Tag: Blog

Is Age Just a Number?

Let me preface this by stating this is not a typical post for me. This has been on my mind lately and I really need to express it and to what better audience than my amazing blog family?

It’s November. Yes, I am stating the obvious but that means that next month, amidst all the festivities of the holidays, I will be celebrating my birthday. My 33rd birthday. And yes, I actually had to sit down and think about what age I will be turning on December 31st (and nope, it is not a good day for a birthday but that’s for another rant). I can’t believe I had to sit here and actually think okay 30 years ago was 1989 and then another…

So what am I getting at? I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t feel 32. I don’t have any children yet and I can honestly say that 90% of my friends within the same age group have at least 1 child already -and some have a child that is already in grade school! Honestly, I look in the mirror and I still feel like a child myself so how irresponsible would I be to have a child right now? And yes, I know there is never “the right time” to have a child but bear with me – I am barely keeping myself afloat, how do I bring another life into the world to care for?

Is something wrong with me?

I look in the mirror and I don’t see a 32 year old looking back at me. What does a 32 year old look like? I don’t quite know, exactly. Am I supposed to cut my hair into a bob? Am I supposed to be getting botox? Am I supposed to wear a foundation every day? Am I supposed to take fiber supplements? Am I supposed to rock mom jeans (and not because they are suddenly fashionable)? Am I supposed to drink white wine or spritzers? Am I supposed to have 1+ child and wear athleisure attire?

Is something wrong with me?

Yes, I know I am partially stereotyping, but when I look around me, turn on the TV, talk to my friends and family…all I see and hear about are pregnancies, aging, and all that goes along with it. Instead, I am finishing my doctorate degree and starting my second master; I am moving to my dream city; I am starting a new job at an organization that is amazing; I am booking trips; I am literally working on being my healthiest self…

Am I being selfish?

I don’t know what 33 has in store for me. Maybe I’ll be writing a post in 6 months sharing with you all that my husband and I are starting our family. Maybe I’ll be sharing with you that we are traveling. Maybe we’ll be buying a house. I don’t know. But I can’t help but have this nagging feeling that I am not living up to expectations for someone my age.


I am sorry that this is not my normal content, but this is all a part of the healthy journey. Sometimes we have days that aren’t as strong as others. Sometimes we have bad mental health days. Sometimes we have doubts and want to be introverted. Sometimes we are exuberant and ambitious. Sometimes we just need to express what is weighing on our soul – talk it out and maybe, just maybe, find out we aren’t alone.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with societal expectations?

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12 Ways to Cope with a Migraine

When you look up the word “migraine” in a medical textbook, my photo appears…along with almost every symptom that I experience from light sensitivity to nausea.

Though I have been told many times by family, friends, and even licensed professionals that I am “too young” or “too healthy” or “too naive” to be a migraine-sufferer, I have had migraines almost all my life. I am all too familiar with the difference between headaches, cluster headaches, tension headaches, sinus pressure, and migraines. I have been plugged to machines that have mapped my brain and been told that there was nothing wrong. I have been given anti-seizure medication, migraine pills, and other pharmaceutical remedies to treat what they still put on file as “headaches”. I was told to log when I got a migraine to see what the trigger was and was always thought to be dishonest because no pattern could be determined. I have done home remedies, omitted foods and drinks that “aggravate migraines” and taken countless OTC remedies all to no avail.

This is just a part of my life that I have learned to deal with and though it does cause issues on day to day living, I have a few tricks that help ease some of the pain. Nothing has been 100% fool-proof and I still continue to get migraines, but these are some methods that help me cope.

