Jan 282014


I previously wrote a post called Tips and Tricks I’ve Learned sharing some of the things that have helped me to lose 110 pounds and keep it off. Things like keeping a gym bag in the car at all times is a huge thing for me. Also, going straight to the gym after work. Stopping home first makes it so much harder to leave again. Since we got Bella, I usually go home right after work because we have to let her out after being crated for 8 hours. :( Going home has been a challenge for sure. I noticed that it took a million times more motivation to make myself go back out of the house once I was home. Especially when I wanted to just play with Bella instead! What helped with this scenario was to let Bella outside the second I get home and then immediately change into my workout clothes. Taking a moment to do that meant I was going to the gym. Period. I put my workout clothes on, it was gonna happen!

Tackling the exercise part can be a challenge, but like I tell my friends that are trying to get fit and healthy, just get in the habit of working out. Once you do it consistently for a few weeks, it WILL become a habit and your body will CRAVE the exercise. I am evidence of this! Becoming used to working out changed my life and when I don’t exercise, my body doesn’t feel good.

So how about tackling some of the food issues?

Craving Chocolate?

There are a few things that have helped me with this dilemma. The first is hot cocoa. Having a mug of hot cocoa in the winter time is a GREAT trick to satisfy that craving for chocolate. There are so many different kinds and different flavors out there. The average hot cocoa mix is 90-120 calories. That is not a bad number for a treat.

Another tip is to have dark chocolate in the house. For some reason, dark chocolate is so rich to me that it only takes one or two pieces to satisfy the craving. I’ve been getting the Lindt chocolate bars in either the dark chocolate and sea salt or dark chocolate and coconut flavors.



It only takes 1 or 2 of the squares and I’m good. It’s like the dark chocolate stops the craving. At least for me. I’ve had 2 chocolate bars in my pantry for about four weeks now and one is half-way gone so far. That used to be unheard of for me! Any kind of candy in the house used to be gone in a day. Not anymore!

Feel Like a Bottomless Pit?

I’ve struggled with this and while I don’t have a “this will fix the problem forever” solution, I do have some tips. So the next time you eat a healthy meal and feel like you could eat more, re-evaluate what you just ate. Eating foods with healthy fats in them will help you feel satiated. Examples of this:

  • Add some blackened salmon to your salad.
  • Eat some nuts as a snack. (Walnuts are supposed to be the best. I personally prefer pistachios, peanuts, almonds or cashews. Be careful though, nut calories can add up fast!)
  • Avocado avocado avocado! It’s a brilliant food and eating just 1/4 of an avocado on your toast or topping your salad will make you feel fuller. I promise. I was skeptical. It worked.
  • A little bit of peanut butter can help. Add 1 tablespoon (about 90-100 calories) to your banana or apple as a snack and you will be full.
  • Olives. I’m obsessed with olives. My favorites are black or green olives stuffed with garlic and jalapenos. Yum yum. But for some reason, only eating 5-8 olives is enough to take the edge off, satisfy the salt craving and make me feel full. Pickles seem to do the same.

These are just a few ideas that have worked for me. When I was having a slice of gluten-free toast with avocado on it for breakfast, I felt full longer than I did when I just had eggs for breakfast. So a typical breakfast was 1 fried egg, 1 slice of GF toast with avocado and a pint of plain iced tea. I’d eat it at 7am and be full until 10:30 or 11. That’s unheard of for me!

Struggling With Your “Diet”?

Instead of focusing on what you CAN’T eat, or stocking your fridge with iceburg lettuce and your pantry with rice cakes and cardboard crackers…focus on what you are adding to your diet. Take a look at each meal and ADD something.

Breakfast – Add some spinach and feta cheese to my scrambled eggs.

Snack – Have an apple and add some raisins to it.

Lunch – Have a salad with chicken breast but add avocado and a scoop of cottage cheese.

Dinner – Have a salad with your normal dinner and eat the salad first!  

Dessert – Have a hot cocoa instead of that brownie. 


Small changes and additions can make a world of difference. Give it a try. Even if it’s only for one month, just try it!

Do you have any tips and tricks to share?


