One of the most important parts of sticking to a diet or weight loss plan, is allowing yourself to cheat!   If you don’t occasionally indulge in something tasty, it can become harder and harder to avoid a total break down/binge that can cancel out days or weeks of kick butt healthiness.  But there  is an art to cheating that must be followed.  When I say cheat, I am not talking about a whole bowl of ice cream or a bag of potato chips, I am talking about cheating in the healthiest way possible that still satisfies your deepest snack attack desires.  Below I have listed some of my favorite treats that I eat when I am craving something sweet or salty, but that I still eat in moderation and only on occasion.  I do my best to choose the treat that offers the most benefits with the least disadvantages.

  • Dark Chocolate! This has to be my #1 favorite treat.  It’s loaded with antioxidants which have tons of great benefits.  It triggers the release of phenylethylamine, which cause a feeling of well being, happiness, and the sensation of being in love.  It also contains some natural caffeine.  The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more intense these benefits.  The taste becomes harsher as you move up the latter, but many people get used to it quickly.  I recently upgraded to 90% percent cocoa, and I love it now!  Beware, dark chocolate is low in sugar, but pretty high in fat.  Make sure you only eat it a few times a week and stick to the serving size or under.
  • Honey! I eat a spoonful of raw, organic locally grown honey a day.  It’s absolutely delicious, and is loaded with immune system strengthening power, antioxidants, benefits for healthy skin, and remedies many different ailments.  Be sure to get the high quality organic kind, not the processed kind with added sugar and chemicals.  BEE sure to watch out, cause it’s famous for being high in natural sugar (which hasn’t been proven to be any less fattening than fake sugar)
  • Barbecue Popped Potato Chips!   My favorite brand that carries these, is Trader Joe’s.  These tasty gluten free snacks are never fried, and taste just as good if not better than baked and fried chips.  They are very low in fat, especially compared to other kinds of chips.  But keep in mind that potato is a starch, and holds very little nutritional value.

You can be healthy without eliminating things that taste good!  There are countless other tasty snack to choose from that  aren’t bad for you.  Eat them in moderation and keep on rolling 🙂

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One of the most important parts of being healthy and losing weight, is water.  Of course, we all know that we are made of water and obviously need water to survive, but hydration is one of the most vital aspects of weight loss.  Here are a few reasons why:

  • When you are dehydrated, there is a reduction in your blood volume.  When this happens, it takes longer for oxygen to reach your muscles which can make you feel tired, physically and mentally.  It also makes it harder for your muscles to rebuild themselves after exercise or any kind of use.
  • Drinking water before, after and during a meal can help you feel fuller faster and stop the urge to start post meal snacking, or eating more than you need.
  • Drinking plenty of water helps flush out dangerous toxins in your body that can lead to illness, weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
  • You’re skin will thank you!  Staying hydrated is the #1 way to keep your skin healthy and clear, and has been proven to diminish the appearance of cellulite.
  • Many people have problems differentiating hunger from thirst.   The urge to snack even when you’ve recently eaten could easily be a sign of dehydration.  When you want to snack, drink a glass of water and then see how you feel!

What water has done for me:

  • My skin has never looked better!  I used to have dry, peely, oily, blotchy skin that was never clear.  Now that I’ve eliminated hormone-loaded dairy products from my diet and am drinking at least 4 liters of water a day, my skin is very healthy and practically perfect! (exercising and sweating out toxins also has been a major factor)
  • I hardly ever get headaches any more
  • I can go longer running without needing a water break
  • My portion sizes have gone down significantly and I get fuller faster
  • The number on the scale has gone down along with my urge to snack!

Water is a major contributor to the BMI and overall health of any given person.  Proper hydration is essential on your quest for the perfect you!

Many of us have been told since childhood that dairy should be a basic staple in your diet.  While it is true that milk is high in calcium, protein and lots of different vitamins and minerals, many fail to understand that the dangers of a modern glass of milk out-weigh the benefits by a lot.

