6 Tips To Help You Conquer Your Cravings

For me, one of the most difficult parts of this entire weight loss journey is knowing how to make the right choices when a craving strikes. Whether it be for the jar of peanut butter, a delicious piece of pizza, or the Hersey’s kisses in the candy jar, I get cravings regularly, and they’re often the reason my day doesn’t go as planned.  Let’s face it, if we didn’t have to fight off cravings, odds are we wouldn’t be in the situation where we need to lose weight anyway, right?  What’s a gal to do?

What we need are ways to conquer our cravings so we can take back control and eat the things we want when we decide to rather than allow a craving to decide for us. Here are 6 tips to help you (and me) beat those cravings next time we’re wanting something that doesn’t fit into our day.

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Sunday Shenanigans | The Diva Diaries

It’s 8:30pm on Sunday night. Mister left for the airport a few hours ago (typically he doesn’t leave until Monday mornings), so it’s just me and my fur baby. Our shenanigans mentioned in the title aren’t all that crazy, as I’m already in pjs, makeup removed, and watching the latest episode of Shark Tank with Gracie on the couch sleeping next to me.  We Engebretsen ladies sure know how to party it up on a Sunday night, huh?  To be fair, in an effort to get a little bit of a headstart on my week, the kitchen is clean, I have a video rendering, and I’m working on a blog post, so all is not lost in my evening.  

I also need to get off my butt for a whopping 800 more steps to reach my step goal for the day, and I didn’t even go to the gym today!

Life in the WW arena was all about balance toady. I was way below points up until dinner, where I wanted to enjoy a bowl of Trader Joe’s organic creamy tomato soup. It’s only 4sp per cup and it is to die for delicious.  Since I had plenty of room for a bit more indulgence, I knew what I needed to pair with my tomato soup.  Any guesses??

 

If you guessed a grilled cheese sandwich, you were spot on.  After all, those two items were made for each other, don’t you think?

Since the only things in my kitchen that came anywhere close to ingredients for a grilled cheese was a high fiber wrap for 1sp and fat free shredded cheese, I decided the best answer was to hop over to Panera and order a sandwich from there, but it wasn’t just a regular grilled cheese.  Did you know you could customize that sucker to become a super tasty (and yes, calorie heavy) beast? My sandwich was made on sourdough bread with white cheddar, parmesan and gouda cheeses, crumbled bacon, and tomatoes. Imagine dipping that baby into a bowl of hot tomato soup.  It was so good.  It wiped me of the rest of my points for the day, but you know what? SO worth it.  Sometimes you just need to have some yummy comfort food, and having to say goodbye to my husband a mere 48 hours after he got home last while in the midst of what I can only guess are hormonally induced emotions…well, it didn’t take much for me to decide that this meal was the way to go.  

Since Panera is reasonably nearby, my bargain with myself is if I order from there, I walk to go pick it up, which I did, and I didn’t add any sweets to my order! Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind, but the sandwich was more than enough.  So… steps, no sweet treat, and a satisfying comfort food meal that I don’t feel at all guilty about.

Tonight’s final objective is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get a solid night’s sleep, and start tomorrow with a hardcore workout and a perfectly on plan day.  

After all..a lifetime of healthy living is all about balance. 

Fat Tuesday | The Diva Diaries

Today is Fat Tuesday.  I never really liked the name “Fat” Tuesday, especially since becoming a Weight Watcher.  To me, it just seems like this day where we can basically toss all of our dieting rules out the window and be fat, and this bothered me for a few reasons. 

  1. One day of indulgence is not going to make you fat.  I repeat: One day of indulgence is NOT going to make you fat. You gain weight, I mean really gain, when it’s day after day after day of indulging.
  2. Those of us on a diet sometimes have a hard enough time controlling ourselves.  We need to A) not have a day that encourages us to throw everything out the window, and B) come to terms with the idea that we have the power to have a little indulgence in moderation worked right into our plan.  Going to the extreme is not necessary.

Now, all of that being said, I kind of did participate in the “fat” part of today.  First, I didn’t really track today, and I don’t even feel guilty about it, but that’s because of some of the decisions I made.  I had a regular breakfast (5 sp), but later in the day I got sidetracked with my niece before going to the gym, and that resulted in me getting hungry at my parent’s house, which never results in good choices (Note to self: get better at keeping a snack in your purse at all times.).  I treated myself to some crackers (I did choose Triscuits over the buttery onion crackers) and this amazing spreadable cheese my mom gets from the Amish bakery when it visits her work every few months, and followed that up with a handful-ish of peanut M&Ms.  Rockstar move..I know. 

