today!

Our garden today!

from the garden and cost next to nothing.

We have jars and jars of pickles and relish. Cucumbers are very hearty to grow and do really well here in Ohio. I had so many cucumbers last year I was searching for recipe to use cucumbers, I made cucumber jelly. Um, I would not recommend this, it tasted like jellied pickle juice. Was not tasty.

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable. I shred it up, put it into storage bags (usually measured with 2 cups per bag) and freeze. Freezing it in the 2 cups measurement helps to be able to pull them out for batches of zucchini bread. I make bread, muffins and cakes. I have made a quiche in the past but wasn’t really impressed (though my son loved it). There are also really healthy recipes for zucchini bread this one is my favorite: Zucchini Bread. Sometimes I will make a regular recipe if I don’t have all the ingredients on hand and substitute the oil for coconut oil and cut down the sugar. Coconut oil is wonderful! I also love to put sliced zucchini in my spaghetti sauce!

Tomatoes, I usually plant a couple different kinds of tomatoes. This year I decided to go with roma and cherry. I don’t have big fans in my house with the bigger tomatoes. Because I am using them for mainly

Cherry Tomato Plant

Cherry Tomato Plant

canning, romas are best for spaghetti and salsa. I planted the cherry tomatoes because I like tomatoes and would never eat the amount that a beef or big boy tomato crop gives. For my spaghetti sauce I really just put in whatever I want. Very basic, garlic, onion, rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and maybe a little sugar to take away the green taste of the tomato. Sometimes I have to add tomato paste to thicken.

I have lots of left over jalapenos and green peppers from last year. I use the green peppers for fajitas and stir fry. The jalapenos I throw into corn bread or poppers.

We have raspberry bushes and they are finally taking off! Very

Raspberry Bushes

Raspberry Bushes

excited about these! Can’t wait to make raspberry jam!

This year we planted strawberries, they take time so we won’t see a hefty crop for about 3 seasons (maybe less). I did go to a local farm last weekend and picked my own, we have 19 jars of strawberry preserves. This is not as cheap to have our own to pick, but it tastes better than store bought. Fun too! Recipe I used: Pioneer Woman.

I always plant herbs to put into my salsa and spaghetti sauce. It’s so much cheaper to plant seeds or pay the 2.50 for the plant and let it grow. The more you trim them back the more they grow. I take a handful at a time, rinse them off, wrap a rubber band around the stems and hang them upside down in my laundry room for a week to 10 days. When they are dried I crumble them up and put them in a ball jar. This works best for rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil and parsley. I have tried cilantro, but it didn’t yield as much because the leaves are so spread out, so I just use it fresh. Most of them come back every year if you treat them right. Herbs (especially fresh) can be costly.

Something new I tried this year was onions and garlic. My plan with them is to can garlic in olive oil, this is an expensive item to buy at the grocery store. The onions I will use in canning salsa and spaghetti sauce, as well as freezing in storage bags for later. Hoping they work out, so far so good!

In the past I have tried broccoli, it did good except I can’t seem to beat the worms, yuck I know. Just can’t eat something that had a worm on it. *Shivers*

Even though I live in Ohio, I have a three year old lemon tree.  We have received about 5 lemons so far, which isn’t a lot.  With fruit you have to be patient.  We have about 15 on the tree now that are very

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree

small but have been pollinated, so hopefully this year it will be fruitful! I bring it in during winter months and keep it in the sun as much as possible.  It has been cool seeing it grow.  It was only about three branches when we bought it.

So if you’re looking for a way to be active this is a great hobby that you can eat well, save money and maybe help others by sharing.

For those who love to garden send me pics of your fabulous gardens or ideas that work for you! Also if you have any great recipes, I’d take those too! J




I have a confession:

I am a creature of habit.

I haven’t quite figured out if it’s a good thing or a bad thing as far as weight loss goes. Here’s what I came up with as far as why it’s a good thing:

I eat the same breakfast every day, mostly the same lunches, fix family dinners and cut the portions at dinner time. Why do I eat the same things? Several reasons. I know exactly how much I can have, how much it will cost at the grocery store and I know my weight will come off and stay off. I also know if I ate too much of something where my mistake was, I can make adjustments or eliminate.

I am even in habit mode when I am at the gym! Every day I have a different class, but I work out the same days every week and get in the classes that start immediately after my youngest is on the bus in the morning. The trainers that are running the class change up the routines every week so it helps make my body work a different muscle group. I know when I’ve had a rough week as far as foods go, I know exactly how hard I need to hit it.

A little more on how weird I am. In the mornings when I wake up, coffee. No if, ands or buts that is an absolute. Once my coffee is done I have a banana. Once my two oldest are off to school I have a bowl of cereal with fat free milk (yes it is in the same bowl every day, sometimes the same spoon!). I know exactly how much to fill that bowl. Now don’t judge me, after breakfast I have a Diet Mt. Dew. I know, I know caffeine. However, I decided to have this option for the extra caffeine instead of a second cup of coffee. There are no calories in the Diet Dew, there are however in coffee creamer. I cannot drink black coffee.

For lunch. I do switch up my lunch options. But I prepare them same way. If I am making my fish and brown rice it is always under the broiler. No breaded fish or cooking it in oil. I change seasonings to add flavor and keep the nutritional value. Salads I get what I like: green leafy lettuces, kidney beans (or black), carrots, cucumbers, peas, cranberries, sunflower seeds (hulled, no salt) and sometimes I add cube cheese or cubed turkey. Dressing is used cautiously. Sandwiches wheat bread (whatever lower calorie wheat you can find, sometimes I find that whole wheat has more calories) turkey and miracle whip with lettuce and tomato. Chips on the side are usually baked or serving size of whatever is on the package.

Dinners are also randomized. Again, I cycle through things I know I can control. Dinners that are on a weekly cycle: Grilled chicken, tacos, spaghetti, and I love crockpot recipes because it makes my life easier! Now most crockpot recipes require high fat cream soups. As I have said before substitute the high calorie items! The grocery stores carry a variety of low calorie options. It tastes the same as far as I can tell!

So you’re probably asking yourself, how did this woman eat the same things for the past two years? Well, my answer, I didn’t really.

Let me ask you, what are your go to foods? If you are anything like me you have your favorite snacks right? Usually the same. Or you find a new recipe you have to try, so you make it. Fast food cravings are another example of having the same foods. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean you’ll get sick of it. I had to tell myself this. I am constantly trying to find a way to make things that were unhealthy before, so I can have them now.

I was eating the same foods over and over when I was overweight too! I just changed to healthier foods. Think of the last couple of weeks of fixing and eating dinners, do you repeat from week to week on some dinners or lunches? Whenever I watch a cooking show they’ll have a comfort food theme. Well, I guess you could say this is my comfort zone. I know what meals to have for me health wise and that my family can enjoy too. Sometimes they will beg for fried chicken, well that’s one I won’t cook anymore but sometimes I will work around where we can do take out and it won’t kill my entire week.

Another one of my habits, planning for days ahead when I know I’ll be out doing things with family or have an activity planned or just want to have a cheat meal. I will make sure I am keeping true through the week with foods and workouts, be able to enjoy a treat on a Friday or Saturday night. I look forward to those small things because I earned it and the work has already been done!

