How Journaling Taught Me How To Maintain My Weight & Control My Overall Emotions

How Journaling Taught Me How To Maintain My Weight & Control My   Overall Emotions

There’s something about writing, tracking, or journaling that is extremely satisfying and beneficial. As a Holistic Health Coach, my focus is on the “whole person”, it’s not just about nutrition and exercise. Sleeping well, managing stress & taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is just as important.

We all want balance in our lives but that is a very difficult thing to achieve. We associate balance with perfection and we have to accept that nothing is perfect. Right now we are dealing with some challenging times! Journaling is a simple form of venting and managing anxiety and depression, alleviating stress, and most importantly being honest with yourself!

I first started journaling when I began my weight loss journey over 20 years ago. At first I would write down what I ate as well as how much I was eating. Doing this made me realize exactly how much I was actually eating, especially how many calories, carbs, and sugar I was consuming.  It was a real eye opener to read all labels, and honestly it still is!  Like many of my clients I don’t really like to write down everything I eat and drink. However, it made me accountable and on track to physically write it down. Also studies have shown that those who kept a food and exercise diary lost 2x the weight compared to those who just mentally tracked it. Writing it down encourages you to eat fewer calories. I often still continue to track and also “reflect” on the day’s journal. I have become more aware of my habits and make necessary improvements. 

A major advantage to journaling is also including your emotions attached to what and when you are eating. I recommend this to all my clients. Emotional eating is so prevalent, especially in women and once you have identified your stressors or triggers you can work on a plan to resolve the issues and also reduce stress. I personally realized that I would eat when I was stressed with my kids, also sometimes just out of habit. 

What I have learned about journaling, not only for weight loss but my overall emotional balance:

  1. I keep better track of my intentions, progress, and growth. It helps when revisiting entries as well.
  1. I gain self confidence by looking back at challenges I have faced and how far I have come. 
  1. I became more honest and truthful with myself, which is very challenging. However I learned how to grow from it and how to better solve problems rather than keeping them bottled up.
  1. I gained more control over my emotional eating. I acknowledged my triggers and  I was able to formulate plans for better habits. It was easier to track my overall development and mistakes, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  1. When I felt overwhelmed, journaling has helped me to better focus and vent my feelings. I do it for myself!

HOW: Journal entries can be done in many different ways. I personally like to have a notebook. Sometimes I keep them, other times I rip them up and throw them out. 

Alternatively you can use an app on your phone, your Notes section, or even email or text yourself. 

WHAT: It does not have to be detailed or deeply personal, anything is progress. Even if it’s a sentence or two that helps you express how you are feeling. 

Helpful tips when tracking for weight loss:

~ track everything that you are eating and drinking-even if it’s just a bite or spoonful!

~your portion sizes

~your mood or emotions when you eat, how hungry you are on a scale from 1-10

~your water intake

If journaling is something you have never done in the past, I strongly encourage you to give it a try!

DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK

 DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 ounces of dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 tablespoons of organic crushed candy canes
  • 1 tablespoon of protein powder- optional
  • Crushed chocolate mint candies-optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl for about 1min 30 sec. Stir in extracts , half of the crushed candy cane pieces and protein powder. 
  1. Pour chocolate mixture into an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  1. Sprinkle on the remainder of the candy canes.
  1. Place in the freezer until solid. Break into pieces and store in the freezer. 

Staying Positive Through December & What Really Makes Me Feel Good About Myself

Staying Positive Through December & What Really Makes Me Feel Good About Myself

   I started writing this blog last week during my morning run. I began contemplating the holiday’s this year, and how it’s a little different from past one’s. Rather than having a negative attitude towards it, I started listing all the positive aspects of the upcoming weeks. 

Every December I try to set goals for myself, I do this mostly because it is a tough time of year all around. I also don’t want to experience that “Holiday remorse” come January. 

It’s amazing how taking a positive approach makes it easier. 