Every year on Fat Tuesday there is a pancake dinner at my church (the Lutheran church.  My YouTube subscribers know that I regularly attend 2 churches.  I call one the “Little Lutheran Church” and the other is “the bigger, contemporary church”), so it’s ingrained in me to have pancakes for dinner on Fat Tuesday.  My original plan was to go to the dinner and enjoy regular old pancakes with my parents, but I was later informed they weren’t going, so I changed plans and made myself protein pancakes instead.  It was a much healthier option, but it was also followed up with a mini chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  It was delicious, indulgent, and worth every un-tracked bite.  At least I’m keeping the healthy and unhealthy choices pretty balanced.. Gold star for that. 

Fat Tuesday also means so much more than a day of indulgence.  Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent beginning.  Lent is regarded in the Christian faith is a time for repentance, renewal, and typically some form of sacrifice, which is why many give something up for Lent. It’s the start of the 40 days leading up to Easter, aka the whole reason our belief system exists. It has been quite a few years since I’ve chosen to give something up for Lent, but instead, I’ve been choosing to add something to my day, sacrificing my time in an effort to spend more time with God (I wrote a whole post on this several years ago). This year, Lent conveniently coincides with my discovery of a new (to me) weight loss book that mixes faith along with diet called Made to Crave.  I’m halfway through it (since starting the audio book yesterday..I couldn’t stop listening) and I think its message is perfectly timed for me to use this new way of thinking about healthy living alongside the Lenten season.

In a nutshell, this book talks about as humans we are made to crave, but where we should be craving God, we’ve replaced that desire for other things like material possessions, alcohol, sex, drugs, popularity, and of course, food. The book talks about how this desire to lose weight and get healthy can also be (and should be) a spiritual journey to get closer to God.  If we fill our cravings with God, there will be no room to be ruled by food.  If we focus on our obedience to God and how he would want us to treat our bodies, which are a gift from him, we can more easily overcome our physical and emotional setbacks and get up and moving.  

To many of you, it may sound like a bunch of crap, and if that’s the case, then maybe this isn’t for you, but something in this book clicked for me, and I am so excited to take this new approach to my weight loss.  Starting tomorrow, it isn’t about eliminating one thing for Lent.  It’s about seeking to be more obedient to God by taking better care of this body he gave me.  I want to get better about eating more whole foods and less sugar (perhaps by giving up regular indulgences like candy and non-WW friendly goods in the process). I want to focus on getting stronger and more functional rather than just thinner.  While this adventure of mine will last more than the duration of Lent, these 40 days will definitely give me a great start.  

Here we go.

 

Weight Loss A-Z

Rules of Weight Loss A-Z

When it comes to weight loss and healthy living, everyone has their own tips and tricks that work for them.  I decided to get a little creative and wanted to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet.  After some thought and creative liberties, here are 26 tips, tricks, or plain old facts of life that I use to find success in my weight loss journey.

A- Attitude

When it comes to losing weight, attitude is everything.  If you come from a negative space about food, fitness, and your body, it’s could be 20 times harder to find the success you’re looking for.  A positive attitude about your body and about the journey you’re on will definitely keep your sprits up and the scale down. 

B- Baby Steps Read more

Smart Points Friendly Snacks On-the-Go |Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale

Weight Watchers friendly snacks for the new Smart Points plan.

If you’ve started following the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program that uses Smart Points instead of points plus, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot harder to enjoy some snacks and sweet treats while staying on plan. When Weight Watchers was using Points Plus, I had my snacking down to a science, especially when it came to on-the-go products. It’s taken me a little bit of time, but I finally found a few go to treats that satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking my Smart Points budget for the day. Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled with this low sugar transition, I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with you.  Many of these options work well with the high-protein, low sugar lifestyle that the beyond the scale plan is encouraging us to live on a daily basis. Read more

Jus By Julie 1 Day Cleanse

A review of the Jus by Julie 1 day cleanse

I am all about trying different healthy living products and letting you know how they make me feel. Recently I was given the opportunity to try out a 1 day juice cleanse by Jus by Julie.  This cleanse consisted of 6 juices to be consumed throughout the day.  The juices arrived right on time (when you order, you schedule the day you want your cleanse to arrive and they ship accordingly), well packaged in cold shipping materials, and ready for use the day after arrival. Each juice in the cleanse has a label on it so you know what order to consume your juice. Here’s a look at the different juices and my review of the process.

