The BEST TASTING Chicken Salad!

Leftover chicken is something I always seem to have in my fridge. It's just so freaking versatile that little bird. Stuff it, saute it, bake it, soup it, shake an' bake it, and today turn it into the best ever chicken salad! Yup. Best ever. Why? Because this long generational pull toward drowning it in mayo no longer applies here. We're breaking the rules (and our ties to grandma's recipe) and we're turning our attention to healthy, satisfying and downright delicious! Can you feel it?! Yes!!! 

The secret to this "best ever" (which I am now officially calling it) is.... the hummus! There are so many flavors you can choose from that let you really personalize your own salad. That's pretty awesome, I know! Give this healthy version a try and you'll quickly agree... Best. Eva.

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Chicken Hummus Salad

Leftover chicken, about 1 cup
3/4 cup plain hummus (or any hummus you like!)
2tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs freshly chopped scallions (or chives)
1 small apple, diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped olives (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine hummus, mustard, scallions, olives, salt and pepper. Core the apple, and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Place in the bowl and add the lemon juice, toss to combine. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to salad and stir to combine. (I added a little fresh thyme on top because I had some - fresh herbs always a good idea!)

Ok, so now go out and make this! And if you have a secret recipe you'd love to share, let me know in the comments section. I would love to hear from you since my community can only grow by conversing and sharing! :)

How to Eat Out and Not Get Fat!

Just the other night, after finally getting the kids into their pj's, teeth brushed, books read, stories told, and about 100 goodnights given, no sooner had I sat down and put my feet up did my husband come up from the basement with a big ass bag of laundry. The kids laundry. So much worse. Their clothes are soooooo little and so much can be stuffed into a laundry basket before you actually have to do any of it. Ugh. My deflated existence melted even further into the sofa as I pressed my head back in-between the pillows and digressed "Remember when we used to go every single Friday night?" "Yup" was all my man could muster as he laid a pair of Superman undies on the coffee table. 

Those weekend nights used to be a ton of fun... but in looking back it's clear to see why I used to do much running then. I easily had an extra 10 pounds circulating around my mid-section that became more prevalent with every weekend that passed! That fat got pretty comfy there for awhile, even though I tried relentlessly to run it out of town... by running. And more running. And maybe a little ellipticaling here and there. But still going out. Every. Weekend. 

Life sure has a way of balancing out, or just tipping the scales in the completely opposite direction! Now, it's rare we head out for a night on the town, and instead opt for the comfy, cozy confines of our new home. (Honestly, I just don't have the energy anymore!)

Turns out though I'm a girl who has fallen in love with her stove, her pots and pans, and all sorts of cool kitchenry gadgets. And it wasn't until this happened, that my love for cooking popped up (I was NEVER into cooking - nev-ah!), that I was finally able to ditch the extra weight I used to carry. It literally melted off without me depriving myself. I was pregnant with baby boy No. 2 and the only thing I changed was that I cooked waaaaaaay more often, and I ate real food. Now I cook like no ones business, and that's where you need to be if you're serious about weight loss. 

Girl, you have GOT to do more home cooking if you're looking to lose a little weight!

But... I do know that we all need that girls night out every once and while, or a little couples therapy where we can go out and forget for a moment that we're supposed to be responsible adults. For those times when we really want to throw caution to the wind, we also don't want to be carrying around last night's pasta dish for weeks on end, attached directly to our mid-sections! Armed with a few tricks, a little mental preparedness, and a lot of determination not to sabotage our best efforts and put us back a dress size, I've got a few helpful tips that I've employed that take the fear out of eating out. Say ciao to grilled chicken and a side salad with no dressing. 

Food Rule Number 1: When ordering a drink at the bar... (total random thought here, came out of nowhere. Didn't even plan on this being a food rule but hell, it's a good thing to know for any boozy friends out there), and they give you that little piece of fruit precariously balancing itself on the rim of your glass, remove that sucker at once making sure it doesn't fall into your drink. Carefully squeeze the citrus out of it and place it on the side. (As an ex-bartender I once carried in my arms about 30 lemons and limes from storage, which was outside the restaurant, inside to the bar. Before I got there I managed to successfully drop every last one onto the gravel drive, scrambled to pick them up, and may or may not have washed them before slicing. I was young!!) But seriously, don't put those literally IN your drink. 

Ok, now on to the real tips:

photo cred: Ali Inay

photo cred: Ali Inay

Real food Rule No. 1: Skipping the bread is completely obvi so I'm not even going there. When you sit down, drink a full glass of water before you put anything else in your mouth. If you're anything like me, you have been looking forward to this outing in what you could only imagine to be the way an inmate is looking at parole. You're so fkn free you can't even stand it. You're basically floating into the restaurant because you're thinking to yourself that right now you would normally be at home herding your kids into the bathtub. HA! Oh no... mommy is out tooooonight! So when you get to the restaurant it's like all bets are off, you're ready to paaaaar-tay! It's at this point I usually order the biggest, baddest, boldest wine I can find and oops, how did that go down so fast?! 

Slow you roll girlfriend, slow your role. Taking that glassful of water is just kinda like pumping the breaks. We're not stopping the fun, we're just harnessing the energy and using it for good, not hangover evil. This will also help you to not dive into any salty, crunchy, fatty whatevers they place before you as you wait to place your order. Drink your water, say hello to those around you... (and keep your phone off the table! That's a bonus tip.)

Real Food Rule No. 2: You don't need a 4 or 5 course meal. Skip ordering an appetizer as an appetizer and instead order one as an entree. The sizes are smaller and the food is usually pretty simple. There could be a tuna tar-tar or a grilled octopus if you're into food from the sea. Chicken skewers, or little meatballs if you're into meat. Maybe there is hummus and roasted veggies you use as dippers. Peruse the apps like the entrees don't exist. Appetizer portions are like regular people portions who aren't trying to feed a family of 10 off one plate. 

Real Food Rule No 3: There is this remote part of the menu that rarely sees the light of day, and it's really only the true purveyors of fine cuisine who know it's there and full of useful things... like vegetables. It's that little teeny-tiny section down in the corner of the menu called "Sides". Now beware! There are some bad things lurking in there that by simply reading them will begin producing excess saliva in your mouth which will then immediately send the signal to your brain that your gut is ready to digest some food so send down the truffle fries, STAT! 

Ignore your body/mind and listen to your fat cells. They don't want to get any bigger so please, order the spinach, or broccoli, or brussels, and ask them to steam them instead of roasting the ever loving goodness out of them. And ignore the fact that a plate of steamed broccoli can run you about $8... just ignore it and order them. 

Ok, so now you've had a glass of water, you've ordered an appetizer and a side of steamed veggies, and you're feeling pretty righteous.

This is where it gets tricky. You may be feeling a little too good here, but I implore you, don't get cocky. Don't start patting yourself on the back just yet. There's more to this meal and you know it, so you better be well prepared because here comes that sly waiter hoping for a sliiiightly bigger tip with his little tiny dessert menu that he'll casually place before you and leave it to your inner demons to hash out if it will be the bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake, or that chocolatey lava thing! 

Can I interest you in some dessert? Take your time, I'll be back in a few minutes.

This indeed is a tricky moment. You're feeling like you deserve that dessert. Just a bite. You've been doing sooooo well! Well I'm here to tell you that it's not an option. Buck up girl and don't get your panties all in a wad because dessert ain't happening. Your reward is not packing on the pounds and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. So what you need to do here is say, Pardon me, but are there any fresh berries I could nibble on? And without even looking at your friends tell them to shut the f*ck up. They can have their cake and eat it too, but not you. Not this time. This time you're serious, and while you're out to have fun and let loose, you're not here to take home bigger fat cells. 

Going out doesn't mean that you need to be force fed large ass portions and eat 5 course meals. Just be smart, and deal with the fact that you may go home a wee bit hungry but you'll be damed if you're hungover at 5 am with kids jumping on your head and poking at your bigger belly asking if you're pregnant again! (Yup, that happened once.)

As always, I'd love to hear from you and discover what tips you've uncovered that work for you! My community can only grow by sharing the experiences and helping one another out, so please leave a comment, leave a tip, let me know if any of these tips are useful and/or currently being employed by you!!

 

 

Why You Need to Clean Out Your Closet That Is Your Brain!

If you come across calm waters, this is the BEST place to sit and think! The BEST!

If you come across calm waters, this is the BEST place to sit and think! The BEST!

