Diet vs. Lifestyle Change

We are bombarded daily with the next best diet or fat flush. Diets and weight loss programs are wonderful, but they are a short term solution. Getting the initial weight off is usually easy with any diet change. Most of the “fad” diets I have been seeing require the person cut out  food groups like carbohydrates, sugar, meat or dairy. Weight loss is inevitable when we cut out anything we are eating in excess. To maintain a healthy weight, diet and exercise is key! That does not mean cutting out every “bad” or “unhealthy” food from our diets forever. Let’s face it, sometimes we want french fries or ice cream. However, it does mean cutting those foods out from our regular diet.

ABC’s of Eating for Health*

Adequacy – to provide enough of the essential nutrients, fiber and energy in the form of calories.
Balance – to avoid overemphasis on any food type or nutrient at the expense of another
Calorie control – to supply the amount of energy you need to maintain a healthy weight – not more, not less
Moderation – to avoid excess amounts of unwanted constituents, such as solid fats and added sugars
Variety – to consume different foods rather than eating the same meals day after day

These guidelines are a great base to get your started on the road to a healthy eating lifestyle.

A food journal will also help you keep track of what and how much you are eating. There are several apps for your smartphone as well as web-based programs available. I use MyFitnessPal.

Incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times per week will help you get a jump start on your healthy lifestyle. This does not have to be done in a gym; go for a walk or a bike ride. Bring a friend or family member along for company. It is much easier incorporating a lifestyle change with a partner!

Anyone can diet for a period of time, but it takes commitment to live a healthy life! Make that commitment to yourself and you will not be disappointed!

*Source: “Personal Nutrition”, Marie A Boyle & Sarah Long


FIT Hits the PAN Fridays!

I thought it might be fun to make Friday recipe day (title is courtesy of my creative husband)! We can all use new ideas in the kitchen and weekends tend to be when we eat the worst (at least that is how it works in our house). I will share some recipes that I have created and some that I have found on the web. The rules are there are no rules! You can share your feedback on your experience with the dishes and pass along any ideas you have to make them better!

Today’s recipe is Twice Baked Potatoes. I have been on a kick where I want to use all of the food we currently have in the house before purchasing new food and we happened to have all of these ingredients. This recipe can be made with any ingredients you like. Get creative!!!


  • 2 medium russet baking potatoes (washed). You could also use sweet potatoes. 
  • 3 oz meat or vegetables (we used a filet we had in the fridge but you could use chicken, beans, meatless crumbles or vegetables)
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1/4 c reduced fat cheese (I used a cheddar/monterey jack mix)
  • 1/4 c light sour cream
  • 1/4 c skim milk
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Bake the potatoes at 375 until tender (about 90 minutes depending on the size of the potato)
  • While the potatoes are baking, cook your meat or vegetable of choice to taste.
  • Once the potatoes are finished, let them cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle
  • Cut the potatoes in half
  • Carefully scoop out the middle into a medium mixing bowl. Try not to get too close to the skin of the potato as it can rip.
  • Add all of the ingredients except the cheese to the potatoes and mix well. If you are using cooked vegetables, add them last and fold them in so they do not get mashed up with the potatoes.
  • Once everything is mixed well, distribute the mixture evenly between the potato halves.
  • Bake the halves at 375 for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the cheese on each potato and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from the oven and serve.

This dish is filling and goes great with a side salad for a full meal. I love the range of creativity this recipe offers.

Nutrition Information (original recipe):

Serving Size – 1 potato half
261 calories/ 34 g. carbs/ 7 g. fat/ 16 g. protein/ 331 mg. sodium/ 32 mg. chol.

What’s So Great About Water?


If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I don’t like water!”…I wouldn’t have any more money than I do today. In truth, I haven’t heard it from too many people but I have heard it before and I was so confused! How can anyone NOT like water? The human body is about 70% water, yet 75% of us are chronically dehydrated. Why is that? It turns out, the majority of us are not drinking enough water throughout the day. The shocking part is that almost every organ in our body relies on water to function. If we are not properly hydrated, our bodies cannot function at the optimal level. I know those seems elementary to some of you, but it is a constant battle to get some people to drink water. Even with the facts laid out in front of them, they will not be moved.

Why is water so important? If you are not properly hydrated your body will start pulling the water from other places like organs and blood. This increases the thickness of the blood and can increase your risk of blood clots. This can also lead to hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol. The thicker the blood, the more difficult it is to pump through the arteries thus making your heart work harder. Dehydration can also promote the increase of body fat. For those of us exercise enthusiasts, that defeats the purpose of being in the gym 3-5 hours per week! Water can be used to decipher if you are actually hungry. Before you grab that next snack, grab a glass of water. You may just be dehydrated.


We have the facts, now what do we do with them? It is pretty simple, drink water. You know it is essential to life, you know your body functions better while hydrated and I promise you will feel better and have more energy during the day if you are adequately hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you to work or when you are out running errands. Make sure you have clean drinking water available at your house. There are countless filtration systems that are reasonably priced if you are not willing to             purchase bottled water or cannot afford it.

