A big part of my path to healthier living has been the choice to cook more at home and to make healthier choices in ingredients. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love food. Eating out is easy (and we used to do it a lot). Before we joined the gym and started exercising, my husband and I decided we wanted to eat out MUCH less and make more of our own food. It was our ‘step one’ in this whole lifestyle shift. We had a lot of recipes that we liked, and we started by tweaking some of those with slightly healthier options. For example, my spaghetti sauce was updated to use ground turkey sausage instead of standard. My husband updated his meatloaf with a mixture of turkey and sausage instead of beef and sausage. Little tweaks.

We wanted more options though. That led us to go to the bookstore and check out some recipe books. We started with one Cooking Light book, and since the first one we have bought two more. We own Fresh Food Fast, Fresh Food Superfast, and The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. Incredible. The recipes are usually quite easy, and they are low in fat and calories. And as you can infer from the titles, some of them are very quick to put together, so they are perfect for people like us who both work and don’t have hours to dedicate to cooking.

There are so many options. We already plan to buy more of those books, the ones we own get used practically every day. They are covered in splashes of sauce from cooking and post it notes from our weekly meal planning. It’s fun to meal plan with them too, each recipe has a photo so we browse through before our big grocery store trips as if it’s a delicious restaurant menu. The recipes are good as well; they aren’t misleading and they are easy to follow. Aside from one or two semi-lame ones, all the ones we have tried have been so yummy. Bonus: most of the recipes from these books are already preloaded into MyFitnessPal‘s database. Tracking the food remains simple.

Pinterest is another place I find recipes. Have to be honest, these can sometimes be hit or miss. But it’s a great resource for inspiration, and sometimes a real gem is found there. One of my favorite sites for cheap and easy recipes that I found as a result of pinterest is Budget Bytes (The dragon noodles are one of my favorite recipes!).

This takes effort, but the effort is more in the meal planning. My husband and I set aside a few minutes once or twice a week to plan out a few meals and hit up the grocery store to buy everything we need. If we are both tired after work, we already have the ingredients – that way there is no excuse.

We both like the way we feel after cutting out a lot of the over-processed fatty foods we had been eating regularly too. It’s funny, because now even when we do eat out we tend to try to find healthier options. When we have a random fast food meal we both get kind of sick afterwards. Not going into details, but it’s not pretty. Our bodies are clearly rejecting that junk. I feel like my body is running more efficiently, and even though I view food more as fuel these days it’s very tasty fuel!


Fitbit Flex

I upped my application/tool game for weight loss.  My husband and I splurged and each bought a Fitbit Flex! I totally dig it. It counts my steps, it integrates with my beloved MyFitnessPal (which has the best food database, so THANKFULLY those play really nice together), and it’s fun to use. It makes the calorie counting even more of a game. If you have friends who use it, it ranks you against them based on number of steps so you can “win” that. I’ve mentioned this before – I like feeling like I’m winning something.

I also like the way it looks. I checked out a lot of fitness bands; some of them are kinda cool and slim, some are really bulky. This one definitely falls into the slim and understated category. See?


Basically it counts steps, measures activity levels, compares those with your calorie intake and whether you hit the goal range, plus it tracks when you sleep and how well you are sleeping. I am not sure how, my best guess is it runs on witchcraft or magic. Ha.

If you want more in-your-face accountability, I thoroughly recommend this. (And hey, if you are already using it, feel free to friend me!)


Bicycle! Bicycle! (I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike)

Queen: Bicycle Race

^^ Figured I’d just put that right there, in case the song is stuck in your head now too.

My husband and I purchased road bikes a few months ago (mine is the mint one in front).


At first I was really intimidated. We had been riding on single speed beach cruisers. We decided to upgrade because (A) we wanted to go longer distances and (B) we wanted to go faster! It was like learning to ride a bike all over again, I didn’t get the gears and what to do. But now… Love it! We’ve been working on longer distances. On the beach cruisers the longest was like 12 miles. We are now doing 25-30 mile trips on these fancy road bikes. I’d like to ramp up and go longer distances, but it will have to wait a little longer. See, I live in the Phoenix, Arizona area. At the moment, to do a long ride without getting over heated and riding in 90-110 (or more) degrees, we have to get up on our days off before 6 AM to have enough time to ride 20+ miles and get home before the scorching begins. It’s lame. But once it cools down after the summer I am hoping to have built up a good endurance on these longish rides so that I can knock out 50 miles (or more!) My ultimate goal would be a century ride, but I’m a long ways off.


I love apps

I have found what works for me. And that is IN MY FACE accountability. I use apps to help me with my success. The number one app I use every single goddamn day is MyFitnessPal. I input everything I eat and drink as well as keep track of calories I burn while exercising. In a way it’s like a game for me, and calories are points. I “win” when I come in under budget. I love it, and the best part of that app is the database is huge! Almost every food can be found in there, you can even scan barcodes and create frequent meals/recipes.

I also use Runtastic (along with it’s sister product Road Bike) to track my bike rides and hiking/walking. They are perfect because they synchronize with MyFitnessPal. All I have to do is turn on Runtastic (or Road Bike) when I’m doing an activity, then when I’m done it uploads the calories burned automatically for me.

I have realized I need something that’s easy for me to keep up with. Like I said with the ‘in my face’ bit — I’m always screwing around on my phone. It’s really easy for me to log into the MFP all throughout the day to tally what I’ve eaten. I’m constantly reminded to do so because it’s right on my iPhone’s homescreen. I don’t even have to try to remember to do it anymore, it’s a habit.

MyFitnessPal does something else for me that’s brilliant – it speedily helps me to make smart choices. Before ordering a cocktail or food, I look it up and see whether it’s cool or not. It’s kind of gross when I realized some foods I used to order and think were healthy (like some salads) are over 1000 calories for a single serving. Unnecessary!  It leads to wiser choices and thinking twice before having one more beer… that is just empty calories.