all the kettle BELLS and WHISTLES

motivation and drive to work out, be healthier and have fun


July 2013

one day

It has been birthday party season in my daughter’s group of friends.  Four parties all within two weeks, which undoubtably meant cake, cupcakes and icing.  Just plain ol’ sugar.

A few weeks ago, I seriously committed to eliminating sugar from my diet.  I stopped snacking on fruit bars and tried to keep my peanut butter and jelly thievery down to one or two bites.  And amazingly enough, I stopped buying my coveted chocolate chip cookies.  I was honest with myself and knew I would need an evening treat, so I started making chick pea peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  They are super delicious, filling and made of three REAL ingredients.  You guessed it: chick peas, peanut butter, dark chocolate chips and the missing link, honey.

Birthday party number one.  Cupcakes.  Loaded with icing.  I’ve always removed most of the icing for my daughter because that is usually the only thing she eats.  Yuck.  And I’ve found that if I take it off, she’s more likely to walk away from the cupcake or cake.  Which is exactly what happened this time and she left me alone with her plate of fallen apart chocolate cupcake.  My willpower failed and I ate it.

At least it was only half?!

Even though I didn’t want to eat the treat, I was happy that I hadn’t grabbed one for myself as well as polishing off hers.  Small victories.

Next party.  Cake.  Covered with fondant.  I stood my ground at this party.  Again, I removed as much fondant as my protesting daughter would allow and she abandoned ship pretty quickly.  Plate of cake….again.  I walked away and hovered over the fruit, eating watermelon every time I felt an urge to try a piece.  SUCCESS!

After buckling my daughter up in the car, I feverishly texted my diet texting buddy and told her about my victory.  I was so proud of myself.  And I even stuck to my Paleo diet by only eating the chicken and fruit.  Happy dance – begin now.

Okay, done.

Third birthday party.  Cupcakes.  Same procedure as the last two.  Remove icing and my daughter walked away.  Unfortunately, my son wanted some this time and I was forced to touch the cupcake, which ultimately led to me having a bite or two.

And then I realized something at this party.  That all three of us could eat just one piece of cake or cupcake.  My daughter seems to always loose interest once the ever so exciting icing is gone and it’s easier to restrict a 17 month olds consumption and I don’t need more than a bite or two myself.  Brilliant I say!

Last party.  Also known as, the demise of me and my will power.

I think it’s safe to say I ate about four to five healthy sized pieces of cake.  And as I kept eating them, I was thinking “why am I not feeling full or tasting how much sugar is in this?”  I ate my piece.  Finished my daughters.  Went back for a small third and fourth piece, oh and I brought two more pieces home, which I ate most of all by myself on the couch that night cause my husband had to go in for a work related emergency.  Therefore, I blame him!

Monday morning.  First thing I did was throw out the left over cake.  Peace out cake slice.  About an hour later, my stomach did not feel good at all.  And within 45 minutes, it was official – I was sick.  So sick that my husband had to come home to watch our two little people while I was incapacitated.  And for 14 hours, I was either in bed and sorry to over share, or in the bathroom.

I don’t think I’ve ever received a bodily message more loudly and clearly – TOO MUCH SUGAR!

It has been almost four weeks that I had seriously cut back my refined sugar intake and it’s amazing how quickly my body started adjusting to the change.  I had even omitted baking with white flour and was using almond flour instead.  Most of my sugar came from fruit or honey or the 1/2 cup of organic dark chocolate chips in my chick pea peanut butter cookies.  I never felt like I was depriving myself of sweets, just not five huge pieces of cake worth.

Despite all the discomfort and pain I suffered through Monday, Tuesday I woke up feeling great.  And six pounds lighter.  Even though that does sound exciting, it’s all water weight and I knew I was serious dehydrated.  Water.  Water.  Water.  I even went to my usual Kettle Bell class and felt pretty strong.

