The Big Question: How do you feel about your mom dating?

If you know me, you know that asking for permission is just not my style at all. BUT…..I wanted to write a blog article on a topic that I get asked about a lot lately, and I needed the permission of someone involved before doing so: my mother.

I share a lot on my social media platforms about things that many see as sensitive in nature, and I continue to do so because I know me sharing my story is helping others who are dealing with similar situations. That’s always my main goal, and it’s one that I won’t be stopping anytime soon. I’m not writing for pity or sympathy; instead I am writing for purpose and positivity. When people ask me privately about different things I am dealing with, I try my best to turn it into a learning experience for them and others and share my answers in a way that could better the life or thought process of another person.

Why did I need my mom’s permission to write about the topic I am addressing today? Easy. It is one thing for me to share about my story, but to intertwine something personal happening with someone close to me crosses the boundary of “is this appropriate for me to talk about?” I wanted to be sensitive to my mom and her feelings, and I was thankful when she gave me the green light to discuss this with you. So let’s talk about the thing I get asked about the most:

How do you feel about your mom dating again?

For starters, can I just say that dating is terrifying to me. Going back into the dating scene is something that is just so overwhelming to me. I have been out of it for so long to now be entering back in it and seeing the craziness of sites like Tinder and Bumble and whatever else makes me want to go puke. Ugh.

Know what terrifies me more than the thought of me being back in the dating game? To think of someone like my mother reentering that scene after being off the market for almost 40 years. That generation knows nothing of the online dating game, the world of catfishing, or the nastiness of the unsolicited dick pic. I was terrified that the day would come when she would WANT to start looking into dating sites. In my mind she should never come head on with this new fangled way to meet people.

Let’s back it up a minute though…..

Most of you who are reading this blog are connected to me in some way, maybe through social media or maybe you are friends with me in real life, and because of that you know that November 20th will mark four years since we lost my dad. It was sudden and unexpected. He was not sick. His lost greatly changed me as person in so many ways, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. He was the greatest man I have ever known, and I am forever grateful to have been lucky enough to call him my dad.

I continue to talk about MY grief journey because it does help me keep his memory alive and, again, it helps me to share with others my experience with the hope that they realize what they are going through/feeling is normal. Much like mental illness, people don’t seem to want to openly talk about grief and their feelings, and I hope to change that.

The first instinct I had after getting past the shock of my dad’s death was simple: I have to protect and take care of my mom. I worried about her for many reasons. She had never lived alone in her entire life. Who would take out the garbage and do some of the tasks around the house that my dad did? Who would take his goldendoodle, Henry, for his daily walks? I hated the thought of her eating her meals alone… will she even be able to eat? I worried about so many things. Because of that I spent most of the two months following my dad’s death at her condo with her. New normals can be very scary, and while I didn’t know how to help her figure out hers, I wanted to be able to support her and just be there for her.

It took me awhile to realize the difference in our losses. I had lost my dad, who was my hero. She had lost her best friend and spouse since 1979. There is a difference, friends.
One of the hardest things to watch as a child is your parent truly lost. I saw that with my mother. She went through the motions of life, and her eyes always looked sad, even when she would smile. My mom is great at putting on a brave face and not complaining, but I could see that sadness day in and day out. It was hard for her to do normal things. Often she was the third or fifth wheel and felt out of place. She turned down different invitations because she just didn’t want to be around people, and I don’t blame her.

I remember a conversation I had with one of my best friends about a year and a half after my dad had died. He asked me if I had thought about what would happen when the time came that my mom started dating. I didn’t really know how I felt, and after that conversation I asked my mom about her desire to date and if she thought she would. Some women (my Grandma Rosie was one) lose their husbands and refuse to seek out love again. I didn’t know her feelings on it, but I wanted to know. She said she was not interested in dating anyone else, but deep down I wondered if she may be afraid to answer any other way.

