Another Year.

Well, I’m another year older and probably at least a little wiser 😉 Saturday was my 26th birthday and while it poured rain all weekend, I got to spend the weekend with my mom and my mom’s boyfriends daughter Amanda. I picked them up at Port Authority late Friday night and we went to grab food at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. I have always wanted to go to this place and if you aren’t familiar with it it’s a diner where all the staff are aspiring actors/actresses/performers, so they sing and dance on the tables! It was way cooler than I expected! photo 3(2)

We tried to ignore the rain as we walked around all day on Saturday and shopped our butts off! My poor John was so, so sick all weekend and his birthday was yesterday. He couldn’t even get out of bed let alone walk around in the rain all day. I was supposed to meet Brenda around 6:30 AM for a long run but I was actually scared to leave him alone he was coughing so terribly and in so much pain, so I stayed in bed with him until later in the morning. My heart rate monitor at least made me a cake!  photo 5(1)

Around noon we headed to brunch with Brenda and Eddie to the place we went to after the NYC half a few weekends ago, Philip Marie. I was so obsessed with our service and the atmosphere that I wanted to celebrate my birthday here! The food is also amazing but I think even if it weren’t I would still go there! I got eggs with toast and potatoes, super basic but delicious. That butter was NOT eaten.photo 1(1)  After brunch my mom, Amanda and I headed downtown to check out the 9/11 memorial. I was so glad they wanted to go because of course I’ve wanted to but it’s one of those things that when you live here you just keep putting it off because you take all of the things to do for granted. It was so beautiful and also sad to be there.  photo 3(1)  photo 2  We made our way back up to Times Square to hit up the gigantic Forever 21 and H&M. Let’s just say they have no idea how much I love them for me going to Times Square on a Saturday 😉 It actually was really fun to be a tourist for the day and we ended up getting some great things. I treated myself way too much this whole month, always telling myself it was a birthday present. I have more birthday presents from myself this year than ever in my life combined, haha! shop

Shopping was followed by a ton of pizza at Patsy’s and froyo afterwards. My perfect birthday dinner!

Amanda, mom, and me!
Amanda, mom, and me!

Once we got back to my apartment, we had our own karaoke session of singing old school Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, which was inspiration for this week’s spin playlist. I had one of the most amazing classes ever yesterday morning! Everyone was feelin’ every song and a woman came up to me after class and told me my classes and music gets her higher than heroin! haha Flattered yet also concerned 😉 Sorry I haven’t shared a playlist in awhile, but this one is too good to pass up.  photo  After I taught my Sunday morning class, I came back home with bagels and donuts for John and we napped and watched Arrested Development all day and night. Not the worst way to spend a birthday, but certainly not fun when you are super sick! We are going to have a re-do on our birthdays sometime this week.

How was your last birthday spent?

Birthday Party

Hi my favorite people! I feel like I’ve started so many posts off by saying how busy my week has been but again, it was. I picked up extra classes this week so I taught 7 classes within 4 days. So. Tired. I also had some meetings and of course, long days at work so I am beat. The only thing keeping me going is a fun weekend ahead with my mom and friend Amanda coming to visit for my birthday weekend!

Last weekend my good friend Sharde that I work with threw me an amazing birthday party at a karaoke lounge. We had such a blast and I’m still recovering from it days later 😉 I haven’t gone out in so long so it kicked my butt! A bunch of my co-workers and of course Brenda, John and my good friend Alyse all came and we sang our hearts out. So many great pictures from that night I have to share.

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Such a fabulous night! My real birthday is this Saturday the 29th. Hoping that 26 brings me a year of success! 🙂

What was your best age or birthday party?