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How to Calculate Smart Points for Smoothies

How to calculate the Smart Points Value of your Smoothie

One of my favorite things about eating on Weight Watchers is that when I eat fresh fruits and veggies, they don’t count against my daily Smart Points intake.  Yes, there are a few exceptions (I’m looking at you avocados, potatoes, corn, etc.), but in general, that’s the rule..with one HUGE exception: when you blend produce to make smoothies.  I see “How do you track Smart Points for smoothies?” asked all over the place, and since I just learned the easy answer myself, I figured I’d tell you. Read more

The Day I Realized Sugar IS the Problem

Sugar Is the problem

You know how sometimes, no matter how many times people tell you something is bad for you, you just need to realize it and come to terms with it on your own before you’re willing to do anything about it?  That bad relationship, smoking, losing weight.. Whatever the thing is, and no matter how many times people warn you or try to help you, in order to truly do something about it for good, you have to decide for yourself.  Then it’s a whole new ball game. 

That’s what happened to me and my relationship with sugar this week.

Sugar is one of the hottest topics in health, fitness, and weight loss at the moment.  There are countless articles about why it is one of the most horrible things for your body.  While sugar is fat free, there are claims that a diet full of fat is better than a diet full of sugar.  I’ve been reading all of these articles (like the one I found this morning) for quite some time knowing that there is plenty of truth to them, but unwilling to admit that I was one of many that had a problem or suffered the consequences of excessive sugar intake. After all, I rocked the Weight Watchers Points Plus program. I knew exactly what foods to eat that kept me in my Points budget and still gave me treats that satisfied my sweet tooth.  I am nowhere near diabetic, and while I have some weight to lose (again), I’m not in any danger health-wise.  This sugar thing didn’t effect me at all… or so I thought.

After quite a physical and emotional struggle for awhile now, the other day I made a Facebook and Instagram post where I basically declared that I had finally gotten my health and fitness groove back.  For 4 or so days I was eating like a rockstar on the new Weight Watchers plan which, for good reason, cracks down on sugar intake. I was eating high protein, whole foods, and even found a few treats that satisfied a sugar craving without containing much sugar at all.  I noticed that I woke up on my own (I don’t usually set an alarm, as I don’t need to be anywhere, and with CMT, sleep is super important) earlier and feeling more energized. I was able to focus and get a lot done, both physically (like a 2.5 hr gym session and cleaning the house) and mentally with less distraction and exhaustion.  I was also able to fall asleep a bit faster AND my skin started to look clearer than it had in ages.  Granted, the skin thing could be thanks to the new skincare products I’m trying out, but you never know.  The last thing I noticed was my mood was also generally better. I felt closer to my husband romantically, and content with life in general, both of which can be challenges in the everyday life of the wife of a traveling businessman.  That topic will eventually get a whole post of it’s own.

Fast forward to two days ago.  **Prepare for some real honest confessions and real-talk here** I went shopping to get stuff for an Easter candy post I’m working on..which meant that the “stuff” was really a variety of Easter candies.  While I worked on photos for my post, I had to open some things to get pictures of the products.  Well, needless to say it was more than a few jellybeans or chocolates that made their way into my mouth. Lack of self control is definitely a big issue of mine.. Not only did I experience immediate regret for what I had consumed (especially after knowing all of the Smart Points values, as they were all written down in my notebook next to me), but a few hours later, my body started to feel a bit off.  

The next day was no better.  First, it was a snow day (winter weather advisory and I had no plans) so I decided to stay in.  I treated myself to the delicious Amish cinnamon roll that my mom had given me the night before.  Hey, I paired it with fruit, and I’m supposed to treat myself once and awhile.  But of course, the cinnamon roll wasn’t the only sugar I ate that day.  I might have tasted a few more types of the Easter candy stash after lunch..  The results of the 2 day sugar “binge” blew my mind, even in the midst of my sugary snacking.

First, it was no secret that even after I had more than enough sugar filled goodness, all I wanted was more! I realized just how insane and dark the sugary rabbit hole really was.  It didn’t matter how full I was or how much sugar I had already consumed, all I could think about was wanting more sugar! There was my lightbulb moment: It really is an addiction.  