I know being a creature of habit as far as this journey is concerned it has helped me keep on track. I found a time in my schedule that would not disturb my kids, responsibilities and a time where I could tell myself this is a part of my day. Maybe this would be your secret to success too.

It took me awhile to figure out when I had to have an open mind for things that will change without warning, I learned to adapt. Case in point this week my facility is closed for cleaning. I will miss three classes, so I have opened myself up to another location. I went in did my thing and went home. Even though it wasn’t the same, I just did it.

Habits like anything else good or bad. If you choose to have the same habits that have gotten you nowhere that’s where you will stay. If you develop a new habit that gets different results, then you will be different.

Thank you all for reading!  I am working on some more subject matter!  I am hoping to incorporate more about others, not just myself!



Along this journey there have been goals that I set and goals that I happened upon that I didn’t know I would find. The most important goal I have reached, self-acceptance. How I reached it:

When I first made the decision for this lifestyle change, I just wanted to feel better, physically. I had a lot of back pain and fatigue. I let those things hold me back from daily activities. House chores were done with minimal effort, activities with the kids would fall to my husband because I couldn’t help with sports. I couldn’t run or last very long. Did I feel guilty? Of course. Then the circle of overeating would ensue. My first goal to myself was start eating to live, not eating for pleasure. That sounds weird, but sometimes we simply eat because it just tastes so good. Eating to live is eating for the sole purpose of giving your body food for nutrition. Don’t get me wrong, not an awful diet of plants and berries. Just a healthy balance of foods that will keep you from eating junk or big portions. I cut out all the fast food, salty snacks, convenience foods (ie pizza rolls, hot pockets and snack cakes) and small unhealthy things throughout the day. Did you know skipped meals hurts weight loss? Your body is a constant working machine. It needs to have the right foods to keep it from shutting down. I also learned to recognize when my body is actually hungry.  Now that my first goal was planned, I needed to decide on exercise.

In my previous blogs I have mentioned my workouts. Of course at my heaviest weight I could only do a limited amount. I had goals in my mind of just week to week. When I first started if I made it through the first week, I was satisfied! I did it! After that is when I decided, I am going to do this for a year. My goal was to see what happened. The only limits I put on myself was I had to stick to the healthy diet and get in the gym every morning. It was simple. Not easy, but simple.

It was important for me to set goals for myself that were attainable.  I found putting a time goal in place instead of a certain amount of weight loss was easier to control, manage and keep to.  I didn’t have a reward set for the end, it was just something to reach for.  If I made my goal too hard, it would discourage me from sticking to it.

While I was on this journey reaching for the year mark, I learned a great amount about myself.  How much I enjoyed exercise and finding different foods.  It was almost like a scavenger hunt to find foods that I could eat or workouts that I wanted to try. Through trying all these new things whether it be food or fitness classes I was amazed at the changes I had already made.   It turned into something I wanted, not had to do.

When that year was up, even though I went through the entire year, I looked back and said, this is my life, this is how I want to be.  I couldn’t believe in one year I had lost 100lbs. I kept on the same trek, in the next six months another 50lbs gone.  I didn’t realize I carried that much weight, I would have never know to set a goal that high!  Myself personally, that daunting number would have scared me away the first day.

My next goal was just to take every day as it was.  No more living in the past.  Every weight loss plan that I failed at was done.  I didn’t have to do them again because I found what worked for me.  Am I considered skinny, I don’t know and don’t care.  I am who I am because I am happy this way.  Sure there are things I want to change, if they change great if not, I am not in any pain due to weight issues and I can pretty much do anything.

If you are looking to start a weigh loss journey, try setting goals that are fair to you.  Not easy, but something that you are happy to work toward.  We all know how difficult it is to follow something that’s not in our heart.  What matters most is you live every day happy with your progress.  Weight loss doesn’t have to be miserable.  Keep confidence in yourself to keep going.  As I said some goals I didn’t set for myself, they just naturally happen.  Often times I wouldn’t realize the milestone until after it happened.



My Childhood


My son wanted me to write about my childhood. So Colby, this is who I was.

I am an only child. I grew up as the only grandchild on both sides of my mom and dad’s family (I have a younger cousin now, he is 6). My mom’s sister and brother were also like my own siblings. They are 11 and 9 years older than me. I grew up with so much love and support, I still have that from them today. As an infant I was a pretty sick baby from what I understand. I was diagnosed with asthma and they had me on a bunch of steroids at 8 months old. My mom and dad did the best they could with what the doctors were saying, not many options back then. I was very blessed from the beginning with the parents I have.

Through elementary school I was the typical girl, chased boys on the playground, protected my friends who were picked on and really tried to pay attention in class but it just wasn’t my thing. I was a string bean until I entered the 4th grade. I started to slowing develop into a girl. I had to go weekly to get shots for my allergies. I remember I got 7 per week. They must have worked because eventually allergies became easier to deal with.

051415_1036_MyChildhood2.jpgI hardly ever got into trouble, there was never anyone to fight with. I was content to just play on my own. As an only child one would think I was spoiled, not me. My parents worked very hard to provide for us. At times my mom would take on a second job to make ends meet. If there was a toy or something I wanted birthdays and holidays were usually when I would receive it. I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s in the evenings because my dad worked different schedules and my mom051415_1036_MyChildhood3.jpg would be at a second job. I loved it at my grandparents, dinner with them in the evening and if I was there on the weekend my papa would take me around the lake (Lake Michigan) and to his office to talk with friends. Thursday nights I went grocery shopping with my grandma. Sometimes we would go to the Globe clothing store next door and
she would try on shoes. They were so ugly, but it was the style.

In the summers we would take trips to the cabin in North Eastern Wisconsin. My papa built a cabin on the lake back in the 1960s. We would fish, swim, boat ride and pick blackberries. Evenings were card games and fires on the shore. I usually had three weeks a year there. Eventually when they retired they would spend the entire summers there. I would get bored, but I sure would take some of that time with them now.

The year I would be moving up to 5th grade we moved away from all my childhood friends. Ugh. Very rough. My mom decided to try to get me into a private school, however I didn’t pass the entrance exam. They informed her that I had a reading comprehension problem and was only reading at a 3rd grade level. This started a downward spiral of my self- esteem. In addition to developing early for a girl, I now felt dumb. I was placed into a public school system, I had to go to a tutor for math and reading during a half hour of my day. She really helped me a long. I still wasn’t up to a good student, but I did better. My social status however was horrible. Being new, tall and considered dumb was awful. I was teased because everyone thought I was overweight. I look at pictures of myself from back then, I didn’t think I was overweight. I have always been tall for a girl, but I didn’t think I was what they were accusing me of. I was always picked on. Boys were so very mean. Girls were friends one day and not the next. I was quiet anyway but this made me even more so because I felt like if I acted invisible they would forget I was there. I did have a few friends, it wasn’t all bad. I sure wish I had that little girl back in me at that time, I should have kicked their butts! I was also expected to be independent for myself. I had to get up get myself ready for school, pack my lunch and walk to school. When I would come home I would have to stay in the house until my parents came home. Nobody in, nobody out my mom would say. We lived in a safe neighborhood, however my parents wanted to make sure no one was hurt or anything broken in their home without an adult there.