  1. Acknowledge the pain. There were a few years that I would try and ignore the warning symptoms that a migraine was developing. I did not want to admit that I had to deal with this and most likely the remainder of the day would be shot. However, just denying the pain would not make it go away. I had to accept it and come up with ways to deal with it.
  2. Cool showers. When it is too hot or after extraneous exercise, I am more inclined to get a migraine, so when I feel the beginnings of one, I take a cool shower to help regulate my body temperature and ironically clear my head.
  3. Turn off electronics. Blue light has been increasingly known to hurt our eyes which is also a contributing factor to the onset of migraines. Blue light is emitted from many of our favorite electronic devices from our computer monitors to our cell phones. When my migraine is creeping in, my cell phone is put away, the laptop is closed, and my tablet is shut.
    To help prevent the blue light from causing a migraine in the first place, especially since 8+ hours of my day is spent in front of a computer screen, I wear orange tinted or anti-blue light glasses (which can be bought on Amazon for about $12.99).
  4. Block out light. I use an eye mask to help me block out any ambient light that may irritate my eyes beyond a computer screen. My favorite is one that I also leave in the refrigerator so it helps with the puffiness and blood flow that usually cause my temples to look like they are speakers in a Jersey shore club. I bought mine on Amazon for about $10 (click here) at the time.
  5. Stay cool. My body temperature fluctuates tremendously when a migraine sets in and I can go from boiling hot to freezing cold. However when a full blown migraine hits, I force myself to lay down with a light blanket and the ceiling fan on. This constant flow of air helps the pressure and prevents me from sweating!
  6. Medicine. Yes, there are times where my migraines are too strong and homeopathic methods are simply inadequate. While I do not like to take medication regularly, I also realize that this was all developed for a reason and suffering will only make matters worse. So I will take Excedrin Migraine or other ibuprofen options to help at least take the edge off.
  7. Eat or drink yogurt. Another way I help regulate my internal body temperature as well as help calm an irritable stomach is through the consumption of yogurt. A quick bowl of yogurt is one way or I drink “tahn”. “Tahn” is an Armenian drink  which is simply yogurt mixed with water and some salt -trust me it tastes better than it sounds. Other Middle Eastern countries have their own name and variation for this drink like “ayran” in Turkey, “lassi” or “majjiga” in India, “kefir” or “doogh” in Persian. If I cannot have either, I will at least consume some acidophilus which will help calm my stomach.
  8. Find quiet. Like light, sounds tend to make my migraines worse so when one is developing, or already full-blown, I will make sure that I find some solitude even if that means using ear plugs.
  9. Hydrate. I am not able to eat or drink much of anything when I have a migraine because even toast makes me nauseous. However, dehydration makes my migraines even worse so I will start off with sipping cold water and then make my way to a coffee or tea for the added caffeine. Caffeine, though a dehydrating chemical, helps dilate my blood vessels making it easier for blood to pump. I limit this to one cup though and will continue to drink water until my migraine has subsided.
  10. Steer clear of fragrances. So again, like light and sound, strong smells make the migraine worse and will often make me extremely nauseous. This includes scents that linger from the kitchen. When I get a migraine, I am like a bloodhound and the simpliest smell can make me neasous.
  11. Eat minimally and light. Once the worst of the migraine has passed, I know that I need to eat something. I tend to opt for some toast, cereal, or, if I am feeling lucky, chicken/turkey. I will not, however, eat anything raw (like veggies), dairy, or any other meat until the next day as all of those are harder for me to digest and can aggravate my migraine.
  12. Take it easy. After a migraine subsides, I want to make up for lost time and act like everything is fine. But I have come to learn that doing that will only make things worse. Once I start to feel better, I have to take it easy, often for the remainder of the day, because I feel fatigued and overall weak. Trying to do more than my body will allow will only make me feel worse and often will mean that I will be stuck in bed till the next day.

Headaches suck. Migraines are deplorable. But when you have them, finding your tried and true ways to cope will help. I am also very fortunate to have people in my life that have either experienced migraines themselves or been around other people that have had them, so they truly understand and help me when needed.

So inquiring minds want to know…do you suffer from migraines? What do you do to deal with them?

Thank You

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you. Just yesterday, after having some personal doubts, I received an email that I hit my 50th subscriber milestone! While it may not seem like a lot for some, this is a huge accomplishment for me. This blog started out being a personal outlet for self-care and health promotion. And the more I wrote, the more time I wanted to invest. The next thing I knew I was investing money into it. Then I started to dabble in my creative side again. Then I started to feel like myself again.

