Happy Monday, pretty people! How was everyone's weekend? Did you score some new workout gear via the Victoria's Secret Sport deal?! 

My weekend was nice. I worked a lot, but what I'm learning is that "work" doesn't feel like such work when you're passionate about what you're doing. When I first moved to Manhattan and was working in the corporate office of a big department store, I would've never even entertained the idea of working on the weekend. God forbid! I now realize it's because I hated what I was doing (data input and other numbersy things). Now that I'm settling into a profession of helping others, I will gladly work on the weekends, but I cherish my days off too. It's nice to find a balance.

Other than work, I saw a few movies (finally watched The Longest Ride on HBO and saw Sisters with Ben on our date night - loved both); we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Smith; we took a drive out to the 'burbs to meet Ben's best friends' new baby, and we ran some errands. Last night, I whipped up this grain-free banana bread using The Fitnessista's recipe with a few changes. (I skipped the walnuts and used cow's milk, because that's what we had. I also baked it closer to 45 minutes. I've only made it with almond milk in the past and I have to say I think it's better with the dairy!) 

Making a New Year's resolution to lose weight has become a real cliche, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make it yours if that is indeed what you want to do. Today I thought I'd share a few tips that are not quite as obvious as many of the ones you'll inevitably come across. I hope they help if you're embarking on a weight loss journey of your own!

1. Unfollow food accounts on Instagram. I have to admit that when it comes to eats, I'm easily influenced by media. It doesn't take much more than a photo of a donut for me to think, "OMG, I'm really in the mood for a donut right now!" If you too are stimulated by visuals, I highly recommend clicking "unfollow" on any of those accounts that clog up your feed with food that will... well... clog up your arteries. I did this recently and I was surprised by how many of those accounts I'd followed over time! But I have to say my overall Instagram scroll is now cleaner, more calming and inspiring.

2. Don't think about limiting yourself; instead focus on expanding your horizons. People dive off the deep end into fad diets and then dive off the deep end back into binge eating because restriction is challenging, frustrating, and basically the opposite of fun. Instead of thinking about all of the things you "can't" or "shouldn't" eat, concentrate on trying new foods. I used to think I hated eating tree nuts, and now they're one of my favorite snacks. Similarly, I was never crazy about cauliflower until I tossed it with a little olive oil and roasted it... I now make it like that at least once a week. It's easy to think we dislike a certain food if we had a less-than-positive experience at one point in time. Make it a point to try something new at least once a week. 

3. Buy a scale, or find one you can use. Sorry, I'm not one of those people who lives by the theory, "I'll just see how my clothes fit." I believe in numbers and in the power of knowing your body composition statistics. If you're able to, I highly recommend finding out yours. I get mine at the gym (see if your gym offers a body comp scale) and I use this scale at home to weigh myself once a week. As you can see, it's only $30 - nothing fancy! If you know what you weigh and what percentage of your weight is muscle vs. fat, you have a clear overall photo of where you are and where you want to be. This is a big part of my personal training program. Which leads me to my next point...

4. Set concrete goals. What are your goals? I can't tell you how many people I meet who answer, "general fitness" "lose weight" or "tone up" when asked this question. What does that even mean?! Health and fitness goals are completely subjective and those vague statements aren't really going to get you anywhere. While studying for my personal training cert, I learned about the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goals. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. And really, if you think about it, if your goal isn't all of these things, how will you know if you even achieved it?! Here's a handy little cheat sheet to get your started...


5. Have something to look forward to. This is so important! If you're living on plain egg whites, flavorless chicken, and dressing-free salad only, you're setting yourself up for failure. Even though you should eat to live and not the other way around, mealtime should still be enjoyable. Make sure there's at least one element to your diet that brings you joy, whether it's a cup of coffee with a little bit of cream in the morning or a portion-controlled sweet to end the day with. (Sugar Bowl Bakery makes a killer mini brownie that is to-die-for.) Personally, I can't wait to enjoy the above banana bread each morning with some plain yogurt and fresh fruit. 

Are you resolving to lose weight this year? And if so, what's your plan?

Have a marvelous Monday! Thank you for reading.