Anyway, so 5th-8th grade were hard years. The friends I had were always on again off again. It’s the same for my kids today, never know what drama will be drawn up! My parents made the decision again to get me into a private school. Again starting over in a new school was nerve wrecking, but not as bad as the first time. I had great teachers and they made me excited to learn. My reading problems and math issues were conquered for the most part. I always enjoyed reading but now I was taught how to read for the purpose of study. My grades had really turned around. English was my best subject. I loved to write and express my interpretations on novels we read. Still hated math, but I made it through. My high school didn’t have very many options in electives. Choir, band and foreign languages. I had choir. It was okay. I was too shy to do anything other than just sing with the group. I decided to join volleyball, I had never played before. It was so hard. Everyone on the team was better than me, so I worked hard, enrolled in volleyball camps in the off season and summer. I got better! I still had insecurities but I did have friends, my Sophomore year was the best year. Things really turned around for me. I made friends whom I felt were just like me. We didn’t care how each other looked and we had fun where ever we went. I also was in pretty good shape and lost weight due to my mom cooking healthy, joining weight watchers with her and volleyball. I was at this point, the same as every girl in high school at 16. I have never been a rail thin person, after all this weight I have lost I still have hips and my thighs are bigger than I’d like. Anyway, I think everyone has the same thoughts and issues. I got the best job that summer too. I worked at Six Flags on a roller coaster. Best summer ever. I had a driver’s license, my parents bought me a car (I loved that little car), a job so I could afford to drive my car. I met tons of people, made a lot money because that was all I did that summer! Besides go to the after work parties and my friends and I would spend the days off at the park riding all the rides. I was able to get in free because I worked there. My friends that didn’t would get in for a dollar! I worked there for 2 summers and then I got a job at the mall in clothing stores. I didn’t enjoy these jobs as much, but I had to pay for my car and insurance so I worked.

Junior and Senior year was the time I had to start really thinking about what I wanted to do when high school was over. I really liked working with kids. I talked with my guidance counselor and they had a preschool in the basement of the high school. I was able to go in my free study hall and sit in on an activity with the pre-K and kindergarten class. I decided I wanted to be an early elementary teacher. I had many opportunities in my Senior year with the free study and for religion we volunteered our Christmas break at local schools and facilities. Kids were so funny to me and I loved being able to watch their eyes light up when you taught them something.


I graduated (biggest relief of my life). My grades and desire (and money) were not up to par for universities. So I decided to take classes at the community college. I was sure I was going into elementary education. I took some basic classes: math, English and a class on elementary education. This woman was a current teacher for 3rd and 4th graders. She completely changed my perspective. She told each one of us, please make sure this is the career you are choosing. It’s not just teaching kids that is your job. You work for parents, school boards, other teachers and you have teach the way they tell you to. She suggested getting as much experience as possible in the field that didn’t require a degree. So that’s what I set off to do. I worked at daycares. During that year I met my husband, we had mutual friends. He was in town and my friend encouraged me to go out with them to meet. So I did. Well, there went my college career, I didn’t have the attention for it anymore. I finished my year and didn’t enroll again. I spent most of my time working at a daycare and with my man.

We got engaged 4 months from the day we met. It was fast because he lived in Ohio and I was in Illinois. My husband would make a trip every weekend or every two weeks to be with me. We were married about 11 months later. I moved to Ohio. Left all my family behind. My parents moved after I was here for a year. We started having kids 5 years later. I may not have become a teacher, but I sure am doing what I was meant too..   I had a happy and very loved childhood.  I have worked really hard to show my parents they have raised the person they hoped I would be.  I try every day to do the same for my kids.  So far, my kids have made me so proud.  You never really understand the love between parents and children until you have your own.  It’s the unselfish kind of love.  Wouldn’t we like to bottle that stuff and just be able to be like that to everyone? What a happy place this would be!

I wrote this one for my son, he wanted to know what I was like as a child. In short I think I was just like every other girl.  We have insecurities, fears, dreams and accomplishments.  In a way I am still the same as I was in the past, I can kind of be reserved.  As an adult watching your kids grow up you see them go through same issues and situations that you did.  I wouldn’t change anything about my life back then.  As I said, I had a loving family, people who provided the best for me.  If it’s one thing I want to teach my kids, be comfortable with who you are.  No one should tell you have to be a size, personality or not be a certain way.  The only person you have to please is yourself.  You make your past, your future and your right now.  Take it!

Just a quick post…

So are you tired of seeing things you can’t have and being told not to eat this or that?

Well, I found some recipes and made some stuff up that is delicious, healthy and tastes like it’s bad for you!



For the Chocoholics!

Hazenut Fruit Dip!

1/2 c Hazenut Spread

1/2 c Light Whipped Topping

4oz Light or 1/3 fat Neufchatel cream cheese

Mix them all together! Dip pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries, grapes, raspberries any other fruit you can think of.  Think ahead and put this dip into small ziploc containers and fruit in ziploc bags, travels great! Addicting!

2015-04-30 07.20.42

2015-04-30 08.11.56

Who doesn’t like chocolate and strawberries!!

“Pie” every afternoon??

Lowfat Yogurt+ 2 graham crackers=Pie. Switch up the flavors! Dip that cracker!

2015-04-30 08.04.23

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Healthy Peanut Butter Chunk Oatmeal Bars made from easy, wholesome ingredients. Vegan option available!

Healthy Peanut Butter Chunk Oatmeal Bars.

This are very good!  Easy and fast.  You only need a small piece to be satisfied and they are made with whole wheat flour.  My kids ate them.  (I left the chocolate drizzle off).

Some options for the people that don’t like all the sweet snacks:

  • Laughing Cow cheese with pretzels, pita chips or veggie sticks
  • Hummus (Try it if you haven’t.  The different flavors mask that “bean” taste.)
  • Pretzels and tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Apple and Peanut Butter (fools you into thinking you’re having a “caramel” apple)

Lunch/Dinner Ideas:

Just made this one last night, I really liked it!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo - So easy, so creamy and just so simple to whip up in 30 minutes from start to finish - perfect for those busy weeknights!

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

As I have said before in the past I eat a lot of fish and salmon for lunch.  I made a sauce the other day that I was shocked I came up with. Now it wasn’t rocket science but, I’m not usually creative to develop recipes, but I do know how to follow them! Here it is.

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Hoisin Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Agave Nectar

Whisk together and pour over cooked chicken, salmon or use as a dipping sauce for potstickers!

This one is kind of weekly dinner in our house:


Are you looking for a FAST and EASY Bolognese Sauce? Bolognese is such a classic Italian comfort food, and this recipe makes it SO simple that you need to make this tonight!

Easy Bolognese Sauce

I love adding in pork sausage or turkey sausage with regular hamburger.  It’s cheaper and it stretches further!

Hope this gives you ideas.  Follow me on Pinterest, that’s where most of them come from!


What does a FAD Diet mean to you?

I am have been enjoying this weather!  Stepped away from this a little too long!!

