The dreaded scale: yes or no?

Happy Thursday!

How has your morning been?

Mine has been pretty relaxed. I took my time to make a nice breakfast and I am currently sipping a warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee.

A perfect way to start my morning. Smile

Breakfast was a big bowl of oats.

Cooked on the stove with chia seeds and water.

Topped with:

Stevia
Sliced Banana
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Glob of Almond Buttah
Cacao nibs

After this picture, I drowned my oats in Almond Milk!

Disclaimer: I am about to delve into the topic of weight and weighing yourself. All opinions stem from what I believe works for me. If this may be a triggering topic, or simply something that you you are not comfortable discussing, then please feel free to skip the rest of this post.

Let’s talk about the dreaded scale.

My morning routine usually includes the “dreaded” scale. I only say dreaded because let’s face it: the scale has a bad reputation. But I think the scale is being unnecessarily judged.

It’s not about the scale itself or even the number it spits back at you. The scale is simply a tool. A tool that can be a great aid to weight loss and weight maintenance.

During the time I was in the weight loss phase of my journey to health, the scale gave me constructive feedback. It let me know: “Hey, step up your game.” OR “Wow, great job this week.” It served as my silent motivational partner!

Once, I had reached a weight I was happy with, the scale became an aide in different way.

Now I use the scale to check my eating and exercising habits. I don’t count calories, nor do I keep track of calories burned. I eat intuitively and I believe moderation is key.

However, if I have an unhealthy eating day without exercise, the scale gives me feedback as to how that affects my body.

Is weight everything? Heck no! But it certainly plays a role.

So I chose to form a healthy relationship with the scale.

It’s worth mentioning that while I use the scale as a tool; the way my clothes fit is equally important.

I understand that many women (and men alike) do not feel this way. And that’s totally fine!

But ask yourself, is it simply the way you perceive the numbers on the scale that give it it’s dreaded name?

Even if you don’t see the number you want to see, at least you know that you need to change up your routine to get results. In my opinion, at least.

So, the burning question: To weigh or not to weigh?

Do you use a scale? If yes, how does it help you? If no, what motivated your decision to throw it out?

Have a great day guys!
<3 Stefanie

Exercise Truths

Growing up, I didn’t exercise. At least not in the traditional sense. Sure, I engaged in forms of exercise, but it never had a label.

I rode bikes, ran around with friends, and played sports. However, all of these activities were social – they were fun because I was hanging out with my friends. While I ran around playing tag at recess, did I ever stop to think “hm, I wonder how many calories I’m burning?” Absolutely not.

There have been many times where I’ve missed those days of carefree exercise-without-actually-being-labeled-exercise. The reality is that those days are gone, so I had to learn to love exercise as something essential but not always fun.

When I first starting working out in an actual gym on an actual machine, I hated it. Okay, so hate is a strong word. But I definitely didn’t love it and I most certainly did not look forward to it. Both of which I do now.

[how I felt a few years ago]

It took a while for me to come to terms with the fact that exercise is something that I would have to learn to love. And even when you hit that point, it still takes work. Just like a plant, it needs love and attention in order to stay alive (so to speak).

For me, I really latched on to the feelings that exercise brings me. I feel accomplished, energized, and strong after a good work out. Those feelings keep me coming back for more. I simply know that even when I feel great before a work out, I will always feel even better afterwards.

[how I feel now!]

Over the years I’ve found a few ways to stay in love with exercise. And, yes, to even make exercise something I look forward to.

For one, I always change it up. I go through weeks or months where all I want to do is run – whether it’s outside or on the treadmill, it’s my work out of choice.

Other times, running is the last thing I want to do and instead I want to shake my butt in a Zumba class or ride my bike until the sun goes down.

When I first started running, I made the mistake of thinking that if took time off that I was no longer a runner. Do you have to run multiple times a week to consider yourself a runner (insert any other work out)? Heck to the no. Now I know that I’m a runner because I love running.

For myself, I know that if I do any one work out too much, I’ll inevitably burn out. So I try to notice the signs before hand and switch it up before that burn out occurs.

