Category Archives: Healthy Eating

The Confidence To Be Curvy {Even If You Want To Lose Weight}

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be healthy — about society’s definition of health, the medical community’s definition, my own personal definition. And then the other day I came across an older post by CeCe on her blog Plus Size Princess. She had to defend her use of the phrase “weight loss” because while she promotes body positivity, she also promotes working out and eating foods that are good for you through her PSPfit program.

I actually felt bad for CeCe because, as someone who also wants to stand up for having a healthy body image, I am working on losing weight and trying to work out regularly and eat healthfully. I don’t understand why we have to choose between one or the other. It’s like you get backlash from people who think the only way to be healthy is to be thin, yet you also get women who are happy being curvier who don’t want you to promote weight loss.


Here’s the thing: We all just need to learn to be supportive of each individual’s feelings about his or her own body. Period.

If you are heavier and you want to rock your body in whatever fashions you love and you don’t really worry about going to the gym, that is your prerogative!

And, if you’re like me and you want to be comfortable in your own skin at any size, while feeling good about eating healthfully and getting your sweat on, go for it!

I don’t want anyone to ever think that I am not OK with their life choices based on whatever size they currently are, or the size they want to be. And I would hope that others wouldn’t judge me on that either.

I want to lift others up — I want to lift my own self-esteem up — no matter how much I weigh. But, if we’re really being honest here, I will tell you that I’m not truly happy with myself at my current weight. However, while I may feel happy when I lose 20 or 30 pounds, that’s still not technically a weight that most of society would deem a good goal. But my definition of happiness is my own.

The fact is, my health, and anyone’s health, is a personal choice and, I believe, something to be discussed with your own doctor. I do believe that regular movement — whether it’s simply walking or more strenuous workouts (your choice!) — is healthy. And I do believe that certain foods are obviously more nourishing for our bodies and some foods should be eaten only in moderation. But that is my definition of health. And if that definition awards me good sugar levels, cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and the ability to live life to the fullest (which, thankfully, so far it has!), then that, in my book, is success.

As CeCe said in her post: “I finally understand that the most valuable results I can strive for are health related, not scale related.” That is definitely something I am working on, and I hope I can fully feel that way one day, too.

Whether or not I lose the 20-30 pounds that I’d like to lose, and then reevaluate where I want to be, I still want to be happy with my body and the things it affords me to do in the meantime. I still want to love myself and strut confidently in my favorite outfits.

We all deserve to feel that way — and we shouldn’t judge each other based on size or shape or skin color or hairstyle — we should just applaud one another for feeling good and doing good.

So go out there, be who you are, and do it confidently. And to CeCe — keep doing you!


What I’m Loving Now

These sandals:

This bathing suit cover-up:

This snack:

packetSalt3D_pair This song:

This workout:


These sleep shorts:

This quote:


These dance moves:

Happy Friday, y’all!

The Next #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k: July 18

I know, I know what you’re thinking: a 5k? In July? Seriously, Jen?

Yup! Look, if I was able to start my #stellarmiles challenge last summer, we can certainly run or walk 3.1 miles on July 18 … as long as it’s early. Like, really early.

So I hope you will get ready to meet me at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, and run or walk with me!

5k magnet Please let me emphasize the WALK portion of this #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k. I want to encourage everyone to challenge themselves with the distance of 3.1 miles, but know that walking the entire way, or part of the way, is absolutely 100% OK! If you want to run the whole way, that’s OK, too. The more, the merrier!

During the next couple of months, I will offer running and walking tips in my new monthly newsletter (subscribe to the right!) with links to other articles or inspiration. Look for more on this topic via my Facebook page or my Instagram account, too.

And don’t forget that if you’re reading this blog outside of where I live in Alabama, you can join in virtually! Tell me how your training is going, ask me questions, and then run or walk with me on July 18. I will do another Instagram challenge that day with a giveaway included! (Stay tuned to the blog to check out what my friends won by participating in the last Makeshift 5k! I’m slow getting this prize to them, but it’s coming!)

As I work on my goals for May to find balance between eating more healthfully and still continuing to exercise, I don’t want to let my walking/running ability slide. So having a goal like this Makeshift 5k to work on, in addition to going to my boot camp, spinning and yoga classes, will keep me on track and give me a goal to work toward.

Will you join me for the #stellarmiles Makeshift 5k on July 18? I hope so!

