How to get off of a nutritional tangent…

The professor in one of my classes is notorious for going off on a tangent.  She obviously is passionate about the lecture subject, however, something in the power-point will distract her, luring her off topic to a more comfortable and well-versed branch of knowledge…something that gets her REALLY excited.  Sometimes these distractions will last 5 minutes, sometimes they will last 20, but every once in a while, this professor allows herself to become so immersed in the conversation sparking her interest that before she knows it, half of the students are glazed over with lost interest and the class time is nearly over.

This week I went off on a nutritional tangent.  This was not just a 5 minute, briefly mentioned, off-topic subject.  This was a full-immersion, so far off-topic you might think you are in the wrong class kind of catastrophe.  🙂

For those of you who follow some sort of healthy eating guidelines, you probably know what I’m referring to.  You are sailing along, feeling great, following your plan, and suddenly something unexpected comes up.  An unplanned social gathering, a potluck at work that you just can’t say no to, or a stressful situation in your daily life that ends you up in the drive-through of the nearest ice cream shop.  These scenarios are all completely containable when isolated.  You had an unplanned, free meal, so what?  However, if you are anything like me, once you pop you can’t stop!  That all or nothing mentality that I have been training myself to fight against is what accelerates that one slip up to a less-than-healthy dinner followed by a double serving of ice cream.  Sometimes the damaging effects of a nutritional stray leads to one day of off-plan eating, sometimes more,  and sometimes that one off-plan choice leads to a complete reversion of lifestyle choices, something comfortable…before you know it you’ve abandoned your plan, your goals, and you are right back at the start with nothing to show for it.

So how do we combat this?  How do we get back on topic?


In class there are a whole group of students to bring you back to reality if you’ve veered too far off course.  You need this accountability in your nutritional plan as well.  Confide in someone, whether it be your spouse, your best friend, your workout partner, or your mom, use this person as a talisman to bring you back to reality when you have so much carb-fog you can’t see daylight.  For me, I have friends on  (I love this app) and a very supportive husband who very is good at not rolling his eye when I freak out about getting off track :).

Revisit your Outline

Lecturing usually requires a neat little outline of the main points that are to be covered in the class.  If the professor gets distracted, she can always refer to the outline to get back on course.  YOU NEED AN OUTLINE.  I always make a list of my short term goals, my current status, and my plan of attack (my current nutrition plan) and I hang it somewhere very visible.  This is great to refer back to when you feel lost and are having difficulties getting back on track.

Look at the Big Picture

What is the message you are trying to get across?  What is the end goal?  My end goal is always a healthy, well-balanced life.  One or two days of getting off track are like a millimeter on the meter-stick of life!

Bring Closure to the Topic

If a professor is off topic in a lecture they are forced to find a segue back to the original topic matter.  You need to do this too.  So you had ice cream before bed AGAIN.  That’s fine, it’s done now.  Drink some water, pack your healthy meals for tomorrow, and be done with it.  Go to bed and prepare your mind to start fresh the next day.


Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to think about the way you felt when you first decided to eat more healthfully.  Think about your motivations, think about how pumped you were, how determined you were.  Take in those feelings and take a big breath.  Tomorrow is a new day.

This post is Oliver approved 🙂


Guest Blogger Steve Seiter: Starting Your Fitness Journey- A Three Part Series!

Part 1- The Mental Game (Get Your Attitude Right Son!)

Hello! My name is Steve Seiter, and I’m married to the wonderful woman who created this blog! I’ve been asked to share some of my expertise in the fitness industry, namely how to begin your very own fitness journey. As a personal trainer for the past 8 years, I’ve seen countless people start, and subsequently stop, their fitness journey, and I’ve also been blessed to be an integral part of many of my clients’ fitness journeys from the beginning. I would venture to guess that for as many people that join gyms, participate in personal training, or workout in their homes to DVD’s and stick with their programs long-term, just as many start… and then stop. Sometimes over and over again (think Yo-Yo fitness- similar to Yo-Yo dieting but without the stale rice cakes and no calorie, fake-sugar desserts!!).