Even more importantly, I take frequent rest days (whether planned or not). I’ve never been a planner, I just kind of fly by the seat of my pants and work out whenever, wherever.

But if I feel run down (or just plain lazy) I take a day off. Believe me, you won’t lose any progress for taking rest days. In fact, rest days are essential in order to make progress. Those are the days where the magic happens, muscles rebuild, you get stronger, leaner, and maybe even faster.

The take home point is this – exercise has no rules. Now I’m not taking about form, training plans, or anything along those lines, I’m talking strictly in terms of definition.

If you set strict rules/limits on yourself for what exercise has to be or how exercise should make you look – then you’re losing out on the fun aspect of exercise.

Seriously, think back to when you were a kid. Heck, go to a park and watch the kids run around laughing hysterically. Exercise is natural, necessary, and healthy. It’s a shame we have to go through that stage of ‘damn, do I really have to run on the treadmill if I want to stay fit?’

Well, yes and no. You don’t have to use the treadmill, but you probably do have to get your sweat on somehow. Trial and error. Try out different work outs until you find the one(s) that make you happy!

In honor of my love for exercise, I’m going to start a series called Sweat it Out Saturdays/Sundays. Basically, I’m going to highlight my work outs of the week, moves of the week, favorite DVDs…etc. on either Saturday or Sunday. Anything goes, but it will be all about exercise (and sweat)!

I’ve felt as if work outs haven’t been fitting well into my blog posts lately – look at this weird snack plate, oh and I ran 3 miles yesterday – random, right? So the Sweat it Out series will let me babble on about working out. Kind of like I just did in this post! Winking smile

Alright, I’m off on a fun little trip!

Have a wonderful day guys!

<3 Stefanie

Tell me your exercise truths!

Work Out [without the gym]

“Learn to work out in your own home.”

In terms of physical fitness, these are some of the best words of advice I have ever received.

As a busy Mom, student, employee, etc., it is so important for me to be able to get my exercise done at home. Especially on those days that keep me out of the house from 9 to 6! It’s those days in particular that I simply don’t want to spend any more time away from my family in order to hit up the gym. Yet at the same time, I don’t want to neglect my body simply because I’m busy.

Enter home work outs.

Believe me, doing the majority (95%) of my work outs at home is certainly a challenge. There are so many more distractions and it’s difficult to pass by the couch in favor of the treadmill – but I do it. And to be honest – I feel so accomplished when I kick my own ass at home.

Take the past week, for example.

I worked out 4 times – all at home. On Tuesday, I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and followed that up with a strength work out from Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer.

I should mention that I have not been following this program very strictly. I originally planned on doing so, but I just couldn’t give up my beloved cardio! So I’m doing the work outs a few times a week with cardio included. I may not get the intended results, but my overall goal was to get more strength in – so in that respect, it’s working.

On Thursday, I whipped out an old, forgotten friend – Turbofire. I seriously forgot how fun and amazing these DVDs are! I did the Turbo 45 DVD and my entire core was screaming the next day. I love it.

On Friday, I worked from 9 to 5 and then came home to the treadmill. To be honest, when I waked in the door all I wanted to do was get in my pajamas and veg out. Instead, I used a little trick that usually results in a good work out. I put on my work out clothes, jumped on the treadmill, and told myself that if I wasn’t feeling it after a mile, I’d quit. I did 3 miles. Effective, right?

On Saturday, I popped in another Turbofire DVD – this time it was Turbo 30. Quick, sweaty, and fun! Now, that’s my kind of work out. I followed that up with another LiveFit session.

So, my point here is that it doesn’t have to be hard to work out when you’re busy. You just have to find that internal motivation and get it done. Sure, the gym is a much more motivating environment. You’re surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar goals. But you don’t need a fancy gym membership to lose, maintain, or even build.

This is something that I really want to share with others! I so often hear people say that they are too busy to work out.

So work out at home! Subtract the time it takes to drive to the gym. Don’t worry about finding a babysitter. Heck, wake up in the morning and forget even making yourself look slightly presentable to the public. 30 minutes is all it takes.

