My Favorite Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe!

Cauliflower pizza crust has been all the craze for the past couple of years, especially in the low carb community! I will admit…it took me a few tries to “get it down”…but now that I have learned the ins & outs of it, I LOVE making this recipe & it’s a wonderful, low carb, gluten free option for anyone out there wanting to take steps to live that type of lifestyle…or if you just want to try something new! I won’t chat too much…I’ll just get right into the recipe!! Enjoy!!!

Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles

Ingredients for the crust:

1 bag of Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles (OR one head of cauliflower, chopped or grated)

1 egg, beaten

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 tbsp. parmesan cheese

1 tsp. garlic powder (I always use more than this because I LOVE garlic! But you 1 tsp. is the minimum I would use. Do whatever works for you!)

1 tsp. oregano

Optional:

4-5 tbsp. almond flour (it does bind a little better this way & helps it crisp up…but it is not necessary.)

1 tsp. Garlic Lovers Flavor God (I use it sometimes, but if I don’t have it on hand, it’s not necessary either)

Ingredient ideas for the toppings:

I have used all different toppings for my cauliflower crust pizza!! You can stick to all veggies, all meat, only cheese, a mixture of all of them. Whatever YOU want! My favorite combo is italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers! You can use anything you want, but be sure to cook your veggies & meat BEFORE you put it on the crust. You will be cooking just the crust first, then adding your toppings and “heating them up” & to melt the cheese at the end. So it’s important that the veggies & meat are cooked before that step.

Things you’ll need:

Cookie Sheet

Parchment Paper

Food processor or cheese grater if you are not using Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles

Directions:

1) Cook the cauliflower crumbles according to the bag. Once cooked, pour them into a bag and let them cool down a little bit, about 15 to 20 minutes so it is easier to work with. If you are using a head of cauliflower instead of the crumbles, use a food processor or cheese grater to “crumble” the cauliflower, and then cook in a microwave safe bowl for 6-8 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.

2) When the cauliflower is cooling down, I like to prep my toppings as mentioned above. The sky is the limit!

3) Once cauliflower is cool, use a cheese cloth or towel to wring out the moisture from the cauliflower. This is an important step because if there is too much water, your crust will be soggy & will not crisp up at all. Wring, wring, wring until the cauliflower is a little more dry.

4) In a mixing bowl, mix all of the crust ingredients and combine them well.

5) Using a cookie sheet, place a piece of parchment paper on it, matching the size. You can use nonstick spray or a couple brushes of olive oil on the parchment paper so the crust doesn’t stick. Then, place the mixture onto the parchment paper and form into a crust shape. (Note: You can do a traditional circle, make it a square or rectangle, or even shape “mini” pizza crusts so everyone in the family can have their own! Whatever works best for you is fine!)

6) Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Once pre-heated, cook the crust for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack until golden brown & the edges are a little crispy.

7) Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then start adding your ingredients. Again, the sky is the limit! You can use any type of sauce you want or omit sauce completely. Add your toppings & cheese & place it back in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted & golden brown. You can even broil it for a minute or two if you want! That part is up to you :)

8) Slice any way you like and ENJOY!!!

*Serves 3-4 people. I usually make my crust circular and cut it into 6 or 8  pieces*
**Makes 4-5 “mini” crusts**

Yum!!!

“Hearty” Chicken & Cauliflower Crumble Soup!

Chicken Cauliflower Soup

 

If you know me, you know that I am OBSESSED with all things fall! If I could eat all fall foods, decorate my house with pumpkins & leaves, & eat all pumpkin everything all year long, I totally would. There’s just something about fall that makes me super happy. <3

This soup is something I threw together last night & we LOVED IT!!! It was very simple to make & minimal ingredients, so I truly believe anyone can make it. I wouldn’t even call it a “recipe” because it’s just great quality ingredients in one soup!  I posted a picture of it on social media & so many of you were asking for the recipe, so I decided to put something on here for you all.

I want to preface this by saying that you do NOT have to use all or any organic products if you don’t want to. I did use organic chicken breast, organic chicken broth, & mostly organic veggies (minus the crumbles & the onions), but it is not necessary at all. It is just what I had at the time. I also feel that you can add ANY veggies that you want & it would probably make it even better! I do feel like the Green Giant Fresh cauliflower crumbles are a must in this, as they gave it a little rice and/or potato vibe to me without all of the carbs. I also think that they have to be those particular crumbles to get the same result I had, but you can feel free to use any type of cauliflower you want. The only thing is, I think the smaller the piece of the cauliflower, the “mushier” it may be & the bigger the cauliflower, the more it actually resembles cauliflower & that wasn’t what I was going for. Hope that makes sense! If you try it another way beside the GGF crumbles, let me know how it turns out!

