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'Fear - Graffiti' photo (c) 2006, Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha - license:

I’m coming off a long weekend of misbehaving with my diet.  And I feel horrible.  I’d planned to go for a long run, but with a wind chill of 5 on the only day I had time to run, it just didn’t work out.  I don’t mind the cold, but I can’t handle the wind.

I booked my hotel today for the weekend in Nashville for the half marathon.  That still kind of makes me nauseous.  I guess I’d better sign up for the race soon.

There’s something terrifying to me about this race.  What if I’ve built it all up and I don’t finish?  What if I get down there and pull a muscle?  What if I get sick?

These are the thoughts that are swimming around in my head.  They’re not fun thoughts of winning.  They’re not fun thoughts of doing something worthwhile and achieving my goals.

They’re thoughts of fear and of failing.

Jon Acuff, a blogger and author that I highly respect, posts pictures of notes that he writes and hangs around his office for motivation and little reminders that dreams and goals take work.  Today he posted this note:

“Fear only bothers you if you’re doing things that matter.  So if you find fear waiting for you at the front door of this week, congratulations.  You’re doing things that matter.”

And I get it.  There are going to be days that the working seems endless and the goal seems too far away and then fear just jumps right to the front of the line.  I guess that’s where I’m at.

But I’m not going to give up.

I promise.

But if you see me eating unhealthy this week, give me a swift kick in the rear and remind me that I’m going to weigh in in a week or two…

In Which I Call You Brave

'Brave things do not simply occur' photo (c) 2005, Nic McPhee - license:

You’re so brave.  Did you know that?

You’re brave because you’re here.  Not because my writing is so crazy that you’d have to be brave to even venture to this page, but you’re here searching for something.

Maybe you’re not sure what it is.  Maybe this blog isn’t the place to find it.

But you’re searching.

My friend, Kathy, called me brave in a comment on a previous post.  I’ll be perfectly honest and admit that sometimes I think she’s right.  Sure. I’m putting myself out there.  I’m setting myself up for epic failure.  And that’s why I’m brave.   But then I look at it from another angle…the angle that wins out more frequently than the brave angle.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve lost my ever-loving mind.

But whether we’re crazy or brave, we’re all here, and we’re trying to change our lives.  We’re trying to feel better so we can live better.  We’re trying to be there a little longer for all of our families and trying to keep ourselves from being any sort of burden in the later years of our lives.

My friend, Nancy, called me last night on her way to bootcamp in Dallas.  She didn’t want to go, but she was on her way.

She’s brave.

Every time you step into a plan of action to effect change in your life or the lives of others, you’re brave.  Deciding to eat a little healthier?

You’re brave.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get a little move activity in?

You’re brave.

Walking out that door to go to CrossFit or bootcamp or out for a run or walk?

You’re brave.

Every step you take towards change is a step you really don’t have to take…and yet you choose to.  In my eyes that makes you some of the bravest people I know.

Anyone can take the easy way out.  It takes someone special, someone strong and someone brave and probably someone with a little bit of crazy to walk through that fire.

So here’s what I think:  I think you fit the mold perfectly.  I think you can do whatever you want.  I think you can change your life if you so choose.  I think you can rise above the tough times.  I think you’re a fighter and once you set your mind to it, I don’t think there is anyone out there that can stop you.  And I think you just might be crazy enough to not only change your life, but change the lives of every person you come in contact with.

Want to know why?

Because I think you’re brave.

No.  I take that back.

I know you’re brave.

So are you ready to do this?


**There’s still time to sign up to win the cookbook, too!  Go here to check it out!

Who Wants To Win Something?

First of all, Happy New Year!  I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.  I certainly did.  And yesterday when I decided to go in and work out on my day off, I really felt how much I enjoyed my celebrations.  Keep in mind that I only cheated when we had our family Christmases and New Year’s parties, but that was Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, the next Thursday with my immediate family, then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  I’ve never looked more forward to eating healthy as I have after this time of year.  My body was craving good things and I kept giving it bad things.


