Following versus Leading – Which Works the Best

Being a Follower

Family Goals in the Kitchen! 

I have been thinking about what keeps me on track and what derails me when I am trying to lead a healthier daily life.  I would have to say its being a follower.  I don’t mean I follow a diet better I mean I have to follow others who are doing it successfully.  Take for example, our goal board in the kitchen.  I got this idea from one of our coaches blogs HB unfiltered.  The entire family puts up goals every month on the board in their kitchen.  I decided as a family we would also post our goals as most of the family had been talking about fitness goals on New Years Day.

So here we are trying to FOLLOW another family… and I am trying to LEAD my family in goal setting.  Here is where it gets interesting…

Heather’s husband from HBunfiltered is my coach and owns the gym.  He has given a talk several (probably hundred) times on SMART goals.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.  So now I am going to follow my coach and lead my family in setting SMART goals.  Oh Boy.

The Players…

  • My husband already had to set annual goals at work so he is like ‘go away’.  Trust me those are some very SMART goals.
  • My daughters are on board but are pushing back a little when I push them on being a little more specific
  • My son (the one who would participate) joked about a couple of sex goals – REALLY!
  • My other son – no way would he participate

The Leader.. ME

  • bossy
  • impatient
  • and I know all of the players so I am trying very hard not to tell them what their goals should be.  (Have I really been a mother for 23 years??  I should know better than this!)

Mayhem and all joking aside after about 20 minutes everyone had a few goals and most met the SMART definition.  As a family, we have a couple of Leader (Mom) enforced goals – I told you I’m bossy.

  1. No alcohol during the week Sunday – Thursday.  One adult child wanted it to be Mon- Thursday and didn’t believe me that one beer completely undoes whatever you just did in the gym.  I don’t know if this is true but I told her she could ask her coach at the gym what he thinks!  I don’t think he actually drinks so I think I just won that one!
  2. Everyone is Paleo 6 days a week.  At least the food in the house is Paleo.
  3. However many times per week you paid for at CFNE – you have to go!!  Don’t ask for unlimited and then go 2X in a week.

We put the goals up on Saturday so its only been a few days but it has helped.  I have been stocking the fridge with healthy food.   I have definitely been more energetic to cook dinner.  I have reread the goals which is also a great reminder to keep it up.  I don’t have to lead the discussion anymore about goals I just have to FOLLOW the goals I laid out for myself.

Being a follower gets a bad rap but sometimes its just what I need.  I can’t say enough about how the gym helps me FOLLOW a healthier lifestyle.  There are over 20-30 people who regularly go to the gym at the same time I do.  In the group, if I am having a not so great morning I can just pick someone who’s upbeat or also has to adjust the workout for their fitness and follow them.  If I am feeling great and want to push myself I can pick out someone who is faster or stronger than me and try to keep pace.

A friend of mine who’s father was in the military described the best leaders as the best followers.  As a great leader you also have to know how to follow.  This makes so much sense to me.  If you can’t take direction you are basically an ego maniac and you can’t learn.  You don’t listen so it makes it harder to make informed decisions and lead yourself and others.  Let’s be honest if you don’t listen or aren’t open to others then most people aren’t willing to listen to you.  Maybe I should start listening more to my kids and keep the telling (yelling) to a minimum.

My January Goals as put on the board:

  1. No yelling at the kids – I’ve blown this twice but I’m definitely yelling less
  2. Paleo Zone 6 days a week.  2 cheats so far
  3. Grace Under Pressure – Ok one not so great moment yesterday…
  4. No Alcohol during the week – just messed up Sunday night but otherwise job well done
  5. Lose 10 lbs!!!  (that is in bold handwriting on the board) – I’m down 2 lbs.

Happy New Year Resolutions?

Happy New Year!

