Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 5 Posts of 2015

Top 5 Posts of 2015

Take a look at the five posts published in 2015 with the most pageviews! Click on the images to see the posts.

Thank you for joining me on my journey in 2015!

#5 Most Viewed


#4 Most Viewed


#3 Most Viewed


#2 Most Viewed


#1 Most Viewed

4 postpartum depression and anxiety triggers from personal experience

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It’s Not That Simple: The Complexity of Obesity

I know I’ve already posted today, but this is one of those articles where I just have to share right away. When I get the inspiration, I have to go with it. I hope this will be as thought provoking to you as it has been for me. Writing is my coping mechanism and these are the results.

Sad woman holding a bathroom scale is leaning against wall

It has been a few years since my feelings have been hurt. It’s safe to say that I’ve grown enough as a person to be able to recognize when someone is projecting their insecurities onto me. Sure, their comments might irritate me but I wouldn’t say that my feelings have necessarily been hurt.

The last time I remember having my feelings hurt was when I was playing volleyball and a guy said something a little unkind to me. I even wrote about it and, oddly enough, named it “Getting My Feelings Hurt”. I had lost a lot of weight at that point, worked out regularly, could run miles at a time, etc. However, it was a sports activity like this that brought back all of those feelings from gym class in childhood. And there I stood with my feelings hurt, feeling awkward and fat. As a side note, I’ve long since forgiven this guy and I believe he’s actually a pretty nice guy—but I’ve never forgotten how that made me feel and I think that’s important to note.

Today, my feelings were hurt. Deep down hurt. The kind of hurt where you can practically feel your heart breaking. Again, I felt like the misunderstood fat girl standing alone on the navy blue line painted on the freshly polished wooden floor while the team captains argued over who would “have to take me” on their team.

As you know, I am so excited to have found my nutritional program. I love the way that I feel and I love that I am seeing progress on the scale & losing inches. I literally want to share it with anyone and everyone that I know, but I don’t because—well, I don’t want to be annoying.

I have participated in an online training program with a local personal trainer who has hit me up many times asking me to purchase her programs, etc. and that’s perfectly fine. I know that this woman is a successful trainer with many clients and I have always made it a goal to train with her in person sometime when I could afford it and when it would work out schedule wise.

Knowing that she has clients just like me, I knew she was someone that I definitely wanted to share with right away. Imagine if other people just like me could get the help that I’m getting—the thought of that made me so happy. So I shared with her—simply by giving her a video that explains our current health crisis and how this nutritional program addresses it.

She responded very rudely to me. I could tell that she was taking me completely wrong so I tried to make it right with her, it’s just who I am—I don’t like adversity and I wouldn’t intentionally try to make someone irritated with me. I wanted her to know my intentions were in the right place.

To sum it all up, she told me that changing your diet and exercising is all it takes to lose weight. I wanted to point out to her that while those are important, there is so much more to it from an emotional standpoint as well as a chemically within the body—if it were that simple, we wouldn’t have the obesity crisis that we do.

She told me that we have a problem with obesity today because people make excuses.

And so, I am obese because I make excuses. Do I make excuses sometimes? Yes. Is that why I’m obese? Definitely not. That is like calling someone who is obese lazy, not knowing anything about the person, simply because you see that they’re overweight.

The very sad part is that this is the message she’s giving her clients, including those people who are just like me. “You are obese because you make too many excuses. You’re lazy.” And I know all too well how that makes a person feel—not good enough. Eventually, we start to believe it.

Sometimes I just want to say, Don’t be a cover band; Jillian Michaels is already taken.

I don’t like the philosophy that what obese people need is someone to be tough on them and to break them down to nothing. That’s what has happened to obese people their entire lives. That’s not the answer. (I even wrote about this concept here!)

Addressing emotional problems is the answer and it has to be done in such a way that it makes the person believe in themselves, to take pride in who they are, and to have the courage and strength to achieve it.

Those of us who are chronically obese, for lack of a better term, have a unique life experience—it’s just different. I would bet to say that applies to all of us who have had a weight problem our entire lives—I just don’t think you can escape it. I recently had a converstaion with someone just like me who has battled obesity her entire life, despite constant efforts at weight loss. I can tell that she gets me and I totally get her when we talk. It’s a special bond that we chronically (and post-chronically!) obese people have.

