9 Things You Can Do in the Last 9 Weeks of 2016 to Get Healthy and Lose Weight!

The last few months of the year are upon us, and it won’t be long until there are parties, brunches, huge family meals and dessert after dessert after dessert. 

And not long after that, there will be New Year’s resolutions, gym resolutions, new diet plans, cabbage soup diets, cayenne pepper cleanses and a number of other things that won’t make it through Valentine’s.

I know, because I started at least three diets between Christmas and New Year’s, and restarted them in April, October… you get the idea.

But when I decided to get healthy and lose more than -100lbs, I started on November 15, 2014. So I know a little about what you can accomplish by January 1st. 

There are nine weeks left in 2016. How are you going to spend them?

This week I wrote about nine things you can do NOW to be healthier (and weigh less) when you ring in the New Year! Check it out! 

Trading Cardio for Cosmos ONLINE Classes!

It’s here, it’s HERE! I am so excited for this next chapter of Trading Cardio for Cosmos: online classes!

We created Trading Cardio for Cosmos on the idea that moderation is key, exercise is good and cosmos are delicious! Every day we bring you positive, uplifting messages, yummy recipes, food finds and a healthy dose of sass (and sweaty selfies).

Most of all, we bring you a real life look at the ups and down of weight loss from someone who has truly been through it all.

Two years ago, I woke up 280lbs and morbidly obese. I set out to lose weight and get healthy. I have lost -116+lbs and along the way, changed my life forever.

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For the past year I have provided counsel and private coaching to clients and other individuals on a limited basis, and I believe they truly appreciate the support and value I bring to their weight loss journeys:

“I found Trading Cardio for Cosmos by accident through Weight Watchers. I started following her on Facebook and have found encouragement on challenging days, meals that I can easily cook through her Friday Recipe Round Up and I feel like I’ve found a friend. She’s got great tips and tricks featured on her blog and I love testimonials that she features on Tuesdays. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from the community that help me on my weight loss journey.” –Becky

“Alexis’ makes sure that my day starts in the right mode (thanks to time difference). I “Never Miss a Monday” and I get inspired to notice all of my non-scale victories. If I get off track she shows how to bounce back by adapting real food recipes to a grown up life style. She as made getting excercise feel  as natural as brushing my teeth and she truly inspires me to be a fitter version of the real me.” – Lena

“I am so happy to be part of the TCFC community. I love that Alexis is so real and reassures us that not every day will be perfect and if you mess up, you just dust yourself and get back on track. I have learned it is important to “move our booties” as much as we can. I learn about so many different foods and fantastic recipes as well as links to other people on our same journey.” – Gina

 “I’ve been on a get healthy, weight loss journey for just over a year now and have proudly lost 60 pounds. Very early in my journey, I was lucky enough to come across Trading Cardio for Cosmos and read about Alexis’ amazing transformation. I immediately felt an extreme connection with her. Alexis’ overwhelming positivity, her solutions on how to get through her busy days and stay on track, and her daily exercise goals kept me going to reach my goals. I would wholeheartedly recommend Alexis to anyone looking to improve their life, body or health. I can’t thank you enough, Alexis.” – Julie

Now I am ready to share my tips, tricks and motivation with you through an online group class in November! This class will consist of three 45-minute coaching sessions:

The Details:

Now Alexis is ready to share her tips, tricks and motivation with you through an online group class in November! This class will consist of three 45-minute coaching sessions:

-Tuesday, November 15

-Tuesday, November 22

-Tuesday, November 29

You will be emailed a link to the coaching session by 6am each Tuesday, so you can listen at your convenience. Then each Tuesday evening at 9pm EST/6pm PST I will join you in a Facebook Live Chat in a *private* Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your journey and support your classmates.  Can’t tune in? No worries – the Facebook Live video will also be available for you to access later if that time doesn’t work for you!

BONUS! As a bonus, the day after each class you’ll receive an email full of additional resources, recipes and tips based on that week’s class!

*Note: While I personally use Weight Watchers, this class is not specific to any one weight loss program. We’ll discuss a variety of plans and ideologies, so you can tailor the class to whatever program works for you!

The 3-Week Course Includes:

-Three 45-minute coaching sessions that are recorded so you can listen over and over

-Live Facebook Chat in a private Facebook Group

-Access to replays from the live Facebook chats

-Access to Closed Coaching Facebook Group. Receive continued motivation and behind the scenes tips!

-An email the day after each class with additional resources, recipes & tips. The 3 emails will continue to assist you on your weight loss journey for additional support and motivation. ($57 value just on emailed resources!)

-Insider exclusives only for coaching group members!

The Cost:

This introductory class is being offered to you at an incredible value! This three-part class, live Q&A opportunities and additional resources are valued at $120, but are available to you now through November 5th for just $37.

*If you register after November 5th and before the deadline of November 12th the cost for the three-part class will be $57.

If you’re ready to sign up and get started, click HERE!

Because these classes and resources are available on-demand, there are no refunds or exchanges available.