2014 is off to a great start.  Hope you and your loved ones are also starting off on a good note.  It probably helps that after a Christmas week of debauchery I started eating better and drinking less starting on 12/29.  We went to a ski condo for the last few days of the year and there is nothing like the cold outdoors to help you kick back and get a great night sleep.  One day was so cold that we didn’t ski, instead, I read a book and then went swimming in the Mt. Washington Hotel’s heated outdoor pool.  Amazing!  The view of Mt. Washington through the fog of the pool was so fun.

The girls in the pool at Mt. Washington Hotel

With the New Year, most of us make resolutions or goals.  I’m 47 so I have made a lot of goals over the years and I’m not sure how I feel about them this year.  Too many of my goal lists start with – lose weight!  I’ve made progress in fact I’m 12 lbs. lighter than January 1st of 2013 but I’m nowhere near my goal.  So do I start with that goal or do I start with something else?  Do I start with being a better mother?  Restarting my career?  Blogging every week?  My daughter’s suggestion – stop swearing?  (My response to her suggestion is who does that help?)  Here’s a good one – stop negating compliments from other people!!  I seriously have to catch myself when someone tells me I look great (usually this is at the gym and they are referring to my weight loss) and because I am nowhere near my goal I want to say, “Oh I don’t look that good or no, I haven’t lost that much weight.”  Isn’t it rude to tell someone they are wrong?  Another goal I might add to my list is Grace Under Pressure.  When I am under stress, I have absolutely no grace.  For example:

  • Cooking dinner for a guests while trying to straighten up our messy house so it looks good.  Ask my children, I have no grace.  Screaming, yelling and yes swearing are all involved.
  • Mid workout – someone takes my equipment.  I don’t actually swear AT someone but I have come close and I’m totally embarrassed.  The reality is its only a f#@king workout.  (That swearing thing again) I now sometimes try to smile mid workout so I don’t look like a total competitive ass. (oops)
  • PMS – need I say more?

I’m going to work on my goals for this year but I think I just identified a big one – Grace Under Pressure!  If I don’t get better now when will my kids ever see me as something more than a psycho! (I’m kidding – ok half kidding!)

Here is a short list of my goals for 2014:

  • Grace Under Pressure – Breathe and count to 5 when feeling under pressure.  Don’t raise my voice at my children for the entire month of January.  Smile when I perceive someone has taken my equipment and move on.  No swearing while driving.
  • Move forward on my career/business goals – I won’t bore you with specifics.
  • Volunteering – My older daughter and I have talked about starting a crossfit program at her school this spring and I would love to help out and teach young kids crossfit.
  • Keep cheat meals to Saturday night only so my physique reflects the hard work I put in at the gym.  (Wow, I wrote a fitness goal that doesn’t say LOSE WEIGHT!)

I think that about does it.  I’m very psyched.  It’s a very short list that is doable.  


Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Frosting

Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Frosting

Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Frosting

Food – fueling up is a big part of how I am going to keep moving forward on looking and feeling good.  Keeping enough cooked heathy food in the house is one of the biggest challenges.  These muffins can be made with my recipe below or just use your favorite meatloaf recipe.   Some people love a meatloaf with Almond Flour but I just skip it.  These muffins look cute which helps parents get kids eating right.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sweet Potato Topping
Peel and Boil 3-4 medium Sweet Potatoes or Yams until soft.
Alternative – Bake in oven for 1 hour (this depends on the size of your potato)
Whip cooked potatoes in your food processor or electric mixer.  I use the kitchen aid with the batter paddle.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meatloaf Muffins 
1 zucchini slightly chopped
3 carrots slightly chopped
1 medium onion slightly chopped
2-3 tbs
3/4 tbs onion powder
3/4 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs Penzeys’s Southwest seasoning (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb ground pork

  1. Pulse the vegetables in a food processor to pulverize into very small pieces or dice.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive in a skillet and add vegetables.  Cook for 4-6 minutes until soft.  Other recipes skip this step so its up to you I like the veggies softer.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meat with the veggies and seasonings.  Use your hands to combine and fully distribute veggies and seasonings.

