Welcome and How I got Here

How I got here 

    I want this blog to be a place of positivity, encouragement, and hope for people who have struggled, or are struggling with losing weight, being happy, beating depression or anxiety, maintaining health while being a student, getting motivated, not knowing what to cook for dinner, the list goes on. I guess you could say this will be a lifestyle blog, that serves as a way to track my progress, but also as a place where people can seek comfort in knowing someone else is dealing with something similar too– and actually talking about it!

    While I want the majority of my posts to come from a place of happiness and light, I feel it is pertinent to share my story of how I got to this place of change and personal growth.

I’m going to tell the story of how I lost my identity, got depressed, felt hopeless, and started to turn my life around.

    The thing about being an athlete in high school, is that you never really have to focus on what you eat. When you are 17 and running three to eight miles per day, your body takes care of the calories for you. I often was in charge of feeding myself at home, and because my mother was home hardly ever, I never really learned how to put together healthy, balanced meals.

When you are a part of a team, something bigger than yourself, it becomes a huge part of your identity. You are constantly surrounded by a group of people who try to push you and themselves to be the best because that is what will win races or help you to score goals. You exercise to get better at your sport because you are an athlete, you don’t think about it, you just do it.

When I arrived at University of Oregon, no longer a part of a team, things began to fall apart. I had a hard time adjusting in the dorms because I had a difficult time relating to many of the people in my hall. I could interact with them on a surface level, but because of my difficult upbringing, it was incredibly hard to open up to anyone new about where I came from. Since I was no longer on a team, I felt like I was missing a part of my identity.

Despite joining greek life and being invited to lots of parties and date-dashes, I began to feel incredibly isolated. I couldn’t bear the thought of staying in on a weekend to catch up on sleep or homework, because I didn’t want to be alone, despite feeling incredibly lonely. At that point, I still looked athletic, and for a while I never had to worry about being invited somewhere or having a shortage of cute guys to talk to. Almost every weekend I would drink an entire 5th of Burnettes to myself, drinking fraternity boys under the table. When it got late, I would walk back to the dorms and eat grilled cheese sandwiches until I no longer felt too nauseous to go to sleep. I skipped the gym because my body was constantly playing catch up on sleep and my liver and stomach were forever pissed at me.

I started feeling self-conscious about my weight but I told myself that when summer came, I would lose the weight. By June, I had gained the freshman 15, and 20. When Sophomore year began, I had gone from 125 to 150. I moved in to my sorority house and I started feeling even more alone, despite living in a house of 50 other women.

I continued to party too much, cure my hangovers with greasy food, and use food as a way to connect with others. I spent way too much money, money that I didn’t really have, on going out and buying cute clothes that would fit me. My depression got increasingly worse until I had to move out of the sorority house in Spring term, and in with my Dad.

I dated someone and they stayed with me for a year and a half, and were incredibly supportive of me despite how debilitating the depression was. I had changed completely from when we first met, and by my Junior year, the depression had a grasp on me in ways that I never would have thought possible. I was feeling seriously suicidal, completely out of control of my own life, and had almost zero confidence in myself.

I applied for the Family and Human Services Program at U of O, and I was rejected– the first time something like that has happened to me. I also gave up my position as a Volunteer Coordinator at my job because the weight of my depression made everything else feel impossible.

I no longer felt like the upbeat, bubbly person that my friends often described me as. My speech slowed, I began to have short term memory problems, and I felt like the thought of losing weight, getting healthy or being happy again seemed like a fantasy I would never get to experience. I wanted to sleep all the time, and every time I tried to go out for a run, I would end up getting shin splints or some other type of injury.

I ended up having to drop classes because I was getting behind and feeling overwhelmed. I was behind in credits, and my relationship with the kindest person in the world was failing.

In Winter of what was supposed to be my senior year, I decided I would kill myself. It was finals week and my partner would be moving away in a few days because they graduated. I felt like I had nothing left. I had given up my leadership position at work, been rejected from my major, and I had lost a lot of friends because I had a hard time mustering energy to see people or act like my old self when I was around them. My partner agreed to take me to the hospital because I couldn’t see a way to fix how I was feeling on my own. I felt completely hopeless. My doctor, counselor, and Dad were notified and I faced a turning point.

I decided not to register for classes in the Spring, and for the next three months, I did nothing except for try to be happy. I went to the gym, reached out to old friends, and felt like I was starting to get a shitty version of my old life back.

I got excited at the thought of having old friends and I over zealously tried to spend time with them, often at a bar drinking and smoking cigarettes- a habit I had picked up.

In the Summer,  I worked full time, and when Fall arrived, I decided to take a leap and go back to school. I was scared what the pressure would do to me, so my doctor started me on a low dose of anti-depressant, and for about the first month, I felt numb. I didn’t feel happy or excited, per se, but for the first time in a while I felt like I could just focus on what I needed to get done, sans tears. I started to feel like myself again– something I hadn’t felt for three years. I was feeling more in control, despite drinking a lot in social settings.

