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  1. Great tips here! Changing one habit at a time will help detox, so your body can actually talk to you without lying. While drinking plenty of water with a meal works for many, those with digestive issues should not dilute their stomach acids at meal time. Give yourself an hour buffer. Without going crazy on any fads, know that protein sustains. If you aren’t getting at least 80g daily, you will battle hunger and weakness.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love these posts because they reflect reality. Thank you!

    The ONLY thing I think is missing from your health series (and maybe it should have been the first post) is loving yourself regardless of your bumps, curves, etc. If you don’t love yourself/ your body when it is not “perfect”, then are you ever really going to be happy? I have both thin and heavy friends who NEVER look at themselves in the mirror naked. You have to love what you see in the mirror before you can ever have a “healthy” relationship with food and exercise, in my opinion.

    1. Thank you, Stephanie 🙂 You are so right. My comments may sound like I’m so much happier being thinner and healthier, and that’s true, but it doesn’t mean that my self esteem or love of self were any less when I needed to lose 40+ lbs. I’m glad you made that statement. It was sort of on the tip of my tongue when I was writing my comments but I never quite got there. 🙂 Elaine’s comment about the all or nothing approach really rings true with me too. That was me over and over again in life. It doesn’t, nor shouldn’t, be that way as it’s simply not healthy for any of us to live that way. The 80/20 rule is my new bff and it’s been many months of success for me now living in the “nothing is forbidden” world. If I could just go back and tell my 18 year old self what I know now lol… It took 20 years but I got there!

  3. I am really enjoying this series! I found you, Monica when a friend posted one of your blog posts on FB – the one about how teenage sons need their moms. That led me to the post about elementary age boys, which is more my current life speed with a 5 year old boy who just started kindergarten. 🙂 I subscribed right then after I read that post and have enjoyed basically every post since! But this series about health and fitness is right up my alley along with the parenting stuff – as the past year has been one of momumental change for me. I’m 37 years old, yo-yo’d with my weight my entire life, and in the past year I started a much healthier relationship with food, my body and my outlook on my life. I have lost close to 50 lbs and am never going back! So keep all of this coming. These life hacks are exactly what I am doing to keep myself on track, and it’s so gratifying to learn that the same tricks can and do work for others. Being a busy mom with a career and a lot of other things going on in life is tough, but I must admit it’s a lot easier when I make the time to exercise and plan for healthy weekly eating and the totally necessary splurges. I have so much more energy and enjoy being in my own skin so much more that all the other stuff on the to do list feels like a breeze (well at least some of it)! Looking forward to taking these life hacks on vacation later this month – in my skinny clothes! xo

    1. Dana, Thank you so much for commenting! I’m so glad you came across my site, and congrats on a HUGE success in your weight/health journey! I love to hear positive stories like yours! Are you at your goal weight now, or do you still have a ways to go? Sounds like you’ve found the right way to do it–And I hoe you’ll keep me posted on things!
      Much Aloha!

      1. Well, goal weight has changed a few times for me as I continued to lose, but happy to say, I’m pretty much there now. I go up and down a couple lbs here and there, but I always keep it in a certain range and it’s working! I hold myself accountable and it’s like a whole new life. I was healthy and fit for a lot of my life, so this trip into what felt like a total disaster zone for me was a real challenge. But I’m here and I did it! Facing this and making it what I wanted it to be was so empowering for me as a woman, wife and mother. We can always reinvent ourselves and fix our mistakes – if we really want to. 🙂

  4. Really helpful tips, Monica, thank you! I know I’d often fall into an all-or-nothing headspace, where I was either being super restrictive or just ‘letting-it-all-go-cause-it’s-too-late-anyway’. These tips are all great ways of realistically changing your habits without getting obsessive!

    1. Thank you Elaine! I think the all-or-nothing mentality is so common, and can be hard to get over. Keep up the awesome work, and thanks for being around! 🙂 Aloha!

  5. This is great, Monica! Thank you! Everything you’ve said resonates with me. I do a few things, depending on what season of life I’m in. For example, before having kids my husband and I trained for triathlons almost year around. During that time, we found ourselves having to snack a lot more often (healthy, filling, protein packed snacks) due to the HUGE amount of calories we were burning and energy we needed to complete two-a-day grueling workouts.

    I think the main thing to ensure we’re not overeating is shifting our MINDSET according to how active we are being. These days with a toddler (and me pregnant again), we are both still very active but certainly not to the caliber as our triathlete days — therefore, our eating reflects that lifestyle.

