Having Self Control Pays Off And Makes You More Resilient

IMG_9416I had an epiphany about self control this week and I am having a very hard time putting it into words, but I will try my best.

Recently, I had the ultimate temptation. It only comes around once a year, but it is a big one for me. Halloween candy.kids halloween candyTypically I gorge on Halloween candy. Those teeny tiny chocolate bars mess with your head. But I was prepared. I ate a lot (mostly healthy food) and filled up. I got through Halloween. No candy. I got through the next day. No candy. I was really okay about it too.

Then Monday rolled around. I had dropped Holden and Beau of at school and Mia and Everly off at their first day of daycare. I had a lot of work to do and of course, our house was a mess. Messy houseThat’s when I decided: this is the moment. This is the moment that I am going to sit in the quiet of my home and enjoy a couple pieces of candy. And I did.IMG_9623The thing is, because I had exercised so much self control over the weekend, when I was most tempted, I had got myself past the hardest part. I was able to eat those two pieces of candy, and move on.

This was an “aha” moment for me, because it made me realize that by having self control in the moments when I was the most tempted, made me stronger in the days that followed.

I had weathered the storm.

Picture an earthquake. It’s hard, but you get through it. Afterwards, the after shocks don’t seem that bad. You are stronger now.

Moments like Halloween, Thanksgiving and even really stressful days of motherhood are my earthquakes. Going through those with my willpower still in tact, makes me stronger and more resilient each time.

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Restaurants, Routine Disruption And Why I’m Not Settling

After an entire week of eating well and taking care of myself, it was time to go away to a work conference. Leading up to going away, I was eating a lot of fresh, balanced meals. I was feeling satisfied, my gut was happy and my last bit of baby weight was starting to melt off.IMG_9123

I was feeling really good. My jeans were fitting better and I splurged for a few new outfits. Shopping wasn’t even that traumatizing. I was able to try on clothes and not feel discouraged.New outfits

From the moment I left on my little trip, I found I had two problems. The first was I was so busy and caught up in the excitement, that I barely took the time to eat healthy snacks or drink enough water. The second, was the pastas, lobster tails, and bacon were all there, ready to be eaten. Not being in control of preparing my own meal, put my self-control to the test. By the time breakfast lunch or dinner rolled around, I was stuffing my face.

Luckily, I mostly found myself reaching for protein and skipping the sugary carbs, but all of the food was very rich.

I did have my moments of self discipline, where I said no to a treat or dessert here and there. FYI I have a huge sweet tooth, so this was big for me.TemptationThese types of treats would typically be my downfall, but I turned my chair away and didn’t indulge!

By the end of my trip I had completely given in and found myself ordering meals that I would never eat at home. BreakfastLuckily my eyes were bigger than my stomach that morning and I only ate half of what is shown here.

Coming home, I have been relieved to find out I only gained one pound while I was away. I have gotten back into making healthy meals again, and I am slowly getting back into incorporating exercise into my daily routine.Healthy pasta salad

I am still on the journey to regain strength lost from my twin pregnancy, and tone the parts of me that are a little softer than I’d like. I have learned how to dress for my new body, and quite frankly, I love who I am right now.

But I also feel that my body deserves more. It has done so much for me. It has created these four beautiful humans and now it is time to give back to it. My tummy after four kidsI am definitely learning that for me, the hardest part to losing the baby weight and living a healthy lifestyle is not letting myself get derailed. I know the right foods to eat, and I know what exercises fit my lifestyle and help me see results.

I will not settle. I just need to continue to keep my eye on the prize, be patient with myself, and make sure my wellness journey comes from a kind place.

Mom life

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Stopping The Stress Eating Cycle

Stopping the stress eating cycle 2From close to my weight-loss goal (left) through gaining seven pounds (center) to losing six pounds.

Truth time. After rocking my healthy lifestyle like a champ at the beginning of the summer, and being within arms reach of my goal weight, I sabotaged my weigh-loss success. Stress hit in the form of my daughter going through the fretful fours, being too busy and my twin toddlers, well, being toddlers. So, true to form, I stress ate. Me stressed

This is a photo of me stressed. So hot right?

