Dang good healthy treats

Just recently, my husband and I got away and escaped life for a few days in the mountains. It doesn’t happen very often (time off) so we were stoked. :-)
Getting ready for our three nights away I started to gather a few healthy recipes that I wanted to try, this would be my first ‘vacation’ since going strict with- no grain or dairy in February of 2011. Even though I have been low-carb for 5 years, I always ate whatever I wanted ‘in the mountains.’ Not so anymore. Bye-bye splitting pizzas for dinner, eating waffles for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches and chips for lunch and ice cream for late night snack. I knew it was going to be tough because I had come to identify ‘time-off’ with these foods. So I made sure I had plenty of nuts & dates (my favs), some coconut milk ice cream and a couple of healthy treat recipes. (Along with proteins, veggies and fruit, of course.)
So what recipes did I try? Two.. Sweet potato brownies and Caramel pecan bars.
Both from a new (to me) website called Paleomg.com that you MUST check out. There are a ton of awesome recipe sites for healthy eaters that I’m discovering and some oldies but goodies that I go to regularly as well. (I’ll post the links in a bit)
So back to my baking. Oh wow. I LOVED these recipes!

First up- Sweet potato brownies
If you’re wondering if you can taste the sweet potato, the answer is no. And baking the sweetpo vs. boiling or microwaving worked best for me with just the right moisture level. I used a medium sized potato but I wouldn’t stress about the size too much. :-)
I also added half a cup of pecans to mine, because, well, I love nuts.. in everything.

These were also great heated up with some coconut milk ice cream on top and of course some more nuts. lol

Next up: Caramel Pecan Bars
Ok, these were sinful. straight up. I ate a lot of them and didn’t apologize for it. It’s probably because I love dates and nuts so much.. nah, forget that, my husband even loved these beauties! Juli recommends cooking them in a loaf pan, the only thing I would change would be to cook them in a 8×8 glass cooking dish, it will make them a little thinner but they will go a little farther, lol.

I didn’t have a food processor for the ‘caramel’ topping, just an Ultimate Chopper, remember those? Yeah, I’m old school. Well, that’s why you see chunks of dates in my caramel vs. Juli’s. And for some reason my bars came out darker, but I wasn’t complaining, they were dang delicious.
So, give these two recipes a go if you’re in the mood for a healthy treat! The Sweet potato brownies freeze very well, for you know, portion control, lol and the Caramel pecan bars, I have no idea, there were non left over to freeze. gulp. :-)

Here’s a few of my favorite recipe sites, check them out!
Paleomg.com
The Urban Poser
Your Lighter Side
Civilized Caveman Cooking
Fast Paleo
I’m sure I forgot someone.. grr.
What are your favorite healthy cooking websites or recipes?

Here’s me.. in the mountains. Catrina+mountains= Happy. :-)

21 Day Sugar Detox Wrap-Up

I completed the 21 Day Sugar Detox.
And what do you know, I survived. :-)
Not that it was ever a question, but there were a few days in there when day 21 seemed like a looooooong ways away.

