On November 9, 2015 I posted Before and After in The Weight Loss Journey and wanted to post an update. First, how scary is it to post a full body before and after photo…. very scary! Ahh! This is my 1st before and after full body post! I am always so amazed when I see other people post before and after photos and find a ton of inspiration in them so I decided its time to do my own to continue to inspire & push myself!

before and after full bodyHere are the facts on the before and after photo. The before photo was taken July 12, 2014 and the after photo was taken January 31, 2016. I am down 60 lbs in the after photo and worked that weight off 2015. The 6 months previous to this weight loss was a reflective time of mental change. I have taken a lot of time in making small adjustments in my journey. This has helped me to sustain the lifestyle. After loosing 130 lbs and gaining it back I have learned the importance of maintenance along the weight loss journey, and for this lifestyle to be successful it takes time. There are many ways people live their healthy lives and each person has to find something that is sustainable for them. Bravo to all who are taking a step in the direction of health! My journey of loosing the weight for a second time around is more focused on sustaining it for a lifetime and learning how to be whole inside and out. I wrote a post on that here.

I set 2 goals and shared those in my previous post- Before and After in The Weight Loss Journey.

1. 120 minutes of exercise

I did accomplish this goal a few times, but in reality it was just not reasonable to sustain long term. I have cut back to 60 minutes 5x per week and feel much better about completing this goal and maintaining it. When doing 120 min of exercise I found myself burning out quickly, getting bored with exercise, and just lacking the motivation to continue such an unrealistic goal. Hey, don’t get me wrong, 120 min of exercise was awesome! I felt amazing when I was finished. I really pushed myself during this time and realized I had some awesome willpower to continue this when it got tough. To sustain that goal long term was unrealistic. I have adjusted goal #1 to be realistic, obtainable, and sustained long term.

2. Run a mile in 15 minutes

Running a mile in 15 min has been another goal I am actively pursuing. Let me just preface this by saying, I have done very little running in my lifetime. Running has by far been the toughest exercise for me to push myself in. I listen to people say they push a good run out in 12 min and to be honest, its hard for me to wrap my brain around.

Facts about my times on goal #2: I started with a running time around 19 min and have gotten my time down to 15:54. I have carved off some time and feel really good about where I’m at. Each time I run I get excited to see the endurance building. Running is a new thing for me and its exciting to carve out a new accomplishment in an unknown area of exercise. Cheers!

I have a few things I am working through when it comes to running.

1. I feel self-conscious when I run.

Feeling self-conscious is something I have felt for a long time, and since attaining proper running attire, it has decreased. Ladies, can we all say, “Running bra!” The idea of running with people present scares the crap out of me. Running outdoors along the sidewalk or busy roadways is not my favorite. I have done all my running on a treadmill and this alleviates this fear a bit for me. I’m working through it. I have done some running with my husband next to me on the treadmill to help build my confidence and this helped a lot. He is good at complimenting my form, which is nice!

2. My lungs feel like they are going to cave in while running.

This is no joke! I have had to work on my breathing a lot while working towards this goal. I get to a certain point and just start gasping for air. Lord help me! It also sends me into a tailspin and I find myself in fear. Oh, good ol’ friend, fear!

I have learned a lot in working towards these goals. I encounter a lot of fear through this process and each time I push through, I feel stronger. Pushing your body physically will push your mind; it will unleash some emotions you may have not encountered otherwise. Its easy to ignore some very tough realities when we remain stagnant. The act of pushing towards these goals has put me in an uncomfortable place and because of it I have been able to encounter and overcome fears. This is the empowering part I love! You truly feel amazing when your break through and accomplish your goals!






At a young age I remember having thoughts that went something like this, “If you start something and fail it is worse than trying something and quitting before you end.” Success was measured in performance and this was a way of looking at the world that I picked up from a very young age. If failure was at all in the picture it was not something I was willing to embark upon. When I think about this, it’s sad. I know, but really, think about it! If there is so much fear wrapped up in failure, why even begin a journey? The opportunity to try new things does not become exciting with this thought process. It only becomes dreadful because of the thought that you may fail and all you want to do is avoid failure. Though you see others fulfilling their dreams and living a freeing life, silently fear takes residence in you and it cripples your thoughts and actions. Many people who live in this place of fear, rarely, are aware that fear is the root. Continually, they go throughout their day and tell themselves to try and push through and yet always meet fear in the face and become frozen.

Take this girl, who is learning to challenge herself by doing new things and encompassing things into her world that she has silently loved for years and what is the only thing that can truly stop her? Fear! Writing and telling my story is a big step! A terrifying one at that! I have kept my dreams locked inside for years for fear that I would not be good enough at writing or someone would come in tearing down my truth. Here I am, discovering what it is like to finally dream and what it’s like to fail and turn and look at myself and say, why is it that you failed? How can you learn from this? Now what are you going to do and are you going to push through the fear? Doing this repeatedly can be exhausting when breaking the constant record of negative self talk that has been playing for years.