It's time to get into your head. Like really, really get in there. I'm talking like putting on your big girl pants and not being afraid to get a little messy; because fears, irrational thoughts, anxiety... they are the epitome of messy. 

Why do this? I say why not! We're coming up to a new year and why not clean out your closets BEFORE it gets here?! Just like closets, your brain holds so much junk that it's almost bursting at the seams with so much information, and chatter. Endless chatter. I must think the same thoughts over and over and over so many times in a day it should literally drive me over the edge. And some days it does. 

Think about this... what do you focus on each day? Is it your finances, or your lackluster office job? Is it all about food for you and what you're going to eat to help get you out of a bad mood? A bad relationship? That thing hanging over your head that you haven't gotten to yet? Are you always running around like a chicken without a head, zipping around from one place to the next, never having a moment to yourself? Are you annoyed at others for the current state of affairs in your life? 
 
Slow your roll and take stock.

That's all you have to do when starting out on a massive cleaning project. Take a look at what you're working with, and see how it's affecting/creating your life experiences. I've begun to do this because I'm a big, old, fat worry-wort and prone to anxiety, so I decided to try and figure out why. Ah the age old question of WHY?! To be honest I haven't an answer yet... but, on the flip side, I'm learning SO MUCH about myself. Like, I need to stop feeling like I'm not good enough (because no one has ever said to me, Hey Anne Marie, you really stink at being good enough!) So why am I saying it to myself?! Beware though, it's a bit of a mindf*ck when you start asking yourself questions of why you do certain things. You sometimes find there are no valid reasons. (And you've been wasting your time. And energy. For nothing!)

So this is why I'm asking you to start asking "why?". Why are you thinking about a certain thing, and how is that directly affecting how you encounter and interact with the people and circumstances around you? Get that notebook out (you know that one that's so cute you just had to have it because it was going to change the way you did things... it was going to help you to become more organized, thoughtful, and mindful? We all have that cute notebook... dust it off, it's time to start using it!), and jot down a few things that are trolling around in your brain. Start asking why, what supports that thought, and how can you change it to begin to help you feel empowered, instead of downright defeated. 

I bet you will be surprised at some of your answers. Start asking empowering questions because that's the key to changing and altering your conscious train of thought. Take control, start paying super close attention to where your thoughts take you, and turn them around if it's getting to be a little too dark in there. Begin to empower yourself, love yourself, be kind, and smile. You are better than good enough and it's time you started to understand that!

I'd love to hear from you about what you discover! Leave a comment below and let's get the conversation started. We grow when we share and I would LOVE to grow my little community with your help!

So answer me this: When you ask yourself what do you love MOST about yourself, what pops up? (i.e. Is it positive thoughts, or is it something more like, "Hmmmm... I don't know, I never thought of asking myself that, I don't have an immediate answer"?)

 

Q & A: I Hate Exercising... How Can I Make It More Enjoyable?!

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I hear this question a lot. Like a lotta lot. It's almost as if it's a common theme among the whole entire human race! There are those few outliers I'll admit whom I've come across, and even I look at them a little cockeyed thinking they can't be for reals. Like c'mooooooon, nobody likes exercise that much.

The struggle is real. And it doesn't matter that exercising actually ends up making you feel energized, or puts you in an elevated state of mind, or that you can pretty much feel awesome for the entire rest of the day after working out. Those feel-good hormones flow so happily throughout the bod, so why do we hate it so much??

That alone should be reason and enjoyment enough to make this question completely absurd. 

But yet, it persists. It's real. Getting, finding and acting upon the motivation to get your butt into action mode is one tough battle. One many of us fail miserably at. So... that's why this is such a great question and I'm so excited to offer my insight, my expertise, and my own tactics.

First let's get the elephant out of the room. You NEED to exercise! So right now you need to clean out the excuse box you have ready at your side whenever you need an out. Dump it out and set it aflame. Living in an excuse free zone is going to help you tremendously! This should feel liberating. 

But instead it probably feels super fkn scary, like what did I just do kind of scary. But if you don't have any excuses, then you don't have any excuses. It's all out in the open and you can get on with things. No more back and forth conversations between wanna-be healthy you and wanna-be super lazy you. Those convos take up a whole lotta time that you just don't have sista. 

Now that exercise is on the brain and there is nothing that can excuse it, we can move on to the next step.

Get your sneaks on. Just put them on. I don't care if you're in your pajamas. Put. Them. On. (You can take your pajamas off over the shoes.) What this simple motion does is it sets your plan in motion. It's a small action that sends a big message to your lazy brain. It says these feet are ready to go, so get up, get dressed and let's get moving! 

Taking action sets things in motion and forces you to take the next step.

Which is to try something new. Go check out that class you've been telling your friends you've been wanting to try out (for mooooooonths) but haven't yet. Well now you have your shoes on and your excuse box is empty, so go and don't look back. Nobody needs you here. We need you there. GO!

And if that class isn't much to your liking, then go and try a new one. There are new classes, new fitness hot spots, new trends popping up all over, all the time. Sh*t, even I have an online exercise video program (shameless plug) that's for busy moms. Trying new things is also the best way to train your body but keeping it guessing. You'll be doing leg and core work in spin class, and stretching, and pilates in a reformer class, and flowing through moves in yoga while getting your zen fired up. Try them all! I bet you'll meet some pretty cool chicks along the way too that are just like you.. women looking for a little connection, a little space to be social, and a cool spot to get in shape. 

You could even be a fitness renegade by taking the "social and in shape" theory to new heights by staring your own fitness group. Host a gaggle of your girls and hire a trainer to come to your house. I did this with a group of girls and I have to tell you, it was the most fun I've ever had, and they socialized the whole time while I whipped them into shape. We all left feeling uplifted, energized and were positively glowing. (I'm available for hire! Shameless plug #2)

If you take these few steps, invest a wee bit of time researching, and commit to tossing out your excuse box, you can most definitely find a way to exercise and even crack a smile while doing it. You simply have nothing to lose!

Now I'd love to hear from you! Post a comment in the section below and let me know if this speaks to you! Can you toss out your excuse box? Do you already do something you thoroughly enjoy and want to share? My community can only grow with your help so please help spread the love, because we definitely need more love in this world!

 

 

 

Guilt-Free Indulgence... How Sinful Does That Sound?

This is one of my all time favorite recipes because it feels so indulgent and sinful without any of those messy residual feelings of guilt we tend to get when we allow ourselves a big ol' bowlful of dessert! This bowl you can dive right into, swim around in it and get all close and personal with it and walk away with zero regrets. And apparently Tom Brady is a big fan of using these ingredients for his own indulgent purposes so you can add that to your mental imagery as you dive in ;) Food porn at it's best.

When you find yourself with avocados that are on the brink of over-ripeness, pop them into your processor and give this recipe a whirl, you're going to love it!

Blueberry Choco-Coconut Pudding

Ingredients

1/2 avocado
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut milk (or another dairy-free milk)
1 Tbs maple syrup
pinch sea salt
½ tsp vanilla
tsp unsweetened shredded coconut to top

Process all of the ingredients until smooth. Top with the coconut shreds and enjoy!

How to Become a Slump Crusher!

A slump crusher is an enviable character. Their ability to challenge their own self-sabotaging ways, to rise from the fall and come out on top are what all good feel-good movies are made of. And I decided that I want some of that in my life. I want to be the fallen victim tuned hero (let's just say turned Wonder Woman!) Yup, sign me up for some of that please. 

So here I am, back at blogging, sharing, pontificating, whatever you want to call it and hoping I'm at least a little better at it than before. It's been awhile since you've seen me, but here I am, giving it another go because I won't quit. I simply refuse to go away.  

Nooooooow granted, I wasn't always this excited, jacked-up, or remotely upbeat and this focused. Nosiree. I was in a murky slump. A funk, a state of mind, enduring an insufferable and seemingly never-ending conversation I had with myself (Why do I feel so blah? Why can't I get it together and turn my business around? Why am I so crabby with my kids? Why am I yelling so much? Why am I taking all of this for granted?) Oh Lord the channel wasn't changing, my focus more powerful than ever. It was a slump-alicious-fest that I catered to because at that point the slump felt easier (and safer) than the work that needed to be done in order to get out of it. (Sound all too creepily familiar??)