Months passed where I was feeling like a different person – a partial person. I was spread thin and just incurred so many life changes some of which were personally inflicted while others were environmental. Regardless, I was starting to look in the mirror and not recognize who that was looking back at me. That was when I realized that I had to make some changes or I would lose myself for good. It started with reclaiming my health. Then it became sharing my journey to keep me accountable. Then I was told I was inspiring others and that was when I had an epiphany – I was not just doing this for myself. There are others like me in the world -others that were just maintaining the status quo but were unhappy.

And now I am here today. I am sharing, learning, and collaborating with so many bloggers and friends. Even if we haven’t met in person yet, you are allowing me into your life and for that, I am eternally grateful. I appreciate every comment and like because I get to engage with you. I am humbled that I get to share this journey with you.

Shopping at Local Businesses – Clothing

I have something I need to confess. I hate shopping. Not for food or skincare but retail
I remember growing up in New Jersey, shopping was a past time, a sport if you will. If you weren’t in school or at work, you were shopping. If you lived in Bergen County (Go Maroons!), you went out of the area on Sundays to shop. Honestly most of the jobs for the teenagers and young adults were, yeah, you guessed it, in retail (hence more shopping). I mean, you know you are in New Jersey when you are able to easily access not 1, not 2, but at least 4 malls within a 30mi radius. Plus the lack of sales tax on clothing…yeah that was a bonus.
So for me, I avoid shopping for clothes or shoes like the plague. No, really! I have to mentally prepare myself and caffeinate heavily while repeating calming mantras in my head (sometimes aloud too if it is close to the holidays). If I can shop online, I do it without thinking twice; but sadly I have to try on most clothes because I literally can go from a size 4 in one item to a size 10 in a different clothing line. And if I shopped online without knowing it fits – the return process is almost always worse than the shopping experience! So I default to my brick and mortar stores to try on clothes (which is just as difficult as a 1-hour workout at the gym), avoid salespeople (hooray “introvertedness”) and stand in lines for 15 minutes only to choke when they ring up the items for a grand total of way more than I had mentally calculated before entering the store. No? Just me? Okay, cool.

But sometimes, and usually when I am really desperate, I have to go shopping. When I say desperate, I mean that I cannot literally wear those pants one more time without being sent home from work due to inappropriate attire… And if I can be completely honest, sometimes I find myself wanting something new because I feel “less than” in my current wardrobe items, especially since I strive to minimize my closet. I don’t know why exactly but that little rush of finding the perfect sweater or the right fitting jeans (ha…I can dream)…that little rush really helps me reinvigorate myself to keep my chin up and my workout schedule consistent.

So when one of my friends ranted and raved about a local business, I did some very typical social media sleuthing. Ladies, and gentlemen, if you ever find yourself in Fresno, California, please swing by:

Google Maps Generator by embedgooglemap.net

1755 Broadway Street, #105, Fresno, California

Or you can check them out on Instagram: The Shop at KLSD.
Or you can shop some of their products them online too!!

This boutique is new but it is so fresh. Though there are not hundreds of items, the selection is handpicked and signature pieces you won’t find in that big box store. You even get to talk with the owner which is frankly not a lost art on some of us. You are never pressured to buy items, you are not followed around the store, and you can try on just about everything before you purchase it! So naturally what happened?? I bought two items! And of course they are totally not appropriate for 100+ degree temperatures but I like to think this is my way of thinking for my future self and planning ahead…

I am so happy that I found this gem of a store! I will certainly be back!

So inquiring minds want to know… What have you seen for the fall season in terms of fashion? Going to jump on the trends or stick with classics? Do you love to shop or shop only when needed? Comment below!

5 Tips for a Healthy Relationship

Let me start off by saying that I am not an expert. I do not have a certification in relationships or marriage counseling or social work or even psychology (though I did minor in it). And I also have to admit to you that the title of this post changed at least five times… I hope that these are helpful tips that maybe you already knew and overlooked once or twice or maybe they are ones you overlooked altogether…

I have been married for almost 2.5 years (and counting) to a wonderful and patient man, though we have been together since 2007 (whoa). I have been in relationships in the past – some great, some toxic, some long and some short. But from all of them, including my marriage, I have learned a lot of lessons about myself and about what I want from a relationship. I have learned what promotes a healthy relationship and what are indicators of one on a downward slope. So I want to share my two cents, if you will, on the top five things that have helped me maintain a healthy relationship with my husband and continue to grow in love.