Unfortunately, during Halloween weekend of this year, the feeling of control was once again stolen from me when I was sexually assaulted by a long-time acquaintance.

I reached out to get all of the support I had learned about from years of working at an assault prevention shuttle, but no matter what I felt scared I couldn’t bounce back from this. I didn’t feel depressed anymore, but I started drinking even more and chain smoking cigarettes to deal with the stress. I turned to food even more than I had in the past, I felt like if someone else could violate and disrespect my body and my soul to that degree, then what was the point in even trying taking care of it?

I made it through Fall term with a 3.8 GPA, but I felt like my power had been taken away from me. I had joined a student assault-survivor’s support group and they introduced me to Bullet Journaling and I decided to try it out over Winter Break.

I went to visit my relatives in Minnesota for a month, and while there, a family member pointed out my weight gain to me, encouraged me to weigh myself, and for the first time in months I was hit with a wall of emotion. I had gained 70 lbs. I’ve always been one of the thinner people in my family, and this was nothing short of a wake up call.

Being in the Midwest during the holiday season is the most difficult setting to try to start eating healthy, I also knew I had a birthday coming up, so I chose to not worry about it until then.

As a birthday gift to myself, I decided that  I will lose the weight and I will do what I can to achieve my  other goals. I might not always have motivation, but I have empathy and determination that I know will benefit my future self.

I used the bullet journaling as a way to keep track of my habits, how I was feeling, and start a gratitude and dream log to keep tabs on my mindset. I also wrote a list of goals I had for myself. It filled up two pages, but the most important ones to me were,

  • Lose Weight
  • Maintain my Happiness
  • Stop Eating out as much
  • Quit Drinking as much
  • Quit Smoking Cigarettes
  • Journal Every Day
  • Save Money
  • Get Rid of Toxic People

The day after my birthday I cleaned the smoke smell out of my car, threw away all of my half-empty packs of cigarettes, and gave my remaining bottles of alcohol to my roommates. I threw away all of the junk in my house and I joined Weight Watchers.

I have tracked every single day since January 11th and as of right now, I haven’t smoked a cigarette, binge drank, or gone a week without exercising– I’ve lost thirty pounds, gone forever.

If you read all the way through this, wow, thank you! You are a champion of patience!

If you want to stay up to date on my journey, catch recipe ideas or tips that have helped me be successful thus far, please feel free to subscribe & follow me on Insta @ Kenzie_Kangaroo

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

XOXO Kenzie


Weighing In: Maintenance Mode for Now

Hi Friends! I’ve (noticeably) been taking a conscious break from writing posts lately due to a string of stressful events in my life that have occurred since the beginning of April.

I lost someone who was close to me after a long battle with cancer, badly sprained an ankle, and got behind in some of my classes. I have been trying to stay positive and responsible during these times of stress, but it’s not always possible to stay perfectly on plan, because life doesn’t always go as we might have planned if it was perfect.

To be honest, I haven’t tracked any Weight Watchers Points in about three weeks. I’ve also had some beer, and skipped quite a few gym days due to my sprained ankle. The difference between my old self and who I am now is that I don’t hate myself for any of it. I am glad that I have been able to enjoy food and treats surrounded by loving friends and family after dealing with a loss. I am glad I have had warm-hearted people around me who have invited me out for a beer instead of wallowing at home. I do my best to make healthy choices whenever possible, but I have also had to be somewhat forgiving because life isn’t always easy, and sometimes a salad just doesn’t sound great.

Luckily, my ankle is almost healed, my heart is a little less heavy, and I’ve managed to maintain an even weight of 181.5 for the last three weeks.

I think that I have developed a lot of good habits that have allowed me to maintain without too much effort, as well as trying to keep my fridge stocked with healthy items that I can grab without much thought or effort, (I’m lookin at you, Siggis yogurt!).

I attribute this maintenance to other small habits such as parking far away from the entrances of buildings, limiting crappy foods from being in my home, stopping eating when I am just full enough, and drinking lots of water. Eating my sandwiches open face or bun free, and trading in pasta dishes for some type of protein with a veggie on the side if I am eating out. I no longer have a daily coffee at Dutch Bros with cream and sugar, but instead take a 200mg. caffeine pill if I feel like I need a ‘pick me up.’

All of these things truly do add up and make a huge difference and they have worked well for me in making sure I don’t lose all of the progress I have made in the last four months. Just because I’m not trying to be perfect with my diet is by no means an indication that I am throwing in the towel. I’m just on the sidelines, taking a little half-time break before I head back in.

I have every intention of getting back into the gym when my ankle is healed fully, but for now I am sticking to yoga and upper-body/core home workouts. In fact, it has actually be tough to do not cardio, as that was easily becoming one of my greatest  go-to stress-reducers when I was having a tough time. I miss sweating it out and feeling accomplished and glowing at the end of my routine. I also miss all of the ladies in my Spin classes and the encouragement they give me by seeing that health can be achieved at any size, at any age.

