Let’s get right to it. Tortoise Tip #5: Drink more water. It’s kind of a “yeah, I know I need to do that” tip, but figuring out how to stick to it is might be where you get stuck. In honor of the new year, I’ve put together 12 ways that will hopefully get you closer to being more hydrated.

  1. One for one: I’m guessing that you drink something throughout your day–coffee, soda, beer? Instead of trying to stop drinking those things, start with matching each one with an 8oz of water. For ever non-water drink you take in, drink one glass of water.
  2. Go for the bubbly: Is it just me or is there something about carbonation that quenches thirst better than just plain water? Well, if you feel that way, try sparkling water, such as La Croix, Klarbrunn, or San Pellegrino. Many of these even come naturally flavored–no calories, no sodium, and no sweetener–but still taste!
  3. Steep and brew: A hot cup of tea–or even a glass of unsweetened iced tea–counts for your H2O intake. And if you need your caffeine, here’s a way to get your water and mini-jolt in one. And what’s great is that there are more flavors and types of tea than I can count. Keep trying and you’re sure to find a flavor for you. My personal faves are English Breakfast and Earl Gray.
  4. Skip the scurvy: It’s amazing how a squeeze from a wedge or lemon or lime can change the taste of water from something bland to something grand. Plus you’ll get a nice little boost of Vitamin C.
  5. Make a list and cross it off: If you’re a fan of the daily to-do list (as am I), be sure to add 8 (or whatever number you’re aiming for) “drink water” bullets. As you complete each one, cross it off. I love crossing off my to-do list bullets, so drinking water becomes a game.
  6. Start your meal with a drink: Drink a glass of water before you begin eating each meal and every snack. If you eat five times a day, that’s five glasses of water right there. The added bonus?  The water will help you to feel more full, which should help prevent overeating. Think of it as liquid willpower.
  7. Drink water with every meal: This is just like step 6, but now you’re drinking water throughout your meal. Be sure to keep a periodic eye on your glass as you eat. Take pauses to put down your fork and drink up.
  8. Combine steps 6 and 7: If you take the previous two steps and combine them with 5 meals throughout the day, that’s 10 glasses of water. While you could drink that much, you’d be taking in more than the daily requirement. That means your free to have milk, a soda, a stiff drink–whatever the day calls for.
  9. Get an app for that: Put your smart phone to work. Try an app such as Absorb Water, which keeps track of your daily water intake and provides hydration alerts. For $2, you can get make sure that you’re getting all the water you need.
  10. Reward yourself: Just like any new habit that you’re trying to develop, rewarding your progress is mandatory. Set up water goals for yourself and small prizes for reaching them. Just avoid making your rewards food based. Instead think more along the lines of a buying some new songs on iTunes, a new color of nail polish, a pair of slippers, or a new computer game.
  11. Partner up: If you work with other people, ask around to find someone else who wants to drink more water. By pairing up, you can make sure that each person as a full glass of water. And since some people drink slower than others, you can each serve as reminders to get up and get more water, or to drink a little faster. You might also have a potty pal, since you’ll be peeing a lot more.
  12. Have it on hand: Sometimes I suck at drinking water because I’m just too lazy to get myself a glass. Pathetic, I know. So every morning I try to fill up my Camelbak first thing so that it’s on hand and ready to go. The bottle is big enough that I only need to drink about 2 or 3 of them throughout the day, which limits how often I have to fill up. And thus allows me to be as lazy as I like.


Ditch the sugar, but buy the spoon. Click on the pic!

A recent Facebook conversation among multiple friends inspired this post. Since a majority of those friends are all craving sugar right now in the worst way, they shall remain nameless to protect the innocent–and the guilty. But you know who you are! ;)

If you’re craving sugar just like my sweetened friends are, it shouldn’t really come as much of a shocker. Halloween usually kicks off the 2-3 month candy land that ends in a New Year’s resolution of “I need to eat healthier.” The problem is that you’re now hooked. You might as well be a crack addict the way you’re rummaging through cabinets for anything sweet…stale marshmallows, chocolate chips from the Christmas cookies you baked…hell, the hardened clumps of brown sugar are even calling to you. You’d probably stoop so low as to take candy from a baby…gasp!