I’m now starting to realize how important it is to properly feed your body.  This is something I think everybody knows, but it is hard to always follow through.  Myself included.  And after an experience like Monday, I have not looked at treats the same way.  I even skipped over cookies a friend of mine baked the other night and stuck with just watermelon, and gladly too.

Maybe one day, I will train my taste buds into loving real sugars like fruit and honey more then cupcakes and cookies.  Maybe one day, I will no longer see cake and yearn for it, but happily think “No thank you!”  Maybe one day, I won’t struggle to pass the plate of home made cookies or better yet, just be able to have one and be satisfied with that ONE.

One day.


stuffed pumpkin cookies

After we finished all the chocolate zucchini muffins and pumpkin pancakes turned muffins, I needed to bake another Paleo “treat”.  Having a healthier snack option in the house has been really helpful keeping me away from the nearest box of cookies. 

I came across a recipe for Paleo pumpkin breakfast cookies on Pinterest, which was perfect because I still had some pumpkin puree left over from my pancake muffins.  And these were extra special because you could tailor them with the choice of 2-3 cups of mixings.

I wanted something sweet, so I decided to put a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in, and I had a container of neglected sunflower seeds so I threw in one cup of those.  I also included half a cup of raisins.  

My dough yielded 17 cookies, at about 146 calories per cookie and almost 5 grams of protein each. 

While I was mixing all of the ingredients together, which was super easy in one big bowl, my husband and I decided to take a drive to get the family out of the house.  After a quick map search, I found a local lighthouse in a nearby state park.  So we loaded up the kids and I brought some fresh baked pumpkin cookies for our adventure.  

The cookies received mixed reviews.  My husband didn’t like all the sunflower seeds as their taste is a bit overwhelming but my 17 month old son didn’t seem to mind as he sat in the stroller eating the pieces I gave him.  And I think I have eaten the lion’s share for sure.    

Next time, I will adjust my mixing measurements as well as try different ones.  Maybe some almond slices and 

not nearly as many sunflower seeds.  I really loved the raisins so those will probably be a staple.         

Oh before I forget, the recipe gives you the option to use one or two eggs.  I went with one egg and used blue agave nectar.  I feel like I’ve been going through our honey so quickly that I wanted to try a different sweetener.  I don’t think it made a difference in the taste.

I hope you take the opportunity to give these cookies a try.  I have noticed how the past few Paleo treats I’ve baked required only need one bowl and a fork for stirring.  Super easy and no electric mixer required to cream all that butter!

stuffed pumpkin cookies


Less dishes make this mommy happy so all around, these cookies are the way to go.

And now I am off to eat my last one of the batch! 





Here is the link for the recipe I followed:




Who doesn’t cringe a little when it come times to say “cheese”?  I do as I’m giving my hair a quick feel check, trying to remember to suck in all while hoping that at least one of my children are smiling at the camera with me.  And I usually like to check the image right away, oh the instant gratification of digital cameras, and have my husband take another if things just aren’t looking right. 

Sound like you?  Or maybe it is just me.  

Which brings me to my next point.  Progress photos.  I’ve always noticed how fitness blogs or even just pictures posted on Facebook are used as a way to show someone’s body transformation from “before” to “after”.  As exciting as being able to see the physical changes, I have some issues with these pictures.

My initial thought is that my 128 pound body will undoubtably look way different then your 128 lb. body.  After all we are two different people with various fat and muscle content as well as different heights.  And if you or I don’t like what we see in the mirror, that could lead to too many negative thoughts.  

Not a good road to go down.  

And as hard as it is, do not compare yourself to others.  I find myself doing it occasionally, “wow, look how small her waist is” or better yet, “she has really nice calf muscles.”  But almost simultaneously, I catch myself and try to give myself a metal compliment.  We should always think positively about ourselves and appreciate the good aspects we like about ourselves, not just the physical things.

But back to the pictures.

I was recently reading someone’s personal fitness blog and how she did a 30 day diet and fitness challenge.  She displayed her day 1 and day 30 ab shots next to each other.  And there I was wishing I had her day 30 tummy, lean and muscular.  My husband looks over at my computer screen and I say in a sad voice, “I wish my stomach looked like that.”  And he reached for the best response he could come up with at that moment, “you look as good as day 1.”  