Human milk serves the evolutionary purpose of providing nutrition for infants during the first 6 months of life.  Similarly, cow milk is designed for the same purpose, but for calves!  The human body is not designed to process cow milk.  There are certain proteins in dairy that we are unable to digest, and they cause the development of teeny tiny holes throughout our  intestines.    As a result, many of the nutrients in the foods we eat seep out through the intestinal lining and we don’t get all the benefits from the food that we could be.  It’s considered common knowledge that milk is high in calcium, which is good for bone and tooth health.  But what few know, is that the animal protein in dairy actually depletes the health of your bones and teeth, canceling out possible benefits of the calcium.  Recent studies show that an increase in dairy consumption could actually be linked to an increase in bone fracture.

Modern store bought milk is extremely processed, and additives are put in even before the milk comes out of the cow.  Cows are injected with hormones and given antibiotics.

Antibiotics in Milk: When a cow becomes sick, the entire herd is given antibiotics to kill off the disease causing bacteria.  The antibiotics are given to all the cows, even the ones that show no symptoms and are not ill.  Over the past 10 years, farmers have begun to give antibiotics to entire herds of totally healthy cattle to prevent possible disease.  The problem with this, is that it causes the rapid evolution of strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  These bacteria have spread throughout the world, not just on farms, but in our own homes.  We take these super-bacteria into our body, and the antibiotics that make them stronger whenever we eat dairy from cows that have been treated with any form of antibiotics.  In addition, the antibiotics cause the cows to experience a painful side effect that creates pus filled sores in the utters, and as you might have guessed, the pus ends up in the milk.

Hormones in Milk: Many cows are given artificial growth hormones to increase udder size and milk production.  When you drink milk, you ingest these hormones.  It throws off your body’s entire hormonal system.  It’s been linked to early sexual development in children, acne in people of all ages (especially teens, no surprise) and many other unhealthy conditions.

Dairy causes me to get terribly painful rashes and makes me break out whenever I eat it.  People experience symptoms of lactose intolerance everyday, but are not educated enough about dairy to make the connection.  Dairy is dangerous! For cows, and for humans.  On a certain level, all humans are lactose intolerant.  Milk does not do the body good, so stay away from it!

To read about the cruel mistreatment of cows and calves, click on this link: http://www.peta.org/issues/Animals-Used-For-Food/Cows-Milk-A-Cruel-and-Unhealthy-Product.aspx

Here are some of my personal goals that I  hope to reach by the first day of my summer vacation 6/8/12, 7 whole weeks

  1. Weigh 140lbs. (lose 9 pounds)
  2. Run 3 miles without stopping
  3. Do 15 perfect push ups

Throughout this blog, I will be setting goals and creating new ones when old ones are reached.  Setting goals is very important to me.  It’s a great way to track progress over long periods of time, and knowing specifically what you want actually makes it much more achievable.  Shoot for the moon!  Set short term goals and long term goals.  Share your goals with your friends, family and other people that support you in all aspects of your life.  Having moral support is often very helpful when things get rough.

But make sure your goals are realistic.  Be sure to differentiate between short term goals, and long term goals.  A couple months ago, I set a goal to lose ten pounds in a month.  As you can imagine, this ended in disaster.  I got obsessive about every bite I took, and went against my own beliefs that calorie counting is unhealthy.  I ate too little and pushed myself too hard when I exercised.  After three weeks of this, I had lost little to no weight.  I had an emotional crash and spent a night watching unpopular Disney movies from the late 90’s, eating junk food and crying alone.  I don’t regret this, because it really helped me learn about my own limits and what my body and my mind are capable of.  Extremes are never healthy!  Also remember that not reaching a goal by the time you set is totally okay.  Give yourself plenty of wiggle room. Never plan on reaching long term goals by the exact date, because this often leads to disappointment, which leads to guilt, which lead to feelings of inadequacy, which lead to hopelessness, which leads to giving up.  NEVER GIVE UP!  Even if you spent months pushing yourself harder than you ever have, if you don’t reach your goal right away, you are still that much closer.

