5 Things I Still Do To Stay On Track In Quarantine

I will not lie to you. I am definitely starting to feel the quarantine blues or whatever it is you want to call this feeling. I’m sure you’ve had this feeling too. I’m on day 19 of self-quarantine. I’ve generally been super positive, productive, and motivated throughout this new normal…up until 2 days ago. That’s when the total lack of energy to accomplish things accompanied a complete lack of desire to do anything, and it’s a feeling I have not been able to shake yet. The quarantine blues also came with an insatiable appetite. If all of this had come a week earlier I could have blamed PMS, but alas, the timing is wrong so there is no good reason as to why I feel this way.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, to put it simply, I believe the way to overcome this is to do what I can anyway. I’m finding that there is definitely a balance that needs to be achieved between total normalcy and quarantine specific changes. Examples of changes I’m making to adapt to the what quarantine is making me feel are things like sleeping in a little bit (7:30 instead of 6:30), allowing myself more time to sit and read or take more breaks to just hang out, and making my step goal a weekly goal instead of a daily one to accommodate for days I just don’t have the energy or desire to get up and go.

There are also things that I am still doing every day, no exceptions. This is primarily to keep me on track with my weight loss during this time when everyone is joking about gaining the “quarantine 15.” My first goal of quarantine will be to NOT gain the q15, but maybe lose a little bit in the process.

That being said, among the weirdness that is life right now, here are 5 things I still do daily to make sure I am on track even while in quarantine.

1. Tracking

This is the most fundamental component of any weight loss plan (that works) pretty much anywhere. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I will likely be tracking my food in some way, shape, or form for life. When I keep track of what goes into my body, I lose or maintain. It’s only when I stop tracking my food that the scale starts to creep up and I lose control. Tracking (and staying within my calorie/Points/Bites budgets, obviously) is the number one key to keeping myself on track and headed in the direction of success. I will continue to track what I eat each and every day. Good days or bad days. Whatever comes my way. Track all the things!

2. Hydration

This list is back to the bare basics, my friends. Like it or not, drinking enough water is a major part of your body’s health. When you’re dehydrated, the list of problems goes on and on. Drinking water is easy (yes..you CAN do it, you people who claim you can’t) and it’s so, so, SO good for you. Keeping my hydration up is one thing I’m doing with a daily goal of drinking a gallon of water (128oz) a day. Yes, it’s a lot, but my body feels great when I do it. Bonus: I’m running to the bathroom all the time to pee which means lots of handwashing. Take that, COVID-19!

3. Pre-Track My Food

If you’re having an issue staying away from the kitchen, this is gold. I’ve been starting the day figuring out what all of my meals will be for the day and tracking them in the morning. After my meals are tracked I can figure out what I want to do with the remainder of my daily budget. Then, I stick to the plan! It’s such a simple little thing, but it makes it so much easier to stay on track,

4. Workout

You had to know this was coming. I am committed to working out each and every day that I’m stuck in quarantine. I’m test-driving this idea for the month of April with the goal of moving my body for at least half an hour every day. This could be an “official” workout from the Beachbody app (currently my method for working out) or simply going for a walk for 30 minutes. Whatever the case may be, the goal is an intentional time of movement and not just movement related to cleaning the house. Even if you don’t have access to any streaming workouts or even all that much space, there is still something you can do to move your body. Get creative, but don’t tell me you can’t. You absolutely can!

5. Use My Intermittent Fasting Timer

The reason this post is getting written now and not later today is honestly that I needed something to pass the time while I wait for my IF timer to complete its 14-hour run. I use the app “Zero,” which is a free intermittent fasting timer, and I love it. Last night was the first time I turned it on in 16 days, and I can’t even tell you how empowered I felt last night clicking that “start fast” button once I finished my ice cream. I’m not a hardcore intermittent faster, but I like to do a 14 hour fast to give my body a break from food. If I can get to 16 hours (the standard fast is 16 hours fasted with an 8-hour eating window), I do it, but if not it’s no big deal. The purpose of using this timer is just to keep me from evening snacking and to encourage me to wait until I’m actually hungry to eat my breakfast rather than simply eating because it’s morning. Having a shorter eating window rather than the freedom to eat any hour of the day really helps me stay on track. This will be a key tool in my staying on track during quarantine.

All 5 of these are so basic but they truly are game changers and are going to be essential components to my staying on track during this weirdness that is life right now. Having a plan, whatever that plan may be, puts you back in control of the things you can control, so why not do just that? Take control and find success!