She clearly wasn’t happy with her day 1, but at least I looked like that.  I guess.  It was at that moment I realized progress photos tend to promote only positive feelings in those willing to post their pictures.  Clearly this woman was very proud of her hard work and dedication for the past 30 days, and I would be too, but there I was staring longingly at her abs.  Close that computer screen immediately!

Everyone’s goals are different and therefore everyone’s results will vary.  I think it can be inspiring to see someone transform themselves but for those struggling, it can be hard to look at others success.  

Therefore, I think it is a good idea to take pictures for your own, personal viewing.  I have a few from about 4 weeks post-second baby.  And boy is it encouraging to see how all those squats, pull ups, miles on the treadmill, grilled chicken dinners and kettle bell swings have paid off.    

Look honestly at yourself, not longingly at others and know that you can change anything you want.  And we should strive to be red faced and sweaty, not green with envy.

chocolate zucchini muffins

This morning I decided to make one of the four different paleo recipes I left tagged on my computer.  While clicking through them, my husband comes by and spots the chocolate zucchini bread and excitedly asks, “You’re making zucchini bread?”

Sure, why not.

My daughter instantly drags the kitchen chair over the island, hops up and states, “I want to help.”

Sure, why not.

The recipe is originally for a bread loaf, but I went with the cupcake tin.  I find it’s easier to control how much I am eating of such deliciousness if the portion is already predetermined.  The batter made 11 cupcakes and baked for 20 minutes.

chocolate zucchini batter

I swapped out the sun butter for 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup almond butter.  I also used a

lmond flour instead of coconut flour cause that is what I had on hand.

While mixing all the ingredients together, my daughter was thrilled to see  we were making “cupcakes!”  And chocolatey nut buttery goodness they were!

I had two for breakfast.  Guilty.

With my ingredient substitutions, I calculated that each muffin, or cupcake according to my daughter, had about 160 calories.

On second thought, these would make excellent birthday cupcakes.  Just throw some icing on top, finely grate the zucchini and I doubt the kids would notice they are eating something healthy. 

I hope you get the chance to bake and enjoy these!  Cause I know, they aren’t lasting long in my house.

Here is the link for the recipe I followed:

thank you FB

Thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook and being able to share exciting moments in your day, an old high school friend and I have reconnected.  She recently posted that she dead lifted 135 pounds, a wonderful feat, and not only was I excited for her, but determined to give it a try.  After all, isn’t that the epitome of healthy competition?  

The next day I approached one of trainers I’m friends with at my gym, and asked for his help.  He set me up with a 140 lb. hex bar (I never heard of nor used one of these before) and a standard bar with 135 lb.  I’m proud to say I accomplished 12 reps.  

I returned to Facebook to share my exciting new, especially with my old friend whose great work had encourage me to try something new.  Even though we are three states away from each other now, we got to share a little connection and I was mentally giving her a high five.

Fast forward about a week.  While on Pinterest, I saw that she had pinned a Paleo zucchini bread recipe.  First, I quickly checked the recipe and I was thrilled that I had all the necessary ingredients to bake it.  And then I headed straight to Facebook to message my friend,  “You eat Paleo too?!”  A girl after my own heart.   

She responded to my message explaining that she tries to follow a Paleo diet but some days are better than others.  And since I also strive to eat Paleo, we decided to become keep-each-other-on-a-Paleo-diet buddies.  YES!  Just what I could use.  Someone to share my daily diet with, exchange recipe and meal ideas with.  As well as to be there for encouragement and support for each other when we start to get off tract.

We spent the next two hours or so messaging back and forth about our goals, what we currently eat, what we would like to eat more of and touched on our work out routines.  I probably stayed up a little too late, we failed to mention the importance of sleep, but I’ll go to bed on time tonight – I swear! 