Midmonth Update: Workouts & Food


I am a few days late checking in with y’all on how my monthly goals are going.

This month I really wanted to focus on eating, and I am not doing too bad. I will admit to eating a few too many sweets — what is it about baked goods that makes me go weak in the knees? But more often than not this month I have turned to some fairly tasty, healthy snacks, namely The Good Bean’s roasted chick peas, dried apricots, fresh raspberries and portion-controlled cashews.

My weekends have been … OK. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I haven’t had some indulgences on the weekends, because I have. I do believe that if I keep myself in check during the week, I can still have a little leniency on the weekends and lose weight. But admittedly I need to work on my weekend food routine.

Another area I need to work on is preparing meals. I am a big fan of grocery shopping only once or twice a week for the items I need for all of my meals — but lately I feel like I’ve been at the grocery store every other day. I actually went last night, and I got the ingredients for meals for throughout the week. I will check in soon with some of the dishes I am eating for lunch and dinner, but this will be my week to stick to the plan and not give in to the ease of picking up food and bringing it home, even if it is a salad!

As for workouts, I’ve been pretty happy with my progress! I hit up Firm Body Boot Camp last week, spinning and yoga. The week before I was nursing my sore knee, so I focused more on my eating, but last night I went for a short walk/run, and thankfully I felt pretty good! I want to fit in at least two walks/runs and a boot camp class for the remainder of this week.

I really am learning that when I eat more healthfully and drink a ton of water, the weight comes off a little easier and I simply feel better. Of course, this is my biggest struggle, so I am taking it one day at a time. My workouts fuel that healthy attitude and make me feel stronger and less stressed. So finding that happy balance with food and fitness is my focus this month, and so far I’m pretty happy with how I’m moving forward.

Check in with me on what you’re working on during May! Are you making progress with your goals? We’ve got this!

Working It Out

Had to give y’all a quick update on how my workouts and nutrition have been going lately! In yesterday’s post I expressed wanting to cut down on the “fat talk.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work on my health and fitness. It just means I want those goals to come from a place of love for myself and not from criticism or society’s prescribed notion of how I “should” look. So, here’s an update:

1. Workouts — I’ve been pretty consistent lately, getting in a run/walk or strength-based workout each week, plus a spinning class and a yoga class. While I’ve worked out about four times each week since I got back from my business trip at the end of February, I would like to add one or two workouts a week to that for the rest of March and going forward. Today I am leaving on another work trip until next Monday. I went for a run Monday night, and I am doing a 5k with coworkers on Saturday while in Texas. I hope to fit at least one or two more strength-focused workouts in while I’m away.

2. Nutrition — As usual, this is where I’ve been struggling. I have had moments when I’ve made the right choices, and moments when a cheeseburger or brownie craving has gotten the best of me. I still wholeheartedly believe in the 80/20 rule — eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself indulgences 20% of the time. It’s keeping to those percentages that’s always been tough for me! It’s a daily struggle, but I am working on it. And I’ll keep reminding myself that each time I succeed, I’m doing something good for myself and that in itself is a great reward!

The good news is, I have lost some weight since I first started my Scale Back Alabama journey! A huge thanks goes to my friend Sherri, who joined me for a fun workout this past Saturday. Her encouragement and support, plus putting up with all of my text messages, has been the best part of this endeavor!

me sherri

Mid-workout at St. Vincent’s on Saturday!

I’ll let y’all know next month at my final weigh-in, April 12, how I’ve done overall. Wish me luck!

Healthy Reads & Inspiration

I’m back! The last couple of weeks were busy, especially the fun-filled week I spent working at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro in Greenville, S.C.

classic pic

This is the biggest bass fishing tournament of the year, and I’m proud of my coworkers for pulling it off in such a great fashion every year! Good times were had by all, including a few glasses of wine and a few chicken tenders, handfuls of trail mix and shared desserts. Needless to say, I’m working on getting back to a better place eating-wise, and I stocked up on groceries to make lunches and dinners this week. Luckily I did a whole lot of walking at the Classic, including one run on the treadmill before the days got too hectic. I forgot to wear my FitBit on one of my busiest days, but other than that I totaled roughly 60,000 steps in six days. That means I met my goal each day!

But I’m looking for the inspiration and motivation to jump back into watching calories; eating more whole, clean foods; and getting back into working out — with a newfound dose of energy.

Here’s a few articles to get amped up for the week!