    The cup of tea before bed (sometimes, accompanied with roasted almonds for me ;)) is my favorite part of the day. 🙂

  6. Sarah Cowles says:

    Monica I’m loving these posts and learning a ton! Thanks for sharing!

    One big thing that has helped me over the years is not to have snacks in the house. I grew up with a pantry full of snacks at home and I frequently ate something before dinner and something sweet after dinner. Too much snacking! My body has definitely learned to get full on a meal and look forward to that instead of the cheap flavors of chips, crackers, and candy.

    Along the lines of eating for the day, I try to plan out my special meals or treats that I know will be in the week. Not that I eat the cake at every party, but if it is important to the person that I’m with, or important to me to have the wine/cake/etc, I will try to be more clean in my diet earlier in the week.

    1. Awesome Sarah! And funny, I had actually meant to address the part about what you keep in your home and how that affects things…haha, You said it well! It does have a big influence on how we eat I think!
      Great thoughts, thank you! 🙂

  7. One thing that helps me eat healthier foods is to take an inventory of how much physical energy I will be exerting that day and then eat to fuel my body. If I have a big day ahead of me with a long run planned, I need to eat differently than for a day at home. If I want to bake and eat something to embrace fall :-), then I eat mostly plants for the day. Thanks for these posts Monica!

    1. So good Erica! Well said. 🙂 Glad you like these posts! XO

  8. Love this series. Since reading this blog something (corny) that has helped me is to think, what would I eat if I lived on a tropical island, or somewhere like Hawaii? I know that’s really weird, but it helps me think more of light, yummy, colorful, super healthy fruits and veggies that I may have more access to. Then I make sure we have that in the house, cut up and ready to roll. It makes me think light. Kind of like what I imagine is more Hawaiian thinking… flip flops and cargo shorts (not sure why they need to be cargo in my mind). I’d like to just live that way regardless of where I hang my hat. Embracing outside, embracing my hair (I don’t call it frizzy anymore, I say it has great texture!) and just working to accept and love who God’s created me to be in the environment that God put me in. And enjoy the food that God created for me to eat. Pineapple, bananas and apples seem a lot more nurturing to my body than Cheetos, fast food, and donuts. Everything has its place, but the majority of the time my family needs to turn to nourishing food that helps us stay smart and strong. I tell my boys that we are smart and athletic. So we need to feed our bodies with things that help us stay smart and athletic. Not perfect, but we are making strides! Thanks for this, Monica!

    1. Paige, Can I just say I LOVE how you think!? So precious. That comment just made my day! But the thing you really have grasped is how much our minds play a role in our lifestyle. God gave us our minds and to use them creatively to make good choices–brilliant! Thank you and keep it up! W/ Aloha

  9. Thanks Monica! I was turned-on to your blog this summer when a friend of mine from our summer home forwarded a great post about teenage boys. Since then I’ve been reading your posts regularly and they often speak to me and my life. I’ve got 3 teenagers and suffice it to say we are all living on a bit of a roller coaster. The one thing I can control in my world each and every day is how I CHOOSE to take care of myself. Much of what you have said here is exactly what I believe to be true and how I try to deal with my daily food choices. The one tip I have to add is- snack! It is very easy for me to skip a mid-morning or afternoon snack because I’m busy with errands, my own activities or running about with kids. What I have learned is that a healthy snack (hard boiled eggs, raw or slightly cooked veggies, fruit, yogurt, nuts/seeds… makes lunch and dinner time portion control a snap! I’m never “starving” and thus I make better choices at mealtimes. I had never been a snacker in life but now I find myself actually looking forward to that hard boiled egg or apple while swimming my laps in the pool. Be well Monica and keep it all coming for your Grommoms (literally across the country) on the East coast!

    1. Lisa, thank you and YES! Terrific thoughts. We often use the word “snack” in a negative way, but I”m like you and I look forward to my healthy snacks every day. Really smart to plan them in advance also, so that you don’t just grab whatever is available! Thank you for these great thoughts!

  10. Thanks for this, Monica! Great reminders that we are, as a culture, accustomed not only to never allow ourselves to feel hungry, but to never want for anything. Hunger is really a metaphor for so much, and I’m personally working now on trying to identify what I’m really feeling majority of the time—and why I’ve interpreted that as hunger. Why do we constantly want to “fill” ourselves? Where does that come from? I agree that habit-formation is also an adult skill, so thank you for those suggestions too. Trying to incorporate conscious, in-the-moment prayer into my efforts, too, to help combat temptations. Good stuff here, lady!

    1. Oh so well said, Tanya! Love it all, and sounds like you’re nailing it. Keep up the good work!