I wanted to talk about FAD diets.  First of all, I support all programs to lose weight that are advertising ways to make sure people are healthy!  Let me say though, I have been on most of them and I couldn’t stick to it. That is me, so if I say anything pertaining to the program you are currently using, please forgive me, this is my blog,  it is my opinion. As I said I support any way of getting to a healthy goal, I just want to express why these did not work for me.  Maybe you are having the same problem with them, please use my experience to help you. I’ll start with the programs I have personally used and try to put in some ideas that helped me.  Sometimes you have to pull info from every program just to give yourself a variety of choices.

In the past I have used Weight Watchers.   Some things I do like about Weight Watchers are:  you get to eat “real” food and fabulous recipes.  What I don’t like about WW, all the crazy counting of “points.”  Don’t get me wrong it’s good to figure out the right amounts to eat, I just get very confused with math.  Also, weigh ins every week I would get nervous.  Just the same as if it was test I didn’t study for.  If I failed, it was in front of another person and that was embarrassing.   I know they are there for support but it was hard to get to know them because of the mass amount of people that were in the meetings.  It felt like I was doing this with a bunch of strangers watching me.  Also I had to drag myself out of the house once a week to “talk” about my problems.  They did not (at the time) talk about exercise.  They basically told us to join a fitness class or walk.  No advice on how many calories to burn or an activity log.  Exercise is extremely important!  I was always hungry, probably because I didn’t figure the math right.  Did I lose weight? Some, but with any diet it’s all in what you put in to it.  I didn’t make it past the 2 month mark.  I guess what I am saying as far as this plan, there was way to much room for error for me.  If this is working for you good job!! Stick with it!

Curves.  I think this program started out good.  The exercise was easy and convenient.  30 mins a day was all that was required on their machines.  They had a food plan that involved real foods, their own protein powders and vitamins.  Very healthy advice.  However, after a certain point your body was used to the same routine.  Well, that causes plateauing.  I think switching up routines makes exercise more fun.  There wasn’t anything to look forward to doing the same machines everyday.  Most of their centers are closed now.  Exercise is not supposed to be easy.

Metabolife/Metabolift.  Well, of course we all try to find quick easy fixes to weight issues.  Diet pills do not help you.  It tells you right on the bottle to follow a healthy diet of foods! Why do you need to take the pill then? Aren’t you already doing what you are supposed to? I wasted money on this one, I’m sorry to say. Plus I do believe people were suing because they had some heart issues from this.

Slim Fast. Yuck.  I could not drink these.  One, they tasted awful and two my stomach would hurt the entire day.

So now you know all of the diet plans I have failed at.  I’d like to go over some plans that I have heard of and know people have tried.

Detox or cleansing.   First of all, just no.  That’s what I’m going to say. I just want to keep this blog clean (no pun intended) without a having TMI.  Your body needs food, end of story. Don’t punish your body because your mind told you to eat the wrong foods.  Staying on a healthy eating pattern with tons of water and exercise will give you the same results in a less gross way. I personally would not want to go through with this.

I am not a big fan of protein shake diets.  Protein powder is extremely expensive, you have to make everything right before you drink it and many times you will find too many calories in them.  You also have to make sure you get the right kind, some shakes are for weight lifting will cause you to gain weight.  Lastly, wouldn’t you rather enjoy chewing?

Jenny Craig.  Very expensive program.  Food is a frozen TV dinner with not much taste.  Like Lean Cuisine only more expensive and still pay through the nose for their services.

Adkins. No carbs, but bacon? Hmmm, well. I’m not sure you’re eating anything that’s not worse than the other.  Don’t get me wrong, promoting protein in place of carbs is a great idea.  In my opinion it’s the kind of protein you replace it with.  Wouldn’t it be worse to have a high fat protein than just having the carb ? I think it’s easier for your body to burn off carbs than the fat you already have, then to add on additional fat from breakfast.  There’s nothing wrong with having some carbs.  Everything in moderation.

Paleo diet is described as a caveman diet. You are to eat things that were available to cavemen.  Such as seeds,greens, meats, fish and veggies.  Great concept. This one I could probably get on board with, except there are no carbs.  People I love my carbs!  If you eat them responsibly you’re good! I do eat many things they tell you to, but I’d have to draw the line at zucchini or squash as my noodles in spaghetti.  It’s like taking chocolate away from a chocoholic!

Diet supplements.  Please, please do not use these.  I have used a brand of them in the past with the generic Metabolife, there are way too many side effects.  Your body knows what to do.  You can’t make it do anything faster.  God created our bodies to work naturally for a reason.  A lot of these companies later have been sued by people claiming heart conditions. So many people get fooled by the commercials of success stories (which I am not even sure if they are real people), a year or two down the road and the company is being blamed for side affects from their supplements.  Another reason I am against these programs is cost.  You get the same results eating healthy, drinking lots of water and exercising.  All of these things speed up your metabolism.  Again if this is something you are not going to do forever why start it?  Is always going to be available to you?

The most drastic route to take is weight loss surgery.  This an extremely serious decision.  This is NOT a FAD diet.  Not only will you change the way your body works, you have to stick with it the rest of your life to keep weight off.  Someone very close to me had the gastric sleeve.  She has done amazing! She has by far had a tougher road than I have.  I’m very proud of her and so happy she is finding herself again.  I’ll have to talk with her before I divulge more info :). These surgeries are designed to help people with more than 40 percent body fat to lose.  There are many changes you will have to make.  One: many doctors, dietitian and nurse appointments.  You will no longer be able to drink carbonated drinks, ever.  You have to wait 30 mins to drink anything following a meal.  Your portions are next to nothing.  If you eat too much you risk a reverse or be physically ill.  Vitamins will supplement what you  need.  If you have thought this was the easy way to lose weight think again.  Not only dealing with the surgery and after care itself, you still have plateaus and frustration.  Exercise is still required.  If this is the choice for you, I have so much respect.

Now I want you to understand why I chose to take this journey.

My Plan:

1) Eat healthy foods.

2)Use my YMCA membership as it is intended.

What did it cost me?  My weekly grocery bill that fed my whole family and family membership at the Y.

Let’s talk about cost.  Here’s my thinking, paying into a mass market program.  Well, if you take a step back and look at the way they are getting people in.  First of all, everyone loves success stories.  They show you how easy it was for these people and how happy they are.  Of course, it’s wonderful the program worked for them.  They do not tell you how much they had to invest to get them there.  I have a success story, sure it’s a great story with a great ending, but is is over? Not by a long shot.  Just remember this, you always remember the happy ending of something you hear because you want to remember it.  However, people who truly succeed are ones that are still working on it!

Let me ask you this, have you ever used the excuse that it’s too expensive to eat healthy?  It’s much cheaper to buy a bag of chips than to buy a pound of grapes, right?  But you are willing to invest hundreds in a program to help you lose weight, plus still having to buy food?  Sure cost is a big thing for people.  I hear it all the time.  Healthy foods are expensive, it’s cheaper to buy a bag of chips. Maybe so, but how long are you going to let those chips stretch?  Sometimes people will only get one serving out the bag, oh come on you all know we’ve each done it! 🙂  You will be carrying those chips on your stomach and thighs for days.  Fruit and vegetables are  sold by the pound, you are surely getting more food than that 9oz bag chips! Buy the healthy stuff and leave the junk at the store.