Day 7-8 of 90

Monday was the first of what will be many snow days. Rather than type it all out for you, I will post my vlogmas vlog here for your viewing pleasure. What you need to know is I ended the day with 32/27 Points, using 5 weeklies due to cookie consumption.

Tuesday I decided to venture out into the below zero temperatures (with many, many layers of clothes on) to go to a Bodypump class. It was a new (to me) instructor who mentioned a Christmas specific workout later in the week. I was curious so I struck up a conversation. Long story short, I bonded with this woman over our shared faith in Jesus, and this class on Thursday would be faith-based. Cool!! Hopefully, the weather cooperates so I can attend.

I got a Bodypump workout in and some steps on the elliptical before heading to Sam’s Club to get meat and reluctantly pump gas. Then it transformed into work day and was pretty business-as-usual.

Breakfast: Healthy Eating OTG Bar (5)

Lunch: Sam’s Club soft pretzel. I know, I know…I caved. Want to know the worst part? Jordan was right and they’re freaking amazing! $0.99 and the best soft pretzel ever. This is not good. Counted as 10 pp

Second lunch: Smoked salmon (3) and Cheetos (4)

Dinner: Velveeta Shells and Cheese 2% cup (5) and broccoli (0)

Treats: Too many cookies (10) and too many Lindt Truffles (6)

Total for the day: 43/27 (used 16 weeklies and have 13 remaining for the week)

It’s A New Day! | Day 3 of 90

Guys, I slept for 8.5 hours last night and I felt like a new woman. My cold symptoms are gone, my period is no longer wreaking havoc on my system, and I actually had the energy required to do this Thursday some justice.

Praise Jesus!

Since I didn’t go to my normally scheduled doubleheader of Pound class followed by Bodypump yesterday, I looked up what classes were available today, and it turned out there was one at 9:30 am at the gym location that’s easier for me to get to. Truth be told, while I enjoy my doubleheaders on Wednesday, I don’t feel like I enjoy them enough to make them worth trecking out the other Y location. Not to mention having my 2 classes at 11 and noon really messes up my day. A lot! I might end up changing my schedule up a bit to try and find what might work a little bit better for me.

Today, this class worked well. It was jam-packed with people, which is less than ideal, but I really enjoy the teacher, so it’s worth it. The other issue was there is a “woo” guy in this class. Some man ends up doing a crazy “WOO!” Every time things get a little harder in class. It’s a weight lifting class…the whole thing is supposed to be hard. During one track this guy “WOO’d!” Six times. SIX! and that was just during 1 track. There are 9 working tracks in Bodypump. I wanted to knock him out with my weight. I couldn’t actually figure out which guy it was, but that’s probably for the best. We’ll see if “Woo guy” is there next week…

Anyway, after Pump I spent about an hour on various elliptical machines (one standing, one seated) and got to 10,000 steps. Only 7.5 more to reach my Power goal on my Step Bet.

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Well…That Sucked… | Day 2 of 90

Well, for as amazing as things went on day 1 of my magical journey to the best shape of my life, day 2 went to the same level in the completely opposite direction. 😫😖

Allow me to elaborate with a bunch of excuses.

First, I had to get up early to take my husband to the bus for work so he wouldn’t have to bring his car since he was headed straight from the office to the airport. Usually, getting up at 5:20 am isn’t a problem and is close to my new normal wakeup time, however, since we got back from Thanksgiving vacation I’ve been trying to get my body to feel normal, and usually, that means more sleep. Well, I don’t know how it got to be so late, but it turns out I ended up getting 4 and a half hours of sleep. This girl needs at least 6.5 to even consider functioning. Awesome.

Then, to top it all off, the day I have been anxiously awaiting finally came and I got my period. 🩸(why yes, I did just use the blood drop emoji). My natural cycle always, without fail, comes a day or two after my app actually says it will. Well, this month was an extra special month and while PMS and all of its glorious symptoms came right on schedule, the event that comes to relieve me of said symptoms came especially late and hit me like a brick wall.

I was beyond exhausted. A trip to Target and to my PO box took literally all of the energy I had in me. I managed to get to my step goal by discovering a new season of Younger on Hulu and told myself I could watch it only if I was stepping. I ended up binge-watching the entire season!! Yes, I got to my 14.5k steps, by I also sat on my butt a lot. I didn’t vlog, I didn’t write up this blog post, heck I didn’t even go upstairs more than twice the entire day because my legs were so tired. UGH!