But I was back on the wagon first thing Monday morning first thing with my workout and the a healthy meal.  It’s going to take a few days to get rid of the yucky sugar and gluten left over in my system, but it will be totally worth it.  In fact, I’m already feeling a little better.

I hadn’t done a post on food in a while, but this isn’t going to be that post.  Being that it’s the first of the year and everyone probably has a few New Year’s goals and are probably trying to eat a little healthier, I thought of something fun I’d like to do.

I’m giving away one of my favorite cookbooks!!

I’ve got several cookbooks I’ve been going through, but this seems to be my go-to book.  I especially like the fact that they’re quick and easy, which works really well for my schedule.

So here are the rules in order to win.

  1. You have to leave a comment answering my question at the end of this post.
  2. You get an extra entry for “liking” my Facebook page by clicking here.
  3. You get an extra entry for following me on Twitter by clicking here.
  4. And you get an extra entry for sharing this post on your own Facebook or Twitter feeds.

So here’s the question:

What is your motivation for beginning a healthier eating plan in 2012?

***Sticky stuff:
Important Details: Open to anyone who reads this blog.  Must enter before 11:59pm CST on Friday, January 6 to qualify. Winner will be chosen by Research Randomizer and announced January 10. 



Food Hangover

'Day 2/365 - New Years Resolution' photo (c) 2009, jeff_golden - license:

So we’re about a week out from New Year’s.  And with New Year’s Day there are usually several resolutions that go along with it.  One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight, which is always a great one.  But I want to give you some tips on how to stick with it this year…or at least some tips that have helped me on my journey so far.

1.  Find something you like.  This is imperative.  If you start working out and you hate it, you’re not going to stick with it.  So try out different things.  That’s one of the things that I love about CrossFit.  Every workout is different.  Yes, there are still set days that I run, but the three days that I do the bootcamp/CrossFit workouts, I never know what I’m headed into.  Keeps it fresh.

2.  Find a meal plan you can stick with.  What I like about the Paleo plan is it’s food that I already eat.  I don’t have to go out and buy low-fat artificial stuff.  I go and buy bacon and ham and turkey and hamburger.  I just don’t buy the bread or sugary stuff anymore.   My buying habits haven’t changed significantly, so it makes it that much easier to stick with it.

3.  Plan to cheat occasionally.  Being two months into the training, I still look forward to my cheat days, but definitely not as much as I did before.  What I’m finding is that the better I eat daily, the worse I feel when I cheat.  I’m getting all the bad stuff out of my system, so sometimes it feels like what I envision a hangover would feel like except from sugar and carbs.  But plan ahead for the cheat days. I’m not going to say no to my grandma’s red velvet cake or pecan pie at Christmas, so I planned to cheat.  But come Monday morning I was back at it.

4.  Know that there are some days it’s just going to suck.  This is hard.  There is no question about it.  It’s not the physical stuff I have a hard time with.  It’s the mental stuff that usually gets me down and the rest of the people who quit by February on their New Year’s resolutions.  If you know ahead that there are going to be bumps in the way, you’re already better prepared to fight them.  Take for instance Carb Flu.  About two weeks in my whole body hurt from my head to my toes.  I felt nauseous. I felt horrible, but I felt better, if that makes sense.  It lasted about two days, and I’ve never had it since.  I think my body was so used to being fed all these sugars and carbs that I was in withdrawals.  My friend, Adam, had told me to expect it, so I was, but it still sucked.  And had I not been prepared for it, I probably would have had a cookie or something because when I feel bad, I want to eat bad.  But knowing what to expect helped me over the bump, and I’ve never looked back since. (ps. click on the link and read the article.  It’s very interesting!)

5.  Find people to take the trip with you.  They may not need to lose a pound, but just about everyone can stand to eat a little healthier. I’m a firm believer that life is better when you have people to walk through it with you.  Grab a bunch of friends or make some new ones at the gym.  Either way start building a community of like-minded people so that when you do get down, you’ll have somewhere to go for support.

