Category Archive: Random Musings


Chia Seed

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. It is a super food that have been shown to suppress appetites while providing protein, calcium, and omega-3s. Try adding  ground chia seed meal to your oatmeal, shake or smoothie for a longer fuller feeling.


-Lose Weight Without Starving
-Cuts craving
-Balances blood sugar
-Adds age-defying anti-oxidants
-Increases energy
-Healthy omega-3 fatty acids (more than flax seeds)
-Heart Health
-Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Reduces Menopause Symptoms


Healthy Snacking

Snacking can be a killer for a diet! We’ve all heard the admonitions of “eat celery” or “have a handful of almonds” but let’s be honest here. Sometimes the thought of those just seems downright yukky! We want to eat something that feels normal. We get tired of dieting! So, when I tried the Bistro MD plan, I was delighted to discover a couple of very tasty snacks to keep in my repertoire.

The one I love the most was baked lentil chips from the Mediterranean Snack Company.   Inspired by the balanced lifestyle of the Mediterranean diet (as is the Sonoma Diet), this all natural, gluten-free snack is made from high protein, nutritious lentils, garbanzo, and adzuki beans. Bistro MD sent them with a small serving of hummus, which is a dip that I’ve always enjoyed.   Since that time, I’ve eaten them with bean dip, Greek yogurt dill dip, Tatziki, and just straight out of the bag.    They’re salty and crunchy with a great taste and fulfill my cravings for things like potato chips as well as cheese and crackers.   You really can’t lose with a snack that is all natural, gluten-free, GMO free, a good source of fiber, celiac and vegetarian friendly and has 70% less fat than regular potato chips!

The other snack I discovered was a beef jerky type treat called Simply Snackin.   The flavor they sent me was Beef Sirloin with Apples and Cherries.    At only 50 calories, it was a meaty, salty, chewy snack that tasted better than any beef jerky I’ve ever had.   With the addition of fruits, it changes the flavors subtly and adds additional nutritional value.  They are lean and tender at only 1-2g of fat, these high protein snacks feature 8-10g of protein each! No MSG, no trans fats (not even a milligram!), all natural fruits and meats.  The Simply Snackin line features savory gourmet dried meat snacks that begin with fresh,  all natural (no artificial ingredients or added color) 100% beef sirloin or 100% chicken breast meat. Next, tantalizing combinations of fruit, spices, and cheeses are added to produce satiating flavors. Finally, a leisurely roasting process, featuring a light smoking, finish them off.    The end result is really great taste.

I don’t often find foods like this that I’d give the thumbs up to, but both of these snacks really helped with the cravings and actually created enjoyable moments of dieting.   It doesn’t get much better than that for a dieter!




Calories In, Calories Out. It’s Easier Said Than Done!

It isn’t rocket science.   We all know how to lose weight.  Watch what you eat and exercise enough to burn more calories than you need for daily energy.   But, it’s so easy to say but so very difficult to do.

I can have wine with the Sonoma Diet!

I’ve been off the diet cycle for a while now and the pounds are starting to creep back on.  I’ve been putting it off, but it’s time to get back to exercising better judgement.   No more ice cream.  No more gooey baked goods.  Start eating whole grains.  Load up on veggies.  Lean meat.   Blah blah blah…

But it’s not so bad.   I have all the tools.   I’ve been reviewing all these diet plans so I’m equipped with knowledge.  NutriSystem food tasted awful so it’s out.  No cookie diet!   No Th121!    On the bright side, the Sonoma Diet has some terrific, flavorful recipes and it’s an easy way to measure portions.   BodyMedia Fit Armband will measure my daily activity against my calorie intake.   I can carry my TRX system with me when I go on the road for my job.   Now, I just have to hustle up my motivation and I’ll be on my way.

Anybody know where I can buy a bottle of motivation?



Johnna’s note:  My friend, Angela, posted this on Facebook.  I thought it was terrific so I asked her if I could share it here… enjoy!

by Angela D.