Of course please refer back to my previous blogs about foods that helped me: to see the way I eat.

I do not benefit from bashing any of these programs.  I am not selling any of this information to you.  I am just passionate about the journey I have taken (and still am).  No weight loss plan is easy.  It’s like life, you get out of it what you put into it.  I, too tried to take programs that seemed so easy and get by with the minimum amount of exercise.  It didn’t work. Eating healthy and exercising isn’t the only things you do to take care of your body.  Taking a bunch of pills and confusing it with different  regimens will take it longer to level out.  Nothing happens right away.  Fads try to convince you they do.  Heck even when people are paid to lose weight (ie. Biggest Loser) the weight still won’t stay off.  I can not stress enough, get behind a plan that will be easy for you to stick to.  Something you want to do everyday.

Following my own plan of eating healthy and exercising everyday has allowed me to lose the weight and maintain it.  Currently I am in maintenance mode.  I am strength training, doing cardio and tightening what the weight loss has left behind.  It’s not that I am looking for more weight to lose, this is a hobby for me now.  I enjoy it and feel good all the time.  I search for my accomplishments everyday to see what I can really do.  No fad foods, exercises etc brought me here.  I didn’t need them. I needed to believe I could do it and just get out there and do it.

Again I am going to say it, if you are doing any of the programs I have talked about or ones I haven’t, I am not judging you.  I am doing this for the sole purpose of encouraging your success and my own. I am not discounting anyones efforts or choices.  Anyway you explain it, this is hard.  Good luck and I am here for any questions!

Thank you all for reading!





From Sick to Superstar!

Yes I am still alive, didn’t think so a couple weeks ago, but I made it!

So let me start off by saying, I will try to not complain or whine through this blog post…I did say try! If it’s too much scroll down or skip it altogether 🙂

I know it’s been a month since I have posted.  I didn’t really think it has been as long as it has!  Like everyone life gets busy, sometimes you are just stuck with the same schedule with 100 extra things thrown in..  In some cases it works and for other things it doesn’t.  Again priority is the key.

What have I been doing the past month?  Getting every virus going around! Taking care of sick people, still keeping with my workouts, doing all my regular wife/mother duties.  I really don’t know other than that because everything has passed in a blur.

We had been given stomach bugs and bronchitis.  I say given because I had to pick up my oldest from school on a day 6 children left before 8:30 am with the same symptoms! Oh boy, I didn’t realize what we were getting.  It started with a fever, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills and a horrible burning your chest.  The flu. Not the pukey flu, this was the flu virus.  Needless to say I caught it, my husband and my son (whom recovered without any medicine surprisingly).   Sufficed to say I didn’t recover without the need of lots of cold medicine, ibuprofen and predisone.  This took me out for about two weeks.  I literately lost two days I can’t remember, I slept for two days!  My husband wasn’t in better shape but he went to the doctor early and they were able to get him tamaflu since we finally figured it out.  It went in to bronchitis.  I started on predisone (wish I didn’t have to), it helped with breathing but it was miserable.  Struggling to breath is scary.  It hurt to take a breath and coughing to exhale hurt.  Also the side effects of the medication aren’t all that fun either.  Steroids make you grouchy, hungry, shaky and bloated.

I finally started to feel like I could walk a good distance by day 8.  I attempted to go to the gym. Running was out of the question.  I did a spin class, I just rode the whole time with low resistance and kept my legs going.  I was determined to last the entire class and I did.  I came home and slept.  The next day I attempted to run and had a coughing fit on the treadmill, lol.  Sometimes my stubbornness outweighs my intelligence.  I did my cardio dance class, low impact.  Came home slept. I finished the week with muscle mix and another spin class.  I was not up to par at all.  My stamina was low and I was weak.  Of course, you’re probaly all saying “Duh, you’re sick.” My mind was telling me we can’t just sit here anymore! My body wasn’t into it.

This was really humbling for me.  Sometimes you take the days you are strong, determined, successful and things are easy for you, for granted.  I was extremely frustrated.  The medicine didn’t help either.   I was brought back to a place, I had forgotten about.  I don’t want to seem like a spoiled baby and that I don’t deal well with not feeling 100% day in and day out, but when you get used to feeling a certain way maybe it makes the situation seem worse.  It made me remember the days of failure.  It made me realize how tough it would be for someone else that couldn’t fix this problem.  They had to live with breathing like this everyday.  I watched my Grandma struggle with breathing issues, my whole life.  She was a smoker.  Otherwise she was one of the healthiest people I knew.  She smoked in her teens and until she was in her sixties.  After she quit, she saw the signs of what that had done to her body all those years.  Her later years were filled with breathing treatments (3 different types), inhalers and medications.  We would fear her getting pneumonia at least once if not twice a year.  Emphysema took her life.  I had asthma as a child, it was not fun.  I couldn’t do sports before high school.  In junior high I had a note from the doctor stating I had to walk all of the laps and mile runs.  How embarrassing!  No wonder I was out of shape and struggled with weight.  I luckily grew out of it by high school was able to participate in sports.  But when I get a bad cold lungs is the area it attacks.  So to end this kind of depressing paragraph, stemming from these last couple of years  of being so healthy to being this sick, drew up a lot of memories for me.  I couldn’t imagine having this everyday of my life.  God bless the people who do!

Another issue with us all being sick was we had to postpone our Easter dinner and I was sick on my birthday.  Awww.  It was very sad. I had a lot of guilt that day. No, not on my birthday, come on I didn’t want to get older! lol.  Easter was a very quiet day here.  I felt so bad for my kids.  A day that is usually filled with family, egg hunts and playing out in the yard, was Mom and Dad camped out on the couch.  The Easter bunny was smart and had everything ready the week before, but it wasn’t the same. Best part of the day though, my daughter received her very own bible.  I was able to enjoy her reading to me out of it and finding the answers to her questions together.  Even though we had push forward a week, it was still great.  Besides I know someone else who sacrificed a whole lot more than I could ever imagine 😉

Maybe I didn’t handle the couple weeks I was sick very well, but now that I am feeling much better, I am back to fighting to get back what I lost.  This week has started off awesome!  I rocked a spin class on Monday 27.5 miles in an hour I  burned 711 calories! Stayed for a Zumba Toning class and burned another 588 calories!  Tuesday another spin class 25 miles and 694 more calories burned! Plus my 1.5 mile run.  I am back and I am better!! So thankful for my trainers!

For my birthday my husband gave me a Polar Heart Rate monitor.  I love it!  It syncs with the spin bikes, treadmill and the other cardio equipment at my Y.  It records your heart rate, calorie burn, distance and times.  Android has an app for my phone so I have it right with my music and everything!  It’s so awesome.  Watching my heart rate while I am working helps, I can tell if I am too high so I don’t die 🙂 and I know when I need to be working harder.  I also am so thrilled with seeing the work I put out.  Sometimes you just think you aren’t doing enough, but this is the proof you are staying on track.  I put a link on the side for amazon if you want to take a look!