In short, I’ve absolutely hit a rough patch, but it will remain that– just a patch! Making a lifestyle change means making changes to fit within your lifestyle, and not even the Kardashians are immune to the little imperfections life throws our way.

To be clear, I have zero regrets from taking these few weeks off from being so controlling over my diet because it’s just what I needed, and when I am ready, I will return to it.

For now, I’m 181.5 and I am happy, and I am alive. This will change at some point, but this is where I have been, this is where I am now, and I am okay with that.

Thanks for reading, supporting me, and sending me bits of encouragement that I have received in the last few months since I began this whole journey.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!


Weighing in: Gains, and Gainz, Losses, and Getting Lost

This post is not about how great I’ve been doing or about how much weight I’ve lost this week. This post is about the honest, vulnerable reason why I started this blog in the first place. Accountability, as well as transparency. I want people to know, who see me reach my goals in the future, that this wasn’t without trials or setbacks. I had a great week last week, only to see my progress do a 180 in the following week. I will get back on track, but in the meantime, this is where I am.

This past week has been a bit trying as I have had lots of social situations come up in which I have been tempted and partaken in drinking lots of alcohol, eating lots of indulgent foods, and going to the gym less than I normally would.

As the end of Spring Break neared, I was feeling good about a total loss of 10 lbs in the month of March, as well as a 2.5lb gain in muscle. However, I think I took this information and ran with it a little too much as the weekend approached. I took a short road trip to visit some friends who live an hour and two hours away from me, respectively.

On the first night I visited a childhood friend and we enjoyed a light dinner, followed by drinks and Karaoke. On the second night I drove up to a bigger city to see a concert. Before the show I met with some friends at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch my college play in a March Madness game. Buffalo WW is very hard to eat healthy at, and I opted for a salad but it was definitely still a lot of points. I walked around the city and danced a lot at the concert. At the end of the day I totaled 20,000 steps, but I had also had well over my day’s worth of points in alcohol. Come Sunday morning I was feeling sore from moving around so much, happy that I had such a fun weekend, but also achy and physically exhausted.
I headed back home with a clear vision of health in mind for starting out my week. I did great on Sunday, with 28 out of 30 points. But then Monday was rough with 50 /30 points, Tuesday was decent with 35/30 points, but today I really crashed and burned- Finishing the day at 71/30 points. Much of the imbalance has been due to eating out with friends, being at work during dinner time, and also snacking when I’m not hungry. There have been treats offered and I’ve been bad about saying no. I also, for a moment, lost sight of the determination I had when I first began this journey in January– But I am now more determined than ever.

Truthfully, I think another part of my frivolity has been a subconscious effort to sabotage myself. I think that seeing my body and my mind change in this way is almost frightening because it is pulling me out of my comfort zone. It can be a scary feeling knowing that things are starting to look up if you don’t believe you deserve for them to– but that kind of thinking is what caused me to gain the weight in the first place. I am not going to fall victim to my self-sabotage anymore by ignoring my self-worth. Just like any other person in the world, I am deserving of love, happiness, confidence, and success.

While I am not happy about some of the food choices I’ve made in the last week, I appreciate that I was able to have some fun with friends, enjoy lots of delicious meals, and dance a ton. 

I am honestly surprised that I have made it this far in my journey without having many days that feel like setbacks so if anything this was a lesson learned that I need to reaffirm my goals and recenter my focus more often.

For this week, my goal will be to maintain, and next week I should be back on track to lose some weight. 

Even though I haven’t lost weight this week, and I am feeling down about my choices, I also know that a few months ago I would have been derailed by this and given up completely. I will not let that happen this time.  

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to make a change. I am going to make it a goal to hit my smart points each day and exercise a little extra. I don’t expect to have any loss this week, but maybe I can prevent a major gain by keeping-on. As a way to hold myself accountable even further, I am going to post a screenshot of my progress in the forthcoming week.

I will try to pack my lunches and keep protein shakes handy in case of hunger-emergencies, I will avoid alcohol as there is no room for it in my diet this week, and I will focus on eating fresh produce when I am hungry, supplementing with protein and minimal starchy-carbs. I will plan ahead for when I know I’ll be working, and I will leave my debit card at home so that I can’t make impulse purchases.

I will also focus more of my energy on exercising– I will attend my bootcamp/spin class tomorrow and I will make the gym a priority throughout the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I won’t begin anew because today did, in fact, happen. However, I will pick up the pieces and make the best out of where I left them. Tomorrow I look forward to seeing 30/30 on my total points for the day. The sun will rise again, and again, and eventually the scale will lower.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!



Ten minute, 6 point stir-fry

Okay, so I lied. This stir fry actually only took me seven minutes but I also prefer my tofu to be a little bit on the softer/less crispy side.