Don’t fret. All of this just means that you’re ready for the next Tortoise Tip.

Tip #4: Curb your sugar cravings.
There are people out there who are completely sugar free–diet savants, if you will. But that’s not me. Mama needs some sugar from time to time. If you want to cut sugar out completely, super cheers for you. I just don’t know that I’m the guru to get you there. However, I can start you out with some baby steps. It’s what I know. It’s what I’m sometimes good at.

  • Re-visit Tortoise Tip #2: Toss Your Cookies. If you purge your surroundings of all things sugar related, it’s kind of impossible to eat any sugar.
  • Distract yourself. It seems like the more you’re unable to have something, the more thoughts you have about said thing. But if your brain is busy doing other tasks, then the sugar thoughts stand less chances of constantly stalking you. Get busy writing/reading the great American novel. Learn to knit. Get a head start on spring cleaning the house. Do a jigsaw puzzle. You get the point.
  • Eat lean and mean. OK, just lean, really. When you combine lean proteins (eggs, cottage cheese, grilled chicken, etc.) to carbs (pasta, breads, cereals, etc.) in a meal, it takes longer for your body to digest them, which helps to control the release of sugars from the carbs into your bloodstream. Bottom line–when you skip the lean protein, your blood sugar crashes faster causing you to want to eat more carbs…it’s a vicious cycle.
  • Feed on fresh and dried fruits. Fruits are naturally sweet, so it satisfies your sweet tooth, but they’re also nutritious and full of fiber, which helps satisfy your belly.
  • Chew gum. When I’m craving sugar, I never think gum will do the trick. But then I pop a piece and before I know it, I’m not thinking about grabbing a sugary snack anymore.
  • Brush your teeth. Seems like a silly thing to do when you’re hungry, but the sweetness of the toothpaste combined with not wanting to dirty up your pearly whites can lead to craving loss. I also find that I want a sugary treat when I want to change the taste in my mouth from whatever I ate earlier. Brushing my teeth does this without actually having to eat anything.
  • Recognize bad habits. I live close enough to my job that I can go home to eat (and let Mr Dexter the dog out to do his thing). One day–a day I can’t even remember–I wanted something sugary after the meal I ate. And then the same thing kept happening day after day. Before you know it, I was making “lunch desserts” (a term coined by my friend) a regular thing. Once I started being honest with myself about what I was doing, it was time to kick the habit. I used some of the techniques in this list, but part of it was just recognizing what I was doing.
  • Avoid sweeteners–and that includes diet sodas. Artificial sweeteners maybe calorie-free, but research suggests that they can still lead to sugar cravings. With that said, I still use sweeteners and drink diet sodas in moderation. But if you’re looking to get clean, ditch the sweeteners for a while.
  • Eat often. If you go too long without food, you’re going to be crazy hungry, and for me, that’s when I eat like a Hungry, Hungry Hippo (open up and there it goes!). If you work on eating five or six small meals a day, you should find that you have less cravings.

If you’re sugar addiction is really raging right now, I’m going to be honest, the first 24-72 hours are going to suck. But power through that time using the pointers above, and you’ll be smooth sailing without sugar in no time….or I hope so, anyway.

Stay sweet…just not sweetened!


“They” say that misery loves company. And since lots of people find fitness miserable, you’re sure to find some workout buddies who share your lack of passion for getting fit. But “they” also say that there is strength in numbers. Where are all of these cliches headed? To today’s tip, naturally!

Tortoise Tip #3: Find some fitness buddies.
If you haven’t worked out in a while, you may not feel like strapping on the spandex to hang out with your love interest or best pals. I get it. But let’s not forget that these are the very people that love and support you and want to see you live your best life yet. If you get them on your side, you’re bound to have a cheering section for every win and through every set back you have–and you will have both.