Ingredients:

2lbs (organic) Fresh Chicken Breast
1 bag of Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles (or one head of cauliflower)
8 cups of Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth (check your ingredients! Also, if you prefer to make your own broth, which is what I usually do if I have the time, you can do that too! It’s even better with homemade broth)
1 Small Onion, diced
3 Stalks of Celery, sliced
3 Carrot Sticks, sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced (or any type of minced garlic you have)
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or coconut oil or ghee)
1 Tbsp. Thyme
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Flavor God Garlic Lovers (optional; if you don’t use this, use 1 tbsp. of garlic powder)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Place chicken breast in a crock pot with a little salt & pepper & a tiny bit of water & cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours or until thoroughly cooked. Once it is fully cooked, use a hand mixer (this is the easiest way!!) or 2 forks to shred your chicken.
2) Chop/dice/slice all of your veggies & garlic up. In a large pot, add olive oil & all veggies/garlic & let saute for 5-10 minutes until softened.
3) Add the broth & all seasonings to the veggies & let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Add the shredded chicken to the pot, add a little more salt & pepper to taste, & let simmer for another 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5) Add any extra seasonings as you see fit & ENJOY! Serve immediately, but know that it is just as good heated up! :)

 

Exciting New Activity Tracker & A Fun Giveaway!!!

Guys! You know how much I love ALDI! I basically share about it weekly on my FB page. Alex makes fun of me because I go there (almost) every single day. I’m not kidding. I live about 2 minutes from our ALDI and I stop there before I go home from work to grab whatever veggies we will need for our meal that night. So needless to say, I feel that I know the ins and outs of the store & always notice if there are new products!

THIS product is one that I am SOOOO excited about! I know most people think about saving money on food at ALDI, but I have noticed so many other great things at the store I shop at. There are always great healthy living products if you just look! The “Special Buy” items are my favorite and are available for a limited time only! And the reason I am writing this blog is no different. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!

One of the top 5 questions I get about healthy living is what activity tracking device I use. I have used so many different ones throughout the years. Some I have loved, some I haven’t. And I’ve been pretty vocal about the ones I love & ones I don’t. Well, on May 6th, ALDI will now have a brand new Bluetooth activity tracker, heart rate monitor, and diagnostic scale as Special Buy items! YES! AT ALDI!!! And you know ALDI is known for its wonderful prices, & this is no different! You get all 3 Bluetooth items (each sold separately) for only $104.97. The activity tracker alone would be that with any other brand.

Bluetooth scale, heart rate monitor, & activity tracker!

Bluetooth scale, heart rate monitor, & activity tracker!

ALDI sent these products to me to test out & share with you all whether I loved it or not. I have been using this product for the past week & I must be honest with you…it is one of the best devices I have used! It is a Crane product & it has its own app just like other brands & it is so easy to use! I love that it all connects right to my phone, which is something that is important to me especially when I’m on the go (and I usually am). You can also wear it as a watch or clip it on if you don’t like the watch look. The armband I got came with both a black armband AND an aqua armband (duh)! I love it!!!

The activity tracker tracks daily steps, distance, calorie deficit, & also has a sleep tracker. You can set up to 3 alarms on it for anything you might need as well. The battery lasts up to 7 days & you can easily charge it with a USB port that is included. If you want to wear the heart rate belt, you have that option too as it comes with the activity tracker. You can track your heart rate, training zones, duration of activity, distance covered, speed, and it even has GPS tracking. I use mine during workouts and absolutely love it. I think heart rate is so important when you are training.

Last but not least, the third part of this special buy is the diagnostic scale. I have to tell you, I am very particular when it comes to the scale I use. I have used the same scale for the past 5 years and I don’t like change very much so I was skeptical! But this scale is AWESOME!!! And I have never said that about a scale before. Just saying. It measures your progress with not only weight, but fat percentage, water percentage, muscle percentage, bone mass, body mass index, basal metabolic rate (calories burned while inactive), and active metabolic rate (calories burned while awake). It weighs up to 396 pounds as well, just as an FYI!