We know what it’s like to be treated as less than.

We’ve had people who barely know us call us lazy, when in fact that’s far from the truth.

We were picked last for every sports game.

We came home from school and either ate our feelings or cried our hearts out to our moms.

We were never noticed by the guys we liked (until that special one!).

We know what it’s like to feel like we stand out when all we want to do is hide.

We think every laugh we hear in public is someone making fun of us.

We have been dieting almost every moment of our lives.

We know what it’s like to be degraded by health professionals. (remember this post?)

This list could go on and on. For myself, I know that this has made me the person I am today. Do I wish I had been skinny my entire life? Of course! But I don’t think I would be who I am today if I had been.

This emotional and psychological complexities are not excuses. They’re just honest truths.

They are not permanent barriers, but they are walls that must be broken down one brick at a time. Dieting and exercise alone cannot tear down these walls—this is coming from someone who has lost a large amount of weight by diet and exercise only to gain it back again because I didn’t fix those core problems which center within my mind.

It’s safe to say that common feelings amongst us chronically obese individuals are guilt and shame. Would you agree?

Guilt that we’re not skinny enough, good enough, fast enough, pretty enough, etc.

Shame that we carry our struggles in the fat that encircles our bodies.

We are embarassed to be who we are. We may even hate ourselves. We’ve grown to doubt our ability at practically everything because we’ve been told by society our entire lives that we aren’t good enough.

My fellow chronically obese friends (and the rest of you too!) let me be the first to tell you:

You are enough.

You are a survivor.

You are worthy.

You are beautifully made.

You are strong, just look within—it might be hard to see at first, but strength lies within your soul.

Coming to the realization that not only are most chronically obese people misunderstood by many health professionals, if we seek out help we are often misunderstood by those in the fitness industry also.

How can a professional help a chronically obese person without any effort to understand the person as a whole—mind & body. If only there were a specialty where a professional received both psychology training as well as fitness, etc. It seems like we’re missing pieces of the puzzle as we try to confront the obesity epidemic.

There is no amount of will power that will lead to long term weight loss and fitness if there is work that needs to be done psychologically. Believe me, I’ve tried and failed miserably.

More people need to reach out to psychiatric professionals for help with these issues. It’s not something to be ashamed about—you’d go to the doctor if you had a heart problem, right? You get the point. Therapists can help you fix issues that you thought would always be broken.

Our bodies are made up of chemicals and what we put into our mouths has an influence on our minds and bodies on that chemical level. Food can be like a drug—on a chemical level—where we are actually addicted. We wouldn’t tell someone who is addicted to alcohol that they’re lazy because they struggle with alcoholism—we recognize that chemically, their minds are compromised by addiction. How is obesity different?

Simply reducing calories and exercising does not fix that—anyone who believes it will is not educated enough on the nutritional issues that we face today.

There are so many misconceptions about those of us who are chronically obese. We are not sub-human and shouldn’t be treated as such. Instead, we should be judged by our character rather than the abundance of fat that we carry.

As such, this personal trainer will never get my business again because she showed me her character and it wasn’t very pretty. I don’t know what it was in her life that made her that way, but I am sorry for it.

May we all be kind souls, one to another—no matter what we look like. Just as you and I have unique stories, so does every other person with whom we rub shoulders with. We’re all struggling, but some of us just have the physical signs to show it.

People may not remember what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Healthy for the Holidays: Focus on Solutions

Are you thinking about the goals you’re going to set out to achieve in 2016?

I know that I am! I’m excited at the prospect of a new year and a new me. I have big dreams about transforming my body, mind, and life.

It’s ok to dream big because you cannot achieve something unless you know what it is that you’re working towards. You have to know where you’re going in order to get there. However, you have to be realistic—this involves setting smaller goals that will ultimately help you reach the destination of your big goal.

This is the last post for the Healthy for the Holidays series that I’ve teamed up with Christina at Love Yourself Healthy to bring to you. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series!

Healthy for the Holidays

It’s important to realize that big changes do not occur overnight and that they require a lot of hard work to achieve. The sweat and the tears can get in the way of our glamourous dreams. Even though the struggles are temporary, most people give up too soon.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about a situation but make no effort to change it. I could often be quoted saying, “Stop focusing on the problems and start looking for the solutions”. It’s a complete waste of time to let negativity cycle through your brain, causing anxiety, discontentment, irritability, and resentment. Instead, be more productive by thinking positively and looking for solutions to fix whatever it is that you need fixed in your life.