I also had some of the veggies prepped already in my fridge. But, all things considered, I promise you will spend no more than ten minutes cooking up this delicious plate of food. It’s loaded with protein (tofu and edamame), fiber (carrots, bell pepper), and carbohydrates (bc rice, duh).

This stir fry isn’t entirely homemade, as I bought the rice already prepared in the Trader Joe’s frozen section, but I also added in some extra veggies to get even more bang for my stir fried buck. You can easily cook rice ahead of time for this, but I like the convenience of being able to whip it up quickly if I’m crunched for time. 
There’s not really a recipe but here’s what I used:

-1 1/4 cup of Trader Joe’s vegetable fried rice (5sp)

-3 oz. Firm Tofu (1sp) (Any type of protein will taste good, tofu is very low in points so that’s why I chose it). 

-1/2 red bell pepper (0sp)

-1tbsp Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce (0sp)

-1/4 carrot, shredded (0sp)

-Garlic and onion to taste 

-Heat a non-stick pan with oil over medium heat (I use spray coconut oil because it’s easy and 0sp), cook bell pepper and carrots for about 3-4 mins. Add in garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. 

-Add in Tofu and cook to desired consistency. (I like to marinate tofu ahead of time, but it still tastes good if you don’t go out of your way to do this beforehand). 

-Add in rice and cook, stirring often, for 5 min.

-Put on a decorative plate and devour it 😋

This meal is one of the many ways I have discovered that eating healthy does not have to mean giving up a ton of time. In fact, it took me less time to cook this up at home than it would to eat out at even the fastest of food places. I hope you enjoy!

What are some of your favorite healthy and quick meals? Let me know in the comments below.

Bye bye muffin top,


My Work Out Plan: Arms & Abs

[ I roll a lot of my work outs into one, but I try to separate, “leg and back day” from, “arms and abs day,” because it’s good to give your muscles at least a day to recover after weight training. This post will focus what I do for arms and abs, my next post will focus on my favorite, which is leg and back day! ]

I start my work out by warming up– for me this means walking to the gym, which is about six or seven minutes from my house. Depending on the day, I pick my poison, and by poison I mean cardio. I am very injury prone, and so I often have to modify or switch up my routine so that I don’t get hurt. On the ideal day, where I am feeling strong and pain-free, I do about 25 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), generally on the treadmill. Other days, I do about 35-60 minutes of moderate to light cardio, either by walking uphill, jogging around my neighborhood, cycling class, zumba, hiking, swimming, or elliptical. The good thing is that I genuinely enjoy all of these activities, but the general rule of thumb is to pick something you will do and enjoy doing regularly. 

After my cardio, I stretch and ease into my arms & abs. I like to incorporate yoga into my stretching, so this can take a little bit longer than your average post-cardio stretch. I found this neat-o video, that does not belong to me, on youtube, which pretty much sums up what I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAKaKgmn76E



Since I’m already on the mat, I do my mat routine first. I do a circuit of the following about four times, resting for a few seconds in between each exercise. This usually takes me about ten to fifteen minutes. For example, I do 15 reps of squats, move on to pushups, and eventually do 15 more squats and continue on until I’ve done a total of 60 squats during the fourth circuit.

-Body Weight Squats 15 reps

-Push-Ups 5 reps

-Lunges 10reps (10 on each side) 

-Crunches 10 reps

-Burpees 10 reps

-Mountain Climbers 10 reps

-Russian Twist 10 reps


I do the following with 10lb dumb bells, but as I gain more strength I will increase to 12, then 15, etc.

Similarly to my mat workout, I do the following in a circuit. Either three or four times.

1. Romanian Deadlift: 10 reps

2. Shoulder Press: 8 reps

3. Bentover Row: 10 reps

4. Floor Press: 10 reps

5. Curls: 10 reps

6. Lateral Raise: 6 reps

7. Overhead Extension: 10 reps

  • When I finish the above, I walk home as a cool-down. Sometimes, if I am still feeling tight, I will foam roll and stretch again when I get home. I also use ice if any old injuries are flared up or aggravated during my workout.
  • I also make sure to eat plenty of protein before and after my workout, as well as drinking lots of water before, during, and after.


*Disclaimer: I am not a certified trainer or a fitness professional, I am merely posting what I feel works best for me in my daily routine after participating in team sports for my whole life, as well as working with a trainer in the past. 

Please consult your doctor, so on and so forth, because I am not recommending anyone do or don’t do this, I am just saying what has worked for me in getting toned up throughout my weight loss 🙂

Thank you for reading and feel free to comment if you have any questions about my routine 🙂

Bye Bye Muffin Top!


Workin’ the Menu: Breakfast Edition

If you have ever even thought about losing weight or making a similar food-related lifestyle change, then you know that one of the most difficult things to navigate is a restaurant!

Ordering can be incredibly tricky; Steamed veggies may actually be coated in butter, servings are hard to measure on giant white plates, and your waitress just might roll her eyes if you ask for more than one substitution– However, one of the biggest things that I have learned on this journey is that you will not make it unless you advocate for yourself! 