Shortly after that my mother and I did one of our usual things…we went to see a local medium. I’ve talked about this before on the blog, but I am a huge fan of them and what they have done with where I’m at in the grief process. We always record our readings and share it with each other since only one person at a time sees the medium. During my mom’s reading the medium mentioned that my dad would help orchestrate connecting her with a man from her past. She did not say if it was romantic or not, only that this person was someone from her past. Fast forward to the end of last year.

It was a Friday night and per the usual, I tried to Facetime my mom. She didn’t answer. Immediately I was worried….she always takes my Facetime calls. Shortly after she texted me to let me know she was out with a friend and would call me later. Around 11pm that night she called me back. I could tell by the giddiness in her voice that it wasn’t a friend I knew. Also, 11pm, Mom? What a role reversal….me asking you where YOU have been. Immediately I started an interrogation. Hello, have you met me? I can be kind of intense, and above all….I am protective AF over my mother.

My mom shared she had been out with one of her old classmates, Tom, who I knew of and also knew his family. I thought nothing of it at that point…..until the next day when she said she was going to a holiday celebration with Tom’s family…then the following day when she went out to eat with him. I point blank asked her if they were dating, and she told me they were just friends. I got mad because I felt like she was lying, but deep down I didn’t really know how to process things. I opted not to react and think about things deeper.

The following week my mom and Tom hung out basically every day, so again the conversation came up regarding the dating thing. I asked her on Facetime so she wouldn’t be able to lie to me (I know the lying face, Mom). She stammered around and I think she was truly scared to admit it to me. Between my brother and myself I am clearly the more intense of the two, and I think she thought I would be a hard sell. Surprisingly, I was not.

I really had taken a lot of time to digest that my mom was out in the dating world again after that first “date” with Tom. To be honest, I think all my days focused on personal development helped me get to that moment. When I constantly share with you all the my PD time each day is the most important part of my routine, I’m not lying. I have grown so much as a person because I have chosen to work on the areas in my life where I struggle, and this was proof.

For a long time I was hell bent against my mom even thinking about dating. Fortunately she wasn’t interested in it, but it took me awhile to realize that was me just being selfish. I was the one who didn’t want her to date because I thought it would disrespect my dad. I was the one who didn’t want her to date because in my head I assumed the person would try to take the place of my dad. I was the one who was scared that my mom may start dating and the person would take up all her time and she wouldn’t have time for me. I, I, I……when I thought about my mom dating it all came back to how I FELT.

I want to share with you a few things that helped me accept the situation and hope if you are going through it they help you.

FIVE THINGS I DID TO GO FROM HATEFUL TO GRATEFUL

1. REALIZE THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. This is about your parent and their life, and you must make that mindset shift. It’s not about yours. When I started to think about my mom’s life, I knew I wanted one thing for her. I wanted her to be happy again. Like really, truly happy. I didn’t want her living her life just being happy for everyone around her.

2. BE HONEST WITH YOUR CONCERNS. I told my mom straight up that I had two concerns with her dating someone I didn’t know well, and that I was openminded with the situation as long as those two concerns did not come to life. The first concern I had was simple. Would this man come into my life and try to replace my dad? I knew of situations where that had happened, and I was afraid of that being the case. The second concern: I didn’t want whoever came into the picture to disrespect the relationship that my parents did have or my dad in general.

3. UNDERSTAND THAT DEATH WAS NOT A CHOICE. My mom did not choose to be widowed at 56 years old. She did not choose for my dad to die. However, it happened, and as I have said a million times, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Death happened to my family. Becoming a widow happened to my mother. She should not be punished by living a long, lonely life as a result of that. She deserves to have happiness and still live life to the fullest. Reacting with an open heart and mind is how you get past a really tough time.

4. REALIZE THAT A NEW RELATIONSHIP DOESN’T TAKE AWAY FROM THE RELATIONSHIP THEY HAD. I know how much my mom cared about my dad. I know how much my mom cares about Tom. Caring about someone new does not take away from the relationship she had with my dad, and for a brief time I was worried about that. It is different, but yes, you can love two people at the same time, and yes, it is ok.