Before I got sick I started taking two classes on Friday.  Yes, I am doing Zumba.  Never thought I would say it, but I can do it.  I still may look goofy but it’s a great workout and I have fun!  So this week I added another class on Mondays, Zumba Toning. That one was really good!  I remember telling my husband last year that I would never be in shape to take two classes in one day.  Well…I am there. It’s fun and giving my body a change.  Never thought I would be taking 7 classes a week!  I am still not dropping weight, I think I am where I am meant to be and I have to be okay with it.  Am I quitting? No way. I think with the tantrum I have thrown over the last couple weeks shows that this is my life now and will jump over whatever I need to in order to feel this way.

The other day I was sitting on my couch trying to think about getting back to blogging, I was re-reading them.  I was shocked at myself and then I was disappointed in myself.  Because in the last two weeks I had completely obliterated the person I am.  Where was my patience? Where was my self control? Where was my happiness? Wow. Life just keeps on teaching doesn’t it?  As I was reading, I inspired myself.  Even though I got sick it was horrible but it was temporary.  It didn’t seem like it at the time but I was going to get through it and I did.  It was keeping me from doing the simple things and things that I love and that angered me.  Yes I was hungry I really tried to keep that under control, but you can only do so much.  I was dwelling on the negatives.  I realized after I started getting a little better I would be able to make up for the time I missed at the gym.  I needed to realize that if I am so focused on my health, my body needed rest to recover, I needed to give it resst.  If I needed ice cream to soothe my throat or eat things that were not hard for me to fix (even if they were unhealthy), I had to put it aside and deal with consequences later.  That is what this week is about.  Getting back my groove and taking excess weight back off.  Being accountable.  I didn’t lose myself.  I am still focused, because I am willing to come back.  In the past I would have just kept on eating, finding those reasons to not be in the gym after I was better.  I am taking back the control, because I can and I want to.  Just because I can’t control everything, I am taking what I can control.

I hope I didn’t whine too much or you all think I’m crazy! Just another example of the fights you go through with life and things that can take you off of a path you want to stay on!

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone is healthy and enjoying this beautiful time of the year!!


Eating Is Emotional

We eat for many reasons.

When we are happy.  Birthdays, Weddings, Holidays, Family Reunions, date nights, anniversaries, etc.  Nothing wrong with celebrating with food.  You deserve to celebrate and have happiness surrounding you.  My family is the same way.  We celebrate with food all the time.  You still have a choice as to what you eat.  I know that there are things people will bring (sometimes myself included) that is just so bad for you! But it will taste amazing! Will it be wrong to indulge?

2014-11-08 2128 (Apple iPhone 4S)

Tom & Chee: The Elvis (peanut butter and banana on glazed donut)

My answer has two parts: No, as long as you realize this can not occur everyday and you own up to the consequence in the gym.  Don’t cut anything out in the following days, gym time or your regulated calories.  Don’t let what you eat at a celebration be on your mind for days.  As long as you keep going, you will either lose what you had eaten or maintain your weight for that week.  If you find that you can’t be around food that is not a part of your healthy eating habits, bring something that is or choose from the array of foods people bring that you find stick to your plan.  Go you!  That way you can assure you have something you are able to eat.

Eating when you are sad.  Many people deal with stress and sadness.  I wish I knew the reason why food would change my mood.  There were sometimes during the months or weeks that I would grab stuff simply because I liked the taste or because I didn’t want to take the time to think.  Moms have it rough, we get sad.   I felt being the caretaker of everyone, no one cared to do anything for me.  No one to plan my meals for me, to clean up after and I was always left with very little time to think about what I wanted, everyone was ready to move on before I had myself fed.  So I grabbed at whatever was in front of me. The more I took care of everyone else, the farther I fell off.  I had the attitude that it didn’t matter what I had eaten, I would always be overweight.  I have learned that if everyone depended that much on me, they were going to have to wait for me.  I realized that I held the power.  If they didn’t want to wait for me to cook/assemble their food, well, they could do it themselves.  My daughter, when I first started my journey was a little young to take on making her own snacks or lunch.  It was my job to show her to either to make them safely on her own or teach her patience to wait when I could manage to get everything together.  You have to find a balance of not putting you or the kids/hubby above each other.  Everyone deserves to have a well made meal.   Also if you plan in advance for yourself, you take away the hurt feelings that you feel jipped.   Your meal will be ready before anyone else, so it won’t be so stressful getting your families together.  It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t teaching my kids that other people matter.   I matter.  If I could be in control of everyone else, I certainly had the guts to have control over myself.  I quit whining about it and changed it.

2015-01-14 1812 (SAMSUNG SGH-M919)

My daughter and our homemade taco salads!

If you have little ones, it’s hard for them to understand this. Get them involved to “help” you make meals.  It sounds stressful, but if you give them a task they will usually set in and try it.  For the toddlers, put them in the high chair with an activity or a couple of pieces of food to hold them until their meal is done and you’re ready to sit down with yours.    Still finding it hard to make ahead lunches and dinners? Do them during nap time, when your spouse gets home or get up a little earlier in the morning.  Still no time? Buy pre-made ingredients and throw stuff in bag.  Takes 5 mins.  Stress will always be, it’s the actions you take to deal with it.  Eating when you’re stressed does not solve the problems, it will create more.  Food will not replace what your sadness is caused by.  It won’t bring anyone back, it won’t give you more time and won’t take the pain away.  Look at food as a necessity for living, don’t live for your food.

Because I am hungry.  There are days were no matter what I AM HUNGRY.  My stomach will not stop alerting me to the fact that it is not satisfied with what I am eating.  Things staring at me from the fridge or pantry saying “that would be so good right now!”  The way I deal with hungry days: I evaluate.  Did I eat enough calories at this point today?  I’ve always added them in my head, I found if I wrote stuff down I just end up forgetting or I had already been doing it so long it’s a no brainer.  Anyway back to evaluating.  Am I drinking enough water?  Did I burn an excessive amount with a workout?  To many carbs in my meal?  Time of the month? Yes, it does make a difference.  Too much caffeine?  In the beginning these are hard to judge.  As you go along you will find out which one of these is the problem.  As far as dealing with each one of them:  I would eat if I was experiencing headaches or fatigue and water was not working.  If any of the others were an issue I cut back on carbs the next meal, loading up with lots of veggies and protein.  It seems like a constant juggle and so much to learn.  With time this will be easy, your body will adjust.  Do I still have hungry days, yes.  Sometimes it will hit me at night before I go to bed.  I just go to sleep.

Boredom.  This one I have a little experience with, but I have still done it.  The advice I have on this one, find something to do.  You have to find the power to change your mind.  The effort that it took you to find something to eat could have been spent walking the block/office or calling someone on the phone.  Make a choice, treat your health and your mind with activities instead of food.

It just plain tastes good.  If you have problems staying away from foods that are bad, don’t buy them.  If someone in your house requests them or brings them in ask them to keep them somewhere that you don’t have access to.  Or simply ask them to not buy them.  I am starting my 3rd year without Girl Scout Cookies.  I am sorry Girls Scouts I support you, I just can’t have your cookies in my house.  They are too good!  I have eaten an entire box at one sitting. Dang Samoas!  Find out your trigger foods and just don’t buy them.  Sometimes I look for things that are close.  If I have a craving for a candy bar, skinny cow has wonderful caramel chocolates, their version of a nutty bar and chocolate wafers.  You can usually find them for a buck!  They have healthy cookies too! Look for things at the store.  You don’t need to have a bunch of stuff on hand, just something every once in while to make it through those cravings.

