Holiday Tips + How to Start 2019 Strong!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It’s also super busy, kind of stressful, and full of tempting treats all around.

For some people, thinking about their health during this time of year seems weird, but for me it’s the time of year when I decided to get serious about my health 4 years ago.  It’s also the time of year that I gained the most weight during my pregnancy with Liam.  I didn’t feel good in my clothes, I felt like I needed to hide myself in family photos, and I had a hard time enjoying the holidays–even though it was my son’s first Christmas–because I was tired, uncomfortable, and self-conscious.

Maybe you are feeling the same way.  Here are a few tips to get through the holiday season without completely giving up on your health goals.

  • First, relax.  You are allowed to enjoy the holidays guilt-free.  Whatever you decide to do with your health and fitness, OWN IT.  Don’t wish you did something different.  Really be honest with yourself about what you want, and go for it!
  • Drink your water!  Stay away from sodas and cocktails as much as possible–save those for your parties.  Drink up with your water to stay hydrated and keep your body working the way it’s supposed to.
  • Eat healthfully throughout the week!  You don’t have to deprive yourself of your traditional holiday foods that you look forward to, but you also don’t have to eat crap all day every day.  Keep plenty of veggies handy, and make it a point to eat mostly veggies throughout your day.  Keep satisfied with lean proteins and be careful about what carbs you want to have so you don’t overdo it.
  • Stay moving!  Keep up with a fitness routine throughout the holidays.  If you’ll be traveling on Christmas Day, plan for that to be a rest day and schedule in your workouts for the rest of the week.  For me, working out on the holiday makes me feel more energized and less guilty about indulging!
  • Plan ahead.  Not just for your workouts, but for your food!  Do what you can to make sure you have a healthy options, whether that means grabbing some hummus and baby carrots at the store when you’re on the road, making a healthy option to take to your family gathering, or planning out what you’re going to indulge in beforehand so you feel prepared and confident in your choices.

And you need to plan ahead for 2019, too!  January 1st will be here before we know it, and whether or not you’re ready to tackle your health.  I’ve already got my plan of attack for 2019: obviously I’ll be finishing up my pregnancy and then taking a hiatus from fitness, but I already have a new program lined up to get me to delivery!  20 minutes a day and no equipment?  I think I can handle that!  Plus, that is very manageable for after the baby as well once I’m cleared to work out again.  I’ll also be following the same eating plan I’m currently doing–no measuring any portions to make sure I’m eating enough for baby now and for breastfeeding later, but focusing on the quality of nutrition that I’m eating to stay as healthy as possible.

If 20 minute workouts without any required equipment sounds up your alley, click this link and we can chat! I’m hosting a test group for this new program and I have room for 10 new clients–don’t miss out!


Having a Healthy Mindset for the Holidays

A lot of people have been asking me some questions about how I deal with the holiday season as someone trying to be mindful about my health and fitness, so I wanted to answer some of my most asked questions about this time of year.

Are you going to eat ANY traditional holiday foods?

This is a tricky question, and one must know thyself to know what works best for you.  For some people, they have no problem treating themselves to a few pieces of fudge or sugar cookies throughout the month while sticking to a clean eating plan the rest of the time.  For me, that doesn’t work very well.  I have to stay pretty strict with my meal plan if I want to get the results I’m looking for, so I will be very picky and choosy about what I indulge in.  I used to view the holidays as a total free-for-all and just whatever I wanted for about 2 straight months, but that doesn’t make me feel good, so I won’t be doing that.  For me, I need to be very aware of what I’m eating during this time of year, but there are certain foods I know I’ll eat, like a cinnamon roll on Christmas morning–that is our tradition, and I want to participate.  You have to make that choice for yourself, but the important thing is to own your choice and not feel bad or guilty about it either way.

It’s the holidays!  Just relax and live a little!  Don’t you deserve to treat yourself??

I totally understand this mentality, because I used to live it every holiday every year, but again, I don’t feel good about myself when I don’t eat well.  I feel bad mentally, emotionally, and physically–I deserve to feel awesome all the time, and if I know my nutrition is a part of that, then I need to eat accordingly.

What should I do about my workouts during this busy season?

Simply put, prioritize them.  I know firsthand how easy it is to fall out of your routine during these busy seasons, and how difficult it is to get back into a healthy routine once you decide enough is enough.  It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually easiest in the long run to just keep up with your fitness routine during the holidays than to give it up completely.  If you usually work out every day, maybe lower that expectation–4 days a week instead of 7, or 3 days a week instead of 5. Maybe consider switching when you workout–would getting up early to get it done keep you consistent?  Consider making that kind of change for just these 4 weeks of crazy, and then switch back to your afternoon sweat session once the holidays are done.  You can also figure out a different way to be active–plan to go to a group class with family when they are in town, or invite them to do your workout with you, or go for a jog with a friend.  If you can find people to be active with you, it helps keep you more accountable.  This is exactly why I love my online accountability groups!  We help each other stick to a routine–email me or comment on this post to get details on my next group!

