Week 12…and GIVEAWAY!

Well, we made it to week 12!  This is the start of our last week on the 12 Week Tone Up and it’s been SO good for me!  I hope some of you following along have seen healthy changes from all these tips.

Sometimes it’s just the small little changes that make all the difference in living a healthy lifestyle.  Like swapping out processed meats and produce with fresh ones, getting enough sleep and avoiding sweets.  For our last week, the challenge is to research restaurant choices!


Research Restaurant Choices


In a perfect world, McDonald’s would not exist (except maybe as punishment for criminals), restaurants would all serve healthy delicious whole foods and the weather would always be a balmy 78 degrees.  Sorry to disappoint, but in today’s world there are a LOT of really, REALLY crappy food options out there.  Even worse, these restaurants get away with touting that something is “healthy” simply because it has processed chicken in it instead of beef.  Do your research and be familiar with your really healthy restaurant choices.


Let’s face it: we’re going to eat out.  We live in too fast-paced a world to be able to cook every meal from scratch.  The least we can do for ourselves is know which dining establishment won’t tattoo our chromosomes (there’s your ‘80’s movie reference) and give our grandchildren cancer.  I’m always shocked when I find out how many calories are in my favorite fast food items.  But it’s not just about calories either.  Find out what restaurants use evil trans-fat laden oils, super processed meats and add sugar to everything.  Check out this website for some ideas!  (Although it’s a great article, I obviously disagree with their McDonald’s pick.  I don’t care if they offer apples with their kids’ meals!  Don’t feed your kid those chicken nuggets!!)  It’s so helpful to have some choices in your back pocket for those crazy days when only fast food will do.


Now, on to the fun stuff…it’s time for our giveaway!  I have really come to love exercising over the years so I’m giving away a couple of my favorite things that help make exercise not only bearable but enjoyable!  

1.  A Hydroflask water bottle – this thing is amazing!  I’ve left cold water in mine for over 6 hours, in a car parked in the Phoenix summer sun (and car temps here can reach 150!) and I come out to water that is STILL cold.  It’s incredible!

2.  A box of Kind nut bars – I LOVE these!  My favorite go-to snack for after workouts or to stash in my purse.  They are made mostly with nuts and fruits, and always have less than 5g of sugar per bar.  Plus this chocolate flavor is delicious.

3.  Bluetooth headphones – this style headphone is seriously the only kind to stay in my ear when I run.  Plus, a bluetooth hookup makes it less likely you’ll trip on a cord and embarrass yourself at the gym 🙂

4.  Runners Waist Pack – sort of like a streamlined fanny pack, these things are a game-changer!  I stash my phone, credit card, key and any other necessities in it every time I go running…and it works great for the gym too.  Don’t know how I survived so long without it!


 To enter, head on over to THIS POST on the Whisk ‘Em Facebook page.  And good luck!!

Thanks SO MUCH for joining me on this fitness journey and I really hope you saw some improvements, like I did!  If you have any other tips or successes to share, please comment or email me!  Let’s get, and stay, healthy together!


Week 9: Cut Out Dairy

week 9-dairy

Today’s challenge is another food-related one…and even though it might not be the most popular challenge, every time I do it I see results!  


Cut Out Dairy


You ready for a shocker?  Dairy is NOT a necessary food group.  That’s right, I practically just committed nutritional heresy.  There is lots and lots of research available out there regarding this (I recommend doing some of your own digging online) but the long and short of it is this: you don’t need dairy to be healthy.  

Dairy does offer nutritional benefits (especially in its raw and minimally processed forms) but most Americans should cut way back.  Do you know why the USDA increased the recommended daily dose of milk on the food pyramid in 2005?  Because Americans were lacking in certain nutrients and the USDA figured getting people to increase dairy consumption was more likely than getting them to eat more veggies (read more here).  Well duh.  I’d rather drink a milkshake than eat broccoli too!  Sad, huh?!