We all crash into our slumps sooner or later and when the cosmics collide, it's at those moments when you think you simply can't succeed, and that it's all too much. Aaaaaaaaaand that's when you finally have to make the move from 'crash-victim' to 'crush-hero'! And that's what I did (well, am doing. Currently. Right now. In this space with you very fine people :) 

And it's actually much simpler than I realized. Avoidance, retail therapy, and chocolate binging aside, there are simple steps you can take to help tackle the problem, get yourself prepared, and make the move from funk, to motivated and gettin' sh*t done! 

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First, it would help if you didn't:

Take on the whole kit and kaboodle. Whether it's losing 30 pounds, deciding on what you want to do with your life, or how you go about fixing a relationship gone haywire, the tactics are the same. You need to GET CLEAR on your goals. Like super-duper, clarity clear on what you want to accomplish without taking on every thing at once. Us girls tend to feel like we need to tackle everything head on, at once, without taking a moment to breathe, think or react... it's simply go, go, go all the time, and at the end of the day, we're 1/2 bottle in, instagramming, texting, ignoring the immediate world because there ain't nothing left at that point. Then we get up the next day and hit "repeat".

That's why we need to get clear. Grab a pen and just start dishing girl. Write it all down, each and every last thing you want to accomplish. It can be for today, for next week, a year from now, five years from now... just write it all out.

And then go back. Read it. Study it. Get to know it. Dance with it for a little bit. Get comfy and cozy in it. And then start picking at it. In fact, pick three accomplishments for starters. Just three because it's time to prioritize. From those three, go down to two. Again, dance with them for a little, try them on, see how they feel, how they look. Once you're satisfied, I want you to then pick one. JUST ONE. Clarity alleviates anxiety and fear. It creates laser-focus. If you're laser-focused on your goals and you know the first, simple step that you have to take, it's so much easier than wading into the unknown murky waters of your sub-conscious where all sorts of uncertainty, misguided beliefs, and plain old ickiness reside. There be alligators in there for sure and they bite! And they hurt. And they pull you down. 

Decide what is it you're looking to accomplish. Limit your to-do, to not-eat, to stop-doing list to one thing and let that become your focus.

Next, you're going to have to:

Take action as soon as it's humanely possible. There is NO WAY sitting down, contemplating, rehashing, shaming, excuse-making will help you AT ALL at this point. The only thing you can do once you decide to do something is to take action. I know I said clarity alleviates anxiety and fear, and while it does, action alleviates anxiety and fear even more! You may fear taking the first step but once you magically take that leap, your fears stay behind. They have no faith, they have no wings, and they have no use for you when you decide to abandon them. So figure out your first actionable step and for the love of bunnies and rainbows, take that first step. Just do it. Don't even give yourself time to talk you out of it. Go, jump, fly!

And if you fall flat on your face:

Don't get discouraged. Simply change the story you're telling yourself in your head. Just change it. You're not pathetic, you're not destined to be where you are, you're not a loser who can't follow through with anything... whatever the conversation you're having, whatever the disappointment may be, the way it's making you feel isn't helping. So change your language. And again, start small and simple. Go from "I don't have the willpower to keep this up" to something more helpful like "this is a simple case of mind over matter, and I will not let my own thoughts be a stumbling block for me!"

When you practice this over and over again, I promise it will get easier and easier to follow and you'll notice you're in less and less of a slump. And if you find yourself in one, it's so much easier to turn things around. SO MUCH EASIER! Believe me, I'm writing from experience. This is what I've been practicing and I have to say, through all that we have been through this past year (with the move, me having to put aside my business so I can be with my kids, helping them through our move, entertained them in a new place, coming back to my business and not sure there is anything to come back to), lord the list goes on and on! I've started changing the conversation in my head, the stories I tell myself, and to get clear on goals, and those have been the biggest game changers of all. No need to sage the house of its icky energy... just by changing what's going on in your head and becoming clear, the energy shifts in all sorts of positive manners.

Remember to keep your goal at the forefront. That means writing it down so you can see it often. All too often we assume we won't forget and the inspiration and motivation we feel at the goal-setting moment won't diminish or fade because it feels so freaking good to be so centered and focused. But we all know, it fades, it diminishes, and it sometimes simply crashes and burns out all on it's own like a little shooting star. So sad. So write it down and look at it everyday. Every. Freaking. Day. Got it? Good.

Now, I'd love for you to go spread the word with this little phrase and hashtag:

I am a #slumpcrusher

Because my dear, there is nothing you can't accomplish with that beautiful mind of yours! 

If you like what you see here, please leave a comment, my community grows by sharing the love and spreading the positivity! 

And if you got this far in my post, then I've got something for you to help get you started! It's a little Slump-crushing freebie. All you have to do it print it out, and then let it pour out from every nook, cranny, and corner of your brain. Write out what you want to see happen in your life, and what you're going to do first to get there, and then tape it up girl, tape it up! 

3 Mindless Eating Habits You Can (And Should) Stop Today!

Trust me, there are more than three, but I'm all about sizable chunks when it comes to processing/trying new things... and anything in three's is pretty doable I'd say, so let's get to it lassy, weight loss isn't coming anytime soon unless we start getting busy... right now!

1. Curb your nibbling! A wee-little bite here, a small finger-scoop taste there, a tasty treat because you deserve it... are all really bad ideas. Like really, really bad. I know it's not something you want to hear but you don't have to let it get your knickers in a wad. I'm nit-picking here because whatever you're doing, it ain't working sister. So I'm getting down to the nitty gritty and I'm really pulling the rug out from under you because I want you to make the small changes that are going to make the BIG changes!!!!

You mindlessly eat and it's a habit you don't even realize you have. (I do it too! And when I need to reign things in, this is where I begin. Why? Because it's simple.) All you have to do is... stop. Pay attention. Pay attention like your kids are playing on the street. Be that vigilant. That aware. You can hear a car turn the corner three blocks away when your kids are playing in the street. You're up and already waving your hands for them to move aside, leering down the road watching the car come closer and closer. I want you to be THAT vigilant.

You know when you're looking for something to nibble on. You can see it coming a mile away. You're already thinking about whatever it is hidden in the dark corners of your cupboards. And you're gonna go for it, because it's little. It's harmless. It doesn't count. (Roaches are little too... but if you saw one of those bad boys you'd probably freak the eff out!) 

No matter how small, stop the mindless eating. It's no bueno if you're looking to lose weight, plain and simple. 

2. Don't ever wing it. EVER. You need a plan and that plan will set you free (from your belly!) If you take a good, solid 15 minutes on whatever day works best for you, (I don't care if it's morning, noon or midnight!) and I want you to make a solid meal plan. It doesn't have to be for the whole week, it can simply be for the next two days. Write out what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first day and then eat repurposed leftovers for the next day. Boom. Two days planned so you're never caught with a grumbling belly and no plan. Because that's when it's a free for all my friend. That's when the damage happens. Too many episodes like that and you're not feeling fab in your bathing suit. 'Nuff said. 

Me... Planning. It's really easy. Pick a fav cookbook, find two recipes. Make them. :)

Me... Planning. It's really easy. Pick a fav cookbook, find two recipes. Make them. :)

3. Quit it with the grains. Just stop. Don't believe the hype. You don't need a grain for dinner anymore. It's like we've turned into grain-bots and automatically make a grain each night to accompany our protein and veg. Why does dinner need to be a protein, a carb, and a grain??(Besides, a carbohydrate is a grain, but so are veggies.) Aaaaaaaaannnd here's the kicker... a carb that is a veggie has more fiber than a grain. Why is that important to know? Because not nearly enough of us get enough fiber in our diets and if you want to lose weight, well then you best up your fiber intake my dear. Fiber up! For dinner, make yourself a slew of veggies, I'm talking leafy greens, roots, sweet, sour, colorful, you name it and you should eat it! Who got fat from eating veggies?! NO ONE! (It's all the other crap that got them fat!) 

Try to set aside a week and test out these three simple ways to stop mindless eating. It doesn't have to be hard, you just have to put the time in (see #2 for that!) If you begin with the small things, the bigger things become more doable and you will really begin to start seeing results. 

But take a week, commit, and you will see a difference.

(Hmmmmm, I'm thinking something like this for my next free challenge would be awesome! Anyone up for a food challenge?!)

My 3 Step Process to Rid Negativity and Believe in Yourself!

Don't stop believing!

Don't stop believing!

You know the old Loiue Armstrong song, Noooooobuuuuudy knows the trouble I've seen. Noooooobuuuuudy knows my soooorrroooww. Right? Ringing a bell? Spaceballs anyone?! 