NYC 1/2 Marathon

Ahhhhh I hate when I go too long without posting. It’s been a really crazy week and a half so I apologize and I’m going to do a quick re-cap from the half marathon! Yes, I ran it and I am alive and that was my only goal. 😉

As you know if you read my blog, I got into the NYC 1/2 Marathon very unexpectedly when they reopened the lottery for a second chance. I believe that was back in December, and I basically didn’t train at all. You know the drill; way too cold, I don’t run on treadmills, I was sick for weeks. I did 3 “long” runs total- a 6 miler and two 8 milers, but I taught a bazillion spin classes and that was my saving grace cardiovascular-wise. Muscle wise? No. Nothing can prepare your muscles for 2+ hours of pounding on the pavement except… running for hours on pavement. I have never been this sore in my entire life.

I’ve also been having worse and worse hip pain that has affected my foot (left side only) so I was nervous that running this would make it worse or turn it into a real injury. Luckily it didn’t, but it was another factor that made me not-so-excited for the race. I went to the expo Friday night and ended up catching the bug that bites you when you go to a race expo… the excitement bug! I also bought “The Stick” to really beat the crap out of my legs for preparation. It definitely helped so much and I highly recommend buying one!

Saturday night I had my usual pre-race dinner of cheese-less pizza from Domino’s and woke up feeling super excited on Sunday. I wore an old pair of yoga pants to the start and a jacket that I could throw off and wore my usual racing clothes which is a long sleeve shirt and shorts with compression socks. I wear this for every race unless it’s warmer than 40 degrees. Let’s just say, shorts were a bad idea. It took me half of the race to be able to regain feeling in them because the windchill was so cold!

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The 6.5 miles in Central Park went by pretty fast and before I knew it I was running through an empty Times Square. Definitely the coolest part of the race!

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My left foot started to hurt on the top so I stopped a few times to stretch but really surprised myself at how I pushed through. I never really felt out of breath or like I was working SUPER hard, which means I know I have a PR in me this spring. At mile 11, I felt like I had just started. No fatigue in my legs and pure adrenaline. I was able to pick up the pace and while I didn’t track my pace on my phone, I think I had a negative split. Running through the battery park tunnel was a little scary but cool and before I knew it there was 800 meters to go. Then 400. Then… “WHERE THE F*&K IS THE FINISH LINE?!?!?!”

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This was 20 seconds after crossing the finish line, hence why face is a salt covered balloon. Does anyone else get puffy after a race?

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Just 3 minutes slower than my PR from Staten Island! I think I definitely have a sub 2:20 in me this spring!

It was absolutely freezing so they gave us heat-sheets but I had to find Brenda and Eddie who had a bag of warm clothes for me and that took about 20 minutes. We then had to try to find a subway (the race ended in the financial district so it’s a confusing area) and make our way to meet my co-worker and her boyfriend for my celebration brunch! We went to Philip Marie in the West Village that I randomly picked from Open Table. It ended up being AMAZING! A super fun atmosphere with good music and cheap for NYC brunch prices. Our waiter was hilarious and the food was awesome. I had the “lumberjack” which when ordering it, I felt pretty badass. It had eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast and the #1 thing I actually wanted: chocolate chip pancakes. photo 5

Brunch was a blast and the perfect way to celebrate my race! I went right home after to take a hot shower and then the pain started to set in. Walking down the stairs of the subway were pretty awful, but once I was home every muscle in my leg ached and I spent the rest of the day in my fluffy robe in bed. It was pretty much perfect. I’m never hungry the day of my race so I didn’t feel like eating anything after brunch, but I finally had an amazing bowl of everything I was craving for dinner that night. Strawberry frosted shredded wheat, bananas, raspberry jam, peanut butter and almond milk. I LOVE when the shredded wheat is partially crunchy, partially soggy. photo 1

John had been at his moms house for the weekend to visit since it was the only time this month he had to go, so when he got home around 11 on Sunday night he woke me up with a bunch of kisses…and one of his moms AMAZING brownies, even better 😉 They are literally heaven and there is no time to snap a pic when they are in front of me.