Next make your ketchup:
Paleo Ketchup:
1 12 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup coconut amino acids or gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp Penzey’s Southwest seasoning or favorite hot sauce
Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Once combined, form into muffins and place in muffin pan or muffin cup liner.  I am using reusable silicone muffin tins.  They work great and are non stick.   You can use regular paper muffin liners for easier clean up.  Put 1-2 tbs of ketchup in the center of each muffin using back of spoon or handle to push ketchup down into the center of the muffin.

Meatloaf Muffins being stuffed with Paleo Ketchup

Meatloaf Muffins being stuffed with Paleo Ketchup

Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes checking temperature after 20 minutes.  Cook to 160 degrees internal temperature.  Drain muffins if desired and ‘frost’ with mashed sweet potatoes.  Makes about 12 2 1/4 inch muffins.

January 2014 Weight Loss Plan and Goals

Plan for January 2014

  1. No alcohol Sunday – Thursday
  2. workout 6 days a week 
  3. Paleo – Zone (12 blocks) 6 days a week with no more than one reward meal.  Paleo means no dairy (except butter from grass fed cows, no grains, no sugar, limited fruit, lots of veggies, lean cuts of meat. 
  4. 3 Omega-3 tablets and 1 magnesium per day
  5. No yelling at the kids

Welcome to My New Blog – 13 lbs Gone!

Well I had promised to blog every week and that ended after 3-4 weeks so here I am back again trying to get the next 25-30 lbs off!!  I have lost 16 lbs total since starting my blog and 13 lbs since the start of the year.  

Since March and the start of this blog I have really changed my approach to living a Paleo/Primal lifestyle.  I have stopped trying to be low carb and live in ‘ketosis’.  That was not working or happening – mostly the low carb was not working.   Instead I have moved to a Paleo Zone diet which can be challenging but when I stick to it – the weight comes off.ImageI made the leap to a measured (annoying) Paleo Zone Diet with the encouragement of our fearless team at our local CrossFit box.  We had a wellness challenge in May and our team did a Paleo Zone diet.  Meaning we each figured out how many ‘Blocks’ of food we could consume each day based on our size and physical activity and then figure out how to distribute those blocks during the day.  3 meals and 2 snacks or 3 bigger meals and no snacks.   Each meal should have the same number of blocks or protein, carbohydrates and fats.

A block of each macronutrient is:

1 block of protein = 7 grams or one ounce of lean protein

1 block of carbohydrate = 9 grams of carbohydrate

1 block of fat = 1.5 grams (1 tsp of healthy oils)


For my size and exercise level I should be eating 12 blocks per day or 3 per meal with 1-2 snacks of 1-2 blocks.  This approach is based on the Barry Sear’s Zone Diet , with a couple of big differences.  As a team we wanted to be as Paleo as possible so no grains, legumes, alcohol or dairy.  The result has been pretty darn good.  I lost 9 lbs in 4 weeks!  Then the challenged ended and I hit the big STAAAALLLL!  Since May my weight has gone down an additional 4 lbs then back up again.  Crazy frustrating stuff.  We just finished another challenge at the gym and no results for me.  So its back to looking at where I am cheating or rewarding myself and trying to get the next 10 lbs off my body.


One of the things that I think is really challenging is eating enough good carbohydrates.  If you are overweight, vegetables are the best source of carbohydrates.  Well when the weight was falling off it could take me a half an hour to forty five minutes to eat my meals.  A typical 3 block meal looks like this:

2 eggs and 2 ounces of canadian bacon

2 1/2 cups of steamed broccoli 

2 cups of baby carrots or 1 cup strawberries

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Salad veggies are useless, it takes 6 cups of romaine lettuce to make one block of carbohydrates!  A 4 block meal of protein (easy) and all veggies feels impossible sometimes but I can’t argue with the results.

My own personal challenge right now it to go an entire 30 days and really stick to a paleo zone plan with one cheat meal per week.  Wish me luck!  Also look for my kids to post about the foods I cook and if they taste good.



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