Ok, age aside (I'm feeling old) that song is a classic and at one point (or many) I'm sure we've all thrown a fab pity party centered around that exact theme. We're feeling low, knee deep in troubled waters, feeling under-appreciated and overwhelmed (hallooooooo motherhood, I'm talking to you!), and it's easy to let those feelings take over, which in turn amp up that little voice in our heads that if left to their own devices can easily turn into a booming death metal song you can't get out of head! (WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU, DUN DUN DUN, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, DUN DUN DUN, YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH, DUN DUN DUN.... or something like that. Heh.)

Whatever the tune that plays in your mind, you do realize that those thoughts are there to undermine you, correct? And you do realize that it's only your brain doing the job it was intended to do, right? When things get to be a bit too much, or we're feeling down and out about our situations, the human brain is designed to focus on what's going wrong in our lives and to basically freak out about it. It's been working that way for millions of years (so as to avoid death by lion feasting!), and although it would be a welcome change if it could slightly evolve so that we're all filled with joy and rapture all the time instead of shifting toward the negative, it did at one point serve a purpose. Now, however, these thoughts we have are actually helping to create depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and so much more. 

That's why it's so important to have a strategy when you're feeling low because it's so easy to stay there and wallow in it. But honey, life keeps moving and if you spend too much time wallowing in your "comfort zone", (because let's be honest, even though it doesn't make you feel good, there is some sort of pleasure you get from remaining there... if it didn't, you'd get out of there ASAP!), you're gonna miss a whole big part of life. For example, all the good parts!

Let's get strategizing then so we can get to the good parts of living! Here's what I've started doing when I'm feeling low and so far it's been helping me get out of some major funks. But it's a work in progress and just when you think you have it all figured out, you fall prey. So be diligent and practice these steps often so they become second nature to you.

1. Recognize your strengths. Because baby you got them! You have a gift that only you have and you need to know what that gift is. And it could be many! Think of what you're good at and write it down. Make a list. Write it out and place it where you'll see it always! You're special and you have something that no one else in this whole wide world has, and you need to know it, celebrate it, and cultivate it. Are you good at sorting stuff? Talking to strangers? Creating time-saving short-cuts? Whatever it is, no matter how small you think it is, it's something unique to you and you need to understand it and own it. Even better, ask your close friends and family what they think your strengths are, I bet you'll be surprised (happily!) at what they have to say. 

2. Understand your triggers. What thought, or action sets in motion the feelings of inadequacy, failure, or anxiety? What causes you not to believe in yourself? Is it a person, an activity, a recurring thought? How can you change your circumstances so you can avoid or lessen the strength of that trigger? For me it's my lack to plan out my days, which inevitably leave me feeling like I've accomplished nothing with the time I had for the day. Something simple like that has the ability to knock the wind right out of my sails. Once I realized that, it became simple to come up with a solution. Now I spend 15 - 20 minutes every morning after the kids have been dropped focusing on what I want to accomplish along with what needs I have to fulfill (like going to the grocery store, planning play dates and returning library books - things that easily fall by the wayside.) Once I learned that this little practice turned around those feelings of not being able to get it all done, I actually felt accomplished at the end of the day... so much better than feeling defeated!

3. Always be kind to yourself. Ditch the negative talk because as I tell my son, when he says something negative about himself or even his little brother, what he says will go up to the stars who will hear him and send the message back to him even stronger so that everyone will begin to believe it. That's the best way I can describe the Universe to him, but he gets it and stops the pattern right then and there. 

If you keep telling yourself that you're not worthy, that you don't believe in your abilities or things even more debilitating, what do you think is going to happen? Joy isn't going to come along unexpectedly and smother you. No way. Joy is gonna see you coming and hightail it in the other direction for fear or being drowned out by you and your negativity! 

When you notice the negativity starting to come forth, stop it in its tracks by saying one nice thing about yourself. And then put a big fat smile on your face even if it's killing you inside to do it! It will change the moment and then you can change the thought.

3a. Get Inspired! (This was a last minute add-on but I was feeling it so strongly I had to share!) Having something to work towards, something that gets your juices flowing, will get you out of your funk fo' sure! Get selfish and take time to pursue your passions, even if it's for 30 minutes a day. What would you want to do if you could do ANYTHING in the world? Be a savvy day-trader? Know three languages? Learn how to make a mean Soupe à L'oignon? Whatever it is, becoming inspired creates a fire inside that just won't die. It's keeps you young, and motivated, and can open up new worlds. Challenge yourself to get inspired and you'll soon forget you're in a funk!

I believe in these steps so much so that I created a pretty little worksheet for you to print out so you can practice these methods for yourself to see how they really do work. You can download the worksheet here, and please give yourself a good 10 - 15 minutes to fill it out. The power of your own written words is pretty incredible so take advantage and keep this close at hand when completed. Refer to it as often as you need!

If you have any methods that you employ that help you to get out of your funk and start believing in yourself, you must share! I'd love to hear what you do, so comment below and I'll let you know if that's something I'll begin to do as well! (Sharing is caring!) 

One Simple Word Swap That Can Change Your World!

Are you ready for this? This is powerful stuff I'm about to lay down on you so make sure you got the kids occupied elsewhere and they're not running to you creating all sorts of distractions with snotty noses, art projects, and endless food demands! This is serious stuff and it's going to change how you talk to yourself, and how good you are at owning your own sh*t! 

I want you, going forward, to be as real as you can with yourself. When time comes to get something done, to make a change and to follow through, I want you to listen very closely to how you speak. When you totally decide to give it your all—and you know those moments, you're inspired, you're pumped, you're totally enthusiastic and can conquer the world—I want you to pay attention to what you say, not right away, but about a week, maybe two weeks later. Yeeeeessss, one to two weeks later. Notice what's happening. Maybe your enthusiasm is waning a bit. You're no longer as pumped and psyched as you were a couple weeks ago. A little word starts creeping in and taking over. All of a sudden you "I can't" anymore. You're beginning to "I can't" everything for one reason or another. You feel me?

There is a quick and simple way out of this little slump though that can turn it all around and get you back to your excited and committed self. It's a simple word swap that goes like this: Instead of saying "I can't", start saying "I won't".

Right?

Mind slightly blown at the power of that? If not, let me give you an example... instead of saying, I can't work out today, I simply can't make the time, say, I won't work out today, I simply won't make the time.

That one word change puts the onus exactly where it needs to be, right on YOU! Now I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just trying to get real and allow you to own your sh*t and realize maybe the true reason why things aren't happening the way you wanted or expected is because of the words you're using. 

I try to eat healthy but I just can't resist all those goodies on the buffet table. 

Now say: 

I try to eat healthy but I just won't resist all those goodies on the buffet table. 

Pretty powerful stuff if you ask me. I've done this with a few things in my life and it really helps change my perspective and my approach! Now I know what you're thinking... you're thinking Really? This is going to change my world? 

All I can say is, Fkn A it is! Try it for yourself and see. 

Now I have to admit, this idea didn't come from me, I scooped up this little nugget of wisdom from someone you may all know, Marie Forleo. She is one smart chickedy and I respect her and her philosophy so much that I highly recommend you all going to check out her TV show, Marie TV. She is one savvy girl!

So tell me, will you try this out? Will you find out if it's helpful to you? If so, please let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!

 

3 Healthy On-The-Go Snacks

This is probably one of the biggest issues many of us (if not all - let's be real) suffer from. The What the hell am I going to eat? I've been running around all day and I'm seriously low on fuel, I could literally eat gravel I'm so freaking hungry moment.

Snacking has got to be one of the worst things to figure out since it always seems like there is nothing to eat when all we want to do is immediately eat something! That's when it gets ugly and anything goes... and goes quickly. 5 minutes after a frenzied smash and grab in the cupboards and you're left like wtf just happened?! 

Rewind the tape and let's hit the reset button.

It comes down to this, and only this: if you plan ahead, you won't overeat on crap. Plain and simple, just how I like it. Being healthy takes work, just like relationships do, just like building a career does, and just like raising well-adjusted children. None of that "just happens", and neither does 50 pounds in the mid-section! 

It's habits, beliefs, behaviors, and a whole slew of other factors that if left unattended can wreak havoc on you and your body. So let's do the work and plan ahead shall we? (This means putting down the phone, and not getting too self-absorbed/sucked into Facebook or Instagram! Your time is valuable so why not use it for good, not mindless evil ;)

The three snacks I've come up with are also kid-friendly so these are perfect for baseball games, soccer games, lacrosse and any other activity your kids are involved in. Go ahead, be that mom and get ready for all the other moms to be like, guuuurrrrrlll, I'm gonna need that recipe!

