My Favorite Way to Eat Berries

After my walking workouts, I am always starving!  About 11:00 in the morning, baby girl is either still asleep or just waking up from her morning nap, so she usually needs a snack at that time.  It’s too early for lunch, but I need some protein and some hearty food to fill my tummy and refuel my body.  My solution:


I already mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I switched out my “usual” oatmeal fixings of butter and brown sugar in favor of pure maple syrup and nuts.  Now, however, I find that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE FRESH BERRIES in my oatmeal.

ALDI has a great mix of frozen blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, and I usually buy a bag of frozen blueberries while I’m at it.  I don’t even take the time to thaw them since I throw them in the microwave during the last 20-30 seconds of cooking time on my oatmeal.  No sugar needed – the berries are sweet enough themselves.  If you like, put some pecans or almonds or walnuts and some wheat germ and/or seeds of your choice in with them, and you are on your way to making Dr. Fuhrman proud!  Check out his book, Eat to Live, to see what I mean.

Couple it with a good cup of coffee and you are GOOD TO GO!  Try it next time you think you’re hungry but it’s not “mealtime” yet.  Good luck to you as you make progress toward your healthy goals!


Stuck in the Vicious Cycle…Again

Recently, I dealt with some emotional distress and I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle.  You know the one – where you find yourself

Dealing with an emotional/physical problem

Eating comfort food

Sleeping more than normal

Not exercising

Gaining weight

Reinforced laziness

After a week of this, you find yourself 5-7 or maybe even 10 pounds heavier than normal!  Am I right?

I wrote about this vicious cycle in a previous post, but I want to remind you (and myself) of how important it is to GET OUT OF THAT CYCLE AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

One of the biggest reasons we need to exercise is to take away stress and anxiety.  Most of the time, I don’t even realize I am stressed or anxious until I start exercising and feel how tight my muscles are, especially around my jaw and face (where I have been clenching my teeth).  Clenching and grinding are signs of inner turmoil, like anxiety – see this article.  Once your emotional stress has been knocked out with exercise, your physical cravings for sleep and comfort food will diminish, and you will be able to return to your normal diet and sleep schedule.  Your emotional issue may not be completely gone, but at least you will have the mental strength to deal with it in a positive way.

Another sure way of knowing that exercise is just what we needed is the natural high we experience post-workout.  Personally, I am happy and optimistic, I feel emotionally stable again, and I feel like I can handle whatever today throws at me!

As far as dealing with emotional eating, I can only refer you to this article by WebMD and tell you that I was on #4 for the past week.  I was (at one point) 10 pounds over my goal weight this past week.  Once again, my scale was a useful tool in helping me gauge my progress on this journey.  I realized I was WAY off course and needed to get back to what works for me: walking 3 miles 3 times a week, eating a plant-based diet, and getting off the couch!

We are all affected by an emotional or physical issue that hinders us from gaining forward motion in pursuit of our healthy goals.  It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.  It is my sincere hope that when you are faced with an emotional or physical issue, you will remember some of these words of encouragement.  We’ve all been there.  But the sooner you get off the couch and back to your routine, the sooner you will blast out of that vicious cycle that keeps you down and out.

Best wishes to you as you make progress on your mental/physical/health journey.

5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight

If someone told me losing weight was as easy as eating plants, I would have started a lot sooner than I did.

If someone told me I would feel better if I cut out bread, meats, and dairy from my diet, I would have done so a lot sooner than I did.

If someone had told me I would CONTINUE to lose weight, even when I ate foods that weren’t good for me, just because my diet was plant-based, I would have done so a lot sooner than I did.

Photo by

Photo by

These five easy steps are what I wish I had known 30 lbs ago:

1.) CUT IT OUT.  Eliminate red meats, sausages, pork, poultry, then chicken, tuna, and seafood.  Go one at a time.  Then cut out white breads/pastas of all kinds, especially the ones with sugar and preservatives.  Then get rid of dairy products, which are full of fat and hard on the digestive system.  Immediately stop consuming foods with artificial flavors or colors (like sodas), anything processed or fried, anything full of fat (I had to stop making pies because my pie crust recipe used Crisco), and anything with unpronounceable ingredients.  If you can’t find it in nature, don’t eat it. Click here to tweet this

2.) ADD PLANTS TO YOUR DIET.  Any kind of plant – green leafies, cooked carrots, beans of all kinds, fresh or frozen berries, nuts, seeds, and LOTS of fruit.   These are your cancer-fighters, your blood pressure lowering soldiers, your blood sugar stabilizers…you get the idea.  Your body will function so much better once you get on a plant-based diet.

3.) Exercise when you can, but aim for 3 times per week.  I was able to walk 3 miles 3 times a week and saw tremendous changes in my muscles and body shape.  Besides just feeling good, you will LOOK good, too!

4.) Don’t count calories.  Forget about how many points something gets or is this on so-and-so plan.  Just eat plants and get rid of all the other junk in our American diet.

5.) Don’t obsess.  This is a journey, not a destination, so there is no race to the finish.  Food is made to serve you, not the other way around.  It’s designed to make our bodies function so we can live LIFE.  You won’t be perfect every day, so accept that.  Give yourself some grace.  Stick to the 80/20 rule if you are going to splurge – 80% of what you should eat (plants) and 20% of what you WANT to eat.  Losing weight and eating whole foods can become a “god;” an idol; an obsession that your life revolves around and distances you from  your loved ones.  God never intended food to be divisive – see THIS ARTICLE from someone who shared her own journey from food idolatry (shared with permission from the author).  There are more important things in life than food.