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iTrackBites Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

The holiday season is here! It’s time for joy, merriment, and food. Lots and LOTS of food. While this time of year is in fact (in my opinion) the most wonderful time of the year, the reality is the holiday season can strike fear into the hearts of anyone trying to lose weight. I am here to tell you that all it takes to make it through our holiday meals is a little bit of planning ahead. My friends, just because you’re on a diet does not mean you can’t have your favorite holiday dishes. I firmly believe in “everything in moderation.” The first major day of eating is right around the corner, and we need to get our hearts, minds, and plans ready to embrace the day feeling empowered to stay on track.

One of the most important things you can do is to have an idea of the Bites values of what you’re eating. Today I have a Thanksgiving cheat sheet for you which gives you the general Bites values for some Thanksgiving dinner table staples.

This next part is important: The values presented below are general guidelines and might not be completely accurate to the specific recipe that you are consuming. Obviously, if you want the most accurate representation of your Thanksgiving feast it is your job to plug in the recipes to the iTrackBites recipe builder, use the nutrition information from your specific ingredients, and measure your servings. If that’s what you want to do, that’s wonderful. Go for it! I do know for many people, the thought of putting so much work into tracking their Thanksgiving meal is pretty much the last thing they want to do. That’s where my cheat sheet comes in handy. While it might not be accurate down to the Bite for your dishes, having a generalized idea about the Bites values of your food gives you a much larger advantage than having no idea at all.

Using the list below you can roughly plan out your plate, add things to your tracker, and at least put a solid effort into staying on track this Thanksgiving. I firmly truly that some effort will always be better than no effort at all, so take a look, track accordingly, and have a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable Thanksgiving meal.

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Dear Dieters, Please Stop Labeling Food as “Bad”

Every day I see people talking about the “bad” food they ate and they are either punishing themselves for it, making excuses for it, or using it as an argument for the anti-diet. I’m not saying that I’m innocent here, but my mindset has definitely changed about “good” food and “bad” food, and I want to get one thing straight.

There is no such thing as a “bad” food.

The second we start to call something bad, we give it all sorts of power that ends up working against us. If you’re trying to lose weight, odds are you already have a pretty rocky relationship with food. The last thing you need is to classify foods (most likely some of your favorite foods) with a label that will make you feel guilty every time you eat it.

Think about it: if you label something as bad, what happens mentally when you think about doing or eating that bad thing?

  • You feel guilty
  • That thing is off limits
  • Classifying something as “off limits” starts the deprivation mindset
  • Deprivation mindset starts a downhill spiral
  • You feel shame for eating that “bad” food
  • Shame and guilt has the potential to start a downhill spiral
  • You feel negative about yourself because you gave in or you weren’t strong enough to resist the bad thing
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How To Stay On Track During The Summer

Summer is my second favorite season of the year. While sometimes the heat is unbearable, it is a small price to pay for being able to wear shorts and sandals, spend time outside, get a tan, and get your hands on fresh fruit without breaking the bank. It’s the time of outdoor music festivals, farmer’s markets, and more cookouts than you can fit into your schedule. For some, summer is a very difficult time to stay on track.  When there are cookouts and plenty of excuses to stay out later and enjoy plenty of high calories cold beverages, it’s easy to let your weight loss efforts get pushed to the side so you can enjoy all of the goodies that summer regularly offers.  
 
Personally, I actually find summer to be the time of year that it’s easiest for me to stay on track, but that is because of the habits I’ve developed over the last handful of years. The things I do to help me stay on track during the summer are now naturally engrained in my brain, and come easily to me, making summer the time of year I am most focused, feeling my best, and typically seeing the most progress in my journey. 
 
