Can you believe it’s already August?! Didn't summer just get here? Weren't we just complaining about the long snowy winter? Wow! Time flies!

I like to think of the beginning of each new month as a fresh start, a clean slate, a brand new opportunity for growth. August is one of my favorites. There are so many ways to get your daily dose of exercise and there are tons of delicious fresh fruits and veggies to enjoy. You get plenty of vitamin D from all the sunshine and you reap the stress-reducing benefits of spending time outside in nature.

August is MY month… for those of you know don’t know, AUGUST is my last name! So, I’d like to ‘carpe diem’ and make the most of it.

My theme for this month is: Adventurous August.

Do you think that you could possibly use a little more adventure in your life? I bet we all could. The benefits of a more adventurous life are seemingly endless-- from less stress to more energy, boosted self-esteem, creative thinking and increased motivation. Outdoor adventure results in increased physical activity and promotes healthy weight maintenance.

So what’s holding you back?! Make August adventurous! 

Here are a few fun ideas to add some adventure to your summer:
  • Hiking with a group of friends
  • Kayaking on a scenic lake
  • Exploring new parts of your city
  • A guided river walk in your local park
  • Yoga on the beach
  • A long walk with your dog
  • A road trip with your bestie

Adventure doesn't have to be crazy, dangerous, or expensive to be rewarding! So get up and get out! Make the most of this month… Let ‘Adventurous August’ be YOUR month to shine!

How about you? Have you enjoyed any adventures lately?

 
 
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~John Wooden

I guess you could say I’m an optimist. I always try to look on the bright side of things. I suppose that’s why on most “Weight Loss Wednesdays” I try to see weight loss as a wonderful process of transformation, which of course, I believe it is! I focus on the fact that garden fresh salads are nourishing, ripe raspberries and blueberries are more delicious than a bowl of jelly beans, walking 10,000 steps for exercise is energizing and enjoyable! 

And while all these things are true for me NOW, that was NOT the way things used to be.  Weight maintenance has become a 'lifestyle' for me. Eating healthy and enjoying it seems like a 'piece of (gluten free!) cake' for me these days, but that was NOT always the case.

So for today’s Weight Loss Wednesday, I want to “keep it real” and talk about the tough side of weight loss.

The media will tell you that weight loss is easy, that it can be done in a few days, that it’s as simple as eating more of this and less of that. Try this new plan or that easy new program! They tell you that if you cut out grains, nix sugar or simply ‘go vegan’ you’ll drop pounds and you'll never have to worry about your weight again. Sounds nice, right?

I’m here to tell you, that healthy weight loss does NOT happen overnight. It happens 'slowly but surely' in the daily walks and the simple choices of skipping some dessert, ordering a salad with dinner and limiting some of those delicious (but calorie dense) snacks. Losing 35lbs took me a year and a half… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. To quote Mireille Guiliano, author of French Woman Don’t Get Fat (my favorite health/ nutrition book EVER) "There’s no lasting glory in rapid weight loss.”

Going from 'cinnamon buns to salads' does NOT happen over night. You don’t automatically wake up craving fresh fruit and veggies, but over time with baby steps, hard work, commitment, effort and motivation, eventually you’ve created a lifestyle! 

So for today, get up and go for a little walk! Do some yoga in the living room, drink more H2O from your favorite fancy cup, stop by the local farmer's market for a few colorful veggies, and be sure to skip the soda. Make the hard daily choices and don't get discouraged while you wait for results. Remember that the effort will soon be worth it!

To read my Top 3 Tips on transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, checkout http://pattyj.com

What about you? Have you been on a weight loss journey of your own? Care to share some tips?


 
 
"A life without love is like a year without summer." ~Swedish Proverb

Hey there! Just wanted to post a quick list of SUMMERTIME REMINDERS for all my happy healthy friends. We work hard all year to eat right and stay in shape. We're careful to make healthy choices during the summer months, too, but let's be real...vacation season is a time to 'indulge' and 'break some rules'. Right? Wrong! Be sure to take care of yourself and to keep that 'healthy balance mindset' going right through the summer! Here are some tips:

1. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses at the beach. 
2. Drink lots of water (and coconut water!!) to stay hydrated.
3. Eat fresh veggies with both lunch and dinner.
4. Enjoy cool refreshing smoothies for breakfast.
5. Indulge in sweet ripe fruits at their peak of freshness (I literally eat a cantaloupe every.single.day!)
6. Pack healthy snacks for those long road trips when temptation strikes.
7. Get outside and walk, swim, ride bikes, and enjoy the warm weather we've been craving!

How about you...what's your favorite summertime suggestion?

 
 
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." -Genesis 1:1

In our busy hectic lives, it is easy to overlook the beauty and wonder that surrounds us. It's easy to get trapped behind the desk or stuck inside the house. Days can go by without even noticing the color of the clouds at sunset or the scent of the flowers near the mailbox. Did you even see that adorable squirrel scurry up the tree or the way the raindrops pounded onto the deck? Today I want to focus on God's creation and I want to remind myself to appreciate the gift of nature that we've been given.