Is it really that bad to just wait until January?

It’s never a bad time to start a healthy routine with your food and fitness!  But I always answer this question with my own question–is it really that bad to start now?  Is it a bad thing to go ahead and start feeling awesome right now?  Why start January feeling gross and bloated when you can start it feeling energized and amazing?  For me, I’m still focusing on my nutrition and fitness and preparing for an awesome January.  I have some awesome goals for where I want to be by my beach trip in April, and those aren’t going to wait for the holidays.

Maybe you’re feeling the same way about your health–why wait???  I’ve got accountability groups going all through this time of year, and I’ve got space for you!  Comment below or email me at to get some info.

Do you have some tips for keeping your health going through the holidays?  I’d love to hear them!  Share them in the comments!

Christmas Advent 2017

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year!  Now that my little man is getting older, it’s getting more and more fun.  For the past few years, I’ve done an Advent calendar for us as a family to serve together, have intentional time together, and to help teach my little man what Christmas is really all about!


Here are some of the activities we’ll be doing this Advent season–what are some of the traditions you and your family have?  I’d love to hear about them!

Watch a Christmas movie

Breakfast with Santa

Swim party (when we’ll be in a hotel out of town)

Make a leaf wreath

Make Christmas cards and mail them to our cousins

Make treats and deliver them to our neighbors

Choose some toys to donate

Deliver food to a food bank ministry

Have cookies and cocoa at our church’s Christmas service

Have breakfast for dinner

Sing Christmas carols to our grandparents (if he’ll cooperate!)

Drive around and look at Christmas lights

Read the Christmas story together

Do a Christmas puzzle

Color a Christmas coloring page


This isn’t the full list, but it’s a great start!  What are your Advent activity plans?

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything leading up to it, but I don’t like stuffing my face for a month straight and hating how I feel when January rolls around.  I’ve learned some tips and tricks on how to enjoy Thanksgiving, not feel like I’m depriving myself, and not completely abandon my commitment to my health.

  1.  Take some responsibility for what you choose to fuel yourself with.  Unless you make and serve 100% of the meal you’ll be eating, you will undoubtedly be faced with several tempting (but unhealthy) dishes.  If you are committed to feeling awesome and not forgetting your health goals during Thanksgiving, then you have to remember that you get to choose what you will eat and what you won’t eat.  No one is forcing you, even if you feel some peer pressure.  It’s okay to pass on some things!
  2. Don’t look at food as “good” vs “bad”.  Do you know that if you eat 3 slices of pie that you’ll lay awake with indigestion? Will you dread getting dressed and feel badly in your clothes if you overindulge?  Will you lose your energy and be dragging during Black Friday sales if you have 4 servings of sweet potato casserole?  Focus on how different foods make you FEEL rather than putting them into good and bad categories–it’s not about how you look, but how you feel.  Focus on eating foods that make you feel awesome!
  3. Eat your veggies first.  Load up at least half of your plate with veggies, preferably veggies that aren’t drowned in cheese or other sauces.  If you can contribute to your meal, bring a healthy option like a veggie tray or roasted brussels sprouts so you know you’ll have at least one healthy option for yourself.
  4. Be active first thing in the day.  Starting your day with a great workout will not only start you off on the right track, but it will make you feel good and helps you be more likely to keep up the healthy choices.  It’s not about “earning” your dinner, but just taking care of your body!
  5. Focus on what you’re eating all week!  If you know you want to indulge in some amazing Thanksgiving traditions, THAT IS OKAY.  You get to choose!  But don’t allow the entire week to get away from you–keep fueling yourself with healthy foods throughout the week to keep your energy up and your body running smoothly.
  6. Be intentional about focusing on your nutrition in the days after Thanksgiving.  I’m hosting a 5-day group the week after Thanksgiving with workouts, a meal plan, and some samples of my super shake to give you a structured plan for post-holiday blahs.  Click here to sign up!

If you want more help or recipe ideas, check out this amazing blog page with tons of Thanksgiving tips!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I love fall!  I love the cooler weather, the warmer clothes, and the fall foods.  I don’t love how tight my pants feel when I eat the traditional fall foods, though, so I’m always on the lookout for healthier fall treats.  These pumpkin muffins are perfect for this–they fit into my food plan so there is no need to feel guilty, they don’t make my pants tighter, and they taste awesome!  Win win!