I hope you all reading this don’t think I am talking “at” you.  This my chance to give this gift to everyone out there.  I have read some blogs and books, I’ve thought “yeah, right, this sounds too easy.  Just put aside all emotions and eat right and exercise.”  That is not what I want to come across.  I am asking you to put your health first.  Get your mind to understand you are not choosing the healthy solution.  Even if today you only have 10-30lbs to lose,  understand that some day there might be more so you need change your actions into solving your emotions.  Not putting them aside.  Treat your body like you would with a cold.  The symptom has to match the medicine.  Don’t overdose your body with unnecessary medication.

People tell me all the time they are picky eaters.  Well, I can be too.  Over time your taste buds will change.  Things you used to like will taste completely different to you later.  I used to like Cheetos a lot.  Now I can’t stand them.  All I taste off of them is oil and cheese salt.  That’s the only way I can describe it.  If you are hungry your mind and body will eat what you tell yourself you can have.  My mom and I used to joke when ever we were dieting, food always tasted so good.  It’s true.  Sometimes when you are really hungry you can pick out certain flavors you never noticed before.  Now I’m not saying that you have to absolutely starving for this to happen, but you will be always looking forward to something different than you have been eating.

Not eating can cause emotions too.  I don’t know about you but I get crabby when I’m hungry! So don’t be hungry.  Learn to be content with what you are eating.  Don’t go cold turkey on some things you enjoy.  Find a way to still make them and cut them down.  If they’re really bad, that’s where you have to pick the direction to go.  Do you really want it in exchange for weight loss.

Memories of certain dishes some one used to make for you, whom is no longer here, can be hard to do without.  Especially at holidays.  My grandma used to make a marshmallow salad for me every year at Thanksgiving.  This salad is loaded with marshmallows, fruit, whipped cream, sour cream etc.  You can not make with the reduce-calorie stuff either.  It’s just too watery.  I used to make it after she pasted away, but I decided that I didn’t need to do that to remember her.  I got a picture frame and framed the recipe that is in her handwriting.  It’s hanging in my kitchen.  I have many other countless memories to remember her by.  Holidays are for sure a reason to make our favorite dishes by some of our favorite people, I think I truly was the only one that liked that salad, so there would be too many leftovers I would have to eat.  As I said before it’s fine to indulge for certain celebrations but back on the wagon I go after that day is done.


Food that helped me lose 150lbs.

I have had a lot of people come to me and ask about what I eat.  Cold hard truth, healthy foods.  I have been eating what all doctors, dietitians and mentors tell you to eat.  Most people know what they should be eating, it’s the self control that is an issue.  But for those that are just not into this and don’t know where to start, I am doing this for you.  Giving you ideas to work in what you like.  As I have said in the past I have tried all diets.  The only one I haven’t been on is Jenny Craig (way too expensive).  I believed from the moment I started that I needed to eat real food.  Not from some factory putting diet suppressants in the food or making it so hard to follow along that all I was doing was carrying a calculator around.  Also budget was an issue.  We live on one income, therefore if the family couldn’t eat it too, I had to consider if I needed it or not.  I shop at Aldi, some prices are here or available on their website.  So here goes:


I love cereal.  Special K any of them are great, aldi has their own version through FitActive 2.39.  With fat-free milk price varies 1.89-2.59 a gallon. When I get sick of the flavor, I wait for the sales on the Special K and stock up.  Switch up the choices!

Every morning I have a banana .39lb.

I refuse to give up my coffee.  I have a big cup every morning, I also have regular flavored creamers.  It hasn’t hurt me yet and I love it!

I am not big on smoothies. But if you are:

fat-free milk, light yogurt (plain or vanilla)1.89 for the big tub, frozen fruit 2.19-2.89 a bag.  Sweeten with agave or honey 2.49. I make them for my oldest because he can’t eat in the morning but he will drink this.

2 whole wheat waffles 1.29 (each box has 8), light syrup 1.69 (I think)  2 strips of turkey bacon 2.19 a package

If you don’t like any of these suggestions look on pinterest or buy the breakfast sandwiches in the frozen section.  My breakfast for the week is : 19.21 divide by 7 is 2.71 a meal.  Affordable? I think so.

Lunch.  A lot of people cringe when they hear of my lunches.  I am not a picky eater, I enjoy all kinds of food.  I do however like to put my own spin on it.  So rather than buying something with a whole bunch of stuff in it I would rather it be something I knew what was in it.  Again, Aldi foods.  Also, my staple for lunch is a sugar free pudding snack. Chocolate of course.  Value at 1.00 for 4 cups! Or you can make your own instant for .69 a box and it will make 8! Get this 70 calories each! For chocolate!

Brown Rice and Fish.  Brown rice can be made ahead of time and put into containers, 1.49 a box. Cheap! Salmon cooked under the broiler, topped with salt, pepper, honey or agave.  I have found at Aldi you can get a bag of salmon freezer packed filets for 3.99! Usually there are 4 filets. Same with talapia, cod and another white fish I can’t remember the name. With the white fish I broil it also, with lemon juice, chili powder, salt, pepper and paprika.  I have even put bbq sauce on it!

This is a new one I found on pinterest the other day tried it this week and loved them.

I added ham to mine to give me more protein.  You wouldn’t think it would be filling but with the kidney beans, veggies, peas, and ham it was! Aldi is the cheapest around for the canned goods around 59cents a can and frozen veggies 1.00-189 a bag.  I think all of the salad fixings cost me around 10.00 total.  It made 5 of the big ball jars. Their lunch meat is around 5.00 for 2lbs. Click on the picture for the link.

Pack a week of salads that stay fresh till Friday

Salad in a jar







Another lunch idea regular sandwiches.  Whole wheat bread, light mayo, turkey and tomato! Baked chips and of course pudding cup!

If I am eating out (which sometimes happens weekly).  Here’s my guide I stick to:

Chick-Fil-A.  Tons of choices, best place to get good food.  My favorite is the Asian Salad with honey sesame dressing.  Cobb salad (watch the dressing on this one though) avacodo lime ranch dressing. Grilled chicken wrap, honey sesame dressing.  Grilled chicken nuggets with the fruit cup.  I chose one of these items when we go I am safely within!

Wendy’s. Small chili (no cheese!) side salad with vinaigrette dressing.  Grilled chicken sandwich, no sauce,no side.  Sometimes I will get a full size salad when they bring back the strawberry fields salad, that’s a good one!

I do not eat at McDonalds! Ever.

Taco Bell. Grilled chicken tacos with all dairy products removed (cheese, sour cream etc).  Taco Salad (again no dairy).  Did you know how many calories are in regular sour cream?! A-lot! This a perfect example of being able to have things you want, but sacrificing some toppings to make it fit in your “diet”.

Subway.  Well, we all know what we can eat a Subway.  Pretty much everything.  Except here again I cut out the condiments! So loaded with unnecessary stuff. Be careful of bread choices, I always go with the whole wheat.