  1. COMMUNICATION – It might go without saying but having an open line of communication is fundamental in a relationship -regardless of if the relationship is romantic or platonic. And communication goes two ways. One of the things that my husband and I do every…single…day is we dedicate 10-15 minutes to talk -uninterrupted and without technology. Typically we do this when having dinner but other times it is on our way in the door, or when we are cooking, or getting ready to head to the gym… We always ask about the other person’s day and not just listen, but hear. And if something is really bothering me, I let him know right off the bat and he respects my decision to not talk about it outright and we move on. We also are not afraid to say “I love you” too often. It may sound morbid but you never know when that may be a last time so reminding that person that you love them, even if you said it 20 times before, never gets old. But if you don’t communicate and carry a grudge, silence will speak for you and it is never your ally.
  2. SAY “PLEASE” or “THANK YOU” – These may seem foolish but you were taught to say your “P’s” and “Q’s” for a reason. Think about that time that you held the door open for someone behind you and they just waltzed in without acknowledging you. How did that make you feel? Now if you’re from NJ like I am, you almost most definitely said something but that’s besides the point…So the same goes for your significant other. If she did the dishes and normally hates it, or he sets the coffee, or they heated up dinner, or he did the laundry -saying “thank you” may not seem like much but you are acknowledging that person and their actions. 
  3. JUST BECAUSE – This topic can be all encompassing really but don’t wait for a specific day or time or event to do something for your significant other. Sometimes getting a card to say “I love you” just because or giving them a peck on the cheek or holding their hand or coming home with their favorite dessert or going out to eat… All of those random moments add up and show them that you don’t need a holiday or important date to celebrate your love for them.
  4. THE LITTLE THINGS – Coupled with number 3 most often, doing those little things can surmount a grand gesture any day. For example, my husband usually packs our lunches and every so often I get a little surprise note from him -sometimes inspirational and sometimes silly but he still makes it a point to just do a little something (little does he know that I have a stack of all of them saved because sometimes you just have one of those days and need a little extra love). Or how about taking the dogs out and letting them get 10 extra minutes of sleep. Or how about playing their favorite song. Or texting them at 1:24pm because you missed them and wanted to say hello. Or getting them a little trinket that you saw and made you think of them… Those little things are nuggets that we carry around with us and remind us how much we are loved.
  5. RESPECT & EQUALITY – I grouped these two items together because you cannot simply have one without the other. You are with that person for a reason and if you cannot fully respect them and treat them as an equal, then turbulence is just ahead. Take my relationship as an example – my husband is well educated in technology and psychology while I like to think I have a strong foundation in science and literature but just because we are not both equal in the same realms, doesn’t mean we are not equal overall. I respect my husband on his opinions and his beliefs while he respects mine. He acknowledges my side of the situation, even when he disagrees. We also acknowledge our weaknesses and help each other whenever we can. Our goal is to lift each other up, not to stand on top alone.

There are so many other tips for a health relationship and this is just the beginning of this series! Though this post is mostly about a romantic relationship, most of these can be used interchangeably with friends, colleagues, and family. A random text or a phone call can go a long way. A simple gesture can bring someone back from the edge. 

Inquiring minds want to know… what recommendations do you have for a healthy relationship? What have you done to foster a health relationship, even if it wasn’t a romantic one??

Amazon Favorites – March

This has been a trend on YouTube and while I am still working on that adventure, I am not yet quite equipped to handle that road just yet. But it got me thinking that as an almost too avid Amazon shopper, I could make this a series for my blog! So at the beginning of the month, I will recap some of my top purchases from the prior month!

Ready to see where all my money goes?? I will link each product below with the price I paid (though please remember that Amazon prices are subject to change! Also, for the sake of transparency, each link is an affiliate link but it does not change the price or cost you anything.