5. READ PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. I know I already mentioned it, but I have to again. I started reading books and blogs about grief when my dad died. When my mom started dating Tom I started to shift my reading to things related to that subject matter. I wanted to do everything I could to REACT to the situation in a POSITIVE way. YOU MUST DO THAT. You must move forward with your life, not backward.

Yes, I hated the situation initially, but that was fueled by anger. I was still angry that my dad was taken from our family with no notice. It’s important to realize that and confront those emotions head on. Did I cry when my mother told me she was dating Tom? Yes, I did. I hated how I FELT at that moment. I felt instantly that my dad was being erased, but that was the furthest thing from the truth.

I waited a few months before I met Tom face to face. Even though I knew of him and knew his family, it still had been a very long time since I had seen anyone with that last name. I was extremely nervous to meet him, as I am sure he was to meet me after the warnings I KNOW my mother gave him about me. The minute I saw the two of them together all of the nerves and anxiety and fear disappeared. It was apparent how much Tom cared about my mother, and it was apparent how happy he made her. For the first time in years my mom’s eyes were no longer sad. She smiled a little bigger, and her smile was not forced. Most importantly, she seemed to enjoy life again.

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Homecoming attendees back in 1977 to current day. No one has aged a bit. 

Since that day I’ve gotten to spend quite a bit of time with Tom and my mother together. He accompanied us on our family vacation, he’s watched wrestling with me (major points scored there), he was my accomplice for her surprise 60th birthday party earlier this year, and he has welcomed me into his family, too. I have loved getting to know him and thankful he has the same sense of humor as me…..that makes life a lot easier. Beyond that he will listen to me when I talk about my dad and supports me, which means a lot.

I go back to what that medium said long before my mom ever reconnected with Tom. My mom was reconnected with someone who she knew since she was a very young girl…someone who my dad liked and respected….and who liked and respected my dad. That respect also means a lot to me.

I won’t lie when I say there are still some hard moments. I cried when I opened my birthday card this year and saw “Mom and Tom” on the card. I didn’t cry because Tom is in our lives now because I am thankful he is; I cried simply because it was another reminder that my dad wasn’t. Truth be told I will ALWAYS have moments like that, and it has nothing to do with the people who come into my life but everything to do with the simple fact that my life has changed.

I know it is hard to think about your parent being with someone other than the parent you lost. I really never thought I would be happy to see my mom with anyone else. But here I am, crying as I write this because I am so incredibly happy that she has a new form of happiness in her life. She deserves to be happy, and I am grateful she is. There is no simple way to navigate this happening in your own life though, and, much like how we all deal with grief differently, you may feel differently about your parent dating, and that is ok. Again, I share my experience because it helps me heal and also helps others see a different perspective.

Grief is the weirdest thing one can ever go through.

Online dating and those dick pics are a close second though…..thankful my mom avoided that nightmare.

To all my friends struggling with grief this time of year, I’m sending you lots of love, hugs, and strength. I’m always here for you.

And to my mom and Tom…..I love you guys. I’m so happy you have found happiness together ❤ .

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Embrace Fall, y’all!

You don’t have to love Fall and the chilly temps to love this super easy apple tart recipe. It takes only a handful of ingredients, takes very little time to make, and is super versatile. Is this tart a breakfast item? Sure! Dessert? You bet! Tasty snack with a cup of coffee? Ok! I love foods that are flexible like that!

Beyond the simplicity of this recipe comes the presentation. It is one that always wows when I make it and one that most people assume is more challenging than it is to make. So if you are someone who needs a quick dessert or item to take to a potluck and want to appear to be a fancy baker, this apple tart needs to become your go to.