Want to give the TCFC online classes to a friend or family member? Email us at tradingcardioforcosmos@gmail.com and we’re be thrilled to help!

Twenty Questions With SHANDY!

Each Tuesday we feature a different success story from the Trading Cardio for Cosmos community in a new segment called “Twenty Questions With…” Young, young at heart, marathon runners and those who can’t exercise at all, vegetarians, pescatarians, working mommas, work-from-home professionals and retirees. We’re going to showcase them all, because when you read about someone like you succeeding, I think it gives you the confidence that you too can succeed!

This week I want to introduce you to Shandy, a fellow Weight Watchers Ambassador! Shandy has lost -28.1lbs in 2016 on her way to her goal of losing -60lbs and I love her take on WHY Weight Watchers works for her and what she’s done to be successful with her program. Check out her three tips for success and how she handles her meals – tons of great inspiration there! 

shandy-before-and-after

The Questions:

1. Give us the basics about you – your first name, age, region you live in, etc.
My name is Shandy. I’m 34, married with two children and living in New Bedford, MA.

2. When did you start your weight-loss journey? What was the “tipping point” that made you start?
I started WW in January 2016. I had tried MANY other weight loss diets and apps, from Loseit, to MFP, to paleo, low carb, vegan, etc. I started to realize that all of our family photos didn’t include me in them, because I was so ashamed of how I looked and felt so uncomfortable in my own body, I knew I had to do something.

3. What is one piece of advice you wish you had known when you started out?
Why didn’t someone tell me how amazing WW was SOONER!!!!! I could have saved so much time, energy, and failed attempts. But hey, you live and you learn!
This is a lifestyle, tracking my food is now second nature to me. I would tell someone to be easy on yourself, don’t expect miracles overnight because this takes a lot of hard work and dedication to YOURSELF and the program. Don’t cheat the program because you will only be cheating yourself in the long run. I have had my peaks and valleys on my weight loss journey, but I promise with patience and perseverance you can and will be successful!

4. How much weight have you lost? If you are done losing, and are on to maintaining? How long have you been maintaining your loss?
I have lost 28.1 pounds since I started WW on January 3rd 2016. My goal is to lose 60 pounds. It has taken me a little time, many plusses and minus along the way. I know I will reach my goal no matter how long it takes.

5. How do you keep your motivation up?
Instagram is probably my biggest motivator. I have met and made so many wonderful, inspiring friends. Looking on IG always gets me motivated when I am feeling a little down in the dumps, or just need to refresh my motivation. Also, looking at old photos, or racking up NSV’s (non scale victories) is also a huge help to stay motivated when I feel like I am at a standstill. I am ( shandy_eats_smart_ww) on IG.

6. How do you handle cravings?
Oh cravings. Yes, this has been a struggle for me. I always make sure to leave points for my daily piece of dark chocolate. I think if I didn’t leave room for that I might go off the deep end. Sometimes I give in to cravings and I track it and let it be. I have learned not to beat myself up, or feel shame for “messing up”, we are human after all. I say, give yourself some points at the end of the day for a snack. If you don’t have the points and you NEED something sweet, pineapple, or berries with whipped cream always helps! Some people on IG SWEAR by frozen grapes. I haven’t tried it yet, but I hear this is the perfect thing to munch on during cravings.

7. What are your top three tips for success?
1. DON’T set yourself up for failure by giving yourself a strict or unrealistic timeline of how much you will lose. I gave myself 6 months to lose 60 pounds, and when I had only lost 20 by that time, I felt incredibly discouraged. Learn to enjoy the journey, it will happen!
2. TRACK HONESTLY; I promise if you do, you will feel so good emotionally, and you will get the results you want.
3. Be KIND to yourself; love your body through all of the stages of weight loss, after all it got you this far.

8. Do you exercise? If so, how often, for how long and what type of exercises do you do?

shandy-exercise

Yes, I do. Not as much lately because of my busy schedule. I love to walk, and I love the Leslie Sansone DVD’s that add strength training. I shoot for at least 3 times a week for 30 min.

9. What is your favorite breakfast?

shandy-avocado

I love avocado on toast with feta and chia seeds. It is quick and easy when you’re on the go, and it provides the protein and fat to fuel you up for a few hours! I always have some kind of fruit, or green olives on the side. And ALWAYS tea!

10. What is your go-to lunch?
My go-to lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before. If I don’t have leftovers, I usually end up having a big salad topped with chicken. Having a daily salad is a good way for me to get my greens in for the day.

11. What does a typical week night dinner look like? What about a weekend dinner?
Weeknights dinners are always planned. On Sunday I meal/menu plan and shop. So it could be anything from Emily Bites Crock Pot Apple Bacon Pulled Pork (a favorite in my house) or mini turkey meatloaves with shredded brussels and bacon!!
I always give myself Saturdays to eat out and I will use weeklies for that. We are foodies and always love trying new restaurants. Last weekend for my birthday dinner I had duck breast… MMMMMM!!!