Fitness buddies are also good for keeping you honest. Face it: It’s easy to hit the snooze button and skip the gym if there is no one there waiting for you. But when you have a scheduled appointment to meet up with someone, something tells me that you’re more likely to get your ass out of bed.

Kids make great fitness partners--even when they're borrowed (that's my awesome nephew)!

Where to Look
Not sure where to begin when finding a fitness buddy (or buddies). Try these ideas on for size:

  • Spouse, life partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. (Note: If it’s still a new relationship, this might not be your best choice. You shouldn’t be pretty when you’re done working out…not if you’re doing it right anyway. And hot mess might be a deal breaker for date 1, 2, or 3.) Exercise to try: Medicine ball rotation. Sit back to back and lean on each other so that you’re at a slight angle and your upper backs are touching. With a medicine ball in hand, turn to your right and pass the ball as your partner turns the left and grabs the ball. Repeat on the other side. Do as many reps until your love interest can say goodbye to those love handles–or until you get tired.
  • BFFs–They’re a natural. Exercise to try: Join a new class. It’s easier to walk into something completely new if you have someone by your side who you know. Classes like Zumba, hula hoop, or spin are fun to do with a pal and could lead to great stories over smoothies afterward.
  • Your kids–This might require a bit more planning on your part, but if the kids are around, you might not have a choice. Exercise to try: Baby squats. Like sitting down onto an invisible chair but while holding baby.
  • Coworker(s)–Instead of getting your heart rate up about office politics, why not get your heart pumping with working out AND gossiping. Exercise to try: Go for a walk over lunch and on your coffee breaks instead of going out to eat. And replace your office chairs with stability balls.
  • Fido–You know who always loves you, won’t ever judge you, and thinks the phrase “Who wants to go for a walk?” is like being offered the Holy Grail? Your dog. Exercises to try: walking, running, hiking, swimming, and playing fetch.
  • A personal trainer–Sometimes you just have to pay someone to be your friend. So why not pay one who knows how to get your butt in shape? Exercises to try: whatever the hell your coach tells you to do…no excuses!
  • Complete strangers–This is an approach I often take, and I have no good reason as to why. I’ve done it recently with CrossFit, and in the past with both rowing (crew) and yoga. For me, there is something about a team element that works for me as I find I work harder as to not let anyone down. As for things like Crossfit and yoga, I work hard to avoid completely embarrassing myself. That’s not to say it doesn’t still happen–and often–but for me, it’s oddly motivating. Exercises will vary depending on what you choose.

Did I miss anyone? Do you work out with someone I didn’t include? Please share–and tell us what kind of routine you’ve set for yourself.


It’s time to talk purging. And from the title of this post, you may think I’m headed down the eating disorder road, but actually I just mean it’s time to clean out your house/cubicle/car/personal hiding spaces of all the crap and temptation that is a-lingering.

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t take a recovering alcoholic into a bar on day 4 of getting clean. But by keeping candies, cookies, ice creams, and chips around the house, you’re essentially doing the same thing to yourself. This is DAY 4 of the New Year–you’re not necessarily ready to start testing your willpower just yet. No, this is the time for avoidance. Because trust me, one M&M leads to a whole bag. And before you know it the sugar coma moves in.

Tortoise Tip #2: Grab the trash can and start dumping! Yes, I’m fully aware that there are starving people all over the world. But you don’t have to feel guilty about making the toss because I’m guessing that most of the food that will end up in the can will have very little- to no-nutritional value.

And, yes, the people who live in the house with you may not be very happy to see the goodies go, but the gift of health is one that should be shared with all of your loved ones. And if they love and care for you, they’ll make the sacrifices to help you be successful. But if it takes time for them to warm up to the idea, that’s OK, too. Just go for a walk while they say their goodbyes to the garbage.

