5 Tips for Staying Hydrated

Though winter in California has basically been non-existent, the cooler weather has made it hard for me to stay properly hydrated. Staying hydrated has many benefits for the entire body, ranging from helping with digestion, increasing energy levels, reduce bloating and lubricating joints – but all those benefits are hard to remember when I’m reaching for a warm latte instead of a water bottle. There are plenty of tips for staying hydrated, but I notice some work better for me than others.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Tips for Staying Hydrated

Now that it’s spring and warmer, it’s easier to go for the water – but it’s still a work in progress! Whether you’re like me and not getting enough water or you want to increase your water intake, here are a few tips for staying hydrated to help make it a bit easier:

  • Always have a bottle of water around you – For me, it’s easier to drink water when it’s within my reach. If your goal is to drink 64 ounces of water, fill it up in the morning and place it on your desk and sip from it throughout the day. You can also make other goals, such as drinking a certain number of ounces by a specific time each day. Motivational Bottle makes some good options to help you keep track!
  • Drink eight ounces of water when you feel hungry – Sometimes hunger is confused for thirst, so a good way to check is to drink about 8-16 ounces of water before grabbing a meal or snack. Not only do you get in hydration, but you’ll likely eat less during your next snack or meal if it did turn out to be hunger.
  • Place a water bottle next to your bed – Upon waking, drink eight ounces of water. It will help move things along and get you started on the right track with your hydration. I do notice that it helps my energy first thing in the morning, rather than sitting around groggy until I make some espresso.
  • Always hydrate when exercising – Before, during and after your workout be sure to drink water. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, sip on a bottle before, during and after – if I still have any water left in my bottle after a workout I love to finish it off while sitting in the dry sauna!
  • Look for hydrating foods – You don’t have to get all your hydration from water alone. Though you should still track your water intake, you can increase hydration by choosing water-based fruits and vegetables for snacks. Look for foods with a high water content, such as cucumber, zucchini, celery, watermelon and strawberries.

If you’re trying to increase your water intake, start small and slowly increase each week. I find it very difficult to go from minimal water to a gallon a day! Instead of giving up, I focus on drinking 24 ounces, then 36 ounces and so on until I get to 64 ounces a day. Once it becomes more of a habit you can increase to the amount you’re comfortable with daily – follow these tips for staying hydrated to feel better on the inside and outside!

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

Have you guys heard of Sarah Dussault from Sarah Fit?

10 reasons why youre not losing weight

I came across her YouTube channel recently and have enjoyed watching her many videos — one in particular caught my eye titled ‘10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight.’

All I can say for myself is whoops. Whoops times ten! I am guilty of every.single.one. of these reasons now or at some point in my weight loss journey. It’s good stuff, so check it out!

10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

3 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

Over the last few years of being on Weight Watchers, I’ve done the roller coaster thing – up, down, up, down… never really breaking past that roadblock that sits in my way at a certain number on the scale. I know exactly what gets me the results that show up each weekend: motivation (or lack thereof).

Keep Yourself Motivated

On a good week, when I am super motivated and aware of my actions, the scale gives me a number I like, I log it, and then I let loose. I feel that after a single week of doing all the things I need to do I am entitled to a day where I can go off-track and then ‘start again tomorrow’ or, of course, there’s always Monday. Well, Monday comes and goes and before I know it I’ve gone through the entire week not tracking and see a gain the next time I step on the scale.

This constant up and down is not good for my self-esteem or my motivation. I ask myself, how can I find the motivation that others seem to have? Why can’t I just get my s#@t together already?! It’s not like I don’t have the tools and ‘know-how’…because I do. Unfortunately, this attitude extends itself into other areas of my life and I see how it’s stifling me when I can be succeeding.

I came across a really interesting analogy the other day about just engaging in the process, without thinking so much about the end result. Suppose you plant a flower seed in the dirt and each day you pluck it out of the garden to see if the seed has sprouted. If you keep plucking the seed out of the dirt, will the flower ever begin to grow and flourish the way you want? No. Now imagine a different scenario, where you plant the seed and each day you do the things that day that will ensure its growth – water it, feed it and give it an ample amount of shade or sunshine. Eventually the plant is going to do its thing and grow into a beautiful flower!

The same goes for weight loss and staying motivated. It’s not always about what we will look like at the end of our journey, the way we think we might feel about ourselves, or how we think others might view us. It’s about the daily actions we can take, focusing on each little meal or step that brings us one step closer to the goal we have in mind. I find that the bigger my expectations are, the harder it is to find the motivation!