First item is one of the biggest changes I have implemented to my workout routine.
I add this to my water bottle (1.5 scoops for my 40oz bottle) and it has helped me replenish my muscles to the point that I am able to go longer and harder without quitting! The science behind branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) has been increasing but I can contest that it does help.
Think of this as a Gatorade replacement but tastes a heck of a lot better and is better.
There are multiple flavors, but I am impartial to the mango and watermelon. The price changes but I bought it for $22.99.
Click here to check it out!

This one is on auto-delivery!
If you ever had some trouble falling asleep, these little gummies pack quite a punch without the groggy feeling.
The primary ingredients are melatonin, L-Theanine and other botanicals like chamomile and lemon balm. These combined help me fall asleep calmly and stay asleep unlike many other melatonin-like products.
There is some sugar in these as they are gummies, but it is minimal and I always take them before I brush since they do take time to start working.
The “sleep” version only comes in one flavor but it is not overly powerful. I bought mine for $11.89.
Click here if you are interested!

One of my secret ingredients for my daily smoothie is this amazing powder!
Let’s be realistic…getting in all your fruits and vegetable servings is not easy. So I add one scoop of this to my smoothie, plus all the other good stuff (more to come on these) and I just got 3+ servings!
This is a bit pricey but worth it since you are adding only one small scoop and it is estimated for 60 servings. I paid $29.66 for this and it is now on auto-delivery. Or you can buy the smaller one (30 servings) for $14.95.
If you are interested in upping your fruit and veggie intake, click here.

If you have never heard of dry-brushing (there will be a post on this shortly), you are certainly missing out!
Dry brushing has a number of benefits including improving blood circulation, shedding of dead skin, and in some cases, helping reduce the appearance of cellulite. I do this 2-3x per week while my skin is still dry and before I hop into the shower. And I have already noticed a difference on my legs and torso.
There are several varieties but I like that this one is a smaller size and the bristles are not too rough or too soft.
This product is relatively inexpensive; I bought mine for $9.95. You can click here to purchase yours.

Reducing our sugar intake has been a vital component in losing weight. While I personally do not consume a lot of artificial sugar, every morning I add 2 teaspoons of agave to my coffee until I realized how many calories I was drinking before my day even began!
So I had to find an alternative that was not sucralose, fructose, or another like variation. I wanted to be able to cook with it and it could not have an aftertaste (which is why stevia does not bode well with me). Which is how I found this amazing gem for $10.99.
This is a sugar alcohol with a 1:1 breakdown which means it passes through your system with minimal absorption and no aftertaste.
Those are doing keto or are diabetic can have this sweetener without a glycemic issue because it does not get absorbed.
It is now my coffee additive for 0 calories and I have even been able to cut down the sweetness to 1 teaspoon!
Click here to try it.

As a part of my skincare regimen, I always apply a toner after I wash and before I apply any serums or moisturizers. However I noticed that my witch hazel astringent was actually drying out my skin so no matter how much moisturizer I put, my skin was peeling within the hour!
So I sought out to find an alternative that did not cost a fortune but still provided benefits like skin clarification, control oil production, reduce the appearance of pores, and promote some collagen production. Hefty list for the prince range I wanted to stay in but low and behold the amazing Thayer’s alcohol-free toner!
I bought this for $6.99 and it works like a charm! It does not have an overpowering smell and does not try out my sensitive skin. It has helped actually tone my skin and even out some of the discoloration in a matter of a few weeks applied twice daily.
Click here if you are interested to try!

And there you have it! For the month of March, most of my expenses were to help me take the next step in my health journey but I am still testing the benefits of those items so they will hopefully be showcased in a future post!

So tell me… have you tried any of these products? What is your opinion? Are you using something that I should try? Comment below!

March 2019: Check-In

I appreciate all of your patience and understanding during the past few months but it is time for me to come back to my blogger roots and really deliver!

I have written elsewhere under pseudonyms. I have watched *countless* hours of YouTube videos and envied each vlogger on their ability to express themselves. I have spewed information on to others offline and learned some new tips & tricks! But that is not what this is all about… It is truly time for me to reinvest my time and my energy for my readers, followers, and myself.

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I am starting back with a check-in for the month of March.