Not only was it great to talk to one of my best high school friends, but that almost ten years later, we have found common ground again.  

I am looking forward to being accountable to someone.  Most importantly, someone who clearly shares the desire to be strong, fit and healthy and who also understands the dedication and hard work it takes to achieve those goals.  

These things take not only time, but determination to stick with it and I truly hope that together she and I can step up our game and bring both our nutrition and fitness to the next level.

small victories.

I had a revelation on Friday while mowing the lawn.  And it was quite an interesting pathway of thoughts.  

I was recalling a conversation I had Wednesday night with one my friends about how she is working towards a healthier lifestyle.   She chooses one goal at a time and focuses on making that goal an accomplishment.  Instead of trying to change both her diet and exercise all at once, she’s dedicating her efforts on working out three times a week for now.  And once she feels like she has satisfied that goal, it’s time to work on the next.  All in all, a pretty level headed approach to improving ones life.    

So I’m pushing the lawn mower, in about 90 degree heat mind you and sweating like I don’t want to admit, and I’m mowing in my typical, yet unusual manner.  One section at a time.  I’d work on this square first and then another square.  Sort of an odd way to go about mowing the yard, but hey it works.  

I perfected this “skill” as a teenager while shoveling the driveway back in New York.  If there was snow in the drive way and I wanted out then I had to shovel.  I would remove the snow one small area at a time cause it always rewarding to see the snow free pavement.   And here I was again, section by section, slowly mowing away the overgrown grass.  

Then I realized (here’s my revelation) that’s exactly what my friend was talking about!

Taking one step at a time and really focusing on that accomplishment, or area of the yard, and then moving onto the next.  Maybe there is why I’m struggling with my diet while trying to amp up my work out routine.  I tried to take on too much at once and it was a bit more overwhelming than I anticipated or could handle at one time.  

Therefore, how do you proceed?  I’ve already added my goal of working out for five days a week onto my July calendar.  It’s helpful to see what to expect each day as well as make sure I schedule my workouts into my daily routine.  Play dates and grocery shopping can easily throw off my work out schedule so I do my absolute best to keep my life organized.   

Next, actually go to the gym and work out.  For the past three weeks now, I have stuck to my routine.  Five days a week – Check. 

Lastly, stick to my goal for the remainder of the month.  Once July 31st comes around and I have proven to myself I am capable of maintaining my work out routine, I think it is safe to say, I’m capable of moving forward onto my next goal.  Diet. 

Pick one goal that you can start today and start.  Maybe it’s trying to do 5 push ups without stopping or you are determined to cook veggies for every dinner this week.  Think of a place to get you going and see how far you can go!

support each other

After Kettle Bell class yesterday, a fellow work out mommy approached me and said not only has she been reading my blog (hurray!) and she struggles with her diet as well.  So, I’m not the only one!  It’s always a relief when people are dealing with the same issues as you and are willing to share.

Needless to say, I was pretty shocked because she looks like she snacks on raw eggs Rocky style.  So much so, that I have been considering asking her about her diet to get some insight.  Nothing like asking a woman “Do you mind telling me what you eat?”  Anyway, we started talking about how some people know how to exercise and effective work out routines to follow but are lacking in the nutrition department, and vice versa.

As much as I seem to complain about diet here, I do KNOW what I SHOULD be eating even though I don’t always do it.  Therefore, I decided to share my typical day of food intake, sans all the sweets and scraps of food I’m stealing from my kids.

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of old fashion oatmeal with a splash of almond milk to cool it down and 1/4 cup of blueberries. Green tea.

Snack on the way to the gym: 2 hard boiled eggs.

Snack on the way home: greek yogurt container or a small apple.

Lunch: Usually dinner leftovers of chicken and steamed veggies.  Green tea.

Snack: 2 cups spinach, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk blended into a smoothie.

Dinner: grilled chicken breast & steamed veggies (broccoli, asparagus, green beans) or grilled chicken sausage with grilled peppers and onions.