Tips for working out at home:

1.Invest in a piece of equipment. You know what one of my favorite things is? Catching up on shows while walking on the treadmill. It’s so much better than sitting on the couch while doing the same. So invest in a bike, treadmill, elliptical. Sure, they’re expensive, but the one-time investment will pay off more than you can imagine.

2.Use DVD’s. You can get a Netflix membership for $8/month which you can use to try out exercise DVD’s. Like one? Purchase it! If you’re a Comcast customer, then you can utilize On Demand work outs. They’re right there just waiting for you to push play! Of course, there are always the more expensive sets – Turbofire, Insanity, P90x. These do wonders for your work outs and somehow make you feel as if you’re in a class rather than at home.

3.Invest in simple equipment – dumbbells, resistance bands, a stability ball. I’ve accumulated a nice little home gym simply by asking for these as gifts or treating myself when something is on sale. I actually found a gently used set of steps for only 3 dollars at a garage sale! Garage sales/craigslist/eBay are all great for finding gently used equipment.

4.Utilize the internet. Seriously, you could use only the internet to get fit. BodyRock, bodybuilding.com, Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer, blogs, etc..They are all great (and FREE) resources to help you stay/get in shape.

5.Stay motivated! Write down your goals, preplan your workouts, enlist friends to keep you accountable – do whatever it takes to stay on top of your fitness. Supposedly it only takes 21 days to form a habit – so kick your own ass for 21 days and then let stick with your habit. You will not regret it.

And finally, DON’T GIVE UP. Damn, I sound like a hallmark card, but seriously. So you skipped a few days, you ate crap, you lost motivation for a bit – who cares? Just pick back up where you left off and eventually the missteps will be fewer and the successes will be the majority.

I seriously tell myself this all this. Stop wasting energy thinking about what you didn’t do yesterday AND just go do it today!
Okay, so somehow I got into a bit of a rant. But I wish I knew all of this a few years ago when I had every excuse in the book. Being dedicated is where it’s at and excuses are lame.

And with that, I’m off. Have a wonderful day guys! And remember…

Losing Motivation

First of all, thank you guys for the warm welcome back! I am SO excited to reconnect with the blog world and all of the lovely people in it!

Now, let’s talk about something that I am not so excited about.

A while ago (it seems like quite a long while now), I wrote a post about how my food preferences and eating styles have evolved over time.

Essentially, I went from craving greasy fast food to wanting vegetables and hummus. That’s not to say I don’t ever have those greasy food cravings (I mean who can resist some a few slices of pizza or some French fries every now and then), but they’re simply overshadowed by my love for fresh clean foods.

Well, it seems that something quite similar happened with my exercise habits.

I went from dreading the thought of stepping foot into the gym to loving every sweaty second of it. Well, that love was the end game at least. The in between stages were the ones that were really difficult. And it seems that I’ve hit another “in-between.” I suppose that evolution means continual change, but things are going the wrong way. Maybe I’ve just reverted back a bit – either way it’s something that needs to change.

I still love that amazing after workout feeling and of course, I love knowing that I’m burning calories and keeping my body in shape at the same time. It’s the whole motivation to get it done that has a become an issue.

Of course, it’s impossible to be motivated all the time. There are always those times when you need that extra boost or you simply do it because you know you should. But lately, I have been swaying way too far to the ‘do it because you know you should’ side. And I don’t like it.

When I got to the point where I could maintain my weight loss with only a few work outs a week, my characteristic motivation started to wane off. Now, am I saying that I work out only to keep the weight off? The answer to that is tricky – so I’ll say yes and no.

My love for working out developed because of all the wonderful benefits it offered. And sure, losing weight (and keeping it off) was one of those benefits. But would that love for working out have developed if I was always at a healthy weight? I really can’t say and I’ll never actually know, so that’s besides the point.

The point is, I need to get that fire back. I want to get back to exercising because I love to exercise and not because I need to get in my 3 days that week. I firmly believe that if you’ll never keep it up if you only do something because you feel it needs to be done. In order to stick with it, you need to truly enjoy it.