  1. Hydrate! I know, drinking water pretty much ends up in every single “tips for weight loss type video, but there is a good reason. Hydration is essential for keeping the body running and functioning well, but I feel like it’s extra essential in summer. If you’re doing summer the way summer is meant to be done, odds are you’re spending more time out in the sun and heat. There’s nothing better for you than making sure you’re consuming plenty of ice cold, refreshing, hydrating water while you’re busy sweating your booty off outside.  Whether I just got back from a walk or I’m chilling outside at a party, that cold H2O feels so good on so many levels. What happens to my body if I’m staying hydrated while out in the heat, is I notice between the heat and filling my stomach with liquid, I’m a lot less hungry in general during the summer. Less hunger = less random munching.
  2. Get outside! Guys, its SUMMER time.  Get outside and get a little sweaty. No one will judge, we’re all sweaty this time of year. Again, when I’m all summertime toasty hot, I find that a bonus is my appetite is way suppressed. Is it just me? Does the idea of being out in the blazing heat of the day really make you feel nothing but negative thoughts? Well, thanks to summer, it is light outside for longer, which means you can get outside later in the day. Just last night I took Gracie on an extra walk at 8:00 pm. It was still warm, but not unbearably hot. Perfect for getting a few thousand more steps in before calling it a night. There is something magical about taking even 20 minutes to just be outside. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul. Bonus: you get that sun-kissed glow. 
  3. Eat all the produce. One of my favorite things about summer is that fresh, delicious produce is plentiful and way less expensive than it is in the winter. Is there anything more glorious than a slice of chilled watermelon or a bowl of fresh berries on a hot summer day? No, there really isn’t. I find that in summer my body actually craves more fruits and vegetables, and I give in to those cravings because let’s be honest, I could do a lot worse than enjoying extra fresh grilled veggies or an extra cup of fresh fruit salad. Between the produce and the water I’m drinking, I’m often filled up on good, fresh, healthy things. If I’m behaving and listening to my hunger signals (which I’ll admit isn’t always the case), then I’m a lot less likely to eat all of the delicious junk that’s available this time of year. I eat healthy naturally. 
  4. Low-calorie alcoholic beverages. One of the standards of summer is cookouts and parties that typically include alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are a sure fire way to skyrocket your daily intake of points, sugars, and calories without even thinking about it, so it’s important to have lighter options if you’re someone who likes to participate on a regular basis. Well margaritas are amazing and mimosas are delicious, both of them are so heavy in sugar and calories that it’s really easy to pack on the pounds. Two of my favorite low-calorie options are as follows. The first one is a discovery I made just this past week, and it is the new spiked seltzers from Smirnoff.  At only 90 cals and 1 g of sugar and 4.5% ABV, they’re kind of like a lightly alcoholic Lacroix. If you are a cocktail type person, the goal is to enjoy your booze with as little additives as possible. My old go to used to be a vodka cranberry, which was easy to keep low cal at home because I was able to buy diet cranberry juice, which let’s face it is actually just cranberry flavored water at 5 cals a serving, but when you go out and order a vodka cranberry, there’s no way the bars are going to have diet anything. What I would end up with is full calorie, full sugar mixers plus the vodka, making my beverage many more calories in points and I would’ve liked. So, I made a couple modifications and now my go-to order is a vodka soda (which is just carbonated water) with a small splash of cranberry. This means that you’re only paying for the vodka, and your mixers are essentially nothing. This is also a drink easy to re-create at home. I now have a legitimate low-calorie but still alcoholic options which allow me to enjoy partying right along with my family and friends, but without completely derailing my day or week. 
  5. Bring your own weight watchers friendly side dish. As you know, when you are invited to a cookout of any kind it is always good form to bring something to share. Since you’re going to bring something anyway, why not make a dish that is diet friendly and fits perfectly into your plan? For the cookout I attended on the Fourth of July, I literally brought a bunch of raw vegetables and some hummus. Raw veggies are zero points, low-calorie, and a great way to fill up while still getting to enjoy little bits and pieces of the higher calorie goods available. If you bring your own diet-friendly dish, you can at least rest assured knowing there’s at least one thing where you can enjoy guilt-free. 
  6. Sneak in extra activities. Since it’s summer and you’re going to be spending plenty of time outside anyway, you might as well pick and choose activities that involve getting extra movement without even trying. Walk around the local farmers market and get some steps in while you’re picking out delicious fresh produce, or enjoy your day at the amusement park as you walk your way from ride to ride. Park at the other end of the parking lot and walk the extra distance to the door taking advantage of the fact it’s not freezing and snowing outside, or have a romantic walk in the park with your loved one or your dog to enjoy a summertime sunset. It is really easy to pick activities that do not simply involve going out to eat, but rather involve activity, movement, and doing something healthy for your body. This is definitely a lot easier to accomplish in the summer than in the dead of winter, at least for me. 
  7. Plan ahead for your parties. As we’ve mentioned several times already, summer is the season of cookouts, get together’s, and parties were food and alcohol flow freely. If you know you’re going to one of these events in the coming weekend, why not plan ahead all week long? Working in an extra work out or two to burn some extra calories, and the extra diligent about what you’re putting into your body to make room for your indulgences during the weekend. It doesn’t take too much extra work to be able to work your party right into your plan. I always sign on I plan ahead, it is a rare thing to have the party affect my number on the scale, and I also enjoy my indulgences a little bit more because I don’t feel at all guilty about having them because I planned well the rest of the week.
 
Those are just a few things that I do during the summer to help me stay on track. Like I said, summer is actually the season I have the easiest time getting active, eating well, and treating my body right. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s bikini season and there’s a little bit more pressure, or simply because I love being outside in the sun and all of the positive choices come naturally, but summer is my bodies season to thrive. Hopefully, with these tips, you are inspired to help your body thrive during this wonderful season as well. Do you have anything that you do to help you stay on track during the summer? Let me know in the comments below. 
 
