Category Archives: Personal

The Secret to Dieting: The Common Sense Approach

The truth is, if you are reading this you probably have tried numerous diets and failed. That is actually fantastic and it will help make this all make a lot more sense. If you haven’t tried a lot of diets but you have been thinking about losing weight, you are probably lying to yourself and you will be surprised just how many you have tried on further recollection. The best place to start at is the beginning to really explain how I got here, now I know that sounds like every other infomercial out there but I’m just sharing what I’ve learned hoping it helps someone stop wasting time feeling miserable or thinking bad thoughts about their weight and actually start to make a change. Every journey begins with a first step and I just want to help motivate people to take that first step because I finally found the motivation and what works for me but man was it a journey.

Looking back I was not a fat child and there isn’t a picture back in my younger years that I wouldn’t give money to  have that figure, even at some of my worst I was still not as fat as I saw myself. That’s where it all starts, we get concerned about our looks and we worry about what others think or we are just afraid to get fat and do everything perfect to never gain a pound or you constantly are dieting to maintain your weight or you are like me and just never cared enough. That’s how it starts, we worry about our weight and then we decide to do something or not. When you don’t do anything about it or have concern about it, it will go up and eventually one day you will look in the mirror and decide you are going to make some dramatic change and stick to all these insane diets and get that figure you always dream of. That definitely happens but I never stick with it. I just stop caring, it doesn’t bother me enough to make the change or put the effort in. This is just my personality, I have to want to do something or I have to be required to do something. Doing something for me that isn’t necessary or makes a difference to me personally, just isn’t important enough to deal with. So I kept thinking I was fat, I never did anything to change that and I actually started to get fat.

When I was growing up, I was always told physical exercise made you thin, you eat, you exercise, you burn calories, you stay healthy and thin. I was told what was good to eat and what was bad to eat. I chose not to exercise and I ate bad, but delicious food. You only live once! I wanted to enjoy it and I wasn’t going to deny myself anything. I made plans to exercise more and be more active and then I wouldn’t be as fat as I am today but I never did it. I would start but I never finished or followed through. So I knew if I just stopped being lazy and exercised I would lose weight.

I wasn’t going to exercise so I would look to diets to try and lose weight. I remember one time I was watching an infomercial, I had a lot of late nights and I love new things, anyways, they said something about trying a bunch of diets and failing. I thought I’ve never really tried anything cause I never really started or put any effort into it. Now thinking back I know that was wrong, I tried so many diets, I never even realized it. So the first diet I was on was, “The Eat Everything that Tastes Good No matter what and stuff yourself Diet.” That did wonders to get me fat, but not so much to give me a figure I was proud of. Also on that diet I learned a love for fast food, junk food and Mountain Dew. Which we all go, well there you go, the root of the problem you need to eat better and get rid of that junk. I know! But it’s so hard and tastes so good and it’s so convenient, we are great with our excuses.

I had a friend at work and she would try and get me to be her workout buddy or diet partner. She was about ten years older than me and she was in that, I’m going to make a change mode. We started working out together, that never panned out cause I hated driving there and it was early and inconvenient and I was filled with excuses. We tried Weight Watchers, I tried to like it but it just didn’t keep me motivated, the weekly weigh ins, I didn’t care too much if I didn’t lose the weight, I didn’t really like tracking points and I could still eat the bad foods, I just wasn’t eating anything else. So I knew Weight Watchers would work if I followed the program and made healthier choices but I didn’t feel like tracking food so I never stuck with it very long. Then we tried Atkins and the weight came off but I was really limited on what I ate and I would over eat sugar free chocolates cause I still wanted things that tasted good and I would make myself sick. I didn’t stick with it and continued to gain weight. I tried the South Beach Diet to see if that worked for changing my food options, I just stopped trying and going back to drinking Mountain Dew and eating out and doing the bad things that were making me fat.

So then I really started to put in effort and make a change. First I started fixing any health issues I had from being overweight. None of my Drs really said you need to lose weight like I heard others tell me stories of, so it wasn’t a problem for me and they didn’t make a big deal of it so why should I. I listened to what others said and did, I’d hear about what others would do to stay fit and healthy and I would decide if it would work for me or not. Some were actively dieting and making huge changes and being successful so I would try their diet, I tried Whole 30 and Isagenix and other forms of the same types of things but I never stuck with it. So then I decided I am just going to start eating better. I knew what was good for me and what was bad for me I just needed to stop eating the bad stuff. Well I could never quite stop myself from eating the bad stuff so I finally figured out, I should probably exercise. If I can’t control my eating at least maybe I can control my activity.