So why did I do the detox?
I eat clean, crazy clean, as in no grain, dairy or soy and very, very little processed foods (about 5%). I don’t really see certain foods as being ‘off-limits’, I just don’t like the way junk makes me feel, I kinda like feeling good, so it’s not a diet that I go on and off, this is the way I eat.
But I do have a history of abusing food. I was an emotional eater for many, many years and turned to food to ‘solve’ a multitude of issues. I am very aware of how food makes me feel and I also am aware of when I’m feeling unnaturally drawn to sweets, i.e. cravings.
My weight had started to creep back up, my clothes were fitting tighter and I was feeling like I ‘needed’ to have something sweet all the time. You may be wondering how I can put on weight and become re-addicted to sweets eating only natural, whole foods? Hmmm, I don’t know, I guess I’m just gifted that way. lol But seriously, it’s easy, for me it’s called fruit.. raw honey.. and nuts. And… a lot of it. More than I can handle and maintain a comfortable weight for me. It’s not the fruit itself, a lot of people can eat it without problems, it’s the feeling that I ‘needed it’ that was getting out of control. I know I have this issue (a sweet addiction past) and have to keep myself in check from time to time, and this was one of those times.
So you’re probably wondering- did the 21 Day Sugar Detox (21DSD) work?
Well, if the point of the detox was to recalibrate my tastebuds, then absolutely it worked. Back in March of this year for no reason that I can explain, I gradually started eating more sweet foods. And because I was eating more, I was craving more. Yep, that’s the way it works. Nasty vicious cycle. I know this, I knew this, I STILL know it, but I started down the path and it was hard to reverse once it was in motion without a slightly drastic measure. I needed a recalibration because fruit and raw honey that used to be super sweet for me and would even give me a headache from the sugar rush, suddenly wasn’t enough, and I wanted (needed) more.The detox resets the tastebuds and the cravings, so that I can be satisfied with just a little bit of sweetness and can actually taste the natural sweetness without having to eat a ton of it to feel ‘content.’
Many people use the 21DSD to lose weight. And I confess I was hoping to lose the 8 pounds I had put on since the beginning of March (did I just say that out loud?) But I only ended up losing 4 pounds. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t really eating that bad when I started (just bad fro me) and maybe I’m gaining a bit of muscle with all of the serious physical work I’ve been doing for the last 2 months, whatever it is, it may be time to accept that this might be my new ‘normal.’ And somehow that’s ok. {bliss.}
Was it hard?
Yeah, it was a bit tough in the first few days, I had some pretty strong cravings for ‘my’ sweet potatoes and plantains etc., but I expected it to be a little uncomfortable, after all I had gotten myself into this hole, and I had to work my way out. The key was (and always is) to have cut up veggies and meat prepped so when you do get hungry, there is something available-quick. On Level Three of the program I was only allowed 1 green apple a day (in the fruit department) and no sweet potatoes. But after the first few days I really started to enjoy radishes, cucumbers, cabbage and bell peppers and didn’t miss the sweeter fruits and veggies so much.
It’s been a week since I finished the 21DSD. The day I finished the detox I can’t say that I had no desire whatsoever for sweets anymore, I think I’ll always struggle with that on some level, but I’ve noticed that the desire for them has greatly minimized. I’m not thinking about when and how I can eat some fruit (or honey), I don’t feel like I need it anymore, in fact I went all day yesterday without any fruit until dinner and the only reason I grabbed a piece of watermelon was because we were heading out to do some very physical labor and I knew I would be needing the extra carbs.
I feel free. And that’s a great feeling. :-)

I recommend the 21 Day Sugar Detox because sometimes we just need a little help. Especially if you are where I was and your taste buds could use a tune-up. Check it out, it’s $21 and it comes loaded with lots of great info, including a list of what’s allowed and what’s not allowed for the 21 days. I also recommend getting an accountability partner who will hold your feet to the fire and if you can’t find one, shoot me an email at catrinaishungry@gmail.com and I’ll help you out with that. If you decide to do it, or if you already have, I would love to hear about your experience. :-)

Consistency. At least once in a while.

Start… stop.
Start again.. stop.
Start and go a little bit longer and stop.. again.
How many times have you stopped and started a healthy eating plan or exercise routine?
Ok, I won’t make you answer that question.
But answer this for me.. tell me about the success you’ve had when you stayed with a ‘program’ for at least two months?
If you’ve stayed with something for that amount of time, you likely have a success story of SOME level, right?
Let me answer that for you- yes. :-)
Success doesn’t come overnight. If we want results we’re going to have to STAY WITH SOMETHING longer than a few days or a week.
Yes, I know, this is crazy obvious. And yet, I hear people complaining ALL THE TIME that X, Y or Z doesn’t work for them and they NEED to try something else.
(What they’re really saying is- X, Y or Z is too hard, and they don’t want to do anything hard so they need to find something easier.)
Yes, I know there are a lot of reasons WHY it’s difficult, but the bottom line is, we cannot say that eating right and working out doesn’t work if we haven’t really given it a fair chance.

Try this: Challenge yourself. Seek accountability. Stay the course. See the results.

Challenge yourself-

Set a goal date that is 2-3 months from now and commit to eating healthy whole foods (protein, healthy fats, veggies and some fruit and nuts) and exercise 3-4 times per week until then. Take measurements and photos, weigh yourself and most of all- don’t quit.