SOOOO…as an exciting extra to all of this, ALDI has graciously agreed to give away one prize pack of these Special Buy items to one of YOU!!!!! :) All you have to do is leave a comment below as to why YOU want/need one of these! And then just SHARE this blog post on Facebook with all of your friends so they can come try to win a prize pack too! We must be able to see the share! It’s very simple & well worth it! The winner will be chosen on May 8, 2015.

If you go buy one of these bad boys, PLEASE tag me in the pictures! I would love to see you all using/wearing the same thing as I am to keep us accountable!

Good luck on the giveaway!!!! :) :)

 

 

Note: All of the products above are compatible with Apple iOS 5.0+ and Android 4.3+. Special Buy items are available for a limited time.

Paleo-ish Ranch Dressing

As I said in my Paleo Mayo post, I LOVE making sauces & dressings from the paleo mayo base! It has become such a fun thing for me to do in my spare time! Many of the concoctions I come up with work…and some don’t. But it’s fun to see what does work! And I have to say…this paleo ranch dressing DOES work & it is one of my favorite homemade paleo sauces! I love having this on hand in my fridge & it is also an easy thing to take on the go if I know I am going to be at work all day or if I’m going out to dinner. Yes, I am that girl that brings her own dressing…and I’m okay with it! ;) ALSO…the reason this is Paleo-ish is because vinegar is typically not used on a strict Paleo diet. I use it because it IS compliant if you are doing Whole30, and vinegar has never hurt anyone (well, at least not me! haha)

Paleo Mayo  Ingredients

Ingredients:

1 Cup Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil  OR 1 Cup Avocado Oil

1 Large Egg

1/2 cup of Coconut Milk (must be from a can)

2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Dill

1/2 tsp  Onion Powder

Pinch of Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

½ Lemon or lime (I usually use lemon) (edit: I just tried this with 2 drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil instead & it is SO GOOD!!)

YOU’LL ALSO NEED:

An Immersion Blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools)

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients in a mason jar or bowl & blend together thoroughly. It usually one takes about 1 minute. This should be creamy, thick, and delicious!!

Sriracha Garlic Shrimp!

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I originally just snap chatted this picture, but when 8 people messaged me on snapchat saying how great it looked & that they needed the recipes, I decided to post it on IG too. And…same thing! Hundreds of you asked for this recipe, so I have to share it!!

I don’t even think it’s right to call this a “recipe” because it’s the easiest thing in the world to make, and takes less than 10 minutes. It’s more of a putting simple ingredients together rather than a full blown recipe. ;) But here you go!

 

Ingredients:

4oz. of frozen, fully cooked, tail OFF shrimp (I get mine at Costco in the frozen section. You can use tail on if you prefer. I’ve used it before and it’s great too!)
1 tbsp. Kerrygold Grass Fed Irish Butter
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 tbsp. Flavor God Garlic Lover’s Seasoning (If you don’t have Flavor God, you can definitely go without this ingredient. Just add a little extra minced garlic or garlic powder.)
1 tbsp. Sriracha Hot Sauce

Directions:

Thaw the shrimp in water for a half hour. Strain and pat dry. They should be soft and easy to work with.

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the minced garlic. This should take about 1 minute. Then add the shrimp and flavor god to the pan and saute for 4-5 minutes. Once the butter and garlic are covering the shrimp, add the Sriracha and cook for 1-2 more minutes. The “sauce” should be covering all of the shrimp and you are good to go! Serve immediately. Serves 2.

 

 

Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage – Whole30 Compliant :)

I’m all about some breakfast sausage! And it’s really hard to find any that is Whole30 compliant…with no sugar and no added “crap” in it. So I decided to try to make my own & I’m so glad I did! This was really easy to make & it tastes delicious! I also think the recipe would be easy to make and freeze if you wanted to use the patties at a later time. This was my first time making these, so I am sure I fill find some better tips and tricks along the way & I will certainly share when I do! If you have any suggestions to make it better, just leave a comment to help everyone!

I also feel like you can add in any other spices/flavorings that you love to change this recipe up from time to time! This is just the one I used for now, so I wanted to share. If I start adding new things in, I’ll definitely update this post!

DSCN0078

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey (or chicken or pork) — I bought mine at our local butcher. Be sure to check the ingredients if you are doing the Whole30 program to make sure that it does not have any added “stuff” in it!