I know that I can reach my weight goal because I have gotten very close before.  I went all the way down from 153lbs., to 144lbs.   I celebrated by spending the next couple of weeks making excuses not to exercise, eating too much and gaining it back.  Luckily I didn’t gain it all back, so I am lower than when I originally started.  But let this be a lesson that food should never be a reward.  It’s a bad habit to get into because you’ll always end up closer to where you started than to your goal.  It’s a deadly cycle!

I will continue to give updates on my progress, and what I’m doing to reach my goals throughout the blog!  Stay tuned.

This is a picture of me, making a weird face while indulging in a sour dough clam chowder bowl in San Francisco.                                         Oh, regrets!

Calorie counting is an outdated and inaccurate method of dieting.  I am opposed to calorie counting for many reasons.  One of the biggest reasons, is because the calorie count of what you eat is totally irrelevant to the content!  You could compare the calorie count of a serving of organic peanut butter to the calorie count of a pack of Reece’s peanut butter cups, and they would be practically the same.  But if you have any sense of healthy eating, all calories aside, it should be very obvious that the organic peanut butter is the healthiest choice.  It doesn’t matter how many calories something has, what matters is in the ingredients.  Many “healthy” snacks and low calorie options are very unhealthy- they replace sugar with chemicals!  If you actually want to lose weight to “be healthy”, don’t take short cuts.  Eat real food, not food that’s extremely chemically processed, overly preserved, pre-packaged, colored, bleached, stripped of all original flavor and nutrients and coated in more chemicals.  They are low cal because chemicals don’t have calories, they are not food. In the long run, it’s weight loss snacks like these that will do more bad than good.  These chemicals have proven to be cancerous and hurt your body in many different ways.  They will not aid weight loss, they make it harder for your body to process and function.  Excessively small portions are not the way to go either.  Depriving yourself of what you need for too long is a common problem that causes many to reach a breaking point, and fall back into their old patterns and unhealthy habits.

Let go of calorie counting by replacing low cal packaged snacks with veggies and nuts!  Think about how you feel when you eat, and don’t force yourself to finish what’s on your plate.  Eat when you’re hungry- it’s okay!  Just be sure to pick the healthiest option.  Calorie counting can cause unhealthy emotional and mental stress, and feelings of guilt that are unnecessary.  You are what you eat, so don’t eat chemicals!

My name is Savannah!  I was born in Orem Utah and lived in Vancouver Washington until I was 8.  I then moved to beautiful Santa Barbara California, where I currently reside and have lived for the past 9 years.  The mere 1,010 mile difference in geographic location between Vancouver WA and Santa Barbara CA has caused my family and I to experience serious culture shock.  To move from nearly constant rain and a life spent mostly indoors, to a city where the residents can count on perfect 70 degree weather and clear skies almost every day has brought us to make serious lifestyle changes.  I am now 16 years old, and over the past year I have taken much interest in the topics of health, fitness, body image and the likes.

My freshmen year of high school I reached an all time high of 175lbs.  I only exerted energy when forced to, and I had no filter as to what or what I should not eat.  I was not health conscious in the slightest-  I did what I wanted!  On the other hand, I felt terrible 24/7.  I hated my body and I hated myself.  I’ve made some drastic changes to my lifestyle since then, and I am starting this blog 30 pounds lighter at the weight of 145lbs.  I have a very healthy non-obsessive take on weight loss.  I am very opposed to calorie counting, dieting, and excessive exercise.  I believe strongly that confidence, how you feel, and self love are far more important than the number on the scale.

I write this blog with the goal of bringing people inspiration and information. I offer a fresh perspective and new approaches to exercise, healthy diet, peer pressure, social media and my own personal journey from unhealthy, to fairly fit ;)