My Favorite Things! Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

My Favorite Things! Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

I love holiday shopping….for myself. Hahaha. I have to confess that I’m a super practical girl. I don’t like frivolous things. I think I’m a minimalist. If I can’t use it, I don’t want it. I don’t like clutter, I don’t like knick-knacks (I actually kinda hate them). I have been known to ask for dish towels and a vacuum for Christmas before (and have been THRILLED to receive them). I get a lot of crap about this from my family. Eh, you know, we all have our little things. Whether you’re a minimalist or not, I thought I’d share my favorite healthy holiday gift ideas in case you still have shopping to do!

The primary thing on my list this year is books. I absolutely love to read and think books are great gifts.

Here are a few of my FAVE books – I’ve highlighted and underlined just about every page in all three!!

The Obstacle Is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph
obstacle is the way


The Motivation Manifesto – 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power
motivation manifesto

Books On My List This Year – I haven’t read these but they’re at the top of my list!!

The Way Of the Seal – Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed
way of the seal

Great by Choice

Girl Stuff For Yourself Or The Ladies On Your List!

Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf – I have one but I want more. Love this. Obsessed!!
lulu scarf

Lululemon Bang Buster Headband – We won’t count how many I have but this is the ONLY headband I’ll wear during my workouts!!! I can’t have too many. These are perfect (but I hate the way the model wears them on their site)
lulu headband

Athleta Power lift Tights – These are awesome. Great fit, warm, amazing.

Random Stuff I’m Digging

Oh She Glows Tea – This is brand new and I recently got my first order. I’ll DEFINITELY be ordering more!! Its organic, its fair trade and most importantly, its amazing. I got 3 flavors initially and I’m obsessed with them all. I got the Apple Crumble, Black Maple and Caramel Latte. INSANE.

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor – If you follow me on instagram you know I’m a huge fan of working out with my HR monitor. I used to wear it all the time and then I took a break for a while but I’m back to wearing it and I’ll never stop. I’ve tried 4 or 5 different ones and I like this one the best.

What’s on your list this year? I’m genuinely curious – let me know so I don’t miss out on any great ideas! I’m still building my list. What’s your “gotta have it”?

EXACTLY How I’ll Lose Fat Over Thanksgiving AND Eat Dessert + My Menu

EXACTLY How I’ll Lose Fat Over Thanksgiving AND Eat Dessert + My Menu

I absolutely cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. It blows my mind. Here we are the day before Thanksgiving and less than a month from Christmas! Yikes!!! I know I’ve told you before how I used to write off this time of year. With all the sweets, treats, holiday parties and get togethers I would kinda figure there was no possible way I could lose weight so I might as well relax, eat and then “get strict” after the New Year. Go big or go home, right? I guess more like “Get big and stay home” hahaha – oh c’mon – laugh with me. Such a terrible plan!!! 

Here’s what I didn’t realize: You can thoroughly enjoy your holiday meal, dessert, even a couple of drinks and STILL lose weight during the holidays. Not just maintain! LOSE!!! I am all about that. It does take some planning and discipline but c’mon, it is SO worth it!!! You’ll actually enjoy the holidays MORE when you feel like you’re in control, empowered and proud. 

I’m not going to tell you how you should structure your Thanksgiving day but I’m more than happy to share how I plan to spend the day. Every Monday my strength coach measures my progress and I FULLY intend to go to the gym on Monday having made progress towards my fat loss goals. Thanksgiving is NOT an excuse (after all, it comes every year AND I could make any of these foods any day of the year, should I so choose). But, I’m also not going to skip out on my favorite things! No way Jose; I can do both!! Alright, so here’s how I plan to spend my turkey day and still lose fat. 

5am: Wake up. This is about my normal wake up time and Thanksgiving is no different. I like to start my day before anyone else gets up – even my sweet puppy. It gives me quiet time to do what I need to do, focus, and start the day without rushing. 