Here’s a piece I wrote recently on a boot camp-style gym in Homewood, Ala.: Boot camp classes find home in Homewod

And an interview I did with Sophie Gray for about her downloadable high-intensity workouts and nutrition advice.

The Truth About Detoxing from Women’s Health. I’ve always wondered if detoxing really works, so this article opened my eyes a bit!

Looking for some new workout gear? Here’s some great plus-size brands from Buzzfeed: 11 Awesome Brands For Plus-Size Workout Clothes

Let these blogs help you learn to love your body — Love the skin you’re in: 9 uplifting body-positive blogs from Mashable.

Some recipes from Pinterest I hope to try soon:

Tex-Mex Breakfast Sandwich
I think I could make these ahead of time and add avocado and salsa just before eating each morning.
Turkey & Laughing Cow Cheese Wrap
I’m not a fan of cucumber, but I would substitute celery or lettuce for some crunch. I can’t believe I never thought of using Laughing Cow cheese on a sandwich or wrap before!
Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad
I think I could leave the mayo out of this altogether and just use avocado to make it “creamy,” then eat this in a lettuce wrap or atop lettuce as a salad.

I hope you have a happy, healthy week!

photo 1 (49) photo 2 (48) photo 3 (34)

Clean Eating: Post-workout Snacks

Continuing my education of learning to eat cleaner, today I have a great guest post from Jessica at Spiffy Eats & Giggle Water. I’m happy to say that I’ve been working out pretty consistently this month, as I hope you have, too. So these post-workout snack tips will help us all!

IMG_6092I cannot be the only one who has gone on a nice, long jog and thought to myself, “I did so well, now time to refuel. Margaritas, cheese dip and tacos to the rescue!” And the next day felt like complete crap! Am I alone here?

After working on my fitness so hard, it can be really tempting to put highly processed, fatty foods in my body. Don’t get me wrong, we all know I love healthy fats, which are essential to our health (avocados, salmon, cashews, etc.) but there is a time and place. Research shows that post-workout is simply not the right time for fats. “Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post-workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.” ( I like to limit any highly processed foods for occasional splurges or social engagements. Regardless of splurging preferences, the hour after completing a workout is not the right time for fat.

Large amounts of glycogen are burned during exercise. Prime time to refuel glycogen is during the post-workout phase. If we neglect to refuel with the proper carbs and protein during this time, we are more likely to feel worn out, tired or sluggish. I would rather eat some good food and feel better the next day!

I am not claiming to be the ultimate expert in nutrition, but am simply sharing some helpful concepts that I personally use based on my knowledge as a Certified Personal Trainer. Your specific sport may have differing recommendations as well. Again, I am sharing what works for me after walks, jogs, Spinning®, runs or light weight-lifting. Within an hour after a workout, I stick with:

  • <2 g fat total
  • .2-.4 g protein per 1 kg body weight
  • .8-1.2 g carbs per 1 kg body weight

At my current weight, 136 pounds (61 kg), I aim to consume between 12-16 grams of protein and 48-55 grams of carbs within an hour of completing a workout, to allow my body optimum recovery. I like this formula because it is specific to my body. Some articles I have read claim that everyone should consume the same amount of calories after a workout. Hello!!! All of our bodies are different and unique. I prefer a formula that incorporates my exact body mass into the equation.



steel cut oats

3 egg whites (12 grams protein) and 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp steel cut oats (50.4 g carbs) — I mix the egg whites in with the dry cereal and water, and then cook as directed.

red-apple-83085_640tuna can 2 apples (50 g carb) and 1 can tuna (10 g protein) — I like to chop the apples up and add them to the tuna, or slice the apples thin and put the tuna on top.

black beans

1 cup unsalted black beans (41 g carb 15 g protein) <1 g fat — This one is great because it requires zero prep work. Heat them on the stovetop and eat up!


2 bananas (54 g carbs) and 2 oz organic/all natural turkey (10 g protein) — I like to freeze my bananas and then put them through my Champion Juicer or in the blender with a little water for an ice cream-type texture. And there’s nothing wrong with some turkey on the side.

Recovering properly is a very important part of your overall health and fitness. I hope I have encouraged you to try one of these snack ideas after your next workout, and keep those margarita cravings at bay! (At least until a few hours after the workout. Ha!)

Read Jessica’s last guest post  — a delicious clean eating dip recipe!