How to Stay Accountable to Your New Year’s Resolutions in Five Easy Steps

Only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions according to Forbes. Why is this? Why is it so hard for us to hold ourselves accountable?

Well, Today I have 5 things that can help you keep your resolutions alive all year long.

Only Choose 3 Things to Focus on

Most people choose too many things to focus on for resolutions. They may want to lose weight, save money, pay off a credit card, shop less, cook at home more, so on and so on. The problem is, there are too many goals. When you try to do too many things well, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fail. So choose three things. The three most important things to you that you want to achieve over the next year. This way, you can stay focused on only three resolutions. When we narrow our focus, we are more likely to succeed.

Start Slow and Build

Be REALISTIC with how you start. For example, if you want to start going to a gym and you have not currently had a gym routine, do not set a goal of working out five times per week. Chances are, you will go the first day/week, get really sore or pull something and eventually throw in the towel because it’s too much on your body. If a huge issue comes up at work and you miss two days, you may throw in the towel because you haven’t been able to keep your word to yourself to go five days per week. Your best bet is to start with 2 or 3 days per week. After a month, if it has been doable, increase by one day and try that for a few weeks. Build up to the ultimate goal of five times per week.

Same goes for saving money. If you haven’t ever been a saver, don’t delegate $200 per paycheck to a savings account if you know you will probably be transferring that same money back to your checking account shortly after. Try starting with $5 per paycheck. This way, it builds the habit of saving. After about a month, increase to $10, then $20, and so on and so forth.

Remember, if these are New Year’s resolutions, these are most likely areas you struggle with for improvement. So setting goals too high will set you up for failure. If you are realistic with your goals, they are easier to achieve and grow. This keeps us motivated and excited to keep going since we have now seen we can be successful.

Set Reminders to Stay Accountable

Make. A. Plan. It’s that simple. If this is something you really want, fill up that Google calendar for the next 6 months with “check-ins”. If you want to cook more at home twice per week, put those two days in your calendar for the next 6 months. That way you will have reminders popping up and you’ll plan for these days. If you want to put $5 in your savings every paycheck, put that reminder in on every payday Friday. This way, when you’re in a lull which we all hit when we are striving for a long term goal, you’ll have that reminder and that kick to put you back on track.

When You Mess Up, Get Back on Track Immediately

If you mess up on Wednesday and have a cheat meal, DO NOT wait until Monday to “start over”! Focus on that next meal. Make a plan. Use your cheat meal as a motivator to do better. Don’t allow one meal to ruin the success you’ve had thus far!

Same with saving. If you went shopping during a week you said you wouldn’t, don’t dwell on it. It happened! Now it’s time to make a plan! What can you do in your week to save money? Cancel a night out? Sell a pair of shoes you haven’t worn in a year?

Make it a PRIORITY 

Your three goals have to be something you really want. They have to be a priority. If you see challenges getting in the way, address those challenges. Find support. I recently had a baby and I wanted to get back to my pre-baby weight. It was a priority for me. My husband and I worked out a schedule for me to get back in the gym. I made sure we had groceries in the house to accommodate my goal. We definitely ran into challenges. When I couldn’t make it to the gym because something came up, we planned for it to happen the next day. If we had an unhealthy dinner, I planned out meals for the next day to be sure I stayed on my routine. These resolutions have to be important to you. They must stay a top priority. Success does not come easy, or no one would know failure.

I do believe this is the way to join the successful 8%. This article will help you find a way to stay focused, feel less guilty if you fall off track, start small, and be successful reaching your goals! We all have the desire for change and the drive for success. It’s just having the right tools to teach us how to get there!

How to Travel in Iceland Affordably

One of the most beautiful places we have ever traveled is Iceland. I never like to visit a place twice because there is so much in the world to see, but I would definitely go back to Iceland.

Some of the questions that seem to come up when looking into traveling to Iceland are:

-How can I do this affordably?

-When can I go to see the northern lights?

-Where should I stay?

-Should I do tours or rent a car and explore?

Well… I can tell you how we chose to travel Iceland and I am SO glad we did it the way we did.

First off, we did not stay in hotels. The hotels I researched were around $300-500/night! That is just outrageous for us. If you have read any of our previous travel posts you know we backpack, stay in hostels, or go with our cheapest hotel options.