Monday was a little brutal since I had to be up to teach my 6:30 class in Brooklyn. I firmly believe in teaching all my classes on the bike and participating… I have been to classes where the teacher is barely on the bike and it makes my motivation go out the window. Suffer with me. So I announced that I had done the half the day before (less than 24 hours before, actually!) and that I wouldn’t be going as hard as I usually do. The bike actually wasn’t bad at all until we stood up in position 2. Oh, hi muscles. I almost collapsed. But afterwards it definitely helped to loosen me up, along with my 30 minute class Monday night. And my hour class Tuesday morning. I was definitely toasted by Tuesday morning! I haven’t worked out since and my legs are back to normal, so I will be getting back out there tomorrow for another long run for my next upcoming half in 3 weeks!

What was the last race you did? Have you ran one yet in 2014? Love that my season is just getting started!

New York Rangers + Balls

Today is going to be a 2 post kinda day because I have some words about The Biggest Loser’s winner. I want that to be a totally separate post, so this one is to show my super fun night last night at my first New York Rangers hockey game! I bought tickets to it for John and I for our anniversary and the game was last night. This was my first Rangers game and first time ever at MSG which is just crazy huge and awesome inside. Also, everyone was REALLY friendly. I was scared. That is not normal in New York 😉

Walking to our section and I yelled out "Holy Shit"
Walking to our section and I yelled out “Holy Shit”
I suck at pictures but this was the view from our seats. Really not bad for being up high!
I suck at pictures but this was the view from our seats. Really not bad for being up high!
During the first score for the Rangers. Love that everyone stands up and goes crazy!
During the first score for the Rangers. Love that everyone stands up and goes crazy!

Hockey is pretty cool but let’s be real, I was bored out of my mind by the 2nd quarter? Inning? What the heck is it even called in hockey? I started to make John take selfies with me and although he looks happy he was really annoyed with me. 🙂

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And best of all, 2 of my favorite people in the world were sitting just 2 rows behind us and since the seats beside us were empty, they came down to party. No picture of Joyce (why didn’t we do this!) but Sam is the coolest girl ever.

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They went to the gift shop to get me this bunny! They are the greatest. Please excuse my extremely puffy face as I woke up from a nap about 20 minutes before I had to be there and I had an extremely painful dentist appointment Monday night. Also, that coat is very unflattering but it keeps me warm so I choose to look like a snowman.

John and I were starving after the game so we had a late night date at The Meatball Shop. As usual, it was delicious and I couldn’t finish it all. They give you a TON of vegetables when you order the “kitchen sink” salad and the balls are really filling. I started with a market salad which had romaine, kale, fried shallots, sprinkled parm cheese and shallot vinaigrette.

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Then I had the special balls of the night which were buffalo chicken in blue cheese. Also known as my favorite thing in the world. Next time I’d ask for the sauce on the side because this was WAY too much blue cheese, even for me.

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The stuff at the top right did not get eaten nor did the carrot salad. I wasn’t feelin’ it at all. John had regular balls and the most amazing mashed potatoes. Ever. I took a few bites and they were so creamy I could have died. I’m sure there was at least 3 pounds of butter in them, natch.

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Friggin’ comfort food at it’s finest. I’m so ready for this fat winter to be over! I seriously

Have you ever been to a NHL hockey game? MSG?

What’s your favorite (not so healthy) comfort food?

Just a Great Weekend

Hi loves! I hope your weekends were as fun as mine was. I really made sure to enjoy every minute of it and was able to do almost all of my favorite things with some of my favorite people. No complaints there! Friday night was low key and I was asleep by 10, and then slept until almost 10 AM. Needed it. I went to meet with a woman who owns a cycle/yoga studio to possibly pick up some classes and we ended up chatting for hours! She is awesome and I’m hoping I’ll be able to have some classes there.

John met me afterwards and I was HANGRY. We stopped and had brunch somewhere on the Upper West Side and I had eggs benedict ’cause it sounded real good. And it was.

