Healthy Eating Tips and Recipes for the Holidays

Looking for advice on how to avoid holiday weight gain and still enjoy yourself for the next couple of weeks?  Or spending some time looking for new and inspiring recipes to fix for your friends and family?

Look no further than my Healthy Eating Tips & Recipes board on Pinterest!

I’ve got some pretty darn good choices up there, if I do say so myself 😉

This Macaroni & Cheese recipe has gotten rave reviews year after year when I make it for both Thanksgiving & Christmas meals.  No one knows that I use reduced-fat white cheddar cheese.  It tastes delicious!

Got a big crowd coming over for a casual holiday meal?  This Three-Cheese Baked Ziti is so good, you’ll have them going back for seconds (no problem, just double the recipe 🙂

Three-Cheese Baked Ziti recipe is courtesy of CanYouStayForDinner?

Stay tuned to my blog every Monday for a new vegetarian recipe in honor of Meatless Monday and FOLLOW me on Pinterest to see more Healthy Eating Tips & Recipes, as well as Hints for Achieving New Year’s Resolutions, and loads of Motivational Tips.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Redefining Health & Wellness 

How to Get Through the Holidays Without Derailing Your Diet

How Do You Know if You Need a Life Coach?




Motivation — Where Are You?

I needed this today!! You Must Believe In Yourself

I’ve missed more than a few posts lately, and I can’t remember the last time I sent out my weekly newsletter that is supposed to go out every Tuesday.

I really *was* busy at first with my house move, then it was a challenge to get our internet service set up.  But that has been resolved since early September.  The truth is, I’ve just been feeling demotivated.

I was set to write an article for my favorite magazine.  I’d been dreaming of writing for them since I first launched my new career as a health coach and health writer.  After a well thought out query to the right editor, my pitch was accepted!  I was really on cloud nine.  As many writers know, magazines often have a 4-6 month lead-time … so I wasn’t surprised when the editor told me that my piece was slated for the March issue & that she would be in touch in August with the formal assignment & a due date in September.

August came, I followed up.  September came, I followed up.  October?  Still followed up, but starting to get the message.  While it is actually par for the course to be ignored by an editor to whom you send a query or pitch, I thought it was incredibly strange to get the cold-shoulder after a response & tentative due date?  I let it totally wreck my confidence (well, that and the many other flat-out “no’s” and cold-shoulders I’ve gotten since August).

I’m not thin-skinned at all.  I actually welcome a rejection letter!  At least I know that my idea was considered & perhaps not right or coming at the right time.

So rather than write about rejection when I myself was feeling de-motivated, I chose silence.  I guess I should also add that I haven’t been getting ANY comments on any of my posts, so I have to wonder if anyone is even reading my blog anymore????

I’m not one who gives up easily, so here I am today trying to keep it real, taking a deep breath, and setting a personal goal to keep writing & keep reaching for my own dreams.      I read an awesome article today by Jeffrey Eugenides (the guy who wrote Middlesex & The Virgin Suicides) called How To Believe in Yourself – Even If You Sometimes Don’t.  In the article, he talks about his journey as a writer & how he has dealt with own fears & anxieties.  It is a great story about he came to realize that inspiration comes from within.  It gave me the motivation to pick up my laptop & compose this post when all I really wanted to do was sleep all day!  Give it a read!

Oh, and if you read this post … please leave me a comment so that I know someone out there is STILL … well … out there!




How Do You Know If You Need a Life Coach?

A friend asked me what the difference was in a life coach and a health coach/wellness coach.

Like health and wellness coaches, life coaches work with you to set goals and map out a plan of action to accomplish your goals.  Some life coaches focus primarily on career-oriented goals, while health coaches like myself focus on your mind, body, relationships, and your environment.  In some instances people think they need a life coach and a therapist, however, a good health coach can help you address life and relationship issues that are causing unhappiness.  At the same time, a good health coach should know when a client needs a therapist or therapist to address issues of clinical depression or other mental health issues.

Both life coaches and health/wellness coaches should ensure that you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:

S – Specific (Do you use words like “who,” “what,” “when,” “why,” , etc.?)

M – Measurable (Do you answer questions like “how often,” or “how many?”)

A – Attainable (Clearly describe the result you want to achieve)

R – Relevant (Is this goal realistic for YOU?)

T – Timely (Is this something you should be pursuing now, or would it be more appropriate a year from now?)