To say I love brunch with friends would be an incredible understatement— There is something magical about convening with friends with a bubbly mimosa in hand after an action-packed weekend. The anticipation before the food arrives while you discuss the week that lies ahead, the scent of warm biscuits and gravy wafting through the kitchen. I love being with loved ones as we sit around a table talking and laughing, lingering long after the bill has been paid because we’ve enjoyed ourselves so much. The problem with brunch, however, is that the usual suspects are often laden with calories, fat and other ingredients that may try to derail your successes if you let them.

I have tried out the menus in several different restaurants in my area and realized that even though the dishes may vary, almost all of them have some tasty and guilt-free options lying within.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy breakfast and brunch without giving up the social aspect, or put a halt on my progress:


-Coffee (easy on the cream and sugar, sugar!)

-Iced Tea (Sweetened with stevia, if at all)

-Mimosa (If you simply must have alcohol before 1:00pm, then mimosas are a surprisingly low-calorie way to do this. One serving rings in at four points!)

-When in doubt, water it out! Zero calories, refreshing, and if you are at brunch on Sunday there could be a chance you could use some proper hydration anyway!

Something Savory: 

-An easy way to get a ton of protein and veggies is a classic egg scramble or omelette. I ask for egg whites only, load up on extra veggies if it’s an option (I love mushrooms, tomato, bell peppers, and spinach).

-I love a side of Canadian bacon– a serving is usually only one point and most restaurants have it.

-If I need toast, then I ask for them to let me butter it myself, this way I can accurately portion and track how much I am putting on it.

-Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros are also delicious– I just ask them to skip the sour cream and cheese. If possible, I add extra salsa, cilantro, or lime to bring up the flavor. Both are packed with protein and they usually keep me tided over until dinnertime with a snack in-between.

-I try to skip out on avocado or only have a little bit of it because it is pretty heavily packed with calories (despite the healthy omega-3’s).

-If none of these things sound great to me, then I will try to split something with a friend and be mindful to stop eating when I am full.

Something Sweet:

-Most restaurants have fresh fruit that you can order on the side so this is a really common go-to for me.

-On the back of the menu, under the sides there is also typically oatmeal or cream of wheat as an option. I try to flavor it with cinnamon and stevia, or a minimal amount of sugar. This satisfies my sweet tooth and it keeps me full for a long time due to the fiber in the oats and the protein in the nuts that it usually comes with.


If these tips don’t fit, try to look for something that you can keep track of easily.

I think my most helpful tip for breakfast out with friends is to avoid foods that are heavily coated in any type of sauce, syrup, cheese, butter, or gravy. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications, nicely of course, and do your best to advocate for yourself. If you feel guilty for being a nuisance, then leave a good tip and thank your server, and yourself, for helping you to make healthier choices that all add up.

Got a good tip for eating out that you want to share? Please let me know in the comments below.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!


What I Eat in a Day Pt. 1

What I eatA lot of friends have asked me what I have been doing to lose weight and while I accredit Weight Watchers for guiding me in the right direction, the plan doesn’t work unless you make yourself work. With that said, the most wonderful thing about it is that I haven’t had a single day go by where I didn’t get to enjoy my meals, feel overly hungry, or feel deprived in any way/shape/form.

I spend way less money on eating out, I get to enjoy fresher food because I get through it faster than I did in the past, and my cooking skills have improved because I’ve had the tools and incentive to get more creative in the kitchen, and find shortcuts for when time is of the essence.

My favorite part of the plan, by far, is that I get to eat a wide variety of things, but there are certain foods I definitely eat on a regular-semi regular basis because they are good and good for me. I took samples from typical days where I was working, in school, or doing other regular college-type activities and compiled it so that you get an accurate picture of what a typical day looks like for me.

In case you are new to my blog, SP stands for Smartpoints, the Weight Watchers system for tracking how many points/nutritional value is in something. As your body weight decreases, your allotted Smartpoints decrease as well. You are also given Weekly points which are there for added flexibility on the plan, while ensuring that you will still lose weight. When I started the plan, I was given 33 daily Smartpoints and 44 Weekly Smartpoints. Now I get 30 Daily, and 42 Weekly. I have found that as I continue on the plan that my cravings decrease and I get hungry less often because I am fueling my body more efficiently with lots of protein and fiber.

This is a sample day from a typical school week in which I have less than 1/2 hour to make and eat every meal. All of these foods are ready to eat within 10 minutes and they all include a mix of protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates.

In addition to the foods mentioned below, I usually go to the gym for a minimum of 30 minutes to walk on an incline, and I drink lots of water throughout the day.