Let’s unwrap just one area of failure that I have been visiting lately. I have been thinking about life and how it is that I could lose 130 lbs in less than 2 years and then basically turn and gain the weight back in less than a single year? The quick answer is of course, you stopped exercising and began eating over your healthy caloric number. There, I said it. That’s one thing that is terrifying to say and face for the fear that others will judge or even say, I knew she wouldn’t be able to keep the weight off. Facing the reality of what this has done to my body and my mind is frightening and frustrating! You can bet the beginning of my weight loss was wrapped up in the thought that someday I may fail and gain the weight back. Sure! Here we are almost 5 years later and really taking a look at things to evaluate what it is besides the obvious eating and exercise response that could have caused the relapse and journey back up the scale. I think I may know the answer…giving into fear where thoughts were off balance.

Often we get our minds wrapped around the idea that weight loss needs to be quick and it needs to be a time where we lose it and then we’re good. WRONG! It takes adjustment after adjustment and constant reevaluation. These are years worth of habits that we are changing and years worth of negative self talk that is being broken. This is no race to the finish line of your goal weight. It is a conscious, everyday battle against the things that have been done for years. There is no end to that.

So, you ask, why do you say all this?

I want people to know that this journey is not centered around weight. Sure, weight loss gets people’s attention! If you want to go further into this journey with me you must know it is a:

positive self talk journey 

determination journey

self control journey

saying no journey

 taking a solid and honest look at myself journey

desire to live until I am old journey

overcoming failure journey

 facing my fears journey.

When I began this blog I hesitated in calling this a weight loss journey, but I knew what I wanted my audience to be and for those people I wanted them to hear the other side of the struggle. I wanted them to know they are not alone in their fears and to hear they can overcome failures and negative self talk.  To fully understand this journey you must understand that it does not encompass my number on a scale or the slimness of my face. It is so much more!

If you want to take a solid look at your life because you can resonate with something I have said, I want you to know you are not alone! Perhaps you are feeling the aches and pains that weight and failure are having on you… and perhaps you are feeling like you cannot do it. I want you to know you can and I believe you will. I will continue to explore my journey and hope that you will come along and feel encouraged that you can live a full life.

BEFORE & AFTERSunday, August 9, 2015. I was just 2 hours south of my home visiting friends for a weekend when the “before” picture was taken. The amount of personal motivation at the time was revving up and at a stage of minimal. The script in my head went something like, make good choices when you are eating and try to maintain a good eating schedule. There was no regular exercise regimen in place, and only occasional walks were the standard. My gym did not know my sweat type and I was still telling myself I could do it and getting to a place where I believed it. In my before photo I was down 32 lbs in my weight loss and working to hit my first goal of a 50 lb weight loss.

What can be accomplished in 10 weeks and 3 days? The picture on the left is me down 15 lbs, and at a total weight loss of 47 lbs. The amount of growth in this time frame is quite shocking to me. My current goals are running a mile at 15 minutes and logging 120 minutes of exercise. Yes, that’s 2 hours of exercise, which may I add I am not there, but that is why we set goals, right?  What changed the most in this length of time? My mind! In this time, I challenged myself to unfold my thoughts that were telling me untruths. The hardest battle is the power of the mind. Unfolding the negative deep rooted thoughts about yourself can be trying and painful, at best. The biggest thing I have realized through this time period is that I am capable of so much more, and furthermore, I am worthy of living a healthy and happy life.

My personal perspective  before: If you do something little, it is better than doing nothing at all.

My personal perspective after: If you push yourself everyday to do more than you think your body is capable, you will be surprised by its strength and resilience.

Rate of exercise before: a walk 1-2x a week, yoga 1-2x a week.

Rate of exercise after: a walk/run 5-6x a week, weights 1-2x a week, and yoga 1-2x a week.

These muffins are my healthy sweet tooth treat. I make these when I am really craving a dessert, but want a healthier option that will not send me into a sugar coma. This is my go to for just that reason. I give these delicious muffins to my little guy for “breakfast on the go” and they are great for just that. He is not a fan of oatmeal, but he will eat these with no hesitation. The ingredients give him the nutrients he needs without all the fuss. These healthy muffins have been kid tested and approved.

Let me get to it. I will add in some notes along the way to help you out. I am not an avid baker but I can assure you this is an easy recipe!