I made a New Years Resolution that I was going to work out everyday for 15 minutes a day. I was going to be more active, this was the year. I followed that pretty good, I got a gym membership that I thought would force me to go to the gym. They had a day care that got rid of the excuse of my kids in the way. It was on the way home from dropping my daughter off from school, so I didn’t have to go out of my way to go. My daughter needed interaction and I couldn’t afford to put her in real day care, it was a win win. I started going and started hiking with my family on the weekends but as in most things I don’t go as much as I wanted to or told myself to.

I am not going everyday anymore. I was doing really good and then I got hurt really bad and fell from a horse, I could barely walk so I couldn’t exercise for awhile and I got out of the habit of being active. This time though I didn’t let that dictate my life. I still went back to the gym when I felt better. Not as much but I went. We’d do more outdoor activities and walk for long periods. Even when I don’t work out I would tend to be active, making more trips around the house and going up and down the stairs more often. So anyways, I would exercise and I would see the weight come off but not as fast as I wanted so I started to make changes. First we said we’d eat better, more fruits and vegetables and such. We would go get produce from the food market and eat some and let some go bad. I’d pretty much cut out fast food and started to cut out eating out as much. I knew the big change I had to make was cutting out Mountain Dew but I wasn’t ready to give it up. However, I was still losing weight and toning up and feeling better.

Then “The Bet” happened. My husband decided he was going to do a low carb diet because that’s the only one he’s seen success with and the other diets we tried didn’t work. I agreed and agreed to follow his diet. We bet money and had a deadline date. I was like yeah we will see how long this lasts for me. I have tried contests before, I never stay motivated. There’s money involved and I still won’t stay motivated. There was a difference this time though he was going to do it with me but we’d done diets together but we were really committed or at least that’s what I told myself.

So it began, we eliminated a lot of the junk food from the house and he told me what I could eat, we were doing a Keto diet and following that. So I looked at the carbs in things and tried to eat low carb items but I didn’t track anything I ate. I already knew that never works for me for very long. So I ate the approved items and ate till I was full, pretty much how every diet starts out. This is how it always starts and then something happens and I quit. I craved my Mountain Dew, I wanted to go have pasta, I really wanted that pizza. I would try and compensate for it but it never really worked.

Now I know from experience my cravings and desires are my number one diet failures so I wasn’t going to let it happen this time. No this time I was going to stay successful. I knew I couldn’t deny myself, I would just want it more and then I’d binge on it and feel bad and eat more bad stuff and be back to square one and off my diet, it’s a slippery slope for me. So I wouldn’t deny myself things, if I wanted m and ms, I would have one fun size package and I would moderate how much I ate. Something I had been trying but still struggling with. So sometimes I would just have a bite of something. It is amazing how satisfying a bite of cake can be on a diet when you aren’t supposed to have it. For the most part I could just stop at that one bite and then continue on my diet unaffected. Sometimes I would really want pizza so I’d set a cheat meal. Now I know they say you can do cheat meals, I’ve even done cheat days but then I don’t get results as quickly and I need to change so I tried to follow it more closely. So instead of cheat days it would be cheat meals. I would space them out to try to give me something to look forward to, I tried not to think of a specific day but more following what I wanted and when I wanted it. I started creating new habits and ways of managing food that we learn but never really get put together in a working model. So I was cutting out junk food, eating low carb and losing weight quickly and I wanted to keep losing it. My cheat meals became less frequent, my snacking less and my treat portions a lot smaller.

