Building the Best life

Tools for building the best lifestyle to last a lifetime

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The Most Powerful weight loss tool and you already own it

For 12 years I had no idea how much I weighed. I hadn’t looked at that number since my daughter was born. At the doctor’s office I got on the scale backwards and just told them I didn’t want to know what it said. I guess it should not have been a big surprise when at an annual check up she handed me 2 scripts, 1 for blood pressure meds and 1 for cholesterol. I had a 12 year old daughter and I was about to start the window sill full of pills! A few days later my husband and I were on a motorcycle run, a fundraiser for a kid I went to highschool with. He was killed in an accident and it was to raise money for his kids. Many people I went to school with were there alot, I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and I was having a blast until…    Another kid I went to school with (who was in an accident himself when we were younger so his filter is off) walked right up to me and said “what the hell happened to you? You use to be hot” In that moment I just wanted to disappear and be anywhere but there. He said it outloud but I knew that is what everyone else must have been thinking.

You see I had a 12 year old daughter who I didn’t want to grow up with a mom who always had to stop to take a pill or leave someplace early to go get a pill. And the benefit I was at was an annual thing and to top it off it was put on by my ex husband and his wife (by the way 2 wonderful people) but there was no way I would go back the next year and not be hot!

These 2 things are what drove me to lose weight and actually quit smoking as well. I had smoked for 25 years (2 packs a day) and my doctor told me I had to lose at least 30 pounds and quit to get rid of the pills.

At this time for this year this was my WHY this was what pushed me to walk through the doors at weight watchers and to make many of the changes and choices I made.

What I learned the hard way is your WHY has to be strong enough and needs to be revisited regularly. When the doc gave me the ok on the pills and I hit lifetime and the next run was over I relaxed my efforts (ALOT) I also dieted my way through weight watchers round 1 but that’s for a whole other post.

I had no desire to gain weight back but I had nothing really driving me to make the choices I needed to make.

Now I understand how powerful this tool is and I truly make sure I have an arsenal of WHY’s. There are so many temptations we fight daily and having something that is stronger and we want more than what we either want to do or don’t want to do in the moment makes this journey so much easier.

Many times a we think of a goal and our WHY as the same thing but they really are different. My goal was to be healthy on the surface and to not have to take pills but beneath that was the WHY or the reason that was so important to me and that comes with the feeling. Most of us are driven by our feelings and many times in a negative direction so why not use them to head us in a positive direction?

I know search for them and I write them down and on the days I get into a funk or I find myself saying why do I even bother I pull them out and look at them as a reminder of WHY I am making the choices I am making. My neighbor the same age as my husband passed away suddenly a couple weeks before my daughters wedding. At the service his oldest daughter who is engaged as well said to me that her Dad would have been a great Grandpa and how sad it made her that they would never get to know him.  This is at the top of my why list now, seeing the pain in that young girls eyes is nothing I want my daughter to have to feel. Honestly anything could happen and I could be taken unexpectedly at any time but it will not be at my own hand because I wanted to eat crap or not move or not take care of myself.

Truly this applies to anything we want to do. If you have a strong enough desire and can get to the place where you feel it you will have the Motivation you need.

A good way to get below the surface goal is to sit down with a notebook and pen and write all the reasons why losing weight matters to you. Then keep asking why and keep asking why until you feel like you have been kicked in the stomach or you find yourself in tears… that’s when you know it is strong enough.

Another thing I see a lot are people trying to make it about what they think it should be. It’s ok to want to look good. Think about how life looks when you feel good in your own skin. I know that I am more confident and I am a much happier person which makes everyone around me happier as well.

There are so many reasons but they need to be yours and from within you. Without a strong enough desire all the weight loss tools, tips and tricks won’t work because you most likely won’t use or do them.

If you’re not sure WHY it matters take some time and figure it out. It can be a huge game changer for you.

