Finishing the Year Healthy & Strong

*First let me apologize for having to truncate my posts (causing readers to have to click “read more” to read the post in its entirety) because my blog content has been stolen by some thief with a domain registered in India.  Thank you Leanne for letting me know- I had no idea.  Back in August 2012, several well-known bloggers started truncating their posts because “scraper sites” had been stealing their blog content.  I never worried about it and, as a reader, I find truncated posts kinda annoying, so I never did that.  But I have to now.  My entire blog- every word and photo has been scraped and is now appearing as original content on another blog.  So annoying! And the worst part is, I haven’t yet figured out what I can do about it.  So, I just wanted to explain why I’m now truncating my posts- apparently this makes it much harder for the thieves.  I hope you’ll keep reading!

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I think I need to get your attention and my own regarding the reality that the holidays are just around the corner!  I get giddy with excitement this time of year.  Halloween is in a couple days, which really just marks the beginning of the real holiday season for me.  I love everything that is related to this time of year, including the coziness of colder weather, wearing red and feeling festive, getting together more with family for longer, relaxed gatherings, celebrating family traditions, shopping for gifts for family and friends, decorating the house, and yes, of course, all the yummy FOOD and DRINKS!

But seriously, do we have to just check out in the health department this time of year?  I’ve already gained a few pounds in last couple of months as I’ve slacked off my workouts and discovered this ridculously delicious gelato that I’ve been induldging in too often.  It happens.  But, we need to be reasonalbe and balanced.  I know I’m less happy and more uncomfortable when I’m heavier.  Just a few extra pounds on my very short frame (5’1) makes my jeans too tight.  And even a couple extra pounds are hard to lose.

I want to look and feel GREAT this holiday season!  

via Nike

So, I am committing to get back to my workouts and eating healthy for the last two months of the year.  Of course I will induldge in my favorite treats in the next couple of months.  I will make homemade toffee and peanut butter cups and other comfort foods.  I will drink wine and champagne.  But, I will use portion control and stay active.  
Right now, I’m doing 50 minute workouts at my gym that consist of a 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill (I like a 10 incline and a speed of about 3.5), 30 minute workout with weights, active rests, and ab exercises, then 10 minutes on the stairclimber to finish off.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m working out, I’m MUCH more likely to consider my food choices, opting for healthier meals because I don’t want to workout and then “blow it” by eating junk.  I didn’t just work my *ss off to throw it away!
I know it’s cold.  I know it’s the holidays.  I know we’re busy.  But can we finish this year healthy and strong?  Can we do it together?  
Let’s ENJOY the holidays this year and all that that means, but let’s also be mindful to make healthy choices and NOT gain extra weight that we will have to fight hard to lose come January!  It’s WAY EASIER to prevent the weight gain than to try to lose it later, right?!
If you’re on board with me, let me know in the comments! 🙂 I’ll be posting periodically about how I’m doing and y’all keep my accountable.  I weighed myself last night at 110 pounds, and a more reasonable weight for me is 103-106.

To help keep me on track, I’m cooking meals in advance and portioning them out for no-brainer, quick and easy meals.  My top two meals that I like to eat and are healthy, packed with protein and low in calories are: 1) Tex Mex, and 2) Grilled Chicken with Brown Rice and Veggies.  I’m okay eating the same thing repeatedly with small treats on the weekends because I’ve seen the results that come with eating this way.  Also, have you ever realized how much time we spend thinking about what we’re going to eat? Having meals pre-planned and prepared eliminates that and makes more time for other things.  People ask if my husband and child eat this way too and the answer is sort of.  My husband does, but my child is so picky, he’s still mostly eating grilled cheese or PB&J at dinner.  He used to like the Tex Mex meal a lot, but recently decided he hates it and won’t even take a bite.

I’m all for food I can easily assemble.  I make a big batch of brown rice that I boil in low-sodium chicken broth and/or salt-free Tony Chachere’s seasoning for added flavor, steam a large amount of my favorite veggies (for this dish carrots, broccoli, mushrooms), and grill boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I put about a cup of rice, and a half cup of chicken and veggies in small tupperware containers and add a splash of low sodium soy sauce.  Instant meals. 
The Tex Mex cassorole below is the second fave.  You can put it in a whole wheat tortilla too for something different but I usually eat it straight out of the container.  Get the recipe HERE
For snacks, I make protein shakes with fruit and spinach and I love Greek yogurt.  Omelets with all-whites and veggies are also another favorite.  I eat oatmeal for breakfast.  If I want something sweet at night, I’ll make a hot cocoa.  The key is finding some healthy meals and snacks you can eat over and over to make it a no-brainer.  Even if you can’t get those workouts in, if you make healthy food choices and manage your portions, you will be in great shape. 
So, are y’all on board?  Will you maintain your weight or even get in better shape during this holiday season?  Let’s finish 2013 healthy and strong!