Did you know that doctors these days are actually giving their patients "nature prescriptions" to help with all kinds of health problems? Apparently, Mum was right when she told you to go outside and play when you were little. She knew that getting outside was a great way to distract you from your problems and help ward off depression. She knew you would 'work up a healthy appetite' and get some fresh air to help fight germs. You would play with friends and learn to get along with people. You'd have more energy during the day and you'd sleep better at night. You would get the vitamin D you need to protect your bones and the amount of exercise you need to fight obesity. You would see the beauty in nature and you'd recognize that you are just one small part of this amazing world we share. Mums are really smart!

So, don't let another day go by without getting outside and appreciating the world around you. Enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smells. Sit back for a few minutes and let the sun shine down on you. Take a brisk walk in the warm rain. Feel the wind on your face and smell the sweet flowers in the yard. You'll feel better, calmer, more inspired and energized. Remember to appreciate the beauty of creation and BE THANKFUL.

What is a favorite part of nature that YOU are thankful for this week?

 
 
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 
-George Bernard Shaw

When was the last time you enjoyed a really fun playdate? Just the other day I went to the beach with my baby cousin, Grayson! This cutie is 5 months old! We played around together and had a blast! And guess what... playing is good for you! Here are 5 benefits of 'play time' regardless of your age!

  1. Playing keeps you feeling young- Interacting with a child boosts your energy levels, burns calories, and helps you feel your best!
  2. Playing boosts your creativity- It stimulates your imagination and helps you solve problems!
  3. Playing improves brain function- It helps to balance your emotions, ward off sadness, and helps to fight against depression.
  4. Playing relieves stress- Playing results in the release of endorphins that help you feel calm and relaxed. It takes your mind off your problems.
  5. Playing improves relationships- Laughing and having fun helps cultivate social skills. Who doesn't love to spend time with a light-hearted happy friend? 



So go ahead! Volunteer in your church nursery, help a young mom by babysitting her little angels, go visit your younger cousins, nieces and nephews. Take a walk to your local playground this week and meet some new friends!


How about you?! Don't you think it's about time for a playdate?
 
 
I LOVE tomatoes! They are so tasty and healthy! I always refer to them as "natures candy!"  Some of my favorite groceries include; baby carrots, organic spinach, big bright oranges, apple slices anddddd brightly colored cherry tomatoes! I always get so excited to eat these babies! They're perfectly bright and colorful and yummy in my tummy!

Cherry tomatoes are perfect for slicing up and putting on a piece of toast with avocado, sprinkling on top of a salad or simply popping a few in your mouth at snack time! These little gems are packed with nutrition while being quite low in calories.

Did you know that tomatoes are actually a beauty food?! Yep that's right! The vitamin C in tomatoes helps to promote healthy skin cells, while the lycopene found in these plump tomatoes helps to protect skin from the sun, can you say natures sunscreen?! Tomatoes high lycopene content also helps prevent skin damage and create an all-over youthful glow. This wonder-nutrient also helps to reduce the risk of various cancers. 


One of my favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes is with avocado! I just love the combo of creamy avocado and fresh tomato delicately placed on top of a slice of gluten-free whole grain toast! Pair this with an egg and some fresh fruit on the side and you've got yourself a quick, healthy and delicious breakfast! Eating tomato with avocado is actually a smart choice (not just delicious!) because according to Web MD, pairing tomatoes with a healthy plants-based fat like avocado actually helps your body absorb the carotenoid phytochemicals found in tomatoes (i.e. the superfood qualities) by up to 15 times more than simply eating them plain!

What about you?! What is your favorite way to enjoy delicious, fresh tomatoes?! Do you love them as much as I do?!
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Cherry tomatoes are always on my salad!
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YUM! Avocado-egg on toast with bright red tomatoes! Perf way to start the day!
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A delicious side salad with multi-colored tomatoes and rich avocado goes perfectly with half a gluten-free ham and guac sammie!
 
 
Care to try a piece of candy that has NO sugar or artificial sweeteners? How about something sweet, but not too sweet...healthy, but tasty...homemade, but with only THREE quick and easy ingredients? Well then, have I got a simple and fun recipe for you to try!

The idea was actually given to my mom by a friend from church who has a diabetic daughter. Marissa is a really sweet girl who has to really limit her sugar intake for health reasons. We all know that cutting back on sugar is an important idea for everyone, so I decided to share this tasty treat with you. (Thanks Marissa!)

All you need is a banana, some 100% cocoa powder, and some unsweetened shredded coconut. Grab a knife for cutting your bananas and a paper towel in case the banana gets a little mushy on your hands.

1. Slice your bananas
2. Dip slices into cocoa powder
3. Then dip other side into coconut
4. Place on a plate and put in freezer
5. ENJOY!

I hope you go 'bananas' for these simple low-cal, low-fat, low-sugar candies.

How about you? Do you have any secret suggestions for a quick and easy healthy treat?
 

REST!