I definitely feel like my blogging break had something to do with this. Especially since this all happened over the past month or two. In my break from blogging, I also took a break from reading blogs. Without reading or writing, I wasn’t always thinking about fun new workouts or ways to switch things up. Instead, I just stuck with what I know works – the treadmill. But damn it, the treadmill can only keep you entertained for so long. Am I right?

Now of course, any overly-organized girl like myself would create a plan to get that fire back – so here goes.

Stefanie’s ‘GET THE FIRE BACK’ workout plan

First and foremost, think outside of the treadmill. Yes, it’s there. Yes, it works. But it’s time to spice it up.
Dust off the DVDs (Turbofire, P90x, Jillian Michael’s…etc.) and rediscover new ways to get my sweat on.
Take more classes! I absolutely love group fitness classes, but it has been months since I’ve taken one. Time to get back to it.
Get outside! Despite the mild winter weather, it’s been far too long since I’ve enjoyed an outdoor run. I need to rediscover the joy of hitting the pavement, seeing the different scenery, and breathing in the fresh air.
And finally, go to the gym! Get motivated by others who are sweating their butts off. I mean, hey, energy is contagious.

So there it is. A few simple demands to get myself back in the exercise lovers club. I used to be one of those (possibly annoying) people telling anyone that would listen that “I LOVE TO WORK OUT.” It’s time to get back to that!

Who’s with me?

Also, can you believe Christmas is 3 days away? So exciting!

In the words of Nike, just do it.

Just as I start getting excited for fall, summer makes a come back. It’s a sweaty 93 degrees today. Guess I’ll just have to enjoy an iced pumpkin coffee rather than a hot one.

At first I thought iced and pumpkin didn’t go together – but after one sip, I was proven wrong.

When I receive emails from readers, they’re most often regarding weight loss. I’ve noticed that no matter how different each person’s weight gain/loss story may be, a feeling of frustration seems to go along with it. Frustration certainly made an appearance throughout many of my weight loss attempts.

For many of us (myself included), gaining weight is easy. It’s the whole losing weight and keeping it off thing that poses a problem.

In today’s society, gaining weight seems to be easier than ever. If you so choose, you could sit at a desk all day, eat fast food for all of your meals, and then plop on the couch in front of the TV for the evening. That truly would be an easy route to chose.

Losing or maintaining weight is a whole different scenario. Chances are, your day may still involve sitting at a desk all day (mine often does). Which just means that you have to be that much more diligent during your free time.

You may have to wake up an hour earlier to hit the gym. Maybe you have to sacrifice some TV time to go for an evening run or hit up a group exercise class. Not only that, but you have to invest some time into meal planning and prep. Whew, it all seems tedious when you think about it.

Even if you’ve never been there yourself, it seems easy to understand how others may become frustrated throughout the process. All that work and only small almost unnoticeable changes to show for it?

In reality, it’s all worth it – even the frustration. If it were an easy process, everyone would be at their happy weight. It may take a little tweaking to fit new things into your lifestyle, but after a while it will just become habit.

Don’t give it too much thought. Just do it (oh hey, I’m a Nike ad). But seriously, Nike was really onto something with that one.

When you’re sitting there thinking about your work out (why you don’t want to do it or what you would rather be doing) – you’re wasting time that could be valuable. Not only that, but opening up the opportunity to talk yourself out of your work out.

I was guilty of this just a few days ago. After dropping off Adam at school, I put on my running clothes in anticipation of a midmorning run. It was my day off and I wanted to get my work out done early so that I could get a boost of energy and in turn be productive.

Instead of just doing it, I got distracted and then said ‘oh well, I’ll run in the afternoon.’

After eating lunch, I thought ‘hmm, I should really wait until my food is fully digested before hitting the pavement.’

Before I knew it, it was time to pick up Adam from school. Still no run.

In my own defense, I did end up going for a run in the evening – but I could have saved myself a lot of time (and rearranging) if I had just got out there and done in when I first intended to.

