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! :)

 

Cauliflower “Potato” Salad! (Whole 30 Compliant)

I LOVE summertime! I love cookouts & grilling out so much. There is just something about it that makes me so happy! I love being able to bring healthy side options to a BBQ! And this 4th of July is no different. I love potato salad as much as the next person, but I don’t love how “heavy” and carby it is. Especially because it’s one of those things I want to eat a lot of! I have been tweaking this recipe for a while now, & I think I’ve finally perfected it thanks to the cauliflower crumbles (Green Giant Fresh brand; fresh–not frozen). I have taken it to a couple of family events & EVERYONE, even people who don’t typically eat very healthy, loved it too!! That makes me so happy! This recipe is for everyone…even the kiddos! If you love potato salad….give this a try & let me know what you think! :) ENJOY!

CAULIFLOWER “POTATO” SALAD:

1 bag of Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles (or 1 head of fresh cauliflower, “riced” or cut into small pieces)

4 hard boiled eggs, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

4 dill pickle spears (any kind works)

3 stalks of celery, diced

3/4 cup paleo mayo

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

OPTIONAL:

1 tablespoon Tessemae’s roasted garlic marinade (I LOVE this & it gives it an extra kick!)

1 tablespoon mustard (I never use this because I don’t like mustard, but for those of you that do…it will only make it better)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Steam cauliflower for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. If you are using the Green Giant Fresh crumbles, you can steam them right in the bag for the 1-2 minutes. It is important to make sure they do NOT get mushy. Only cook them until fork tender.

2) Mix all ingredients in a bowl, putting the paleo mayo in last. Mix until everything is covered evenly. Use S&P to taste.

3) Chill for at least 1 hour before serving!

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!!

Our Love Story — The Beginning :)

Soooooo…we’re engaged!!!! :) :) And we could not be happier!!! Over the past 3 years, so many of you have asked us when we were going to get engaged and the time is finally here! It has been a whirlwind for the past month, and I honestly can’t even believe that I am just sitting down now to write this out.

You see, I feel a connection with all of my online friends and even though everyone can’t be at our wedding, I want to keep you all in the loop (for those of you who want to know) as much as possible because you have watched our relationship unfold. That is such a cool thing about social media these days. I totally understand if you have no interest in this…but here it goes. :)

First of all, I’m not sure that everyone knows how Alex and I met so I will start with that. I think that is a necessary part of the story to fully understand our love! In January of 2010, there were 18 finalists for a brand new weight loss show that was being cast for ABC. Alex and I were both one of those finalists. The reason we had even been called is because we were in the mix for casting for Biggest Loser, so when you are in the casting world, you are basically always in it. So anyways, they called me to try out for this show and I was skeptical. It was mostly because I had no idea what the show was or what the premise was, and I didn’t like that. I went through the casting process, and when they called me and told me I was going to be a finalist, I couldn’t believe it! It was then that I knew that when you don’t try to control every situation, things work out as they should. I was flown to LA as one of the 18 finalists. I met the other 17 people, and Alex was one of those people.

Most of the finalists for season 1 of Extreme Weight Loss :)

 We were quickly told that only 8 of us would make the show, but we had 10 days in LA doing workouts, medical exams, interviews with production, and just overall learning more about each other and Chris Powell, the brand new trainer for this brand new show. All 18 of us spent a LOT of time together. These people truly changed my life!

 It is funny, because most of us were very outgoing and more “type A”, but the one person who wasn’t was Alex. He was so quiet and reserved, and I wasn’t used to people like him. I have always been loud, outgoing, and probably TOO forward at times, so this kid was intriguing to me. All of us that were more outgoing and loud were hanging out constantly, and Alex wasn’t around much. In fact (and I love to tell this story), there were times that he was in his hotel room with the “do not disturb” sign on. I thought that was so weird because I was the person who was having everyone in my room and basically the center location for the partaaaay! Hahaha. After 3 days of being in LA, Alex finally called me and said, “What are y’all doing?” in his little southern accent. He finally came to hang out with everyone and we all found out how cool he really is.

We were informed at the end of the 10 days that they would call us and let us know if we made the show or not. I was pretty confident that I was going to make it. I hope that doesn’t sound cocky. I knew I didn’t have a sad story, but I just felt very confident with the interviews that I did and just how the week went. It was awesome! For the next 3 weeks while we waited on their decision, about 6 of us were CONSTANTLY skyping, texting, and talking every single night. Alex was a part of that group, and he kept opening up more and more. We all became VERY close, VERY fast!