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Followed by lunch dessert, some warm fresh cookies from Insomnia Cookies. Yes, this is a cookie shop that is open until 4:00 AM and serves totally fresh cookies all day and night. Janae, is this your dream? 🙂

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John had the bottom huge one which was smores and I had the double chocolate mint and chocolate chunk. I ate less than half of each and gave the rest to John. They are super rich cookies so just a couple of bites is plenty! We went back home for a little bit then headed to the 7:00 hot yoga class. Who are we, going to work out together on a Saturday night?! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I think it was the hottest vinyasa class I’ve ever taken and we were both drenched. I’m also still sore which is awesome.

Sunday morning I got up hoping to fit in 5 miles before teaching Spin but I overslept (what else is new) and only had time for 1.5 on the treadmill. I’m seriously failing hard at training for my spring half marathons which are starting in 6 weeks. Yikes! Brenda came to take my class which I love so much! She had to help me switch my bike halfway through because my seat kept sliding up (like as in the seat was literally pointing up in the air) and let’s just say it bruised me up good. I kept thinking I could just ride it out, literally, but it was violating me if you know what I mean. Ouch!

We showered quickly after class and grabbed brunch at Grey Bar before meeting up with the boys at the Museum of Natural History. It was so nice to have a little alone time with Brenda since we’re always insanely busy and usually meet up with the guys with us too. The food was super good and we have some plans to create a little business together. More on that when we know more!

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Fried egg, bacon and avocado sandwich and fries. Put back those 800 calories I burned!

Museum of Natural History was awesome. We saw a 25 minute planetarium space show that was mind blowing. It also made me extremely dizzy haha No pictures in there but here’s some from other parts of the museum.

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You need an entire day to see the whole museum and I would rather stand outside naked in the cold than spend an entire day at the museum. I do NOT have that kind of patience! The boys went to get food at Shake Shack and Brenda and I got froyo at 16 Handles, our old stopping grounds.

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Then it was Superbowl party time. John and I headed to the Upper East Side to party at my friend Alyse’s apartment with some of her awesome friends. We seriously had so much fun just eating a ton of delicious food, playing with her adorable puppy and playing the best card game of all time. A.k.a didn’t watch the game at all.

potato chip brownie!
potato chip brownie!

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Such a fun weekend.

How was your weekend? Superbowl plans? Workouts? Food? Tell me all about it! 😀 

Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity?? OMG it’s so inappropriate, and that’s why I love it.

Hot Yoga + Dinner Party

I feel like I just had one of the best weekends ever. It was a perfect balance of fitness, food, friends and a ton of fun (and only a little work 😉 ) which I feel like never happens. I ended the week strong with staying on track and eating all of my meals at home Monday-Thursday and with some great workouts. Friday night I planned to go to my first hot vinyasa class (I’ve done Bikram, didn’t love it) and John agreed to come too! We went to Yoga to The People which offers $5 hot vinyasa classes at their 38th St location!! They fill up VERY quickly, so we got there a little early and snagged the last 2 spots. The room was less hot than bikram but I still was absolutely drenched just a few minutes into the class. I freaking LOVED it. I haven’t practiced Vinyasa in so long and the soreness in my back, shoulders and abs are insane. John liked it, too! Yay!

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We followed that up with pizza in bed. I had a long run Saturday morning and what better way to refuel from hot yoga? This was literally my dream date night. I love my soulmate 🙂

Medium no-cheese pizza with grilled chicken and onions. Beyond amazing.
Medium no-cheese pizza with grilled chicken and onions. Beyond amazing.

Saturday morning: 8 mile run through the crazy fog of Central Park. IN SHORTS! 😀

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I had an awesome meeting with someone at noon at a Starbucks in Brooklyn so I had to shower quick and tried a new-to-me drink that STUFT Mama used to drink. Bare with me: Iced venti soy green tea latte with no classic syrup, 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla, and a shot of espresso.

