Why We Gain Weight & How to Not Over Eat

I met with a nutritionist the other day and we had a nice sit- down chat as to why I am not losing weight. Not only will I be getting blood work done to check out my thyroid and vitamin levels, I plan on putting the following information to work, so I can get this regained weight off my hips. This is what I learned…


Why We Gain: Top 3 Reasons

  • Stress
  • Over eat
  • No/not enough exercise

Something to Do Before Eating So You Don’t Over Eat

  • Drink 1 bottle of water before eating
  • Eat 6 almonds
  • Eat 12 walnuts

Check out the video where I discuss this as well as some other things, like my new haircut!

Apps for Getting In Shape – Which is the Best?

If you are like me and have had to deal with the struggle of your weight, you know there are a million and one different options out there for you to help you on your journey. I feel like I have tried them all, but there are quite a few out there I have not. I researched and surveyed followers on twitter and facebook and found out the most popular weight loss apps.

My Fitness Pal


FREE – Hands down, this app (myfitnesspal.com) is used more than any other app based on the results of the poll I conducted. I began using it myself this summer and I’m in love with it. Not only does it track your caloric intake, it tracks your exercises, and water consumption. MFP gives you the option to scan barcodes on food to plug into your diary, an option I haven’t seen on any other sites. The food database is massive and if there is something that you don’t see that you are eating, it’s very simple to build your meal either using the site or right off your phone. You can friend people and allow them to comment on your progress. MFP also allows you to post things to facebook and twitter, such as your exercises, whether or not you lose weight when you weigh in, or your daily food intake. You can allow others to see your food diary, lock it with a password, or keep it all to yourself. I love that you can friend people and cheer each other on. As, I said, I currently use MFP and if you are on there – friend me so we can motivate one another. Since I’ve gained a large portion of my 96 lbs back (sadface), I’ve decided I want to lose that regained weight AND reach for my ultimate goal. I have quite a journey ahead of me.



FREE – The next app that people said they used frequently was Sparkpeople (sparkpeople.com). I used this app and website when I lost my weight initially. I have been called a Sparkpeople Motivator which was really cool because my page was sent out to everyone that receives the newsletter. While this account is still open, I don’t use it anymore. What’s great on this site is that the site is very interactive and gives you awards. You can play a spinning game to collect points and earn trophies. In my mind, it has the same trophy mentality as the Wii Active. The more you use the site and log in, the more trophies and recognition you receive. You can friend someone and that allows you to see their page, but they have to turn around and friend you, which is a strange quirk. The database is pretty large for food, but if you want to make a recipe, you have to go to another site SparkRecipes.com and post your food there first, making it a bit less convenient. It does not post anything to twitter, but will post updates to facebook.


Weight Watchers

PAY – Much like Sparkpeople, Weight Watchers has an app and website (weightwatchers.com) that allows you to track what you  are eating, add in your exercise, and find foods to eat. The biggest difference is that you have to pay for this app. I did this for 3 months and found myself going back to the sparkpeople app (at the time) because everything WW did, SP did…for free. WW has a points system and doesn’t require you to count calories, making the tracking a bit easier. The food database is very large, but no more so than sparkpeople or my fitness pal. Some people join WW and never join another site. For me, it didn’t cut it because I knew there were sites out there that did the same without charging me.


There are so many more out there, but these were the top three apps that seem to help you track the food. Let me know which one you use in the comments below. If you are on MYP, I hope to see you there!

Berry Energy Smoothie


While searching pinterest for something that would give me a boost in the morning, I found a few recipes I liked. After trying a few of them, I made some modifications and had an amazing smoothie that left me feeling not only full, but full of energy.



  • Yoplait berry smoothie mix (substitute 1 1/2-2 cups of mixed fruit frozen or fresh – frozen means you don’t need to add ice)
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach (don’t worry – you don’t taste any of it!)
  • 1 can V8 Fusion Energy drink (I used Blueberry Pomegranate)


Combine ingredients in mixer. If it’s too thick after you add the can of V8, thin it out using water.  Makes 1 serving.

