A New Lifestyle ( My tips on Successful Weight Loss)

at 162 lbs

About 10 months later,
after at 132 lbs

Listen to me…I’m no expert nor do I pretend that I know what the right practices for your lifestyle will be. I’ll tell you what I do know and what I’m 100 % confident about as it pertains to my life. If you want to lose weight and become fit, you need to throw away the word diet from your vocabulary. Once you commit to a diet it solidifies pressure on many aspects of your life such as your eating habits, social eating, your exercise regiment, etc. This kind of deep hold on your life works but what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t last. Eventually it fizzles out!

My weight loss journey unexpectedly was launched through a stressful situation. I don’t wish this on anyone but it catapulted me into a different version of my life. It was a negative that transformed into a life changing positive. ( Thank you God) I was living from one sweet to the next with an overload of non-nutritious foods on the menu. I didn’t exercise nor did I wish to. I was sick for weeks every winter with a run down immune system. Lastly my emotional and mental well being went haywire, thrusting me into rough waters to try to swim out of.

One day I woke up…really emerged and I asked myself, is this the way I want to truly live, to exist and not thrive? That day I set a mini goal on the horizon, that I lose a little weight for my son’s wedding. Then I started eating healthier and lighter. Instead of eating a whole sandwich at lunch, I cut back to a half. I snacked on almonds, pistachios, fruit and veggies and hummus. I walked a few times a week with my neighbor Anita, not only experiencing a great workout but a mental strengthener from our enlightening conversations.

As my journey progressed, I maintained active in my garden and did yard work. I stacked wood with Tom while sucking my abs and bottom in. ( This sounds wacky but I feel it helped) I practiced my old Denise Austin aerobic/ exercise/ weight training dvd a few times a week. I journaled( and still do this) all the meals and snacks I ate so that I would see what I actually shoved in my mouth on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic way to stay accountable to yourself. This has been quite an eye opener as I didn’t realize how much I was eating. Journaling goes hand in hand with meal and snack planning. Jot down what your meals and snacks will be for the week and use this for a generated grocery list. Try a variety of foods so you don’t tire of your choices.

stin also has a website and free exercise videos here and there

One trick that worked for me was not weighing myself. In the past on my weight loss journey, I would get upset if the scale didn’t favor me so in turn I ate. This time I went for months not weighing myself but gauged my progress through how I felt physically and how my clothes fit me. As they got baggier and bigger I knew that I was getting favorable results. Now I weigh myself once a week at school for The Biggest Loser program, which isn’t a competition but an individual track of your personal weight loss.

As of yet I have lost 33 pounds and feel unbelievable! I feel healthy, fit and in turn that helps me emotionally and mentally. Knock on wood, I haven’t caught the flu or even a cold this winter! Proper sleep at night and a multi- vitamin has its benefits as well.

Here are some of my tips that may help you:

Start small without huge expectations and pressure

Downscale your meals at first, focusing eating a variety of fresh vegetables, a protein every meal and limited carbs like potato and rice

Eat two snacks a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. That would put you at five times a day of eating( three meals and two snacks)

Drink lots of water and stay hydrated

Start exercising a few minutes at a time every day or every other day. I started at three times a week with the dvd and now I practice it four to five days a week, 50 minute workouts every time

Walk with a friend twice a week to start. Make sure you stretch first to avoid painful Charlie horses at night. This happened to me last summer! Ouch!

I skip eating bread all but maybe a piece of toast a week and sometimes a half a sandwich at lunch. It’s been a tough adjustment as I love bread! But I’ve done it and sometimes I treat myself!

Try to not talk too much about your new lifestyle, unless it’s collaboration with a friend who is doing the same thing.  Sometimes talking about a diet to everyone puts pressure on yourself.

Try simple body moves while washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. I do a stretch where I try to keep my heels up tall and squeeze my legs, calves, thighs, inner thighs, bottom and abs as I go up and down a few reps. While washing dishes I kick my legs up on each side six reps while sucking my abs and bottom in.

My great snack ideas that have worked for me:

Carrot or celery sticks with hummus ( I love red pepper and the garlic flavors)

celery sticks with peanut butter

10 whole cashews, 15 almonds,or 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

apple slices and peanut butter ( sometimes I sprinkle dark chocolate chips and granola pieces on them)

pretzels with hummus

roasted chick peas 1/4 cup a serving, a great source of protein!

Avocado slices and ak- mak sesame crackers

one orange, two clementines, half a banana, one cup berries are all one serving for me

one mini box of raisins

Breakfast ideas:

One piece of whole grain toast ( I buy loaves of freshly baked bread from a bakery in Vermont that sells to Shaw’s) with two tablespoons peanut butter, a half of banana or apple slices

An overnight oatmeal cup, 1/2 cup steelcut oats, 1/2 cup milk, one tablespoon peanut butter, place in a small mason or jelly jar, set in fridge overnight. The next morning add apple chunks or banana slices and more milk if needed. You can eat this hot or cold, I enjoy it cold.