Alex & I one of the first days we met 5 years ago! Both of us over 400 pounds & probably at our worst health wise.

Alex & I one of the first days we met 5 years ago! Both of us over 400 pounds & probably at our worst health wise.

After 3 weeks passed, I received a phone call from a producer. He said, “Courtney, I hope you know how much I adore you. I want you to know that we are taking 8 people for the first season of this brand new show, and you are number 9.” I was in shock. I was sad, but I tried to understand. I didn’t at that point. And it was the first time in my life that I had been MAD about something like that. I was mad because I knew I deserved it (we truly all did!!), and I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I couldn’t do something. So…THAT is when I started losing weight on my own. It fueled my fire to get moving. I called Alex and Wally (the 2 I had become the closest with) and they both informed me that they HAD made the show!!! I was so happy for them, and I told them I was going to do it along with them and we were all going to be where we wanted to be at the end of the year.

Alex started training with Chris Powell on, you guessed it, the very first season of Extreme Weight Loss. The coolest part is that he got to do most of it at home, so we continued to Skype nightly and check in about our workouts and foods for that day. We become closer and closer and we both considered each other best friends. There was no denying that! I tried to learn as much as I could from Alex and Wally, and also stayed in contact with Chris, as he is one of the most genuine caring people I know!

The next 9 months went by, and I lost over 100 pounds on my own! I was on FIRE. There was no stopping me. I was trusting the process and it was working…all on my own with the support of amazing friends, of course. Alex was still losing mass amounts of weight and truly finding himself. In the beginning of September, Alex went to EWL boot camp in Arizona, where he had to go through some difficult things mentally and physically. We stopped talking as much (and little did I know, he really wasn’t talking to many people besides his family) because he was just grinding and doing what he needed to do to finish the year strong. I was upset about that, but again I understood.

About that time, I received a call from The Biggest Loser producers. They were casting for season 11 and they really wanted to talk to me! I told them that I was not interested like I had been before, because I had lost over 100 pounds on my own and I was going strong. I still had at least 150 more pounds to lose, but I was determined to do it. They called again. And again. And again. And finally I agreed to try out again. I didn’t have to go through all of the casting calls and such again, which I what I did NOT want to do. They already had my info so I went directly to on camera interviews. They told me I HAD to find a partner, and hopefully it would be a parent or sibling. I never looked at my parents or my sister as big enough to qualify, but I asked my mom and she was scared, but agreed to try with me. The rest is history. From the end of September 2010 until about May of 2011, we were cut off from the outside world. We were doing our thing at the ranch!

I got to come home for Christmas, and right when I got home, Alex had called me. Now remember, we weren’t talking much before I went to the ranch, so I didn’t expect it! But it was SOOO great to chat and when I saw him on Skype (it was about 3 months since I had seen him) I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! He looked like a COMPLETELY different person. See, those 3 months that he wasn’t talking to people much and just grinding were the 3 months that he FULLY changed his life. I was so proud of him, and he was so proud of me!

We both had people we were interested in, and I was helping him with his girl problems and he talked me through my guy problems. That is what best friends do. I always knew in my heart that I loved him, though. Little did I know, he felt the same way. Neither of us wanted to force anything though, but we knew God would work it out. And HE DID!!!…..

You see, I feel like you all need to know THAT part of our story so you can understand the love that we have. I KNOW for sure that I was a finalist for Extreme Weight Loss (even though I didn’t make the show) because Alex and I were SUPPOSED to meet that week! God had a plan for us, that this was it. I didn’t understand at the time why I didn’t make that show, but I 1000000% understand now. It was so I could learn how to change my life ON MY OWN. So I could have the opportunity to go on TBL because that is part of my life story. And most importantly, so I could meet my soul mate!!!

TO BE CONTINUED :)……….

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!!! :)

Whole 30/Low Carb/Keto “Crack Slaw” Recipe

I promised you guys that I would post my recipe for Whole 30 compliant “crack slaw”. I found many recipes online that were VERY close to being Whole 30 compliant, but not quite…and on day 25, I couldn’t have “not quite Whole 30″ as an option! This recipe is also great for a low carb/keto/LCHF lifestyle as well. So so good for anyone, really :)

This is a super simple recipe and doesn’t take long at all. You can add different/more/less spices and sauces as you see fit, but this worked and it worked WELL! Even my picky hubby likes it! I call that a win! ALSO…there are certain things, such as the homemade sriracha & coconut aminos that you can substitute with regular store bought sriracha & soy sauce if you are NOT doing Whole 30. You can also use any ground meat you prefer. I believe ground beef works best for this specific recipe, but if you prefer ground turkey or ground chicken…by all means, go for it!! Here’s all you need:

Crack Slaw!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground Beef (or Turkey or Chicken or Pork)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can also use coconut oil, sesame oil, ghee, Kerrygold butter…whatever works for you)

1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of diced onions

14 oz. bag of coleslaw mix (or you can just shred cabbage if you don’t want the add ins) ((EDIT: I just found the Green Giant Fresh Southwest Vegetable Blend at Walmart & it is DELISH in this! Best batch I’ve ever made!))