What have I been doing all this time? Well… I have been working on creating a schedule for what will become post series and been brushing up on some HTML and other blogging tips which I will share with you all as well along the way! I have been testing some new products and posting on IG. I will also begin posting some live videos on IG shortly and trying my hand at YouTube as well though I am certainly no expert there! I even hope to have some interviews in the near future on some topics that are normally outside of my knowledge so that this blog will be engaging for all.

I have also had some family health issues arise in the recent past which took a lot of time away from work and school. In fact I even opted to take a quarter off from my doctorate so that I could focus on my family. Now that everyone is on the mend and stability is returning, I am able to refocus my attention.

Then there’s me. I had been very neglectful of myself and it showed. I ballooned in weight and was yo-yo’ing with losing it. My skin was in shambles. My hair looked either like straw or limp spaghetti. I was having trouble sleeping. I lost motivation. I was depressed. I knew what I needed to do but doing it seemed impossible until I realized I was heading too far down the rabbit hole and I needed to get help and get back up.

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So that’s what I am doing. Getting back up. This is just the beginning but I am really looking forward to what is to come.

Here we go!

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Healthy Journey – You Are What You Eat

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend of mine and she asked me an interesting question which started a 30+ minute conversation and then got me thinking that maybe I should make a post about this… We chatted about how I am working on my health and losing weight and regaining my life back. She was very happy for me and asked me what I changed in my diet to support the weight loss because it is common knowledge that weight loss and fitness is more than just exercise and it in fact starts in the kitchen!

While there is more to my fitness journey than food, like supplements and vitamins, no one wants to read a 20-page blog post (I’ll save that for my dissertation). Below is a view into what my diet consists of and why.

Breakfast

This is always drilled into us as the most important meal of the day and the skipping this is detrimental. Well, I have to admit that breakfast is almost never on the table (ha, literally) for me -weekdays or weekends. I usually wake up around 6:30am during the weekdays (and that is after hitting snooze a few times) and have to get ready for work and out the door in a little over an hour (yep, I push it close). So sitting down to have toast or cereal or oatmeal…none of that is on my morning list of things to do. So long as I have a few minutes to have my coffee and grab the headlines, I am good to go.

Now you could say I should wake up at 6:00am and make time for a meal but beyond time, I am also simply not hungry. I do not want, nor find the need, to consume calories when I am not hungry. It is almost like eating just for the sheer fact of eating and that is not at all necessary. In fact, the days that I eat breakfast like when I am on a vacation or at a conference, I feel sluggish and bloated.

So what do I have? I have my coffee with almond milk and agave, along with a few vitamins that I can take on an empty stomach, and I’m good to go. I gave up dairy milk about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back though I do consume dairy-based cheese and ice cream so this is not due to an lactose intolerance. I just simply did not like the taste of dairy milk nor did I like the treatment of cows to get said milk but that is for another day. I use agave over stevia or sugar or any other sweetener for a few reasons. Agave is a natural sweetener from the blue agave cactus so if you have ever had tequila, you’ve basically had agave. It has a lower glycemic rating than sugar and because it is liquid, it will mix better in hot or cold beverages. It has a slight earthy taste by itself but once mixed with my coffee, it cannot be tasted. I have tried stevia and have not liked the taste or aftertaste so I stopped testing the 1385 variations I found in the grocery stores. I don’t like other sugar alternatives because of the chemical compounds and eventual breakdown (equal and sweet-n-low have been linked to unsafe levels chlorine once dissolved).

Morning Snack

If I start to feel hungry, I will grab a handful of raw or roasted, unsalted almonds. Almonds are low in fat and have been recently linked to heart health when consumed on an empty stomach because it acts similar to fiber in pushing out that gunk. I may also have a banana to help with my potassium intake and my very small sweet tooth.

Lunch

This is always the heaviest meal of the day for me because I know I am going to be able to burn it throughout the day. I will make sure that I take the time to eat my meal too because a lot of times we are rushing through the day and scarf down whatever is available. I bring food from home that I cooked earlier in the week whenever possible and will make sure it is balanced with some sort of starch and some protein; when I have a salad, I will make sure to have a protein like tuna or chicken and a few crackers. This will keep me going throughout the day without feeling hungry. I also make sure to portion out my food and will usually only take one small individual-sized Pyrex with my whole lunch. Quick to heat and easy to eat.

