My current weight. I am putting it out there for all to see. I am not where I’d like to be. I gained 25 pounds since my celiac diagnosis. First, I was in denial. It was only 10 pounds. I’ll lose it easily. But it just kept coming. Then came anger. How the fuck did I gain all this weight? Fuck celiac disease. Yes, I kept blaming my celiac disease. Going gluten free can cause weight gain but I think mine was probably just the first 10-15 pounds. I put on those pounds pretty quickly after going gluten free. The other 10 pounds? I slowly packed those on.

I was depressed about having celiac and going gluten free. So I ate. I ate crappy gluten free baked goods because I could. I ate entire packages of Glutino cookies because they were better than my beloved Oreos.

But I think I have finally reached acceptance.

self confidence
Probably one of the last times I felt happy & confident in myself.

I know I gained the weight and I’m not happy with it. I know only I can change it. So I started. In July I focused on eating healthy. The past week or so I have been tracking my food. I redid my calorie and macro calculations and am working to hit those goals. Anyone know how I can reduce the number of carbs? I eat WAY too many carbs for being gluten free!

I am slowly trying to get active again. I am working towards my 10K steps per day and 10 plus minutes of stretching. I am slowly adding running back in. And by the end of August, I hope to start lifting weights again. I was feeling so much stress earlier this summer. Work was crazy. Running my own business on top of work and then trying to fit in workouts was making me crazy.

So I stopped.

Often we neglect our mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health. We need to make sure our mind is healthy. My anxiety was getting crazy high. I was starting into a downward spiral of depression. So I stepped back. I thought, what can I drop and/or refocus on? For me, it was working out and eating better. I couldn’t skip my job. We kinda need the money. I don’t want to give up my business. I am still trying to grow it to where I want it to be. So I stopped my workouts. I still took daily walks. I started making better food choices.

I started small and am building towards where I want to be.

What else happened when I gained all this weight? I lost my self-confidence. I want that back. I want to feel confident in everything I do. I want to feel good in my clothes. Right now all my clothes feel too tight or don’t sit well. Plus, I am wearing the same few pieces all the time. They are easy. I know they fit somewhat ok. It’s time to start utilizing everything in my closet. I want to wear skirts and heels. I want to put on makeup and feel pretty again.

I truly believe that sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. I know if I start dressing like I feel pretty or sexy, I will actually start feeling pretty and sexy again. My plan is to get in the shower just 5 minutes earlier. Five minutes should give me enough time to pick out a different outfit and put on some eye shadow and mascara. I can put on lipstick at work after I eat my breakfast.

How do you boost your self-confidence when you aren’t feeling 100%?

Follow me on Instagram to keep an eye on my journey! I try to document my fitness and food!

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June and July Wrap Up

July is coming to an end. How have I done the last few months?

Not that great.

I have given up on working out. I was being so sporadic I didn’t feel it was worth it. I did better in June than July but I can’t get my head in order. My 9-5 has been crazy this month and despite having good intentions every morning I am dead by the time I get home. My head is spinning and all I want to do is zone out and relax. I have been giving myself permission to do so. I think it is important for my mental health to just have some downtime.

I have been focusing on eating better. And I would say 90% of the time I have been doing pretty well. I am eating fruits and vegetables and filling up on protein. I am limiting my sweets and doing really well in this category. July has seen me eating a lot of potato chips and pretzels. I apparently am heading towards a salty binge. Week days are so much better than weekends because I tend to graze when I’m writing or editing photos.

I am giving myself permission to take time and get one area of my life somewhat controlled before I add another element. For July I really focused on my food and will continue to do so through August. My plan is to reintroduce workouts in September. I want to try running again plus restart the Bikini Body strength program. It’s a 6-day program but I plan to start slow and do just Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the weekends. I will rest on Tuesday and Thursday. Once I feel comfortable with that, I will add in one more day to do the program as written.

I think mental health is just as important as physical health. Stepping away from exercise is both bad and good for mental health. I know I feel better when I workout but right now working out is causing me to stress more. I am still taking walk breaks every day, just not doing strength or cardio workouts. I would love to but I need to get my mental health in order.