Here's what I've come up with:

1. Apple slices with peanut butter/maple syrup spread

This one is so easy and soooooo yummy your kids are going to love it as an afternoon snack! Here's what you need:

1 apple, sliced
1/4 cup peanut butter, or almond - or seed butter
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a small pot over a low flame add in the peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix until well combined, only a minute or two. Place on the side and slice your apple. Scoop a little of the peanut butter/maple syrup mixture onto the apple slice and top with the chopped walnuts. Easy peasy.

And if you're feeling lazy, because hey, we all have our moments, you can simply make the spread, add in the chopped walnuts, and put in a bowl for easy scoop-ability! Good fats, protein, naturally sweetened... it's got it all for a grab-able snack. Prep a few beforehand and place in the fridge for a grab and go!

2. Energy Seed Balls

A little bit of protein, some anti-inflammatory benefits, and a little natural sweetness round out these balls as a perfect grab and go! You simply can't feel guilty eating these bad boys. 

1 cup dates, soaked in water for a little bit before using
1 cup old-fashioned oats, ground down in your food processor
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs ground flaxseeds
1 Tbs chia seeds

In your food processor, or high powered blender, add in the oats and pulse into a fine grain. Drain the dates and add into the processor and blend until well combined with the oats. Then add in the all the seeds and pulse until well combined. Then roll out the mixture into little balls and place in the fridge for a few minutes, and then eat them, what are you waiting for? They're pretty darn good! (And if you need a hard sell for the kids, melt 1 Tbs coconut oil, 1 Tbs maple syrup, and 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder in a small saucepan over a low flame and stir until well combined. Once the mixture cooled down a bit, roll the balls in the chocolate and watch your kids eat them all!)

3. Protein Brownies

Now I'm a brownie freak so I'm gonna be real here and tell you that no, these do not taste like my fudge brownies I make every Christmas, simply because there is 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of sugar in those... I can't replicate that and still be able to tell you it's a healthy snack. So with that in mind, know that these are actually good for you brownies and while they're not super sweet, they're pretty darn good and will crush any craving you have for the real thing because these are packed with good fats and protein... just what you need to squash a craving! So don't be deterred, these are brownies and they're good for you. Can you say that about any other brownie?! 

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter, or almond, or seed butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 scoop chocolate plant protein powder (I use VegaOne)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Place parchment paper in a small baking dish. In a medium sized bowl add in the bananas and mash them up. Then add in the peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, protein powder and vanilla and mix until well combined. Place mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread the mixture out evenly. Add the sea salt on top and bake for about 20 minutes. Once done, remove from the pan and place on cutting board to cool. Then slice into squares and keep in the fridge for about a week, if they'll last that long!

And there you have it. 3 healthy on-the-go snacks that you can whip up in no time flat. Trust me, it's worth the effort to have snacks on hand that you can grab and take with you because life is unpredictable and we always seem to be on the go. Your healthy matters and what you eat, every single day, makes a huge difference in the long run, so quit giving your body fuel it can't use (junk food), and start giving it the supreme kind of fuel it can actually work with!

 

3 Simple Ways to Alleviate Stress

I am currently up to my ears in moving boxes so you can imagine the level of stress pulsating throughout my body. Typical bodily response and one you can relate to I'm certain, however the tricky thing is that my mind has turned itself into one big, fat saboteur. It's undermining me every single step of the way and it's really starting to get at me.

Current status of our downstairs living room... even pooh bear is overwhelmed!

Current status of our downstairs living room... even pooh bear is overwhelmed!

Once everything I hated about the apartment I'm now getting all sentimental about. I loathe the fact that my bedroom is right off the living room for all to see... but now I realize it's so much more convenient than having to climb stairs if I forget something or simply want to change my shoes before I run out! And how cute is the little park that we play at every single day in the summer now? I know it's more of a patch of grass next to the train station, and not the safest in terms of traffic, but man, it's so convenient. (Seriously?? I could not wait to exchange it for a lawn. There is only so many times you can shout at your kids to stay on the grass in front of others before you become known as the screamer mom!) All the things I wanted to exchange for a house, my mind is now making me think twice about. Have we made the right decision?? Are we really going to be happy with a whole big house?? Can I take my super with me??

Upstairs living room... cringe-worthy!

Upstairs living room... cringe-worthy!

Clearly I do not do well with change and my mind is all over that. Ever since the possibility of buying this house presented itself, my body has revolted. Case in point, I have never once experienced eczema, but since January when this house popped on the market, my legs have been letting me know that change is a'comin! They have never been so itchy, blotchy, downright horrendous looking. No chance I'm getting a pedi with this going on. Stress be damned! I've heard it muttered before that the one constant you can rely on is change, so I better start adjusting to it or I will be taken over by disease and discomfort.

So to battle stress, I've realized that it must be done methodically. It has to be focused on and dealt with head on, otherwise it will simply take you over, one limb, one organ, and one waistline at a time! We all know stress is a silent killer, the havoc it can reap, so it's best to have a few tricks up your sleeve, even when you just want to crawl under your covers for days!

So when those legs start itching up a storm, I've got it down to three things I can do that help me to feel a little more in control, a little more relaxed, and even a little, dare I say, happy! 

Here's what I've relied upon the last three weeks that seemed to have made my mind focus on something other than the elephant in the room. My hopes are that these three little tactics can help you, even if it's only for a moment... but then again, life is all about the moments, so you may as well try your best to make them as enjoyable as possible! (And it beats hiding out under your covers hoping it will simply pass.)

1. Listen to your favorite music. This one is my favorite. I love putting on my headphones and busting out a song like Katy Perry! I'm enveloped in the music, the beats, the vibe, and whatever mood I was in, the happy tunes turn it all around. There is magic in music and if you wait long enough, your body is going to start picking up what you're dropping and get in on it too. You will bust a move! So when I'm packing up a closet, or I'm knee deep in sentimental photographs that fell from an unearthed drawer, I got my tunes to keep me grounded and "yelling timbeeeeer"!! 

2. Eat foods that naturally boost your mood. In times of stress it's almost an automatic response to grab the most unhealthy kind there is (twinkies! jelly beans! disco fries!), because hey, I'm stressed!!!!!! Instead of reaching for the crap though, instead go for a little fat. Yes, have a little fat with your stress!

Omega-3's have been shown in studies to help alleviate depression and improve your mood. Your brain loves fat, and it needs it to perform and function at a high level, so give it what it needs, not what it wants (that whole carton of ice cream! Yes, it has fat but no omega-3's baby!) Try dishing up a little salmon for lunch, or have avocado toast with a soft scrambled egg on top - fillling your belly with good foods your body can use in times of stress will go a long way in keeping you healthy even when it feels like everything is falling apart.

If we want to get into the nitty-gritty, eating foods that are high in tryptophan is your best bet when stress comes a'knockin! Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed for general growth and development, producing niacin, and creating serotonin in the body. A few foods you can stock up on are nuts and seeds, cheese, meats (all grass-fed and finished), chicken/turkey (organic), fish (wild-caught), eggs, beans and lentils. Basically, you want to eat a healthy diet especially during times of high-stress. Resist the urge to dive into a bag of chips by acknowledging that that bag is doing right by no one! Stay healthy, stay hydrated, and stay guilt-free!

3. Exercise. You knew this was going to be in the top three didn't you?! What better way is there to get your happy hormones pulsing through your body than moving your body with purpose? And playing your music while doing it, well then you hit the daily double! You can go for the trifecta by ending your sweat session with a little happy does of additional serotonin by eating shredded grilled chicken salad (all that is is grilled chicken, 2 Tbs hummus, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 chopped red pepper and a little salt and pepper.) Get your body moving because exercise is the magic pill that you can't get over the counter.

And that is how I have been getting through the last three weeks... oh well wait, there was also a weekend away with my sisters which always helps to get back to neutral, and to also help make you realize that sometimes you may take things too seriously. (Nothing like siblings to help keep it real for you!) Make time to take care of yourself, even if that means just sitting down and reading a book for a half an hour. Take care of yourself because life will always present a challenge. It's how you handle the challenge that help you grow and learn. 

 

 

10 Healthy Hacks That Can Help You Lose Weight!

I'm all about hacks. Whatever can make life a little easier, I'm all in. (Is there a hack for raising obedient and respectful boys who always listen their mom the first time instead of the 100th time when I'm at my whits end and I'm not asking anymore but instead I'm red-faced, with steam exploding out of my ears, hands flying in all directions and I'm saying things my brain can't keep up with? That would be a worthwhile hack to employ.) 

