Doubt and Fear, Confidence and Hope

Earlier today I posted this quote on my fan page:

Your dreams are the flowers, and doubt is the weeds. Get it??

I can think of so many times I had a great idea, and I talked myself out of it, or delayed action on it. Oh, I had wonderful excuses. I would hide behind perfectionism and say I was planning to start when I got my ducks all in a row. Other times I was honestly just plain scared!

All around me, I would see people pursuing their ideas with courage– and they seemed unaffected by the hiccups and imperfections. They just kept going! They perfected their craft along the journey instead of waiting. This is what winners do.

Since I want to be a winner, I’m taking courage to pursue my dreams now. I won’t blame anyone else who doesn’t believe in me or my vision. I am daily holding myself accountable to have confidence and hope instead of doubt and fear. If you’re reading this, I suggest you do the same!



Mini’s Amazing Weightloss Journey

I asked my instagram pal affectionately known as “Mini” to share her weight loss journey with everyone. It has been amazing to see her transform her body to become more lean and toned, the confidence that so obviously shines through now, and her delicious meals as she stays dedicated to health daily.

Q: I am so inspired by your weight loss journey. You look AMAZING. How did it start?
Thank you so much! My weight loss journey started on August 1st, 2011. There have been plenty of times where I would “diet” for a few months, lose a few pounds and go back to old habits. This time it was different. I was 29 and a few months away from 30. I clearly remember myself on the Sunday before August 1st sitting on my bed in a practical food comma. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I saw my bulging belly, my round puffy face and my huge chest. I started to cry. I have been heavy, depressed and insecure all of my life and at that very moment I decided that that would change. I would start fresh the next day and start working towards a new me. I vowed to be in the best shape of my life in my 30’s and I stuck to that vow.

2. How do you manage cooking for you and your hubby? I know he eats healthy, but he isn’t vegetarian, and you eat a ton of meatless meals. Any tips for couples with different eating habits?

I make two different meals for dinner. One for me and one for him. He is not the brightest person in the kitchen and if I don’t cook, he will live on cereal, and because I love that man, I am not letting that happen! However, on busy nights I usually make the same meals and just sub the meat with extra veggies for myself. However, I do try to get him to try different things and to my surprise, he actually likes it. Just make cooking and eating together fun and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

3. Has anyone close to you become more healthy as a result of your lifestyle change?

Yes! Quite a few people actually. My mother always asks me for tips and my husband clearly eats much better and has actually started going to the gym with me. I have also had people from social networks who have followed my journey start their own. They write to me stating how I was the biggest source of their inspiration. It is such a humbling experience.

4. Please tell me how you tackle plateaus! A lot of people struggle with this and get discouraged and think they will not lose any more weight.

I agree. Plateaus are extremely discouraging, however I think of it this way: I rather be stuck at my current weight and working towards my goal than stuck at my starting weight and working towards nothing. I do a combination of things to tackle plateaus. The reason I am a vegetarian now is because of a 4 month plateau. My nutritionist recommended it after seeing my food diary. She noticed that I barely ate any carbs and that my protein intake was way too high. While that did work in the beginning, it stopped. Making the change to vegetarian helped me break that plateau immediately. Now when I get stuck, I just increase my cardio and add or eliminate different foods.

5. You’re also a very talented baker. How did you get into that? Your desserts aren’t just food– they are art!

Thank you so much. I started baking at a very young age with my mother. It is definitely a passion. Not only do I love making them, but I also love eating them. I still indulge at times but not like before. I have learned how to balance it all out. So basically, I always have my cake and eat it too.

6. Finally, what recommendations do you have for someone who is overwhelmed by the process of losing weight? Where to start?

It starts with self love. You have to love yourself enough to realize that being overweight is not making you or the people around you happy. Being overweight affects your mood, your health, and your overall sense of being. You have to choose to want to be happy and healthy. You have to realize that you are worth the change that only you can make happen. Starting is always overwhelming. I never said I wanted to lose 60lbs. I started by saying I wanted to lose 10lbs. I made small and realistic goals for myself. After achieving my first 10lbs, I made a goal for another 10lbs. For some people, even 10lbs might sound overwhelming, so why not start with 5? Give yourself a month to achieve small goals and be patient. I did not gain weight overnight so I knew it was going to take time to reverse that. It took time to change my eating habits and food addictions. After you reach your ultimate goal weight you do not go back to old habits. You continue with the lifestyle and reap the benefits of health, vitality and skinny jeans!

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Overnight Oats with Light Coconut Milk

Last week I posted a short tutorial on making overnight oats from steel cut oats. Many asked for a written recipe, so here it is! Steel cut oats are the better option because they are less processed than the more popular rolled oats. As a result, steel cut oats are far easier to digest causing less discomfort after meals. Usually they take 8 to 10 minutes to cook, but with the overnight option, there is little preparation and less clean up time. It’s really a win-win.

You will need:

1/3 cup light coconut milk
1/4 steel cut oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup filtered water
1/8 cup dried blueberries
1/8 chopped walnuts

Add coconut milk and steel cut oats to a bowl and cover in the fridge overnight. After at least 4 hours, oats will have completely absorbed milk. Now add filtered water slowly (stirring occasionally) until they reach desired texture. Mix in cinnamon, blueberries, and chopped walnuts. Enjoy cold, or microwave for 30 seconds.

Divine Fitness: Lean Abs

A few people have asked me to do a post on how to obtain leaner abs. I’ve put together my top 5 tips, choosing to focus on the methods that are less obvious. I am in hopes that doing this will give you a fresh perspective, and I would love for you to share with me some other methods to success that you have had. I’ve always believed that fitness is a combination of genetics, lifestyle and food. Fitness is a lifelong journey and along the way we must be good to our bodies and give it the proper fuel and treatment to survive.

1. Rest: Proper rest is essential for the body to shut down and repair and replenish itself. People who do not get enough rest each night often have a difficult time ridding themselves of belly fat due to the overproduction of certain hormones that are released when the body is stressed or poorly rested. In addition to what is happening inside your body chemically, when you wake up– you will likely not have the energy to workout at full capacity.

2. Fiber: Focus on getting 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. Fiber helps keep you full, promotes healthy digestion, and helps to rid the body of fat. Look for whole grains and high fiber breads. If the bread or grain does not have at least 4g of fiber, it’s probably not as helpful to your balanced diet as you think.

Top 20 High Fiber Foods

3. Eat lean: Haven’t you heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?” It is most definitely true. While our bodies need a certain amount of fat, we do not want to go overboard and consume more than our bodies can really use. Choose lean proteins and skim dairy products. I tend to steer clear of most “fat free” items with the exception of skim milk. A lot of the fat free diet items have artificial flavors that I just do not trust.

4. Food allergies: Do not ignore your food allergies! If you experience gas and bloating after certain types of meals, or maybe you’ve even been told by your medical doctor that you have an allergy, do not eat these foods! Eating foods that contain allergens is taxing your body to find a way to rid itself of these substances and still survive. The intestinal tract can become inflamed, causing it to produce mucus to protect itself. You’ll be left with pain and discomfort, along with a lower absorption of nutrients.

5. Great posture: Great posture is a part of your ab workout! Sit and stand up straight! Slouching is not good for your core muscles, nor for your spine. Here’s an exercise that I like to do while brushing my teeth:  I look in the mirror as I turn to the side and I adjust my posture. Then I look away and try to remember how that feels. I do this 2 to 3 times before I’m done.

Posture exercises

Divine Fitness | Leaner Abs