I have not journaled much in June and not at all in July. I plan to start adding that back in during August. I will start off with once a week and build from there. I also want to start reading before bed again. I have a stack of magazines that are calling my name but I have picked surfing Facebook or playing Candy Crush instead. As much as I enjoy mindlessly playing around on Facebook, I need to use my time better.

It’s been a rough summer but everything gets better eventually, right?

How do you keep yourself motivated? What do you do for mental health? Tell me in the comments!

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A National Bacon Day? YES!

Last week I told you about National French Fry day and how much I love it.

baconWell, now I have to tell you all about my other favorite food, BACON!

Today is National Flitch Day… aka National Slab of Bacon Day. And who doesn’t love a slab of bacon?!? I could eat bacon every day and there have been days where I have eaten bacon at every meal. Yup, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’d say I have a problem but I don’t really consider loving eating bacon to be a problem.

But Jenna… why is it called National Flitch Day? I am glad you asked so my curious googling did not go to waste! A flitch is actually an ancient English measurement, now known as a slab. From Any Day Guide, I learned that a married couple received a flitch of bacon if they make it through the first year and decide this will work. Um, can we continue that tradition? I’d get married if I got free bacon at the end of year one! Could I get remarried every year and get a flitch every year??

Can we also go back to flitch? It’s way more fun than slab!

With a flitch you could add some to french frys. And then throw some cheese on it and you have all of my favorite foods in one dish! You could go traditional and pair some with eggs. For lunch, throw some on a burger. And for dinner? Spaghetti carbonara! I am making myself hungry.

Does anyone have any good recipes to make for National Flitch Day?

Tell me in the comments what you make with this magical, yummy treat!

I celebrated today with some bacon with my breakfast. I mean, that’s pretty much a normal Wednesday for me but we can pretend it was in celebration. Tell me in the comments how you plan to celebrate National Flitch Day!

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National French Fry Day

Tomorrow is National French Fry Day.

french frySo… French fries are one of my favorite things to eat. And that has been and continues to be, one of the hardest parts of going gluten free. I can’t have delicious, crispy, greasy, yummy French fries at most places. I hope to one day make French fries safe for everyone by instilling the importance of separate fryers at restaurants. I want to give you money but you have shared fryers.

I miss McDonald’s fries the most. But Culver’s are a close second. I could list all of the places I miss fries at but that would be a long ass list.  Most restaurants have fries as a side but I can’t have them, so I either have nothing or settle for a salad or fruit. As much as I love fruit… it’s not the same. And don’t even get me started on the side salad, which is just a few tears off an iceberg lettuce leaf, a tomato and cucumber slice. LAME.


I am thankful for In and Out (although those are my least favorites), Chick-Fil-A, Red Robin and Five Guys. I can eat fries there and feel like a normal person and have a full meal. I also make Ore-Ida at home but in the oven. I want to get a fryer but can’t decide if I want a traditional fryer or an air fryer. Let me know your thoughts and recommendations if you have either of those!

I also do not discriminate and will eat sweet potato fries. And sometimes a good veggie fry will do. I also mix up how I dip my fries. Sometimes I eat them without any sauce or seasoning but I love dipping them in ketchup, ranch, and…. chocolate shakes (and no, it doesn’t have to be a frosty as some say but for me, it has to be chocolate ice cream). As for seasoning, I don’t like a lot of salt but I will do pepper or Red Robins seasoning. I used to love Pleasoning but it has gluten in it. Booooo. What is your favorite fry and how do you eat it?

How will you celebrate? Tell me in the comments!

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Fourth of July

fourth of july

The Fourth of July is almost here.

fourth of july

I am a little sad that I won’t be in Wisconsin this year and running the Firecracker Four Mile. I’ve run it the last two years with my dad. And Phoenix will never have such a thing because it is just too damn hot. So, what am I doing instead? Most likely sitting around my house in the patriotic tank top I bought to mark the occasion.

J will be working so unless my BFF can hang out, it will be me and the dogs. I will celebrate with a workout, followed by some Justified or Twin Peaks binging (Yes, I just started watching the original Twin Peaks. I am a bit behind). I want to make something on the grill for dinner and a fancy cocktail. I am really into fancy cocktails and want to try my hand at making different ones. So I am thinking watermelon mimosas for breakfast and slushies to keep cool during the day. Oh, and I found these. Yes, please!