So what causes some people to start a fitness regimen and stick with it long-term, while others start and stop, over and over again, barely able to get into a fitness routine before crapping out, becoming discouraged, and altogether quitting…only to give it another failing attempt several months later after stepping onto the scale and wondering why the thing keeps arbitrarily adding 10 pounds a month. Well, as the title of Part 1 suggests, one’s Mental Game is important, very important actually. So important that it’s the first topic in this three part series!

So what, exactly, do I mean by your Mental Game? To put it simply, your Mental Game is your Fitness Attitude. There are many types of Fitness Attitudes out there. There are the I Want To Look Good For Spring Break Attitudes (i.e. short-term Attitudes), the I’ve Gained Too Much Weight And Need To Get It Off Now Attitudes (i.e. frantic Attitudes), and the I’m Not In The Shape I Should Be In And Need To Do Something About It, In A Healthy Way attitudes (i.e. long-term Attitudes). Sure, there are hundreds of other Attitudes, as everyone has their very own reason for starting a fitness program. But most Attitudes fall into one or more (think of the I’m Too Fat And Out Of Shape And Spring Break Is Right Around The Corner! Attitude) of the three categories above.

While you ponder which category you might fall into, keep this in mind… If you fall into the short-term or frantic Attitude categories, you are SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE. Sure, there are people that started their fitness journeys in the short-term or frantic categories and ended up sticking with their fitness routine long-term (and by long-term I mean lifetime. Yes lifetime. Fitness should be a life-long pursuit. Period.) But this is not common. Long-term Attitudes, as you might have guessed by now, are the best way to insure that once you start your fitness journey, you will have the best chance at sticking with it for the rest of your life.

That’s not to say that a short-term attitude can’t be motivation to get started on your fitness journey. Weddings, Spring Break, and Summer vacations are all great BEGINNING motivators to spur your entrance into the fitness world, but you must realize that if the short-term Attitude isn’t backed by a longer-term Attitude, your fitness journey will likely wane and ultimately die a slow, agonizing drug-out death once the heat and hangover of Miami Beach wears off. You must must MUST have a back-up long-term Attitude for your short-term motivator Attitude.

Finding your long-term Attitude may take some time. Take it, ponder it, and really think about what will motivate you long-term to stick with your fitness journey once you’ve started it. And let’s be clear… Weight loss is NOT a long-term Attitude. Unless of course you plan to continually lose weight for the rest of your life. Weight loss is, again, a great beginning Attitude, but it won’t suffice on its own. Isn’t worth a few hours, days, or even weeks to be realistic with yourself and to find that Attitude that will set the stage for the rest of your life? Once you find it, write it down. Put it somewhere where you can see it frequently. Let it motivate you, and take comfort in the fact that you have just overcome one of the hardest parts of starting your fitness journey… getting your mind right. Do realize that you may not be able to coast from here on out. You may have to constantly remind yourself down the road, as you begin your (oftentimes grueling) workouts and deal with sore muscles, why you started this journey and what your long-term Attitude is.

You may even think of other long-term Attitudes (yes, you can have more than one!) that you can add to your first one. Things like maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, and increasing bone density are all great long-term Attitudes that can be very motivating. Consider the cost of decades of blood pressure (and other) medications versus the cost and benefits of decades of exercise and health risk management. There is absolutely no comparison. Well, that’s it for part 1! Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon!


Steve Seiter is currently Head Trainer at Kinex Fitness Studios in Urbana, IL.  Steve has his B.S. in Kinesiology from University of Illinois and is an ACSM and TRX Certified Personal Trainer.

Power Yoga: It’s a love-hate relationship!

In the last year, dealing with several chronic pain issues has made me acutely aware of how important flexibility and mobility are in injury rehab and prevention.  With this realization, I decided to start adding more stretching and some short yoga sessions into my weekly rotation.

I started out with some routines from this book…The Athlete's Pocket Guide to Yoga Cover

Which lead me to this DVD…

Now I have to admit, I struggled with this.  If you have ever done yoga, whether you’ve only just dabbled or are close to being a master yogi, you know, IT IS HARD.

It is uncomfortable, it puts you in positions that you know you probably are not anatomically structured to be in.  So it should come as no surprise that I had a really difficult time being consistent with this DVD and with several other DVDs that I have tried at home without anyone to push me.  It was time to get in the studio.

