10 actions to be more confident

If you read my health story, you know I wasn’t always a confident person. I’ve become a much happier person in the past few years by gaining self-confidence. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of reflection, challenging myself, and frankly, sometimes telling myself things I didn’t really believe in order to change my own mind. I never really thought much about the actions I took to become more confident until I sat down to write this blog post. I was just doing them. But here’s what I did, and I hope these actions can help you get your confidence back.

  1. Write down the most common self-critical things you say or think. These can be negative things about your appearance, personality, skills or ways you undermine your own accomplishments. Now cross them out and replace them with positive things about yourself.
  2. Practice thinking and speaking positively about yourself. Start by catching your negative thoughts and replacing them with one of the positive things on your list. The next step is to stop criticizing yourself when you talk to other people. When you tell people about yourself, share positive things. People believe what we tell them about ourselves. If others hear that we don’t think much of ourselves, it will be hard for them to value us.
  3. Surround yourself with positive influences. Spending time around people who are constantly negative or self-deprecating makes that the norm in your life and makes confidence seem like a negative thing. When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll start feeling more positive and realize that having confidence is cool.
  4. Speak positively about others. Complimenting others nurtures the positive environment you’re trying to build around yourself. It also will help you get in the habit of speaking positively about yourself.
  5. Be yourself. If other don’t like you when you’re being your true self, go ahead and cut them out of your life. You shouldn’t have to put on an act for people to like you. And you may be surprised that people actually like you just the way you are.
  6. Reach for low-hanging fruit. Get a jump start on feeling good about yourself by doing things that already work, whether that’s painting your nails or going for a walk.
  7. Set challenging goals. Doing something that’s difficult is one of the best ways to build your confidence, not only because you did the hard thing, but because you followed through on something and put in a lot of hard work to do it. If you don’t reach your goal, remember you may just need more time to keep pushing. Remind yourself that you’re able to do the hard work, which is an accomplishment all by itself.
  8. Trust your judgment. Asking for advice is fine, but be decisive and don’t seek approval for every decision you make. You may feel like you’re floundering at first, and that’s okay. Recognize that you’re a capable person who can make good choices.
  9. Get to know yourself. Take a moment to reflect on the negative things you think about yourself and the times you tell yourself you can’t do something. When and why did you start thinking this way? What can you do to overcome the reasons you think negatively about yourself? If you’ve lost yourself in trying to be everything for everyone else, learn about what you like to do, what makes you happy, and what makes you feel good.
  10. Develop skills and hobbies. If you’re lacking body confidence, work on physical skills like running or weightlifting so you learn to be proud of what your body can do. If you’re lacking confidence in your personality or skill sets, learn how to do something you’re passionate about and would love to share with others.

Which of these steps are you going to work on?

Stay fit,



My favorite recipe blogs

I have an unusual bedtime tradition. A few nights a week, I like to wind down by looking for recipes. Finding a recipe that looks great is kind of like shopping online and finding a fabulous deal. At least to me. I know. I’m weird. Anyway, here are the recipe blogs I love checking regularly, in no particular order.


The Girl Who Ate Everything


Carlsbad Cravings

Fed & Fit

Little Spice Jar

Two Peas & Their Pod

Iowa Girl Eats

Primal Palate

Half-Baked Harvest

The Domestic Man

What are your favorite recipe blogs?

Stay fit,








Weekly meal plan #14 (Apr. 24-30)

Another week of hubby working nights, another week of cutting, another week of quick, simple meals.

Oh! Guys! I meal prepped today. Partially. I NEVER meal prep. I eat leftovers or I dig soup out of the freezer. But today. TODAY. I roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts and cut up strawberries and pineapples. I wanted to cook my meat, too, but it was still frozen. Minor fail. I’ll cook it tomorrow though.

Here’s whats for dinner this week.


Sweet and spicy shrimp, peppers, onions and broccoli over coconut rice

Quick recipe:

Combine 1 T olive oil, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t brown sugar, 1/2 t paprika, 1/4 t cayenne, juice of 1 orange. Toss with peeled, deveined shrimp and chopped vegetables. Stir fry until shrimp are cooked through and vegetables are tender-crisp.

Meanwhile bring 13.5 oz. of coconut milk (1 can) to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup jasmine rice. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 15 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir rice, turn off heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.


Slow cooker chipotle pork with pineapple slaw tacos

Credit: Primally Inspired


Basil chicken in coconut curry sauce over rice with zucchini (I’ll mix the zucchini in the chicken and rice)

Credit: Mel’s Kitchen


Apple venison meatloaf and roasted red potatoes

Credit: The Hunter’s Widow


Mexican sweet potato skins (I’ll add leftover pork from Tuesday’s tacos for more protein)

Credit: Pinch of Yum


Out with my parents for early birthday dinner


Freezer meal – sweet potato, poblano and chorizo chili

Credit: Iowa Girl Eats

What are you eating this week?

Stay fit,


5 things I’m doing to improve my squats

I’ve been squatting for more than three years but that doesn’t mean my squats don’t suck or that I don’t have the glute strength of a newborn horse. During my last strength block, I had some really ugly squats. I’ve been working to improve them during this endurance block. Although I haven’t been squatting very heavy lately, I’ve noticed my form has improved in my lighter, high-rep sets. Here’s what I think has helped.