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Meet Megan

Hi! I’m Megan, mom to a thoughtful teenager and spunky young girl. We call Houston home and recently moved into our dream home. I traded my lawyer hat to become a full-time blogger in 2010. I love sharing my passion for affordable fashion, home decor, organization, & fitness to help inspire you to take care of you!


  1. Love the motivation! I still have about 6lbs of pregnancy weight to lose and I have made it my mission to lose it by the end of the year and not allow all these tempting holidays to make me gain even more weight! Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Thanks for the motivation!! It's so easy to let it all go around the holidays! But hard work and dedication make the treats extra special! Also, glad to hear that my little guy's not the only one who prefers grilled cheese and peanut butter over whatever I've cooked up!!

    1. Yup, Andrew will be 4 in December and I think he's getting pockier rather than more adventurous! We've recently won a major battle with salads though (I wrote a post about it last week if you are looking for any tips!)

  3. AMEN! I am completely with you– fully enjoying this amazingly wonderful season does not mean letting go of my health and everything I work SO hard for every day at the gym & in the kitchen! Thank you for the extra dose of motivation and encouragement! I'm preggers so I am trying to be even more careful to eat food that will be nutritious not only for me but for our baby girl & not gain excess weight — definitely challenging during a season filled with delicious baked goods and parties, but definitely possible!

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I wish I took my own advice when I was pregnant. I did exactly the opposite and was so miserable and losing the extra weight was so hard- not to mention the loose skin on my tummy I've had to deal with since gaining so much weight. Good for you!

  4. I'm on board! I'm the same way… even a pound or two makes a big difference on me and I hate the way I feel! I've slacked off lately due to craziness of working full time and carting the kids to soccer, gymnastics, karate, etc. I'm ready to get back on track!
    Can't wait to try your tex mex recipe – I'm a Texan too so I love me some tex mex!

    1. I agree, it's all relative. I can totally notice and feel those couple extra pounds. When life is so busy with all those commitments, it's really difficult to make eating healthy a priority. But, making those couple meals ahead really helps me. I usually prepare on Sunday and Wednesday.

  5. Okay I am getting married next year and would love to be in my best shape possible for the wedding! I am on the more slender side… 5'6 and 115 pounds but I'd like to be toned and eating well. I've never tried to keep myself 'on track' but I'm hoping that maybe following a blog like yours for motivation will take me to the next level. I go through phases of working out a lot but I need consistency. Thanks for the post!

    1. To tone up I'd start doing a lot of weights in the gym. That's a great way to develop muscle and shape your body. I wrote about Jamie Eason's 12 week trainer you might be interested in. It really helped me.

    1. Thanks Tiffany! It helps knowing other people are in this with me! Congrats on the half-marathon goal! The longest distance I've ever run at one time is 6 miles. It's going to feel so great to reach your goal! Let me know how it goes!

  6. That chicken and brown rice looks good. I need to do that. I don't mind leftovers but 3, maybe 4 days is my max. My husband really doesn't like leftovers and my kids….well they go through picky phases so they're tough to judge. LOL!!! But I really need to try this chicken and brown rice.

    And cooking it in chicken broth? I seriously never even thought to do that. I bet it adds flavor.

    Oh, and I'm in! I have about 15 pounds I want to lose but that's a lot to lose in the next 2 months. If I could lose 5-7 I think that would be a nice kick start for me!

    1. Yeah, it does get old eating the same way. I try to change it up too and always have something to look forward to on the weekend. 15 pounds to lose is going to make a world of difference. If you start NOW, you'll be way ahead of the game come January!

  7. I love both of your blogs so much! I've lost almost all of my baby weight within about a pound or two (my little Olivia just turned 6 months) and needed this encouragement to keep eating right! Great job for always encouraging your readers! I've started blogging again too now that the baby is getting older:)

  8. Great reminders, Megan! so easy to fall off the wagon this time of year… I was just derailed by illness and know i'll have to be super intentional about working out to get back on track.