06/28/2015

22 Comments

 
"You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest" (Exodus 34:21)

I don't know about you, but for me, starting a new job can be a little exhausting. (They don't call it "work" for nothing!) I love my new summer job and I'm excited to learn a lot and to do my best. I want those around me to know that I care and that I am thankful for the opportunity to serve them. But I also enjoy the chance to sit back for a few minutes and just RELAX!

This Bible verse reminds us that ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, God has planned for us to WORK. But He also understands our need for REST. God knows what we can handle even better than we do and He is pleased when we use our gifts and abilities on the job.

I am definitely thankful for the hours I can work each day and the chance to earn a paycheck. I am also thankful for the opportunities to relax. I haven't written too many posts lately, but I want you to know that I will try my best over the course of the summer. In the meantime, today is Sunday, the Lord's Day, and I wanted to wish you all a Happy Day. I also want to remind you to take a little break today. Take a walk, take a nap, call a friend, or hug your dog. Spend some time in prayer or reading quietly on your own. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of that wonderful thing called 'rest.'

How about you? Don't you just LOVE a little break?

 
 
I LOVE sweets! I eat dark chocolate EVERY single day and I NEVER turn down a delicious piece of fresh fruit (especially summertime fruit!) A love of sweets seems to run in my family and every holiday get-together seems to include its fair share of tasty treats! I've had a sweet tooth ever since I was little, but here's the funny thing: I really believe that a healthy diet is all about balance. I really believe that daily desserts actually aid in weight loss.

The way I lost my weight (and keep it off) is through balance and moderation. I've learned to eat healthy all day everyday so that I can enjoy my favorite treats without feeling guilty. That being said, I'm smart about my sugar consumption! Sure, I eat dark chocolate, but I never add sugar to my coffee or much to my oatmeal. I stay away from processed foods and I rarely eat any of those so called 'healthy' protein bars. We all need to cut down on sugar, but allowing 'a small treat' prevents that feeling of desperation and frustration.


Here are my top tips to have your cake and eat it too!
1. COMMIT to the idea of balancing your sugar intake- If you seriously want to eat a balanced amount of sugar, you need to be committed!! Write a list of all the benefits you'll receive from eating less of the sweet stuff... and try to think beyond pants size. My fave benefits? Clear skin, increased energy and reduced cravings!
2. Eat Whole Foods as often as possible- Whole foods are nourishing and delicious! People tend to think that in order to lose weight they need to drastically reduce there calorie consumption... when in actuality, eating too little actually promotes sugar/ junk food cravings. My advice to reduce sugar intake and drop pounds? Eat healthy, balanced meals with REAL foods like fresh fruits, nourishing veggies, satiating protein and energizing carbohydrates!
3. Enjoy Fresh Fruit- One of my favorite ways to satisfy my sweet tooth is with fresh fruit! I'm obsessed with it! Just the other day I finished a long work shift around 4:30pm. Exhausted, starving and craving something sweet, I drove to the local market bought a cantaloupe for $2.99. I rushed back to my car like a crazy person, cut my cantaloupe in half with a steak knife that I brought from the kitchen, and I devoured a WHOLE half of the juicy delight. Sticky and satisfied, I drove home with a happy tummy and a smile on my face!
4. Allow Daily Treats- I satisfy my sweet tooth with little desserts such as dairy free ice cream, gluten free cookies or dark chocolate. Eating a small treat every day gives me something to look forward to and ensures that I never feel deprived! Gotta love a balanced diet! 

How about you?! What's your key to living the sweet life?

 
 
"When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat" -Mark Twain

You may have heard that watermelon is really nothing more than water and sugar... but you'd be wrong!  Watermelon, albeit 92% water, is actually packed with nutrients.  One cup of this popular summer juicy fruit has only 43 calories. It's naturally fat free, and contains 21% of your daily vitamin C needs and 17% of your vitamin A needs.  

Whether you chop it up on a fresh 'watermelon-feta' salad, blend it into a thirst-quenching smoothie, or eat it 'straight-up' with sticky fingers and juice dripping down your chin, watermelon makes the perfect addition to any summertime meal or snack.  Watermelon actually helps to lower your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease naturally. This is because of its low calorie content and high nutrient/high fiber content ...and let's be real, a cup of watermelon is wayyyy more satisfying than half a processed '100 calorie pack' ANY day.

Watermelon is believed to lower blood pressure due to its high potassium content. The high vitamin C helps to prevent asthma.  The antioxidants that give watermelon its beautiful pink color help to help prevent cancer by fighting free radicals in the body. The choline content even helps to reduce inflammation. 

The fiber content of this lovely fruit helps with 'regularity' (if you know what I mean) and its high water content and naturally occurring electrolytes make it the perfect hydrating snack for any beach day. So, summer is here and NOW is the perfect time to grab yourself a huge delicious watermelon. Give your arms a workout just carrying it out to the car! Slice it up, grab a roll of paper towel, and savor the flavors of summer WHILE nourishing your body from the inside out!

How about you?! Are you a watermelon fan?  What is your favorite way to enjoy it?