WHAT REALLY MAKES ME FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF:

  1. I AM CONSISTENT WITH MY WORKOUTS! This is one area that has been extremely habit forming for me. It helps stabilize my weight and I love the way it makes me feel. It’s extra important for this time of year especially since it is the # 1 antidepressant. It also burns lots of calories, and like many I tend to consume more calories than usual.
  1. THE ABILITY TO RESIST TEMPTATION~Even after 20 years it’s still not easy to resist temptations, especially Christmas cookies! Typically my goal for December is to maintain my weight. In the past I have worked hard at achieving this. Moderation is key, I do not totally deprive myself of sweets but I do limit them. Personally I do not bake around the Holiday’s, with the exception of low carb alternatives. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is easy, we have been receiving cookies and sweets which makes it more difficult to resist. Having almond flour cookies, or low sugar desserts on hand is a great alternative and helps me stay focused on eating better and resisting the high sugar sweets. 

 I also am in the habit of checking labels and being aware of the carb and sugar content of cookies. 

Some cut out cookies contain 23-31 carbs and up to 12 grams of sugar for 1 cookie, that’s 3 tsp of sugar! Also a Starbucks peppermint mocha~440 calories, 63 carbs, and 54 sugars! Please be aware of labels and what and how much you are consuming. 

  1. POSITIVE VIBES~ Normally there are more parties and get-togethers around Christmas time, however this year is limited for sure. On a positive note I don’t feel overwhelmed with parties and get together’s, and of course the food and drinks that go along with them. Maybe this is the year to start a new tradition. Make this time to focus on you~and your health. 
  1. I TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME & JOURNAL~It can get very overwhelming with everything that needs to be done this time of year. Journaling is something that I have adapted years ago to get me through some rough times. It also helps control your emotions as well as staying on track with your eating. I have learned to take one-day- at -a- time! Set small goals, even if it’s every morning, and write it down! I often tell myself today I will not indulge in sugar or I will try to get in some extra activity. 
  1. I PLAN AHEAD & CELEBRATE MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS~I am proud when I plan ahead for a party or a dinner and stick with my intentions. No matter how small your victories may be, it’s still a win. 
  1. I WANT PREVENT THE JANUARY REMORSE~ this is one of the most important points! It’s easy to tell yourself that you will worry about it after the Holidays, or “start fresh” come January. Believe me it does not become any easier to have to lose that extra weight in the new year.  On top of possibly putting on pounds, you most likely feel sluggish, fatigued, or bloated. When you take care of your body you boost your immune system and feel better about yourself!!

I wish you all a happy and safe Holiday!

Breakfast Pizza With Almond Flour

Almond Four Crust Breakfast Pizza

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • 3 ounces of cream cheese-softened 
  • 2 eggs or “flax” eggs
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar-optional
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • 8 turkey sausage links- cooked
  • Diced red bell peppers
  • Slices of ham, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese or feta
  • Spinach 
  • Avocado to spread on top-optional

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat in the eggs.  Slowly add in the almond flour, baking soda and apple cider vinegar if you’re using it.
  3. Refrigerate the dough or let it sit for about 30 minutes for best results. Press the dough into a rectangle or circle on the parchment paper. You will have to wet your hands a bit to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. 
  4. Bake for about 12 minutes. Let cool and top with your choice of toppings. I used a little cheddar cheese, diced red bell peppers, cut up turkey sausages, ham pieces, and spinach.  Place back in the oven until the cheese melts. 

Why I Use Almond Flour

  Why I Use Almond Flour 

 I have adapted to baking and also cooking with almond flour opposed  to white flour. Almond flour has 5 carbs per ¼ cup compared to approximately 23 carbs per ¼ cup that’s in white flour! Almond flour is rich in fiber, protein, B & E vitamins, it’s gluten free and also contains magnesium and potassium. 

White flour is made of refined carbs ( or simple sugars) that lacks nutrients and fiber. It can create blood sugar and insulin issues. It can also lead to fatty liver, raise bad cholesterol, weight gain, inflammation, digestive issues, and mood swings which progress towards obesity.