I want to share something here with you about losing weight and the fact that people do struggle and it’s ok, you just have to dust yourself off and get right back up and keep on truckin’…

A few years ago I realized that I coudn’t keep blaming the fact that I was overweight from my pregnancies. My story was that it was “baby weight”…hahaha…seriously though, Haley was 9 months old when I became pregnant with Jack and I had such awful times with the both of them being on bed rest for most of both pregnancies that I just got used to saying the story over and over again. I was a size 5 when I got pregnant with Haley, lost some of the weight from her getting down to a size 10 and then BAM pregnant with Jack and blew up like a house! It was awful…but enough with the excuses already right?

Anyway, I used that story up until they were 8 and 9 (they’re 12 & soon to be 11 now) and then in the middle of the story I stopped short and said “Oh my gawd…I seriously can’t use them as an excuse as to why I’m overweight anymore! I need to get off my ars!”  Of course I may have thrown in a few choice words here and there, but you get the jist of it right? Which brings me to the next part…

Everytime I tried to lose weight in the past something came up or I didn’t stick to it, mostly I’d get discouraged because I wasn’t getting to my “goal” weight fast enough. Plus I had the “age” excuse on my side now…especially after I turned *clears throat* 40! In other words…it’s been a struggle! I’d lose 5 pounds, then I’d gain it back and I really did yo-yo A LOT! When I finally couldn’t squeeze into my jeans anymore and I had to go up 1 more size which was discouraging to say the least, I started dieting again and got back down to being comfortable in my “fat jeans” yeah, who wants to say that?

I finally decided that hey, this is me and I’m fine the way I am and I love food so I’m just going to enjoy life, eat, drink and be merry. That was until all the Facebook pictures started popping up of me and all my chins! UHG!!! There’s NOTHING worse than pictures of you looking your worst being posted for all the world to see. Not flattering at all and what kind of friend posts your most awful pics out there for all of cyber world to see? If I wouldn’t post the pic myself, please don’t post it for me, I think I’m pretty good at keeping that motto myself : )

Hand with Girl 300x250
Back on track…I never make resolutions for New Years…they never stick but what the hell was happening to my ass? I could enter a room and it would follow me in at some point and time…maybe that’s why people always thought I was late…maybe my ass hadn’t finished entering the room? I don’t know, “butt” (ha…ha…) I didn’t like it and I felt like crap! So this year, I made a resolution, I was losing weight! The first part of this year has been one thing after another, I’ve been running around like crazy, no time to eat right never mind diet or exercise! Yep, there’s those pesky excuses again.

I tried running, walking, dieting so on and so forth and finally I just said that’s it, I’m going to lose the weight and I don’t care how long it takes me! In other words I lied to myself, of course I care how long it takes me!!! But I had to start somewhere.

And this is how I got started…I wasn’t going to look at the “total” amount of weight that I wanted to lose, I decided to set small goals like 2 lbs., 5 lbs, 10 lbs., I really stayed between the 2 & 5 pound mark, it was easier than saying I’d lose 10. I started putting my meals on smaller plates, I have always been a good eater so using a regular sized plate and going back for seconds even though I was full was a bad habit! It took me a while to get used to the fact that I was using a smaller plate, the food tends to slide off the sides, I found that’s a sign of too much food on the plate and I walked almost everyday.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it has taken me a while to do this and I haven’t been extremely strict in my dieting or walking especially lately, it being summer and me running around entertaining kids, having a cooler packed with goodies and snacks galore because I just have to make sure they’re happy! Translation…I have to have my snacks too! I do love chocolate as well, so I found some things that have “splenda” in them and I also buy “reduced fat” products to munch on but I try to stay with “all natural” things…which brings me to some issues…

Issue #1: “Aspartame”~ I can not eat or drink anything with “aspartame” in it…neither should you! Look it up, it doesn’t help you lose weight, it actually hinders the process and is extremely harmful to your body. Anyway, it gives me headaches, bad ones and I have a whole long story to share one day with you all about what happened to me after I stopped eating and drinking stuff with that in it…short version…I ended up in the hospital and I do believe “aspartame” was the reason why because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Hey, they even did and MRI and a CATSCAN and yes, I do have a brain! WHEW!!!

