Soapbox: Emotional Eating

Hey, I’m digging this idea for my own little soapbox!

Anyways, let’s chat about emotional eating since it paid me a little visit. Let’s start with the back story (because there’s no emotional eating without a reason … right!)

The (very short) version of the story is my husband and I are putting in an offer on a house. Unfortunately, so are a whole bunch of other people. It’s a bidding war and it sucks. We were given a memo yesterday to put in our highest and best so for the past 24 hours my husband and I have been going in circles as to whether we should change the offer or leave it alone.

Now… onto the real reason for this post… emotional eating. To say that stress got the best of me today would be an understatement. This evening (on the brink of tears), I couldn’t take it anymore and had a decent portion of mint chocolate chip ice cream. It wasn’t a half gallon (though I have no doubt I could consume it tonight), but it was a nice bowl of ice cream.

Yes I was emotional. No it wasn’t the best thing I could grab but yes… I did feel slightly better after I had it.

Emotional eating is nothing new to anyone… we’ve all done it at some point in life. Sure those empty calories are worthless, but damn it sometimes they just make you feel better. I do believe in the 80/20 rule of life – 80% of the time I eat great …. and 20% … well yeah I want my ice cream, Oreos or chocolate cake damn it!

As several followers pointed out, there are billions of recipes online that can be easily made that were probably a much better option. However, when you’re on the brink of tears because you’re so overly stressed out… pulling out the baking pans or blender just wasn’t happening tonight.

I do NOT support emotional eating… but I also understand that ice cream (or whatever) happens. That one bowl isn’t going to ruin me forever. I’m not gaining all my weight back and I”m not reverting back to my old ways… but I do feel a little better… and it was certainly tasty ice cream.

The point is… when you make a lifestyle change, you have to understand that 100% of the time life isn’t going to be grand. You’re going to have a bowl of ice cream, gain a pound, lose nothing and be stressed. It’s all in what you do with these situations that make the difference.

Eight months ago, that half-gallon would have been toast during this situation but today it’s not. I had my fix and feel (somewhat) better, though I’m still extremely stressed over this situation. My motivation, drive and determination aren’t thwarted by this little bump in the road and more importantly – knowing how to handle this situation has made me a stronger person.

To all the people out there who struggle with emotional eating, you can get it under control with a little determination. For me, it’s finding another outlet to hopefully curb the behavior. It’s funny, as I was writing this post I received an email from Jackson checking on when we’re going to start training again.

I fully hoped to be back training with him by now. It’s been almost a month from the end of the Biggest Winner. Unfortunately, due to cost and time … it simply hasn’t happened. Though I really miss seeing him all the time, I feel confident on my own and my knowledge to get me through until we meet again.

In my recent email to him, I actually told him about how much I’ve changed through the process. Today, I use the gym to really help control my emotional eating and for the most part it really has worked! Every night I hit the gym allows me to clear my head and really focus on me for an hour. I take my frustration out on the weight machine. … I run … whatever it takes to clear my head and stop thinking of all the crap going on in my life.

I hope this post inspires at least one person to put down the carton of ice cream and do some push ups. You can beat emotional eating! If I can do it … you can do it and I’m happy to help anyone who needs help.


Soapbox: Meatless Mondays

I think I’m going to start a series of posts on my blog that allow me to get on my own soapbox so to speak. Today I think I’ll start with an article I posted on my Facebook page which prompted a bit of heated discussion surrounding diets, which took away from the point of me posting the article in the first place.

First, let me say that I do believe there are a number of diets out there that work for people – because it has to work for you. With that being said, I do not discriminate between any of the diet lifestyles – including Atkins, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Clean Eating, Vegan, vegetarian, etc. NONE OF THEM!

The debate between the meat eaters and the non-meat eaters has spanned many years. I don’t care whether you’re for / against or what your reasons are – that’s not the point of this soapbox post today.

Now let’s get to the real thoughts of the day – Meatless Mondays!

I discovered the concept back in the early days of my lifestyle changes. The concept seemed strange at first, but today I can honestly say I love it. I realized very early on in the process that our family was simply not eating enough vegetables. Without vegetables, people are severely lacking important nutrients important vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they can suffer from constipation and weigh gain!

When it comes to kids, getting an adequate amount of vegetables in them can be difficult – especially if you have a picky eater! While you can somewhat control what they eat at home, when you send them off to school you’re simply hoping for the best choices they can make at lunch.

With the growing trend of obesity, some schools have taken to including “Meatless Mondays” as a hope that children will become more adventurous in their food choices and rekindle a love of vegetables for many picky eaters. The LA Times reports that Los Angeles public schools have officially adopted meatless Mondays for the school cafeteria lunches. Citing  reasons of hope to introduce kids of all ages to a variety of vegetarian meals in hopes of expanding their choices, while still getting their needed protein and heightening their awareness of animals.

Now, before I wage a second war between the vegetarians and meat eaters … I truly only care about their first hope … expanding their choices.

Have you looked at school lunches lately? In my research of school districts in the area in preparation for our move, one of the main items I looked at was their lunch menus. Sure, I can pack my daughter a lunch and I truly will try like hell for as long as possible, but inevitably she has to face the lunch line at some point in her life and I can only HOPE that she has enough brains to make good choices like I’ve taught her … but more importantly those GOOD choices are going to actually be there for her to make.

The point is… “Meatless Mondays” does not need to be focused on pushing “animal rights” on kids… but looked at in terms of healthy options because there is nothing wrong with trying to get a kid to eat a few more vegetables!





What kind of diet are you on?