Now I realize that this is radical news for the typical American who eats lots of cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream on the daily.  But you don’t have to cut it all out to see results.  I find myself feeling healthier and more energetic when I just substitute non-dairy milk and cut out the ice cream.  I also try to make better choices when it comes to other dairy products.  We use buttermilk for baking and yogurt (only plain- the sweetened kind has SO many added sugars!) as well as kefir (a cultured milk drink that has lots of probiotics) and cheese.  But we try to eat these sparingly and not at every meal.

week 9-1

If you’re looking for an alternative food pyramid to follow (heavy on the veggies and light on the animal products), check out this one here!

So if you’re up for the challenge, and you’ve never tried it before, start slow.  Try replacing your morning cereal with oatmeal and skipping the cheese on your sandwich or  enchiladas.  It’s really not as hard as it sounds, you just have to get used to thinking a different way about your food choices.  And there are some pretty good non-dairy milks out there (I like rice and almond) as well as ice cream (coconut is fabulous!).

week 9

I’d love to hear how it works out for everyone and if you notice feeling any different!  Here’s a favorite quote I always go back to when I find myself eating garbage…

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  

Mind-blowing, right??

I’m also getting excited for our giveaway celebrating the end of our challenge in just a few more weeks!  One of you guys will win all my favorite health and fitness stuff: the best water bottle on the planet, my favorite healthy snack, the coolest running/walking accessory I use and lots more!  Woot!

Head here for week 10!

Week 8: Do Something Different


We’re at Week 8 already!  Only 1 month left in our 12 Week Tone Up Challenge; who’s seeing or feeling results??  Changing bad habits can be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding, things you can do.  Every day you replace a negative action (i.e. eating body weight in Ben & Jerry’s) with a positive one (i.e. waking up early and exercising) is one day closer to your best body and, more importantly, a healthier lifestyle.  Even if I’ve got a few extra pounds on me, healthy habits make me so much more efficient at everything I do!
I’m excited for this week…


Do Something Different!


This week’s challenge allows for a lot more freedom than in past weeks, but it’s still super important.  Think about all the healthy habits you’ve acquired lately and what has and has not worked for you.  Then change one.  Was our water drinking week a total fail for you?  Then this week try trading out some soda for juice or herbal tea.  How about waking up early?  Were you a tad overly ambitious in thinking you could wake at dawn?  Then try getting up just 20 minutes early for some jumping jacks and crunches. 

The hardest part about any challenge or life-changing habit is always the START!  So change it up.  No one says you have to run if just the thought of it give you hives!  And if you absolutely HATE vegetables, then just stop worrying about them for a bit and focus instead on eating fewer refined flours and sugars.  Every little bit helps! 

My “something different” this week will be in regards to exercise.  I’m getting a little tired of my online videos so it’s time for me to get outside before the summer hits us.  I’m just going to do whatever sounds fun each morning; and some days I just plan on playing on the trampoline with my kids (that alone is a workout!!). 


What about you guys??  What do you plan on changing in your approach to healthy living this week? 

Click here for week 9’s challenge!

Week 7: Eat more Vegetables


5 servings of veggies daily

Ugh, collective groan, right?  Nobody likes being told to eat their veggies, right?!  But, here are the facts:

* They clean you out, fill you up, pack your body full of nutrients and all for a teensy amount of calories.
* The more veggies you eat, the less crap you’ll have room for!


I did a really fun boot camp a couple years ago and one of our challenges was to eat 4-6 CUPS of vegetables a day.  That was really tough for me!  I was so busy trying to figure out how to get that much roughage in my diet that I had no room or time to shove cookies in my mouth.  I automatically ate vegetables at every meal and snack.

The point is to get your vegetables to become the main staple of your meal or snack and not just a paltry side dish.  Swap spaghetti squash for noodles; greens for bread; and mushrooms, peppers and zucchini for meat.  It definitely takes some getting used to but is the best thing you can do to jumpstart healthy eating!  One of my favorite tips is to limit wheat to only one serving a day (for example, pancakes or toast for breakfast).  Then, any other time I’d default to eating wheat, I sub vegetables instead (like sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap instead of bread or squash instead of pasta).  It’s been really helpful for me!

I’d LOVE to hear all your tricky ways of getting more veggies into your mouth.  Recipes, tips and tricks…let’s have ‘em!

Head on over to week 8 when you’re ready!

Week 6: Exercise Early!