5:15-5:45: Meditate while walking on my treadmill or outdoors. This will depend on the weather – if its super cold I’ll hit up the treadmill. I like to call my practice of meditation “cognitive meditation” – I dunno if that’s a real thing or not. Haha. Everything I do could be labeled “cognitive” because I am totally unable to turn off my rapid-fire brain – its totally crazy up in there. But essentially, I spend my meditation time thinking about things I’m grateful for, imagining how I want my day to go and affirming positive things for my life and relationships. I’ll give you a little inside peak: tomorrow I’ll probably spend part of my meditation time thinking about how grateful I am for self control and the desire to pursue my goals. I’ll imagine the time I’ll spend in the kitchen preparing food and I’ll imagine the anticipation I have to enjoy my favorite things – turkey, brussels sprouts, ice cream. I’ll imagine the other foods around me – mashed potatoes, gravy, etc – and I’ll imagine joyfully preparing them for my family and feeling no temptation at all. In fact, I’ll think about the hundreds of times in the past I’ve indulged in them. I remember how they taste. Sure, they’re delicious, but not nearly as appealing as the thought of reaching my health goals! I’ll imagine myself enjoying dessert, savoring each bite and feeling supremely satisfied when its gone. I’ll imagine being able to leave the table happy, sated and not tempted to over indulge. I’ll think about all these things in detail knowing those sensations will carry me through the day and become my reality.

5:45-6:30: I’ll make a little time to work on Primal stuff. Check in with you guys on social, share how grateful I am for your support. I’ll take care of work stuff that needs to get done so its not in the back of my mind all day. Besides, everybody else will be sleeping 🙂

6:30-7:15: WORKOUT!!! Oh yes, I will workout on Thanksgiving!!! Why? Because I love it and find it really enjoyable. Besides, working out will help create the hormonal environment I’ll need to keep burning fat even while I enjoy some dessert! I’ll do this workout at home since the gym is closed and it’ll be the heart rate intervals my buddy Keri suggested to me. I’ll probably split it up between kettle bell swings and outdoor sprints. Here’s how it’ll go down: I’ll either sprint or swing until my heart rate reaches 85% of my max. (To calculate your max HR, subtract your age from 220. Take 85% of that number to determine 85% of your max). I’ll keep an eye on my HR and rest until it falls to 65% of my max. As soon as it drops to 65% I’ll go again, sprinting or swinging, until it hits 85%. I’ll repeat that process for the duration of my workout. 

Quick side note: the great thing about that kind of workout is that you can easily do it at ANY fitness level, with any exercise and without any equipment. For example, when I was 300 lbs, I could have reached 85% of my max HR by walking up a hill for 5 minutes. That would be perfect! Then you rest while your HR falls to 65% and do it again. You could do it with jump rope, burpees, jogging up and down stairs, rowing, you name it!! All you need is a heart rate monitor and you can get those pretty cheap. (Maybe a Black Friday wish list item?!)

7:15-8:30: Enjoy a cup of bulletproof coffee and relax. I’ll usually browse the internet, watch a show on my DVR, read a book or listen to a podcast.

8:30-10: Shower & get ready for the day. 

10-1:00: Food prep!!! Wanna know what I’m making? Here’s a sneak peak:

    Appetizer: Endive cups with bacon cream cheese & pistachios (my own recipe)

    Turkey – I cheated and bought it from the Honey Baked Ham store – don’t judge.

    Garlic mashed potatoes 

    Crispy Pancetta Brussels sprouts with Walnuts & Cranberries (my own recipe)

    Mashed Carrots, Parsnips & Cauliflower with nutmeg (my dad’s recipe, adapted)

    Grandma’s Apple Pie (my husband’s grandmother’s recipe that I usually burn. In fact, the first time     I made it for him he came into the kitchen, looked at it and said, “Is this a joke?”         Hahaha)

    Coconut Cream Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (I’m working on a recipe….)

1-3:00: I’ll be honest. I’m an introvert. Knowing there is “social time” ahead, I’ll probably retreat to my office with a second cup of bulletproof coffee and watch football. A couple things about this: I freaking love football. It makes me happy. I get depressed when the season ends. Second – my bulletproof coffee will serve as my lunch. Its got plenty of calories – probably a few hundred – and it will satisfy my hunger, increase my energy and I just so happen to love it. If you don’t love it, don’t drink it, duh!!! I do this a lot of days but I’ll definitely do it on Thanksgiving since I know a larger-than-average meal is ahead. 

TIME TO EEEEAAAAAT!!!!! I’ll probably enjoy 2-3 of my little endive cups. Gosh, I’m hungry just thinking about them! Super easy – I’ll just take some full-fat, hormone free greek cream cheese, stir in some cooked bacon, and spoon it into the endive leaf and top with a couple pistachios. Yumm!! I’ll absolutely enjoy some turkey. I’ll skip the mashed potatoes because I can have them any time and I’d rather have pie and ice cream. But I’ll load up on the brussels sprouts and probably have a 1/2 cup of the carrot/parsnip/cauli mash. That dish is as simple as it sounds: cook the veggies (I’ll steam them) then toss them in the blender with butter, salt, pepper and a dash (or two) of nutmeg. 

