10 Secrets to Skinny

by Marla on October 21, 2011 · 123 comments

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Seems to be that no matter what time of year it is people are on the quest for tips on healthy eating, fitness, how to feel energetic and wide awake. It is all about creating positive habits that work for you. And really making them habits. Happy habits

Be nice. I grabbed someone in my class at Telluride Yoga and had them take that photo of me. For you yogis out there I know this is not the perfect pose which is supposed to be extended side angle. This blog post is not about perfection it is about taking steps in the right direction.

I am stepping out on a limb with this post but here goes….The first thing you need to know is there are no secrets to thin. There are mindful actions you can take that will help you on your quest to be fit. Besides if you feel fit then you will ROCK those skinny jeans.

I speak from experience. Real. Life. Experience. I have eaten too much & too little. I have under exercised and over exercised. With two little kids, a very demanding job and a busy life I finally have things figured out and I want to share them with you. These tips are not as tricky as you might think…

Fresh cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds

Please note these are in no particular order of importance as they all hold hands with one another.


That’s right. The less processed junk that goes in your body will not only give you boundless energy but your body can effectively use the nutrients when food is real. Choose whole foods that are closest to the source as possible. Fake foods with too much salt, refined ingredients and garbage make you feel like…yuck.

Eat real fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, cheese, eggs. If you are vegan, have allergies are gluten free do what you need to do for your body. You get my point? Foods that are packaged as “diet” are usually just a bunch of over processed stuff thrown together to make you feel like you are doing something right. It is most likely wrong.

Organic is important too. When you can, be sure to purchase sustainable organic ingredients. Who wants a side of hormones, pesticides and such on their burger or fresh veggies? Not me.

Kitchen and postal shipping scales Purchase a Kitchen Scale

This little investment (which hardly costs anything at all) starts at about $17.00 and from there the sky is the limit. My kitchen scale is the least expensive one and it has held up for years. I bring it back and forth with me when we travel to Telluride and Grand Cayman. Not only does it keep me on track, but it is a no brainer to use.

It is also awesome for baking. Much more convenient than using measuring cups. Plus there is less to clean.

Vegan gluten free, sugar free pear sauce with carrots yogurt parfait

Portion Control

Controlling your portion sizes goes hand in hand with owning a kitchen scale. Get to know what a true serving size is. Read labels on packages. What is a portion of cheese, butter, oil, meat, etc?? You might be surprised. The good news is if you eat smaller more mindful meals throughout the day then these smaller portions won’t bug you at all. At the beginning it might be tricky, but after a while you will get the hang of it.

Put your portions in pretty little bowls or cups like I did with my Chai Carrot Pear Sauce Parfaits above. Those little mason jars are the perfect portion size.

San Juan mountains in the fall with snow

Mindful Eating

See those splendid Rocky Mountains…they remind me to be mindful of everything around me.

Take the time to sit down and enjoy your meal. Eating over the kitchen sink or while standing at the fridge will only encourage over eating. Sit down at the table, take the time to chew your food and embrace the moment. Enjoy meals with your family, friends and loved ones. Talk about your day and the meal you are having.

That’s a recent article in Parenting magazine with a recipe by yours truly…my Mexican Roasted Vegetable Orzo is in the October issue. A great meal to enjoy with your family or pack in everyone’s lunch boxes.

Marla Meridith featured in October 2011 Parenting magazine Seek Professional Help When Needed

If you feel you cannot get a grip on your weight whether it is too high or too low seek out the help of a registered dietician or someone who specializes in nutrition. They will teach you about how many calories your body needs and help you chart calories in and out. For specific questions about your health seek the help of your doctor.

Speaking of calories, I am not a calorie counter. Just sayin’

Many local gyms and health care centers offer this sort of service. You might find that you only need a few visits to get on track. Some health insurances might even cover this. I am not sure, you will need to check with your provider. The small investment is worth it though. Heck, those skinny jeans probably cost more!

Man with children on summer hike in Telluride, CO


How often do you exercise? I do about 45 minutes to one hour each and every day…even when I travel. Yes it is time consuming, but so very worth it for the mind and body. It helps me keep focus throughout the day & it gives me lots of energy. Besides, I love to eat so exercise is one of the ways I can fit in in my Lululemon.

As a teen I hardly exercised, in college a bit and in my late 20’s I started a more rigorous workout routine. In my early 30’s I ran 3 marathons and had 2 kids. I exercised throughout both pregnancies and bounced back into shape quickly.

Skiing is my favorite exercise of all time. I also like my coffee breaks…

Marla Meridith in Telluride with hot coffee
Understand that your exercise habits might change over time. Running no longer works for me. Yoga and light weight lifting do. I am also outside as much as possible. I love hiking, skiing and occasionally surfing. Walking is great too. Never underestimate a great walk.

exercise bands and 3 pund dumbells To squeeze a little more into a jaunt outside I sometimes bring an exercise band or light weights for upper body. While you walk you can do bicep curls, shoulder raises, triceps, chest presses and more.

Jack-o-lantern Halloween, Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tart recipe

Cook at Home

Of course we are all going to enjoy restaurant meals from time to time. It is a blast to go out with friends, family and on your own. I love trying new food and having someone else cook for me for a change.

When you can cook meals at home. Most take-out is loaded with sodium and ingredients that are engineered to taste good. That brings us back to EAT REAL FOOD. “Engineered” equals processed not real food. We tend to over eat this stuff because of the over sized portions and addictive refined ingredients.

Small roasted potatoes recipe with herbs and seasonings.

When you cook at home you will be more than likely to choose wise ingredients plus you have that handy dandy kitchen scale close by for portion control. The photos above are my Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Tart and Everyone’s Favorite Teeny Tiny Potatoes.

Healthy turkey sandwich, fresh fruit and frittata.

Mini Meals and Snacks

Have you noticed how it is way too easy to grab the wrong foods when you are starving? Don’t let yourself get too hungry. I eat 6 meals per day. Every day. 3 larger ones and 3 smaller. Works for me and might work for you too. You are more likely to stay on track when you have just the right amount of fuel in the tank at all times. Eating smaller amounts throughout the day is fun, you always have a meal to look forward too.

While on the topic of having small meals throughout the day. Pack a lunch box if you work away from home. We have been having great success with Project Lunch Box over here and would love if you joined us too.

Little girl on monkey bars in Telluride Colorado

Don’t Get Too Full

This is obvious but I thought I had to state it. If you feel too full then chances are you ate too much. I have not felt too full in a few years and that is a happy thing. Nothing feels worse than a bloated belly, lethargy and like you never want to eat again!

Besides you can’t hang upside down on the monkey bars of you are too full.

Homemade Coconut Banana Raspberry Chocolate popsicles recipe

Remember We are ALL Different

What works for your best buddy, your mom, your sister, your pet probably won’t work for you. We all have different metabolism and we need to embrace that. My body runs really well on a low carb diet. I feast on lean proteins, veggies and a good amount of fat. I go lighter on fruits and for me there are no refined flours and sugars. My kids are super young with rapid metabolism and they can eat more of what I can’t.

Lucky them!

Do you have any health, food or fitness tips that you would like to share? Please do!

Helpful Links

Please visit these pages here at Family Fresh Cooking to help get you started…you can learn a little about me too.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I simply share information that works for me and my family. If you have medical related issues please discuss them with your physician.
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