I’ve been making these muffins for the past couple of years, and they really are awesome any time of year since you can get pumpkin year round (in my area anyway), but there is nothing like making pumpkin treats when the weather cools down and the leaves start changing color.  The recipe calls to top each muffin with pumpkin seeds, which is delicious, but when I don’t have pumpkin seeds I use the same amount of chopped walnuts.  Either way is great!

For those on the same Fix eating plan, each muffin is 1 purple and 1 blue container.  That’s right, these don’t even count as a carb!!!  #winning

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (from the Fixate cookbook)

2 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1.5 cups almond flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 dash sea salt or Himalayan salt

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds OR chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare nine muffins cups by lining a muffin tin with paper liners and coating with spray.  Set aside.

Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well and set aside.

Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix well.

Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture and mix until just blended.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup a little less than 1/2 full.

Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin.  Fill muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full, with remaining batter.

Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds/walnuts.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer muffins to a rack and cool.


Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

I love desserts.  I love to bake them, look at pictures of them, and certainly eat them.  I’m always on the lookout for cleaner treats or healthier versions of desserts that I love, so when I saw that the healthy cooking show on Beachbody On Demand–Fixate–had Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls on their menu, I wanted to immediately try them!

I’ve made these several times for multiple occasions, and they are always a huge hit!  These are actually on our Advent activity list to take to my son’s school teachers.  Yum!

One important note with this recipe is to make sure that you use PURE maple syrup, not the cheap pancake syrup.  It will not taste the same, and it changes the nutrition.  Pure maple syrup is a sugar that is easier to digest and is used by the body as energy, not stored as fat like the added sugar in the cheap stuff.

These are great for a holiday potluck, simple gifts for neighbors, or when you want a nice dessert for a get-together.  Or when you want chocolate.

2 of these count as 1 yellow snack container for the Portion Fix.

Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp cornstarch

3/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

8 oz dark chocolate, chopped or chips

2 tsp coconut oil

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine peanut butter, corn starch, coconut flour and maple syrup in a large bowl, food processor or stand mixer.  Blend well until it becomes a uniform dough.  Add hot water as necessary to moisten it.
  3. Using clean hands, shape dough until 1 inch balls; place a toothpick into the center of each ball. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. ***I actually just use a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon because they have a nicer shape and don’t melt this way.
  4. While you wait for the balls to chill, put the chocolate and coconut oil in a small, microwavable bowl.
  5. Melt the chocolate and oil 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring after each 30 second interval, until completely melted and smooth (this usually takes me three rounds).  Let cool slightly.
  6. Remove balls from refrigerator.  Hold a ball by the toothpick and dip it into the chocolate, swirl it to completely coat or use a spoon to pour chocolate over the top of it.  Repeat with each of the balls, returning them to the baking sheet.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.
  8. Store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.



Homemade Vanilla Extract

It’s not very often that you’ll find a big bottle of vodka in my house, but when you do, it’s because I’m making vanilla extract!  I love to bake, so I’ve always gone through vanilla like it was my job.  If you’ve ever gotten pure vanilla extract at the store, you know as well as I do that it is SO EXPENSIVE.  I found this homemade “recipe” via Annie’s Eats, one of my ultimate favorite blogs.  She has a great DIY series on tons of cooking and baking staples, which I love because I can control exactly what is going into my food.

I’ve been using my own homemade vanilla extract for over a year now, and even though I’m not baking as often as I used to, I still use vanilla in my morning coffee, in my superfoods shakes sometimes, and even in my steel cut oats.  It’s a great way to add some sweet flavor without adding a ton of sugar or extra calories.

Annie’s method that I use is super simple–use 3 split vanilla beans per 8 oz of vodka, mix in a sealable container, shake it up, and let it sit for 3 months.  That’s it, you guys.  I shake it every so often during the three months, and I keep it in my pantry (cool and dark place).  I use a permanent marker to show what day I made the mixture and what day it will be usable (3 months exactly).

Like Annie suggests, I buy vanilla beans via Amazon because it is way cheaper and better quality the the dried out sad beans they sell at the stores around me.  One batch costs me about $20 to make 25 oz of extract!

This is a really easy project that takes less than 5 minutes of active work, but a lot of patience while you wait your three months.  Remember to keep an eye on how much you have left so you can start a new batch before you run out of your current batch–I didn’t make this new batch until I was completely out, so now I’ll be spending money at the store until this bottle is ready for Christmas baking!


Jan 2-9 Meal Plan and Fitness Schedule

Happy New Year!  The beginning of the year is always bittersweet for me–it’s a time for reflection and possibility for the new year, but it’s also the time when my break at home with my boys is over and I have to get back to the daily grind.