So I've got 10 hacks for you that I really think are going to help make the necessary small changes that will propel you into a momentous whirlwind that will get you creating massive change before you know it and shedding pounds!

But first, I'd like to point out that you are so much more capable than you think. This is a toughie for many of us to swallow, but it's so true, I've witnessed it a million times I tell you. You are stronger than you think. You can make massive change in your life, but you need to believe it to see it. And you need to start slowly. That's what these hacks are intended to do, to help you start slowly and gain momentum. You can do this, you just have to believe in yourself. 

Ok, so... here we go!

1. When dining at home, use your salad plate instead of your big mongo dinner plate for all your meals. This will help your brain to think you're eating the perfect amount by seeing your plate all filled up! 

2. If you're not getting a good night's sleep, your body isn't getting the proper recovery time it needs at the end of every day. Instead of taking some over-the-counter meds, try this little concoction I learned from Tim Ferriss (the 4 Hour Workweek, 4 Hour Chef, 4 Hour Body guy) for a blissful night of sleep! Take some warm water and mix in 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbs raw honey. That's all! Enjoy about an hour before light's out.

3. Drink your veggies. I make a smoothie almost everyday and it's my veggie hack. I get in celery, a beet, ginger, a cup of leafy greens, and a small piece of fruit (usually a kiwi since it has high amounts of vitamin C). I also make enough for two... one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. 

I got a whole other glassful in the fridge!

I got a whole other glassful in the fridge!

 

4. When you're eating out, a simple hack is to order the house salad, and maybe ask if they can throw a few shrimpies on there or a slice or two of grilled chicken (they'll happily do that), and one appetizer, and that's your meal. With water. Done.

5. If you're a big snacker throughout the day, start eating protein at every meal. Every. Single. Meal. It will help to slow down your digestion and make you feel fuller longer. No more snacking. 

6. Change your vocabulary. (Yes, this is seriously a hack.) What you say to yourself has a HUGE impact on your day. Pay attention. We all know the famous quote, "If you think you can't, then you can't. But if you think you can, then you can" or something very close to that! What you think to yourself makes all the difference. Change out a few of your go to words and see how that can transform how you see yourself and your situation.

7. Know your mantra. I'm a big, huge mantra fan. I'm always saying one to myself and my most recent one is this, "Fill your mind with positivity - this way there is no room for anything else"

8. Start your morning with warm water and lemon. I know you've heard this one a million times, so just do it already! It's good for the belly.

9. Chew your food. Like really chew it. I'm thinking 40 chews. It'll feel really weird and maybe a little gross at first, but the more you do it, the more consciously aware you become of your food. It slows down the rate that food is storming the belly, and it helps with the digestive procedure. Give your gut a little break from working so hard and chew!

10. Sniff some essential oils. For reals. Orange oils have the ability to boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Lavender has a calming effect and is also an anti-inflammatory. I place a few drops on my palms and rub them together and then inhale and let the calming take over. It smells so nice! You can even get a little infuser and let the smell take over your bedroom which can help you to fall asleep. 

There you have it my friend. 10 healthy hacks that I use that help keep me on the straight and narrow as I journey to make my life a little bit healthier each and every day! If you have any that you use, please share with me, I'd love to learn from you! And in case you'd like to keep these hacks somewhere where you can always see them, you know I've got a little freebie for you! Download my PDF that has all these written down so you can employ a little hack when you need the help. 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Get Back On Track!

I recently had one of those moments where I realized it was aaalllll going downhill. This realization came to me mid-jelly bean raid. I was downing a bag of jellies like no one's business. And I knew it was wrong on so many levels because I was totally hiding it from my kids. (I did NOT want to share with them!) As I'm chomping away on these sugar nuggets I flash to the numerous amounts of bread and butter slices I consumed within the last week.. (ok month), the chocolate bits and pizza slices and glasses of wine and oh lord how the list was quickly filling up! How did this happen? How did I sway so far from center that my diet was leaning all the way towards sugar and crap and so far from veggies and good fats? 

So I put the jellies away (in my belly, let's be honest), and swore to get back on track. But how?? I felt so far gone, so sluggish... and so large. But where there is a will... I knew I could figure this out. If you're anything like me, you've had these moments, and you've had that moment of clarity (or disgust!), where you knew it was time, time to get back on track.

So, shall we?

1. It's time to face the hard reality.

It's you, not anyone else. Now I know that seems preeeeeetty harsh and hard to swallow but sister, if you're not looking at yourself when it comes to pointing the finger, then please, let me do it for you! You're in the situation you're in simply because you placed yourself smack dab right where you are. Smack dab. (Those jelly beans didn't magically appear in my bag.)

Now I realize there are some situations that maaaaaay be the exception, but on the whole, I'm willing to bet the farm you're not happy where you are, and you're the reason why. Why do I believe that so firmly? Simple. The way you think about life and the way you respond to your circumstances and environment are all up to you. Nobody else tells you HOW to react or HOW to respond. Nope. That's all on you. So if you're feeling miserable and tell yourself the only pleasure I can feel now will come from this __________ (fill in the blank, Could be jelly beans, chips, soda, wine, chocolate, cake, bowl of pasta and bread, basket full of Easter candy), then you're reacting in a way that will not empower you or lighten your load, literally! You're only adding to it. And you know it! That's the worst part. WE KNOW IT! And yet we still do it.

So the first way to get yourself back on track is to say to yourself, I own my situation and I'm finally willing to do something about it that empowers me, makes me feel good, and can make me healthier than I ever imagined possible! (Damn straight sister!)

2. Don't ever use the word Willpower again!

Strike it from your vocabulary! Don't even utter it. It's useless and full of deception. It's not what's going to make you finally succeed. There is no power in it. If anything, its power is to hinder you, make you feel like a failure and steal away your enthusiasm. It's also a diversion. If you can blame your willpower, you again don't have to really blame yourself. Nah, I say skip the drama and instead create a plan in which you can't fail. That means don't all of a sudden say you're off dairy, wheat, and meat because 99% of you will fall off that wagon in less than a week. That's too much to do all at once. It's unsustainable. Doing too much at once will not create a lifestyle change. What that is has a name: yo-yo dieting. And we hate yo-yo dieting yo! Don't rely on your willpower or use it as a crutch. Instead rely on your sensibilities and don't take on too much right out the gate. 

3. I'm a big Tony Robbins fan. Like I drink the Kool-aid and he is my jam. One of the things I've learned from him is the pleasure/pain relationship and how that shapes our life experiences. If something it too painful, we tend to avoid it like a Patriot's game ;) by opting to do something more pleasurable. It's similar to this: If I don't eat this chocolate bar, I'll be really upset because it tastes so good and I really, really, really want it because it's 4pm and I'm really cranky and need a treat because I deserve it. (It brings pleasure.) If I don't have it, how else am I going to treat myself? There is no other treat that I want. I don't want a bowl of broccoli, or an unsweetened iced tea, or some lemon water. WTF will that do? That's just painful and I don't want it. So... chocolate bar it is. I'll be happy. (for how long though??? That's the question we don't ask!) Anyway, you can see how the two emotions play off each other. And this kind of thinking is usually all done in a millisecond within our brains because it's become habitual. We don't even realize it's happening, the only thing we see is our hands unwrapping that chocolate bar and our brains starting to light up!

So No. 3 is notice your pleasure/pain points and try to create new ones that are more suited to creating a healthier lifestyle.

4. Use your power of imagination. 

Why is the power of the imagination only encouraged upon our little ones? Why, as adults, can we not play with that power? We use the power of cynicism waaaaay more than we do imagination and that, well that just ain't right my dear. I love creating the idea of what I want my life to look like, how I want to feel, and what I want to create. I love thinking of how amazing I can feel in a strong body. Creating the imagery and imagining the feelings they would bring go a long way in keeping one motivated and striving to reach their goals. I highly recommend harnessing this power to create an image of yourself and how you want to be in order to create the massive momentum toward the change you want to see in yourself. It's truly powerful stuff! (And just ask your kid how fun it is!)