It’s time to purge. Leave a comment to tell us about the thing that was hardest to toss. I’d say mine was the half-eaten pint of Benny & Jerry’s Karmal Sutra ice cream. I’m welling up and drooling a bit at the same time just thinking of it. But it had to go…and not into my belly.  Bye-bye old friend.


Welcome back! And Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and were able to get some much needed R&R. Why? Because it’s time to get in shape…again or still, depending on where you’re at.

But first, if you’re wondering what the hell a “Tortoise Tip” is, I’ll tell you. I’m sure you recall the old tale of the Tortoise and the Hare, where the Hare is in a big ol’ hurry to get to the finish line while the Tortoise, though slow, sticks to a steady pace. The Hare eventually screws around a bunch and loses his racing mojo, while the Tortoise passes him to win the gold (OK, I don’t think there were actually any medals, but I’m using my imagination).

I’ve never been one to actually commit to any formal resolutions, but I have treated the opening of a new calendar as a clean slate and a chance at new opportunities. But sometimes there are so many new opportunities I want to achieve that I race into it like the Hare and soon fall flat on my face accomplishing absolutely nothing. So after much thinking about how I–and, at the same time, all of you–can make some permanent lifestyle changes versus just a three-week temporary change, the Tortoise became my New Year’s muse. And thus, Tortoise Tips of 2012. Throughout much of January, I’m going to bring you a variety of Tortoise Tips to help you on your path toward a healthier you. Because of this, I’m going to ditch the theme days I had going on before, but they might make a come back at a later date. We’ll see.

Tip 1: Rewrite Your Resolutions.
Note: This can work for all of your resolutions–health-related or not–but for sake of what I know, I’m going to focus on diet and exercise. I’m going to guess that your resolution is something along the lines of: eat better, exercise more, get healthy, stop eating ice cream as a meal, and so on. And while these are all great things to shoot for, they tend to be a little vague. And a vague goal makes it a hard to achieve goal. That’s why it’s time to rewrite your goal so that it’s something more specific and therefore more realistic. Here are some examples:

  • Eat better. –> Swap out potato chips as a lunch side and opt for cottage cheese, carrot sticks and hummus, or a small salad.
  • Drink more water. –> Replace one soda a day with one glass of water or unsweetened iced tea.
  • Exercise more. –> Sign up for a Saturday yoga class with my spouse or a friend. (Having a partner helps you stick with it.)

See what I did there? A general resolution isn’t a bad thing, because you’re capturing the big picture. But if you don’t set up the steps to get you where you want to be, the big picture will always feel out of reach.

Is you goal already pretty specific? If so, see if there is anything else you can do to rewrite it to break it down even smaller. I’m all about the baby steps. They’re easy to acheive, and when you achieve something–no matter how small it is–your confidence gets a boost. And that’s a good thing!

I encourage you to share your resolutions/goals/New Year opportunities in the comments section. Whether you’ve rewritten them or not, I bet others can benefit from what you hope to do, and can provide tips to help you get there. I’ll get you started:

One of my unwritten goals is to do an unassisted pull-up. Here are some ways that I’m breaking that down:

  • Ask my Crossfit coaches to teach me how to kip.
  • Focus on developing core strength by doing ab work on my off days.
  • Install a bar at home so I can practice when I’m not in the gym.
  • Watch YouTube videos of kip movements to help learn/mimic the form.

Now, you….


I’m taking a little time off to celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the laziest ways I can eek out. I hope you get to celebrate in whatever style brings you the most joy and happiness this season! But come 2012, bring your A game and be ready to sweat! ;)

Click on the image to get this free printable from 2sistersblog.com!


If all of my tips on how to avoid extra holiday calories were for naught, and you plan on winning the world record for most Christmas cookies eaten in one sitting–or you’ve already succumbed to the peppermint bark and tasty toffee hanging out around the office–then this post is most definitely for you!