3 Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

I was reading the Success Handbook I got a couple of years ago from Weight Watchers. Early in the handbook was the topic of motivation and at the time of my first reading it didn’t resonate that much, but now it makes sense to me and the habits I get into. Here are three tips to keep yourself motivated:

  • Make a Choice – We all have choices, good or bad, and the choices we make will affect whether we feel motivated or not. Did you go the whole day without tracking? You have the next meal to change your course of action into the right direction.
  • Take small steps – When your motivation is in the dumps, even the smallest things make a difference. Do anything you can to get yourself back up on the right track – whether that’s focusing only on getting your water intake for the day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Choose one thing to focus on and spend the week making sure you get it done! Small steps add up.
  • It’s not always about what you ‘should be doing’ – Sometimes finding motivation has nothing to do with making sure you track each meal or getting some exercise. It can be as simple as reading Success Stories or coming up with a list of reasons why life would be better without Weight Watchers (you’ll find there are very few reasons why getting off plan is a good thing). Do what works for you and helps boost you up when you feel the motivation slipping.

I’m going to stop focusing on the big picture – I know I’ll get there eventually if I do all the things I can each day. What are some of the things you do to keep yourself motivated?

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

Weight Loss Starts in the Kitchen

Have you ever heard the quote, ‘weight loss starts in the kitchen, not the gym’? I think it must be true because I’ve been doing cardio + strength training and haven’t seen many nice drops on the scale. You know what else I’ve been doing? Going out to eat too much. #storyofmylife

Weight Loss Starts in the Kitchen

I track all my food and try to choose the healthiest options, but regardless of that, going out to eat is doing me in – not to mention I don’t even want to know what we’ve spent on food these last couple of months. I’ve found it especially hard to get into a routine since January. The husband went back to school for his teaching credential and has class most nights of the week, and in addition to work and working out, I don’t even have a routine anymore.

Today’s the first day of spring so it’s a good opportunity for me to change some of my winter habits and make it work. I’ve been pretty successful sticking to a gym routine, so now I need to put my focus on my eating. If weight loss starts in the kitchen, it’s time for me to figure out how to make the time for meal prep and cooking.

Weight Loss Starts in the Kitchen – Tips for Meal Prep

I’m not the only one in the world who has a busy schedule – so there’s really no excuse for not eating better and having options in the house to avoid going out for a meal. Here are some great tips from Huffington Post that I am going to incorporate into my routine as of today:

  • Create a shopping list – Spending the time one day a week to create a list helps keep you focused on what you need to be eating. I like using my wellness journal from Erin Condren to plan my menus, I just need to prepare the foods in advance so I have something to come home to instead of going to a fast food restaurant.
  • Look for preprepped foods – If you’re on a budget, going for pre-prepped vegetables or fruits might seem like a waste of money, but if it’s the thing that helps you eat at home then it’s worth it. I like to buy the big bag of washed/cut broccoli to throw in a stir-fry or the bagged salad kits as a quick side dish.
  • Designate a preparation day – This seems like the thing I need to do when I have a busy week ahead. You can shop, menu plan and list everything you need, but if you (me!) don’t actually prepare it then it’s a waste of money and effort. Spend a few hours on a weekend to chop vegetables or fruits, cook grains and meat, or assemble slow cooker meals in a freezer bag to cut down on the preparation time during the week.

When it comes right down to it, I need to make time — it’s not always just about the gym, weight loss starts in the kitchen. At this point, I know that when I get out of the gym I am hungry, so I can’t wait until I come home from the gym to make dinner – I’m just not going to want to do that. Being hungry and unprepared is a recipe for disaster! Do you spend a day preparing your meals? What tips do you have that help make eating at home a bit easier?

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

3 Reasons Why Listening to Music is Good for Your Workout

Have you ever arrived to the gym and realized you’ve left your headphones at home or the battery on your phone has died? Just recently I found myself in front of a locker at LA Fitness only to realize I forgot to throw my headphones in my purse as I went out the door – and not going to lie here – for a split second I used it as an excuse not to work out.

Of course, after getting dressed and going so far as the gym locker room I knew that leaving without getting a workout in was just plain silly! While not ideal, working out without my selection of Spotify playlists is possible. It made me wonder – what is it about music that makes a workout *gasp* enjoyable?