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Some simple words to help you stick to your weight loss resolution once and for all

Another January another resolution to lose weight. Some years you make it 5 minutes, some years 5 months. Some years you lose a little, some years nothing and sometimes you even get to your goal and somehow still find the following January you are making the same weight loss resolution again.

 When I wanted to lose weight I would go on a “diet”. I would restrict myself and do whatever I needed to do to get the weight off. I remember round 1 at weight watchers, I totally dieted my way through. I did what I had to do to get the weight off to get my Doctor off my back. Problem was once I got to my goal I went back to what I had always done. I have an all or nothing personality, so when I’m in I am all in but when I’m out… well let’s just say it only took 2 months to gain 12 pounds back after I hit goal.

I didn’t want to put it all back on and even though weight watchers had helped me lose weight I didn’t want to go back and let anyone know I had gained (crazy right?) so I started reading a bunch of weight loss books trying to figure out how to lose weight so I could get some of it off before I went back to weight watchers. In one of those books I read the words that would change everything for me…


I walked back into weight watchers and looked at the room differently then I did round 1. The first time I tried to figure out how to fit into weight watchers world. This time I decided to figure out how to fit weight watchers into my world. I decided to embrace who I was and not try to do what everyone else was doing that was just so uncomfortable to me. I realized if I wanted to change I had to change something


I am a volume eater (I like to look down and see lots of food) round 1 I ate off little plates and would feel deprived because that’s what I thought you were suppose to do. Round 2 I decided to learn what foods and how I could get the volume  that I enjoyed.

Round 1 I stayed away from restaurants and parties and avoided most social functions that involved food (pretty much everything) Round 2 I decided to find restaurants that had foods that I enjoyed but fit into my “budget” and would offer to bring things that I enjoyed to social events so I didn’t feel deprived.

Round 1 I ate alot of the same boring “diet” foods. Round 2 I found foods that were exciting and tasted good but were also healthy choices (believe me there are so many out there) It keeps me from wanting to go back to the things that put the weight on me in the first place.

These are just a few examples of some of the changes. I have been able to keep it off now for almost 8 years. I no longer feel like I am on a diet I really am just living. Can I have and do or not do everything I want? Of course not but that is a whole other blog. I enjoy the healthy me much better then the unhealthy me but I have to be able to enjoy the choices I am making to stay here.

Happy New Year!

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First thing I had to do was CHANGE MY MINDSET

I use to think I had to either make perfect choices or I didn’t have to think about what I was doing at all. Now I know going in that there is a good chance I will not make all great choices but that I don’t have to make all bad choices either and I seem to have found a really good balance now.



I use to think I should save the calories for my meals and realized quickly with that mindset I would up spending way more then I would have by having breakfast. I also say my brain works much better with some protein and I am able to make the choices I really want to make not the one I want to make in that in the moment


That was a HUUUUGE change but made a big difference. We have fried oysters at my moms and I figure at least I can pay for those. I do better with a scheduled class because I have made a commitment and I will definitely show for that. I even took spin one year (not my favorite at all) but that’s what they were offering and it at least covered my oysters. When I am active it also changes the way I think and gives me more energy and that is super helpful


Believe it or not this can make a difference. I use to wear stretchy pants or a huge sweater so it would cover me when I unbuttoned my pants. Now I don’t wear something to tight fitting bit I do wear something that fits comfortably and NO big sweaters. I can depend on my pants to let me know if I am going a little overboard

I also now GO IN WITH A PLAN

In my second month of weight watchers years ago we did a meeting called the Great Plate (it was one of may favorites). I was able to come up with a plan and see I didn’t have to give up everything I loved to stay on track. We eat at 2 houses within a couple hours of each other so I really did think it was impossible.


I start with the things I want most (oysters and Mom’s stuffing) and then work around them. There is really nothing special about the dinner rolls (they are out of a package), I can have mashed potatoes any day and really turkey too for that matter so I decided to spend my points (what we use to track in weight watchers world).