Nutritional Breakdown:

Let me know any drinks you’ve made that taste amazing and give you that much needed energy boost to get going in the morning.




Vegetable Quiche Mini-Cups

Yummy quiche in a bite-sized cup, perfect for breakfast, lunch, or snack! Taken from the South Beach Diet Supercharged book (phase 1)

Minutes to Prepare: 10

Minutes to Cook: 20

Number of Servings: 12



  • Green Peppers (bell peppers), 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Onions, raw, 1/4 cup, chopped
  • spinach, frozen , 2 package (10 oz) yields
  • Cheddar Cheese, 1 cup, shredded
  • Egg substitute, liquid (Egg Beaters), 3/4 cup


  1. Microwave the spinach for 2 1/2 minutes on high. Drain the excess liquid.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups. Spray the cups with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the egg substitute, cheese, peppers, onions, and spinach in a bowl. Mix well. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Number of Servings: 12

Hungry Girl Gimme Gimme S’mores Sandwhich


With the summer heat in full swing, what a better way to cool off than with a delicious treat that won’t kill your calorie budget, if you’re counting them. This can be achieved with the help of Hungry Girl.


The Hungry Girl Breakdown: 


I love the simplicity of this recipe. If you have little one’s it makes a perfect kitchen activity.


  • 1 sheet (4 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers broken in half
  • 1/4 cup Cool Whip Free or Sugar-Free, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 miniature marshmallows


  1. In a small bowl, lightly stir together whipped topping, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Make sure you don’t over-stir.
  2. Place one graham cracker square on a plate, and top with whipped-topping mixture. Lightly place the other square on top.
  3. Place in the freezer for about an hour, or until solid, about 1 hour. Enjoy!

I found this recipe in my Hungry Girl Chew on the Right Thing  card set. Check out my review here.

South Beach Recipes & Websites

 I announced I was going on Phase 1 of the South Beach diet again to help jump start my metabolism. Immediately, emails and tweets poured in asking for details on what they could eat if they did it with me, etc.

A long time ago I posted a blog on Phase 1 foods on thebeautybrat.com – at the moment, I have all my weight loss recipes and South Beach tips there – hope to move them here soon. You can have hummus on phase one – it’s not listed in that blog!

In case you are wondering what foods you can and cannot eat, check out the blog I posted above as well as these sites below. Success is within your grasp as long as you are eating the right foods!
 South Beach Diet Official Site
  Kalyn’s Kitchen– Amazing Recipes
  South Beach Friends Wiki – Don’t have the books? You don’t need them! ALL the recipes are here!
  Low Carb Veggie Recipes

Hope this helps you figure out what you can and cannot eat! Day 3 is going well so far!   

music note While writing this, I was listening to “Removed” by Billy Burke (Charlie from Twilight Saga)

Can Salads Be Deceiving??

For many people, myself included, when it came to losing weight, the first thing I would turn to was salads. When I first lost my weight, I would eat salads all the time. Lunch and dinner. I didn’t measure a thing. I used as much dressing as I wanted. It was a salad after all, right?

O.MY.GOD. Oh how wrong I was. I have NO IDEA how I managed to lose any weight, much less 70 lbs. Knowing then what I know now – I would have done it a millions times differently, and probably already be at my goal weight of 145 lbs (or less). The picture is me in high school as a cheerleader. I had a 35-27-37 body and still thought I was fat. This is what I look at when I get discouraged.

That’s a different blog..
Focus Nat…Focus!!
So did you realize that just because you order or make a salad, you are not necessarily eating healthy? Some salads are LOADED in fat and calories. Something I never considered until this past January when I became so determined to get this last 70 lbs off. 
NOT ALL SALADS ARE CREATED EQUAL!!! You made the right move – thinking a salad was a good way to lose weight. But don’t over do it. Here are some tips to avoid turning your “healthy” salad into “HOLY CRAP IT’s HOW MANY CALORIES?”salad.
  • Avoid using whole nuts – a tablespoon easily adds 100 calories to your meal – substitute chopped nuts if you must have them. Choose lower calorie nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts to get that crunch!