If someone had told me losing weight was easy, I would have started on this journey a whole lot sooner. Click here to tweet this I hope this has helped you make progress toward your healthy goals.  If you know someone who has struggled with their weight and wants to learn more, please pass this on!  Let’s all help each other make progress toward our health goals.

Top 10 Benefits of Exercise

My Top 10 Favorite Benefits of Exercising:
10.) Loosens stiff muscles
9.) Improves circulation throughout my entire body, eliminating my restless leg problem at night
8.) Increases creativity (I’m writing this while stretching after a workout!)
7.) Improves memory
6.) Releases stress
5.) Instantly makes me smile again (I didn’t know I frowned so much!)
4.) Improves spinal alignment
3.) Reminds me to love my body in a society that teaches girls to hate their bodies
2.) Increases my self-esteem
1.) Burns off the calories from those chocolate chip cookies I ate last night!!

What’s your favorite reason to run (or walk or bike or exercise…)?

Good luck as you make progress toward your healthy goals today!

5 Ways To Gain 5 Pounds in 7 Days

As you know, I try to make good food choices as part of my own progress toward a healthy body. Sometimes, however, I fail miserably.

Last week, we went on a trip to San Antonio, where my husband and I attend an annual convention. I’ve done this trip 16 times now, and yet I still haven’t figured out how to stay on track with eating and exercising.

So here’s what I did to gain what must be at least 5 pounds in the last week (the battery on my digital scale is broken…I don’t know the actual amount of weight gained…just guessing!):

1.) Eat pizza with lots of cheese and a white flour crust.
2.) Don’t take fitness walks.
3.) Eat fried chicken at least twice.
4.) Neglect drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
5.) Put ranch dressing on every salad you eat.

Obviously, this is all tongue-in-cheek. I hope you will choose the OPPOSITE of these 5 things above to help you LOSE weight on your journey toward health and wellness. Good luck as you make progress toward your healthy goals!

Beat The Winter Blues

If you are like me, you may be suffering from mild depression right now.  You may even be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The dead of winter is difficult for me to feel happy, energized, and successful.  I have the tendency to hibernate – not leaving my house for days at a time, curled up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. 

Obviously, hibernating does not help me reach any of my healthy goals: staying active, eating right, and maintaining good mental health.

There are some things I MUST do to feel like myself again this time of year:

1.) Reach out.  Call a friend, volunteer your time, go to church, visit a neighbor.  Doing something for someone else always makes me feel better about life.

2.) Get moving!  It’s time to get out of the recliner and exercise!  Pop in  your favorite Walk at Home DVD (I love this one – Radio Mixes: Walk to the Hits!), lace up those shoes, and get moving!  Instant stress reducer!  See my top 10 benefits of exercise here.

3.) Do something fun for YOU.  Go to a bookstore, go have coffee with a friend, paint a picture, photograph something beautiful, dig in the dirt, play with a child – whatever makes you happy (that’s not harmful to your body!).

I hope these things will help you beat these winter blues.  Let’s keep making progress toward those healthy goals!

Take A Fitness Walk

To quote @LeslieWalks, “every time you take a fitness walk, you are choosing to move toward your healthy goals!”

Leslie’s DVDs help me and thousands of others every single day. There are wonderful resources on her website,, if you don’t own any of her videos.

Blessings as you make progress toward your healthy goals today!

Travel and Exercise: Can They Coexist?

If you are like me, my whole exercise routine gets interrupted when we go out of town.  Even if the trip is only a 2 or 3 day trip, my body forgets that it is supposed to move and be active.

The hardest parts, of course, are sitting in a car for extended periods of time, and the often-altered schedule of staying up late, sleeping in, and eating at odd hours.  All of these things work against you when you get the urge to exercise.

When we travel, I also find myself saying things like, “Well, I don’t want to take away from this time to visit with my family member,” or, “I’m not comfortable with someone else’s equipment/living room/tv/walking video, so I’ll just wait until I’m back in my own house with my own stuff.”

These are all legitimate reasons not to exercise.  But I think we can find a compromise.  Here are some suggestions for fitting in your exercise session while traveling:

1.) Get up earlier than everyone else.  Commandeer the TV for your Walk at Home DVD or other exercise video.

2.) Invite others in your family to exercise with you!

3.) Organize a game of flag football that involves the whole family.  Or backyard volleyball or other calorie-burning activity of your choice.

4.) Go on a walk.  One of my favorite memories of visiting my grandpa’s house when I was a kid was going for a walk in the woods.  He has 88 acres of farmland in central Missouri, filled with oaks and other trees I don’t know the names of, cattle and wild turkeys.  It was always a treat to go for a walk in these woods after a big holiday meal.

5.) When traveling, if at all possible, stop every hour or so and walk the trail at the rest stop.  Or find a city park and stretch your legs for about 15 minutes.  People traveling with dogs, children/babies, or pregnant women have to do this by default, anyway, so take advantage!

On one of my walking DVD’s, Leslie Sansone says this: “Our bodies were designed for movement.  They weren’t designed to sit in a car or sit in a chair/sofa/recliner.”  Let’s get moving, America!  Pack those tennis shoes and get moving next time you’re away from home.  Blessings to you and safe travels this holiday season.  ~Eph. 3:20-21