Seek accountability-
Ask someone that you KNOW will keep you accountable and give you a seriously hard time if you even consider quitting. Ask them to contact you once or twice a week to see how you’re doing. Give them accountability questions to ask you to cut to the chase, questions that you can’t answer- generally. Even better, find a buddy who will do this with you, 100%.

Stay the course-
Plan out what foods are going to be allowed in your diet and which ones are not. Put this list on a wipe board or somewhere you will see it every day. Don’t buy these foods, these items are non-negotiables, don’t bring them into your home. Plan how many times a week you’re going to exercise and what you’re going to do. Seek out encouragement and motivation and walk away from those things that are discouraging (i.e. a desserts board on pinterest, lol) Stay focused on your goal of- finishing.

See the results-
(Barring any serious medical conditions,) you WILL reap the benefits of all your hard work. Go 2-3 months longer and you’ll reap even more benefits. Make it a lifetime decision and you’ll see ongoing results.

It’s not that hard. We make it REALLY hard though, don’t we? :-)
It boils down to consistency. To which there is no half-way. Either we are consistent with healthy eating and working out or we’re not.
When I am consistent with my healthy lifestyle, I see results. I suspect it’s the same for you. The best part about all of this? We can change at any moment! Isn’t that awesome?!
If we are chronic quitters and/or we have a history of being inconsistent with our healthy eating and workouts, that can end- TODAY.
Yes it can.
You can do this.
Consistency is your friend, embrace her, she’s your ticket to success.

The master of…

Working with people who are trying to lose weight, I’ve noticed something:
People are either a master at making progress or they’re a master at making excuses. Some excuses are so clever, so well thought out, that seriously, if there was a book made on the top 100 excuses of all time, these finely crafted gems would be at the top of the list, yup, they’re that good.
So let’s talk about you.

Are you making progress or are you making excuses?

It’s really that simple. No.. It really is.
Because when we really want something, we make a way. Don’t we?
Think about the last time you reeeeeally wanted something, (other than a smaller jean size), How hard did you work for it? What were you willing to sacrifice to get it? How well did you plan ahead to make sure it happened?
It’s really not about losing weight, (well it shouldn’t be) but working towards being the healthiest version of you. Weight loss will automatically come when we ditch the processed junk in our diets, eat whole foods, drink water, stop with our emotional eating/boredom eating and implement an exercise plan.
It’s really not that difficult. Really it’s not.
Unless…
We’re just not ready. In other words, we want something MORE than we want our health and figure back.
That ‘more’ could be anything.
We can say all we want that- we want to lose weight or we want to get our health back on track but the bottom line is this: if we aren’t quite ready to give up our comfort foods, learn new habits and get up and get moving, we will find every excuse in the book for staying exactly where we are.

So the question is this..
What do you want? No really.. What Do YOU Want?
(You KNOW what’s coming next.. yup, my favorite quote.)

“Decide what you want,
decide what you’re willing to give up for it,
establish your goals and get to work.” ~Hunt

Ask yourself- Am I making excuses or am I making progress?
(And here’s a tip.. you’ll grow when you get quiet long enough to hear the answer.)
Because we cannot do both. If you’re ready for change in whatever area of your life, you’ll find that excuses are no longer part of who you are. When they pop into your head, you will recognize them for what they are, get rid of them and keep moving forward. You will begin to look at obstacles as opportunities.

Can I tell you what you already know?
You can do this. Yup, you can.
So, lay down the excuses.. and pick up the keys to your future. :-)

Easy Peasy Healthy Side Dish.. whoa.

When people start out on a new path to be healthy and fit, one of the first questions I get from them is this, “what can I eat?”
The second question is, “can I still eat this?” But that’s a whole ‘nother post all together. :-)
So, I tell them- eat whole foods. Single ingredient foods (mostly). Foods from an animal, from the ground or from a tree. Then they’re silent for a few seconds, look at me again and ask, “So what exactly can I eat?”
Sigh…
So, below is a video on one option for you, the delicious and uber healthy- baked sweet potato. It’s lower in carbs than the regular potato, and heck, it’s just prettier. Right?