Ingredients:
-1 sheet of frozen puff pastry dough, cut in half
-2 whole apples, cored, cut in half, and sliced incredibly thin
-1 cup of brown sugar
-Juice of 1/2 a lemon
-Dash of salt
-Powdered Sugar
-Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 425. Allow the puff pastry dough to thaw enough where it does not break during the unfolding process. Cut in half. Place apple slices in a bowl with lemon juice, brown sugar, and salt, and toss until apples are coated completely. Arrange the apple slices in a straight line down the middle of the pastry, overlapping. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Drizzle with caramel sauce and powdered sugar if desired, or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

***You can cut the dough into thirds if you would like thinner tarts without as much pastry on the edges.

Tag me on Instagram (@sparklefitnessbabe) if you make this and let me know what you think!

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The finished product: absolutely delicious.

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It’s a Hard Knock Life.

Isn’t it at times though????

A lot of people I know (myself included) are going through a rough patch right now, and while we cannot avoid them in life, there are things that you can do to get through them easier. For me, exercise has always been my #1 go to because of the energy it gives me as well as the happiness and sense of accomplishment. Beyond that, writing has been something that has helped me tremendously, not just with my blog, but with my book and personal journal, too.

Recently I found a writing prompt to help when you are feeling down, and I wanted to share with you all in case you are quietly going through a harder season of life and could use an activity to lift your spirits.

56 Lists to Make When You Are Feeling Down

1. Your life goals.
2. Countries you would like to visit.
3. Stories you would like to write about.
4. Adventures you would like to live.
5. Dreams for the future.
6. Where you would like to live.
7. What you will be doing over the next few years.
8. Things you would like to get.
9. Skills you would like to learn.
10. Wish List.
11. Favorite songs.
12. Favorite jokes.
13. Favorite movies.
14. Favorite tv shows.
15. Favorite books.
16. Favorite places.
17. Favorite food.
18. Favorite restaurants.
19. Favorite places in your town.
20. Favorite quotes.
21. Favorite podcasts.
22. People you love.
23. People who love and adore you.
24. How you met your favorite people.
25. People you would like to meet.
26. What you would like to do with your friends.
27. What you would like to do with your family.
28. People you would like to reconnect with.
29. Things you would like to do with both your friends and family.
30. People who inspire you.
31. Every friends you ever made who made a positive impact on your life.
32. People you don’t know who positively influenced you.
33. Gift ideas for your favorite people.
34. Everything you love about your partner.
35. People who would love to get a piece of mail from you.
36. Date night ideas.
37. Favorite memories.
38. Your best qualities.
39. Bet days you’ve ever lived.
40. Compliments that make you feel amazing.
41. What you like most about yourself.
42. Your most precious possessions.
43. Bucket list of things you would like to do.
44. Things that make you happy.
45. Positive adjectives that describe you.
46. Your values.
47. Favorite ways to relax.
48. Fun things to do at home.
49. Things you are grateful for.
50. Things you are proud of.
51. The scariest things you’ve done.
52. Dreams that have come a reality.
53. Biggest accomplishments thus far in your life.
54. Ways to celebrate your wins.
55. All the things you are good at.
56. Things you are grateful for at this very moment.

Hope those help you <3.

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Something that makes me happy: My puppy Macho Man Randy Savage. 

 

Let’s Hash It Out!

I’m talking about breakfast hash, kids…..just making that clear right now.

Those of you who follow me on social media know I started a new workout program a little over a month ago (I’ll be blogging about that soon), and I was super excited when I saw the nutrition guide and recipes that accompanied it. This sweet potato breakfast hash recipe was one of the recipes I couldn’t wait to try, and based on the response I had when I shared on my IG, you guys are anxious to try it, too!

Want to know the best part of this recipe? It’s a sheet pan recipe….meaning minimal dishes! Everyone loves that! Here’s how to make it:

Sheet Pan Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

Ingredients:
-2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
-1 medium onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 cup corn kernels
-2 tbsp +2 tsp olive oil
-1 1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
-1/2 tsp sea salt (divided use)
-1/2 tsp ground black pepper
-8 large eggs
-2 tbsp chopped cilantro

How to make:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray, then set aside.