1 tbsp. organic garlic powder

1 tbsp. organic sage

1 tbsp. fennel seed 

1 tbsp. sea salt

1-2 tbsp. ghee or any cooking oil of your choice (Olive oil or coconut oil would work really well with this too)

Optional: 1 tbsp. Flavor God “Everything” seasoning (This is not necessary at all, but it made the flavor THAT much better!)

Directions:

1) Put all ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl and mix with your hands (wear gloves if possible!)

2) Roll into about 2 inch balls. Pat down to form a patty. You should get approximately 10-12 patties.

3) Heat frying pan with ghee. When the pan is hot, cook the patties 4-5 at a time. (The bottoms should get crispy and you can flip when they do.) **If you prefer to bake these, you definitely can!

4) Cook thoroughly. There should be NO pink. Your best bet is to use a meat thermometer and make sure the meat is at or above 165F either way you decide to cook these.

5) ENJOY!!! :)

Putting it out there in 2014!

Hey everyone!

So as you know, I was on a very popular weight loss show a few years ago & that’s how most of you know me! It was the greatest experience of my life & I made life long friends & learned so much about what works & what doesn’t work for myself & my overall health for life! I feel like all great things require learning both wonderful & not so wonderful things to make it the best experience (just my opinion).

With that being said, YES, I was on a TV show…but NO, the show does NOT define me, nor does my weight. I feel as though that is a very large misconception out there about what is on TV and the reality of the situation. At the end of the day, every single contestant is a REAL person with REAL feelings and REAL emotions who legitimately just wanted to get their lives back. The show is based on numbers on the scale, but if you really think that is the WHOLE picture, then you need to take a step back and look at what is really going on. The scale, again in my opinion, is a very small portion of overall health & it is important to know that, ESPECIALLY as a fan of the show.

When we are at the ranch, all we do is fight for a number. I totally understand for the sake of what we are doing….going from morbidly obese individuals to healthy and fit individuals is the point. There is more to that than weight. And for me, losing 230 pounds plus having skin removal surgery made me LOOK like a completely different person. And I changed in SO many ways for the better!

But I also let some of the other superficial things get to me. For example…I weighed in at 213 pounds at my finale. To most, that was not “skinny enough” and I can’t tell you how many THOUSANDS of people kept saying “keep going so you can get to your goal weight!” or “Hope you get to 150 soon!” amongst many other things. The REALITY of the situation is that, according to the doctor, I WAS at my goal weight. I WAS at the weight that I am supposed to live at for life.  213 pounds for a woman? No way. Well…WAY! I’ll NEVER weigh 150 pounds. I have an extreme amount of muscle for a woman, so the number on the scale isn’t going to reflect the same way it does for someone standing next to me. I was born strong and I am PROUD OF THAT (now), but I didn’t understand that coming off the show. I was so proud of how far I had come, but all I could think about is how far I had left to go…and I just wanted to make everyone happy.

There have been many days where I told myself “you need to lose more weight” and I obsessed over the scale. I didn’t talk about this often because I didn’t want to be “that person”. This only happened for a short time until I MADE myself stop. I knew from losing 112 pounds on my own before I ever stepped foot on the ranch that I was mentally strong…and the entire journey was MENTAL. But I found myself letting my mind getting the best of me.

I found that what I manifested (I was too fat, I had too far to go, comparing myself to others) is what I became. It was SOO unlike me to think this way. Ask anyone who has known me forever and they will tell you I have always been a confident person, even when I weighed close to 450 pounds. Literally. I found myself starting to be something I didn’t want to be and started to go backwards…more so mentally than physically, but a little of both…and I didn’t like it. I told myself all of the wrong things and ultimately it negativity affected me.

It wasn’t until the beginning of last year (2013) that I started seeing the WHOLE picture. I started seeing that it was NOT just about weight and it was about health. I started doing my own research about what it means to be healthy. To my surprise, that DOESN’T mean eating foods that are all zero calories just for the sake of eating low calories when all those foods contain are chemicals. That meant to eat nutrient dense food and eat plenty of them. I learned that healthy fat doesn’t make me fat…it actually helps me burn it more. I learned that sugar is really not okay for MY body, even if it is in the form of a 50 calorie snack. If a 50 calorie snack has 10 grams of sugar…that is a problem for me. These are all things I didn’t understand before. Truly. I know it sounds crazy, but I just didn’t. Since the very beginning of when I started losing weight, all I did was count calories and exercise. I even got to the point of eating WAY too little, which is ultimately what affected me and my metabolism so bad and I have had to fight for the past year to build it back up. I can say I am successfully doing that now, and I am so happy.