This time, we used Airbnb and it was amazing. We had never used it internationally, but I’m glad we took the risk! We booked multiple cabins/apartments throughout the country for different days. This was usually around $100/night. It’s not hostel price, but much more affordable than staying in hotels. Our Airbnbs were all fantastic! Here is a look at our first cabin.

Isn’t this beautiful?! It was a one bedroom cabin, very isolated, surrounded by sheep and horses… I. Was. In. Love. We were tucked away in the country side, and sure enough, we got to see what we came all this way to see. The Northern Lights!!

This was the view from our cabin that evening. My husband and I couldn’t believe it! And little did we know, it only got better for us as the days went on.

So this is one of the questions I read about… “When can I go to see the lights?”

Well, we went at the end of October for my husband’s birthday and we were afraid it would be too early, but it definitely wasn’t! We got to see the lights multiple times throughout our stay. More pictures to come!

By staying in these cabins, not only did we get to watch the light show from our bed, but we were able to buy groceries and cook every night which saved a ton of money.

Eating in restaurants was so expensive compared to what I’m used to. Restaurants could run you $50-$100 a meal! Well, that’s if it wasn’t a Subway… So hubby and I meal planned what we would eat and purchased it all at local grocery stores. This put us between $50-$100 for the whole trip.

Examples of what we ate were:

Breakfasts:
-Cereal/almond milk
-Eggs
-Granola bars

Lunches:
-PB & J often!
-Chips
-Granola bars
-Jerky
-Nuts

Dinners:
-Spaghetti and meat sauce (multiple nights)
-We did spot a Quizno’s running a deal for one large sandwich with a drink and chips for $10 and we shared it a few times.

The next thing I am SO glad we did was RENT A CAR! The country is so beautiful and peaceful and never crowded. So traffic was NEVER an issue. We also got to go visit sites and see things on our own time. My husband and I are GO-GO-GO people. As soon as we land in a country, we want to see everything and waste no time. So often enough, we create a list of things to explore and map it out. This worked fantastic for us.

*Note: If you do rent a car in Iceland, they are all pretty much manual transmission vehicles. If you aren’t sure how to drive a stick, definitely get some lessons in before you arrive! Or talk with you rental car company about alternatives.

Here are some of the things we saw…

Driving to tourist spots, we got to see beautiful mountains and sunsets.
Geysir

The Geysir and the steam fields were so neat to see. They are in an area called the Golden Circle which is home to quite a few fun and interesting sites. We arrived at the end of the day so the sun began to set which made for fabulous pictures.

More Geysir
Steam Fields

I mean how gorgeous is that???

Gulfoss Falls

I would highly recommend planning to see the Geysir and Gulfoss in the same day. They are extremely close to one another and would make for a 2-in-1 trip.

Þingvellir National Park
Tectonic Plate Split
Waterfall at the end of the walking trail through the tectonic plates
Lava Bubble

We began a trek across the country towards a highly desired tourist spot called Diamond Beach in Jokulsarlon. It would take us about 4 hours one way, but the country side was amazing to see. There were glaciers, waterfalls, and black sand beaches! I was quite worth it to see.

Glaciers are everywhere!
Black Sand Beach in Vik

This black sand beach was the coolest thing to see. I’ve been to Hawaii where they claim to have black sand and green sand beaches on the Big Island, but that did not even compare to this!

And then we finally made it to our destination… Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach!

Glacier Lagoon

I have never seen “icebergs” before… Only in movies really. So it was surreal to actually see huge pieces of ice floating around and seals bobbing around them.

Diamond Beach

This is one of my favorite travel pictures we’ve taken. This beach was worth every minute of driving we did.

Our last stop was the city of Reykjavik. We explored the city around the bay. This is where we ate out more mostly because we were only here about 24 hours. Plus it was my husband’s birthday so we shouldn’t have PB & J right?

Nothing like hot tea on the patio.
Since my career revolves around food, I couldn’t help but snap this quote.

As we went back to our little apartment to rest up and get ready for our flight out the following day, we got to see the most beautiful light show over the ocean.

This was the perfect end to our 10 day Iceland excursion. We took this photo sitting on our back patio of our little Airbnb apartment sipping hot tea in our pajamas. It was so incredible that we got to watch these dancing lights for hours. It doesn’t even look real as you are watching it in real time.

I hope you’ve gathered what you come to this article to read! You can travel affordably and smart. Just plan and budget!

Happy travels!

Things To See And Do In China!