I also paid close attention to how I was feeling, from the Easter candy photoshoot and throughout the next day.  I woke up groggy and sleepy, with little desire to do anything but sit on the couch (with sugary snacks) and watch Netflix all day.  At the same time, my mind and body were both racing, hopped up on sugar, but unable to focus on any one task.  It was a miracle I managed to get yesterday’s blog post up at all.  I was unsatisfied and unmotivated, energized (sugar rush) but exhausted at the same time, and my body felt gross; bloated, confused, and just blah. It was horrible.  Why did I let myself do that? Why would anyone let themselves do that??

I went to bed last night seriously reflecting on the past 48 hours and the over sugared hours they had been. It was then that I truly accepted that all I had been reading over the past several months about sugar and how bad really is for the body is TRUE.  It’s not something that should be considered by just some people, but everyone needs to take a look at what they’re eating.  To be honest, I don’t think that my sugar craze would have been such an “ah ha” moment if it wasn’t for how awesome I was feeling in the several days before.  There was clearly a direct connection between how awesome I was feeling when I was eating a healthy, balanced, low sugar diet versus how terrible I was feeling after those 2 days of the complete opposite.  Needless to say I woke up today making a different kind of commitment to myself.  Not only did I want to actually eat the way I was “supposed” to, but after acknowledging just how crappy the sweet stuff makes me feel, I knew I wanted to approach treats differently too.  

Now, for those that know me, I am a chocoholic through and through, so I’m definitely not saying I’m giving up sugar for good.  I personally don’t believe in depriving yourself of any specific food unless it causes a legitimate health issue (like eating peanut butter if you’re highly allergic to peanuts), because feeling deprived can lead to bigger binges and other problems.  However, my approach will definitely be different from here on out.  I am going to continue the trend I had going (until my candy run at Target) which was to have very minimal dessert options at home (which were low sugar to begin with) and treat myself to the “real” desserts every so often, like taking dessert home after a dinner out.  That way, there’s only one serving, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  I’m sure I’ll have a post on managing a sweet tooth later on.  

I guess my whole point to my really long ramble is this: Friends, what you are reading about sugar is 110% true. I’m not basing that statement on any scientific research whatsoever. I’m simply basing that on my personal experience, and for me, that is enough of a reason to reconsider my relationship with sugar entirely.  Get educated, read the articles you see floating around blogs and Facebook, and believe me when I say that cutting down your sugar intake will impact your body and mind in a positive way. The other day I actually said “I felt like superwoman for a few hours.”  That’s a pretty awesome way to feel.  If cutting back on sugar can make me feel like that for a little while every day, it’s totally worth it.  

What have your experiences with sugar been? Let me know in the comments below! I want to know your story, knowledge, and thoughts on this hot button topic.  

 

SLIMQUICK Pure Extra Strength Drink Mix Review

SlimQuick

Before I even start this review, I’m just going to put this out there:

DISCLAIMER: I do not support any sort of “quick fix” diet and weight loss system.  Healthy living and weight loss/maintenance is a lifestyle, not a several week diet.  There is no substitute for eating right and exercising/moving to keep the body healthy.  That being said, I do believe that certain products out there can help aid your weight loss journey by assisting the body as you put forth the effort to watch your diet and activity.

Okay, now that my disclaimer is out of the way, we can get to why I’m here today.  I was given the chance to try out the Slimquick Pure extra strength drink mix, which is a newer addition to the Slimquick family.  If you want the bottom line, I enjoyed this product so much that I reached out to the company saying I wanted to work with them even more, so I am now on their 13 week challenge, which is great, because as you all know, I have some weight that I need to get rid of.  I am so excited to get to try all of their products that are designed just for women.  You’ll get more on the entire Slimquick line later.  For now, lets talk about the drink mix that got me hooked in the first place. Read more

Spring Favorites 2015

 

Spring2015Faves

GlamGlow Supercleanse | Tarte Lip gloss in Park Ave Princess | Jelly Pong Pong Highlighter | Nars Blush in Deep Throat | Rosebud Salve Tube | Last 5 Years | Younger | Teami 30 Day Detox

As crazy as it sounds, another season has come and gone. With that comes a few new favorites. I don’t have many, as I haven’t been buying a whole lot.  However, each one of these comes with the promise that I’ve been using these favorites regularly.  Let’s jump right in.

Beauty

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