I hid, and avoided blogging about my body after babies journey. It wasn’t like I was reaching for junk food, I was just eating, and eating, and eating to comfort myself. Unfortunately, I am just barely five-foot-two, so basically a hobbit, which means if I even smell a dessert, I gain two pounds.gained weightThat smile on my face is very fake. If you ever see that smile, you know I am fake smiling at you. 

I was starting to think I should write a blog post about how it is normal for your weight to fluctuate after having babies, which it is, but that felt like I was throwing in the towel.

So, a week ago, I looked around at our home that was full of sick kids (’tis the season) feeling stressed out of my gourd. I was about to reach for a tablespoon full of peanut butter (yes, that is my vice, my sister’s too, so I can’t be that weird) and I voice in my head said “step away from the peanut butter Joanna.” So I did.

You see, I have been stuck in a vicious cycle. Our stress dies down, I get on track with eating healthy and exercising and then BOOM! Normal family stress hits and I start saying to myself “you deserve this.” Then I feel horrible physically and emotionally and get twice as stressed as I really should.

After I walked away from the peanut butter I hopped on my blog for advice, something that I actually don’t do that often. I re-read a couple of my posts that I wrote when I was in a good-place and was immediately reminded that I too, deserve to take care of myself and I don’t always have to go down with the ship.

So, for the last week I have gone back to eating healthy, and exercising when I can, without over-thinking it. I have lost almost six pounds since making this decision.

Here is the hard part, keeping the momentum. So, I am going to blog every Wednesday about my wellness journey. I hope that this will help hold me accountable. I debated about calling it “weight-loss Wednesdays” but I want to be able to cover everything, including my struggles with anxiety.

Here is the best part, I am what some may call an over-sharer. In fact, there are times in conversations that Mike will shoot me a look and tap his nose, meaning “reel it in a bit with the details Joanna.” That is why blogging is such a perfect fit for me. I really don’t give AF.

So, I will share every gritty detail, every pound, every photo.

Want to join in on the conversation? I’d love to hear all about your journey in the comments below or on Facebook.

Stay tuned…

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Losing The Baby Weight: Fast, Healthy, Clean Meal Ideas

Healthy Fast Clean Meal Ideas

Let me start by saying, I am not a chef. I am a very busy mom of four who also works every spare second I get. Although I have tried to overhaul my whole family’s diet and create fancy meals from recipes, I have always given up out of frustration, exhaustion and lack of time. I have finally found what works for me and everything has clicked. My kids and my husband may not be eating everything that I eat, but their meals are balanced and we are all happy. Today I have created a breakdown of what I am eating (and losing weight eating). It is simple, fast and doesn’t involve recipes. Many of the meals that I eat are the same everyday for a few reasons: it cuts down on groceries, there is less planning involved and I know they agree with my sensitive gut. I hope to slowly work in some more variety, but this is a great way to start. I have also added a grocery list to the end, incase you want to give this a whirl!

Breakfast: Toasted Almond, Apple, Raisin Oatmeal with ground chia seeds. This is a breakfast I discovered years ago in a fitness magazine article. I have altered it a little and omitted the sugar. I eat this everyday. It is fast, easy, delicious, filling and super healthy.

Healthy Breakfast Oatmeal

What you need: 1 TSP sliced almonds, 1 apple skinned and chopped, 1 TSP raisins, 1 TSP cinnamon, 1/2 cup large flake oats, 1 cup skim milk, 1 TSP group chia seeds.
To prepare: toast almonds on a greased skillet (MED heat) until you can smell a nutty aroma, add the oats, toast for one more minute. Reduce the heat to LOW and add skim milk followed by remaining ingredients. Cover and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, stir, cover and let sit for three minute. Add cold milk to cool if desired and enjoy!

Lunch: Go Wild Pasta. Pasta is my “bring to a deserted island food.” I won’t be giving it up anytime soon. I love whole wheat and vegetable pasta. I find as long as I load my pasta with veggies I can still lose weight and enjoy my gluten heaven! I will often make a large quantity for lunch and store it in the fridge so that I have two or three meals that I can quickly grab. I have purchased a couple of basil plants and am constantly adding fresh basil to many of my meals for added flavour. I am also a sun dried tomato addict. There are always sundried tomatoes in my pasta.