Without further ado, here is What I Eat in a Day (Total is 32sp):

Breakfast (6sp) 


1 Thomas bagel thin (3 sp)

3 egg whites (1sp) *Egg beaters make this super convenient in a rush

3 slices Canadian bacon (1sp)

1 Bell pepper, sautéed (0sp)

1/4 cup mushrooms, sautéed (0sp)

1/2 cup spinach, sautéed (0sp)

A few spritzes of spray butter (0sp)

Snack (2sp) 

1/2 cup carrots (0sp)

1 Babybel light cheese (1sp)

1 Wasa cracker (1sp)

Lunch (10sp) 

7 Trader Joe’s chicken gyoza (6sp)

1 Packet Kikkoman miso soup (1sp)

1/2 cup shelled Edamame (3sp)

Soy sauce, vinegar, garlic (0sp)

Dinner (8sp)

1 Trader Joe’s Reduced-Guilt Mac ‘n Cheese (8sp)

1 Cup Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower  (0sp)

Dessert (Only sometimes) (6sp) 

1 Cup Chocolate Halo Top Ice Cream (5sp)

1/2 Banana (0sp)

2 tbsp Cool Whip Lite (1sp)

*If I have a sweet tooth and I have already used up all of my points from earlier in the day, a favorite treat of mine is a bowl of frozen raspberries.

Other (0sp) 

If, for some reason, I find myself still hungry after all of the above, I will try to decide if I am really hungry, or if I might be thirsty, bored, or anxious instead. If I am in fact, genuinely hungry (which doesn’t happen often), then I’ll have some carrots, celery, or an apple. If it’s the latter, then I will try to go for a walk, call a friend, work on homework, play the sims, or some other method of distraction.

Most of what I have done to find success isn’t veering all that far from foods I ate before, it’s just a matter of finding healthy/low calorie swap-outs for my favorite things. Egg whites instead of whole eggs, reduced guilt mac ‘n cheese instead of regular, Halo Top Ice Cream instead of cookies or regular ice cream, flavoring my breakfast with vegetables rather than cheese and full-fat butter. All of these changes feel so small to me but they have made such a huge difference in my body and how I view food as fuel.

What are some of your favorite swap-outs? Let me know in the comments below!

Bye Bye Muffin Top!


Inspire 80 by practicing 20

IMG_1671There are two times in nutrition/fitness where 80/20 is a commonly used form of lingo. In nutrition, people refer to the, “eighty-twenty,” rule, as another way of saying, “moderation.” The belief here is that if you eat well eighty percent of the time, and indulge twenty percent then you will maintain good health without feeling deprived or like you are adhering to a plan too strictly.

On the other end, the fitness end, there is another, “eighty-twenty rule,” which refers to the balance between nutrition and exercise. In this sense, your diet is of about eighty percent importance while fitness training is about twenty. In other words, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.”

I had a really strange, yet wonderful morning this morning. I think I was taken over by a body snatcher, but it all worked out for the best.

 I was having a really difficult time sleeping last night due to throwing my back out, and I felt like laying down was just making everything feel worse. I actually only slept about four hours last night after getting off of work late. I looked at my clock and it was five in the morning and I had my alarm set for 8:45. I didn’t want to wake my roommates up and I thought about how wonderful a hot-tub would feel on my back.

I did something crazy! I got dressed, filled up my water bottle, wrestled with my tangled earbuds, and drove my ass to the gym. I got there at 5:30 and I definitively decided today that hell must have frozen over. 

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to sleep. The old me (the me from, like, a month ago) would have taken half a sleeping pill and some ibuprofen, fallen back asleep, most likely missed my first class of the day, eaten a crappy breakfast because I was running late, and then felt groggy, grumpy, and exhausted for the rest of the day, overreacting to every little thing.

I was going to just lift a few weights and then hop into the hot tub but once I got to the gym I decided to do a little warm up on the treadmill. That warmup ended up with me running for 30 minutes, walking on an incline for ten, and then going on to do a leg workout.

Once finished, I went to change and headed to the hot tub in hopes of relieving my back —which actually felt a lot better once I got moving.

After the hot tub I thought about how I haven’t gone swimming in a long time and I thought about how great the cool water would feel on my skin. Previous, old, cautious McKenzie would have been intimidated AF to get into the lap pool, especially into the lane that’s not dedicated for self-proclaimed slowpokes–that lane was being occupied by elderly aquajoggers. I did a lap in the “medium,” lane, and then two, and then I grabbed a kick board and swam for almost twenty minutes.

I rinsed off, took a lovely steam and then headed home.

Once at home, I had planned to just eat a bowl of sugary, yet low-point cereal but instead I opted for a half an apple until the sun actually came up so that I would’t piss my roommates off from making “real” breakfast at 7:00am. 

A little while later, I opted for a hearty/healthy breakfast burrito with egg whites, black beans, bell peppers, onions and chicken apple sausage. 

I meal prepped lunch, found quotes for an Essay I have to write this evening, and squeezed in a few minutes of yoga.

Wednesdays are my busy days, with class, babysitting, class, and then work, which keeps me out of the house from 9am to 10:00pm each week. It was so nice to have an extra three hours to get stuff done so that I’m not as stressed later in the day.