Get up early and exercise!


One of my favorite quotes of all time is this:

I don’t have insomnia, I have a Netflix addiction and inadequate respect for tomorrow.” Does that hit a little too close to home for anyone else?? Ha!

Let me just start by saying that I know sleep deprivation like an intimate friend.  It can be so frustrating to never feel like you’re getting sufficient sleep.  Some stages of life just equate exhaustion (like new mommyhood or grad school) but staying up late to finish one more episode of the Bachelor is really just self-defeating. We worked on this during week 3, so here’s our chance to do something with those extra hours of energy!

It hasn’t been since before Marilyn was born that I was able to get up before 7am consistently…but by doing that I was able to get out of the house and exercise and then come home in time to read scriptures or have quiet work time.  Just having those two things done before the kids woke up was an amazing feeling.  Consequently, I also got a shower before noon and felt invigorated all day.

Give early morning exercise a try!  I promise you’ll feel great.  (Uh, as long as you’re getting to bed on time.  I highly discourage trying to get up at sunrise when you passed out on the couch at 2am.) My goal is 6am, and hoping to work up to 5:30!

Let me know how it goes!

Week 7’s challenge is HERE!

Week 5: Keep a Food Journal


Wow- we’ve been doing our fitness challenge for a whole month! Anyone noticing any difference in how they feel or look yet? I’ve figured out that while sugar is definitely my biggest challenge, I can keep my cravings in check in a couple of ways: I have to make sure I eat a meal before I’m too hungry or else all I want is cookies. Also, if I desperately need something sweet, I eat a couple pieces of really good dark chocolate. (I buy the bulk dark chocolate discs at WinCo…they’re delicious!) But above all, I have to write down what I eat. It never fails, regardless of how well I may think I’m eating, I’m always surprised when I write it down.  “8 oreos??  Really?  I could’ve sworn it was only 2…” It helps me be more intentional in what I eat and also ensures that I don’t indulge too often. Never fails!

Putting my food journal on a sheet of paper up on my fridge helps too because then everyone coming into my kitchen can see it!  (This is no joke. Many a time it’s only been the thought of Luke reading “lunch: an entire banana cream pie” that’s stopped me from making really regrettable food decisions).

Lately I’ve been realizing that I’m not eating enough…well, at least of the right stuff at the right time.  Anyone with a life can fall into the trap of eating unhealthily because you’re on the run…or just eating your kids’ leftovers because honestly, after feeding and cleaning up after everyone, who has the energy to make a salad?!? 

If you’re into using your phone for your journal, I love the My Fitness Pal app! It helps calculate calories too (if desired) which always helps me to know what daily calorie goal to aim for. I often have no idea how many calories I should be taking in. Both eating way too many as well as too few can sabotage weight loss goals.

Good luck keeping track this week!  What do you think you’ll discover when you start writing it all down?

Follow this link to Week 6!

Week 4: Drink Water

Does anyone else feel like the minute you try to improve in a certain area, everything works against you?!?  How did you all do on getting more sleep?  I did great for a day or two…then my little sister went into labor, so one night I only got 2 hours of sleep while waiting for that little stinker baby to be born (who came 15 hours later by c-section!) .  Then my husband was out of town and my kids kept staying up late.  THEN, my little 6yo Juliet got a nasty laceration on her forehead and we were up till midnight at the ER.  Come ON universe!  But, I did get enough sleep to remember how good it feels to be well rested.  And that was enough to get me motivated! Plus, I got a new cute nephew!!  I posted a pic of his darling little baby mug on my Instagram!


So, I was getting frustrated the other day that my weight has only see-sawed the past several months or so…no real progress.  But honestly, I can definitely tell a difference in my fat/muscle ratio since I’ve been exercising regularly and working on cutting out the garbage in my diet.  I always forget how good it is to feel strong, especially after months of skipping exercise and indulging a bit too much.  I love feeling powerful, even while doing my everyday chores and kiddie hauling.  

I’ve got lots of work still but progress feel really good, right??  Ok, ready for this week?!


Drink ONLY water!


Some of you keep telling me that soda is your ultimate kryptonite so I’m interested to see how you do this week!  This hasn’t been a challenge for me for a while but I can always use a good reminder.