 

You CAN Eat Peanut Butter and Lose Weight! | Healthy Eating All The Time and Go Bars

Peanut butter is something that I have loved all my life, but let’s be honest when you’re on a diet and trying to lose weight peanut butter is basically one of the first things to go. At least this is the case for me. I honestly don’t remember the last time I had a good old fashion peanut butter and jelly sandwich or didn’t eat peanut butter without mourning how many Weight Watchers points and calories the small 2 tbsp serving ended up being. I pretty much resigned myself to a life without peanut butter unless it was powdered PB (While it gets the job done, it in no way compares to the real deal). Sad day.

You guys all know I love my bars. Quest Bars, No Cow Bars, Dive Bars, and everything in between. Especially when I’m pressed for time, there is something wonderful about having my nutrients all packed into one little portable bar. As per usual, when I discover new brands of bars, I have to give them a try. I’ve seen this brand on Instagram for quite some time now, with many Weight Watchers and healthy lifestyle accounts posting photo after photo, raving about this delicious bar. I finally decided I had to give them a try. 

I ended up with the complete Healthy Eating All The Time and Go (which I will from this point forward call HEAT bars for the sake of length) collection, both purchased by me and sent to me by the owner of the company.  Once I sat down and calculated the Points for all of the bars, which ranged from 6-8sp and 4-6pp, I opened up the one that seemed to be the most popular (cranberry peanut butter granola) and took a bite. 

..and then I died and went to a peanut butter filled Heaven.

I’m not even joking. This bar, which is only 4 PP (I’m currently following the old WW plan), was a delicious mouthful of REAL peanut butter flavor. It was the most delicious bar I had ever bitten into, and I’m not exaggerating. 

Wholesome, REAL Ingredients

Let’s talk about the ingredients for just a second. In a world of processed food that contains ingredients that sound anything but natural, the ingredients in HEAT bars are plain and simple: things like oats, natural peanut butter, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, almonds, honey, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apple, and the occasional 60% cacao chip or whey protein. Clean, whole ingredients that are easy to read and more importantly, are easy on the body. In a world of sugar alcohols and artificial everything, this was a very welcome change.  Read more

Smart Sweets Gummy Bears

 

Gummy Bears are a classic when it comes to candy. These tiny little guys will bring a smile to your face and joy to your taste buds.  However, for those of us trying to lessen our sugar intake, gummy bears aren’t always something we can enjoy. Until now.

Did you know there is a gummy bear out there that is fruity, chewy, and delightful that contains only 3g of sugar per serving?? It’s true! They’re called Smart Sweets, and they’re most definitely the smarter way to enjoy gummy bears. 

What Are Smart Sweets?

Smart Sweets gummy bears offer all of the joys of eating this tasty, fun treat without all of the crazy sugar that gummy bears typically come with. While they aren’t completely sugar-free, they contain a whopping 3g of sugar per bag. While this would normally be alarming, fear not! They don’t contain any sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners either! *happy dance*

Smart Sweets are sweetened with plant-based, non-GMO stevia.  This means that there shouldn’t be any icky side effects in your digestive system because of artificial sweeteners. I mean, have you seen the reviews for Haribo sugar-free gummy bears on Amazon? It’s hilarious to read, but absolutely NOT hilarious to experience. You see, those are sweetened with the sugar alcohol maltitol, which can cause major issues for a lot of people. Thankfully, Smart Sweets has nothing like that in their ingredients list, making them an ideal candy substitute. 

Ready for another nutritional bonus of Smart Sweets? 28 g of dietary fiber! Read more

How To Follow Weight Watchers Points Plus In A Smart Points World

As you may or may not know, at the beginning of April I switched from Weight Watchers Freestyle back to Weight Watchers Points Plus. While I have a love for the Freestyle program, and I understand that WW is trying to encourage an overall healthy, maintainable lifestyle, the truth is I wasn’t losing weight on the Freestyle plan. My feelings for Freestyle haven’t changed, but I felt that the switch back to Points Plus was the right move for me because I had already had success on that plan previously. While Freestyle isn’t right for my body to lose weight, I feel it is the perfect plan for weight maintenance.  Ultimately, it’s up to me to make the choices that are right for me, so Freestyle is taking a back seat to good old Points Plus for now. 

Once I announced I was switching back, questions came pouring in about how I was following Points Plus when the WW app doesn’t have that option.  I ultimately put together a video for my YouTube channel that explains everything, and I decided to post it here on the blog as well since the video will explain it in less time than writing everything out would. 

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