The beginning of a new year brings hopefulness to people all over the world. It’s a clean slate, a chance to start again and really get it right this time. Instead of feeling weighted down by whatever it is that causing unhappiness, we begin to feel inspired and believe that anything is possible. Imagine having that hopefulness all year long. It’s a mindset of finding the solutions rather than dwelling on the problems.

My goal over the next couple of days is to identify the problems that have been nagging at me and to come up with a solution for each one. This year, I’m all about solutions instead of just having good intentions with my resolutions. Start small and work your way to making that big dream a reality!

Here are a couple of examples of problems preventing me from achieving my big dreams:

The Problem: I am overweight.

The Solution: I’ve already found the solution in a nutritional program that’s working for me. Remaining dedicated and consistent will require hard work. I will reach out to my support system when I am feeling weak.

The Problem: I’m not exercising conistently.

The Solution: Most days of the week, I won’t go to bed until I have 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. This means I will need to be more mindful of my activity throughout the day. I will schedule my workouts as if they are appointments.

This is meant to get you (and me!) thinking about what solutions you want to find in the New Year. I will share my list of problems and solutions within the next week. I’d love to hear about a problem you intend to solve, and how you intend to solve it, in the comments.

To help you find a solution to your fitness problems, we are giving away a Fitbit Flex to one lucky winner! Be sure to check out Christina’s post for more entries! Enter via Raflecopter below.

Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Making Excuses to Indulge #ad

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was sent the almonds in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are mine.

Making Excuses to Indulge

New Years Eve is quickly approaching!

I believe that you should enjoy food with friends and family when celebrating a special event—only if you truly want to and it’s worth it, of course. There’s no reason to waste precious calories on mediocre cookies or dry mashed potatoes, you know what I’m saying? Have a few bites of the good stuff and stop there—give it your best effort.

I’m relieved that this is the last holiday until Valentine’s Day because I need some time to truly focus on my goals without interruption. I’ve made an awful lot of excuses lately for why I should indulge in something I really didn’t need to.

It’s Christmas Eve.

Only today because it’s Christmas.

We’re on vacation so it’s ok.

It’s a birthday.

This is my favorite pie.

If I eat this, my cravings will go away because I’ll feel satisfied.

We only go to this restaurant once per year.

It’s a snow day.

It’s really cold outside.

You name it and I could make an excuse for why I should eat something I shouldn’t. Heck, it’s Tuesday—isn’t that reason enough?

I’m going into the New Years holidays fully aware that I’m an excuse maker when it comes to indulgence. Each time I want to indulge, I’ll ask myself “is it worth it?” and make my choice from there.

It will help to have snacks around that are satisfying yet good for me too. Believe it or not, those foods do exist. I’ll be snacking on Blue Diamond Almonds over the holidays, specifically the Lightly Salted Almonds and Honey Roasted Almonds.

Blue Diamond Almonds New Years

I might even share the goodness with my family. These would be great paired with raisins—yum!

What snack do you plan to share with friends and family over the New Years holiday?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Post Christmas Weigh In

Weigh in Day with A Journey to Thin

Are you feeling bloated and addicted to sugar this morning? Christmas vacacation can quickly take its toll on the body—that’s for sure!

Once again, I had my good moments and my bad moments over the last week. Probably more bad moments than I’ve had for quite a while. I am learning how much foods affect the body—almost like chemical responses to foods which can cause cravings, sluggishness, and even just feeling down. It’s pretty amazing and it makes me want to feed my body with food that will help me feel my best physically and emotionally.

I was feeling very tired and down and I realized that I had been feeling that way since starting to use a stevia/erythitol sweetener blend. I quit using it and what do you know, I am feeling good again. That’s really strange and I wonder if it’s truly connected or a coincidence. The crazy thing is that when I felt my worst with PPD, I was using this product daily. Eek! Kind of scary. Stevia by itself doesn’t seem to bother me.

Anyways, I gained 2.9 lbs. this week. Bummer—but totally understandable with how I ate some days. It’s back to it 100% today and tomorrow hubby and I will do a nutritional cleanse—those always really help with my cravings and feels like I’m giving my body a reset.