2. Combine sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, red pepper, beans, corn, chili pepper, cumin, paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, tsp pepper, and oil in a bowl, tossing to blend.

3. Place sweet potato mixture on pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

4. Create 8 wells in mixture, cracking an egg in each. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until eggs are set.

5. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

*********A Quick Recipe Change Up***********

I have major issues with egg yolks and have to use egg whites only. I modified this recipe by just omitting the step with the egg wells. Instead, I scrambled my egg whites and mixed them in with the hash mixture after removing from oven. So good!

Tag me on IG if you try it @sparklefitnessbabe!

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Boats and Meatballs.

Confession: I may or may not have been watching Stepbrothers for the millionth time as I wrote this article and considered naming it Boats and Hoes for obvious reasons. Who else loves that part in the movie? Hopefully not just me!

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting this past few months with recipes and the concept of going vegan, but it hasn’t stuck yet. It all started a few months ago when I accidentally caught a documentary about the treatment of chickens. After that I decided not omit chickens as a protein source and haven’t had any since. I haven’t given up steak or burgers yet, though I am hoping at some point I get there, too. Baby steps…..your girl is a carnivore, remember?????

I have found some great substitutes for meat that I have been enjoying quite a bit, one of those being the meatless meatballs you can find in the grocery section of Aldi. Last week I had them with spaghetti squash pasta, and this week I decided to make a meatball zucchini boat. We all know how much I love a zucchini boat…they are so versatile and a great way to use veggies as a base!

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This recipe was super simple and delicious so I had to share!

Katie’s Meatball Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:
-Meatballs (you can use the meatless meatballs I used or make your own, it doesn’t matter!)
-Zucchini
-Mozzarella Cheese
-Sauce
-Fresh Parsley

I’m not including an amount because it depends how many you want to make or eat in a serving!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then hollow out inside of zucchini. I recommend saving the innards to make zucchini brownies or muffins!

Step 3: Place zucchini in a dish drizzled with olive oil and Italian Seasoning (You can omit this step if you prefer). Bake for 15 minutes until zucchini is mostly tender. Remove from oven, changing settings in oven from BAKE to BROIL.

Step 4: Mix meatballs if making your own or prepare them if purchased store bought. Once fully cooked, place meatballs in hollowed out zucchini boats.

Step 5: Pour sauce or purchased marinara around the meatballs. You can also mix with meatballs before filling boats if you prefer.

Step 6: Top with mozzarella cheese and broil for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve!

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I’m back, bitches!!!

What a hiatus, eh?????

I haven’t posted on my blog since February!!!! But……it’s been for a very good reason. I’M ABOUT TO PUBLISH MY FIRST BOOK!!!! Yeah, you read that right, my first book! Because of that I have been spending all my free time writing and proofing and rewriting and all the fun that goes into writing a book. I cannot tell you how excited I am for it to be finished and out there for the masses.

So my apologies, blog and blog subscribers….that’s why I have been MIA, but do not worry! I AM BACK and will be coming at you with lots of fun recipes and reads here in the near future!

Katie Kramer's Headshots

Tots, tots, tots tots tots, tots!

Everybodyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Ok, no one else likes replacing “Shots” in LMFAO’s hit with “tots” other than me? That’s ok….no shame here!

When I shared my meal prep for the week on my Instagram (follow me HERE ), my inbox blew up with questions asking for the recipe for my Broccoli Tots. Ask and you shall receive!

These tots are something I have been making for ages, and they are so incredibly simple….not to mention they are made up of only FOUR ingredients!

Katie’s Broccoli Tots
Ingredients:
-3 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped fine
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-1 egg

To make:

Place chopped broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl and cover with a piece of Saran Wrap. Poke a few holes in wrap to allow steam to pass through. Microwave for about four minutes.