While we were still young with few responsibilities, we decided we should experience Asia.  It is a continent that has so much culture and many monuments explaining large parts of Asian history.  Not to mention home of one of the 7 wonders of the world!  So we booked a trip from March 1-11th, 2017 to experience another world.

I didn’t know much about China other than it was really large, home of the Great Wall, and that it housed millions and millions of people.  The travel itself was very long from Alabama.   Basically a full 24 hours of constant travel.  So plan for that time when scheduling a trip.  Also prepare for the major jet lag once you arrive because they are basically a day ahead.  Nights and days will be backwards for probably 2-3 days.  For us being from Alabama, the time difference was 14 hours ahead.

We chose to work with a touring company, Gate 1 Travel.  This was our first time to pay a touring company to guide our trip, and I am so glad we did.  Most countries we travel to, we enjoy exploring on our own.  But since we were very unfamiliar with China, the languages, and what exactly to see, hiring a touring company was a great way to go.

We began our trip strong in Beijing by shopping for jade and visiting the Great Wall of China!  China is well known for their history with producing jade and creating beautiful jewelry from it.  We were brought to a jade jewelry store for a lesson on how to tell jade from a fake.  Especially when shopping in markets and passing street vendors.  Of course I was more than happy to shop 🙂

Our next stop after jade shopping was to see the Great Wall.  This was the most amazing experience I’ve had traveling.  The Great Wall is only something I’ve seen pictures of.  It is very steep, so be sure to practice climbing stairs before this trip.  All the Great Wall is, is stairs.  Those quads and calves will be feeling the burn!

You’ll also notice the smog in the background.  This is not from it being a cloudy day.  This is pollution.  I do recommend bringing a scarf to wear to assist in filtering out some of the pollution as you walk through towns or climb this amazing piece of history.

(I just love this photo above.  My husband is quite the photographer. )

The stairs are also very uneven, so you must watch closely as you climb.  Pieces could be missing, some stairs are 1 foot tall, others could be almost 2 feet tall.  Utilize the hand railings when they are available.  Keeping all of this in mind, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of water, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen.

Hand sanitizer will be your best friend since there are so many people around you all the time.  And you’ll begin to notice that hygiene is not a priority in this country.  The sunscreen is also important because even though you are surrounded by clouds of smog, UV rays penetrate that smog and can still cause quite the burn.  So take a seat every few hours and reapply your sun protection!

Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes and a wind breaker.  I chose to wear active gear the whole trip since we were always on the go and it was lightweight.  This helped keep more space in my suitcase for souvenirs 🙂

About packing light, I HIGHLY recommend it.  My husband and I have learned to travel with a carry on for any trip.  This is the best tip I could give anyone traveling through Asia.  We had to carry our bags through many cities over the course of our 10 day excursion.  With that being said, keeping up with more than one bag is a pain.  There are lots of stairs you carry your bag up and down.  Trust me when I say, only bring your essentials and keep it light.

Ming tombs are very interesting to see.  Within these Ming tombs, silk, pearls, and jade were displayed because they were valued highly during this era.  And they continue to value these commodities today.

The architecture is so interesting the way the corners of all the roofs point upwards.  Building materials are carved and painted with so much detail.

The food is very interesting.  I’ll be honest, my husband is much more adventurous than I am.  Our Chinese guide made a joke.  “We eat anything with four legs that isn’t a table!”  And he wasn’t kidding!   Foods range from a Peking Duck gourmet meal to a pig organ soup with the an almost congealed broth.  The variety is VAST!  And if you’re American, when you order chicken in a restaurant, you can expect it will be white breast meat or dark meat.  When you order a meal with chicken in China, you may get any part of that chicken in your meal.  Could be organs, joints, or meat you are used to.  So be mindful of that when you’re ordering meals.  Don’t hesitate to ask what parts of the animal it includes if you’re particular.

Sickness for Americans is common when visiting Asia.  This is for many reasons.  Our tap water is drinking water.  Whereas in China, you CANNOT drink from the tap.  You MUST drink bottled water.  This country is still developing and the water is not quite there yet.  They can also tolerate microbes in their water that you definitely cannot.  Raw fruits and vegetables washed with water prior to serving?  Do not eat them.  Ice, do not drink with it.  Brushing your teeth, use bottled water.  These little things we do out of habit can force you to wind up with a nasty 24 hour GI bug in a heartbeat.  I would know, I had it twice.  And I am VERY careful to watch for these things since we travel often.  But your American ways make it very easy to forget.