I will be glad to to get January 1st so there won’t be any big holidays or events until Valentine’s Day. That should make it easier to make some good progress again!

Speaking of January 1st, I’m really excited to be embarking on a New Years Solution with a team of inspiring people. I will be participating in a program that will help me have a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. I’m looking forward to getting started and I know I will learn so much along the way! Let me know if you want to join me!

Have you stepped on the scale since Christmas? How are you doing?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Inspiration Sunday

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Up to 70% off Torrid Clearance - My Favorites!

Torrid is having a great sale through January 12th with clearance up to 70% off of the original prices. There's also buy one get one 50% off of regular prices. There is free shipping with a $50 purchase today only.

End of Season Sale at

Here are some of my current favorites from the clearance section.

Friday, December 25, 2015

All My Best to You and Yours

Thursday, December 24, 2015

'Twas the Night Before Weigh In

'Twas the night before weigh in, when all through the house
Everyone was eating, except for myself;
Cookies were frosted by the baker with care,
In hopes that family would be there to share;
They sat around the table eating, each one unashamed;
while visions of cupcakes and chocolates came;
They in their skinny jeans, and I in my sweats,
Had just finished shopping for a stylish wardrobe;
When someone suggested a hot pizza be ordered.
My stomach growled and my mouth salivated.
Away to the phone I skipped and I skated,
Calling the nearest Dominoes that I had on speed dial.
"Canadian bacon and pineapple" I recited with style,
As my stomach kept growling all the while.
And then I remembered at the very last second,
That tomorrow was weigh in e'en though pizza did beckon,
With a little disappointment and an apology quick.
I knew in a moment that to my diet I must stick.
Back to the skinny ones I lumbered along,
proud of myself for being mindful and strong:
"No pizza! No Cookies! No cupcakes or fudge!"
No crackers with cheese or my weight would not budge.
To the next notch on my belt! To Onederland!
I'd be there soon if I can firmly stand.
To all who are dieting with a goal firmly in sight,
I wish you the best, enjoy what you can and savor each bite!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

5 Ways to Find Your Zen During the Holiday Season (and all year long!)

Time for the second edition of the Healthy for the Holidays series, which I am co-hosting with Christina at Love Yourself Healthy. We hope you're enjoying this series! Be sure to check out both blogs.

It is officially crunch time with only a few days left before Christmas. You can practically feel the level of stress escalating every time you enter a store. People are grabbing items off the shelf in a frenzied panic to finish up their shopping. Even if you had your shopping completed weeks ago, it's almost impossible not to let the panic affect you when you're surrounded by it.

Taking time to relax is important all of the time, but it's even more important in stressful times. Whether it be last minute Christmas shopping, rude comments that just keep coming from your in-laws, or watching your pocketbook shrink--taking time to decompress is just what the doctor ordered.

Here are five ways to help you find your Zen during this holiday season (and all year long!):

1. Spend Time Alone

As an introvert, alone time is critical for my sanity and maintaining a low stress level. It doesn't have to be an afternoon outing (although those are nice), but it can simply be as little as spending 10 minutes alone wherever it is that you happen to be. It is amazing how re-vitalizing it is to find a quiet space and spend just a few minutes in solitude. Take deep breaths, clear your thoughts, and simply be.

2. Blast Some Tunes

On the other hand, sometimes listening to the music that you love is good for the soul. Whether it be something upbeat to lift your spirits, or a slow and easy melody to calm your nerves--music is truly healing. Focus on the music and listen until you feel like the weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you're ready to face the world again.

3. Phone/Text a Friend

Pick up the phone and dial/text your person. You know the one. That special friend or relative who can always lift your spirits. You don't necessarily need to talk about what has you down, just talk about what you're looking forward to, share a funny joke you heard, or just call to say how much you appreciate him/her. The positive interaction will surely lift your spirits and help you relax.

4. Have Courage and Be Kind

That's right, sometimes being kind takes great courage. It takes strength to put your pride aside and humble yourself enough to be kind to someone you would rather share a few choice words with. You will come away from the interaction feeling a lot better about yourself if you just show kindness. Sometimes kindness means being the better woman and keeping your mouth shut. You can be kind in other ways too, like holding the door open for someone or letting a mother with a screaming baby check out before you. There will never be too much kindness in the world.