Now luckily I have a good friend who was up for a challenge, so a few weeks ago we meandered into the yoga studio at our local YMCA, ready for something called “Power Yoga”…we weren’t quite sure what we were getting into…

The Verdict

I LOVED IT!  Not in the way you love a massage, or a warm bath, but in a way that makes you dread going because you know it is SO hard, it will challenge you, you will not be able to do most of the poses, and YOU WILL FALL DOWN, but every once in a while you will be able to get your leg in a position you thought was impossible, and then you will feel UNSTOPPABLE.  YES!

I highly recommend trying a yoga class, or two, or three, because not all instructors, or classes are created equal, and somewhere out there, there is a class that will provide a “just-right” challenge for you!

Other than the mental gains I have found from attending this extremely difficult class, I have noticed less pain, I’m sleeping better, and I have more strength in the rest of the week!  Success.  🙂

Barbecue Crockpot Chicken and Chicken Gumbo

I tried two new recipes this week that I thought would be easy enough to tweak to make healthier…

1 – 1.5 pounds skinless chicken breast;1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder;1/2 Tsp Pepper;1 Tsp Onion Flakes;1 Cup of BBQ Sauce & Hamburger Buns. Set your crock pot to low place everything but the BBQ sauce. Cook for 3 – 4 hours or till the chicken is fully cooked.  With 2 forks shred the chicken and pour in the BBQ sauce and mix.  Cook for additional hour.Serve on hamburger buns!Enjoy!

The sugar content in this one because of the BBQ sauce was a little high for my nutritional plan but after a little tweaking, Steve loved it!

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast-cleaned
  • 1/2 T Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 T Pepper
  • 1 T Onion Flakes

Set Aside:

  • 1 Cup BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
  • Whole Wheat Buns
  • Homemade Red Pickled Onions (See recipe below…)


Put all ingredients except the last three in the Crock Pot for 3 hours on low heat.  When fully tender shred chicken and add BBQ sauce.  Cook on low heat one more hour.  Serve with whole wheat buns or alone and top with picked onions!  Raves!

I was a little concerned about the chicken being too dry but I flipped the breasts a couple of times during the process and they really created their own juice.  Also, I increased all the spices and really loved the result.

You can find the original recipe here…

Below is Bobby Flay’s Red Pickled Onions Recipe from the Rachel Ray Show that I am trying this afternoon…


  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced


Bring the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, the sugar and the salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Put the onion in a medium bowl, pour the vinegar over, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before serving.

I’ll be trying this with Stevia instead of sugar so that I can have some too!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Up next was Slow Cooker Jumbalaya from Skinny Ms….

Slow Cooker Jambalaya With Chicken and Shrimp

Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup jambalaya and 1/2 cup rice|Calories: 456| Previous Points: 9| Points Plus:  11| Total Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 101 | Sodium: 1125 mg | Carbohydrates: 50 g | Dietary Fiber: 6 g | Sugars: 8 g | Protein: 40 g |


  • 2 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes ( I did not drain this but next time I will)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (I never use this with recipes and it always still tastes yummy!)


Combine everything except the rice, and parsley in the slow cooker. Cook over low heat for 8 hours. Serve over rice with parsley for garnish!

The original recipe calls for shrimp but I did chicken only since shrimp is so pricey right now!

I probably would double the Cajun Seasoning and add a little more salt next time.

I used Slap Ya Mama Seasoning that I picked up in Texas…

Slap Ya Mama

You can also find this on Amazon 🙂


Find it here

I’ll be posting more Trial and Error recipes next Sunday, as well as letting you know how the pickled onions turned out with Stevia!


  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


Combine everything except the shrimp, rice, and parsley in the slow cooker. Cook over low heat for 8 hours.

Add the shrimp to the pot, cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Serve over the rice with fresh chopped parsley on top.


Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup jambalaya and 1/2 cup rice|Calories: 456| Previous Points: 9| Points Plus:  11| Total Fat: 11 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 101 | Sodium: 1125 mg | Carbohydrates: 50 g | Dietary Fiber: 6 g | Sugars: 8 g | Protein: 40 g |