I’m not perfect and this will definitely happen again in the future. Nevertheless, it’s worth acknowledging.

Patience + a winner!

Here I go again, talking about weight loss. Well, it was my whole motivation for starting this little blog – so I may as well talk it up. 🙂

Last week, I talked about just doing it. Well today, I want to talk about that little thing called patience. It’s definitely a hard thing to come by. There’s just so much to do, so little time – who’s got time to be patient? Just like Violet Beauregard (you know, Willy Wonka) – “I want it NOW.”

Here’s the thing – patience truly is a virtue. It’s necessary. It would be really hard to navigate through life without learning how to deal with situations that don’t involve instant gratification. Most things in life do not give you instant feedback – more often than not you have to wait for the outcome. It’s not always ideal, but that’s just life.

As it turns out, weight loss is one of those situations that require patience. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s not going to happen overnight. Heck, it’s not even going to happen within the week. Probably not even within the month.

All too often, we (myself included) are looking for a quick fix. A fad diet that will have us dropping 10 pounds in nothing but a week. The problem is that quick fix weight loss strategies are just what their title says – they’re quick fixes. You could probably starve yourself and work out like a mad woman to lose 10 pounds in a week. But the second you go back to your normal eating habits, you’ll gain the weight back. What’s the point in that? You put yourself through the ringer only to have a few days of feeling good about yourself?

Patience really is a huge factor in being able to lose weight and keep it off. You need to be willing to watch the scale slowly move down week after week. A pound or two a week is what you should aim for.

So how can you gain the patience to stick with it, week after week?

Set mini goals. Rather than declaring I want to lose 50 pounds, break it up. Take it week by week. Aim to lose a pound or two a week. Or maybe you’d rather aim to lose 8 pounds a month. Any way you slice it, smaller goals are much more attainable.

Celebrate the small achievements. Did you reach your weekly goal of a 2 pound loss? Celebrate with a new work out shirt, a new song download, or a coffee date with friends.

Look at each day as a new start. Focus on the present. Don’t stress about how you’ll fit in working out tomorrow or next week, just do what you can right now. If you stay in the present, you won’t feel overwhelmed by what may lie ahead. This is definitely easier said than done, but put it into practice and it will become easier with practice.

Change things up. This is important for fitness and healthy eating no matter what stage you’re in (losing, gaining, maintaining). Doing the same things day in and day out is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Try a new class, run a new route, exchange DVDs with a friend…do whatever you can to keep yourself interested to avoid burn out.

Patience, patience, patience.
You’ll hit plateaus, you’ll have off days (even off weeks), you’ll lose motivation (temporarily). Through it all, you just have to maintain that patience. Realize that nothing happens overnight. Change takes time, energy, and planning.

On all of my many failed weight loss attempts, I would give up when I didn’t see huge changes in short periods of time. I thought that with a little effort things should just fall into place. It took me a while (and a whole lot of trial and error) to realize that in order to make a lifestyle change, you have to work in increments.

Start out small and work your way up through mini goals and simple switches. After a while, it will become natural and things will just click. Smile

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And with that, I’m going to announce the winner of my blogiversary giveaway!

Weight Loss – Q & A

Hey friends! Hope your week is getting off to a fab start! 🙂

A few of you asked what type of pizza crust I used for Friday’s half and half pizza—it was a lazy girls thin crust mix! I can’t remember the brand, but it was one of those ‘add water + olive oil and let it rise’ types of dough. So easy and delicious!

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On Saturday, I somehow talked Sam into making a Costco trip with me. Grocery shopping is not a love we share, but I persuaded him with promises of a large electronics section.

He still told me to hurry up about 10 minutes into the trip AND we came out with a giant box of pop tarts and an economy-sized box of Cinnamon Toast Crust. Yep.

Over the years, Costco has given me many lovely contraptions—a rice cooker, a juicer, and a treadmill—to name a few. Well, Saturday was no different.

Say hello to my new little friend (I’ve had my eye on him for months).

Goodbye Swiffer, hello Shark.