Listening to Music is Good for Your Workout

Listening to Music is Good for Your Workout — Here’s Why

Turns out there are many reasons why listening to music is good for your workout – here are three that really make a difference in your workout attitude:

  • It pushes you – Whether you’re getting in your daily step goal on the treadmill or doing HIIT on the elliptical, there’s no better way to zone out and get a workout in than listening to your favorite songs. There have been days when I feel extra blah and out of shape, but the minute I hear Britney’s Work B**ch  come through my headphones I’m going harder and faster on that cardio machine! Yes, Britney…I’m workin’ it!
  • It gives you a pace – Choosing a good playlist for your workout is key – you want it to be a high enough tempo that you can follow it through your strength or cardio training. Look for songs that match your heart rate for the exercise – start out with songs using an 80-90 beats per minute (bpm) range and then bump it up to a higher range, such as 120-140 bpm for the duration of the exercise. Examples of songs in this range are Starships by Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
  • It puts you in a good mood Music is a mood-lifter, so it makes sense that listening to music is good for your workout . Even if you show up to the gym dreading your workout (bravo for even getting to the gym in that case!), chances are you’ll end up feeling good about your actions once you get that playlist going.

I like a lot of variety when it comes to music – especially when I am working out. I don’t typically listen to music while strength training because I do weights with the husband and it’s easier not to fumble with the headphones every time we want to say something to each other. During my cardio workouts on the treadmill and elliptical, I have some go-to playlists on Spotify. If you’re not familiar with Spotify, now’s the time to go check it out!

When you’re in Spotify, there is a Browse section on the phone app that allows you to choose from a variety of pre-set playlists. These playlists cover everything and are updated frequently with new tunes to keep it fresh – there’s literally a playlist for any occasion! For workouts, you can select any folder you want…I usually go for Workout and choose something from there. Songs in each playlist cover a range of tempos or preferred music styles! Choose a playlist for your warm-up, switch to an energizing mix of songs for the workout and then choose a relaxing ambient playlist for cool down. Playlist options include:

  • Cardio
  • Nike Running Tempo Mix
  • HIIT – High Intensity Tracks
  • Hip Hop Workout
  • Pumping Iron
  • Workout Dance Edition

I know there are other apps that give you good music options, too – such as Pandora, Fit Radio and Jog.Fm – but right now I am sticking with Spotify. Want to check out my cardio playlist? Visit my BikiniBodyCountdown playlist HERE!

What are some apps you like to use during a workout – do you think listening to music is good for your workout?

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

Summer Countdown!

It’s Friday the 13th, but did you know today marks something else?

Countdown to Summer

We’re getting closer to summer! We have now officially crossed the 100 days to summer countdown and before we know it, we’ll be wanting to wear lighter clothing, bathing suits and getting outside for our workouts. Here in Southern California we haven’t had much of a winter so while I haven’t been as bundled up as my friends on the East Coast or back in our second home of Colorado, I definitely have been covered up in my go-to sweatshirt hoodies and lounging pants all winter long.

Every summer I’ve had the same unrealistic goals and deadlines. This year, I’m keeping it simple and not making a number on the scale any part of my goal. Instead, I just want to work hard now so I can wear a tank top and shorts and feel comfortable in my skin and my clothes. I don’t really care what the scale says, so I am focusing on how my clothes fit and hopefully with the hard work I put in now I’ll be feeling even better by the time summer hits.

100 Days to Summer Countdown

On Instagram, I came across a post by Coffee Cake and Cardio that I just had to check out. Now that we are in the 100 day stretch to summer, it’s the perfect time to make some long and short-term goals. What are some things you want to accomplish by June 21st?

summer countdown

For me, I want to keep going with my strength training and cardio workout plan as scheduled. I’ve been so happy doing my Dashing Dish routine, but I am ready to build on it and push things a little harder — I’ve found a routine through Bodybuilding.com that I am going to try out for the rest of March.

I really need to work on my diet, so tracking consistently with Weight Watchers is a good short term goal for me. By staying active and focusing on my diet, the results will come – I know that! I love the free printable Ashley has provided to keep track of days and there are milestones where you can reward yourself or take note of your progress and see if you need to switch things up.

So go print this out and leave your goals in the comments below if you’d like to share!

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

Quick and Easy Breakfast Toast Ideas

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, yet it’s the meal that I am often most confused about…what do I make, what’s quick and easy, will this give me some energy to start work? I don’t want to make eggs or oatmeal every day, so I’m constantly looking for things that take just minutes to prepare without making a big mess. I’m also a bit lazy in the kitchen right now – especially when it comes to breakfast – so I want something that I can eat without requiring too many tools.