Issue #2: Did you know that margarine is 1 molecule away from being plastic? I decided after I heard that, I’d switch back to real butter oh and real cream cheese too! I don’t eat a lot of it so I figured if I’m going to eat it, I should get to indulge! However, since my gallbladder operation, I can’t eat “real” mayo, I have to eat the reduced fat kind and that’s ok with me. I also can’t eat a lot of things that are high in fat, so I’m sure that has helped me along the way.

So finally,finally, finally, I started losing the weight…it is definitely coming off slowly and that’s good because slow and steady wins the race. Most importantly I went to the Dr’s and I so didn’t want him to do my blood work because the last time he did it was awful, he was considering putting me on medication for my high cholesterol! YIKES! I hate taking meds so I said “Nooooooo, I’ll try doing it without meds first” he kind of chuckled and said “ok but if it’s not better soon, I’m putting you on the medication”. Keep reading and you’ll find out my Dr’s results ; )

Also, I think that it’s important to remember that you didn’t put the weight on in 4 weeks, you shouldn’t expect to take the weight off in 4 weeks…a little at a time for a much more succesful goal…a healthier you! And remember that diets only work if you think long term…the slower the weight comes off the longer you will keep it off.

So here it is, I have been “aspartame” free for 4 years, I have been using real butter and cream cheese for years, I just had my gallbladder out last November so if I can’t eat it, I don’t…anyone who has had theirs out knows what I’m talking about and I eat very little fast food and when I do, I get something that’s not too big. Sometimes I even get a kids meal because honestly, once you start eating on a smaller plate, you’ll see that your body is full and you’ll know what makes you full. With the kids back in school now, I am going to start with my walking once again and who knows, maybe I’ll work back up to jogging. It’s good for me and I like it. I used to love the gym, but I’m just not that in love with being in a windowless room with a bunch of other poeple who are either sweating profusely or are all dolled up hanging out by the water bubbler ; )

My final results from the Dr. TAHDAH…my cholesterol is PERFECT and as of today, I have lost a total of 23 pounds. I still have weight to lose but I’m going to do it slowly and the right way because I want to be healthy and feel good. Please remember, don’t get discouraged…if you make one mistake during the day don’t worry about it, just don’t keep making the mistake for the rest of the day or give yourself a break and make the mistakes for the day but don’t do it for the rest of the week. I always have a “cheat” day and if I want some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream I have some but I don’t eat the whole pint anymore I don’t even eat 1/2 the pint! LOL Well, ok, sometimes I eat 1/2 but I won’t do it again in the same week which was always a problem for me because it’s sooooooo yummy!

Anyway, I hope all of you who are struggling to lose weight know that it can be done, just don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t deprive yourself of the foods you like, just don’t eat them as often and don’t indulge so much that you feel like you’re going to explode after eating. Pay attention because once you think you’re full guess what? You’re full ; )

Good Luck and keep on truckin’…



Food, the drug of choice

Did you know that some foods elicit reactions in the brain similar to those caused by recreational drugs? According to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers examined magnetic resonance images of 48 healthy women who tasted chocolate milkshakes, finding that reaction patterns in particular parts of the brain were similar in response to foods as to the reaction pattern of  drugs.   It appears that there’s a physical aspect rather than just a mental aspect when it comes to food addiction!




Food Pantry Needs

Johnna’s note:  A friend of ours who wishes to remain anonymous wrote the following post. I think he makes a lot of very valid points that we all should think about!   Please donate (if you have the means) to one of the listed pantries or to your local pantry.   When so many of us have so much, it’s just not right for anyone to go hungry!

When I was younger, I grew up as part of a poor family. There were seven of us– my mother, father, my two brothers, and my two sisters, and I knew what it was like to go without a meal. My father was a construction worker and my mother a stay at home mom. We lived in Western Massachusetts, where work was scarce for my father and often my father would get laid-off.

I feel this has been one of the main factors in my weight problems. I am a food hoarder. I eat because I am afraid I will not eat again for a long time. I eat bad food because it is comfort food. I have, in the past, eaten cheap food because I could not  afford to buy good healthy food. That is why I support Food Pantries whenever I can–whether with a donation of food, my time or money, and I suggest others do so as well.