It’s probably going to happen; at some point you’re going to throw in the proverbial towel and take in the comfort of the season 100 (or likely more) calories at a time. That’s fine. I can’t do anything about that (mostly because I’m probably going to do the same thing at least one day between Christmas and the second day of 2012). I’m not saying that I encourage or even approve of such behavior, but when the Plan A of avoiding the extra calories falls through, there needs to be a Plan B of what to do when the calories are stored up inside you. So here it is:

  1. Don’t be a jerk to yourself. Seriously. It was just a brownie…a delicious, ooey, gooey, fudge filled brownie. Did you enjoy it? Did you enjoy the second and third one, as well? I’m guessing the answers are yes. But now that the joy is gone, don’t feel the need to replace it with guilt or negative self-talk. That’s just dumb. Move on…but not to another brownie. OK, maybe just one more!
  2. Don’t lie down! No, the added weight of the food won’t crush you dead (or man, I hope you didn’t eat that much). But lying down leads to laziness, and laziness leads to sleepiness, and before you know it, the extra calories are building permanent homes in your belly and butt. You’ll become like a walking, talking condo calorie community.
  3. Walk it off. Don’t know what to do now that you can’t lie down? Take a quick walk. Go see what beautiful light displays your neighbors have put up for your calorie-burning convenience. And mock the ones who’ve made their homes look like a hot holiday mess…trust me, there will be plenty to choose from.
  4. Eat more. Yeah, you read that right. If you can stomach it (quite literally), eat some food that will help aid in digestion. Try yogurt, tea, peppermint, pickles, or sourdough bread–just not all together or you’ll be seriously sick.
  5. Don’t skip breakfast. On the day after the indulgence, don’t feel like you can make up for the calories from the day before by skipping the most important meal of the day. This will only leave you hungry and cranky and seriously lacking of the holiday spirit. Instead, look for lean proteins to take in first thing to keep your blood sugar in check.
  6. Face the fat. It’s time to see what kind of damage is done. Take a deep breath and step up on the scale. It’s better to know than to stress out wondering how many extra pounds might be there. You never know–the calories may have vanished like a Christmas miracle!
  7. Work harder–and smarter. The calories are there. Now it’s your job to burn them off. Kick your cardio routine into high gear the following days. If you’re not puking, you’re not doing it right (half-kidding).
  8. Get back on a meal plan. Returning back to your normal eating routine will help your get your snacking back in check. Aim for eating like it’s a normal month–not a holiday month.
  9. Keep a food log. Don’t trust that you can eat your way back to success? Start a food log. Even if it’s temporary, there’s something about knowing that you have to write down 12 peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kisses on top that might make you stop at say 9 or 10 instead.
  10. Don’t quit. This is not the time to look at holiday indulgence as a reason to admit defeat. It’s a minor set back. Accept it, move on, and get right back up on that healthy horse.


Yep, this is how protein drinks used to make me feel!

I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a picky eater–a tricky eater at times due to my gluten-free nature–but picky, no. For the most part, I’m willing to try anything once. And if it’s no good, once is enough.

However, I would say picky and even downright stubborn comes into play when it comes to protein drinks. HATE doesn’t seem to be a strong enough word for my feelings toward protein shakes. I know they’re good for me, but why do they have to taste like ass? That’s right, I said it…ass!

Years ago, I went through a period of trying all kinds of protein drinks–whey powders, iso pure fruit punches (the worst of them all), preblended protein drinks, etc. All made me dry heave (and I mean that quite literally). I didn’t like any of them, but the one I could stomach the most at the time was the EAS Myoplex Ready-to-Drink. But even with that one, I had to plug my nose and down it like I was chugging a beer–a really nasty, chalky beer, that is.