Now, I understand there are many great cooks who read this blog and may be saying, “really? do we really need a video on how to bake a sweet potato? How hard can it be?”
And if that’s you… well, what can I say, this video may not be for you? LOL
It IS for those who are new to cooking for themselves,  but need easy instructions on how to make simple, yummy foods. That’s it. :-)
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO and share it with those you know who are trying to eat healthy, too. Hey there aren’t very many of us, we gotta look out for each other, right? :-)
Happy Cooking!
~Catrina

Healthy Dairy-Free Whipped Cream

Can we just have a moment of silence for how my life has forever been changed?
I’m serious. Can you just read that title again?
A healthy, non-dairy alternative to whipped cream? Really?

I had completely given up all hope of ever having another parfait with fruit and whipped cream and so many other amazing concoctions since going grain and dairy-free in February of 2011. Not that I am complaining or anything, I happen to love being healthy (no tummy pains and 10 lbs. lighter) since giving up dairy, but still! You know I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it from time to time.

Enter the amazing awesomeness of Coconut Milk.

Ah, this deserves another moment of silence.
Shhhh, I’m silencing! :-)

Found in the Asian foods section of your grocery story, us Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant folks who have no desire to eat highly processed, sugary cool whip have found our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Isn’t it a pretty rainbow? (Yup, I’m in that kind of mood.)
So, I made a quick video to show you just how easy this is.
And it really is easy..
You know I don’t do hard.. because life is hard enough, it shouldn’t be hard to get awesome food, right?
CLICK HERE TO WATCH- HOW TO MAKE WHIPPED CREAM WITH COCONUT MILK

I have just begun to dig in and play around with all the different possibilities this ingredient, in it’s many forms can offer, and I’m looking forward to coming up with some awesome foodstuffs! In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying it with a bowl of berries, or cherries.. yum! Or fresh pineapple, double yum! Or.. or.. yumness awaits at every turn, I can feel it. :-)

If you have Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant friends and family in your life, share this video with them, they will love you for it. (I know I would!!)

Happy cooking!
~Cat

THE Question

So many times when we start out on a(nother) journey to better health and fitness we want to jump right in and find out what we should and shouldn’t be eating and what kind of workouts we should be doing, etc., and we skip over, what I think is one of the most important keys to our potential success.
Why.
Without the “Why” we will quit in no time, just like every other time, right? I know it was true for me, I was the queen of stop-and-start… and start again. When I finally got VERY serious in May of 2007 about dropping the 40lbs. I had packed on, I was ready to start slow and do things right.

Knowing your “why” will get you up in the morning and doing the workout routine that seems overwhelming at first, it will also help you choose good food over bad. But this isn’t just a nice suggestion for you to try, it takes concentrated effort and focus (15-30 minutes minimum) to come to the root reasons of why you want to lose fat and get your health back. But if you’re ready.. really ready, and willing to dig deep, you’ll reap the benefits of this little exercise when you need it most: When the going gets tough.
Check out my video HERE, where I talk more about this important key to make THIS time the last time, you have to start over.

For daily encouragement, please join me on the Hungry! facebook page, and “Like” it for motivation delivered right into your newsfeed.

Meal Plan Rules July 4th-10th

Here’s my eating plan for the week of July 4th-10th, basically Monday through Sunday. I’ve created this for two reasons, one is, I have excess belly fat that I have regained that I want to lose and two is, I’ve allowed some foods back into my diet that are causing cravings, that I need to get rid of. I know I have some hormonal issues, I eat very strict and work out pretty heavily and yet I cannot seem to shed these last 4-5 pounds. The crazy thing is I had lost the 5 pounds and was eating pretty freely (for me anyways) eating honey and nuts and fruit, and still able to keep the weight off and then something happened, I gained two pounds one day, but thought it was just that time of the month and then gained a few more and they never went away. I’m actually eating stricter now than I was when I weighed 5 pounds less. I know I am gaining muscle, I have been adding more weight to my workouts nearly every week, but this isn’t muscle, it’s excess fat around the middle that didn’t used to be there. It’s a bit tough to hear and see people that weigh much less than me being able to eat nuts and fruit freely, and a whole host of other foods that I would blow up with, if I even thought about them.
So! I have been off and on with the nuts and honey and fruit and I want to go at least a week with it very structured to see if these things are the issues and I can go from there. It may be that I can have these things, just not in the quantities that I’ve been eating them. :-)
This isn’t new for me by the way, I’ve been putting myself on these little tests for years now, fine tuning, fine tuning, fine tuning. :-) I think it’s important that we do it, it’s how we find out exactly what is making us gain or keeping us sick etc.. So here’s my rules for the week.
1. I will not be hungry. If I’m hungry, I’ll eat and I’ll stop when I’m full. (I’m not limiting protein portions)
2. I will drink 120oz. of water per day.
3. I will take my vitamins , 2 times daily.
4. No honey.
5. No dates.
6. No nuts.
7. I will eat plenty of protein (Mostly beef, chicken, shrimp) and plenty of vegetables (mostly Romain, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli) and I will get my fat from olive oil, omega fish oil tabs and from the proteins.
8. I will eat ONLY 2 level cups of fruit or less, primarily melons and berries.
9. No dairy, no grain.
10. I am allowed 2 tiny squares of 70% chocolate per day (1 inch x 1/2 inch ‘squares’).