5. Become laser-focused.

We all tend to perform better when we keep our attention focusing on one thing, and then working toward that one thing only. And it doesn't have to be major, it's better if it's little. For example, you want to lose 20 pounds. Pretty common goal, and plenty of tools you can use to accomplish that goal. Get a gym membership, hire a personal trainer, join weight watchers, etc. There is a plethora of options from which you can choose from. The tricky thing is, once you decide your path, what are you going to focus on. Because when you narrow down your goals and become so super specific, you have a waaaaaay better chance of succeeding than simply saying "I'm going to join the gym and lose 20 pounds". I suggest taking a big goal like that and breaking it out into 3 steps. And write down those 3 steps so you can see them and begin to get laser-focused on accomplishing those steps. 

So, with your 20 pounds you can break it down like this. I'm going to join the gym and my 3 steps are this:

1. I will take a fitness class offered at the gym at least twice a week. (This way you'll be getting in a fun workout without having to do any of the thinking, and you will meet plenty of like-minded people!)

2. I will ask at the front desk if they have a nutritionist or health coach on board who I can sit with and discuss my eating habits, and maybe get an idea of an area I can work on to lose weight.

3. I will commit to this plan for at least one month and then I will check back in and see how I'm progressing and how I'm feeling. If I can add onto it, I most certainly will, and if I haven't followed through as much as I intended, I will write down why I think that is and create another plan. 

Simple. That's just how I like it, especially when you're just starting, starting over, or getting back on track. Now if you stayed with me through this long post, (thank you for that!), it shows that you're ready to commit and ready to make some changes! I think one of the most important things you can do right now is to plan it out and take action, right now! So in order for you to have a starting point, I've created a freebie for you that I love. It's a one-pager that you can print out right now and write down your goal and the first three steps you're going to take toward accomplishing that goal! I love simplifying things, and when you can write down and see on paper what it is you need to do instead of letting those steps mull around in your mind, getting walked all over by life, the more focused and energized you'll be to make it happen, to make it realllllly happen! Download it here and fill it out as soon as you can! All great journeys begin with the first step! Now get to it!

And as always, let me know how you're doing, what you want to accomplish and how you're planning on doing it because when you share, when you talk about it, you begin to give it life and the more positive energy you create around it! So share, I'd love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

3 Strategies to Finally Sit Down and Get Mindful

You can even use this mantra! It's that simple.

You can even use this mantra! It's that simple.

There are some serious heavy hitters out there who do this every. single. day. Massively successful people who can find the time and still be massively successful. If you're ever going to let your FOMO work for you instead of distract you from what you need to get done, then let this be the time it works with you. Aren't you curious about what you are missing out on? How do these people do it, and still do it all? Maybe it's high time you stop telling yourself you "should" do this and start saying, "I do this". Sit your little tush down and get to it my dear.. because you can!

Listen, it doesn't have to be this massive undertaking. It can take up to as little as 10 minutes. That's it. And the benefits are ten-fold that! For reals my dear, for reals. Stop it with your excuses, they're getting old, and no one wants to hear you lament anymore about how busy you are. Quit it. We're over it. We're all busy... but we can choose to slow it down. We must slow it down. If not for ourselves then for our kids. Just think of the positive influence you'll have on your children when you do this. Their worlds are sooooooo much different than ours were way back when. It would benefit them tremendously to learn how to sit down and quiet the mind. If they can learn coping strategies from you, just think of how better off they will be in 20 years when technology is so advanced we'll be walking around with computer chips inserted into our brains, and no one ages! 

There is something tremendously useful to getting your kids in on the action, or just letting them see you do it. I get my 5 year old to sit with me a few times a month. We "sit" for two minutes (I sit, he flips and flops, looks this way and that - but he's quiet! And he's learning... because once in a blue moon he sits, palms placed on his knees with his eyes closed... for about 10 seconds. That's a BIG WIN where I come from!)

Ok, so anyway, strategies. We need to know how to implement the action to really make a difference, so I'm giving you three strategies you can use today to get you sitting down and letting it all go. (Doesn't it just sound awesome?!) 

Step 1: Create your space. This is a fun one! I love having a little space, and a little ritual, when I go to sit down. And trust me, I don't have a lot of space. I'm crunched between my bed and my closet and I sit on my bed pillow. But to make it feel a little bit more special, I light a candle that I keep by my bedside. It makes me feel like this is something more than plopping down on the floor and closing my eyes. You can decorate your space with anything that makes you happy. Maybe you have a favorite little knick knack that you got on a fabulous trip somewhere that's just collecting dust up on a shelf. Pull it down and place it in front of you. Incense is also a fun thing and can really make you feel zen. I also play calming meditation music which helps me focus, and if I can't focus, then I just sit and listen to it. It's nice. Any way you decorate your space it will be perfect and suited to you so have fun with it and make it feel special!

Step 2: Know your mantra. I ain't gonna lie, thoughts are going to be zipping through your brain like wildfire! You're not going to be able to shut your brain down and you'll somehow meander your way to that time your aunt wore that sundress that made her arms flap in the breeze and you swore that would never be you but how that day you remember the ribs on the grill tasting so amazing, you really need to get that recipe. Ribs for dinner sounds really excellent. Oh shit, I need to turn my brain off. And here is where your mantra comes into play. Go back to it. Repeat it in your mind, and breathe. In and out. In and out. And don't stress over your mantra either. Keep it simple. Say "I'm grateful for all that I have" and repeat that. 

Step 3: Remind yourself it's a practice. You're not going to be perfect at it from the get go and you may not even feel the utmost benefit from it right away. You may walk away from the experience feeling a little underwhelmed. That's ok, you're not a Ghandi just yet. If you need a solid reason why you just "wasted" 10 minutes of your life then realize there are things going on "under the hood" that you're not totally aware of. Like calming down your sympathetic nervous system (which triggers anxiety, depression, tension and fatigue), and gears up your parasympathetic nervous system that helps regulate your breathing, slows down heart rate, and decrease your blood pressure. You're also flooding your cells with life giving oxygen. There is always more going on beneath the surface than we realize so even though you may not have swept away your worries or anxieties, relish in the fact that your body is appreciative and relaxed. That's worth more than the running around and list making you could have done with those 10 minutes. 

Use these strategies to quell any thoughts you may have that say sitting down for 10 minutes is a waste of time. It will provide benefits, you just need to be accepting and patient and they will come. If you build it... ;)

If you're still having trouble deciding to sit down and give this a go, then print out my freebie inspirational pin up on 10 Ways to Detach, and keep it in close view as your checklist for stress reduction. Even if you're sitting in your car in the pick-up line you can practice stillness and breathing. Print this out and keep it in your bag as a reminder to slow down and be mindful. A little reminder here and there can go a long way. 

Click here for your guide!

Namaste my friend!

 

3 Mind Set Changes You Can Make Today When It Comes to Exercise

Pardon my sloppy handwriting!

Pardon my sloppy handwriting!

There is soooooooo, so, so much more that goes into exercise than simply pulling on a pair of stretchy pants, lacing up your shoes and tying back your hair. Lord knows there is soooooo much more! There is the internal struggle, the 'should I stay or should I go' conversation, the good intent only to be ever so easily wavered at the first sign of trouble...

What? I don't have any clean socks? I can't go out with dirty socks, that's gross. Let me do a quick load and theeeeeen I'll head out. 

I'm hungry. I have to wait at least 30 minutes before exercising after eating right? Or is that only with swimming? Well either way I don't want to be all crampy and uncomfortable. I'll eat now and try going later. 

Ugh, I really need a pedi. It's been weeks and I only have time for one or the other... ugh, I can't stand looking at my toes in the shower, pedi it is!

You feel me right? 

We can pretty much justify any reason whatsoever to avoid the pain of actually having to muster up the mental fortitude to work out. It's a struggle. It's mental warfare. It's so easy to just avoid it altogether. And many of us do just that. Avoid. Ignore. Put off for another day. 

Well not anymore my friends, not anymore. It's as simple as changing the conversation you have with yourself and implementing a few mindset strategies that will have you saying YES, it's time for my workout, and NO to anything else! I have three mindset changes you can begin implementing right now to help you look forward to your workouts instead of fighting them with every mental fiber pulsating in your brain. 

1. Speak to your sensible, wise being that's in there and pin-point, with exact clarity what you get from exercising, and understand your "why". Why do you do it? Why do you feel the need? Why do you think it's good for you? Because it's not all for naught. Nuh-uh. The release of feel good hormones is reason enough for me to lace up and actually get my butt out the door. I know I'm a much nicer person after working out. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, or a little depressed, or I'm struggling with some facet of my life, I make sure to get moving that day, most especially on days like that, because it gets me back to neutral. Understand your why and make sure it fills a need. 