I am a volume eater so I BRING A GREEN SALAD

My favorites are also pretty high in Points or Calories so I need something to take up space on my plate and a nice green salad always does the trick


Mom also makes an awesome apple pie and I use to eat it quick before going to my in laws for meal #2. I realized I was worried that there wouldn’t be any left so now I ask her to cut a piece before I leave (so I am sure I will get one) and I go back either Friday or Saturday when I can fit it into my plan and I actually enjoy it more.


The first time I heard NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS THIN FEELS was at that same weight watchers meeting we did the plate. That Thanksgiving morning before we left the house I wrote that on a piece of paper and carried it in my pocket. When I would be tempted to just say screw it I would go to the paper. I still do that every year although I have changed it to NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS HEALTHY FEELS. Having some sort of anchor is so helpful when trying to manage a day like today.


At my in laws there is food from the time we walk in the door to the time we leave, all the really good snacky stuff first then dinner, snacky stuff again and then tons of dessert! This is where interviewing is key for me. A couple of my most important questions other then the normal ARE YOU WORTH IT? are WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN and WILL I BE ABLE TO STOP IF I START EATING YOU?


Having a strong enough why helps me manage all temptations. I revisit it regularly. If its not strong enough I always wind up saying things like  “just today I will deal with it tomorrow.” I have a basket full of why’s but there has to be one that is powerful enough to out way any temptations


My Mother in law also makes enough food to feed a thousand people so that first year I had the plan the day went OK bit the weekend after not so much. She sent us home with all kinds of goodies and I ate ALOT of them. Now I am in charge of packing up all the left overs so I am in control of what comes home with me.


I never been and never will be perfect at anything and I don’t know why I thought this should be any different. It gets a little easier each year because each year I learn a new strategy that works for me. What I have realized is most of the time I have to go through what doesn’t work to figure out what does.


I started focusing on the blessings around me more then I was focusing on the food



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Overcoming the temptation to just give up during the holidays

It’s hard enough during the rest of the year to make healthy choices but during the holiday season it almost seems impossible… or at least it use to to me. It is an incredibly busy time of year (and much of the rest of the year I already feel overwhelmed and short on time), my emotions are usually all over the place, there are so many more social occasions and  tempting foods everywhere! Oh and lets not forget the eggnog and other adult beverages. Almost every job I have ever had demands more time and energy during these months and I would just say “Screw it! This is just to hard and I will deal with it in January”. January would come sometimes I would deal with it and sometimes I wouldn’t but it wouldn’t be long and then summer would be here and I always thought summer was to hard too.

Once I got serious about my weight and eventually my health I realized that this was something I had to change. Giving up at the holidays had become as much a tradition as all of the other holiday traditions. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy the holidays and be on “a diet” and the thought of the holidays coming when I first started my journey terrified me.

It took some time and many trials and many errors but I now look forward to the holidays and know that I can enjoy them and be healthy at the same time.

One thing that works really well for me is not putting huge expectations on myself. I don’t go in expecting to lose weight. I know I will indulge and I’m happy with maintaining or maybe being up a pound or two.

I plan indulgences and enjoy every sip or bite! Some things are just so worth it but I have learned is everything isn’t.

I regularly remind myself WHY this is important to me

I make sure I stay close with the “people that get it”

In social events I try to focus on the reason I am there and not the food

I make time for fitness by scheduling it in. For me it is less about the calorie burn and more about managing my emotions

One of the things that has helped quiet a bit is focusing less on what makes it so hard and more on what will make it easier for me. Nope, I didn’t say easy because I can’t say it is easy but being overweight and sick all year is not easy either. I have come up with many strategies over the years to manage certain situations and make sure I use them and don’t try to rely on will power. I don’t have much will power and even less at this time of year.

What I try to think of most in this season of giving is my family. I try to remember every choice I make affects them, maybe not right in that moment but one day it will. With each choice I make I am either increasing or decreasing my chances of the length of time I am here to love and care for them. With each choice I am also increasing or decreasing the chances that they will have to spend their time caring for me. I try to look at every good choice I make as a gift I am giving to those I love.


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