6.  Finally, never EVER give up on yourself.  Seriously.  This is the most important.  I’ve been battling my weight for the last 10 years.  99% of this battle is mental.  I know I can get up and do the things necessary to live a better life, but I didn’t believe that I was worth keeping up with the fight.  I don’t know what it’s going to take for you to get to the point where you will fight for yourself, but do it.  You are totally worth it.  You’re incredible.  Don’t ever give up.

So there are a few of my tips.  What are some things that have worked for you?

Good Eats

 'Mashed Potatoes' photo (c) 2010, Warren Layton - license:

Rather than a video today I thought I’d post about one of my very favorite subjects again.

Food…of the fake starch variety.

My friend made some “mock” mashed potatoes for me the other night.  If I hadn’t known she’d made them out of cauliflower, I don’t think I would have noticed.  I’m sure there are lots of different recipes that we can find here on the ‘ole Internet, but I thought I’d share one that my friend shared on Facebook this week.  You can click here to check it out.

Also in one of our Facebook discussions a video about rice made from cauliflower.  Go here to try that one out.  I actually haven’t tried this yet, but everyone that I know that has thinks it’s great.  And another recipe for pizza crust made from cauliflower was shared, as well.  It’s good to have a network of people all working towards the same goal of a better life through conscious decisions when it comes to food.

Here’s the pizza crust recipe.  I’m going to try this and the rice this weekend hopefully!!

Cauliflower Pizza
1 cup cooked riced cauliflower1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
… 1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)

pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*


To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.

One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).


*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

So that’s what I’ve got for today.  What are some recipes that you’ve tried lately?  Please share!!!

Detox Begins…Again

Well, I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  I definitely did.  I got to see most of my family.  I got to watch the kids play.  I got to play with the kids. (totally the best part)

'Thanksgiving Feast' photo (c) 2009, Lori Ann - license:

But I ate a lot of food.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving I was having some really weird cravings.  Normally I crave sugar. Not this time.  All I wanted was bread.  And if that bread happened to come in the form of a pizza, well then, that would be extra special.

Tuesday night I went to help move the gym from one location to another.  Not long after I walked in there were what seemed like 10 pizzas brought in.   Let’s just say that I cut out early so I wouldn’t eat the pizza.  It was so tempting.

I had planned on only cheating the day of Thanksgiving, but I indulged the whole weekend.  I’m sure that will probably turn out to be a mistake…especially when I show up to bootcamp tonight.

In the past what has happened when I started cheating on a diet plan, I would just give up.  Once I decided to go ahead and indulge for one more day, I knew come Monday there would be no more.  I celebrated with my friends and family, but now it’s back to business.

No excuses.

I think that’s part of what’s different this time.  I’m not letting the excuses get the best of me.  I’m expecting more of myself because I’m the only one that can decide to make a difference in my life.  There’s always going to be things that are going to come up.  There are always going to be birthday parties and wedding showers and rare nights out with just the girls.

There’s a time for indulgence.

There’s never a time for overindulgence.

Here’s what’s different.  I had one piece of pie instead of two.  I had one hot roll instead of three (love me some bread).  Yes.  By the end of the day, I wasn’t feeling well from the sugar and the starch, but I didn’t overindulge.  And, yes.  I’m patting myself on the back because, well, I’m pretty darn proud.

So tonight I fixed my broccoli slaw surprise, drank a lot of water and had some grapes.  And it tastes so much better than the other stuff now.  The sugar gives me a headache…and a stomach ache.  The grains kind of make my joints hurt.  I wasn’t expecting that, but I move better and easier (and more!) when I’m eating well.

I just hope all the bad stuff will be out of my system before I weigh in in a couple weeks again!

How did you all do for Thanksgiving?  Did you indulge or overindulge?