12. What kind of snacks do you like?

shandy snack.jpg
The bags of gluten-free Weight Watchers pretzels or salt & vinegar chips are super convenient and low in points. I also like berries with whipped cream, Quest protein bars, Yogurt with berries or granola, or I make myself a little Smart Point friendly charcuterie with black forest ham, mini brie bites (Trader Joes), with preserves, crackers, cheese, and grapes.

13. What kind of desserts do you eat?
I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas! I have to be careful in this dept. I make the Quest protein cake for 2 smart points, or I will have Halo Top ice cream, which is probably the best thing to happen… ever! And I always give myself enough points for my daily square of dark chocolate.

14. What kind of adult beverages do you enjoy?
I don’t drink! But I love a good mocktail!

15. What is your favorite meal to eat in a restaurant?
Hmmm, this is so hard to narrow down. But I LOVE a good burger. I don’t eat red meat or burgers very often, so it’s a nice treat.

16. Do you have a favorite fast food/casual dining meal?
I love Mexican food, and downtown there is a restaurant called “No Problemo.” I eat there as often as possible and always order the Tostada.

17. Do you have a favorite weight loss blog/website/FB group that you visit for inspiration?
Instagram is what I use for inspiration and motivation daily.

18. Do you have a favorite website for healthy recipes?

shandy chili.jpg
SKINNYTASTE!!!!! I love that woman! Her Turkey Chili Taco Soup, and Cheeseburger Casserole… forget about it!

19. Do you have a favorite quote, meme or thought that keeps you motivated?
Oh gosh, I have many. I am a quote hoarder! But currently it is, “Your Speed Doesn’t Matter, Forward is Forward” 🙂

shandy-quote

20. What’s one final thought you can share with someone who’s interested in losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight?
DON’T compare your journey to someone else’s. It is so easy to fall into that trap, believe me, I have many times. But it doesn’t serve you in a positive way and can create setbacks. Our bodies are unique and different and have their own timeline. You’re amazing and YOU CAN DO THIS! Never give up, because you’re worth it!

Thank you SO much, Shandy! Don’t forget to follow Shandy on Instagram and leave any questions for her in the comments below!

26 Fall Inspired Recipes AND Their SmartPoints!

Oh, buddies – how excited are you that it’s Fall? In Chicago and New York this week it was more like summer, but I know that’s just Indian summer and the season for scarves, cute boots, pumpkin spice and apple everything is officially here!

And in keeping with the season (and as result of my trip earlier this week) I just want to hunker down at home, roast something and snuzzle Mr. Big. He really is such a trooper with my schedule and my blogging, and if he liked casseroles, I would make him a healthy casserole this weekend. But I did find all kinds of starters, fall-inspired pastas, several stuffed squash recipes and a MOTHERLOAD of dessert recipes from our friends at SkinnyTaste, Emily Bites, New York Times Food and Simple Nourished Living.

 

fall 5.jpgSOUP, SALAD & STARTERS

Kale & Bulgur Salad
5 SmartPoints

Cheesy Apple Walnut Bruschetta
3 SmartPoints

Easy Healthy Fall Fruit & Grain Salad
6 SmartPoints

Pumpkin Apple Bacon Soup
5 SmartPoints

Three Sisters Squash Recipe
6 SmartPoints

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ENTREES

Farro and Sausage-Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash
3 SmartPoints

Stuffed Acorn Squash
7 SmartPoints

Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin with Moroccan Spices
4 SmartPoints

Butternut Squash-Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberries and Pecans
4 SmartPoints

fall-3SIDES

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
3 SmartPoints

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
3 SmartPoints

Turkey Apple Pecan Stuffing
3 SmartPoints

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PUMPKIN PASTAS

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
10 SmartPoints

Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini Skillet
10 SmartPoints

Cheesy Pumpkin Baked Pasta
8 SmartPoints

fall-1DESSERTS

Pumpkin Banana Pecan Bread
4 SmartPoints

Pumpkin-Spice No-Bake Cheesecake
9 SmartPoints

Apple Cinnamon Sangria
4 SmartPoints

Mini Sweet Potato Meringue Pies
6 SmartPoints

Skinny Pumpkin Butterscotch Bars
7 SmartPoints

Maple Pecan Banana Muffins
5 SmartPoints

Skinny Pumpkin Pie
8 SmartPoints

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits
3 SmartPoints

Pumpkin Pie Pastry Pockets
6 SmartPoints

Mini Cinnamon Apple Tarlets
2 SmartPoints

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats
3 SmartPoints

Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yogurt
3 SmartPoints

Wanna scroll back through some of our past Recipe Roundups? They are a treasure-trove of useful and delicious recipes every WW devotee should have!

The Food I Ate All Day {While Traveling} To Stay On Track With My Weight Loss Goals

I travel quite a bit for work and for play, which could wreak havoc on my weight loss goals if I wasn’t prepared. 

In my column for Organize Yourself Skinny this week I share what I ate for an entire day in Chicago, when all six meals came from restaurants or cafes. I managed to have six meals AND a Cosmo for 32 SmartPoints, which is a big win in my book! 


Check it out HERE