Before dessert, if the weather is nice, I’ll probably invite the family to take my sweet puppy on a walk with me. He loves to get outside and I’ll probably be itching for some movement. Not a speed walk, just a stroll, appreciating time with family and enjoying a quiet, restful day. And then…..MORE FOOTBALL PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

2014-11-18 20.37.07

Oh dessert. My happy time. I do love ice cream and hopefully my coconut vanilla bean ice cream will come out well. I’ll let you know. I am hoping it goes really well with Grandma’s apple pie – and that the pie isn’t burned…….

Will there be leftovers? You betcha. Will I be able to enjoy them? Absolutely!!! Because I’m preparing mostly fat-loss friendly foods, I’ll enjoy them to the fullest. You know what I’ll pass on? The potatoes, pie & ice cream. Here’s the thing – I’ve overindulged before. I’ve stretched the Thanksgiving feast over several days before. It didn’t work for me, so why do it again? I’ll have plenty of delicious leftovers to enjoy and I’ll make the most of them. No need to keep going for foods that won’t help me reach my goals. 

Alrighty guys….that’s my Thanksgiving plan!! I am totally confident that when I get to the gym on Monday I’ll for sure have made progress towards my goals. Thanksgiving won’t hold me back! I’ll enjoy it, make it special AND lose fat!!! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Tons of love!! Oh! And stay tuned this weekend for a BIG announcement and some giveaways!!!!!!! Here’s the thing though: If you wanna get the giveaway info and hear the announcement, you’ve gotta be on my VIP email list! Click here to get on it NOW. This news will be dropping this weekend!

Healthy Halloween? Avoid A Candy Crush

Healthy Halloween? Avoid A Candy Crush

I’m not sure how, but it’s already the end of October! It’s crazy how time flies. Halloween is only a few days away. For some people (including me, for most of my life) Halloween marks the beginning of the downward eating spiral through Christmas. There’s candy in the house for weeks and just when it’s finally cleared out its time for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a massive day of indulgence with a week of leftovers and as soon as you work through those, the holiday parties begin. Between holiday parties and cookie swaps, there’s food everywhere, all the time.

It can be totally overwhelming. You’re in this frenzied tail-spin until you wake up in January feeling exhausted, bloated and 10 lbs heavier than you were before Halloween. Let’s break that cycle, shall we?

I know Halloween can be a tough holiday for parents who, while they certainly don’t want to restrict their child from the fun of the holiday, they dread the constant sugar-induced hyperactivity and attitude problems. I’m all for enjoying tradition, but I believe there are ways to make the most of Halloween traditions without making the focus the candy and treats. It IS possible to have a healthy Halloween and embrace moderation while still enjoying the holiday to the fullest!

Try to switch the focus this year to some of the non-food aspects of the holiday. Have a family pumpkin-carving contest. You can even use oranges and let your kids “crave” a face into the peel with a plastic knife. Emphasize decorating the house or let your kids decorate their rooms in a Halloween theme. Go on a hayride, tour a haunted house or go apple picking. (C’mon, you know you’re impressed by my crazy pumpkin carving skills!! haha. That’s my puppy, Oakley, in pumpkin form)

Don’t keep those bags of candy in the house the week leading up to trick-or-treat. Make fun, healthy holiday treats together like roasted pumpkin seeds, apple crisp or banana ghosts.

Trick or treat is another thing all together. Kids come home with buckets full of more candy than they should optimally eat all year and wolf it down in a matter or days or weeks. There are a ton of strategies out to keep your kids from becoming sugar monsters. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Host a buy back. When your kid comes home with their big bag of treats, assign a monetary value to either the whole haul or to select pieces. When they trade it in, they get the cash.
  • Offer a non-food incentive for their candy. Is there a pair of sneakers your son has been begging for? Offer a swap – candy for sneakers.
  • Let them pick the 5 pieces they want most and take away the rest. Maybe you can let them continue to pick 1-2 pieces per week for the next few weeks.

At the end of the day, letting your child consume an entire bucket of candy, whether its over a few weeks or a few days, is not the best strategy for their health, for their emotional relationship with food and certainly not for their behavior and focus. Get creative; there are tons of awesome ideas out there!