Monthly Archives: September 2014

Diet Challenge #23: Kick Just One Bad Habit

Over the past few weeks, we’ve given out many different challenges to help improve your diet. This week, you get to choose which diet excuse to remove from your life!

kicking soccer ball

The Challenge

Pick one bad diet habit of yours and work on overcoming it this week.

The Details

Slowing Weight Loss: 3 Reasons Why and What to Do, Is Your Goal Setting You up for Failure and Secrets to Non-Stop Motivation can help you zone in on realistic and productive goals for you.

Fitness Challenge #23: Just 10 Minutes a Day

In our last week of challenges about overcoming excuses,  it’s all about setting realistic goals.


The Challenge

Make a goal to workout just 10 minutes each day and hold yourself accountable.

The Details

Learn how to set Smart Goals.
Is Your Cardio Machine Causing Fat-loss Failure
The Scale Is a Fickle Friend

How Do You Stay Motivated?

Man turning the word "Impossible" into "Possible"Oh motivation. It’s what we all want! When we’re motivated we feel on top of the world and we can accomplish oh so much. Unfortunately, when motivation leaves, it takes all of our energy with it. I don’t know about you, but this is how it works for me. When I’m motivated I’m up before the sun, I workout, I measure all of my food, and I’m dressed and ready for the day before my kids have even rolled out of bed. I’d love to say that this is my everyday, and sometimes it is, but then there are some days and weeks when this isn’t at all how my days go.

I’m guessing some of you feel the same way, so I put together a list of ways to help up stay motivated, and when our motivation is low ways we can keep moving forward without letting all of our hard work fall apart.

First get enough rest. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Nothing takes away motivation more than being tired.

Eat breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t forget it or you’ll be lagging all day long, and wondering why you feel so awful.

Make a list of everything you need to get done for the day, and check the list off as you go. As you check things off of your list you’ll quickly feel your energy coming back.

When it comes to working out, if you need some motivation, find a friend to workout with and make a promise to them that you’ll be there, and then keep your promise.

Last but not least, make small attainable goals, like the SMART goals  I mentioned in a previous blog. Achieving goals gives you more motivation to keep going.

What are some ways you keep yourself motivated?


Mexican Chicken Casserole

When I started eating healthy, I pretty much crossed casseroles off  my recipe lists. Most of them are full of cream of (whatever) soup which is full of sodium and calories. Plus, casseroles can be pretty skimpy on vegetables.
mexican chicken casserole
This week we tried a casserole recipe that was pretty quick to whip up and was full of whole wheat grains and fresh vegetables. The Mexican Chicken Casserole uses a couple of different whole grain cereals combined with shredded chicken and enchilada sauce. You then bake it in the oven. It came out thickened and bubbly and made the perfect base to add all the toppings to. One thing I loved about this recipe was that you top the casserole with fresh vegetables. It was very family friendly, easy to make and delish!

Corn Maze Family Fitness

DSC05328Last fall I had recently moved to a new city, which just happened to be 10 minutes away from one of the world’s largest corn mazes. I was invited to do the maze with some new friends, so my daughter and I showed up, not knowing what to expect. This particular maze came with a very detailed map, which was highly useful once we got going.

We soon learned the maze had 4 tall towers spread throughout, which served as lookouts to see where you were within the maze, and how much farther you had to go. These turned out to be the best places to stop, catch your breath, eat a snack, and get your bearings set for the next stint.

All in all, it took us 2 full hours to make it through the maze, and the kids were great. I can honestly tell you I wasn’t prepared for the amount of walking we did, and I’m pretty sure we walked at least 6 miles from start to finish. It was the perfect thing to do as a fun family activity that gave us a great workout!

Diet Challenge #22: A New Spin on a Family Favorite

We all have our favorite recipes. The tried and true ones that we know our family will love if we put it on their plate. How healthy is that dish though? Does is thwart your diet plans when you make it?
healthy pizza

The Challenge

Make one of your favorite meals, but make it healthier than ever.

The Details

Making simple substitutions can make a big difference in the overall health quality of a meal. Eating healthy foods that you still enjoy can help you lose weight. Read about The Come Back Mom’s personal journey in Fighting My Genes with my Jeans.

Here are some ideas for a healthy spin on favorite meals:
Ballpark Meal the Healthy Way
Switch it Up: Healthy Food Substitutions
Quick Chicken Nachos
Lean Bean Chili Recipe
Guiltless Homemade French Fries

Fitness Challenge #22: It’s In the Gene Pool

Sometimes it may seem impossible to fight nature when it comes to losing weight. This week, we’re all about busting those bad gene excuses!

erasing DNA string

The Challenge

Challenge Your Genetics

The Details

Did you know that changing your behavior can change your genes. Watch Change Your Habits to Change Your Genes to learn how.