  9. Love this – I'm on board! We actually have a cruise in a few short weeks so I'm in preparation mode! I'm going to incorporate those two dishes into my lunch/dinner rotation. 🙂

    1. Glad we're in it together Caroline! Having a cruise in a few weeks is a great motivator. You want to be looking and feeling good while you're away! Work hard now and ENJOY the cruise soon!

  10. I was just thinking the other day that I don't want to undo what I have accomplished this year. I have lost 25 pounds and still have about 15 to go. I don't want to start 2014 needing to lose those 25 (or any part of them) again! I'm in!!! We love soup in our house and I can add a great deal to them to healthy, filling and part of my routine to keep me on track. I prepackage things so I can grab and go from home and not make an unhealthy choice while I am out. A bottle of water and an apple stay in my bag all the time. Looking forward tot he number on the scale being a great place to start 2014!!

  11. I am barley 5 feet tall so I feel your pain! I have a couple of pounds to lose, despite working out every day for an hour to an hour and a half. I think my eating must be the problem…wait, I think it is my evening snacking on chocolate chips that is the problem as I am great with my eating the rest of the time. 🙂

    I eat pretty much the same thing every day but my husband refuses to do that for dinner. So, I end up making dinner for him, dinner for my three year old (same issue as with yours–will only eat a few things) and then getting my food ready. That's a lot of prep with a full-time job, a three year old, three dogs, and a house to maintain. Fun!

    I'm with you on being healthy during the holidays. This is a great post! Thank you!

  12. Thanks for the motivation Megan! I need to get back into it… I've been slacking off these past 3 weeks. I definitely want to be ahead of the game come January. Plus I'll be 40 next year and want to be healthier by then. So this is perfect to keep me accountable during this holiday season!

  13. I'm in! Thanks for the motivation and the delicious recipes! I'm sorry to hear about the truncating – what a bummer for you. I know I'll be sticking around! People these days…

    I have a question for you – on the Tex Mex recipe you mentioned that it makes approximately 10 small meals. How many meals a day do you eat? Do you bring more than 1 of these with you to work? Or do you freeze some?


    1. Great question Samantha! I've never tried freezing them, but if you do, let me know how it turns out. I try to eat 5-6 times a day, for example:.
      7am – oatmeal or protein pancake
      10am – protein shake
      12pm- Tex Mex
      3pm- Tex Mex or another snack like apple w/ peanut butter or protein bar
      6pm- chicken, rice, and veggies
      8pm or 9pm- Greek yogurt

      Some of the meals get moved around but the content is generally the same. I also like for my meals- grilled chicken salad, turkey chili, meatloaf muffins, and omelets.

    2. Hi Meagan! I'm still LOVING both your blogs (sorry to hear about the stolen content, boo!!!). So, when you started this blog, we emailed back and forth a bit. I had a goal of losing 14 lbs. I'd gained while dealing with a health issue. I'm down 10 (I'm 5'6 1/2" and had gotten up from my normal 118-120 to 135). I'm now at 125 and just getting rid of the last 5…the most difficult! Your blog has helped so much – THANK YOU! Love that you posted what you eat above! When I get to my goal, I'll send pics. Please keep doing all you do. LOVE all your stuff!! xoxo – m.

  14. I am so on board! I just got down to my ultimate scale goal, at 26 pounds lost. I'm much more focused on gaining muscle than the scale right now, so as long as my new, smaller jeans keep fitting over the holidays- I'm happy!

  15. First off, I love both your blogs and read them every day! I just kicked my butt into high gear this week. I have 10 pounds left to lose, and I want it gone by January. It is so tough to maintain weight during the holidays, let alone lose it! I am at 129 pounds right now, and I should be at about 120.
    Thanks for the motivation!

    Lindsay Cleveland

  16. Can you post a detail of your work out to list the weights you use. I usually only have 45-50 minutes at the gym and want to use it wisely. Thanks!

    1. I have shown my workouts with the weight I use when I was doing the Jamie Eason Live Fit trainer. You can visit those posts in my Fitness tab so see the breakdown. To get the most out of a 45 minute workout, keep your heart rate up the whole time by not sitting still between sets, run a lap, do jumping jacks, step ups, jump rope, abs, or go from one exercise to the next without rest or very little rest. I usually lift a weight I can lift about 15 times but am struggling on the last 2.