How much water is enough water? According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. Keep in mind, you intake water from certain foods and other beverages as well. So the old rule of 8 – 8 ounce glasses per day while not exact will probably suffice. I would suggest that be the minimum. If you participate in vigorous exercise, then you will need to consume more water since you are  losing more water than the average person who does not exercise.

I love a challenge! Create one for yourself with water intake. Start with one day and make it a goal to drink at least 64 ounces of water (8- 8 ounce classes). Then increase it to a week, then a month. Eventually, it will become a habit! A good habit at that 🙂 Cheers!

the truth about carbs & low carb diets;

Great information!

Live Dream Nutrition.

Do carbohydrates make us fat? In short – no! Nor does fat, protein, or alcohol. What makes us fat is an over consumption of all of these macro-nutrients, therefore an over consumption of calories, generally backed up by too little exercise – everything in moderation is key.

However, carbohydrates tend to cop quite a hard thrashing by “health experts” who recommend low carb diets, and cutting carbs to produce significant weight loss. Let me explain to you why low carb diets are not the answer – and why you need (possibly more) carbohydrates in your diet!

Without providing too much chemistry, when carbohydrates (whether it be sugar or starch) are digested by the body they turn to glucose – which is the energy the nervous system (including the brain) uses to survive. Our body normally contains many glucose molecules, and with each glucose, 3 water molecules are attached. When we…

View original post 398 more words

28 Day Dairy-Free Challenge

I was perusing the internet today and came across the Dr. Oz 28 Day Dairy-Free Challenge. I have always felt like I had some sort of dairy intolerance, but I ignored the symptoms because cheese is just so terrific! The idea behind it is that dairy is often the sneaky culprit of many health issues. Many adults suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergies that manifest themselves through various ailments such as IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), throat congestion or stuffy nose, heartburn or weight gain. Contrarily, some people have no issue with dairy at all which I also find very fascinating.

The challenge seems easy enough. Each week, you cut out a certain type of dairy; Week 1 – milk, Week 2 – yogurt, Week 3 – ice cream and Week 4 – cheese. The hardest part for me will be the cheese. It has become a huge staple in my diet. My goal is to start this challenge April 29. We have a couple of leftovers to finish before we can embark on this journey (Breyer’s M&M Blast ice cream for one :)). My husband said he is up for it, so at least I will have a companion to hold my hand when I am having cheddar withdrawals.

I will post updates to let you know when I start and how it goes. I am interested to see how big of a lifestyle change it will be. If you decide to take the challenge, let me know! It is 28 days, how bad can it be?

It is well with my soul

Romans 8:18
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster of news watching the authorities chase the Boston Marathon bomber, the explosion in Texas and finally the emotional capture of the bomber on Friday. I am so thankful we live in a nation where this is the exception, not the norm. So many countries live with these types of events everyday and they are living in constant fear. My heart continues to break for those who experienced these tragedies and we should continue to pray for them even after they are no longer national news. Aside from the stories we hear, there are thousands of stories we do not hear; stories of heartbreak, loss and sadness.

Throughout all of this, a song called “It is Well with My Soul” written by Horatio G. Spafford plays in my mind. If you are not familiar with this song or the story behind it you are in for a treat. I encourage you to read the background before watching this video.

When peace like a river attendeth my way, 
When sorrows like sea billows roll; 
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, 
“It is well, it is well with my soul!” 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought— 
My sin, not in part, but the whole, 
Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more; 
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! 

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, 
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll 
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend – 
“Even so, it is well with my soul” 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live; 
If dark hours about me shall roll 
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life 
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Making Rest a Priority

ImageIf you are anything like me, when you have a day to do nothing it freaks you out. My to-do lists are always running in the back of my mind; laundry, oil change, exercise, study, make dinner etc. It seems like it never ends. Thursday evening, my husband and I were both home. He was working in the yard and I had just finished up my work day. We were looking around for something to do to pass the time. It was one of those rare occasions when neither of us had anything scheduled and it was strange. Of course, there are always things to do but we were not interested in doing any of them. I decided to study and he fiddled around in the yard until it was dark. We do not live a very exciting life, but it is ours 🙂

I work a full-time job and try to do 3-5 vigorous workouts per week. So it is not surprising I am tired a lot. My mom swears I do not get enough protein. Tuesday, I started getting a sore throat but since my allergies are so bad, I figured they were the culprit. The week passed and I only managed to get in 2 workouts because of my schedule. The sore throat lingered through last night and I was “forced” to cancel my volunteer hours today which I was not happy about. I managed to stay in bed until 10 (which never happens). It turned out that my body needed a break. I had been ignoring it for several weeks and it would not be ignored any longer.

It is so important to pay attention to our bodies and allow ourselves the rest we need. In the midst of our technology driven society, we rarely get a break from mental stimuli. We owe it to ourselves to have a moment of quiet away from everyday noise to rest our minds and our bodies. Here are some practical tips from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.