Now don’t get me wrong I had bad days that turned to weeks that turned to months but something different happened during those times versus what happened the other times I started to stumble in a diet, I never really lost any major progress.  I still was better than what I had been doing in the past. I wasn’t drinking multiple Mountain dews a day or having fast food for every meal or eating junk food or at least not to the caliber I was. I realized I finally started to develop good eating habits. I knew everything that would make me successful in weight loss and everything that would make me fail and I needed to do more of the success and less of the failures. It makes sense, that’s what every diet tells you to do but they don’t tell you how to make that happen in the real world when your exhausted and don’t want to cook dinner and just order a pizza or when you want to sit on the couch and eat that pint of cookie dough ice cream. You can but how frequently you do these things will determine your success. Start small with changing a few habits here and there. As you become more motivated you will start to lose weight. Never get discouraged, discover that failures are determining what doesn’t work for you and try something different. Start to make changes and eventually you will see results and bad habits will be replaced with good habits and it won’t be so hard to stick with it. Diets are always successful if you stick with them, however the minute you stop following it the weight will come back. We don’t change our habits and the problems come back. Now I’m not saying you can’t eat that pint of ice cream while binge watching Netflix but start changing it from every week to once a month, or only a scoop or two each time. Limit it and eventually you start to limit the frequency and the quantity. When you do that successfully you can have bad weeks or vacations where you eat everything in sight, you’ll come back and can easily slip back into routine. If you are not losing quick enough you just become more strict. You can measure your weight loss in days, weeks, months or years but no matter what, if you make better choices most of the time and lower portions you will lose weight, how much determines how dedicated you are and what diet you want to follow that will work for you. In the end you just need to keep doing it and don’t let the stumbles overtake your progress, just keep on limiting them and eventually you will get there and you will change your habits. I drink Mountain Dew once or twice a week, I don’t like how I feel with it so I can limit it more. I rarely eat out cause it’s usually bad food. If I do, I try to make better choices or have smaller portions and I split food a lot. I still do my bad habits because it’s impossible to deny those things forever, but I don’t do them as much so no matter what diet I do, even if I don’t follow it to the letter I am still following it somewhat and getting myself out of those bad habits by not making them as bad as they were and as long as I continue to work at it and not get discouraged and stick with it for as long as I can, the old habits will be replaced and I will be able to maintain my weight, an active lifestyle and all my bad habits in moderation and not feel like I am going without anything cause who wants to deny themselves the pleasures in life. We just need to be better at waiting for them and how much.

This works for me. My husband and I started our bet at the end of August. We finished the first few weeks of February. I beat the odds and I won. I lost 46 pounds and he lost 43. I ate junk food, there were weeks at a time I didn’t stick with it but I still lost weight. Everyone says men lose the weight easier, that may be true or the diets we hold ourselves to do not work cause they are meant for men. They don’t take in consideration the female cycle and the overwhelming cravings we get. Listen to your body, make better choices and don’t let one little slip completely derail you. You will succeed if you keep it up!

New Me Resolution

Anyone who has been keeping up with my writing knows that there has been a huge block of time since I have posted anything. I have made a ton of excuses as to why I haven’t written or posted anything, such as writers block, no time, haven’t been staying up late enough to be inspired, lost my muse, or my personal favorite, all my inspiration was in the pot and now I am really used … Continue reading New Me Resolution
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Legalization of cannabis

I find it interesting that I have wrote a book about pot brownies, I have made numerous tweets in regards to marijuana and an occasional blog post that briefly references cannabis but I haven’t come out and really said my position on weed. Quite honestly I feel if everyone partook in the ganja at least once in awhile the world would be a better place. Now I know some of you may be thinking, wow … Continue reading Legalization of cannabis
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Cake for Breakfast!

There is nothing in life I enjoy more than family breakfast. After a busy week of school and work there is not much time for a nice relaxing breakfast during the week. We often grab something quick on our way out or have a bowl of cereal.  On weekends, when everyone is home and we are having a lazy quiet day, I love making a big breakfast.

We usually have potatoes mixed with some veggies and cheese, some sort of meat but my favorite is always the things we do to accompany that side.  Sometimes it is German Pancakes, which are amazing.  Cinnamon french toast is always a hit and if I am feeling motivated perhaps waffles.  Often though, we go for old faithful and have pancakes.  They are great, they are easy leftovers that we can eat the rest of the week for a quick breakfast.

I do not make those bisquick pancakes though, we have learned to step up our pancake game and have it down to an art.  We used to buy the pancake mixes and use those, they are fine but offer little variety. I would scour the internet for other pancake recipes, red velvet is always a hit and we found an amazing banana pancake recipe. However, those are time consuming and sometimes you do not feel like making pancakes from scratch with 10 different ingredients. We have discovered the art of turning any cake mix into pancakes. They are magical. It is so much easier and you can usually get cake mixes on sale for a dollar.  This keeps your baking supplies low that you need on hand, the recipes are quick and you can get pretty creative with what you make.