My night time snack is supposed to be half a grapefruit, but I’ve been having 1/2 cup of vanilla greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons of almond slivers.

Sometimes I do switch things around because my schedule is slightly different each day and I may or may not be hungry for one thing or another.  But all in all, I do my best to eat clean, unprocessed foods.

Unfortunately, I don’t weight train on my own but I do hope to get there one day.  Maybe when the weight room at the gym doesn’t feel so intimidating with the rows and rows of barbells or massive pieces of equipment or how do you adjust this bench?  That’s probably why I stick with my kettle bell class.  It’s an obvious set up.  Two kettle bells and watch the instructor.  Done.

I recently read the five best exercises a woman should do are: dead lifts, squats, lunges, pull-ups and dips.  So if you’re up for it, try to incorporate any of these things into your work out routine or simply into your day.  Grab a dining room chair for a set of dips.  During commercials jump off the couch and squat away until your show comes back on.  Remember proper form here.  Knees don’t go past your toes and sit your butt DOWN, not out!  Or instead of walking down the hallway, lunge down the hallway.  Again, no knees past your toes.  Maybe your kids will think you look silly and want to try too.

Reach out to those who can help you with the areas you are struggling in and always be willing to return the favor to those who seek your advice.


True story.  Both of my kids were awake at 4:30 this morning.  And were back in bed by 8:30am, fed, bathed and freshly dressed for nap time.  I was tired and frustrated that one, they woke up so early.  What’s wrong with them!  And two, they were both incredibly cranky because they had decided to wake up at such an unreasonable hour.  Myself included because well, they obviously woke me up and I could have used at least one more hour of zzzzzz’s.

It was quiet in my house by 8:45am and I was lying in bed reading a chapter in my current book entitled “Emotional Eating.”  Ha.  If you happened to be reading my posts, my last one was about emotional eating and how negative feelings such as frustration and stress lead me to cookies.

Can you see where my morning was leading me?

You got it right – cookies.  I closed the book out of annoyance that someone was trying to help me work through these feelings and show me better ways to deal with my emotions.  I have already have a great way to deal with them – cookies!  So I jumped out of bed.  Went to the kitchen.  Poured milk into the 1 cup measure cup that was sitting on the counter from breakfast (I used it to measure my spinach for my omelet) and proceeded to dunk cookie after cookie into it.

Such fleeting happiness.

I went back to bed, still tired and frustrated by the morning.  Between struggling to get everyone to eat some breakfast and control the splashing contest during bath time and pick up every last tiny bit of play dough my 16 month old son threw around the kitchen this morning, I was already spent and now 650 calories invested in cookies.  Side note, my son does have a pretty good arm!  Baseball?

I set my alarm so I could wake up with enough time to get ready to head to the gym for my usual kettle bell class and I remembered something a friend of mine said after readying my emotional eating post.  Make hurtles for yourself before you are allowed to eat what your emotions are driving you to crave.  So brilliant!

Okay.  I decided on a few hurtles to try out and see how it helps next time.

One: drink a large cup of water.  Not only is just good hydration practice, but it will hopefully filly my belly up and discourage the cookie monster within.

Two: throw on a sports bra and do 5 minutes of jumping jacks.  This is only possible when I’m home already but worth a try.  Maybe the quick exercise will be enough to boost my seratonin levels to change my mood.  And promote healthy thoughts of “reach for an apple” instead.

Three: I’ll have to think of a good one when I am out and about.  Maybe inclined pushups on the car?  Or drink a whole bottle of water that I keep warming in the trunk?

Now, I am dressed (kids are still napping!) and ready to go to the gym for class.  I am determined to burn at least 700 calories today as punishment for my weakness this morning.  But, it’s not really “punishment” cause I love my class and I have started to embrace the elliptical machine.  At the ripe old age of 27, my knees are shot and the treadmill hasn’t been my friend lately.  But, I do notice I push myself to keep my heart rate high on the elliptical enough that it’s a great cardio work out.

It’s never too late to change your day and away I go to make it better

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