Remember: drinking water (just like any healthy habit) can make you feel really good…but it may take a while to get feel the benefit outweighs the sacrifice.  If it really doesn’t taste good to you at first, try adding fruit or mint and keeping it on ice.  And just try it for a week!  I bet even a week off soda, tea and juice would be enough to feel differently. Try to stick with it!  By the end of the week you’ll start to develop a taste for it.  When I’m really thirsty, soda and juices just taste gross to me.  I’m only satisfied by a big, clean glass of water (and I don’t even drink mine cold anymore!  I know, I’m such a weirdo).   

And if you need a reminder why soda is so awful (especially diet!!) then read some of this, this or THIS!  Yikes!

Happy drinking! (ha!) 

Week 5 is this way!

Week 3: Sleep 7-8 Hours

We’re on to week 3, guys!  Now that we’ve jump started our exercise, everyone should be feeling pretty good!  How did the high intensity workouts go?  I usually have a hard time finding creative workouts if I can’t get to a gym or out to run.  But, I kept up on my Piit28 workouts for the past several weeks and have felt so strong!  Then I started feeling sick.  It’s like one thing after another over here!  But this week things are back to normal and I’m looking forward to doing all the challenges simultaneously: no sweets, HIIT workouts aaaand…. SLEEP!


Sleep 7-8 hours

I am THE worst at this lately.  I feel like I can never really truly relax until my kids are in bed.  That means that if everyone isn’t down until 8:30 or 9, then they’re not asleep until after 9 or 9:30 and then I’m up until 11:30 or 12 sewing, cleaning, getting projects done or just zoning out in front of the TV.

If I don’t get that time to myself, I become a very cranky individual. In fact, Luke can tell you about a fit or two I’ve thrown when he wants us to go to bed early and I’m not  done “relaxing” 🙂


Don’t you wish you could sleep this soundly every night??

Not getting enough sleep really takes its toll on you.  I should know!  Also, when exercising regularly, your body needs adequate rest in order to build muscle.  You might think that running yourself ragged would burn more calories but instead you just get burnt out and end up sick.  I also know this from personal experience 🙂  The fact is, adults actually need less sleep as they age…but most active adults still need about 7 hours a night (I need closer to 8!).  When’s the last time we all got that regularly??

My personal goal is to get to bed by 10:30 pm.  That way I can get a good 8 hours and still be up before the kids.  I know not everyone needs as much sleep as I do, but more sleep can never hurt a tired overworked mom!  Also, make sure that you have AT LEAST one full hour of good sleep before midnight…going to bed at 1am and waking at 8am doesn’t count!  My mom always told me that the hours of sleep you get before midnight are twice as good for you as those you get after.  Not sure if there’s actual scientific evidence behind that but it sounds like good advice to me!

This is going to be a challenge that might not yield immediate weight loss results but keep it up and you’ll be happier, have more energy and, most importantly, have more will-power to keep up with the other challenges.

Now, off to bed with you!!

This way to week 4!

Photograph by Lindsey Joslin

Week 2: High Intensity


Alright, everyone…week 1 is behind us!  How did you all do??  To be honest, I didn’t do great.  Luke and I had started our fitness and nutrition challenge (Piit28) at the start of March so we’d already been off sugar for 2 weeks…and last week I snapped!  It was a set back but I actually learned some interesting things about me and sugar, namely that when I overindulge after weeks of no sweets, it makes me sick….ugh.  Alrighty then, good to know!

We’re back on track this week and talking about workouts!  Specifically high intensity workouts…

I totally understand how hard it is to get regular exercise of any kind…too little sleep, time, energy: it all effect us and our desire to get moving.  But every day that we don’t get our heart rates up, we’re making it harder to move in the future!  While we all know that any kind of exercise is better than Netflix, high intensity intervals are the best.  And here’s why…

[Read more…]

Week 1: Cut out sugar!


Welcome back, fitness challengers! It’s our official week 1 start of the 12 week Tone Up and I hope you’re ready to make some great healthy changes!

I leaked our first challenge in the intro post last week so you already know…


Eliminate Sugar!

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