  • Avoid dried fruits like raisins. The small amounts easily add 100 calories to your salad. If you must have fruit, go for the real thing. put a few slices of apple, mandarin oranges, or grapes in there. 

  • Many salads have meat added to them to give you the necessary protein to call it a “meal.” Be careful what kind of meat you add. Avoid the fried meats – steak, fried chicken, and lots of bacon – take your healthy salad and put you in calorie overload. Be sure to ask for grilled meats and leaner cuts of steak, chicken, or turkey. Try grilled Salmon in your salad or grilled shrimp (or shrimps if you are one of my co-workers – sorry funny joke that none of you will understand, except her!) Salmon will add some calories, but it’s a very healthy fish. If you go out to eat and the salad comes with fried chicken, tell them to substitute for grilled chicken. I do it ALL THE TIME!

  • The easiest way to turn your healthy salad to the other side of the spectrum is by adding cheese. Wow! It wasn’t until I started measuring out my portions to what the packaging says, that I realized I was going overboard. Cheddar and blue cheese are two of the easiest ways to throw an additional 200 calories into your diet. If you are cheese person that can’t live without it, just know that a handful is approximately between 1/4 and 1/2 cup (shredded) and that’s usually 200 calories. I love cheese to death, but if I want a truly low fat/low calorie meal, I skimp on it or I avoid it all together.Be sure to choose a low-fat cheese made from skim milk to cut back on the fat. Every little bit helps. 

  • Last, but certainly not least is salad dressing. Dressings can make or break you. Fabulous, you followed all the other hints and then you drown your salad in Catalina or Ranch. Hello fatty salad! If you can stomach the low fat and Light! alternatives, the better you will be. I always use Hidden Valley Ranch Light and it cuts the calories and fat way down. Of course that’s only a 2 tablespoon serving, so do yourself the favor and measure it out. If you don’t like to measure ahead of time, try the salad spritzers. Just spray the piece you are eating and the taste is pretty good. If you absolutely must have your favorite, regular dressing – STOP DROWNING IT! Put the dressing on the side and dip each bite. You will be amazed as to how much is left over.
  • Skip the croutons! That alone drops out over 100 to 200 calories from your salad! I always pick mine off now. 

    So when you go out to eat – AVOID these salads. The calories and fat they bring with them – AWFUL! You’d be better off ordering a cheeseburger and fries! You wouldn’t know it, but many of these salads are close to 1000 calories – if not over! Check out this article for more information.
    So salads aren’t always good for us. What a dirty trick! Good luck with your healthy eating and lifestyle! 

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Mini’s

    Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
    It must have been something you said
    I just died in your arms tonight
    Oh I, I just died in your arms tonight
    It must have been some kind of kiss
    I should have walked away
    I should have walked away
    Lyrics from I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight
    ~Cutting Crew

    Sorry I had an 1986 moment – I was in elementary school and starting to love music already. ANYWAY! This post is not about random 80s music, but this amazing dessert. These lyrics came to my head immediately as I bit into this amazing dessert!

    I tried a cheesecake recipe the other night that turned out to be a HUGE FAIL once it came out of the oven. I was crushed as I searched my low-carb cook books to find a good recipe. I went to my Hungry Girl 200 under 200 cookbook and found this amazing recipe.  

    For Crust

    • 2 cups Fiber One bran cereal (original), ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency in a blender or food processor
    • 1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Smart Balance Light or Brummel & Brown), melted & mixed with 2 tbsp. water
    • 3 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon

    For Filling

    • 24 oz. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
    • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
    • 1 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

    For Topping

    • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
    • 1/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    Combine all crust ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spray cupcake liners lightly with nonstick spray — make sure to get the sides as well as the bottom. Then evenly distribute crumb mixture, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crust along the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients. Using an electric mixer set to medium speed, mix until completely blended and lump-free. Pour mixture into the liners.

    Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, until set. Allow pie to chill in the fridge for at least 3 – 4 hours (overnight is best).

    In a small bowl, mix all topping ingredients together until thoroughly blended. Spread topping evenly over the cupcake.

    Nutritional Info
    • Servings Per Recipe: 24
    • Amount Per Serving
    • Calories: 63.6
    • Total Fat: 1.1 g
    • Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
    • Sodium: 241.6 mg
    • Total Carbs: 8.7 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
    • Protein: 5.5 g 

    I hope you guys give this a try and let me know what you think!


    Pumpkin Fluff – Weight Watchers Dessert


    The recipe is so simple and the taste is as if you slaved in the kitchen forever!

    • 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
    • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
    • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


    1. In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.

    Nutritional Information

    Amount Per Serving Calories: 65 | Total Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg

    Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet

    PHASE 1
    Most people tend to think that because you are “dieting” you can’t eat any of the foods that you want. That is DEFINITELY not the case. The point behind phase 1 of this diet is to actually purge your body of sugars. People, ESPECIALLY Americans, consume mass quantities of sugars without even thinking twice. With this diet, or lifestyle change – as I am calling it, there is a period where you avoid the foods you crave the most – those high in sugars.
    If for any reason this blog does not follow any logic order it’s because I am being forced
    against my will to watch Phineas & Ferb with my sick 4-year-old!
    I declare insanity!

    During this phase you are taking out foods like breads, pastas, fruits, alcoholic beverages, etc. Keep in mind you are only doing this for 2 weeks. After the 2-week time period you are adding them back into your diet. But in small amounts! Don’t focus on the foods you can’t have during this phase and focus on all the foods you CAN have!! THERE ARE A TON!
    Foods to Eat


    • bottom, round
    • eye of round
    • flank steak
    • ground beef (extra lean, lean sirloin)
    • london broil
    • lean pastrami
    • sirloin steak
    • t-bone
    • filet mignon
    • top loin
    • top round


    • cornish hen
    • ground breast of chicken & turkey
    • turkey sausage
    • turkey bacon
    • turkey or chicken breast


    • ALL TYPES 🙂
    • limit those high in mercury and other contaminants, such as swordfish, titlefish, albacore tuna – use light tuna instead – and shark


    • Boiled ham
    • canadian bacon
    • Loin, chop/roast
    • tenderloin

    Lamb (leg, center cut – loin, chop or roast)
    Game Meats (buffalo, elk, ostrich, venison)

    Cold Cuts

    • boiled ham
    • deli-sliced turkey breast
    • smoked ham
    • smoked turkey breast

    Soy-based Meat Substitutes

    • Seiten
    • soy bacon
    • soy burger
    • soy chicken, unbreaded
    • soy crumbles – 1/4 cup (2 oz)
    • soy hot dogs
    • soy sausage patties & links
    • Tempeh – 1/4 cup
    • Tofu (all variations) 1/2 cup
    • Yuba (bean curd on sheet)


    • use fat-free or reduced fat
    • american
    • blue cheese
    • cheddar
    • cottage cheese, 1%, 2%, or fat-free
    • feta
    • mozzerella
    • parmesean
    • part-skim ricotta
    • part-skim string
    • provolone
    • swiss


    • these things will save your life during phase 1
    • eat as many as you want 🙂


    • except for half-and-half, 2 cups allowed daily, including nofat or low-fat plain yogurt
    • buttermilk, 1% or fat free
    • greek yogurt, nonfat
    • half-and-half, fat free (2 tbsp)
    • milk, 1% or fat free
    • Soymilk, low-fat plain, vanilla, or artificially sweetened
    • yogurt, low–fat or nonfat plain