I’m Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving this week.  I can’t believe it’s already here.  My brother has talked me into Black Friday shopping with him.  Well, at least Black Friday standing in line.  I still can’t believe I said I would.  But in celebration of the holiday, I would ke to share a few things with you that I’m thankful for.  Hope you enjoy!

1.  Lazy Sundays boating this summer with my friends.

2.  Cheat Days.  I say Go Big or Go Home…pun intended.

3.  A lap full of smiles.  And my family that keeps them there.

4.  This new little addition to our family.  Hello, Maddie!!

5.  Early morning runs in the summer.

6.  A little time off.

7.  Being forced to slow down…whether I like it or not.

8.  Campfires with friends.

9.  Finishing my first 5K.

10.  Last and definitely not least:  Making better decisions and seeing the results.  Absolutely nothing beats a feeling like that!!

So now it’s your turn.  What are some things you’re thankful for?

Sugar Fail

I got a little behind this weekend with my already-prepared food.  My snacks were in my fridge while I was at my parents’ house.  I was at a birthday party with a really cute cake.  And the Sunday night my church had our Thanksgiving dinner.  I was not prepared for this weekend mentally or physically.  I gave in and had a piece of cake at the birthday party.  Then at the Thanksgiving dinner I had some butterscotch pie…and a hot roll…and potatoes.  I don’t know how familiar you all are with the Paleo plan, but none of those really work.  No sugar, starch, carbs and/or grains.


Or was it?

Yes.  I cheated.  I had planned on cheating Sunday night, but the rest of the time it kind of surprised me.  I saw this cake and all I could think was how good that sugar was going to taste.
 That’s right.  I said sugar instead of cake.  My system went into addiction mode.  Hi.  My name is Julie and I’m a sugar addict.  Please don’t think I’m making fun of a serious issue.  I’ve been reading some books that link addiction and sugar to those who are susceptible.  It’s very intriguing.  I’m not done yet, but I’ll have a post on that later.  But seriously.  I needed a piece of that cake.  And it didn’t help that it looked so stinking cute.  The foods I’ve been craving lately all have sugar in them or my body will turn them into sugar during the whole digestion process.

But here’s one reason I’m not calling this weekend a failure:  At some point during the process when I probably would have cut my left arm off for a Pepsi I came to the realization that I had to fight this.  The more I gave into it, them more I wanted.  I could have eaten myself into a sugar coma.  So from here on out I can’t give into it so easily.  I’m going to have to stay on top of the whole process.  Before I go to another birthday party, unless it’s a planned cheat day, I will have nothing to do with the cake or ice cream.

I can’t.  Because then I won’t be able to see more of this:

Yes.  Those are my pants.  There’s a little more room there between the waistband and my actual waist, but I didn’t really feel like putting my fat rolls out there for the whole world-wide web to see.  But that kind of makes me a little excited.  The extra room in my jeans is only one of the reasons why I’m choosing to stay away from sugar, but when I’m staring at another birthday cake, that’s going to be my biggest motivation.

Every.  Time.

Keep in mind that I’m still going to have a cheat day every now and then.  They’re just going to be fewer and further between.  Right now to the first of the year, I’m only planning on cheating on the actual holidays.  After that I’m thinking maybe once a month until I can get a better handle on it.

So last night I went home and cooked this:
I save my bacon grease, so I heated that up in my skillet with minced garlic.  I chopped up a red bell pepper into it and let it cook some.  Then I opened a bag of broccoli slaw.  And then I added some already-cooked bacon* and added a little salt.  Just cook it till it’s tender.  Sometimes I add an egg.  Sometimes I don’t.  Last night I didn’t. It’s pretty good either way.

It’s quick and easy.  Ready in around 30 minutes or less!  Try this one out at some point this week and let me know what you think.

What’s your go-to easy recipe that’s good for you?

*I cook a few pounds a bacon once a week or so and keep it in my fridge ready to add to whatever I need it to.  A lot of my recipes call for sausage, which I don’t care for, so I use bacon.  I also save the grease and keep that in my fridge and use in a ton of stuff!