I knew that with going back to work this week, I needed to be really organized with my food.  Just like with last week, I’ve planned out every meal and snack I’m having this week.  Though I know it won’t all go according to plan, it helps me stay on track because I know exactly when I need a protein or a veggie and when I’m done with carbs for the day!

Breakfasts: Old fashioned oats with a tsp peanut butter, cinnamon, and sliced banana; vegan chocolate shakeology with a tsp peanut butter and banana and my Focused Energy Boost

Morning snack: low-fat cottage cheese

Lunches: Leftovers from dinner the night before

Afternoon snacks: sliced veggies with spicy hummus


Saturday: Fixate Sloppy Joes

Sunday: Chicken stir fry with quinoa and veggies

Monday: BBQ chicken with Brussels sprouts

Tuesday: Ground turkey sweet potato skillet

Wednesday: Whole wheat spaghetti and meatballs

Thursday: Chipotle Burgers with Brussels sprouts

Friday: Lemon Chicken and asparagus

Saturday: Smoked meat with veggies

***I am not providing links to the recipes because I’m cohosting a clean eating group on Facebook!  Have you joined the group yet?  You can get all the recipes there.  Find me at

Since I planned ALL of my food for last week, my first week of Hammer and Chisel went really well! I was down over a pound in the first 4 days and haven’t eaten anything that’s not on my meal plan, save the daily dose of raw local honey and EmergenC I have.  I feel so much better and I’m not going to bed feeling sick anymore, and my skin is clearing up.  It always amazes me how much of a difference food makes!

Here is my fitness schedule for the week (I’m just following the Hammer and Chisel schedule–these workouts are really intense!):

Saturday: Chisel Endurance

Sunday: Total Body Hammer with 10 Min Abs Hammer

Monday: Chisel Cardio

Tuesday: Max Hammer Strength

Wednesday: Chisel Agility

Thursday: Off

Friday: Hammer Balance

Saturday: Chisel Balance

I’m ready for 2016!  How are you starting the year?

Ending 2015 Strong!

Whew. The holidays are over, which means the hustle and bustle are done and the exhaustion has set in. My little man has been dealing with some kind of sinus infection/croup since last week, so that added to the stress a bit, but we had a great Christmas! It was a lot of fun to see my son get so excited about his gifts and be so loved by his family. 

I have to admit that I enjoyed the holidays a little too much! I kept up with my workouts pretty well, but I let it go a bit with my nutrition. Some sweet tea here, a donut there. But, I am only up 2 lbs, which is much lower than my normal holiday gain, so I’m happy about that. Plus, all the new clothes I got for Christmas are a size small and they FIT! I usually feel really fluffy and pudgy in new clothes, so I was really excited when I tried on my new clothes and felt awesome and confident.

I got the new Beachbody Hammer and Chisel workout program for Christmas, and started it yesterday. I was going to wait until January 4th to begin, but I knew that I needed something structured to end the year strong and not be lax with my nutrition. It uses the same basic eating plan that I follow for 21 Day Fix, so it isn’t a huge adjustment there, but the workouts are totally different and definitely a higher level of intensity. I am 2 days in and feeling sore and awesome! I am very determined and committed to doing the full 60 days (!!!) 100% and have an awesome transformation!

To get off to a great start, I planned every single bite of food for this week, not just dinner. I know that it won’t go totally to plan, but I am confident in my ability to order the appropriate foods out to eat, and I can always bring food with me! The workouts are scheduled for me, too, which makes it a breeze to know what to do each day!

Here is my eating plan for the week:

Breakfasts: half a sprouted grain English muffin with egg and lemon garlic sauce and sliced red pepper

Snack 1 (post workout): vegan chocolate Shakeology with ice, natural peanut butter, and banana

Lunches: Tuna salad with artichokes and olives in lettuce cups

Snack 2: either avocado with balsamic vinegar or baby carrots with hummus


Monday–Baked cod with spiced black beans and sautéed kale

Tuesday–Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday–leftover soup

Thursday–out with family (I haven’t decided if I’m being hardcore and bringing my own food or not)

Friday–Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes

Saturday–Ground Turkey and Sweet Potato Skillet

You’ll notice that I am eating a lot of the same thing all week. I am all about keeping it simple! No shame in that game.

Fitness Schedule:

Monday: Chisel Balance

Tuesday: Hammer Plyometrics

Wednesday: Iso Strength Chisel

Thursday: off

Friday: Iso Speed Hammer

Saturday: Chisel Endurance

I will be sharing sneak peeks of the workouts on my Facebook page, so make sure you follow my coach page to see what Hammer and Chisel is like!

How are you ending 2015 strong?