1/2 cup Grape Nuts or Kasha Shredded Wheat cereal with fruit

1 cooked egg with spinach and garlic, one or two slices bacon

2 small homemade pancakes with fruit one tablespoon maple syrup

Treat yourself

One important aspect of my new eating lifestyle is treating myself! I have always savored chocolate and have adamantly decided that I will still eat it in moderation. Most of the time I treat myself three times a week, mostly on weekends so I can workout to limit the damage. Sometimes I indulge in a cup of Haagen Daas almond milk ice cream or a homemade cookie or two. Other times I have a few squares of dark chocolate or dark chocolate raisins. Don’t feel guilty if you go off track, after all you are human! Maybe a rigorous walk or workout will offset your treat intake.

freshly cut carrot sticks to roast, a delicious side dish!

I will post on this topic again as I try new things in my new life and will communicate my strengths and shortfalls. All I know now is that as a 49 plus woman ( a few months shy of the big 50), I currently feel the best that I have ever felt physically! I wish this success for you as well! I feel women need to support other women during the journey instead of tearing each other down!

Believe in yourself for you are worth changing your routine! It may take a few weeks of trial and error with building confidence, but stick with it until it becomes a positive habit.

Let me know how your eating/ exercise regiment is going. Are you committed to feeling the best you ever have? If so, take a chance and make small changes that could grow into an amazing positive lifestyle!

I made these low fat Chocolate Chip cookies with banana yesterday. All they have is two ripened bananas mashed, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp. Vanilla. Mix together. Place in tablespoons on cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 F for ten or twelve minutes. They will be soft and need to be stored in the refrigerator.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕





It’s been a hot fiery summer in our state and my garden is showing it. Everything seems to be thriving from good ole Mrs. Sun. Despite this, we all know a cleansing rain shower feeds the plants as well and makes a difference in growth. The last couple of days have been cooler with the anticipated showers soaking the patch.





In past summers,  I’ve noticed that the saving rain brings forth miracles. Let me explain before you think I’m crazy…after rain showers I wait a day to dry up my crop. I really don’t mind getting my gardening clothes damp by walking through or working in a wet patch, but have found that the day off brings unexpected surprises!After a day’s wait,  I have entered my squash patch to find numerous treasures ready to pick and ripe red tomatoes bursting for my picking. Just yesterday a miracle veggie hung on my new fence, vines trailing up the lattice. When I approached this amazing wonder, there was a jaw dropping cucumber for the ages. It’s definitely the longest and  most hearty one I’ve ever grown!





Tom and I couldn’t stop laughing at this miracle and chalked it up to the fertile soil and the splash of mother nature’s juice. While taking a picture for posterity ( because you never know if this gem will ever be matched), promising thoughts of our town’s special annual day popped up …wouldn’t it be hilarious to showcase the town’s potential longest cucumber on display at the town hall? People from every corner of its borders would relish in this wonder! Saturday is the big day, a day of celebration, a firemen’s auction and community dinner and playing band to wrap up the day and my 18 inch cuke could be a part of it! Haha.



With the cuke harvest in full swing, I dream of delicious creamy cucumber salad and scrumptious cuke sandwiches! Cuke sandwiches are simple and so easy to make! Once you taste one, you may just be addicted. Here’s a warning, though, it must be made with fresh grown cucumbers, preferably from a local garden.



Simply choose your favorite bread ( I like multi grain from the store’s bakery) and spread a thin layer of mayo on both sides. I love sliced onion and tomatoes and lay them down first. Follow with sliced cukes. Sprinkle with McCormick’s Salad Seasoning, which is a delicious spice combination of paprika, poppy seeds, celery seed, black pepper,sesame seed, Romano cheese, salt, sunflower oil and a few more things. Add salt and pepper and you’re ready to eat! It’s very tasty and adds some punch to your veggie sandwich!



Yesterday’s picking, washed and drying


If anyone knows wonderful cucumbers recipes, please share! I’m bombarded with cukes! I would like to give away some but my veggie table isn’t working. People are not stopping so I need to find a different way to give them away!


All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️


Party Planning 🎉🎉🎉




I love to make my own platters for parties, whether it’s a graduation party or cookout or birthday party. I know the basics of meat and cheese and vegetable platters from working in a deli for 12 years. I bend the rules a little and create different things every time. For instance when I made the fruit platters for two special young ladies who graduated last year ( one being my son’s special girlfriend and the other being a long time neighbor),  I decided to use the cantaloupe shell I was about to toss in the trash and realized  it would be unique to put blueberries in it. I also used a cookie cutter to make watermelon star shapes.