I love Pinterest and came across an eye-catching pin about 21 Ideas For Energy-Boosting Breakfast Toasts on Buzzfeed.

Breakfast Toast Ideas


How easy is it to throw a piece of bread into the toaster and then top it with some healthy and delicious ingredients? I can eat the toast at my desk or out on my balcony – I love the idea that it’s a quick and easy breakfast while still having some nutritious value. Add an apple or a piece of fruit and it’s filling, too!

So far this week I have made two tasty breakfast toast ideas – Nutella + banana (5PP) for the husband and a light cream cheese + apricot jam (5PP) for myself.

I will definitely be trying many more now that I see how simple and filling these breakfast toast ideas are in the morning. Another thing I like about these recipes is that there are sweet and savory options. These toast ideas also make great snacks after the gym or during the mid-afternoon energy slump.

Breakfast Toast Ideas — Sweet or Savory?

Check out some of these delicious breakfast toast ideas:

 Banana + Almond Butter + Chia Seeds

Banana Almond Butter breakfat Toast ideas

 Refried Beans + Fried Egg + Salsa + Cilantro 

Refried Beans Egg breakfast Toast ideas

 Mango + Mozzarella + Lime Zest

Mango Lime Mozzarella breakfast Toast ideas

 Pear + Honey Drizzle + Ricotta 

Pear Ricotta Honey breakfast toast ideas

 Apple + Honey  Drizzle + Blue Cheese

Apple Honey Blue Cheese breakfast toast ideas


Don’t these breakfast toast ideas look amazing?! I think I have found a new meal option and finally going to be getting some use out of my toaster. What are some of your favorite toast recipes? Check out Buzzfeed’s article for even more breakfast toast combinations!

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

What are HIIT workouts?

When I started becoming more active back in January, I was beginning from a pretty low baseline – walking 2.8mph for 3.25 miles daily. As the weeks went by and I completed my 100 mile walking goal in January, I saw myself improving in stamina and speed, but I still didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough. The topic of HIIT workouts came up when talking with a family member about weight loss and exercise.

HIIT workouts

What are HIIT workouts and what are some of the benefits?

Here’s what I learned.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training – this technique is described as going through short bursts of exercise followed by a recovery period over a given amount of time. These bursts of energy are supposed to be where you give it your all – go as hard and as fast as you can – for 15 seconds, then give yourself a chance to recover by going back into the regular active mode for 45 seconds before repeating the cycle.

How do HIIT workouts burn fat effectively? While these bursts of activity elevate the heart rate, they also require an increased need for oxygen – the scientific term for this is known as EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.

There are also some other benefits of HIIT workouts:

  • You can do it anytime, anywhere. These workouts are about elevating the heart rate, so you don’t need special equipment and can do HIIT outside on any surface that works for you.
  • It doesn’t take too long. Many of us complain about not having making enough time for a workout. HIIT workouts don’t have to be very long, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes!
  • It keeps your metabolism burning. A HIIT workout gets the metabolism up and running – up to 48 hours – so it burns calories long after you’ve finished the workout.

I have a few fitness goals at the moment – I have a daily steps goal with my FitBit and working on a strength routine throughout the week. Getting in HIIT earlier in the day means I can continue to meet my personal goals while pushing my body to burn more calories even when I am not working out. You can even do HIIT workouts on any cardio machine at the gym – especially an elliptical if you want to reduce impact on your joints.

There are many HIIT workouts out there – you can find them on websites such as Dashing Dish, Popsugar and Bodybuilding.com. If these workouts are new to you, start slow with 10 minute intervals and work your way up!

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!

Unique Ways to Use Torani Sugar Free Syrup

Torani Sugar Free Syrup

I’ve been loud and clear about my love for Torani — I use it on a daily basis in my cappuccinos and lattes. Take one look through my personal Instagram account and you’ll find plenty of delicious coffee beverages made using the various flavors of Torani syrup! As a matter of fact, I’m writing this now while drinking a Sugar Free Belgian Cookie latte. I tell you, I’m ob-sessed.

When Torani reached out to me about trying samples of select sugar free syrups, there was only one logical answer: YES! This beauty arrived at my doorstep and I was thrilled to give them a try.