I’m all about recycling and preventing unnecessary waste and I’ve always felt bad using a new Swiffer sheet for every cleaning. Well, the Shark only uses water (no chemicals!) and it comes with 8 washable cleaning mats (no waste!). Needless to say—I was embarrassingly excited to open it.

So what did I do on Saturday night? Steam cleaned my floors. Yet another piece of evidence in case you wanted to prove my coolness.

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After posting a my weight loss tips a few weeks ago, I left off welcoming your questions so that I could put together a Q&A. I responded to each email individually, so I’ve simply included questions along with my responses.

Weight Loss Q&A

What was your initial plan (i.e., how did you get started)?

Exercise-wise, my initial plan started with simply walking (on the treadmill or outside). I also loosely counted calories and learned about portion sizes to find out just how much I should be eating. Before this I had only ever paid attention to carbs (stupid Atkins diet)—so I was pretty much clueless when it came to calories.

I tried to keep my calories around 1500/day depending on my activity level. I also kept a food journal for the first month, so that I could keep track of what and when I was eating.

Before keeping a food journal, I would just mindlessly eat without thinking about it! But knowing that you have to write it down really makes you reevaluate whether you’re eating for hunger or some other reason.

After a few weeks of just walking, I started adding in .25 mile runs (all I could do at the time) and then I just kept building up from there! I love running, but I do a tons of other activities as well! Turbofire, Jillian Michael’s DVDs, and strength workouts are a part of my normal workout rotation.

You’d be surprised how much of a difference strength training makes! Muscle weighs less than fat, but it needs more calories to be maintained! That’s a win-win situation if I’ve ever seen one! The more I exercised, the more my desire to eat healthy increased. For me, eating healthy and exercising go hand-in-hand.

Can you allow yourself to indulge?

I really do believe that maintenance is half of the battle! When I first reached my healthy weight, I was so scared of gaining back the weight that I didn’t splurge much. Now, I always allow myself treats—I just make certain not to overdo it.

I’ve realized that a cookie, a piece of cake, or a cup of ice cream will not make me gain weight. It takes consistent overindulgence to gain weight. Knowing this makes me able to indulge without regret or guilt. If you eat healthy and exercise the majority of the time–then a little splurging here and there won’t make a difference!

Try these healthified brownies!

Or these healthier banana blondies.

Or try out Nature’s Candy!

What about those last 10lbs that just won’t budge?

Oh, those last 10lbs—they seem to hold onto your body for dear life, right? My last 10lbs were extremely gradual (think: 1lb/month). I just kept doing what I was doing and the weight came off very slowly, but steadily. I also added in some harder workouts like sprints and intervals. The high-intensity interval workouts are known for their fat-blasting properties! They got me out of my exercise comfort zone that helped me lose the majority of the weight!

Check out these ways to maximize your workout!

How about portion size?

Portion-control was a big problem for me when I first starting trying to lose weight! The problem was I just had no idea was a correct portion size was. So, I started actually measuring out my food and loosely counting calories just to get an idea of what portion sizes were and how many calories certain foods had. This helped tremendously! For boxed or pre-packaged foods, I followed the recommended serving sizes listed on the nutritional stats. As for veggies and fruits, I eat as much as I want! That’s why I love veggie bowls so much—they’re so delicious and so filling!

While I no longer count calories or measure my food (unless it’s for a recipe), I can now eyeball portions and know what the right size is. Things just eventually fell into place and it comes naturally now.

Weight Loss Tips

In no way am I weight loss expert – but I do know a thing or two about how to lose weight and keep it off. I’ve learned a lot throughout my journey and I want to share it all with you!

Some of my reasons for starting this blog were to show people that weight loss doesn’t have to impossible – healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring – and working out doesn’t have to be a chore.

Ultimately, weight loss comes down to good old-fashioned healthy eating and exercise. It’s true – there’s no way around it.

Please keep in mind that everyone is different. What worked for me may not work for you, just as what works for you may not work for me.