If you search your kitchen you may find acceptable trays, plates or platters to shocase your delicious foods. You can be creative as you want, which saves you money and is valuable to use what you have. Currently I am collecting different platters for special parties. The oval plastic platter above was a cheap find at wal- mart and is large enough for any large tray of goodies. The green rectangular tray belongs to a set from Old Temptations on QVC. It serves as a gorgeous tray for rolls, sandwiches, even fruit plates. I have a Christmas tray I use all year, because all you have to do is cover it with aluminum foil and a doiliy or two and you’re ready to fill.












Two years ago we hosted a party for D’s graduation from high school. We invited about 50 people and they were coming and going for a few hours, making it very hectic. I was fortunate to have a nice neighbor who offered to help set up for the party, while we were at the graduation ceremony. I had prepped burger patties ahead and Tom worked the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs. We had salads, fruit salad, cheese and crackers, and chips. In the end Tom and I worked most of the party filling coolers and dealing with food. We hardly got to visit with everyone so I vowed to myself that this time will be different!




In three weeks B will be graduating from high school and that means the party planner in me comes to life! Time to jot down lists, look at sales, start picking up items like paper plates and plasticware. The crazy thing is that I get nervous about hosting dinners and parties but I make myself do it for my family and myself. Anything out of my comfort zone prods me to grow and so I embrace the difficulty I have with it and hope someday it will be easier.



Our plan for this party is altogether different. No grill…Actually I stole this clever idea from my sister at my nephew’s graduation party last year. Barb had platters of food and salads and it was less stress without the complication of working the grill. I plan on doing assorted salads, a meat and cheese platter, veggie platter, fingerroll platter, appetizers like seven layer dip, deviled eggs, and crockpot dishes.



My sister in law, Bev gave me a great idea of hiring teenagers to work at the party. They would help serve, fill food as needed, fill soda and water coolers, and clean up after. I’ve posted a help wanted sign at school but no one has responded. A few teachers have recommended certain people and I’ll approach them to see if they are interested. The luxury of paying this person would help me relax and enjoy all our company at my son’s grad party, a special time for our family.



Does anyone have party suggestions to share with me, regarding big crowds, food, clean up, or anything that would be useful for us?  Thank you kindly.

In a future post I’ll share my centerpieces I’m making from an idea on Pinterest.



All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️



A Family Favorite: The Sandwich Maker

                Do you own a sandwich maker and use it frequently?


Proctor Silex sandwich Maker


A couple of years ago my husband and I bought a little sandwich maker. The first one we owned was a waffle and sandwich maker. There were different plates you snapped in and it was convenient to wash. Now we own a Proctor Silex, a gift from a coworker.



We started out making grilled cheese sandwiches and evolved into making deluxe sandwiches with soft muenster cheese, baked ham, turkey or even hard salami nestled in bakery bread with tomatoes, avocado or onion slices.


I brought my maker to school to share with my coworker. We would have outside recess on frigid winter days and come in to have lunch. It was a comfort to cook our sandwiches as the delicious aroma filled our room and snaked down the hall. Teachers and students all loved the smell!





It’s a great lunch tool for making it delicious when you have company or warm and toasty when weather is frigid and unforgiving. Even though its perfect for winter, we cook sandwiches any time of the year, winter, spring, and even summer. My oldest son uses it when he comes home for lunch.



Sandwich suggestions


Turkey and cheese
Virginia baked ham with cheese
Hard salami with cheese
Roast beef
Bakery bread,must if, ciabatta, pumpernickel, rye, wheat

Veggies to try in your sandwich

Tomatoes (garden ones are the best)
Avocado slices
Cucumber slices
Green pepper slices

Cheeses to try

American cheese ( I buy mine from the local deli, if you buy the pre-packaged cheese it’s artificial)
Muenster cheese
Havarti ( a very rich creamy cheese)
Swiss cheese

Meats to try

Baked ham
Roast turkey
Roast beef
Hard Salami
Corned beef





Start with your choice of bread.

Butter both sides. ( I don’t always do this, but it’s pretty flavorful) I used bakery wheat bread for this sandwich.
Line bread with cheese first, followed by meat slices, veggies in top. This particular sandwich had sliced red peppers.

Place in preheated sandwich maker. Cook 2-3 minutes, depending on how toasted you want it. This sandwich is a little puffy but once you place the lid down, it does cook


It’s hot when coming out, use a small spatula or knife to slide on to plate.

Unplug cooker, you are done.




Now enjoy that fabulous cooked sandwich!


It cleans up nicely. Sometimes the plates click out to wash in the sink. The newest one I have you simply wash the inside plates without taking them out and then towel dry.


I suggest to unplug after use and keep on counter to cool off. Then put away in its storage place. I keep mine on a corner cabinet shelf in my kitchen, next to my crockpot.