We started with Red Velvet pancakes and using a red velvet cake mix. I couldn’t really tell the difference between the mix and my made from scratch pancakes. I did make a lot less mess and had a lot fewer ingredients. We also have made funfetti pancakes, the children love those with the sprinkles inside.  They are like mini cupcakes but they are pancakes and I feel no shame having them for breakfast! I also have them for lunch, dinner and a snack because they are absolutely amazing. The key to these amazing pancakes is the frosting though. You have to have frosting on them. My children always refer to our pancakes as “frosting pancakes.” Red Velvet of course gets cream cheese frosting.  We recently made the funfetti pancakes with rainbow chip frosting. Rainbow chip frosting is my favorite frosting, I love the little chips and I was devastated when they took it off the market. When I found it again, I seriously bought a few containers, baked like crazy and had a minor sugar overload, so I do not recommend od’ing on rainbow chip frosting no matter how good it tastes.

If you are like me and enjoy breakfast, but get sick of the same old breakfast foods, you have to try out this pancake recipe. You pick any box and you have instant pancakes and they are always perfect. I hope you enjoy!

Pancake Recipe

Rags to Riches

Everyone loves a rages to riches story. I’m not sure this would really qualify as one. I’ve never lived in rags, nor been any of the things or experienced any of the things associated with being poor. I’ve lived a pretty middle class way of life always over extending myself and living beyond my means. I always heard that you have to live the life you want, well that only works for so long. As I think about where I’m at currently, I can’t help but wonder where I’ll be this time next year. However, to fully appreciate where I end up, I think you need to understand where I started.

I’ve always lived a fairly middle class existence and I always dreamed of having more than I had. Not really wanting to have all the expensive things in life and shop at department stores and spend an insane amount of money on designer items, I just wanted to be comfortable. I want to be able to buy what I want, and when I want it. I also don’t want to have to really think about money, I never thought that was asking too much. I also always knew the only one who was going to get me there was me and I have to work hard for what I want.

I had a game plan to achieve my goals, anyone who is remotely successful has a game plan. For a project for class in high school we had to write some answers to questions and where we would be in 5 or 10 years, essentially a letter to our future self with where we would be. My game plan was to go to school and become a lawyer, I’d study psychology because the major interested me and I thought it would help me in law if I understood how people think. While I was going to school and working full time I was going to get my paralegal certification so I could start getting experience and make a decent living to pay for law school. I was going to go to law school in Berkeley where I would end up living in Cali with my current boy friend at the time. Well you can tell by reading this, that is not how things turned out. So what happened to my road map and my perfectly planned life, well life happened and I realized I didn’t have it all figured out. Also it was all so much harder than I ever imagined.

Looking back I realize it didn’t have to be that hard, I could have achieved that goal and those dreams but honestly those dreams died long ago. I realized it was not what I wanted and I’m happy how things have turned out. I used to think a lot about the past and how I should have done things differently. I also thought a lot about the future and tried and planned how things would be. Now I’m starting to just live, set a goal and see if I get there. Life is a lot more enjoyable if you just live in the moment.

Now the question remains how did I achieve this level of Zen in my life currently. Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve never been like that. I’m always wound a little tight, trying to figure multiple things out at once. There have been a few life changing events, realizations or epiphanies for me. These have changed my life and redirected my path and helped me get to where I am today. The first was definitely when I was turning 25.

My 25th birthday was the hardest birthday for me thus far. Thirty wasn’t  even a blip on the screen like 25 was. To me that was the age where everything was figured out, where you finally started to live your life and start your career. Almost like the game of life. I had been checking the things off in life you needed to be successful and have the perfect life. Go to school, marriage, house, job/career, animals, big move and thoughts about babies. Sounds perfect right? Well it would have been but it didn’t all come together. I dropped out of college, I sold my house to move but we ended up in Arizona and not California. I am married so that was one thing I felt accomplished at, which almost made me feel worse that nothing else was where I wanted it to be at. I was working at a call center which I didn’t enjoy. I was living with my parents, my husband, my two dogs and a cat in a 10×10 room because I was just trying to figure out my next move after taking such a big step by moving. I was so upset, 25 was when all this should have been figured out and I should have my degree and be starting my life, not starting over.