Back to my original point: Because I exercised and started my day off in a wonderful way, I felt inspired to eat a clean and nutritious breakfast. By eating a filling and protein-packed breakfast, I felt inspired to pack a clean and light lunch with snacks. 

Come dinner time, I will feel good about my choices earlier on in the day, and most likely want to spend the extra time I will have, on grocery shopping and preparing a healthful dinner.

 By practicing the, “twenty percent,” part of exercise early on in my day, I feel inspired to continue on with the, “eighty percent,” referring to diet the rest of the day. Additionally, if I do happen to want a treat in the evening— I’m looking at you Halo Top 😉— then I will feel good about it, knowing I made 80% great decisions leading up to that.

My whole point here is that by stepping out of my comfort zone this morning and trying something new that would help me feel better, it started a total chain reaction of wellness that I will carry on throughout the remainder of the day. I hope this inspires some of you to step out of your own comfort zones in one way or another today.

Will I still be this productive, and quite frankly, not myself tomorrow? Who knows!

But that is okay, because I am just taking this journey one. day. at. a. time.

Bye Bye Muffin Top!

Weighing In: 10% of my body weight gone, and taking a different approach to vacation,


As of today, I weigh in at 186.7lbs. Bringing my total loss to 27.3lbs since January 11th (The day the picture on the left was taken).

I also hit another neat landmark: I’ve lost 10% of my total body weight! It’s crazy to think that 1/10th of me is gone forever, and I’ve been wondering where the heck I put all of that! That’s more than the amount of weight of a Costco-sized bag of rice…

I’ve had a few other non-scale victories this week as well. Namely: I have dropped two pant sizes.

I celebrated these victories by purchasing a few new items to wear over spring break when I go to Arizona, including a two-piece swimsuit. I’ve found great joy in eliminating clothing that is too large on me and by finding inexpensive pieces to replace them. 

 I also allowed myself a, “cheat day,” on Sunday, after saving some of my weekly points and indulged in a burger with some sweet potato fries with some friends– guilt free! However, I do not believe in “rewarding,” myself with crappy food anymore so I’m looking at it as a cheat meal because I wanted to, rather than a reward because I’ve, “been good.”

As I gear up to leave for Arizona, I am faced with a challenge that any person trying to lose weight can relate to: Vacation! How will I navigate the balance of having fun while sticking to my goals?

For starters, I already have a plan set that I will try to make most of my outings each day focused on some form of exercise. I had ample opportunity to have a “typical,” college Spring Break fueled by alcohol, music and hangover food, but I opted for something else that will leave me feeling relaxed and rejuvenated when I return home, rather than starting classes feeling worn out, broke, bloated and sick. 

I am excited to be able to catch a nice tan and maybe even lose more on this week away so that when I come back home I’m not dealing with residual guilt from poolside margaritas or ensuing drunchies.

Don’t get me wrong– sometimes party-based Spring Breaks sound fun!

There is nothing wrong with enjoying Spring Break however you see fit– hell, I know next year I’ll probably go the Spring Break in Cabo route! But for right now, I am just doing my best to keep my goals in mind and honestly consider what will help me reach them faster and easier.

I’ve already got plans to hike with a friend who lives down there, access to a gym, and plenty of sunny sidewalks to stroll down if boredom hits, in addition to lots of swimming, and golfing. 

I also plan to do lots of acts of self-care such as doing my nails, putting on a face mask, journaling, yoga, etc.

I have intentionally chosen to go somewhere where I know I’ll have plenty of support from the people around me– something I also try to do while at home.

Since I am visiting my grandparents, they are already aware of my goals and are pretty healthy themselves. I know wont have to worry about finding healthy and fresh food to eat throughout the week while I am there.

I also know that they will be more than encouraging if I want to spend some time at the gym or go hiking with one of my friends since they want me to succeed just as much as I do. 

To summarize: I think anyone can be successful and stick to their goals while on vacation as long as you plan ahead, have a good support group around you, and treat it as a time to make your life better now and in the future– keeping in mind that instant gratification generally won’t fuel your success. 

In that same vein, I think the most important part about a vacation is just doing whatever makes you feel happy, healthy and good– however you see fit. 

What are some of your tips/tricks for sticking to your goals during a vacation? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Bye Bye Muffin Top!


15 minute Pepperoni Pizza

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love a good, “craving tamer,” that satisfies my hunger and cravings without sacrificing my health or hindering my progress. 

This pizza is super delicious, extremely easy to make, and it rang up to only seven smartpoints! 

I paired it with a salad and doctored up the jarred sauce I used with some extra herbs in order to heighten the sophistication of my #brokecollegekid meal. 


1 flat-out bread co. whole wheat flatbread 

7 slices of pepperoni 

2 tbsp sliced olives

2 tbsp pizza sauce (any kind!)