3 tablespoons of coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce without the soy & salt…soooo good!)

Salt & pepper to taste

*OPTIONAL**
2 tablespoon sriracha (this recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo minus the honey!…love their site!!)

You can also add any types of seasonings you want to this! If you want to add garlic powder instead of or on top of the minced garlic, that would be great! There are many ways to season this & it is all by preference.  If you aren’t doing Whole30, soy sauce would be fine if you prefer that. And if you don’t like the taste of soy sauce, leave it out completely & add some extra spices. When I say this recipe can be VERY modified, I mean it! :) I feel if you have the cabbage, the protein, and the olive oil, anything else you add with taste delicious and amplify the basic dish!

Directions:

1) Brown ground beef and season with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.

2) Saute onions, cabbage, & garlic in olive oil & cook until the tenderness you prefer (I like mine more cooked than most)

3) Add in coconut aminos, sriracha, salt & pepper

4) Add ground beef back into the cabbage & mix well

5) Serve warm & top with sriracha (optional), salt, & pepper as desired per serving!

 

Let me know if you try this & what you think! And also if you make any substitutions or add something & you think it tastes great, let us know!! :) 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 Kristen Kinney!

Hey everyone! I had the pleasure of interviewing Miss Kristen Kinney for next Grimmway Farms weight loss success story!!! And you guys will be blown away when you read her answers!!! Thanks for answering all of my questions, Kristen! You rock lady!

 

1)    When did you start your weight loss journey?

 

I started my journey on June 26, 2012. I have lost 144.2 pounds since then.

 

2)    What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?

I’ve tried to lose weight a thousand times before. Sometimes I would succeed, but I would always gain the weight back because I had only learned how to diet, not how to live a healthy life. It took me a very long time to “get it.” I truly believe that I had to get to the point where being obese was harder for me than losing the weight would be. Last June, having reached an all-time high of 328 lbs, I finally reached that point. It wasn’t any specific thing that triggered my change, but rather realizing just how much of my life obesity had stolen from me.   I was 27 years old, but my body felt more like 77 years old. I wasn’t living my life. I was merely existing. One day I just realized that I could not go on living that way. In that one moment, I decided that I had the power to change. That belief has made all the difference for me, and I have never looked back since.

3)    Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?

 

I do not have a personal trainer. I just did what I could in the gym at first, and then I took advantage of my gym offering to design a free personalized strength training program for members. That was really helpful since I was kind of clueless about the machines.

 

4)    How often did you work out when you were losing weight? How often do you work out now?

 

To be honest, when I first started, I mainly focused on my diet, and not working out. I did that because during my past weight loss attempts, I had tried to change everything in my life all at once. It was way too overwhelming! I knew I was just asking to fail if I tried to go from a completely sedentary fast food junkie to a health food-loving gym rat all at once. I tried to make small changes a little at a time so that I could actually maintain them. All those little changes add up to a very big change eventually if you are patient. For example, in the beginning I just tried to walk outside for half an hour around 4-5 days a week. Now I work out for an hour in the early morning and an hour later in the day, 6 days a week. Also, I usually try to squeeze in an extra-long workout of 3-4 hrs the day before I weigh in. It sounds like a lot, but once it becomes routine it is much easier. I have to make it a priority. At the beginning of the week, I look at my schedule and actually put my workouts in as appointments on my phone planner. It seems more like a commitment that way, and I am less likely to make excuses for missing a workout when I already have the time blocked out.

 

5)    Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look like for you? Is what you do now similar to what you did to lose weight?

 

Well, sometimes my workout starts right as I wake up (at a soul-crushingly early hour) when I exert myself enough to throw my alarm clock into the wall. Well, not really, but I feel like it sometimes! I always try to get my metabolism going early with an hour of cardio in the morning, usually half an hour on the elliptical and half an hour on the treadmill. But now that I can actually run more than 30 seconds at a time, I like to run outside some mornings and watch the sun rise. Usually two mornings a week, I switch to swimming laps at the YWCA. Then for my later workouts, I do half an hour of cardio, and then half an hour of strength training. I switch up which muscle group I focus on every day so that each one has enough time to recover before I torture (oops, I meant exercise) them again. Now that I’m in decent shape I am looking to get into more sports and race activities too.