What are your plans for the Fourth of July?

I spent the weekend at the gluten free expo in Glendale.

I love having a place to go where I don’t have to think about what I’m eating. Everything was gluten free. I was talking with a few other bloggers before the expo and we all agreed it was great to be amongst people that have the same issues and able to eat EVERYTHING. And I discovered I’m not the only one that hates when the gluten free menu is a salad or vegan dish.

The expo was sponsored by Glutino and Udi’s so of course, they were there. I won a $1 off coupon from them. Last year they had more full-sized products they gave away. I liked that better. LOL Enjoy Life had a huge set up as well. They had a little trail you followed and collected samples at.

Aleia’s Gluten Free Food was a small sponsor who was not there last year. They gave us bloggers a ton of full-sized samples. Their cookies have grat flavor but they are more crunchy cookies. I prefer my cookies to be soft and chewy. Now, their macaroons? To die for. They were so moist and chewy I was all, are these really gluten free?? They gave us a shake n bake type product so I can’t wait to try that. They also asked what we want in products. We all said croissants. I laughed because I had just told someone a few days earlier that I had yet to find a gluten-free croissant.

ProYo was back with their ice cream this time. I sampled the mint chocolate chip and it was amazing! I had previously bought the chocolate so I really wanted to try a new flavor. I have a thing for ProYo.

There were a lot of booths I skipped. I don’t go for home improvements, essential oils, or dairy free cheese. Last year I went to every booth and then got a lot of paper, emails, and phone calls I really didn’t want. I made myself promise to only go to booths I wanted to and was interested in this year.

On the way out they said the expo would be the same time next year. I am not 100% sure if I will attend. I love the expo but it was more enjoyable in November than June. I had to venture out in the heat, good thing I can start my car from an app! I bet when it gets closer to time to apply I will do it again because I know me. I can’t resist free food and new products.

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you missed out on all the fun stuff at the expo! I posted tons of stuff on my stories. Don’t miss out and go follow me now!

What are your plans for Fourth of July?

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International Yoga Day

June 21st is international yoga day and I’m taking that as a sign.

What happens when I try to do yoga

I need to get back on the horse. I used to do yoga after *most* of my runs and all my long runs. I stopped running and therefore I’ve stopped doing it.

I probably need more yoga than most people because I am literally the least flexible person on earth. I’ve never been flexible, even when I was dancing five days a week. This is probably why I never became a professional dancer. I do much better and actually get a little flexible when I actually stretch daily and do yoga at least once a week.

And now with my increased emphasis on strength training, I need to do more stretching.

I am the least flexible and I am pretty sure I have the world’s rightest hips. My squats are nowhere near ass to the grass. I’m lucky if I can get parallel. I use a lit of hip openers to work on gaining flexibility in my hips to help improve my lifting.

Like most people, I sit at a desk for 8-9 hours a day. I try to get up and do posture checks but I know I need help here too. Even at home I have horrible posture. What helps posture? Yoga.

I also benefit from the mental aspect as well. I feel less stressed when I take the time for yoga. I need to learn to shut my brain down and certain poses help with that. I always feel better after a good session.

Lastly, I’d like to work on my balance. You’d think after 20ish years of dance I’d be a pro at balance. Nope. I’m only graceful and balanced while dancing. Yoga, and many of the individual poses, are great for balance work, which is helpful in real life.

I pledge to start doing yoga once a week and stretching daily. I really want to feel strong and healthy, both mentally and physically.

What do you pledge to do to be healthier? 

Follow along on Instagram to see my workouts!

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Reading in the Book Corner

I have a problem. I keep buying books.

readingThis is nothing new. I have loved books and reading since I was little. I have fond memories of reading Nancy Drew with my dad at bedtime. I spent hours at the public library during the summers. I can still spend hours wandering, exploring, and searching Barnes and Noble.

I can’t read reviews because it makes me want to read every book. But still, when someone recommends a book I run to Amazon, read the description, the reviews and add it to one of my wishlists. Yes, you read that right, I have multiple wishlists. I have so many books I had to organize several lists.