Staying on track at a party

Even if you didn’t know what the date was, you would know the year-end holidays were right around the corner by all the articles that pop up about surviving holiday parties when you’re dieting. They’re everywhere. But as I’m writing this, we’re heading into Summer, which for my family means lots of back yard birthday bar-b-ques, etc.
So what do you do when you’re heading to an event where you know there’s going to be lots of forbidden foods? Do you just say, “oh, well.” and plan on getting back on track the next day? Do you try and tough it out? How much is too much?
So here are some standard tips:
1. Don’t go hungry.
2. Don’t drink your calories.
3. Don’t hang out by the food/snack table.
4. Allow yourself one small treat so you don’t feel deprived.
5. Offer to bring food to the event so you’ll at least know you have something to eat.
These are all good tips, but lets break these down a little bit..

1. Don’t go hungry.
I happen to think this is a really great tip (this also could be applied when going to the grocery store, by the way), because when we’re hungry, our defenses our down, we pretty much want to eat everything in site because, dang-it we’re hungry! Something happens when we get to that level of hunger, we don’t think as clearly, we stop thinking about our goals and all our hard work because all that’s on our mind is eating. This seems like such a simple tip, one that would be so easy to do, just grab 2-3 ounces of protein or a handful of nuts before you walk out the door so you’re not starving when you get there. But I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people (who are trying to lose fat) say, “oh well, I can start over on Monday.” Or a hundred other ways to say- “I have no self control.”
You already know this but do you mind if I say it again?

Your success will be equal to your work

Little work will always equal little success and lots of hard work will always equal great success. This doesn’t just apply in the gym where we tend to think of the ‘work’ it also pertains to what we don’t do and what we don’t eat.  For me, that’s just as tough. But I approach an event or party the same way I approach a workout, with determination and grit. It’s no different to me. I want to succeed in my workout just as bad as I want to succeed in not getting off track at a party.

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that once you’ve tried something that’s forbidden (and this can apply to anything) it gets easier and easier to give in to it, till your defense is completely gone. Well, the opposite is also true, when you resist something that’s forbidden you get stronger and every time you resist it,
it gets easier and easier to do so, till it’s no longer a temptation.

Off the top of my head I have successfully stayed on track through 7 events in the last 2 months. What, am I counting? Uh… yeah! I love being able to say that. While so many around me are making excuses and already regretting, I’m holding the line. I’m just as proud of that number as I am for new personal records I set in my workouts.
So, that got a little long winded, bottom line: eat something healthy before you go (no really.. do it!) and approach your eating with the same determination that you do your workouts.

2. Don’t drink the kool-aid, i.e. stick to drinking water.
You’ve heard it a thousand times- don’t drink your calories, don’t drink your calories, don’t drink your calories. Right? You know that, right? :-) They’re more concentrated and you can easily go overboard with one sugary beverage (and who drinks just one soda?). So… what are you doing… drinking your calories? Try sticking to ice cold water (Yum!) or unsweetened ice tea with lemon to get you through, you’ll be glad you did.