  17. Thanks for this post! I recently ran my first half marathon and lost the rest of my baby weight while training. I've felt great this whole summer! Now that the race is over my mileage has gone down, cold dark weather is limiting my longer-ish runs and I see the writing on the wall, the pounds will creep back so fast. I'm trying to take a boot camp class 2x a week before work and hope that with careful eating and long runs on weekends will keep me in top shape and ready for spring race season! I'll look forward to reading your posts and the comments here for motivation.

  18. yeah, they did! I saw posts of yours there that I must have missed here, lol. I would try to get the site taken down or your content removed. I deal with this kind of stuff for my company, people will try to steal anything and everything!

    I have a kids party mid-October and that is what marks the start of my holiday season, I have been trying to eat a raw foods diet for breakfast, lunch and snacks…but dinner I want something that's cooked! We will see how it pays off by end of year.

  19. I needed this today! I lost 100 lbs in 2013 and have kept most of it off for over a year. I have put about 6 lbs back on and while no one else has noticed, I have and it feels miserable. My cousin is getting married in February in Jamaica and it will be my first time out of the country! I am ready to kick it into high gear to be in MUCH better shape by February!

  20. Megan, you are always so uplifting and encouraging. Thanks for sharing your plan with us. I need to find a fitness routine that works for me…working on that. Not a fan of the gym, but have a treadmill, bike and weights at home. Now to figure out just what to do with them! LOL I know I mentioned to you recently about all the dietary changes, food sensitivities. My doctors are still working with me to adjust things, but I am seeing progress! 16 lbs since August, with a few changes (mostly dietary along with my thyroid medicine). I too need to incorporate smaller more frequent meals as they also determined I have hypoglycemia. I have found I really don't miss the sweets/bread much…which is a good thing (as they were my weakness before). And since both baby girl and I both have to be careful with the things we eat…we are already planning ahead for the holidays and all the festivities. I think having a game plan, as you said, is KEY!!! Thanks again for your honesty and sharing your story.

  21. thanks for this post. I need motivation. I'm at my heaviest I've ever been. I'm 5'1" like you but am about 60 pounds heavier. I'm getting married next March and don't want to look back and regret being this size. In high school and most of college I was between 108-125. Working in an office has killed my waist line. I've lost the weight before but when i meet my now fiancé, we ate out and drank wine a lot and it has added to both our waist lines. I moved to a new town and had to quit my old gym since it's too far. My new town doesn't have the park district amenities like my old town. I'm considering getting a membership at a gym close to my work so I can work out at lunch.

  22. I am new to your blogs (love them!), but no stranger to the battle of the bulge! I have just started the Jamie Eason weight program that I found on here, and have set a goal not to gain weight over the holidays. I need to get back to my fighting weight!! Thanks for the motivation…here's to accountability!

  23. Great post…needed it! Just completed a half marathon 2 weeks ago and am having to take some off from training to heal some nagging injuries! Not having training goals and a plan has led to serious lack of motivation! Your post kicked me into gear! Going to make some new goals TODAY!

  24. Love both of your blogs, Megan! I'm 5'2" and know exactly what you mean about noticing even a couple of pounds. I recently read Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr (and bought Crazy Sexy Kitchen- good!), and it completely changed the way I eat. I used to utilize clean eating in order to simply lose "extra" weight, but her book made me realize that it's the way I should be eating the majority of my time. It was a paradigm shift for sure. I've only lost a few pounds so far, but I have a lot more energy and don't have to rely on that 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee to get me through the afternoon. Thanks for posting and for the accountability.

  25. First, I love your blog! I am going to try and stick with you in working out & eating better these last 2 months of 2013! One question – with your protein shakes, do you make these at home? Or do you have a recipe that is easier on the go (without a blender). I teach 1st grade about 45minutes away from my house, so I am away from home more often than I am here during the week, which makes healthy snacking harder! If you have any ideas, I'd love them! Thanks 🙂

  26. Great encouragement! Definitely something I needed to hear. I had quadruplets nearly 1.5 years ago and two surgeries after that and am finally able to get back in the gym and aiming to lose some weight. I've started Body Pump so I've been lifting weights for a full-body workout about twice a week with a little cardio in between. But my eating needs cleaning up so I'm looking forward to incorporating more healthy options and meal plans. Sorry to hear about the blog content, that happens to me too, something about people wanting to fake having multiple babies, I don't get it!


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