Remove broccoli from microwave and squeeze out excess water (be careful here….broccoli will be hot). Add the remaining ingredients, then form small tot like shapes, placing on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.

A few tips:

**You do not have to squeeze the excess water out. Do this only if you prefer a crispier texture.

**I recommend using a Silpat in place of parchment paper or just plain cooking spray.

**You can use any cheese you like. These are very good with mozzarella as well.

ENJOY!!!!!

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Rise.

Guys….I did it. I finally freaking did it.

I got a tattoo.

When I starting talking about going to get it and arranging the appointment, many of the people in my life were shocked. I’ve never really had a connection with anything that was strong enough for me to commit to a lifetime tattoo, and while I love them on other people, never really thought I would be a fan of them myself. Yet here I am, joining the club of tatted females.

To be honest with you all, the tattoo I ended up getting was one I have been wanting to get since I lost my dad in November 2015. Shortly after he died I stumbled across this picture and thought that it would be a perfect tattoo for me. I kept in on the camera roll of my phone and looked at it pretty much daily.

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I shared on facebook, but for those not connected to me there, Rise has been my word of the year ever since January 1, 2016 hit. I never shared much about the word, but it was the one I kept going back to and what motivated me. Choosing a word for your year has a purpose: to help you face each day with resolve, make decisions, and keep you centered. Rise was and is my word, and Still I Rise is my phrase.  I have LIVED this phrase every  day, and it has become who I am.

When I lost my dad unexpectedly in November 2015, I was devastated and became severely depressed. Did I allow myself to stay down? No. I chose to RISE.

Throughout that time and since I have been battling additional forms of grief stemming from losing animals that I loved more than words could say to mourning the loss of my grandmothers to being forced to deal with some challenging personal situations that have made me question everything. Have I stayed down? No. I have chosen to RISE.

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I did it!

I WILL CONTINUE TO RISE EVERY SINGLE TIME I GET KNOCKED DOWN.

I have been knocked down more times that I can count, yet still I rise. Knock me down seven times, this girl will get up eight. And each time I get up believe me when I say I get up FASTER, STRONGER, MORE FOCUSED, and MORE RESILIENT THAN EVER.

My dad taught me that life was 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So here I am, freshly inked with the reminder that I have the CHOICE and the OPPORTUNITY every single day to not sit around and lick my wounds, but instead bandage them up and live a life that would make my loved ones proud. This tattoo symbolizes so much for me. This tattoo reminds me I always have to get back up, regardless of how devastating the fall.

So finally….after thinking about it nonstop, I made an appointment at a tattoo shop where a high school friend worked, made the hour drive, and got a tattoo. I am beyond thrilled with it, and no, it didn’t hurt. Yes, I already want others.

Remember, you always have the opportunity to rise. It’s just making the decision if you accept the challenge or not.

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Enjoy these muffin tops!

Happy New Year, guys! I hope you had a great end to 2018 and that 2019 is off to a killer start for you!

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am happy to be at this point in my calendar. The last month of the year always have me hiding in my turtle shell and reverting to a someone introverted human being. Luckily, that only lasts the time frame between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I’ve been working on lots of behind the scenes projects, mostly my book which will publish sooner than later. I can’t wait to share with you guys! That has kept me busy while I was under the radar.

Many of you have shared how much you love when I share recipes, so I am going to do my best to share even more with you this year, starting with this healthy and delicious muffin recipe! It is one I love making when I am entertaining guests or family because they are so good and no one knows they are healthy (shhhh….don’t tell them).

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Look at that beautiful muffin top. 

Katie’s Healthy Banana Muffins

Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-3 bananas (the riper the better)
-1 tbl vanilla
-1 tbl coconut oil (melted)
-1 egg
-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
-1 tbl almond or soy milk
-1/4 cup honey (pure)
-1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is the brand I use)

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. Blend all other ingredients together (you can even mix them all in a blender to make it easy). Blend the wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in the chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees!