1 oz Trader Joe’s Shredded Light Mozzerella

Optional: Italian seasonings (like basil)

(I also put about 1/2 tsp of olive oil on the bottom of the bread to make sure it didn’t stick to the baking sheet)


I baked the flat bread for a few minutes on its own at about 350 to get it a little crisp before I put the sauce and the rest of the ingredients on.

  • Spread out the sauce, top with pepperoni, then a layer of mozzerella, olives, & then more mozzerella. 
  • Bake it in a toaster oven for about 15 min at 355. (Regular oven for about 10 min, 350)
  • Slice it up and then enjoy!

I’m happy I get to enjoy a wide variety of foods without giving up the foods I love. Next time I’ll probably add in some more veggies on top, (Bell peppers are bae).
Bye bye muffin top!

Weighing in: 25 Down and Checking Things off of my Bucket List 

Woohoo! Today I’m 189.3 which means I’m officially 25 pounds down! I’m so excited about this I #literallycanteven.

I have been trying to up my daily exercise and have been getting around 30-60 mins of cardio + alternating between arms/legs and core doing strength training about six days per week.

I also ran a 5K on Saturday, something that was a HUGE “bucket list” item for me. I’ve already ran many 5k’s as a cross country runner but this time felt a bit more victorious because I really worked for it and got over my built up fear of running in public. I even got a little emotional at the end and shed a tear (maybe two), because I haven’t been this proud of myself in a very long time. 

Next up on the list is to get back on the mountain and go snowboarding again. Something I used to love but haven’t done in over seven years. I’m going next weekend and I just can’t wait.

I’m also excited to be taking a trip to Arizona for spring break to visit my grandparents and I’m going to try to be touristy in a different way than I am used to– hiking and biking whenever possible. Also some reading books whilst laying in the sun is definitely in order. I bought the plane ticket for myself as a reward and as a way to say hey, you deserve this. 

It’s a huge thing for me to check off a milestone like this because a year ago I didn’t think I could do it but here I am doing it.

Bye bye muffin top!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Packed Shake 

Warning: This recipe is highly addictive, try at your own discretion. I dare you 😉

I’m all about finding things that will give me more bang for my nutritional buck and this shake certainly does just that. 

Post gym I was seriously craving something sweet and filling and I conjured this up in my kitchen. I did a lot of strength training today so I knew getting a lot of protein in would be key.

I have found success on this journey by fulfilling my cravings with healthier, smarter options so that I don’t feel deprived along the way. With 23lbs down, I do believe it is working. 

This recipe packs a whopping 20g of protein and it’s only 7 weight watchers smart points. It can be even less points if you use 1/2 cup halo top rather than a whole one like I did. It’s also fairly low calorie but I treated it sort of like a dessert or a meal. 

In a blender combine:

3tbsp peanut powder (PB2 or Jif make good ones!)

1 or 1/2 cup chocolate halo top

1/2 banana 

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

A few ice cubes if you want 

Blend and enjoy 😋

Bye bye muffin top!

Low point potstickers and “rice” 

One of the ways I’ve managed to find success thus far is by replacing foods that I’m craving with a healthier, more nutritious alternative that I make for myself, at home. 
One of my very favorite meals is fried rice, potstickers, and miso soup at a restaurant. Unfortunately, if I even tried to put this all into my point tracker I’d probably run out of two days’ worth of points. 

I’ve been making this meal for dinner recently and adding in different veggies into the cauliflower if I brown it a bit in a pan. But today I just opted for steaming it in the microwave.

I found an awesome alternative for potstickers at Trader Joe’s which allows me to have 7 potstickers for only 6 points! 
To make them, I follow the instructions on the package which just involves lightly sautéing and then steaming them for about ten minutes.  

The Trader Joe’s potstickers don’t come with sauce, which is arguably my favorite part of the whole meal, so I’ve been enjoying making my own. My favorite sauce so far consists of:

Ginger (1tsp)

Garlic (1tsp)
Honey (1/2 tbsp)

Worschestershire (1/2 tbsp)

Soy (1/2 tbsp)

Sesame (1 tsp)

Rice vinegar (1tbsp)

*The honey and sesame oil add about one additional weight watchers point, but it’s still delicious without those components.

I’m a huge fan of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, and other alternatives to simple carbohydrates so naturally riced cauliflower is a no-brainer. 

The riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s makes it super easy for me to just cook the amount of “rice” I want and leave the rest in the freezer until I’m ready for more. It also cuts down immensely on my food prep time as it takes only 3-4 minutes to be fully cooked. 

I also enjoy this meal with miso soup which is one 1 point (I like Kikkoman Tofu Miso packets) you just mix it with water and heat it up and it’s genuinely delicious.

I spent a total of 12 minutes making this meal and I am completely full and satisfied from it at the cost of only 8 points!
What are some of your favorite “treat” alternatives? Let me know in the comments below & feel free to subscribe for more recipes, meal ideas and more!
Bye bye muffin top

Xoxo, Kenzie