  1. Glute bridge warmups. A few sets of 20 bodyweight glute bridges gets my glutes firing so I actually use them when I’m squatting.
  2. Hip mobility exercises. I’ve also been doing 90-90 hip mobility exercises during my warmups. It’s been easier for me to squat deeper in a better position (narrower stance where I don’t look like I’m pooping). In the past, it was harder for me to squat to depth in a narrower stance and painful to squat to depth in a wide stance.
  3. Lunges and split squats. These exercises (SO MANY of these exercises) have made my glutes stronger so that I’m able to keep my knees from collapsing when I’m coming out of the hole.
  4. Bodyweight squat holds. The focus of my squat holds has been keeping my knees out, which has also helped me keep my knees from collapsing during weighted squats. Squat holds have also helped with ankle mobility, which makes it easier to squat deeper.
  5. Squat-stance deadlifts. Not quite a sumo deadlift, pulling from squat stance has improved my speed out of the hole when I squat.

Do you have any other tips to help me improve my squats?

Stay fit,


How I plan my meals

One of my many alternative dream jobs is meal planner and grocery list maker. I love making my weekly meal plans, making my grocery list and grocery shopping. I know that makes me weird. Most people I know hate meal planning and feel overwhelmed by it. If you’re one of those people, here are some tips I follow when I meal plan and make my grocery list very week.

Start with dinner. Dinner is my most exciting time of the day for food because it’s different every day and I get to be creative. I get most of my recipes from Pinterest or a handful of blogs I check for new recipes each week. I’ll list my favorite recipe blogs in a different post.

Make leftovers. A few times a week I plan a meal that will have leftovers so I can eat them for lunch the rest of the week. That saves a lot of time meal prepping.

Batch cook lunches. If I don’t have enough leftovers, I’ll make a small batch of soup to eat for a few of my lunches so I only have to prepare one thing.

Eat protein, carbs and veggies with lunch and dinner. This is a good way to make sure I hit my macros (or get really close) and also get my micronutrients in.

Keep breakfast the same. Mornings are pretty boring at my house. Breakfast is the same every day of the week, sometimes for multiple weeks in a row. But consistency makes grocery shopping and macro tracking simple. Lately I eat a yogurt or cottage cheese, a waffle or raisin toast, and fruit.

Buy a variety of snacks. I buy some carby snacks (like pretzels and fruit), some fatty snacks (like string cheese and nuts) and super low-cal snacks (like cucumbers, carrots and pickles) each week. I choose my snacks for the day based on what I need to fit my macros.

Find multiple uses for different ingredients. Nothing sucks more than buying a whole bunch of cilantro only to use a few leaves and watch the rest rot. Am I right? Instead of letting it go to waste, I plan a few other meals during the week where I can use it.

Make a grocery list as I choose my recipes. I do this while I’m home if possible so I can check my fridge and pantry to see what I already have.

What’s your meal planning method? Do you have any tricks that I missed?

Stay fit,


Photo credit: Pexels stock photo

Weekly meal plan #13 (Apr. 17-23)

A few updates before the meal plan:

In case any of you were wondering, Easter brunch went off without a hitch. The sour cream coffee cake was a huge hit and the French toast casserole also was delicious. I made a root veggie hash as well. It had roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and butternut squash with honey balsamic dressing, currants and goat cheese.

I’m sorry I only had one post during the week last week. I was trying to finish our taxes (I bigtime procrastinated) and just didn’t have time to post more than the Easter menu.

Finally, my husband is working nights for the next two weeks which means my schedule is a little rearranged.  Normally I work, go to the gym, do chores, then make dinner. We eat between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. every night. However, he has to be at work at 7 p.m., so we will be eating dinner earlier, around 6 p.m. and I’ll be going to the gym after I take him to work. What does this have to do with anything? It means this week’s meals are pretty simple things I can make quickly so dinner is done in time to eat before he goes to work.


Chimichurri steak, Rosemary potatoes (I’m using cut up Yukon gold potatoes), steamed broccoli

Credit: Epicurious
Credit: Skinnytaste


BBQ pulled pork sweet potatoes with cheddar and pepper rings


Burrito bowls

These are super simple and one of my favorite easy meals. I’ll use the leftover pulled pork from Tuesday on a bed of rice and top with corn, diced red peppers, onions, tomatoes, salsa, cilantro and avocado.


From the freezer: Maple BBQ turkey sloppy joe over sweet potatoes, kale salad

The photo has a bun but I’m not using buns.

Credit: Rachael Ray


Sun-dried tomato pesto smothered pork chops over rice, broccoli

Simple recipe: Brown boneless pork chops on both sides in a cast iron skillet. Top with store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto and mozzarella cheese. Place skillet in 350 degree F oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Thick cut pork chops will take longer and thin cut chops will take less time.


Gluten-free ravioli, venison Italian sausage, kale salad


Pesto shrimp, broccoli, Rosemary potatoes

I’ll use the same potato recipe I used Monday since it’s a house favorite. For the shrimp, I’ll either grill them or cook them in a pan (depending on the weather) and coat in store-bought basil pesto.

What are your favorite quick meals?

Stay fit,


2017 Easter brunch menu

I’m hosting Easter brunch this year! I’ve never hosted Easter before but I’m V. EXCITED because I love to cook and feed people. I’m not doing all the cooking this time. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law are bringing food, so the cooking work will be split about equally. Here’s what we’re having and the recipes for the things I will be cooking.

Easter brunch menu

Regular and pineapple mimosas (assigned to sister-in-law)

Ham (assigned to mother-in-law)

Breakfast potatoes (assigned to mother-in-law)

Egg bake (assigned to sister-in-law)

Fruit and cheese platter (assigned to sister-in-law)

Bacon (I’ll be baking it in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until it’s nice and crispy)

Sour cream coffee cake (recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring)

Apple French toast casserole (recipe from Food.com; I’ll be using gluten-free bread from Trader Joe’s)

What are you eating for Easter?

Stay fit,


Photo credit: Pexels stock photo