If you are one of my clients following one of my meal plans, one muffin equates to 1 yellow, 1/4 purple, and 1 tsp. Sometimes I use blueberries in place of the chocolate chips and that changes the purple count to 1.

Enjoy!

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Sleigh the Holidays

The holidays are in full swing, and you know what that means….

The season where elastic waist pants are celebrated because we want to eat alllll the things in comfort, right???!!!!!

You guys all know me….I love to eat, and I don’t like missing out on the wonderful foods associated with the holidays, yet I refuse to fall victim to the dreaded holiday weight gain. So how do I manage to still indulge at Christmas celebrations and stay on track? Here are some of my tips to sleigh the holiday season (see what I did there…..hehhehe).

1. Schedule your workouts. I know that may sound silly, but the holidays can be crazy. Brunches here, dinners there, Christmas Caroling, tree lighting, etc…. Review your schedule prior to each week to know what your schedule looks like and schedule in that workout. Make it a priority to get it done. My workouts are a non-negotiable for me. I will not miss them, especially since I know I will be eating a lot. That balance is important to me.

2. Don’t set lofty goals over the holidays. I know, I know….this probably isn’t something you are used to hearing from me. If weight loss is your goal, don’t focus on it during the holiday season. Focus instead on making healthier choices and creating habits that will allow you to be more focused on weight loss goals once you get past the holiday season. These goals could be to just getting in that workout every day or starting to pay attention to the portion sizes of what you are eating.

3. Drink lots of water. Water is your best friend when you are working on getting healthier because it helps you feel fuller longer. Try to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Struggle with water? There are lots of great tools out there to help you. I love my Hidrate Spark water bottle because it lights up and syncs with my phone, letting me know when I am not drinking enough. You can grab one HERE.

4. Make five minutes of alone time a priority each day. Many people get overwhelmed with the holidays and the stress that surrounds them. Take at least five minutes each day where you can sit in peace and quiet and decompress from the day. For me, this time happens in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, the Christmas tree lights on, and a soft blanket. No tv, no phone, just me enjoying the peace and quiet. If my day is crazy, I will sneak in an extra five in the evening. This time may take place for you in a bubble bath, by a fire….whatever makes you feel calm.

5.  Make a plate….don’t linger by food. Snacking can do you in over the holidays. Instead of lingering by the spinach artichoke dip that you know you could demolish by yourself, make a small plate and leave the area where the food is placed. This will avoid the constant snacking and also losing track of what you eat. It is easy to “graze” as you talk and catch up with family and friends….and before you know it you will have eaten way more than you wanted. Be aware of the food choices you are making.

6. Focus on portion sizes. There is nothing wrong with eating the holiday foods you love, but eating them in excess can be detrimental. If you want to enjoy something that isn’t the most healthy of options, have a very small amount so you are satisfied and move onto something else on your plate.

7. Make healthier options if you are responsible for bringing a dish. If you are attending a potluck or holiday gathering where you are bringing your own food, make something healthier so you know you can at least count on one healthy option. If you don’t have to make something, always have some healthy snacks in your bag just in case.

8. Enjoy the things you love. Yes, eat the things. The cookies, the pasta, the appetizers….but refer back to #5 and #6.  Do NOT feel guilty for eating things that you like or that are special holiday traditions. All in moderation, my friends.

9. Drink in moderation. If you are someone who loves alcohol, opt for healthier alcoholic drinks, like red wine, white sangria, basic bloody marys, vodka seltzer. Try to drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages to remain hydrated and also to feel fuller.

10. Wear jeans. Yes, you heard me right. The Queen of Leggings is telling you to NOT wear the elastic waist pants and instead choose something that buttons up, like jeans or dress pants. If you do, you will feel the discomfort if you start to overeat. No one likes feeling like a busted can of biscuits. No one.

Let’s sleigh this holiday season and make choices that make us feel good and set us up for success!

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