5. Enjoy a Cuppa Joe

This is by far my most utilized way to relax and is something I do almost every single day, twice per day! I like to add a flavored coffee creamer to my coffee at home, but I especially like to get a flavored latte (nonfat/sugar-free) at a coffee shop. Some people complain about the price of coffee but, if you think about it, there aren't too many ways that you can relax, de-stress, and find your calm for $4. If you're not a coffee drinker, try tea or an ice cold glass of water. Savor it.

To help you enjoy a Cuppa Joe, Christina and I are giving away a $25 Starbucks gift card this week! See Rafflecopter below to enter to win!

What's your go-to method of  de-stressing?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Little Victories: I’ve Reached a Milestone

Do you remember your weight from certain times of your life? For example, how much you weighed in high school, when you met your spouse, when you got married, etc. If you’ve struggled with your weight, chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about. These events make great milestones along the weight loss journey.

This morning I met the first milestone that I set as a goal. I reached the weight that I was immediately after Little Miss Sunshine was born! I’ve lost 21.4 lbs.

That’s the amount of weight that I gained with postpartum depression. That’s a lot of weight, huh? It just kept coming on and I felt so helpless to make it stop. Plus, I was already feeling horrible from having gained so much during pregnancy. So this is a victory for me!

Meeting this milestone makes me feel like I’m finally putting PPD behind me. Instead of being in the midst of the horrible storm that is depression, it’s only something that’s in my rear view mirror. There’s sunshine and a clear sky ahead!

In the last while I have felt like my life is transforming. I have a lot of hope and positivity about life again. I haven’t felt this good in years. I’m so grateful that I made it through that battle, only with the help of God, my family, and medical/psyciatric professionals. I wouldn’t wish the experience on an enemy!

My next milestone will be the weight I was when I got pregnant—but that will be a while because it’s a pretty big chunk of weight! But I’ll get there…and beyond!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Weigh in Day

Weigh in Day with A Journey to Thin

This past week wasn’t a typical week for me. I was away for a day and a half, traveling and spending hours at the hospital for my mom’s surgery (everything went great, BTW!) Also, hormones. Overall, I’m ok with how I did but I wasn’t as strict as usual.

Specifically, I ate out at Red Lobster with my mom—I ordered the 4 course meal because I was craving clam chowder and it was cheaper to order this way. I ate 1-2 (can’t remember!) rolls, salad, part of a baked potato, broccoli, and then the brownie dessert. Most of the food was good for me, so I’d say that was a 50/50 meal! The rest of that day was on track.

The next day, I enjoyed a regular latte and cookie with my dad while waiting during my mom’s surgery. And then on my way home I had another regular latte and a rice krispy bar. So that was a little more indulgent, but not terrible since the rest of the day was on track.

The weekend went great. On Saturday night, I did have a non-fat hot cocoa at Starbucks because it was freezing cold outside. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t planned.

So basically, I just wasn’t as strict this past week and I want to work on that so I don’t start slipping backwards. What I love about this program is that I find it so easy to get it back together. I have days when maybe I make a choice or two that aren’t the greatest, but it doesn’t cause me to completely fall off the wagon. It’s so easy to just keep going. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I will think about it and share when I figure it out. I have a few ideas.

My weight has stayed relatively the same and that has made me very happy. However, this morning I gained .2 of a pound. I’m confident I will see losses again this week.

I’m starting to think about what I want to do to take this journey to the next level. I’m considering getting a membership at Planet Fitness. They offer free fitness training, and so many more benefits. I will wait until the new year to see if they have any great deals. I just wish they had child care! Overall, it would make more sense to get a membership with free fitness training that it would to pay about the same for a few weeks with a personal trainer and nothing else.

By the way, there is free shipping TODAY ONLY if you are interested in joining me on the journey! I can set you up for wholesale pricing too. If you’re interested, shoot me an email to

How did your week go? Did you see a gain or a loss on the scale?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Inspiration Sunday

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Still Looking for Gifts? Check out Sale Saturday!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, A Journey to Thin will receive a small commission from the sale which helps keep the blog running and able to offer the giveaways that you love. Thank you for your support!



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Friday, December 18, 2015

Surgery Day

Last night was my first night away from Little Miss Sunshine since she was born. I was nervous, but everything went just fine. I told her a few times that when she woke up from her nap that Grampie would be there and Mama was going to be with grandma but I'd be back tomorrow. She would think for a second and then she would wave bye-bye to me. She did this every time! 