If you’re a coffee drinker, this trip will be tough for you!  You can find it- mostly instant coffee.  In bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai you may come across a Starbucks, but that’s about it.  However, tea is available in abundance so take advantage of all the different teas.  We really enjoyed that part.

While we were still in Beijing, we did visit Tiananmen Square.  It was very high security and we were not to discuss the history that some may know.  The famous video of the Chinese man standing up to the tank is not to be mentioned.  Remember, China is a communist country and the people seem to really fear their government.  We were not able to access YouTube, Google, Facebook and many other sites while we were there unless it was through our phones utilizing our American data plan.

After leaving the square, we went to the Summer Palace to see more historical monuments.

Emperors used to create large displays to show wealth and abundance of materials.  As you can see this marble boat below could never be utilized as a boat.  Because it’s marble.  This was the first time I realized that I had come across water in Beijing.

Here I got my first dose of the squatty potty!  I had never used a toilet that was not westernized.  If you’re wondering what I mean by this, a westernized toilet is a sitting toilet.  An eastern toilet is a porcelain hole in the ground that you hang over.  It definitely took some getting used to.  So if you’re planning a trip, get to strengthening those quads for hanging!

While walking the Summer Palace, I began realizing that most of the tourists we were seeing were from different parts of Asia.  We RARELY ran into other Americans.  So this made you the highlighter in a box of pencils.  Our tour group of 6 people got SO many stares and requests for pictures.  Most of the locals wouldn’t ask us for permission which eventually got a little difficult to tolerate.  Mainly because you could be washing your hands after using the bathroom while someone was trying to take your picture.  But I now understand how exotic I must have looked to be fair skinned, tall, with light brown hair.

We were able to stop at a panda zoo, but it was nothing like I expected.  It was mostly cement with little space for the bears.

Visiting old Beijing was really interesting.  We got to see how people live, how they craft to make money, and more of the local cuisine.  It truly is wild how much property costs in old Beijing due to the amount of people in the city.  Beijing is home to a little over 22 million people.  And that’s just Beijing!

We traveled within China by plane and it wasn’t as difficult as I expected air travel to be.  We were flying to our river boat for a 3 day cruise on the Yangtzee River.  This was a great way to see ancient China.  We made stops along the river to different towns that looked so tiny, but housed millions of people.  We got to see ancient coffins buried in the side of mountains as we cruised down the river.  And we also got to stop and explore more architecture, street vendors, and view different types of landscape.

If you are expecting extreme luxury, a trip to Asia may not be the trip for you.  Remember, China is still a developing country.  This was our river boat.  Each room did have a balcony door, a bathroom, and two twin beds.  All overnight accommodations will provide two twin size beds.  If you are asthmatic, China is not the place for you.  Between the smog and the cigarette smoke, you may not be able breathe well.

We visited a food bazaar which was really neat since I’ve only seen them on The Travel Channel.  They sure do have some of the most interesting things for sale.  This is a showcase of many different parts of a duck for sale.  Marinated and prepared of course.  Most of the cases offered things like insects, organ meats, etc.

This is a view from the back of our river boat cruising.  Still very mountainous terrain.  It was very beautiful scenery at times.

As surprising as it may sound, areas like the one shown above could be home to more than 1 million people.  It looks like you may only have a few thousand.  We continued to pass towns like this only to hear the captain mention how many millions of people inhabit the area.

One of our stops was to visit the Red Bagoda.  It was quite interesting since it was built without any nails and built into the side of a mountain.

We would pass more intricate artwork along the way.  We thought this yin and yang was really cool.

We also learned that the Chinese people that are native to their area will wear clothing to represent their culture.  Here is a photo below.

After our cruise was finished, we ended in Chongqing.  This is one of the largest cities in China housing close to 28 million people.  We traveled to Shanghai next to experience futuristic China.

I’m so glad we got to experience Shanghai last.  It was as close as we had gotten in the 10 day trip to having westernized culture again.  The toilets, the hotel rooms, etc.  The one thing that stands out the most about Shanghai was The Bund.  It is the “Wall Street of China”.  You must see it at night.  It is breathtaking at night vs. daytime.

Here are some shots in the daytime.

They even have a Wall Street bull!

These buildings in the background are exhilarating at night.

And here is The Bund at night viewing the Chinese architecture.

And here is a photo of the British side of the Bund.  Clearly showing British architecture.  They even have a “Big Ben”.