I have learned A LOT from this process. The most important thing I have learned is that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be what someone thinks I should look like. I have gained about 40 pounds back (and still kept off around 200 pounds…how can I be upset with that?) and I feel as though I have been very open about it all. But it was from manifesting all of the wrong things. It was all MENTAL. It was all from over thinking. It was all not seeing how far I had actually come. I see it now. And nothing & no one can take it from me…ever :)

I am committing this year to being the BEST VERSION OF MYSELF that I have ever been. That has nothing to do with a scale. That has nothing to do with what other people think of me or tell me I should do. It has everything to do with ME. And loving ME for ME. And I can honestly say that I DO!!! I am so happy. And I am so proud of myself for not giving up. It’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up…truly!!! I believe that now that I am fully understanding this concept again, EVERYTHING will fall into place the way it should…weight, self-worth, health and happiness!

I hope that any of you reading this who may have had some ups and downs in your life read this and see that self-worth and being happy with who you are, what you’ve done, and where you’re going is the most important thing in life. I don’t have all of the answers. I’m certainly not perfect. I’ve messed up a lot in the past and I will mess up again. But I do have a strong mind and I have faith in myself that I will do all that I need to do to live the healthiest life possible forever.

I love me. I love Courtney Lynn Crozier. And I hope that you love you too. Here’s to an AMAZING & HEALTHY 2014!!! WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!

 

PS–I also must say that I feel SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED to have the “fans” (I hate saying that…I like to say FRIENDS!) that I have gained through this entire process. Even though I have haters sometimes, for every hater there are 10,000 WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL souls who support & love me daily…and I can’t thank you all enough for that!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the energy you give me too!

 

living

 

Meet Kevin Riley! :)