Dec 102013

While my weekend started off not so great, with Bella getting injured, some of the weekend was actually great! Saturday I got up early to go to this kettlebell gym I’ve been trying out (more on that later), then came home to make my potluck dish and we headed out for my family Christmas party. It was at my aunt’s house in Troutdale this year. It was also my grandmother’s 92nd birthday!



As usual there was a TON of food there. Someone had made my grandpa’s awesome garlic dip, I made a brussels sprout salad, and Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese. There were so many things to snack on it was hard not to just graze all afternoon long.


There was also plenty to drink too! Lots of wine to choose from. I stuck with water for most of the afternoon and then finally had some. My aunt also brought out a bottle of her AMAZING eggnog, affectionately named Gregnog after my cousin who had way too much of it a long long time ago. My aunt keeps her recipe secret and I would LOVE to have it! It’s the best eggnog I’ve ever had, and it is potent! One small glass is usually enough for most people.



Yum yum yum! Gregnog! Lots of family came from all over –a bunch from Washington, Texas, Oregon and Wyoming. It was so good to see family I hadn’t seen since this summer (and a few since last Christmas). There was also a lot of shenanigans and photo-bombing this year.

The group was a little smaller this year as many family members couldn’t make it. (One cousin is graduating from medical school next weekend, the other is in the Army and my brother and his wife are too far away to visit.) It would have been nice if we could all be together. After it got dark we had a visitor.

A friend of the family that has always played Santa paid us a visit and especially came for Grandma! She got an extra special present for her birthday:


I love that picture of grandma! Haha! And I also love that even though all the little kids are old enough now to know the truth, they all still play along. Everyone is a good sport. It’s kind of my favorite part of the Christmas party. The kids sang a Christmas song with Santa and then he was on his way. A little while later, mysteriously our friend Randy showed up just in time for dinner. ;)


Dinner was GOOD. It’s always good, but my uncle Pete is the master of the BBQ. He grilled and cooked a prime rib and a pork for three hours out in the frigid air and created an amazing dinner. I had the pork and it was perfect; couldn’t have been better. There was the mac n’ cheese, my salad, a caesar salad, crusty french bread and two different kinds of potato casseroles. My aunt also brought some of her homemade pickled beans which were so spicy and delicious. She said the secret to pickling beans is to add grape leaves in the jar because it makes them crunchy instead of mushy. Good tip.



My plate was packed with a little bit of everything:


Melt in your mouth soft meat and full of flavor. Of course there was also dessert–my aunt made cupcakes from scratch. The mini cupcakes were vanilla with marshmallow in the center–kind of like a twinkie. She also made some larger once with caramel in the center but I was way too full to even try it. There was a German Chocolate cake and some Christmas cookies, too. As you can imagine, temptation was all around.

After everyone ate and was in a proper food coma, we did the white elephant gift exchange. My uncle Mike is usually the one that coordinates it but he wasn’t here this year. My cousin Greg did the honors. I brought a super awesome gift–a handmade artsy flask with a cool looking octopus on it. It was very popular and stolen a few times.  My cousin Anna got it (then it was stolen a few times and ended up going home with my uncle).

Pretty cool looking, huh? Well my cousin Adam outdid me. The gift Michael picked under the tree ended up being a flask as well. Check it out:

Yes that flask is three times the size of a normal flask AND it’s furry. The outside is made of some kind of animal skin!! It was a pretty funny moment. I was first to pick and got a zombie survival kit–complete with a guide, a Swiss Army knife, a lighter, a mini bottle of whiskey and a box of twinkies. But since I was first I got to pick something else at the very end. I went home with a gift pack of gourmet hot cocoa mix, cookies, a bottle of nice Oregon wine and a jar of Nutella. I’ll be honest, it was the Nutella that made me pick that gift. :)

After the gift exchange Michael and I left. We had to get home to let Bella out of her crate and give her the puppy medicine for the night. While we were gone our dog walker came over and let her out, played with her a bit and fed her dinner. It was nice because we were gone so long and I worried about her since she wasn’t feeling well. I’m really grateful that our dog walker lives so close and really loves Bella! I wish we could have stayed longer at the party but, you know how it is! Got to get the kids to bed!  ;)