This was where our trip came to an end.  We took a flight out of Shanghai and made our long and exhausting trek back home over a long 24 hours.  If I have any advice about the trek back home, make sure you have a day or so for recovery.  You have to adjust again to that huge time difference.  That takes quite a toll on your body.  Especially if you’re planning to go back to work.

I hope this post has been informative about what to see and do in China.  Or at least provided some helpful travel tips.  This was an experience I’ll never forget and I learned so much.  It really made me grateful to be an American.  I appreciate my freedom to speak my mind, my freedom to utilize the internet without bans, to take deep breaths outside without fear of inhaling pollutants, and to drink fresh water from any tap in my country.

Thank you for reading and please leave any questions you may have the comment box below!

Eloping and Touring on the Big Island of Hawaii!

The beautiful Big Island of Hawaii.  There are so many reasons to visit this island over any of the others.  It is less crowded, it has multiple climates depending on where you’re located on the island, and best of all, it has active volcanoes.

We chose this island to elope and stay for our honeymoon.  It was the best decision we could’ve made.

We left May 13, 2016 and planned to stay until May 22, 2016.  After our arrival May 13th, we went straight for the Mai Tais!

May 14th was the big day.  You know how stressful this day was?  It wasn’t.  And you know how much preparation happened on this day?  Maybe an hour.  Now that is a perfect wedding day.

Leading up to the wedding, we snorkeled in the bay and laid on the beach soaking up the sun.  I eventually left everyone snorkeling and went and had my hair pulled back into a low bun.  After coming back to the room about an hour before the wedding, we put on our dress and slacks, and left to the beach.

We used a company called Destination Hawaii Wedding that made this such a breeze.  We would absolutely recommend them.  They are very well known for their sunset photos as you will see below.

My brother made an excellent photographer during our wedding ceremony.  You can choose to have someone shoot the ceremony, but we decided to only take photos after.

The spot we chose to get married was a beautiful private beach in front of million dollar homes.  There was no one around an hour before sunset.  However, we did have about 7 unexpected guests which you will see soon enough.

My sweet father walked me to our ceremony spot.

The scenery was just breath taking.  It was a little cloudy which is not uncommon for the Big Island, but it cleared just in time for sunset.

The ceremony was a traditional Hawaiian ceremony with leis, Hawaiian prayer, and personal vows.

The leis were made of real orchids and kukui nuts.  It was absolutely perfect.

After our ceremony, we took a walk together to soak in the beautiful scenery and the exciting moment of now being husband and wife!

The lava rock, the ocean, and vegetation are just breath taking.  Being able to have just gotten married and walk down this amazing path and enjoy this moment was something I will always cherish.

After finishing our walk, it was now sunset and Catherine Alisantosa did an amazing job with officiating our wedding as well as taking our photos.

And for our unexpected guests??  We had 7 resting sea turtles hanging out the entire time.

It was so much fun to be married in one of the most relaxing and peaceful places in the world.

Now that we had checked getting married off the list, we were now ready to explore this beautiful island!

Our first stop was Waipio Valley.  This valley is extremely picturesque and very rainforest like.

Black sand beaches lay below this cliff, as well as wild horses, coffee plants, and mango trees.  This side of the island gets a lot of rain so many things grow here.

From many angles around the island you can see the mountains make a “W” for Waipio.

You see it again down here as well.

There are plenty of wild horses to be seen… And it seems that they are becoming more used to people because they tend to get fed Cliff Bars!  Very beautiful area.

The next tour we really enjoyed was Volcano National Park.

This is a shot of lava that destroyed this area in the 1970’s.

We also got to take a look an the active volcano during the day and at night!

Here is the day shot.

And here is a zoom shot at night!  This volcano ended up having a full blown eruption about 1 month after we left!

This beautiful sea arch can also be seen in the Volcano National Park.  The waves are huge here and they crash so hard up against the rocks.  They suspect that this arch won’t last all that long with the strength of the waves in this area.

We had such an amazing time drinking fresh coconut water, exploring lava tubes, and snorkeling in the bay.  I can’t express how much I love this island and how happy I am to have made it such a special place for us.

If you are considering a trip to Hawaii, I would highly recommend the Big Island!

 

 

Real Women Do Chest Day!

 

Real women work chest!  Today we’ve got an awesome chest workout.  And thanks to Mel, you can bring this workout with you to get the best workout at your gym!