With all of that said, it should come as no surprise that I didn’t have high hopes when I recently set out to find a new go-to protein drink. I did lots of research and found a bunch of recipes online, which I will say helped to amp up my interest. I figured I would be going through tons of protein drinks before finding one I could stomach, but to my delight, the first one worked out well. The recipes I found online didn’t work for me, but with just a few of my own added ingredients, I actually LIKE this drink and wouldn’t mind having it more than once I day. (My husband is probably passed out on the floor reading that.) Since I’m all turned around on the subject, I had to share. After all, I can’t be the only one who finds protein repulsive.

The DietandRidicule.com Palatable Protein Shake Recipe (155 calories)

  • 1 scoop Designer Whey Chocolate Protein Powder–100 calories
  • 1 tablespoon Nestle Toll House Cocoa Powder*–15 calories
  • 2 packets Splenda (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup almond milk (vanilla, unsweetened)–40 calories

*Yes, I know, cocoa powder isn’t the healthiest thing, but at just an extra 15 calories, I don’t give a rip. It’s worth it!

Put all of the dry ingredients into a shaker bottle (or blender). Add the almond mix and shake (or blend). Then drink. Easy peasy!

So there you have it kids, a protein drink that won’t make you gag. Or at least I hope it won’t. Now go give it a try!


Every Body Walk! is an online national campaign to get people up and moving. Many of you told me last week that the biggest problems you have with exercising is finding time and getting started. If you are one of those people, walking is an awesome place to start. You can do it on your lunch break, with your kids, with your spouse, on a treadmill, and the list goes on. But if you think walking will get you nowhere, well that’s just silly–duh! you can’t walk in place (you can march in place, but that’s different). Just kidding, walking has tons of health benefits, and Every Body Walk! has created this cool graphic to prove it!


It seems everywhere you turn this time of year something yummy is staring in your face. Maintaining your weight over the holidays is hard enough, let alone trying to get the scale to budge. Holiday parties and family meals may be a true test of will power, but with these tips, I think…no, I know…you can avoid ending the year with a Santa belly!

  1. Avoid anything wrapped in or colored red and green. This tip comes from my bestie Jessica (which I believe came from her friend and so on), and it’s brilliant! Hershey Kisses, M&Ms, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are something you can get any time of the year. But because they’re gussied up in red and green, we think they’re a holiday treat. Instead of feasting on candies you can get whenever, save the calories for special treats like your grandma’s famous gingerbread cookies.
  2. Make a healthy dish (or dishes) to pass. If the house you’ll be feasting at thinks the basis of a salad is mayo instead of lettuce, having a dish at the table that you know is good for you can be more comforting than any food can make you feel.
  3. Treat a holiday party as a silent competition. While everyone else is overindulging in drinks, appetizers, and desserts, try to win the prize for under-indulging. You’ll feel better at the end of the night and most likely will not have an alcohol or food hangover the next morning. That right there will make you feel like a winner (and keep you from bowing to the porcelain god!).
  4. Keep hard candy or gum on hand. While sugar-free would be best, any kind of hard candy or gum could help keep your calorie intake way down…and your breath sweet and fresh.
  5. Choose wisely. While the point of watching what you eat is not to overindulge, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge a little (“little” being the operative word here). Pick one or two items that would truly be treats for you. Then watch the portion size. If it’s a piece of cake, maybe try a half a piece.
  6. Wear something snug. Now, I don’t mean too small or too tight—you want to look nice after all. But pick something that keeps your body shape on the brain and won’t hide an overstuffed gut or a bloated belly.
  7. Be an inspiration. If a friend or family member sees you making changes to live a healthier life, you just might be helping him or her to do the same. So instead of making the calorie counting about you, remember that this is the season to give to others. What better gift can you give than that of health? And it’s free!
  8. Go with your gut, brain, or heart—whichever has the best and loudest message. I believe we all know when we’re making a decision to eat more than we need. When I do it, it’s like a mental wrestling match. When the fight starts, I should just put the food down and walk away. But sometimes I don’t. It’s those times that I later realize what was going on. I know what’s right for me, and so do you. Now, just do it.