So, yes, I have a problem.

I currently own 262 books I haven’t read. They are a mix of Kindle books and physical books. I will buy whichever version is cheaper for most books. There are a few I like to have physical copies of. I am currently reading four books, a self-help book, a photography book, a fiction book, and a history book. I’ve only been able to finish 16 books so far in 2017. My goal is 45. I am three books behind schedule, only 36% completed. I hope to catch up on a few trips we have this summer/fall and I usually take some time over Christmas and spend a little time reading.

I wish I had more time to read.

I try to read at least 15-20 minutes a day. Sometimes I luck out and can get more, other days I don’t even have time or energy to crack a book I sneak reading in when I can. Usually on my bus commute, at lunch, and before bed.

What do I read? Basically everything.

I read a lot of photography and business books because I am trying to learn all I can and keep on top of my craft. I read some self-help books, nothing to woo. I love books about interesting people, especially musicians. I love true crime, mystery and thriller books. I love what some people call chick lit. I will read classics. I will pretty much give any book a chance. I read the awful Twilight books but I refuse to read 50 Shades of Gray. That seems to be my limit. I’ve read passages from 50 Shades and it was just awful. The writing was unreadable.

What are you reading this summer?

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my daily adventures in fitness, food, and fun!

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June Dairy Month

dairyI have a problem. I am addicted to dairy products.

I am not worried about this addiction. I love dairy, especially cheese. And Greek yogurt. In my neverending quest for more protein, I tend to reach for those products quite a bit. I have Greek yogurt for breakfast and string cheese for lunch. I drink chocolate milk after runs. My chocolate milk comes in a glass bottle from a local farm. I love buying local and the fact that the glass can be reused in my home or taken back to the farm for them to reuse. Helping the environment one milk at a time.

I am obsessed.

I grew up in Wisconsin, the dairy state. The town I grew up in had June Dairy Days. I vividly remember the parades. The park and downtown became a carnival. Rides, games, friends and fun. These are memories I will cherish. Life revolves around food, memories and bonds are formed over dinners.

If I didn’t grow up surrounded by cheese, would I still love it?

I think so. A girl and her cheese: a love story.

I truly believe that cheese makes almost everything taste better. Cheese improves even the most boring, bland foods.

Lately, I find myself eating more dairy in order to get more protein. I can only eat so much meat and I am not a fan of protein shakes so I depend on a lot of dairy products. Muscles to build. Most days I can fit all the cheese into my fat goals. I try not to go over fat too much, it’s a balancing act.

I am always on the lookout for new products and new ways to get protein. My favorite yogurt? Noosa. I wish the sugar was lower but it’s gluten free and the lemon flavor is fantastic, especially if you add raspberries to it. I also love Siggi’s, which is an Icelandic-style yogurt. Want to know more about what I eat and how I strive to reach my protein goals? Follow me on Instagram! I post images of food… a lot.

How do you make sure you hit your protein goals? Tell me in the comments. I need some suggestions!

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Struggle and May Wrap Up

Struggle is my word this month.

May has been a rough month.

I got aboard the struggle bus and keep trying to get off. I don’t know why I am having such a difficult time. Or why I can’t seem to get myself to workout, despite wanting to workout and wanting to change. I started bikini body on May 1st and should be starting week five but I am only in the middle of week three.

WTF is wrong with me?

I did the first week pretty easily but the second week started off badly and went downhill from there. Monday of week two started with three buses not showing up so I stood outside for 30 minutes then, of course, the bus was packed and I had to stand for another 30 minutes. By the time I got home, I was exhausted and my feet/legs were killing me. Tuesday I actually did my workout (Yay me!) but Wednesday was a Dbacks game and Thursday we had to run to Costco. Friday was another bus fiasco. I really don’t know why I keep taking the bus. The afternoon ones are always late or non-existent. I am always good on the weekends though!

StruggleThen I took pretty much a week off.

I don’t even know or remember why. Bad week at work. Feeling sorry for myself. Frustrated at my perceived lack of progress. All of the above and then some probably. I did finally decide to workout again on Sunday. I started where I had left off, plyo + HIIT day. I did three of the four rounds of plyo and was done. I couldn’t do anymore. I was exhausted, about to get dizzy, and had zero energy. But I did what I could and that is what is important.