You can read more about S.M.A.R.T. goal setting by downloading my FREE PDF, “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting What You Want”

One of the most important things when you are working towards your goals is taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments.  This can be anything from celebrating a 10-lb weight loss when you have a set a goal to lose twenty, or like I did yesterday when I finished half of my run…

Half-way there! #fitness #motivation

Little rewards & pats-on-the-back go a looooong way when you have set hefty goals for yourself.  A good health coach should be there to remind you to recognize the little triumphs on the way!

Woo hoo! Finish line!!


What’s Past the Comfort Zone?

I’m not going to lie to you … accomplishing your fitness goals is not always a piece of cake.  In fact, it is HARD WORK!

The last few weeks have been super challenging for me.  In addition to moving to a new home, I started working in the office three days a week.  I quickly saw how easy it was to fall back into my old rut of putting my self-care LAST on the priority list.  As a result, my body has been feeling worn down and I can’t seem to get enough rest.

Luckily, I realized this very quickly and started to correct my lazy behaviors.  I firmly believe in practicing what I preach.  If I’m going to motivate and inspire others to take care of themselves, then I have to do the same.

Thanks to the Sexy September Challenge we’re doing this month, I’m lucky enough to have others inspiring me too!  I had a really good run on Tuesday.  Instead of my usual 3.5 mile loop of the Stanford Dish Trail, I decided to take a different route that added another two miles.  During the run, I felt like I was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t see it anymore!  The good (and awfully painful) thing about this particular trail is that once you start the loop, you HAVE to finish it.  It was hilly and the 6pm sun was a menace, but I felt SO good when I was done.  Its the longest run that I have ever done … maybe ever!

I think you have to push past your comfort zone to see what you are made of.  To truly know that you CAN accomplish your goals, despite all of the hurdles in the way.  This is true in fitness, and in life.  Once you see what you can do, nothing can stop you!

Stay in touch on the Wellness Science Facebook page to be inspired & inspire others for the rest of Sexy September!

I love comments & questions, so keep them coming!



The Sexy September Challenge

Happy Friday! I have missed a couple of weeks of posting due to moving house & not having internet access for several days.  Incidentally, I also did not have a television for close to two weeks and it was brutal!

I’m back, and I’m excited to share with you that the lovely Kristi Fauth (aka Robobarbie) has invited our community to join her in a Sexy September Challenge!!

Get a healthy body through simple wellness techniques

Looking to get stronger?

Lose a dress size?

Both??  Well, this is the challenge for you!

Starting tomorrow, September 1st — simply visit the Wellness Science Facebook page & post, read, comment on the following:

  • Exercising daily and posting our efforts
  • Eliminating alcohol from our diets!!
  • Sharing how many inches and/or pounds lost by end of September
It’s great motivation to work on your health & fitness goals with a team.  There are no rules other than to do your best.  If you skip a day, no big deal!!  Just jump back in the next day to get a healthy dose of motivation from the rest of the challengers!
Who’s in??



Do You Have a Plan?

Having a plan never failed me in the workplace, but sometimes it is hard to translate this to my personal life.

But I do believe this is the bottom line, folks… a goal without a plan is just a wish!

After a year of searching for a new home, we finally found “the one.” 🙂  I can’t WAIT ’til Moving Day!

My personal goal this week is to pack all my winter clothes, books, and china/glassware from the kitchen.  Ok…I don’t know anyone who likes packing.  I was actually excited about it, but I’m having a hard time being objective in the “keep this, toss that” conversation with myself – so it is taking WAY longer than I had hoped. 🙁

And my helpers?  Well…cute.. but not so helpful…

Time to take a page from my own book (literally!) and be a Smart Girl!

Smart Girls set SMART goals!  SMART goals is an acronym which stands for Specific-Measurable-Attainable- Realistic-Timely. This was first introduced to me in a corporate environment, and I didn’t learn what I could have from the process because I was using it to set and meet someone else’s goals.

For personal goal setting, I have found a whole new appreciation for it!

S – Specific (Do you use words like “who,” “what,” “when,” “why,” , etc.?)

M – Measurable (Do you answer questions like “how often,” or “how many?”)

A – Attainable (Clearly describe the result you want to achieve)

R – Relevant (Is this goal realistic for YOU?)

T – Timely (Is this something you should be pursuing now, or would it be more appropriate a year from now?)

A task like packing up a WHOLE house is incredibly daunting, so I’m finding this incredibly helpful in breaking up the job into manageable chunks.

A much more manageable approach that is measurable, realistic, and attainable!  Surely I can do this by the end of the day? 😉

Do you use SMART goal setting in your personal life?  I’d love to hear about how it has worked for you.  Leave me a comment below this post!