So anyways, I made it safe and sound to my parent's yesterday evening. It was odd not having to set up a pack-n-play or go through a bed time routine!

My mom broke her arm and separated her shoulder back in September. The doctors kept trying to let it heal and had her in physical therapy and everything and she kept telling them that it was incredibly painful, etc. Nothing improved.

Finally, they figured out that the bone was not fusing back together because she had a bone fragment between the two parts, etc. So after all of this time, she is going to have surgery to fuse the bones back together. Hopefully she will be done with all of the pain soon. She is looking forward to having a pain block after the surgery since she has been suffering in pain all of this time!

So that's what's going on today. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What's Happening Pictures

Last weekend, hubby and I went on a date night to celebrate his birthday. This was the first time we've been able to go out in a very long time. We definitely need to start doing this again!

We went to a Japanese steakhouse and it was so delicious. Once again, the chef made a comment about me being quiet. Every.Single.Time. I'm talking away to hubby and everything so I'm not really sure what that's about? Maybe they just can't hear me and they think I'm talking about them. Ha

After that, we ran a few errands-- what everyone does on an exciting date night, right? We stopped at a cupcake shop and I ate a super rich chocolate cupcake while hubby had a smoothie. It wasn't the healthy kind of smoothie, so he wasn't being all healthy while I ate my cupcake-- in case you were wondering.

I gave him his birthday presents on Monday, which was his birthday. He told me he wanted Iowa Hawkeye gear, so that's what I bought him. Little Miss Sunshine gave him a Starbucks gift card. ;)

Speaking of LMS, it seems like she has taken another leap in development over the past week. I am amazed at how much she understands. She can follow directions (when she wants to), and makes correlations that show there is a lot of thinking going on in her little brain.

She has started to be very affectionate with lots of hugs and kisses. She really knows how to turn on the charm when she knows she's being naughty and we're starting to lose our patience.

I caught her walking around the house in one of my shoes. It was pretty cute.

She especially likes to stack up blocks, Tupperware containers, bottles of shampoo, or anything she pulls out of the cupboards. We like to play Legos, yep--I have fun with it too!

I assembled her new table last week and she will sit there every once in a while. Mostly, she likes to drag her chair with her and use it to climb up and get the things she can't reach, especially all of the things on my desk.

Not a lot of exciting things going on this week! Well, except that I found a live moth in a bag of fresh, washed, and ready Spinach! I called customer service and they're sending me a $5 gift card.

I know it's produce and it grows outside where there are bugs and all, but I don't want to find bugs in my "washed and ready" produce! I'm kind of wondering how that even happened! Yuck!

What has been happening with you this week? 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 Tips for Staying on Track Through the Holidays

Are you staying strong this holiday season and continuing to work towards your health & fitness goals?

There have been plenty of Decembers when I decided I'd just eat whatever I wanted and start fresh in January with my New Year resolution to lose weight and get healthy. But this year I am making an effort to stay on track and I hope that you will join me!

I have teamed up with Christina at Love Yourself Healthy to create a "Healthy for the Holidays" series over the next three weeks. But even better, there will be a giveaway each week! Each week we will be posting on a different topic to help you (and us!) get through the holidays in the healthiest way possible.

Let's be the best versions of ourselves at the beginning of 2016 and start the year off right!

1. Plan Ahead 

"Failing to plan is planning to fail." If you know that you'll be attending a holiday gathering where there will be high calorie (and tempting!) food, you can plan ahead so that you are more likely to make good decisions. Drink a protein shake (or even half of one) before leaving the house-- this will fill you up and you won't be going into the party so hungry you could eat anything in sight. Fill up on baby carrots, an apple, or a salad prior to leaving. Bring sugar-free gum to chew on or mints to suck on to keep you from impulsively taking a bite of that cookie. If it's worth it to you to indulge, fit in a workout before attending the party to help burn the calories and boost your metabolism.

2. Harness the Power of Your Mind

The mind is a powerful tool and if you can harness its power you will be prepared to succeed. It can be helpful to have a mantra to run through your thoughts when you are confronted with foods that aren't going to bring you closer to your goals. Pick a mantra and post it where you will see it often. Put it on your fridge, on your computer monitor at work, or in your car. Repeat it to yourself over and over again. My favorite mantra is, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels".