Hi everyone!! Another new week which means yet another amazing weight loss journey to share with you! Please meet my new friend Kevin!!! Kevin has SO many wonderful and insightful things to say and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to interview him! Thank you Grimmway Farms for introducing us!
KEVIN RILEY
1)  When did you start your weight loss journey?  
I started my weight loss journey in April of 2011.
2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Let me paint a picture.   I was unemployed.  Around 560 pounds.   Depressed.   My life was going nowhere.   What was worse is that I was so big I could actually feel myself dying.   Everything hurt.   I was always out of breath.   If I stood up and/or walked for more than 10-12 feet, my back would be in excruciating pain.  Simple tasks were beyond me.   I had to take time out to catch my breath when taking a shower for crying out loud. Most concerning for me was my mental state.  I’ve always loved taking care of my niece and nephews.   Babysitting was one of the few joys in my life.  However, now my depression and poor health were making it so I could no longer care for them.  If anything went wrong, I would have a crazy anxiety attack.   As horrible as this was, it was the thing that saved my life.
My family was concerned for me and had planned an intervention.   Now I can be a stubborn fellow so this may not have gone over well.  I would have been defensive and probably would have fallen into a deeper depression.   My sister, Erin, was smart enough to realize this and went with Plan B.  She invited me out to dinner (let’s be honest, I was always down for a good meal).   At this meal, she told me how worried the family was and offered a suggestion.   She wanted me to meet Marty Wolff from Biggest Loser Season 3.   She had attended some bootcamps with him and thought he could help me.   That is what started me on the journey.   My dear sister gave me that little push to get started.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
As mentioned above, I met Marty Wolff.  He is my trainer.  I have met trainers in the past and I have always hated that first meeting.  Because every trainer I met would look at me with either an expression of “oh lord, look how much work I have to do” or an expression of outright disgust.  So, I was not particularly looking forward to my meeting with Marty but I knew I needed help.  I was pleased to find out that Marty looked at my like a friend from the get-go.  He greeted me warmly and said that he saw strength in me.   He promised me that we could make this work if we met halfway.   We tried to walk as we talked, but I only made it half a block and then we sat on the curb and talked there.  He never made me feel bad for not being able to move.
Marty went above and beyond for me.  He was describing the nutrition plan and that a group of people were meeting to walk through a grocery store together and learn what was good to buy and what was bad.   He wanted me to attend but could see that I was upset and asked me why.  I told him that I couldn’t walk a grocery store.   My back would hurt too much.  His solution?   We drove to the grocery store where the event was planned to take place.  While I waited in the car, Marty went inside and a) found out that they had a motorized cart I could use to attend the walk-through and b) bought me some groceries to last me the three days until the walk though.  He wanted me to start right away.  That level of commitment was amazing to me.  And I can never repay that faith in me.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I started, I worked out for 60 minutes twice a week.   My initial workouts wore severely limited.  I would walk across the gym and sit down.  We would talk.  I would walk back and sit down again.   That was all I could do.   However, things improved fairly quickly.  For most of my journey, I would work out 4-5 times a week and sometimes more if I snuck in a hike or swim on the weekends.   I am still on my journey so the workout regimen is the same.   At times, I have fallen off the wagon and done less.  At times, I have done more where I work out twice a day multiple days of the week.   The goal is to try and keep moving forward.
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
At Square One Health Club (Marty’s new club exclusively for People of Size), most of our workouts are 45 minutes long and they take the form of games or bootcamps.   We do circuits and timed challenges.   Much of what we do is to build strength while still keeping ourselves moving for the cardio benefits.   Mini-competitions tend to push us to work harder as well.  Even though there is never a prize on the line, we push ourselves so our team can do the very best it can.   Surprisingly, no one is ever belittled, demeaned or saddened for poor performance.   We just chip in to make the difference.  It is a lot of fun.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
The core of the nutrition plan is simply to fill yourself with nutrient dense foods.   We get a calorie level that is based off the amount of lean muscle mass we have.   After that, we try to use those calories to eat natural, non-processed foods.   As we go, we tweak the amount of protein we take in because that is what keeps us full for longer periods of time.  I was encouraged to drink lots of water and decrease (if not eliminate) the consumption of diet soda.
I don’t know if I have “staples” in the refrigerator.  However, greek yogurt, spaghetti squash, Kashi cereal and lots of berries and vegetables tend to be on hand most of the time.  Egg white quiche is a key for me.  It fills me up for most of the day.  So I will often have turkey sausage, egg whites, low-fat cheese, and a variety of vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onion, etc) on hand to make quiche regularly.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
Well, to be honest, I am having a low motivation period right now so this is hard to answer.  It happens from time to time.   This is a long journey.  Every time some skinny person tells me that I should just “eat less and exercise”, I want to point out that those are only tools.   Telling someone who is morbidly obese to just “eat less and exercise” is like telling someone to just “go run a marathon or two”.   Most people can eat less and exercise for a few weeks and drop the weight they want to lose.   Someone like me has to do it for YEARS.   Sorry, off my soapbox.
The community of people at Square One tend to keep me motivated and accountable.   We all look out for each other.  We rejoice in our victories, commiserate defeats, and can sympathize with each other’s difficulties.   This is 100% of what makes this place more successful than other programs.  We know that the weight loss journey is primarily a mental journey.  Support groups, friends, and trainers help us to stay on track and work the mental side of what we do.  I also keep a blog.  This helps me to stay motivated because it reminds me of where I came from and where I don’t want to return.   So, despite my low motivation period right now, I know that I will get it together because I want it, my friends and workout partners are looking out for me, and my trainers are there to help push me to greater success.
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys? 
Look.  It isn’t easy.  It is a long journey.  But here’s what I can promise you.   It will be easier than you think and the benefits are well worth the effort.   I used to look at the fact that it would take me years to lose the weight and that was my reason not to start.  It was too hard.   However, you don’t have to hit your goal weight to be successful.  You don’t have to wait until you are there to feel better.   That happens right away.  In my case, it took a very short time (just a few weeks) before I was reaping the rewards.   I felt better.  I could breathe better.   My depression was going away because I was doing something to change my circumstances.  In 4 months, I went from a guy who couldn’t walk a half a block to a guy who walked a 5k!  I couldn’t believe it.   And like rolling a snowball down a mountain, the benefits just kept getting bigger and better the longer I stayed on the journey.
You all are worth it!   Change your life.  Change your circumstances!   And most importantly, try to find some friends to do it with you.   Not that skinny friend who will order nachos while you are having a salad.   They are fine, but the ones you need for your journey are the people who will enjoy that salad with you, work out with you, and walk the path with you.   My Square One friends are a dear part of my life and a HUGE reason for my success.
 