If you haven’t downloaded my FREE Smart Girl’s Guide to Getting What You Want yet, you should grab it here now!

How to Get the Body You Want


How would you feel if you didn’t have to cringe when you heard the phrase “bathing suit shopping” EVER again?  Read these tips on how to look and feel fabulous by the time summer arrives.


Love the body you have.  You don’t have to be satisfied with your current weight or figure, but the first step to getting the body you want is to love the body you have.  Love yourself and be grateful for all that your body has done for you in your lifetime.  If you can start with self-acceptance, you are well on you way to making the sustainable changes you desire – and one step closer to a healthy, strong, and sexy body.


Nourish your body, inside and out.  Make sure you are getting enough of the right foods to eat.  You do NOT have to spend a lot of money to buy healthy food.  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the fresh foods are kept.  Make sure you are eating enough vegetables & fruits to get the nutrients your body needs, as well as plenty of water.  Don’t like water?  Add a slice of lemon or fresh cucumber to a pitcher of water to give it a kick.  You won’t want to stop drinking it!  Also, make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night to recharge yourself.


Take 20 minutes.  There are 1,440 minutes in a day.  Use 20 of them to work out, even if it is just walking.  It’s much harder to argue when you look at it that way.  We waste plenty of time texting, on Facebook, & watching television.  Walking provides tremendous benefits to your body.  You don’t need any equipment or a gym membership.  Put on a comfortable pair of shoes, and hit the road.  No excuses!


With just these three shifts in thinking and action, you will start to overcome negative feelings that you have towards yourself about making positive change.  As you see your body transforming, your self-esteem will increase giving you even more motivation & confidence to keep working towards your goals.  Any goal is attainable if you have a plan to get there.  Check out my Smart Girls’ Guide for secrets used by smart and successful women to go after and GET what they want!


10 Quotes When You Need a Boost of Motivation

I’ve been writing about motivation for several months now.  If not in my blog posts, then in the quotes that I send out on Twitter and in my Facebook community.  The winter is a particularly difficult time for many people (including myself) to stay motivated.

As we welcome the Spring, here are 10 Quotes to motivate you to set and achieve your goals and live the happiest life possible.


if opportunity doesn't knock, build a door

we-can-draw-lessons-from-the-past.001happiness-can-be-found.001 believe-you-can.001 who-is-going-to-stop-me.001



 Aristotle quote

ralph waldo emerson

There are so many other motivational quotes from great leaders, I could go on and on.  What are some of your favorites?


Is Your Morning Coffee Making You Sleepier?


Have you ever given up coffee for a week or longer?  I did it… once… for fourteen days.  The first day wasn’t so bad, but on days 2-5, I had a KILLER headache.  On the morning of day 6, I woke up feeling great and from then on the headaches were gone.Wait!  Don’t stop reading yet… I want to tell you WHY I did it!  First, I was intrigued at the promise of feeling “more rested that research suggested would happen”.  I couldn’t remember the last time that I didn’t feel exhausted by three in the afternoon.  Even an afternoon caffeine “boost” didn’t seem to help.The research was right!  For years, I’d woken up tired & angry to an annoying alarm clock.  Once I kicked the caffeine habit, I felt like I was getting more sleep at night and waking up before my alarm went off feeling rested.  I didn’t feel like I was dragging in the afternoon, and I had far more energy in the evenings to exercise & prepare meals.

I recently stumbled upon another benefit… You know how when you have a a cold or flu (I mean really bad… like you can’t even get out of bed for a drink of water).  I was recently battling a cold.  I didn’t feel feverish or stuffy any longer, but my head was THROBBING… so much that I couldn’t get out of bed to take an ibuprofen for my headache.  At about 2pm, I forced myself out of bed and made myself a cup of coffee.  After about an hour, my headache went away.  It dawned on me that I hadn’t had a cup of coffee in about 36 hours, hence, the headache!  So I thought I was still suffering from my cold symptoms when I really had a caffeine hangover!  Hardly worth the extra day I lost in bed thinking that I was still sick!

We can blame our caffeine consumption partly on genetics.  Research shows that people with a certain genotype near the AHR gene consumed about 20 milligrams more caffeine in a day than those with with another genotype and 40 milligrams more than people with a third genotype.  The rest is behavioral and can be controlled with a little trickery.

Cut back.  If you are drinking more than one cup of coffee in the morning, cut back to just one for a few days.  Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages the rest of the day.  Try hot herbal teas or hot water with lemon as a replacement.