 

More muscle means more calories burning!  For 2 days your body will work to repair the muscle from all that lifting.

So let’s get started!

 

The traditional bench press:

 

You want to make sure you’ve got a spot if you are not going to use your safety rails.

Always shoot for 4 sets of 8-10 reps.  Struggling for the last two reps will build that lean muscle.

Mel gives you a good look at how far the bar should come down.  Start with lighter weight and gradually add more as your sets increase.

On to the decline chest press:

Now this really works that lower chest.  It’s so hard to find movements that work the lower chest.

Again, you want to lift as heavy as you can for 8-10 reps.  I can’t lift as much as I can when I chest press on a flat surface.  Try a lower weight and gradually work up if you’ve never tried this movement before.  Always do 4 sets.

The next movement is on the sitting chest press machine:

This has two different hand grips so you can do two sets with each grip.

Shoot for 8-10 reps and be sure it’s heavy enough to struggle pushing for the last two reps.  Always do 4 sets.

Next we move on to the Pec-Deck Machine:

When you don’t grip the handles completely and try to touch your wrists together as shown below, you really feel it in those pectoral muscles!

Shoot for 8-10 reps and always do 4 sets.

Next we’ve got a fun movement.  This machine is not meant for chest, but you can definitely get a good workout for your chest if you’re a little creative.

This machine is the assisted pull-up machine.  But you can up the weight, and do standing diamond push-ups on it.

The first time I tried this I was so sore for a few days afterwards.

This can also work the lower part of the chest.  I really do love these.  Shoot for 8-10 reps and always do 4 sets.

And now, the best exercise for last.  It literally turns on beast mode!

Standing cable flyes!

Make sure you lower the cable reels about halfway down the poles to make them shoulder high.  Stand with one foot in front of the other to root yourself.  Then begin those flyes!

Shoot for 8-10 reps and always do 4 sets.

This is an excellent chest day workout!  We were able to do this workout from 5:30 AM to 6:15 AM.  Literally, 45 minutes.  All those movements in only 45 minutes.  That is only 3% of your day!

Thanks to Melanie for being such a good sport and modeling all these chest moves!

Feel free to comment questions or share using the social media icons below!

Happy Chest Day!

Holy Protein! Fast, Easy and Low Calorie?!

How do you get creative with breakfast while making sure it’s high protein and low calorie?  Oh, and you’re tired of eggs?  Short on time too?  Not a problem!

All you need are three ingredients!  And a spoon of course 🙂

High Protein Yogurt!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup of light vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use plain for less calories, but its a little more tart)
  • 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein isolate
  • 1 Tbsp of PB2 (or you can use regular peanut butter for extra fat calories)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Scoop 1/2 cup yogurt into a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle about 1/2 of your whey protein scoop into your yogurt.  Mix until smooth.  Add next 1/2 and mix until smooth.
  3. Once smooth, mix PB2 in yogurt until smooth.

NUTRITION FACTS:

  • Total Calories: 187.5
  • Total Protein: 34.5 g
  • Total Carbohydrates:  9 g
  • Total Fat: 0.75 g

Now that is a lean breakfast!  It’s very light while you’re eating it, but after about 5 minutes, you feel FULL.  That is all 34.5 g of protein sticking to those ribs!

If you’re lifting, this is a great way to get extra protein in for muscle building without having to drink it all the time.  Anyone who uses protein supplements will tell you, I AM OVER DRINKING PROTEIN.  Also note- the photo includes steel cut oats sprinkled on top for a little crunch and extra carb.

You can also freeze this mixture to make a frozen yogurt!

I hope this recipe has been helpful.  Feel free to post questions in the comment section or share using the social media icons below!

How to Plan a Week’s Worth of Dinners in Just Five Minutes!

If you work full-time just like me, you know that the work week is crazy.  There is no time to make a pit-stop at the grocery store and grab food to cook.  And by some chance, say you do make that stop… is what you’re getting healthy?

With all of the New Year’s resolutions still going strong, we want something ready and waiting, but also healthy.  Just a little bit of planning can give you that!

So I’m going to show you how I plan a week’s worth of dinners in just five minutes.

Here is my upcoming work week menu.

I always start with the meat (or vegetarian protein source).  This is usually the part of the meal you don’t want to have three nights in a row.  So I lay out Monday through Friday and rotate my meat through the week.  I shoot for about 6-8 oz for a portion size for us.