When baking with almond flour the amount will differ from white flour.  It’s best to research specific recipes using almond flour.

Almond flour cheddar biscuits

Pumpkin bars with almond flour

Low carb pizza with almond flour crust

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

   SPAGHETTI SQUASH RECIPES/ VARIATIONS

I get so many questions regarding spaghetti squash.

How do I cut it? What do I do with it? 

TIPS FOR CUTTING THE SQUASH:

~You can microwave it for 2 minutes to make it easier to cut.

~You can also cut off the 2 ends so it lays flat.

~Cut your squash lengthwise.

~After it’s cut, scoop out the seeds.

 FOR COOKING:

~Place it upside down in a lined or sprayed baking dish or sheet

~Cook for about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of it.

~It should be soft enough to scoop out of the skins.

~After it’s cooled, squeeze out the moisture.

            BUFFALO STYLE

  •  Hot sauce, blue cheese or ( blue cheese or feta crumbles) ,green onion, olives, can add shredded chicken. 

            MEXICAN

  • Taco seasoning, rotel, beans, taco sauce, ground beef or chicken. Top with sour cream.

           SPAGHETTI PARM

  • Marinara sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, or ricotta

           ITALIAN

  • Onion and peppers, chicken sausage, mushrooms, tomato sauce

            CHEESY GARLIC & SPINACH

  • Spinach, garlic, cream cheese, or sour cream, mushroom, parmesan and/ or mozzarella

           EGGPLANT 

  •  Diced eggplant, tomato sauce, mushrooms, cheese

Lemon Cookies~ almond flour

Lemon Cookies~Low Carb

Yields about 20 small cookies.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup  of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
  • Juice from 1 lemon- about 3-4 tablespoons
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of almond flour
  • Optional ingredients- ½ scoop of vanilla protein powder,  3 tablespoons of cream cheese or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest.
  2. Beat in the egg and baking powder. Slowly add the almond flour.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for  20 minutes.
  4. Roll into balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a fork to make a criss cross pattern. 
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool and store in the fridge after a day. 

Apple Bake~Low Carb

Apple Bake~Low Carb

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup  of pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar or vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil-melted
  • 2 tablespoons of butter-softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of PB2 or peanut butter
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp of apple pie spice
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • ¾  cup of almond flour
  • 2 medium apples peeled and  diced 

Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • ¼ cup of almond flour
  • Crushed walnuts-optional

Preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. 

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, coconut oil, butter, spices, vanilla, sugar or protein powder and PB2. 

3. Beat in the eggs, then baking soda and almond flour.  

4. Microwave the diced apple with a little cinnamon for 2 minutes to soften them first. Stir them into the batter. Spread the batter into the pan.

5. Combine the ingredients for the topping. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Add some water for the topping if needed. It should be crumbly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream.

Low Carb Pizza~ with Almond Flour

Low Carb Pizza Crust~ Almond flour

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese or ricotta
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of almond flour 
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tsp of Italian seasoning

Topping:

  • 1 ½ -2  cups of tomato sauce or marinara 
  • 1 cup of  cup of shredded mozzarella
  • 20 slices of organic pepperoni
  • Any additional veggies for toppings
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta or cream cheese, apple cider vinegar and butter. Slowly add in the baking soda and almond flour. Combine well and let it sit for 30 minutes or refrigerate. 

3.  Spray a baking sheet or pizza stone.      Spread out the dough into a circle. Bake for 10 minutes. 

4. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.  Top with the sauce , cheese, pepperoni and other desired veggies and parmesan. Broil for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. 

1 minute peanut butter brownie in a mug


1 minute peanut butter brownie in a mug

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa 
  • ¼ tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or coconut palm sugar or protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of PB2 or peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate pieces or chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons of almond milk
  • Non stick spray for mug 

Preparation

  1. Spray a mug, ramekin or you can use a small glass measuring cup. 
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and stir well. 
  1. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove and let it still and cool for 2-3 minutes. Best when served warm! Top with whipped cream.