3. Don’t hang out by the food/snack table.
This  is pretty obvious, but in case it’s not, let me explain. You’ve heard the expression- out of site out of mind, right? Well, that makes the opposite, also true. If its right there within eyesight and you can see the food and smell the food, etc. it’s almost impossible to resist getting seconds or thirds, or grazing when it’s so close by. It’s also, nearly impossible to stop thinking about the food and focusing on it and telling yourself- one more wont hurt. Just try getting your food, walking away from the table, sitting down with some friends and making the event about relationships and good times without the food being the focus. After all, it’s usually the conversations that make a get-together memorable, not the food.

4. Allow yourself one small treat so you don’t feel deprived.. well, maybe.
If you’re someone who can eat just one cookie or one small handful of chips, this tip is for you. If you’re not, it’s not. Some people can eat a very good meal even in the face of great temptation if they know they will get to have a small treat afterwords. Small being the key word. While others, cannot have that treat without it sending them into a downward spiral. So basically you need to be honest with yourself. You know you best. For me, it just depends on the day and I have to be honest on that day about which category I fall into. Typically though, I steer clear of all goodies and bad foods and go with an extra portion of fruit salad. While fruit is allowed on a Paleo/Primal diet, I don’t eat very much, so this would be a treat for me. This decision can really make or break your success, so decide before the event what you’re going to do and ask someone to hold you accountable for it.

5. Offer to bring food to the event so you’ll at least know you have something to eat.
This is a fantastic way to prepare a delicious dish that everyone will love AND make sure you have a side to enjoy with the meat that’s served. When you tell everyone it’s healthy and that YOU made it, they just might stop looking at you funny for eating your hamburger without the bun. Well, maybe.
Here are some great sites  that I use for delicious, healthy recipes:
http://www.yourlighterside.com/

http://fastpaleo.com/
http://www.civilizedcavemancooking.com/
Don’t be put off by the fact that these are low-carb or Paleo/Primal recipes, that just means that they use real, whole ingredients instead of processed ones, i.e. they’re healthy for you. :-)
So there you go, have a great time at your next event and approach it with confidence that you can not only survive but thrive with these tried and true tips. I would love to hear your strategies, and don’t forget to tell me in the comments below or on facebook how it went!



A Strong-end or a Weak-end?

So, hypothetical scenario here..
Monday rolls around and you’re ready for it. You’ve done your meal prep for the week, lined out your workouts and workout days, refilled your five gallon jug of water… man, you are READY!!
Skip forward to Friday.. you’re on a serious “healthy lifestyle high,” in fact you’re glowing and people are asking you if you got a raise or if you’re in love, WOW, you feel great! Not only did you get in all your workouts and all your water, but you successfully avoided Mary’s  3 dozen donuts “gift” to the office and politely turned down your brother’s insistence about ‘just trying’ some birthday cake and ice cream AND…drum roll… you dropped 2 pounds.
Can life get any better? I mean, can it?!?
Woo hoo! Cart wheels! High fives!

Then 5 o clock happens and it is officially the weakend!!
Oops, typo. That should’ve read ‘weekend,’ right?
It’s the end of the week, work is over, it’s time to play, its the WEEKEND!!
But so often and for so many of us it becomes a ‘weak end’ to an otherwise strong week, right?!
So, what happens?
What it is about letting our hair down and loosening the tie at work that also seems to carry over to our healthy habits.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Time off work does not constitute time off from a healthy lifestyle, or at least it shouldn’t. Either you believe the way you’re eating and taking care of yourself is healthy (good for you) and long term or you don’t, and your actions will prove it. I know, because I used to do this..uh, A LOT.
Up and down, up and down, tightening up, loosening up, back and forth…

Imagine telling your Dentist that you only brush your teeth Monday through Friday and the weekends.. you just, you know, kinda play it by ear, if it happens, it happens but you don’t want to over do it, because that’s like, fanatical to do it everyday.

What nonsense. We don’t take 2 days off from this healthy habit, so why should we do it with our eating and exercise?
Now, I’m not talking about scheduled carb loading or having one ‘off plan’ item or meal, I’m talking about figuratively letting your hair down and throwing out what you know to be healthy.. for a few days in the pit. And it is a pit that has to be crawled out of, right?