Here is a list of food banks who always need assistance. Many times, people donate to these charities in the winter but do not realize that people go hungry in the summer as well. You can help  these charities at any time of the year and your help is needed and very much appreciated, especially in these trying times of financial uncertainty.


Binge Eating Disorder

Everyone overeats from time to time.    We may enjoy a dinner out with a bit too much relish or take extra helpings of our favorite foods.   Holiday parties and meals always make it easy to overeat.   However, binge eating is a compulsive disorder that is considerably more common than anorexia or bulimia and affects as many men as it does women.

Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by periods of extreme over-eating, but not followed by purging behaviors as in most cases of bulimia. Binge eating can occur alone, or in conjunction with a lesion of the hypothalamus gland, Prader-Willi disorder, or other conditions.   The binge eater feels out of control and powerless to stop their compulsive overeating.  Typically, the symptoms of binge eating disorder begin in late adolescence or early adulthood.  Many times the behavior starts after a major diet.

Binge eaters use food to cope with stress.  They may be comforted for a short period of time but then they feel guilt, disgust and
depression.  They worry about what eating this way will do to their bodies and beat themselves up for their inability to control their eating.   Binge eating often leads to weight gain which makes the person feel worse about themselves.   The worse they feel, the more they will turn to food for comfort and then the cycle renews itself.    People with binge eating disorder are ashamed of their eating habits so many times they will hide their symptoms and eat in secret.   Many binge eaters are overweight or obese, while some are still normal weight.  I mentioned in my HCG follow-up article that I’d been on a binge.   While I have not been diagnosed (yet), the signs and symptoms of my eating tend to trend in the direction of binge eating.   I intend to seek professional assistance for this problem.

Signs and Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

  • Compulsively eating when you aren’t hungry.
  • Inability to stop eating or to control what you are eating.
  • Eating until you feel sick
  • Eating to escape from stress or worries
  • Being embarrassed by how much you are eating
  • Desperation to control your eating
  • Eating normally around others but overeating when you are alone
  • Never feeling like any food satisfies you no matter how much you eat

Ways to Overcome Binge Eating

  • Get support.   See a professional or try a self help plan such as Dr Christopher Fairburn’s book, “Overcoming Binge Eating.”
  • Try to manage stress through techniques such as meditation, exercise, breathing exercises or doing something nice for yourself like stopping to read a book or take a hot bath.
  • Learn the difference between when you are physically hungry or if the hunger is an emotional symptom.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat three meals a day plus healthy snacks.
  • Focus on eating in moderation rather than trying to diet.
  • Keep a food diary.  This is an excellent Online Food Diary
  • Exercise
  • Fight boredom


Fear and loathing in blogdom…

My first post….
I’m loathe to try to blog. I’ve never considered myself to be much of a writer. However, for the past few years I’ve been quite the dieter! I’ve tried a lot of diet plans. Some worked for me and some did not. Everyone is different so I feel that it is important for me to share some honest views of the plans that I’m featuring on this site.

I’ve learned a lot about myself through dieting. The most distressing thing I’ve learned is that I require a rigid plan that does not allow me to improvise. I have very little ability when it comes to self restraint! If I am on a rigid plan, I can follow it to the letter but if I’m allowed the slightest bit of flexibility, it turns into a huge bungee jump! My bungee doesn’t spring me back, unfortunately. It keeps stretching till I fall splat on my face!

The other distressing thing I’ve learned is that I am a stress eater. I want to be a laid-back person. I really do! But, the sad truth is that I am pretty high-strung. I’m a sales rep and drive all the time. I hate driving! Driving in the Northeast requires a lot of defense and a lot of offense! The weather is also pretty unpredictable. I find that when I’m in a traffic jam or driving in treacherous weather, I start eating mindlessly. I’ll suddenly look down and realize that I just ate a huge bag of chips or m&m’s and didn’t even taste it!

I’ll be addressing these and other issues as I go along. I’d also love to hear others’ stories and suggestions. Stick around!

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