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SO good. I estimated the calories at 250-ish since I nixed the classic syrup and it cost almost $7 so I will not be purchasing these much unless I plan to get a 3rd job at Starbucks.

After my meeting I met John for brunch at… you guessed it… Brindle Room. We’re so predictable but it’s hard to try new places when you find a place that’s so perfect. I did however try a new dish there instead of my usual, which was Shakshuka. I didn’t know until I just looked it up but it’s an Israeli dish and really healthy! It’s just a base of spiced tomato sauce, poached eggs, feta cheese crumbles, scallions and parsley. At Brindle Room it’s served with grilled sourdough bread.

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Here’s a link to a great recipe for it. I think this may become a new dinner for me!

After brunch we stopped at Trader Joe’s wine shop and then back home so I could whip up an apple crisp for the dinner party we were going to. My good friend Sharde at work is an amazing event planner and host, and she had a dinner party at her apartment last night. She is a freaking amazing cook! She went all out and set up gorgeous tables with centerpieces that had flowers and goldfish in them.

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Her menu included baked chicken breasts (stuffed with mozz, tomato and basil but I had mine plain since cheese… boo), asparagus, caesar salad, potatoes, pasta salad and bread.

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While I wanted to dive straight into the bowl of caesar salad and eat all the chicken, I saved room for wine. Lots. Of. Wine. I hadn’t drank since September so I’m in struggle city today with a killer hangover. But it was worth it because we all had so much fun!

shots! i sat these out... it was best.
shots! i sat these out… it was best.
aren't we pretty?
aren’t we pretty?

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the hostess!
the hostess!
wine. too much wine.
wine. too much wine.
loves them!
loves them!
:)
🙂

Great, great weekend. Ready to tackle another healthy week tomorrow!

What were the highlights of your weekend?

Have you ever done hot vinyasa or bikram? Like it/love it/hate it?

Small Changes.

Happy 2014 you guys! I hope this year is terrific for you and myself as well. I think great things are brewing for me and I just have to put in the work to make them happen.

New Years Eve was spent with Brenda, Eddie and John at their apartment. We ate Domino’s and I drank about a teaspoon of champagne. We watched recaps of the funniest moments of 2013 and just laughed and talked. We were home by 1:30 AM and it was glorious.

My first ever New Year’s Day workout. It felt awesome.

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I have been hungover for every New Year’s for the last 8 years I believe. No more. Next year I am planning to do the midnight run in Central Park. On the train ride home from Brenda’s we saw so many runners leaving the park and I was pretty ragey that I didn’t do it.

The run was followed by brunch with my friend Alyse and her awesome roommates. We brunched at Riverpark which is a very fancy (for me) restaurant by the famous chef Tom Colicchio. The brunch prices were totally normal so I would recommend trying it for a fancier feel! We started with cinnamon doughnuts to share.

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So many dishes looked great but most of them had cheese and other things I would have had to sub out so I just went with the safest option, the wild mushroom frittata.

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AMAZING iced coffee, too!

I probably should have woke up early to run this morning but since I have 2 classes tomorrow and my legs are REALLY sore from my 6 miler yesterday, I slept in and am really aiming to eat healthier today. It’s a serious challenge after 2 months of being overly lenient in my food choices. Since I was also running less the last 2 months, I feel pretty fluffy and my pants aren’t fitting how I’d like them to. My mindset in the past would have been to restrict, or be too strict with how I would eat to reset my body (and mind, too). My will-power to be like that just doesn’t work anymore. And I don’t think that it’s a bad thing! In order to make changes that will stick, most people respond well to small changes. I know for me it’s really the only thing that will work. How do I do that? Here a few tips that work for me and hopefully will help you get back to healthier choices.