Afternoon Snack 

When I feel a 3pm-dip coming on, I always have some sort of snack on hand that is not a candy. bar, a donut, or some other heavy food. Again, I tend to turn to a handful of almonds, a piece of fruit, or dark-chocolate raisins. Sometimes on the weekends, I will have some string cheese and a few crackers since I know dinner will most likely be late. If it is going to be a long day, I may snack on a protein bar or a granola bar as well. I will also have a detox tea without sugar or honey -this just helps keep my tummy full and regular without bloat or gas.

Dinner

First rule for me is that I will not eat a heavy dinner. Second, 7pm is my cutoff. Why? Because I know I need to be in bed by 10pm and sleeping by 10:30pm — sleep is one of the other BIG weight loss and healthy actions for the body and I need at least 8 hours. So when I do eat, I tend to have a like protein like chicken or fish and always have to have some sort of vegetable -salad, corn, asparagus, broccoli…

When I do workout, because of my work schedule, it happens to be at 6 or 6:30 in the evening so when I do eat “dinner” it is always after 7pm. When that is the case, my “dinner” is almost always the same –a good-sized bowl of greek yogurt with granola that I buy at Sprouts or Whole Foods and I will add chia seeds and flax. The chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein while the flax is a fiber-source; the yogurt is full of enzymes that help regulate my digestive tract as well as, for women, help with our lady parts; the granola serves also as a fiber and expands in the stomach to help me reach that “full” feeling and not feel deprived. Sometimes I may change things up and add a few shakes of my “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning from Trader Joe’s or a little honey for a hint of sweetness.

Dessert

Never ever deprive yourself of something because that is when you will fall off the wagon and spiral. Now I do not tend to have a sweet tooth but when I want something sweet, I have yogurt ice cream bars in my freezer which surprisingly are delicious (coffee flavored of course) or some fruit -cherries, watermelon, figs and peaches are my favorite when in season.

Water

Now this is what I like to call my secret weapon since I refuse to count calories, cut carbs, or heaven forbid drink those disgusting and useless shakes. Water is the staple for our bodies since we are over 70% water and every organ and system needs water to sustain operation. I actually have an app on my phone that reminds me to consume more water so on my days when I have horse-blinders on and forgot to even eat, I will always remember to drink my water. I drink over 100 ounces of water a day and when I have a workout day, that is the bare minimum.

When I feel adventurous and have the time, I like to add some flavor to my water by adding fruit or herbs. This helps keep things different, adds some vitamins and minerals, and serves as motivation to drink more. It is amazing how adding a few strawberries to your bottle will make you want more water.

Water also helps keep me feeling full so I will always drink a glass before a meal and I will have at least one glass during my meal, whatever that may be.

Miscellaneous

As I mentioned before, I do not and will not deprive myself of the things I enjoy just to shed a few pounds faster because when you have a “cheat day” or a special occasion, you are essentially counteracting everything you do on your other days and may even feel depressed which is detrimental to the success of the journey.

So when I want a beer or some wine, I will consume it in moderation and will make sure to balance it out with my meal, my workout, and my water consumption. For example, if I have a bottle of beer with dinner, I will have a glass of water as well. If I have some popcorn or chips, I will make sure that I will go an extra 10 minutes or take a small walk. If I have some tempting gelato or pizza, the next day will be a salad and few extra ounces of water.

I also have to mention that I will not turn to meal supplements like SlimFast or shakes that promise to help you lose weight. I have done more than enough research and those are all a part of fad diets. I do have protein powder in my kitchen and protein bars at my desk at work. I will admit that I have tried quite a gambit of shakes and meal replacements in my day and they are not effective, especially long term. Yes, you may feel better the first few days, but the longer you deprive yourself, the worse it gets and the harder it is to stay on track. Also, if you want the vitamins and minerals that these powder drinks offer, you may want to look at actual vitamins that your body, based on your needs, will actually help.

So tell me, what diet have you tried that has helped you? What is your daily food regimen?