2. Stop comparing yourself to others. Talk about taking the wind right out of your sails. Do you really think it's effective, or empowering to put yourself up against some random skinny chick you happen to come across on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you hang out and say to yourself, "Man, I wish I could be more like her. I'd love to have her body." And you know you're saying that in your fingernails against a chalkboard, whiney kind of voice right?! You're not filled with joy and enthusiasm when you're thinking or saying that. No way. That voice reeks of disdain and disappointment in yourself, and makes you feel plain old lousy. Not the inspiration you need. Leave the comparing where it belongs... in the trash. And then get your big girl pants on. Talk to yourself like you love yourself. Fill your mind with positivity. (Actually, this little 5 word sentence is written on my chalkboard in my kitchen and it reminds me everyday to do just that, and boy does it really work!) Stop the comparing. When you feel yourself starting to do it, replace it with a simple, "I love myself" (even if it makes you cringe at first. Do it enough and it will get easier, I promise!)

3. Create your vision and set you action plan into motion. Vision boards are a great source of inspiration. They take what you're thinking, all that stuff that's firing away at lightspeed in your brain, and lay it all out before you so you can actually make sense of what you want and what you will achieve. People do this all the time when they want to move or change careers or fall in love. Why not do it then to achieve the health and wellness you want and deserve? You want a flat tummy, firm arms, a bootylicious bum? Then see it. Imagine yourself with it. How does it make you feel? Really feel it. Like really, really feel it. And then create the action plan to achieve it. That's where the change comes... setting into motion the action. Find a challenging ab routine to start with. Do a push up challenge. Commit to 50 squats a day. Give yourself a deadline, plan it out, and get a friend to join you. This is how you create success... and you can do this!

If you implement these three mindset changes today, and begin to take massive action toward achieving your goal, I'm gonna tell you right now you'll be met with such motivation that working out will never be a dull and burdensome task again.  

And if you do try these three changes, let me know! I always love to hear, listen and learn from you so leave a comment below or hit me up on Facebook over here! The more I know about you, the more I can help!

P.S. I have a little freebie for you to pin up so you can constantly remind yourself how you are going to change your mindset around working out! Click here for the downloadable inspiration!

 

 

Wanna Sass Up Your Food... This Will Do The Trick!

Sassing "it" up means basically anything you make for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This. Will. Sass. It. Up. Eggs in the morning, grilled chicken in the afternoon, veggies in the evening, this is your go-to kick. Me? I used it with roasted cauliflower. Weird perhaps, but it gave broccoli's step-sister a little extra zing that sometimes it lacks.

And it's clean. Oh is this clean.

Without further ado...

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 small jalapeño - chopped and seeded
1/4 cup parsley
1/2  fresh lime juice, squeezed with your citrus squeezer (or your hand)
1 scallion - roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Toss it all in your food processor and blend until creamy perfection is achieved.  (If you don't have a food processor, I highly recommend getting one! I don't have many gadgets, but I do have this and it has literally changed my life. Sad as that may sound.) If you don't eat it all up in one shot, store for a couple of days in the fridge. And then let it go if you don't get to it. Just let it go. Don't be like my mom and hold onto it for a couple of weeks. Really. You'll miss out on creamy goodness though, and healthy fats!

Banish Arm Fat with These Three Moves!

Many of us struggle with arm envy. You may or may not be aware of it but there are two kinds of people out there. The ones who have it (can I still say the Sarah Jessica Parker arms or am I dating myself? I'm going to say it anyway, it's better than saying Madonna arms, right?!) And then there is the other tribe who don't have it and hide their arms from humanity, walking around in sleeves for all eternity. 

I'm here to tell you, arm enviers, that it doesn't have to be that way. (Yay!) But there is work involved. (Did I just lose you?) Come back. It's not that bad. Keep in mind, those who walk around with the SJP's hardly ever have it happen naturally. I'm pretty sure there aren't as many ladies getting "arm lifts" (arm tucks? arm lipo?) as there are getting boob lifts. (Sign me up on that one!) The SJP'ers are literally rolling up their sleeves and getting down to some serious arm workouts that even you can start doing, right now :) 

Of course I have a video for you! (I'm all about making it as easy as possible.) I took things a little slower in the video this time so you could get a clear understanding of the moves and how to do them properly. 

If you're new or a beginner to working out, start easy and do 10 reps of each exercise, going three times through. (Total of 30 reps when you're done.) For more advanced, do your thing, or try doing 5 rounds of 20 reps, whatever works for you. The goal is to do this workout a few times a week for a month, and then check yourself and see if maybe there is a little definition starting to make its way through! Below the video is a little description about each move. Enjoy and let me know if you do the workout, I'd love to hear about your progress!

1st move:
Tricep Kickback to Overhead Press

I added the step back to knee raise just because I like to include every body part if I can. No worries if it's too confusing, keep your feet planted firmly on the ground.

2nd move:
Balancing L Raise

Again, if your balance isn't where you want it, keep both legs firmly planted on the ground. This move you want to make an L shape with your hands, and no need to lift your arms all the way up. Bringing them up to shoulder height is just fine.

3rd move:
Tricep Dips

This one may not look like much but let me tell you, it focuses totally on your triceps and they will be a'burnin! 

As always, start wherever you are and try to improve a little each time!

My Three Back Exercises... That I Do For My Core!

All too often we leave our back, well on the back burner. We're more concerned with our abs, our arms and our butts to name a few. What we're not realizing though is that without a healthy and strong back, we're nothing but slouching, curled up versions of ourselves. Varying degrees of Quasimoto. Not cool.

You know this pain!

How debilitating is it when you pull a muscle in your back, or have a chronic ache in your lower back? You're squirming in your seat, struggling to find some modicum of comfort that comes only in short waves. Strong backs assist in everything, even helping to build up ab strength. Yeeees, that's right. Abs are built along with strong backs. They're partners in crime. Cheech and Chong. Bo and Luke Duke. Ross and Rachel. (Probably more so like Ross and Rachel due to all the drama and on again off again, we were on a break thing. Our back aren't always happy, just like them.)

What's to do then?

Next time you find yourself with 15 minutes of nothing to do (basically when you peel your eyes from your iPhone), do this quick exercise and begin strengthening your back. Start with no weights and then work up to adding a little weight to really start noticing improvements. 

Try doing each move for 30 seconds, one right after the other. Once you do all three, rest for 1 minute, and then repeat again for 3-5 rounds!

C'mon, you can do this!!

Garlicky Ginger Shrimp

This is a go to recipe when you're short on time! I love this one paired with a little steamed broccoli that can soak up some of the yummy sauce... take broccoli to a whole new level!

Ingredients
2 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1 Tbs avocado oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs raw honey
1/4 cup Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
15 - 20 wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
2-4 scallions, chopped

Instructions
In a medium sized skillet, or wok if you have one, (that's what I used, first time ever! I was excited), heat oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for about one minute. Add in the honey, soy sauce and salt and pepper and let it come to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer until it slightly thickens, about 8-10 minutes.

Increase the heat and add in the shrimp, cooking about 2-3 minutes on both sides, until cooked through. Add in the scallions, sesame oil, mix well, and serve. 

Easy right?! And soooooo good!

Sweet Potato Chips... Dipped in Chocolate :)

I went there. I took a nutritious veggie (sweet potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin A and potassium) and I turned it into a sweet and salty snack you can count on to satisfy any craving without packing on the calories and quilt. (Not that we count calories over here at Project Slim Waistline - oh no, that went out with Jane Fonda videos. We simply eat clean and sensibly, and these snacks are right up there with clean and sensible!) 

Here's the how-to so you can get to it already! 

Sweet Potato Chips

1 sweet potato, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs olive oil
2 oz (or 4 squares from a baking bar) chocolate (70% cacao or higher)
Sea salt for dusting
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Either with a knife or mandolin, thinly slice the sweet potato into even slices. In a bowl, coat the sweet potato slices with olive oil, cinnamon and a little sea salt, and mix well. On a baking dish lined with parchment paper, spread out the sweet potato slices and place in oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. (Wait too long to check and you could have an army of blackened chips!)

As they are cooking, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Add in the cayenne pepper and mix well.

When the chips are done to perfection, meaning they're a little crisp on the edges and not soft and mushy., pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes before handling. Once slightly cooled, carefully dip one side into the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool completely.

Enjoy these bad boys pretty much the same day... they won't keep as long as store bought chips will, but I think that's what home cooking/baking is all about... take out the preservatives and eat real food :)