Healthy Pastas

Pasta 1: vegetable Fusilli pasta with sautéed red onion, cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, sweet potato (which I cube and microwave first to speed up cooking) and sun dried tomatoes.
Pasta 2: whole what bow tie pasta with UNCOOKED cherry tomatoes, sundries tomatoes, spinach, red peppers and fresh basil.
Pasta 3: whole wheat rotini pasta with sautéed red and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, sweet potato (which I cube and microwave first to speed up cooking), sun dried tomatoes and walnut pieces.
 Note: I don’t add any additonal sauce or oil to my pasta. The oil that comes with the sundried tomatoes is enough and I top it with a little sea salt.

Lunch Option 2: The Easiest Salad In The World. When I am busy trekking kids to daycare and appointments while trying to complete blogging deadlines, this is the healthy lunch I reach for. Fast Easy Salad

Grab a few handfuls of preached spring mix salad, rip up some turkey or chicken cold cuts and add some chopped red onion and red pepper. Squirt some lemon on top in place of calorie-packed salad dressing for a surprisingly satisfying salad.

Snack: For snacks (which I typically have two or three a day) I will either grab a piece of fruit and a handful of trail mix, or I will eat a bowl of uncooked oatmeal with apples. Anytime I have that carb or sweets craving, I will eat a bowl of chopped and peeled apple, uncooked large flake oatmeal, cinnamon and skim milk. This is super healthy and gives me so much energy. It simulates a cozy bowl of cereal which is my favourite.


Dinner: Embrace Fish Dinners. I had been getting really sick of having chicken all of the time and decided to start embracing more fish in my diet. Fish is already full of flavour so you don’t need to load it up with sauces. It is so simple to cook too!

Fish Dinner

Dinner 1: baked cod topped with salt, pepper and lemon slices. A side of mashed sweet potatoes (only a little skim milk and salt was added) and small garden salad dressed with lemon.
Dinner 2: baked tilapia with salt, pepper and lemon slices. A side of steamed broccoli, fresh basil and cherry tomato salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and a microwaved potato (no butter or sour cream). Tip: I highly recommend investing in an electric vegetable steamer. The steamed broccoli can be switched out for steamed asparagus, carrots, spinach, etc…

Take Out Dinner Option: Sometimes there are those days that our kids have all finally gone to bed, and I just don’t feel like pulling together a meal. I chose one of my favourite local takeout meals from The Works and cleaned it up. I went for their chicken breast hipster burger with a side salad. I switched out the cheese and lost the bun. What was left was a delicious chicken breast with sliced avocado and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Yum!

Healthy Takeout

NOTE: Other than a little taste on the weekend, I have cut alcohol out of my diet, or at least until I hit my weightless goal. I have however kept my two cups of coffee a day. I would probably die without my coffee. I don’t add any sugar and I only put skim milk in it. I am also drinking A LOT of water!

All of these meals are so easy and fast to make. I have found ways to repeat the ingredients but add new twists each time. All of my digestion issues I used to suffer from with my IBS are gone. On the days that the kids have me up a lot at night, I am finding that my energy level is still pretty high. Despite life stresses and all that comes along with being a mom of four, I am feeling pretty fantastic these days!

IMG_7023Grocery List: sliced almonds, apples (I prefer royal gala), large flake oatmeal, skim milk, cinnamon, raisins, ground chia seeds, vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta, spinach, fresh basil, lemons, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sun dried tomatoes (julienne cut in oil), red peppers, yellow peppers, red onions, walnut pieces, sweet potatoes, potatoes, spring mix pre-washed salad, turkey and chicken cold cut meat, sea salt, pepper, fruit for snacks (kiwi, bananas, plums), nuts, trail mix, fish (cod, tilapia, salmon etc…), vegetables for steaming (broccoli, asparagus, carrots etc…)

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My Busy-Mom-Of-Four Diet Secrets


In this vlog I have answered the number one question people have asked me after my post What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body And My Confidence went viral. What do I eat and what are my diet secrets? In this post I will talk about how I have taken elements of diet plans, such as Weight Watchers, The Zone Diet and the Eat Clean Diet, and made those fit into my busy lifestyle. Please add any questions you might have to the comments section.

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