Switch it up.  Swap your cup of coffee for a cup of green tea.  Many green teas still contain caffeine, but at least you’ll benefit from the antioxidants in the tea.

Challenge yourself.  For me, my morning cup of coffee is more about the ritual.  I always liked stopping off at Peet’s in the morning, and saying hello to my favorite employee.  It kind’ve lifted my spirits to treat myself in the morning before jumping on the freeway for a less than pleasant commute.  SO, I didn’t give up my ritual!  I ordered peppermint tea instead of my usual coffee, and I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing anything.

So challenge yourself… even if only for the sake of curiousity!  Try giving up caffeine for two weeks and see how you feel.  In my wellness plan questionnaire, I ask clients how many caffeinated beverages they consume on a daily basis. Someone answered “mainline IV!” Even SHE took a break from caffeine for two weeks and noted that by the sixth day, she felt more rested, less sluggish AND woke up before her annoying alarm told her she had to. I consider that a huge benefit!

What do you think?  Ever taken time off from caffeine?  What was it like?  Did you stick with it?  Share your stories below!

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast


Sometimes losing weight can feel like the most impossible task in the world, so I wanted to share these sneaky ways to lose 10 pounds QUICKLY, SAFELY, EASILY!!

1.  USE A SMALLER PLATE.  That’s it folks!  Just because its dinner time doesn’t mean that you need to use a dinner plate.  Try using a smaller plate to keep portion size in check.  Research shows that women who used larger sized dinner plates continued to eat long after they were hungry and even to a point of feeling overly full.  The American portion size is out of control compared to portions in other countries.  Do yourself a favor & start with a smaller plate.  You’ll be surprised!

2.  WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?  If you eliminate soda from your diet, you will be shocked at how much weight you can lose.  Drinking diet soda is not going to help you lose weight, and some studies show that you may actually gain weight due to the effect that some artificial sweeteners have on your brain causing it to CRAVE other sweets.  When I eliminated diet soda from my diet, I lost 6-7 pounds in just a few weeks – and that happened without making any other modifications to my diet & exercise routine.  If you need caffeine, switch to iced tea with lemon (avoid artificial sweeteners).  Your best bet is to drink WATER, but it takes time to transition from drinking 10 Diet Cokes per day to drinking only water.  Set reasonable expectations, but STOP the sodas right away!

3.  EAT BREAKFAST.  It may seem like encouraging you to eat more rather than fewer meals works against you — it doesn’t!  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but choose wisely.  Rather than grabbing a bagel with cream cheese & a hot mocha, choose a breakfast with both fiber and protein.  My favorite breakfast is non-fat Greek yogurt with a few raspberries, natural granola, and a small serving to mixed nuts (like unsalted pistachios, almonds, and cashews) with a soy cappuccino.  This gives me plenty of protein and a healthy dose of fiber first thing in the morning.  Skipping breakfast causes you to make bad eating decisions for the rest of the day, and you could end up eating more food with little nutritional value.

4.  SHORTEN YOUR WORKOUTS.  You can burn more calories by doing short bursts of cardio throughout the day than by walking at your average pace on the treadmill for an hour.  Do you stop by Starbucks every day on your way in to work?  Instead of driving by on your way to the office, try starting off your day with a 15-20 minute walk to grab your morning coffee.  Ready for your second cardio burst?  Instead of sitting down gabbing with your colleagues for 30 minutes after you have finished eating lunch, grab one or two of them and take the talk outside!  A 20-minute mid-day walk will give you more energy in the afternoon than that extra cup of coffee you were thinking about.  Same thing in the evening — walk around your neighborhood after dinner or if you have a dog, try taking him out for a walk instead of just letting him out the back door.

5.  MEAL PLANNING.  Taking the time to plan healthy meals and snacks and make a grocery list can save you from eating a ton of extra fat & calories.  There are so many meal-planning websites out there, you don’t have to even come up with the ideas yourself!  Don’t forget to wash & cut fruits & veggies that you will use for snacks as soon as you get home from the store.  This way, they are super easy to throw into the blender for a healthy, tasty smoothie when you get hungry instead of going for that calorie-packed energy bar.

With these little tips, you can lose 10 pounds in no time without even realizing it.  If you slip up on your weight loss journey, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Give yourself the same kindness that you would offer to a friend, and just keep going.

I’d love to hear your comments if you enjoyed this post.  Have other sneaky ways to burn off 10 pounds with little to no effort?  Share those below too!