I am asked this question at least a dozen times a day – which is great because it means people are noticing what I’ve done. What concerns me is they seem put off by the answer – my own made-up diet.

As many of you know out there, it’s really easy to get caught up in “fad” diets and crazy ideas. Clean Eating, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, eat a tree – well you get the point. It’s hard to figure out what to do!

When I started my weight loss competition back in August, the push was for clean eating (which I do support). When I started doing research, I took this a step further investigating a very similar whole foods diet as well as the recently popular diet – Paleo (or caveman diet).

Now if you go digging and research each of these diets, there’s many similarities, but some fairly big differences. Let’s take a look at the concepts.

Clean Eating Quick Facts

  • Focus on eating the most natural food, it its most natural state (i.e. not processed)
  • Avoiding the white devils – white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.)
  • Avoid anything processed and refined (basically if it’s made in a plant – don’t eat it!)
  • Focus on lean proteins and healthy fats (like nuts) and an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
  • Preference for organic and grass fed products.
  • No preservatives.
  • No Fast Food (see above for why!)

Paleo Quick Facts

  • Often called the caveman diet or even primal eating.
  • Preference for organic and grass fed lean meats, fruits and vegetables
  •  Preference fornuts and healthy fats but no peanuts.
  • Consume food only in its most natural state.
  • No sugar, beans or grains.*
  • No dairy*

*While most people who follow paleo choose to eliminate these foods, some do not eliminate dairy, sugar, beans and/or grain or limit their consumption.

Now the simple differences. With Paleo you aren’t allowed dairy, grains or peanuts (three of my favorite things). There is a larger push for organic and eliminating all chemicals from your life (including in cleaning products, beauty, etc.)

This is just one of the many examples I can give you on the different diets, but this post isn’t meant to sit and compare apples to oranges – it’s to tell you what I believe.

One of my issues with all of these diets is when you eliminate easy to locate items, ingredients you need start to get harder to find. Case in point – I wanted to make cookies last night. I started looking for some healthy recipes and found tons, but the ingredients become difficult to locate quickly and/or are very costly to purchase. Locally, there is only ONE store I have found that sells coconut flour and almond flour – a staple in many recipes that eliminate wheat. These items are not only difficult to locate, but can be costly. We’ve been planning on attempting to make our own almond flour but to date haven’t had a chance.

Simply put, there’s a lot of great information out there but you have to educate yourself and figure out what you want to take as fact or fiction. Diets are what you make of them, why focus on labeling it and keeping to that label. Eat how you want to eat, with reason, so you’re happy and keep to your lifestyle – that’s the ultimate goal right? To find a diet you’ll stick with!

What I encourage you to do is seek out research. Read blogs, read research studies and determine what you feel is best. Now going back to the top post – if you ask for my diet … I’m going to tell you it’s “My” diet. Simply put, I’ve taken a the guidance from Whole Foods, Clean Eating and Paleo and combined them into a diet I feel is appropriate.

I still eat grains. I tried going without… I actually wasn’t happy. I like grains – especially pasta. However, I have cut back a lot and limit it to one meal a day a couple times a week. It’s truly helped.

I still have dairy. I like dairy. If you hear me give up Ice Cream – WORRY! I’ve learned to also have that in moderation as well.

I like peanuts. I’m not going to lie. Those won’t be gone either.

As for the “organic” focus. I wish I could buy all organic. It’d be nice but I simply can’t afford it and that’s fine. We make positive choices, buy from farmers marketing whenever possible and do the best we can to select the most appropriate and healthy items.

The bottom line, you need to do research on everything and figure out your own diet that you’re happy with because when you’re happy with your diet … it won’t be a diet – it becomes a lifestyle. Always remember that!

Understanding my body

I truly meant to write this post about two days ago but well, life happened! After gaining weight this week, I’ve tried really hard not to let it get to me (but it was truly eating me alive). I met with Jackie, my amazing nutritionist, on Tuesday night and we discussed what was going on. She truly helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Since September, I’ve worked my body into a routine. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. I worked out at the same time. My work schedule was the same. Everything was neat and orderly. Come January 7th – my entire world changed for the next six weeks.

I get up earlier now and therefore eat breakfast earlier, not to mention a different breakfast because I’m working out in the morning. My whole eating schedule is off. Further more, my work schedule was altered slightly to accommodate the training program – again throwing myself out of the norm.

Basically, my body is confused about what’s going on. This week I’ve noticed it seems to start regulating much better. Last week I was really hungry later in the day (when I normally ate a larger lunch knowing I’d be working out in the afternoon). Those calories are now focused on breakfast and my mid-morning snack so again – i’m out of whack!

Basically, I really needed to stop and think it through. I had no idea a schedule change could rock my world so much. With this in mind, when the training program ends and I return to my normal schedule I will make sure to pay close attention for the couple of weeks afterwards and if by some chance the scale goes UP … I’ll know it’s likely because I’m a bit out of whack again.


Craving chart


Now it all makes sense. I think this is going on my fridge, cube and in my wallet!

Is it food? [flowchart]

I actually laughed out loud reading this! This blog is going into the rotation!


Here is a great guide to help you find real food on your next trip to the supermarket! It’s also rather humorous.

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Ingredients vs. Calories: The Benefits of Eating Real Food

This is pretty much how I think these days. While you need to watch the calories… it’s very easy to do when you know you’re eating REAL food. Look at the INGREDIENTS in what you’re eating!


In my experience, the easiest way to lose weight and obtain optimal health is by eating real food. Forget about the mathematics of the almighty calorie and just focus on eating real foods with healthy ingredients.

What do I mean by real foods? Allow me to provide an example:

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