Torani Sugar Free Syrup

Despite having countless bottles of Torani in my house, I’d only previously purchased the Sugar Free Brown Sugar Cinnamon syrup to use in lattes, so I loved that the kit came with a recipe book. I was surprised at all the unique ways to use Torani without using coffee! Though I associate Torani with my lattes, I will be definitely making plenty of other drinks all summer long.

Recipes Using Torani Sugar Free Syrup

The sugar free syrups allow you to add great flavor to your beverages without the calories. Each of the syrups is sweetened by Splenda, which I don’t think leaves an aftertaste like some of the other artificial sweeteners. I’ve never purchased any of the fruity syrup flavors, such as Peach or Mango, so when I saw some of the amazing recipes ideas in the booklet I was making some mental notes and a shopping list. Some tasty recipes include:

I mean really. How refreshing do these sound? I’m going to be sipping on that Skinny Peach Iced Tea all summer long. Guaranteed.

You can also use Torani Sugar Free syrup in your food! I like to add the vanilla syrup to my oatmeal for a decadent flavoring, but you can even make desserts like Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse or Chocolate Chip Rice Cereal Bars.

One way I did not even think about using Torani was in my protein shakes. I love using my Weight Watchers shakes as a base and then adding my Torani Sugar Free syrups to it with milk and ice. One favorite is the Skinny S’mores Protein Shake, which uses protein powder, Sugar Free S’mores syrup, milk and ice. Super easy for an afternoon snack or gym refresher. You can also combine chocolate protein mix with Sugar Free Caramel syrup or the Sugar Free Brown Sugar Cinnamon with a vanilla powder — YUM!

Make popsicles using the Sugar Free Raspberry syrup (or any of your favorite flavors) and water — a fun way to customize your own icy treats. Needless to say, there is so much variety with any of the countless sugar free options. Find Torani at locations such as Cost Plus World Market or Smart & Final — or order them online!

Torani Sugar Free Syrup

Of course, I had to go to Cost Plus and pick up even more sugar free options and they are delicious. If you love the Cookie Butter at Trader Joe’s, the Sugar Free Belgian Cookie smells and tastes so similar — a complete guilt free way to enjoy a daily treat.

Have you ever tried Torani, what is your favorite flavor? 

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift! 

Disclaimer: I received the Sugar Free collection kit (Vanilla, Caramel, Raspberry) pictured above. Additional flavors I purchased independently — all opinions are my own.

March Goals and February Wrap-Up


March Goals

I’ve missed a couple weekly reviews – the one from this week I wanted to wait and do today since I knew I was going to write a February wrap-up and set some new March Goals. I can’t even believe we are at March 1st already!

Overall, things are going okay. Not losing weight as fast as I want, but I suppose it will take some time to repair my metabolism and get things going. I have been going out to eat a little too much and despite staying within points, I know I can get better food for my PointsPlus values eating at home.

I’ve been strength training 3x a week and trying to get my steps in daily. Some days I don’t try too hard to get my steps in, so I want to go back to making that a priority. Another thing I want to incorporate into my workouts throughout the week is some HIIT.

You know how they say losing weight is as easy as calories in, calories out? Umm…losing weight is freaking HARD. There is so much that goes into every move you make, from what to eat, how often to eat it, how to properly strength train and incorporating cardio (but not too much) into your routine. I feel lost sometimes with what I need to be doing so if anyone has any resources for beginners please leave the information down in the comments below!

February Wrap-Up and March Goals

Fitness – This month I just want to focus on getting in my HIIT training, which I will use from Dashing Dish. I plan on continuing with my 3x a week strength training, but will be increasing weights this week since last week felt a bit lighter.

Also, I’m going to refocus on my Good Health Guidelines on Weight Watchers. Keeping it simple and just focusing on filling those requirements as much as I can each day. Between that and tracking I should be getting better with food choices and do well with my March goals.

Fashion/Beauty – I’ve done a great job this month with staying on top of hydrating my skin. My face is so hydrated and smooth now so that makes me happy. I’ve also been trying to hydrate my body especially now that I am working out so I can keep my skin as supple as possible. For my face routine, I use the L’Oreal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil followed by the Garnier Ulta-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer and in the morning I wipe my skin clean with some toner, then hydrate with Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Cream Dry Skin and the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream. All of this I found at Ulta.

What I’m Cooking

Later today I will be going through my Skinnytaste Cookbook and making a menu using my Erin Condren Wellness Journal. I’m excited for the weather to warm up so I can get outside and start grilling!

What I’ve Favorited

Interested in joining Weight Watchers? Use my referral link for a free gift!