So, here’s some things to think about that may help with this vicious and self-sabotaging cycle.
1. Lose the “I deserve it” mentality.. well, kinda. You’re right, you’ve done really well all week and you deserve… something, but eating a bunch of junk is NOT a reward and can often set you further back then where you started from. I’m not sure when along the line we started to ‘reward’ ourselves with bad stuff but seriously, that’s like a child winning a track race and you say, “Awesome, way to go, you’re the best.. here, sit down and start eating this 5 pound bag of sugar, you deserve it sweetie!!” Ridiculous? Uh, yeah! Yet, I used to dip my foot (and sometimes my whole leg) back into the sugar laden junk on the weekends, all the time. You’re right, you deserve a pat on the back, you have taken steps to improve your life and get your health back on track, it’s very tough to do, so reward yourself with a verbal, “Good job!” “Way to go!” (I do it all the time), and stay the course. Be kind to yourself, reward yourself by staying on track.

2.  Is this a diet or a new you? A diet is something you go on and off, right? I tried nearly every diet out there, I went on them and theeeeen I went off them. But when you decide to clean up your eating habits, get rid of the processed junk and start getting some exercise on a consistent basis, that’s a life style change, it’s not something you go off of, this is a new you. Do you cease being you on the weekends? Of course not. This is who you are now, you are healthy, strong, and focused, you don’t want to take a break from that.

3. The best way to never have to deal with the dreaded Monday “regrets and hangovers” is to not fall off the wagon on the weekend. That was crazy, overly simplistic, wasn’t it… I’ve never had a ‘real’ hangover, heck, I’ve never had a drink, but I could write a book about food hangovers, I’ve had enough of them for all of us. Again, you’re eating really well, and suddenly the temptation is greater than your resistance and BAM! You’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have. It was all fun and games for the 4 seconds it took you to eat it then… THEN, maybe moments later, maybe a day later, it hits you. And you get to walk around for a good day or two trying to rid your body of that substance that you don’t normally eat or drink. It stinks. Plain and simple. Your head hurts, you may be lightheaded/dizzy, feel nauseous, sleepy, etc.. Yuk.
So, how can we avoid it? Uh.. don’t eat a bunch of junk that’s not part of your eating plan.  I haven’t done this in many months, and guess what? No Monday morning regrets and/or hangover. Wow, what a concept.
(And yeah… it’s going to happen sometimes, and when it does, the important thing is get right back on and get moving in the right direction again.)

4. Failing to plan.  We’ve all heard the saying “Failing to plan is just planning to fail” and yet we do it all the time. We all KNOW that fresh food and produce doesn’t last as long as processed junk but we still try to make it 7 days without going back to the grocery store. Try planning on going every Sunday and Wednesday or whatever days work for you. Plan to have two days out of the week where you do meal prep. Just plan for it. Put it in your schedule. If you go into the weekend and you have none of your healthy foods prepped and ready to go you’re just planning to fail (fall off the wagon). Also, plan when you’re going to get some exercise in. Unless the weekend is your scheduled rest days, they should not be taken off from exercise. Plan a hike, or swim some laps, but plan something to keep you focused on staying fit.

5. Lastly, if your eating plan is so strict it has you pining for the weekend to get some relief, you might want to take another look at it. I try a lot of things in my diet, taking stuff out, adding stuff in, constantly changing things up. But one thing I won’t do is make changes that I can’t live with forever. I’m not into quick fixes and temporary weight loss ideas, I want to eat in a healthy way that’s sustainable for me. When I was pondering the decision in February 2011 to take out grain and dairy, I thought about it long and hard, weighing pros and cons. I decided to ‘try’ it, and haven’t looked back, I love it. And I can eat this way for life. Finding a plan that is healthy and works for you won’t feel like a diet and will likely eliminate the ‘need’ to cheat, so do some research to find a good healthy fit for you.

And here’s my bottom line.
What do you really want?
No seriously. Stop for a minute and answer that question, just so you and your body are on the same page.
Do you want to be healthy and fit or do you want to eat a bunch of food that you know is unhealthy and will leave you feeling miserable and a few pounds heavier? It’s that simple really. Once you get this clear in your heart and mind, it will remove a lot of the questions of should I or shouldn’t I?
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Decide what you want, decide what you’re willing to give up for it, establish your priorities and go to work” -Hunt
I hope you have a great weekend, or should I say, I hope you have a strong-end to a great week.