Ingredients List

Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Breakfast Muffins

Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Breakfast Muffins

 Makes: 12 Muffins

2½ cups oats

2 tablespoons flax seed (ground)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas

1 (10 ounce) bag dark chocolate morsels

The Preparation Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Take out muffin tins and spray with nonstick cooking oil or use liners. Set aside.
    • Note: do not use paper liners on these. I tried that and failed miserably. You are welcome.
  3. Grind your oats.
    • Note: I use an old coffee grinder for this because I am frugal and don’t think I need a food processor until the old coffee grinder bites the dust. If you are lucky enough to own a food processor I would go that route for this step, as I am sure it will carve off a good 4 minutes. Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Breakfast Muffins
  4. You are going to want to use ripe bananas for this- I always have a stockpile in my freezer. Inevitably, I get one too many and it doesn’t make it into someones mouth before it begins to turn brown. Into the freezer it goes, and later, into my belly, when I make these muffins.
  5. This is a simple step – Combine ground oats, ground flax seed, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, honey, vanilla, bananas, and eggs into a large mixing bowl.
    • Note: OK, so I doubled this recipe. What you are looking at in the pictures is double the amount of ingredients listed. Although, I forget 1 cup of oats when I last made these muffins. No! Not on purpose! Remember, I told you I just dont bake often… this is the type of stuff that happens. ha! Your batter will look thicker than this picture. Please note it should not look this runny. These muffins did not come out pretty and when I went back to the recipe I realized when I doubled it I forget the 1/2 after the 2 for the oats. It makes a big difference and again, you are welcome. Look at all the things you are learning from my errors. Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Breakfast Muffins
  6. Mix all ingredients and add desired amount of chocolate chips.
    • Note: You can keep out the dark chocolate morsels if you would like to save on calories and sugar. A little trick I learned in assuring that you are not overloading  your muffins with sugar is to look at your serving size on your dark chocolate morsels, measure out the amount for one serving and split in half. For these, 1 tablespoon was 40 calories, so I counted the chocolate chips and it turned out to be about 7 morsels for each muffin. I added them to each muffin after filling each tin with batter, allowing me to measure them for about 20 calories for each muffin. I know a lot of you are saying, ohh the fuss, but really….this is how you get your sweets in when you are trying to loose weight; without going crazy and sabotaging all your efforts.
  7. Fill muffin tins with batter. (the picture below shows the measured morsels, however these were the ones that had 1 cup less oats in the batter so these were tossed. A shame, I know.) Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Breakfast Muffins
  8. Place tin in the oven for 18-20 mins. Note: Depending on your oven you may need to bake more or less. Keep an eye on them.
  9. Take the muffins out of the over and place on the stove top to cool in the muffin tin.

Note: Do not, I repeat…. do not take the muffins out immediately. Ok, now some of you bakers may be saying, of course Joanna, I know this. I didn’t, and I learned that you have to let these sit for a bit to cool before even attempting to take them out to put on your cooling rack. OK, got it? Good! No, the ones in this picture did not sit and cool and they did not come out pretty. Hey, look at all the things I am teaching you by fumbling through this with you. Details matter. ha! Dark Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins

Great job! If you made it to this point you now may grab a healthy warm muffin and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Banana Oats Healthy Breakfast Muffins


If you have a healthy sweet treat recipe to share, please leave me a comment below. Did you try this recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Adapted from:
Debbie Reichert Fitness Blog – Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
Creations of a Wanna -Be Chef – Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

How are you loosing the weight? What is it that you are doing? These are common questions for anyone who has lost weight. When beginning a journey to loose weight it simply starts with a choice. Let’s explore the magnitude of a choice, shall we? How many times a day do you have the opportunity to make a choice. Not those “big” choices like where to live or who to marry… the ones we remotely do day in and day out. Decisions run throughout every avenue of our lives and we tend to place little value in the power of just one positive choice.

Healthy weight loss is wrapped up in our power to make one small positive choice after another. Lets say, for example, we have a choice to get up at 5:00 am and by doing so, get a head start on our day. In that time we decide to take a 20 min walk and prepare a healthy breakfast. On the other side of things, we make the decision that we are going to get up at 6:00 am which gives 30 min to get ready and out the door to the workplace. Which choice do we make? Why?

If you are thinking to yourself, I really need to get healthy, I urge you to think about the exact direction you are headed before you even begin. Starting with a clear path will lay the foundation for the choices you make.

Lets look at an example:

Goal: To loose 20 lbs and maintain weightloss.

To accomplish this goal what sorts of choices will need to be made?

  1. Get up earlier and take a short walk in the morning.
  2. Pack a bag and go straight to the gym after work.
  3. Drink water or hot tea instead of soda, juice, or sugary coffee drinks.
  4. Meal plan before going grocery shopping to avoid purchasing unhealthy foods.

These are just 4 examples of  healthy choices that can be made a few times throughout the day.

A choice is driven by a focused goal or lack thereof. An individual awareness of where we are in life and where we want to be can drive us to make positive health choices. Healthy weight loss takes a strong focus on our desired goal. The path to successfully accomplishing it is wrapped up into one good choice after another. Very simple to say, but a whole lot harder to consistently do. It takes one simple choice after another to heap success in the weight loss journey.

If you are thinking that you want to begin a new goal, I urge you to write it down. Below your goal write a few choice changes that can be made in your day to work towards your new goal. Now, if you are brave, share it in the comments below. I’d love to encourage you on your new goal.

Much Love to You on Your Journey