So on to dinner.  A lot of my dinners for myself are centered on portion control and substituting the “regular” ingredients with lower calorie options.  Sample of dinners at our house for a week:

Chili-ground turkey, chili packet, beans, tomato sauce.  Jiffy corn muffin mix.  I have 1 muffin.  This is typically an 8.00 dinner. Subbing the turkey for ground beef is so worth it! Easy!

I am always on pinterest looking for meals.  I sometimes make a lot of casseroles, which tend to be high calorie but I found if I get the fat free or light options on cream soup, it cuts the calories down.  Also, make you’re own soup with the lower sodium broths.  You can pick your own veggies and they taste fresh not mushy.

Tacos, faijtas and quesdillas.  Load them up with chicken and veggies.  Fat free cheese and sour cream. Yum.

Spagetti. I do not like whole wheat noodles.  I know they are better for you. I do use the regular noodles I just make sure I stay within portion.    I like to mix the meats sometimes I use ground beef (80%) and pork sausage.  Other times I use ground beef (80%) and ground turkey.  I do half and half to get it more meat but not totally blowing calories out. Most spaghetti sauces are okay as far as calories.

In the summer or warmer weather our grill is used almost every night.  Grilled chicken, pork chops, turkey burgers, turkey hotdogs, smoked turkey sausage, and tons of other meats.

I try to incorporate salads and cooked veggies as sides whenever possible.

We plant a garden and get lots of veggies from that for salads.  So my grocery bill goes down in the summer.

Snacks: I allow for 2 snacks a day.  I like yogurt, apple with peanut butter, cereal bars, light popcorn, fresh fruit, skinny cow treats, pretzels, raisins and almonds.

Here is the link to all of Aldi’s fix active products and prices:  I apologize I didn’t list all of the prices, sometimes it’s hard when there are so many. But I can tell you our grocery bill is around 150.00 weekly for 5 people.  If I shopped somewhere else, it is a lot more.  There are some things I can’t get at Aldi, but I just pop over to the nearest store and get what I need.  I still save a ton.

So in a nut shell, substitute bad with good when possible and watch your portions on the bad and eat more of the good? Got it?

Exercise goes hand in hand with this.  You can make all the right decisions on foods, but time in the gym is a absolute must.  I was able to do this with just an hour a day in the gym.  During that hour, I was sweating, out of breath and determined.  I made the most out of my time there because I knew if I didn’t work hard, my time there wasn’t enough.  My thing: get in do it get out.  I am totally different about it now, I have to have it. My body craves to work hard and my mind wants to feel good about it!

This is not easy.  I know first hand, but I wanted this really bad.  I was tired of feeling tired.  Everything I tried to do was so hard.  I never in a million years realized how bad I actually felt compared to how I feel now.  You may not be able to change everything about your life but you can make changes you’re happy with.  You may not be able to do this everyday, but when you do you’ll be amazed at the change your life will take you.  Physically my life is so much easier.

I hope this helps anyone who had questions on where to start.  I know you’re probably thinking I make this sound so easy.  Subbing food is easy, it’s eating it and liking it that’s hard.  Sometimes I have to tell myself today I am eating this because I have to and on cheat day I can have something else.  Cheat day? Yes, I have those.  One meal per week.  I will eat something that sounds good and isn’t something I have eaten during the week.  My favorite is pizza!  Usually Friday night is pizza night! I look forward to that every week and makes it easier to get my work done for it.  If I’ve had a crappy week and know my food or workout wasn’t up to par, I would omit cheat day.

As I have said before patience plays a big role.  With food, taking time to think about what you are eating.  Excercise, putting that time aside to get in.  Sometimes if you do everything right weight doesn’t come off, but that’s when your will needs to be stronger.  Again lifestyle change, it is not a temporary change, it’s for life.  Am I going to work this hard when I’m in my 70s, probably not.  But I won’t be eating like I was either.  I had to get myself under control for that reason too.  If I didn’t do something now, I wouldn’t be able to get it done later.

Thank you so much for reading! This blog really helps me stay focused and not forget why I am choosing to keep my life this way.

Please use the comment section if you have any questions or share ideas that work for you that I can use 🙂


My Struggles Today

Through this journey I have learned so many things.  I would often think as the weight was coming off “What will happen when I reach my ideal weight?  What is my ideal weight?  How do I maintain it, will I be able to keep it off? What do I eat?”  It would stress me out to the point of not allowing myself to indulge or give in to not being up to par in a workout.

I still struggle with this today.  I have no idea if I am done.  As these thoughts run through my mind I come back to “What does it matter if I am at my ideal weight? Who am I going to allow to tell me what I have to weigh? Am I still staying true to the lifestyle change I made?”  Here are my answers: My ideal weight is whatever happens to be when my body will no longer lose weight. I will not let a chart or person tell me what I have to weigh.  Yes, I am.  I am choosing to stick with eating healthy whenever possible, still going to the gym and keeping my focus on how happy this makes me.  I will take each day like I have taken everyday in the past, taking care of today and tomorrow when it gets here.

Am I happy everyday?  Happy yes…but lets be honest, I have my moments where life takes a twist and leaves me completely frantic.  Not food, not workouts…emotions.  Sometimes adrenaline runs so high that sometimes I get too extreme.  I have more energy than I know what to do with sometimes.    This winter has been rough on me.  We’ve had in my opinion way too much snow and it has been so cold way too often.  I admit, I am a whiner!  I love being outside! We haven’t been able to be out for longer than running from house to buildings to cars in four months! This isn’t Alaska! Sheesh.

Another of my struggles: adapting from losing weight rapidly to not losing at all.  In the past 5 months I fluctuate up two pounds down two pounds weekly.  I have been concentrating on strength training and cardio only.  I still keep within my calories, but have been making sure I am eating enough on the days where my body has burned an extreme amount.  I watch my body for signs.  If I am feeling tired I know I need to get some protein.    I always pick protein so that my body knows it can burn that and not store it.  If I eat too many carbs for snacks, lunch etc, if I am not eating enough my body will store the sugar from those carbs and retain it for water.  This will show a gain.  I would love to tell everyone that when you are thin all your problems are solved and you can eat what ever you want.  So sorry, but it hasn’t been that way for me.  This will never stop and I have to be okay with it.

This is a new quirk for me.  During a lot of my classes while the instructors are counting, once they get to the last 5 or 10 reps, seconds or whatever my mind just says “okay you’re done, you can stop”.  It’s the hardest part of the entire run! I don’t understand it.  Before I was so motivated that those last few seconds/reps I would work my hardest to get that last bit of effort in! What the heck is wrong with me?  Very frustrating.  So if you have a tip for me on this please let me know! Hopefully it’s just a phase I am going through.

I receive compliments from people pretty frequently.  It’s really humbling for me and I worry about my responses to people.  I say thank you over and over again.  I feel like I should respond differently.  Their compliment is a gift in my eyes.  It’s one I carry with me for the days or moments when I feel discouraged.  It shouldn’t matter what people think of you, but it’s not that.  It’s knowing people have your back and support they give.   This is hard and they acknowledge it, encouraging me just by one comment keeps my confidence up to keep going when it’s so easy to tell yourself you’re not doing enough.  Words are so powerful, they build and tear down.  Please know if you have complimented me, the thank you I respond with is the biggest thank you ever given.  Like to moon and back!