3. Be Realistic

We call it the "holidays" as if it's a month long festivity. In reality, there are only a few days that are actually holidays. There is Christmas eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. That's four days at the most. You will be much better served to treat the other 12 days left of the holiday season as if they were the same as any other day out of the year and make good choices. You'll be much happier with yourself for doing so.

4. Indulge a Little

There are conflicting views about this topic and you have to do what works for you. Some people believe that even a little taste will be enough to spiral out of control. For me, indulging a little helps me feel satisfied and like I'm not missing out. For example, I can eat one cookie and only one cookie. I'll eat it slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. 

5. Stay Hydrated

There are all kinds of delicious beverages this time of year and most of them are full of calories. Make sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated. You can verify your level of hydration by taking a look at your urine in the toilet- if it's closer to clear then you're hydrated, if it's dark yellow-- you'd better drink some water right now. You wouldn't stop watering your plants because it's the holiday season, right? Your body needs water to function, why would you stop drinking water?

This week, we are challenging you to drink your water! Make it a point to get those eight cups of water in each day-- you will feel so much better for doing so.

You have a chance to win a $25 gift card to Walmart or Target by entering the giveaway via Rafflecopter below! You will need to visit Christina at Love Yourself Healthy and comment on her blog as well as mine. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tattered Hearts

My heart was pounding in my ears and mouth was hanging open. I couldn't believe what I had just seen. It was a narrow miss. Such a close call. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins.

She walked across the pavement with the sway of an alcoholic, except that she didn't drink. Her hair was a frizzy gray, and brown cat eyed sunglasses sat on her nose. Her dark green camo printed maxi-dress was stretched around her belly and neon orange flip flops were on her calloused feet. 

A look of triumph crossed her face as she turned to me with wild eyes and whispered, as if she were telling me a secret.

"You saw that, didn't you? He's going to say that it was my fault, but you saw it happen. You tell him what he did."

I nodded my head in shock as I met the angry glance of the portly man riding the blue bicycle. I wanted to say something, anything to let him know how sorry I was about what had just happened. But he quickly passed by, glancing back and shaking his head in disgust. 

I was surprised that he didn't stop, or react more passionately-- after all he had narrowly escaped being plowed over by a large SUV driven by an aging man who had failed to look before he backed up. And just like that, the man and the bicycle disappeared from sight, as if nothing had happened.

The suburban jolted in front of us. He grunted as he climbed out of the driver's seat and limped over to us, his collared navy shirt hanging over his belly un-tucked from his worn out blue jeans.

"You don't even know what you did, do you?" she asked in an accusing tone. "You almost ran over a man on a bike!"

"Oh, hush. You don't even know what you're talking about. Just get in the truck and be quiet," he growled.

She looked at me. 

"Tell him," she said in excitement.

I paused. 

"She's right," I said cautiously, "You almost hit him."

"Well, if you weren't being so crazy and getting me all upset...," his voice was rising.

"No, you have to admit it. You can't tell me it's my fault this time because she saw it too," she said with a look of superiority.

He took her arm and helped her down the steps. She could barely move, her legs were swollen, and she was unsteady on her feet. 

She reached up and ran her hand through his silver hair. 

"You used to like it when I ran my fingers through your hair," she laughed. 

He growled, mumbled something under his breath, and said "Why do you have to act like this?"

He turned to me, "Do you want her?"

I didn't know what to say and so I just smiled. He laughed, as if he was trying to explain her craziness.

He helped her climb up into the truck and made his way to the driver's side. I could hear their arguing as they pulled out of the alley and continued on their travels.

Did they love each other? Sometimes it seemed like it. Did they hate each other? The tone of their conversations sure sounded like it most of the time. 

If you were alone with one of them, each one would tell you how terrible the other was. Actually, they were more than willing to share that information no matter who was around. They were unashamed of their lack of respect for one another.

But yet they stayed together. They argued, and yelled, and drove each other crazy-- quite literally. He couldn't live without her. She couldn't live without him.

 It didn't make logical sense, but somehow they depended on each other. One broken soul patched to another broken soul--the edges frayed, rips and tears over every inch of their tattered hearts. Yet they remained together and they always would.


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