So I did what anyone with a quarter life crisis does, I figured out what my path was going to be to get what I wanted, which was to live comfortably. I knew my current path was not going to get me there. I quit my job, worked as waitress so I could go back to school and have more flexibility with a school schedule. I eventually graduated, got a new job where I could progress and excel. I bought a house. My high school reunion was coming up and I was talking to my sister about it. I had to re-evaluate my place in life. I was about 28 and she said something along the lines of, you aren’t where you want to be. However, I felt I was. I wasn’t where I thought I’d be as in a lawyer living in California making tons of money. I was however, moving up in my company, had accomplished some goals and saw my life back on track for being comfortable and not having to worry about money. For the first time in my life I didn’t live pay check to pay check. I couldn’t have whatever I wanted but I definitely got more than I had before. I have two beautiful girls and a few promotions and life was great.

Every time things are going well life hands you some challenges to see how strong you are. My husband lost his job, he went back to school and we had a single income for over a year. I stayed strong and made it through as hard and challenging as it was but we survived. The only problem was I never changed my lifestyle or gave anything up. This helped put us in huge debt. With the challenges at home and work I was extremely stressed and overwhelmed. I didn’t really know who I was. Shopping helped ease the frustration but it wasn’t enough, I needed some changes. I was struggling with who I was, I didn’t even know anymore as I was just doing what I needed to, and just tried to accomplish the goals at hand. Finally, I decided to make a change and got a new job, two actually. The first was selling insurance where I saw the potential of reaching that lifestyle I dreamed of where I wasn’t worried about money. The other was a job to pay the bills and help alleviate the stress from work. I did both these jobs for a year. I kept telling myself to fake it till I made it. There were days I was super stressed and upset again but overall I was happy again. I started realizing who I was  again. I filled my phone saving inspirational quotes, I remembered all the past self help books and what they had done to get me where I was. I wasn’t really faking the happiness, possibly the motivation but overall I was happy with rediscovering who I was and being the person and mom I needed to be.

As I’m writing this, I’m pretty happy with the path my life is on and the turn it has taken. We finally have a two income family and a plan to pay off the mistakes we made in the past. I still have a major shopping problem but I’m trying. Last year for my birthday I got to go indoor sky diving. I think last year was discovering life and learning to let the stress and frustration of the past go. This year for my birthday we went to goodwill on half price Saturday and bought a few things. I love the hunt and search for deals and you can definitely find some gems at goodwill. On my actual birthday I’m having a party, the first in quite some time, but it will be while playing bingo. I also have a major gambling itch. So I’m trying to learn to work with the things I enjoy but not breaking the bank. I’m no longer super concerned with money and being financially comfortable, all that comes with time, dedication and patience. Patience is something I’m learning. I’m rich with a great family and the real lesson in being happy has been to just be happy. Let go of the past, set a goal for the future and live in the moment to achieve your goals. Little changes and things done today will have a major impact in the future it just takes time for it all to happen. I’m not a patient person and this is a super challenge for me. I’ve learned to accept that and focus on being more willing to wait for things. I also learned I suck at sales and am giving up my dream of financial freedom with the help of selling insurance. Now I’m hoping that my writing can be that conduit. I know that it will take time and a lot of work. However this is the first time I feel really comfortable and excited with my career choice and how things are going. I’m okay with this decision and I’m curious what my next birthday will be like. I know now that this year I have everything I need and I couldn’t be happier. I’m truly rich already.


That post if you suffered through it, was a  draft I wrote around September 2016.  I was definitely on the right path and have be working hard this past year towards my goals.  There have been hiccups along the way and I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted.  But I am not where I was last year and that is a good thing.  I’ve actually stopped buying things and focusing more on needs instead of wants and impulses.  I pay the bills and set an amount we have to live off till next pay day.  I bargain shop and eat at home.  I am  doing things I have never done before.  All the lessons I should have learned but never bothered to pay attention, because I had it all figured out after all.  Well now I know, I don’t have anything figured out.  All I have are things I want and the only way to get what you want is to create a plan and set a course.  If you fail, it is probably because you didn’t stick with the plan.

Well as I write this, it is almost September again, a year later. This year I am going to celebrate my birthday doing one of those escape rooms.  Something I have wanted for awhile. I cannot wait to invite my friends and hang out for the day.  I am going to get it by having a garage sale the week before so I have extra money to pay for my fun day. Learning to save and wait to do something till you can afford it, or making extra money to get it, these are the things I have learned this year.  It is not fun and I don’t always do it, but I will.  I am going to continue to work towards my goals, being financially independent, healthy and published.  I may not achieve all of them by this time next year, but I will accomplish one of them, I just have to stick with the plan.