    • fresh, frozen, or canned
    • adzuki beans
    • black beans
    • black-eyed peas
    • braod beans
    • butter beans
    • cannellini beans
    • chickpeas
    • edamame
    • fava beans (Clarice…sorry Silence of the Lambs flashback)
    • great northern beans
    • italian beans
    • kidney beans
    • lentils
    • lima beans
    • mung beans
    • navy beans
    • pigeon beans
    • pinto beans
    • refried beans, fat-free, canned
    • soy beans
    • split peas
    • white beans


    • fresh, frozen, canned
    • artichoke hearts
    • artichokes
    • arugula
    • asparagus
    • bok choy
    • broccoli
    • broccoli rabe
    • broccoli sprouts
    • brussels sprouts
    • cabbage
    • capers
    • cauliflower
    • celeriac (celery root)
    • celery
    • chayote
    • collard greens
    • cucumbers
    • daikon radish
    • eggplant
    • endive
    • escarole
    • fennel
    • fiddlehead ferns
    • garlic
    • grape leaves
    • green beans
    • hearts of palm
    • jicama
    • kale
    • kohlrabi
    • leeks
    • lettuce (all kinds)
    • mushrooms (all kinds)
    • mustard greens
    • okra
    • onions
    • parsley
    • pepperoncini
    • peppers (all)
    • pickels (dill or artificially sweetened)
    • pimientos
    • radicchio
    • radishes
    • rhubarb
    • sauerkraut
    • scallions
    • sea vegetables
    • shallots
    • snap peas
    • snow peas
    • spinach
    • sprouts
    • squash (spaghetti, summer, yellow, zucchini)
    • swiss chard
    • tomatoes
    • tomato juice
    • turnip greens
    • V8
    • water chestnuts
    • watercress
    • wax beans

    Sweet Treats

    • candies, hard, sugar-free (called SF on here and twitter)
    • Chocolate powder, no sugar added
    • Chocolate syrup, SF
    • cocoa powder, unsweetened baking type
    • drink mix, SF
    • Fudgsicles, no sugar added (HEAVEN!!!)
    • Gelatin, SF
    • Gum, SF
    • Jams and jellies, SF
    • Popsicles, SF
    • Syrups, SF


    • caffeinated & decaf coffee/tea
    • diet, caffeine/decaf SF sodas/drinks
    • herbal teas (peppermint & chamomile)
    • milk, 1% or fat free
    • low-fat plain, vanilla, or artificially sweetened
    • SF powdered drink mixes
    • tomato juice
    • V8
    Foods to AVOID
    • Alcohol *
    • Baked Goods **
    • Beef (brisket, liver, rib steaks, fatty cuts)
    • Bread **
    • Breast of Veal
    • Cereal (all kinds) **
    • Cheese (full fat, brie, edam)
    • Crackers **
    • Fruit
    • Fruit Juice
    • Honey-Baked Ham
    • Ice Cream
    • Matzo **
    • Milk (whole, low-fat)
    • Oatmeal **
    • Pasta **
    • Pastries **
    • Poultry (chicken wings, legs, thighs, wings, duck, goose, poultry products)
    • Soy
    • Vegetables (barley, beets, black-eyed peas, carrots, corn, pinto beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams)
    • Yogurt

    * Includes beer, hard alcohol, wine (wine will be introduced in Phase 2 in moderation)

    ** Includes all starchy foods

    Shopping List for Phase 1

    • A lot of eggs! (at least two dozen. I ate 3 a day)
    • Turkey and Canadian bacon
    • Sugar free Jell-O and Pudding (I still eat this daily)
    • Sugar free Kool-whip (I still eat this daily)
    • Lettuce & whatever else you want in your salads (buy enough for the week)
    • Salad dressing (Hidden Valley Light Ranch is my fav – avoid dressings like Catalina)
    • Veggies (no carrots) (broccoli & zucchini are good)
    • Chicken breasts and whatever other meat you like
    • Nuts (for snacks)
    • Low fat string cheese, cubed, and shredded cheese (I use it on my salads and they make GREAT snacks)
    • Part-skim ricotta cheese Splenda or other sugar substitute(you can make dessert out of this)

    GOOD LUCK!!!


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