So then I decided to try getting up at 4 am to see if I could do better before work. It lasted two days. I went back to after work and have done pretty well.

I started a personal photography project to track my health, fitness, and progress. I hope it will help keep me more accountable to myself. It seems to be working and also helps improve my photography skills. The project is making me think more creatively about what health, fitness, and progress represent and how I can show these in different ways.

Follow me on Instagram to see posts of my progress, food, and puppies. Ok, they are full grown dogs but they are still puppies to me!

The struggle. It’s real. What have you been struggling with lately?

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Celiac Awareness & Expo

May is Celiac Awareness Month.

I have been sharing information on my facebook page but have yet to write anything and decided it was time. And stick around because I have some fun stuff regarding the upcoming gluten free expo in Glendale, AZ.

Things I want people to realize about celiac disease:

  1. It’s a disease, not an allergy. Specifically, an autoimmune disease.
  2. I have to eat gluten free. It’s not a choice. It’s not fun and it doesn’t “cure” me. I will always have celiac disease.
  3. There are all kinds of symptoms but you will never see them. All of my symptoms are invisible and not necessarily digestive related. Migraines. Brain fog. Depression.

Things I want restaurants to realize:

  1. I like having choices.
  2. I don’t want a salad. Or a vegan dish.
  3. Labeling something gluten free and then frying it in the same oil/fryer does not make it gluten free. Please do not list it as such.
  4. I like having a menu. Please make a section, separate menu, or even just a symbol is helpful. I don’t feel comfortable when I have to rely on waitstaff to go, “uh, um… well we can make anything gluten free”. No, I want specifics. I want something to look at.
  5. Ice cream is not a go out to eat desert. Creme brulee gets old. Please try for some new desert ideas.

We aren’t being picky. Our health & well-being is on the line.

People with celiac disease just want to be able to go out to eat or on vacation and have choices. We want to order off a menu. We want people to understand this isn’t a choice. I am sure I am missing some points but these are the most common I encounter. What do you want people or restaurants to know? Let me know in the comments!

celiac awarenessThe gluten free expo is coming back to Glendale, Arizona June 24th, and 25th!

And I again have the honor to be an event blogger. I attended last year as a blogger and it was such a great experience. I had not been able to attend a gluten-free expo before and it did not disappoint. I loved being able to sample everything, and boy did I sample it all. I even went back to a few places twice.

If you haven’t been to an expo, I highly suggest going to one. I came home with coupons galore and plenty of food products. I left with an apple and coconut water from Sprouts. I had a loaf of bread, a bag of pretzels, and a box of cookies from Udi’s/Glutino, the main sponsors. Those were just the full-size products. I ended up with a lot more sample/single-serve size goodies.

I discovered new brands. I had eaten at Spinato’s previously but had not tried their grocery story products. I now buy their frozen pizzas at my local Fry’s store. I just wish they had more than three varieties because it is sooooo good! I also discovered the fun brand, ProYo. I pretty much stalked their booth. Their frozen yogurt is tasty and protein, which I always need more of!

If you have not been to an expo, I strongly encourage you to go! And I have several ways for you to go!

First off, I have five free tickets to giveaway! If you want a chance at a free ticket, leave me a comment of why you want to go! Please be local to the Phoenix area or willing to get to the Renaissance in Westgate if you are outside of Phoenix. The free ticket is good for one day of the event. I will select and contact winners with further details at the end of May. 

If you don’t win tickets, you can still get 20-30% off tickets with my affiliate link and code. Please note I do make a small kickback from my affiliate link. Click here to purchase tickets. To receive 30% off purchase between now and May 23rd and use code EARLYBIRD. To receive 20% off purchase between 5/24 and 6/23 and use code ADVANCE.

I look forward to seeing you at the expo. Be sure to say hi if you see me stuffing my face. If you aren’t local or can’t make it to the expo, follow along on social media. The official hashtag is #GFAFExpo. Be sure to like and follow the official expo Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

I will be live posting to my Instagram and Twitter so be sure to follow those accounts!

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