Tips From My Own Personal Experiences

Don’t got on a diet. Just don’t. Diets don’t work. Diets are short-term. If you truly want to make a change than you have to change your lifestyle. Plain and simple. I did, however, make it a point to educate myself on correct portion size, essential nutrients, and a balanced diet.

Do it for the right reasons. I know it can be hard to see the big picture, but I believe that this was one of the most important aspects of my success.

.Don’t do it for a specific event/day such as a wedding, school reunion, or vacation. This is often why people strive to lose the weight, but in my opinion this is setting yourself up for failure. If you have a specific day for a goal, then you might just abandon your plan as soon as that day passes. I realize I’m generalizing here, but I’ve seen it happen.

.Of course, wanting to tone up or get on top of your game is only natural when you’ll be in a social situation—but don’t make that your sole reason for getting fit.

.See the big picture—see yourself healthy and happy for years to come.

It will be there tomorrow, so why stuff yourself? If you struggle with portion control, remind yourself that this won’t be the last time you have this food. This sounds cheesy but it really works. I used to struggle with portion control daily – I felt as if I needed to eat 5 pieces of pizza just because it was there. Now I can have two pieces of pizza and be satisfied. Why? Well, I know that I will have pizza again—why make myself uncomfortably full for no reason at all?

Get moving. Exercise and eating healthy go hand-in-hand—when you’re doing one, you want to do the other. When you exercise, you want to fuel your body properly with healthy, whole foods.

Ask yourself why you’re hungry. Keep a food log to see if there is a pattern that causes you to overeat. Simply jotting down your meals can truly give you insight into what’s going on. I kept a journal for the first month or so and it was so helpful. I didn’t write down every little morsel I ate, but I simply jotted down meals and snacks. It was definitely enough for me to see what habits I needed to change.

Shop the perimeter in the grocery store. Don’t buy foods that you know you can’t control yourself around – especially at the beginning. As you change your habits, your willpower will get stronger. But why tempt yourself? Shop the perimeter and fill your cart [and your plate] with veggies, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Be prepared with snacks and meals. Pack your lunch and your snacks! Don’t let yourself be caught empty-handed at a time of hunger. I personally like to have a larabar, an apple, or a bag of raw unsalted nuts in my purse/car at all times. You can never predict when you may need an extra snack for a boost of energy.



Make simple switches. Do you normally use mayo on your sandwiches? Switch to mustard, avocado, or hummus. Do you normally use creamer in your coffee? Switch to skim milk or almond milk. Small changes add up.

Finally, be patient. These changes don’t happen overnight. In fact, you don’t want them to. You will learn, adapt, and form new habits over time – allow that time to pass. A lifestyle change may not bring instant gratification, but it sure does bring long-term satisfaction! There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss.

So you want to lose weight?

Since 2008, I have lost and kept off nearly 60 pounds by changing my eating and exercise habits in the healthiest way possible.

I became a vegetarian and replaced calorie-trap meals with leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. I ditched the fast food and instead began packing my lunches and preparing most of my meals at home. Preparing meals at home is a surefire way to keep your meals clean, nutritious, and delicious to boot.

I believe in the 80/20 rule. If you eat clean 80% of the time, then you can have whatever you want the other 20%. Yes, that means you’ll see cookies, cake, and frozen yogurt here on occasion. But mostly, you’ll see a large variety of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

The funny thing is – once you start eating clean, your taste buds change. And then, somehow, you start to crave vegetables and fruit. And suddenly, processed sugar just doesn’t taste so great.

So what about the rest of the equation? Exercise. Well, I love the endorphins, the runner’s high, and the sweat. Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment after kicking your own butt.

While you can lose weight with nutrition alone, exercise really takes things up a notch. It does wonders for your mood, your motivation, and your overall dedication. Also, it helps tone up all those places that shrink as you lose weight.

Basically, a combination of exercise and healthy eating is the best way to lose and maintain. Not to mention the fact that it’s the most sustainable way to change your lifestyle. Change is permanent, diets are short-term.

Throughout my weight loss journey, I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks on how to stay motivated. Since I also write about various other topics, I thought that I’d compile all my weight-loss related posts right here. One stop reading, if you will.