 

I still have around 55 pounds to go until my goal weight, so I am not at the maintenance point yet. When I do reach that stage, I think I will do pretty much the same thing except maybe not have 2 workouts a day quite so much. Right now, sometimes it is a struggle for me to not go to the gym too much and push myself too hard (never thought I would say that!). As I get smaller, it gets harder and harder for me to lose even a pound. I have a tendency to take things to the extreme, so when I see a low weight loss number, part of me is screaming to do “MORE! BETTER! FASTER!” But I try to remind myself that this is the way I am going to spend the rest of my life, and I can’t spend my whole life in the gym. It’s all about moderation for me.

 

6)    What types of food did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are staples in your refrigerator?

 

I have gotten introduced to a whole lot of new foods while losing weight. My diet before this began could be summed up in two categories: “in a box” and “from a drive-thru.” I ate garbage, and so I felt like garbage. And when I tried to lose weight before, I would always eat “diet” food that was full of sodium and left me hungry. But now I try to eat mainly “real” food. I always have on hand grilled chicken, tons of fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, whole grain bread, and steel-cut oatmeal. I have gotten pretty obsessed with using a crock-pot now too!

 

7)    What keeps you motivated and accountable?

 

When I have tried to lose weight before, I always was pretty private about it. I was so ashamed, and I didn’t want people to see how much my weight hurt me, both physically and emotionally. But this time, I decided to put it all out there for the world to see. I’m not going to lie; it was incredibly scary to do that! I keep my Facebook friends updated regularly on how I am doing, good and bad. I weigh in every Wednesday, no matter what! I even took my scale with me while visiting relatives over Christmas. I also started a blog where I write about all the different parts of my journey. I didn’t know if people would care about what I was doing or what I had to say. But I couldn’t believe the response once I got started. Seeing all these people respond to me and being able to help some of them on their own journeys is definitely something that helps keep me motivated. I feel like as I have lost the weight, I have found my voice.

 

My family and friends have been very good at motivating me as well, sticking with me through sometimes questionable new recipes, going with me to the gym, and taking my progress pictures every month. I have never even met some of my friends though. At the very beginning of my journey, I joined a Facebook weight loss support group called “Destination Skinny.” We keep each other accountable by weighing in weekly, and keep each other motivated through all of our ups and downs. I can post anything on there, and I know they will understand because they are going through the same thing.

 

I have inspirational quotes all over my bedroom and bathroom. It may seem weird, but it works for me, and that’s what matters. I just tell people that they can’t argue with the results! Above all else, I strive to be honest with myself and stay accountable. I lied to myself for a long time before, and all that did was get me to over 300 pounds and miserable. So whenever I am tempted to not write down something in my food journal or to skip a workout, I remind myself that I am hurting no one but myself.

 

8)    What is your number one piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?

Anyone who has been through this with me will tell you that the number one thing I preach is moderation. It has always been an all or nothing thing for me before now. I was either making a permanent butt indention in the couch shoveling ice cream in my mouth and watching TV (embarrassingly enough, sometimes while watching The Biggest Loser) or I was starving myself by eating only iceberg lettuce and canned crab (yes, weird true story) and running 15 miles a day. I had no sense of balance at all. But in order to succeed on this journey, you have to have some moderation. After all, this is something you should be trying to do for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live the whole rest of my life without a cheeseburger every now and then. The key words are “every now and then.” It doesn’t have to be either “all the time” or “never.” If you can honestly tell yourself that you are making healthy choices most of the time, that is good enough. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about becoming better than you were the day before.

 

ANYTHING ELSE?

I would love for you to check out my blog! I don’t hold anything back there. I’ve got funny gym stories, thoughts on being overweight, news about what crazy recipes I’m trying, basically just everything related to this weight loss adventure of mine. The web address is www.thespaceinbetweenallornothing.blogspot.com

My weight loss has made such a huge impact in my life that now I just want to help everyone else to be able to do this too. Let me tell you, I’m not some kind of super human weight loss machine. I’m a normal, regular person. I have a normal, regular life. I know people say this all the time, but it is true: If I can do this, so can you! Most people think weight loss is primarily a physical thing, but I am here to say to that it is mainly a mental thing. Once you decide to believe that you can lose the weight, nothing can stop you!