Next are vegetable choices.  I believe that at least half of your plate should consist of non-starchy vegetables so I recommend having at least 2 choices per meal.  This is what keeps your meal low calorie and high fiber.  So you still feel full for barely any calories.

Last is your starch group.  This should always be the smallest portion on the plate unless you are doing high intensity exercise and need the fuel.  But for most, it’s listed at the bottom as a reminder that it is not the priority.  Keep your starches whole grain/100% whole wheat to make the best of that starchy situation.

Now look at that!  You’ve got your dinners planned and have made a grocery list!

This can be done for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Menu planning not only helps you stay on track with your diet, but it also provides convenience while budgeting!

I hope this helps your work week become a little less stressful and a little more healthy.  If you have any questions, please comment below!  And feel free to share this post by using the icons below!

 

Finally, a Book by a Dietitian About Weight Loss Surgery!

book-cover-with-credentials

 

I am so excited to announce that I have written a book and it is now available on Amazon for purchase!  I did want to explain why I wrote this book and what better place to do that than right here.

I recently left the world of bariatric nutrition counseling to pursue a different career path within the world of dietetics.  Over the years working with weight loss surgery patients, I was always asked where an informational book about bariatric nutrition could be found.  That was a great question.  I couldn’t really find one that I highly recommended.  Throughout the years I was asked by many of my patients why I had not written a book.  I could think of a million reasons… It takes a lot of time… and how in the world do I compile all the knowledge I’ve soaked up over the years?  During the last several months I was working with these patients, the request continued to grow.  It seemed like I was being asked almost weekly to compile my knowledge.  So that’s when I began.

Once I started, it seemed like my life consisted of work, home, and typing away.  Here are some thoughts I had while writing.

  1. How in the world will I organize all this knowledge??
  2. I’ve really seen thousands of patients over the years…
  3. Gosh my patients have been motivational!
  4. Is that the correct usage of a semi-colon?
  5. I really can’t let this knowledge go to waste.
  6. Will people actually read this?
  7. Oh my goodness… It’s really finished!

That’s it!  I had completed my first draft.  I located some amazing editors (AKA: my brother and husband) who read it immediately.  They spent so much time going over every chapter with me and I could not have done it without them.  By the time the editing was complete, the excitement began.  It was becoming real.  After all of the long hours writing, designing, and editing, it was now ready for publishing.

What I hope for this book is to help people.  The questions I received over and over are finally answered.  They are answered in a way that can help people feel more comfortable living this new lifestyle.  It is a big change for most people and no one should feel alone and confused.   So if you know anyone that is considering weight loss surgery, tell them about this book.  They will find out what to expect, learn what questions to ask, and discover how to insure long-term success.   This is important information to know in order to win with weight loss surgery!

*My book is available to purchase on the side bar of my home page.  Kindle app is available for download on Apple products.

All the rage- Halo Top!

There are times when I have eaten healthy consistently and the mood for a cheat strikes me.  If you are normally a healthy eater, a cheat can carry some guilt.  I know it does for me.  Recently, I have discovered an option that encourages a little less guilt, but doesn’t sacrifice any taste!  Sounds unreal, right?!

 

I kept hearing this name… Halo Top.  I would hear about it at the gym, see it on Instagram, but what is this Halo Top product?

Ice Cream 2

 

Halo Top is a light ice cream!  It allows a cheat to be much less of a blow to your healthy diet.  Let’s look into a comparison!

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It is quite amazing that it really doesn’t taste bad when you see the lack of sugar and fat.  So of course the wheels start spinning… How do I jazz this up and continue to keep the calories low?  Add PB2!

Ice Cream 3

PB2 is a great product that gives you a peanut butter taste, but is only 45 calories for 2 Tbsp VS. 210 calories for 2 Tbsp of real peanut butter.

Here is my recipe!

1/2 cup of Vanilla Bean Halo Top

1 Tbsp PB2

1 Tbsp chopped nuts

Ice Cream 1

And this is my finished product!

What is your nutrition make up here with this cheat?

Calories: ~127.5

Protein:  ~10 g

Fat: ~6.75 g (2.25 g sat.)

Carbs:  ~16 g (5 g sugar)

Not too bad when comparing to real ice cream!  And always looking for ways to boost that protein intake.  Even in my cheats!

I hope this helps you control your cheat day a little better by keeping calories lower and protein higher in your treat!

If you have any questions or comments, let me know!  Feel free to share this post by using the social media icons below!  Enjoy!