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I would like to invite anyone who is interested to check out my blog.   It is long and I primarily do it for me.  However, I have shared it with others and some have found it helpful to them on their journeys.   I believe that if it helps or inspires one other person, then it is worth the effort of writing it down.   It begins in October of 2011 and starts by recounting the beginning of my journey and how bad I let it get before starting.
^You should DEFINITELY check out Kevin’s blog. He has so much great info on there and I know you will love it just as I did!
Also, don’t forget to sign up to potentially be chosen to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort for 2 on behalf of Grimmway Farms!!!! Check out all of the details here…. www.justcrunchem.com
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Meet Allison Jones! :)

Helloooooo again, everyone! It’s that time of week again! We have our fourth success story to feature…and let me tell you, this girl is BEAUTIFUL inside & out! She took the plunge into a healthy lifestyle fairly recently and she is looking FABULOUS! I love that she has taken this one choice at a time so far…and is well on her way to all of her health goals! It’s my honor to introduce you to the gorgeous Allison Jones!!
ALLISON WEIGHT LOSS
1) When did you start your weight loss journey? 
I began my journey, two months ago, on January 7th 2013. I have lost 32 pounds since that day.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
After two months of marriage, my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I spent up to 10 hours in the hospital, by his side, while he received his chemotherapy. On January 7th, in the middle of the hospital, I decided it was time to change my life. My husband did not choose cancer,yet here I am committing slow suicide. I felt so selfish. That was my moment. I watched him fight for his life and it was time for him to watch me fight for me. From that point on I dove head first into my weight loss. I came home that day, emptied my cabinets, weighed myself, activated an online food journal and I haven’t looked back.

3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
No trainer. I have done everything so far on my own.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first began losing weight, I worked out 3-4 days a week for about an hour each day. Now, I workout 5-6 days a week for close to two hours each day. I still have about 100 pounds to lose so I know that I will have to keep up with this routine for some time to come. I am totally okay with that. Working out has actually become enjoyable for me! I am in LOVE!
 
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
My typical workout activities are the elliptical, jogging (never thought I would say that), and a class at my gym called body combat! To be honest I am a little obsessed with that class. I sometimes do that 3 or 4 times a week. I also do strength training 4 times a week. The type of exercises I do now are very similar to the type I did when I first began. I have,however, increased my length of time spent training and my intensity.

 

 
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
When I first began losing weight, I was completely clueless. I read into a few of Jillian Michaels’ books and I began to grasp the concept of clean eating. I limited my foods based off of the rule, ” If it has a mom or came from the ground it is okay to eat.”. Another rule I used was, “If it has a commercial on T.V., it doesn’t go near my mouth.” That seemed to give me a pretty good guide of what and what not to eat. I also began counting calories like it was my job. I had no idea how many calories I was consuming until I put it all in front of me. When that was made a reality, I was able to see how much I needed to cut back! Right now, the food that ALWAYS makes an appearance in my refrigerator are eggs! They are my go to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I have found so many new healthy recipes to use them in! Absolutely my favorite right now.

7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
My husband and my little boy, of course. Also, since starting my journey I have been very public about it. I posted it on my facebook and my instagram. I have so many supportive people that make it a point to check in on my progress.A few people have messaged me saying that I have inspired them to make changes themselves.I would hate to let them down. They help me stay on track and focused on days I feel like quitting. I think being very open about my journey was one of the best decisions I have made.
 
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?Oh goodness. Just one? Haha. There is so much I would love to say. However, the most important would be to not give up. EVER. The best part about losing weight is that there is no such thing as an ultimate failure. You have the choice, with every breath you take to say “This is NOT how I am going to live.” If you mess up, which you will, you will have another opportunity around the corner to be successful. It is a beautiful thing to finally realize that you can not fail until you stop trying. Ask the people who love you most to support you, encourage you, and be honest with you when you need it. Crawl,walk, run, fly…whatever you need to do. Just do NOT give up!
I LOVE everything Alison has said here!! She is so right…NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!!! That can’t be in your vocabulary when you decide to take the plunge into a healthy lifestyle! It’s for LIFE, even with the ups and downs! Also, Allison…please know that we are ALL praying for you, your husband, and your families in all of the ups and downs that life brings. We are proud of you for being a fighter! Just know you are always in my thoughts and prayers!
allison weight loss 2
Remember, if YOU want to be featured as one of our weight loss success stories, please check out Grimmway Farms website and submit your application! It can be any type of loss…5 to 500 pounds! We are all in this together! :)
Until next time…
xoxoxo
Courtney