1. Obviously meal prep is important, useful and really does work in theory. You save money, calories and for me- a trip to the crazy streets of Midtown East in search of food for lunch and therefore a bad mood. But for me, after weeks of eating less-than-healthy foods, I seem to keep craving them. Were you eating a lot of breakfast sandwiches or french toast or pastries? Maybe you can keep eating those foods but make them yourself so you are saving the calories. Right now, oatmeal is just not doing it for me. If I make it at home on the stove and eat it right then it’s still great but for some reason making it in the microwave at work makes me gag now. Probably because I’ve been eating the same breakfast for 2.5 years straight. Except the last few weeks, I’ve been eating bagels and croissants for breakfast so I’ve been spoiled! I had the next best thing that I whipped up last night; healthy muffins and a big ol’ iced coffee.

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I’ll call them banana chocolate chip muffins. The chocolate chips I used are dairy-free mini ones from the brand Enjoy Life and I found them at Whole Foods. They seriously taste exactly like real chocolate chips, without the stomach ache for me. Win. Make these:

  • 2.5 cups oat flour (just grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor, about 4 cups worth)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Cinnamon (as much as you want)
  • Optional: 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350, mix all together and make either 6 large muffins or 12 mini’s. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turn on broiler for 2-3 minutes for extra crispness on top. They come out about 260-ish calories for the 6 count with the chocolate chips so omit those and they will be closer to 220. Pair with some protein like some egg whites and a fat like a little peanut butter on the muffin and it’s an amazing breakfast that doesn’t seem SO healthy 😉 Eat things you love, just modify them.

2. Make 2/3 meals healthier to start. Make at least your breakfast and lunch healthier, or your lunch and dinner. For me, if I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, it’s actually easier for me to have a healthy dinner too. Why break the pattern, right? But if I start out the day with junk, I will be much less likely to eat healthy the rest of the day. After my healthy breakfast, it was easier to choose a good lunch today. I picked up a made-to-order salad at my favorite place and loaded it with vegetables and grilled chicken. It also had some crumbled blue cheese and a side of light ranch to dip my fork in, because that’s balance!

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3. Honor your cravings in an alternate way. This is kind of similar to #1 but it’s what helps me the most. I work long hours, no less than 10 hours of my day is spent at my job and therefore just a breakfast and lunch aren’t going to cut it. Around 4 I start to get antsy because I still have 3 hours of work left and I just want to leave. Then comes the late afternoon snack attack. BE PREPARED. Don’t come empty handed and leave yourself vulnerable to office junk food. I did this the entire month of December and that’s why I feel fluffy now. Bring an apple or banana with peanut butter, a Larabar or whatever your favorite type of bar is, portioned out trail mix, a fruity greek yogurt, or some dark chocolate. I prefer a bulkier “snack” that’s basically just another meal calorie-wise. I don’t get a chance to eat dinner until at least 8:00 PM but often later if I work later or teach a Spin class after work, so around 5:30-6 I am starving. Depending on your calorie needs and when you eat dinner, you can judge how big your snack should be. Also, maybe you are a big time post-dinner snacker. Since I eat dinner so late, I don’t usually have a chance to eat more because I need to be asleep. You don’t have to give up your dessert, you just need to fit it into your calorie needs for the day.

4. When encountering junky food that ya know ya just don’t need right now, repeat to yourself: “I know what this tastes like already. I’ve had it before, and I can have it again.” I may be crazy for this one, but I swear it works for me. If you really stop to think about a food you are about to dive into that you don’t exactly need, seriously remind yourself that you know what it tastes like. You know it will be available to you again. Why not just wait? John’s mom made a ton of her amazing cookies and I’ve been picking at them every day since before Christmas. I finally stopped myself last night and remembered that I had been eating them every day and I know what they taste like. They are freaking amazing so it’s hard to say no even when talking out loud to myself in the kitchen, but I managed to not even open the ziplock bag. There just seems to be less of a “I NEED NOW” feeling when you stop to think that it isn’t the last time you will see the particular food.

Let me know if any of these tips work for you! They aren’t anything special or unique but we often just need reminders of the basics to set us straight again.

What small changes do you make when getting back to healthier habits?