These articles can also help you figure out how to overcome your genetics when it comes to weight loss.
Genetics and Obesity: Why Genes Shouldn’t Stop You From Being Healthy
Finding Your True Ideal Weight

Switch it Up: Healthy Food Substitutions

Healthy eating was not always one of my top priorities. I was never one to eat out a lot and did most of my cooking at home so I had a lot of control over my diet and cooking, but I wasn’t taking control of it the way I needed to. I made a lot of recipes full of cream of soup bases, ground beef, or white rice.

After getting married, I began looking for some new recipes to try. I came to realize there were people out there who used vegetables in most of their cooking. I realized that I was not always making the right choices when making meals. I began to change. There were many new healthier recipes that added to my collection, but I also learned that I could substitute ingredients in many of my favorite recipes to make them healthy. Here is a list of substitutes that you can use in your cooking to “save” some of your not-so-healthy favorite recipes.

healthy food substitution list

Eating Healthy on a Budget

I hear all the time how eating healthy on a budget just isn’t possible…how buying Ramen noodles is cheaper than fruits and vegetable. While this may be true, over the years I have found ways to stretch my dollar when it comes to purchasing healthy food on a tight budget…and I’m not talking about couponing!

In my home I prepare meals for 6 adults and 2 children Monday through Friday (I know…not your typical set up, but I want you to get the point that I’m feeding a decent amount of people). On average I spend right around $100 per week on groceries. Here are some tips I have learned about buying healthy food while feed a crown without it breaking the bank.

1. Make a menu for a week or two.

When I make a menu I am able to better gauge how much will be spent that week. Instead of five meals that week with chicken, I use chicken in one meal. You can balance out your pricier meals with cheaper meals so you don’t have to eat just beans every night.

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it.

Making a list can be really powerful when trying to eat healthy and save money. I always put fruits and veggies on my list. Processed cookies, soda, and chips don’t make it. When you create a healthy list and stick to it, that money you would have spent on Oreos in now a bag of grapes instead.

3. Go meatless one or two meals a week.

If you have always eaten a lot of meat, start with one day per week. We have gotten to a point where we buy very little meat because we eat meatless a couple nights a week and when I do cook with meat it’s just a little bit for flavoring. We rarely sit down to a piece of chicken. I honestly think this is one of the biggest areas we have saved.

Also, beans can be a great substitute for meat.

4. Join a vegetable co-op or buy produce from a local farmer’s market.

So I lived in quite a few different places. In Ohio I frequented a local farmer’s market where the produce was always less expensive than the store (and much tastier). I had to drive about 25 minutes away to get to it, but I got a group of friends together and we would all go together and take turns driving so the money we saved on food wasn’t lost on gas.

Now I live in Texas and haven’t been able to find a farmer’s market I like. I joined a vegetable co-op with 11 other families where we take turns buying produce from a distributor. It has saved us a lot of money.

Look into these options in your area to find ways to get more produce for less.

5. Cook from scratch as much as possible.

Besides maybe ramen and macaroni and cheese, most prepackaged foods are much more expensive to make to feed a family than buying the ingredients and putting it together yourself. Plus, when you make it from scratch you are in more control of the amounts of sodium, sugar, etc. that are going into your body.

What do you do to make your dollar stretch when trying to eat healthy on a budget?

Learn To Love Your Mirror

アンチエイジングのビフォーアフターIn general, women tend to be very hard on themselves. We feel like we have to do everything perfect, that everyone depends on us, and we don’t want to let anyone down. We tend to be more critical about our looks than other people. We focus on the things we don’t like, and complain about them, as if that’s going to make them go away. The unfortunate fact is this: No one has a perfect body, and focusing on the negative is only going to make you feel worse.

Like most women, there are parts of my body that I don’t like. Being a mother, my body has been stretched in ways that have left me with more of a tummy than I’d like, and stretch marks that will never go away. Yes, I wish they weren’t there, but what I get from being a mom is much more important than those bodily features. I have tried to embrace them for what they are: marks of motherhood and badges of armor.

When I look in the mirror I try to focus on the parts of my body that I do like and have confidence in the woman that I am. The more I focus on this, the happier I feel, and the more grateful I am for the healthy body that I have. It’s not perfect, but perfection is not attainable, so why worry about it? Love the body that you have, take are of it, and appreciate it for all that it allows you to do.