Meet Michelle Jud! :)

I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to interview some wonderful people who have been on the same journey as I have for a while now! Our next story is an AMAZING woman who lives and breathes a healthy lifestyle! Please take a look at the question she’s kindly answered and maybe you, too, can be inspired by her! Please meet my new friend, Michelle Jud, everyone! :)
MICHELLEJUD
1) When did you start your weight loss journey?
I started my journey in the summer of 2010.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Looking back now, I think it was a little bit of both.  I remember being sick of myself and finally fed up with not being able to do anything.  My twins were 5 at the time, and I remember being sad at the kind of mother I had been up to that point.  I was a horrible example, completely inactive, and I could barely get up and down off the floor to play with them. 
When I found out that The Biggest Loser was holding auditions here in Omaha, something inside me said “This is your chance!”.  I felt that my life was about to change, although I had no idea what that really meant yet at that time.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
I did it with the help of an amazing trainer and an awesome, supportive community of people just like me! 
In line at the audition, I met former Biggest Loser contestant, Marty Wolff.  He was offering a “beginner bootcamp” for people with 100 pounds or more to lose.  Since I didn’t get a call back from the show, I remember thinking that I was still going to do something about my weight.  I made my cousin come with me to the info session for the bootcamp. After hearing Marty’s story, I thought that if he could do it, I could do it too!  I joined the beginner bootcamp and became good friends with many of the others there who were also bigger like me.  After the beginner bootcamp was done, I joined up with Marty’s regular ongoing bootcamp and I have been doing the same thing ever since!
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first started, I usually worked out 3 times a week.  I also spent the first year of my journey doing races just to prove that I could.  Now that Marty has opened Square One  (a health club specifically for people of size), I have more opportunities to work out and usually try to hit 5 or more workouts per week.  I still enjoy doing races.  Just 2 weeks ago I did Trek Up The Tower (a race up 40 flights of stairs) for the 3rd year in a row and managed to beat my best time by almost 3 minutes!
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
I just try to stay really busy which helps me control my eating.  In the morning I go to one of my jobs, and in the afternoon I go to work at Square One.  I usually work out in the evenings, either doing a single class or back to back classes. 
Even though I am not yet in the maintainence phase, what I do now is nearly the same thing as I did in the beginning, bootcamp style classes and trying to get in lots of cardio.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
I really just focused on keeping in my calorie range with as many nutrient-dense, real foods as possible.  In the beginning it was a lot of “eat this, not that”, just making small changes and substitutions so as not to be overwhelmed. Instead of pasta, I would have spaghetti squash.  Instead of using regular milk, I would use almond milk. 
Most recently, we have made a huge change in the way we eat in my family.  We are converting over to a clean eating lifestyle, and so far it has made a huge difference!  It is definitely not an easy process, but I have started a blog and a Facebook page so that I can continue to learn, and hopefully help others as well.  If you are interested in checking it out, it is called Grownup Spinach.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
These days, it is helping others on their journey. 
I still weigh in weekly, and I am actually not done losing weight just yet, but what really keeps me going is encouraging people and helping them see that they are stronger than they think they are!
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?
It is not a diet but a lifestyle change.  However thinking of it that way can be overwhelming.  If you start out with small changes it is easily sustainable and will eventually snowball into bigger changes. 
The other thing is that you just really have to believe you can do it.  I know it sounds cheesy to say “If I did it, anyone can do it”, but I truly believe that. 
Finally, I would say, find a source of inspiration and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories.  Winning the small battles makes it easier to see that you can win the war.
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I just want to thank Grimmway Farms & Cal-Organic Farms and also you, Courtney, for giving me the chance to tell my story. If anyone is interested in any of my other ramblings, my facebook page is
and my blog is
^Check out her blog!!! You guys will LOVE it!! :) Doesn’t this lady, ROCK?! I love what Michelle said about this being a lifestyle change & NOT a diet. I think almost anyone who has had success with weight loss preaches the same thing. I’m glad we’re on the same page, girl!
Also…another huge thanks to Grimmway Farms for introducing Michelle and myself. The things this company are AMAZING and they make a difference!!! If you haven’t signed up for a chance to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort thanks to Grimmway, click HERE now! :)
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