Dairy-Free Pesto You Can Eat on ANYTHING

This recipe will officially help you Fit Yo Pants!

My man likes to say that “pesto is fancy-people ranch,” and I think he’s right. Pesto is one of those condiments, like ranch, that tastes good on just about anything. And it makes most things taste a whole lot better.

Since I’m kinda enjoying the dairy free life right now (thanks to the Whole30), I wanted to create a dairy-free pesto that tasted just as amazing as the original version. The secret ingredient? Lemon juice (not pictured!), which adds the same tang that parmesan cheese does in standard recipes. I also bulked up this recipe with fresh baby spinach – basically for volume.

You’ll need (makes 6-8 servings):

  • about 4 cups fresh basil
  • about 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup olive oil. I used a garlic version from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have garlic olive oil, add a clove or two of garlic to the mix.
  • juice from one lemon
  • ¾ cup pine nuts (toasted if you like – mine weren’t)
  • lots of salt and pepper

Make it:

  • In your food processor, blend the greens down.
  • Add pine nuts and blend those.
  • Drizzle olive oil through the spout as you continue to blend.
  • Add lots of salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat this stuff on literally ANYTHING. I first tried it on spaghetti squash, but I think it would be amazing on any meat (chicken or steak, especially) and veggies. All the flavor, none of the bad stuff. A total Fit Yo Pants-worthy condiment!

It's Time to Fit Yo Pants!

We all have that one pair of pants that used to fit us, but are now just a little too tight to squeeze into. Or maybe they zip, but they just don’t fit like they used to (muffin top?). I know I have a couple pairs like that. Before you retire them for good (and shell out your hard-earned cash for new ones), we’re going to give one last, concerted effort to fit into them with the Fit Yo Pants Challenge!

Here’s my promise: If you give me some energy and focus and put in WORK, we’ll have you fitting into yo pants by December 1 (just in time for the holidays).

You in? Here’s how it works*:

  • Pick a pair of goal pants by Friday, October 19.
  • Email me a picture of you in them, as far as you can get them on (your face can absolutely be obscured) by October 19 at midnight EST.
  • Make a definitive decision that you WILL fit yo pants by December 1, but stay away from them until then! They don’t fit right now, yo.
  • Stay tuned to the blog for tips, recipes, and advice throughout the rest of October and November.
  • On December 1, you’ll try the same pants on again. If they fit, send me another email of you in yo (now fitting) pants.
  • All the successful Fit Yo Pantsers will be entered to be randomly selected to win a $100 Amazon gift card (furnished by yours truly). But you’re only entered to win if you FIT YO PANTS, so you have to take the next month and a half seriously!

Some tips for the Fit Yo Pants Challenge:

  • For your challenge pants, pick a pair that ALMOST fit, but maybe don’t quite zip, or don’t really sit right, or give you a lil muffin top.
  • Don’t pick a pair that are clearly more than one size too small. It’s completely unrealistic to drop more than a pants size or two in 6 weeks.
  • If you own pants that are more than one or two sizes too small, please consider donating them!
  • Take this challenge seriously! For the next six weeks, you’re going to be focused on fitting yo pants. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some treats here or there, but we’re going to have a serious talk about getting rid of treats that aren’t special or aren’t making you feel good (more on that to come).
  • In addition to being entered to win $100 for fitting yo pants, you’ll also be saving the money you’d spend on new pants… so keep that in mind!

So, are you in?! I think this challenge will be an awesome way to spend the next month and a half, so I hope you’re excited! I’m going to be posting Fit Yo Pants tips, recipes, and advice at least a few times a week, so keep checking back here. Get ready to FIT YO PANTS, people!

A note about why we’re doing this (for those of you that have some concerns that it sounds a little too close to a women’s magazine’s “Fit into Your Skinny Jeans Today!” type of headlines): I hate using scales to gauge health/fitness/weight. They just suck and are often completely inaccurate. But I do like having health goals, and I do like challenging myself to get back on track when I’ve been a little off. This challenge is one way to help us use something other than the scale to track progress. Plus, I really like being able to fit into my clothes (just sayin’). I don’t want this challenge to be just about aesthetics. It’s about setting a goal for yourself and reaching it (and feeling dang good about it).

*The fine print: Must be 18 or older to enter. Only valid to U.S. participants. Prize value $100. This giveaway isn’t associated or sponsored by Tumblr. When you submit your photos, you’re releasing them to me, not Tumblr.

The Fit Yo Pants Workout You Can Do with a Friend!

Last week, I asked you to commit to moving your body for 20-45 minutes, four times a week.  I don’t care what you do, you just have to move! But if you need some inspiration for that movement, I’m here for you. This is a workout you can do with a friend, so you should have some extra motivation/encouragement! You also won’t need any extra equipment for this workout, so you have no excuse not to try it out.

The Fit Yo Pants Friend Workout

Here’s how it works: You’ll do each of the below movements for a total of five minutes (set a timer on your phone or use a stopwatch). You can break up the five minutes however you want with your friend. You can switch off every minute or every certain number of reps (10 or 20). See what works best! Just make sure you’re working for about the same amount of time as each other. Make sure to cheer each other on and don’t let each other give up! When you’re done, you’ll have worked out for about 20 minutes each, but I bet it won’t feel like that long.

The moves:

5 minutes of mountain climbers

5 minutes of pushups

5 minutes of squats

5 minutes of burpees

5 minutes of situps

5 minutes of lunges (make sure to work evenly on both sides)

5 minutes of running quickly (not quite a sprint). If you don’t have somewhere to run, do jumping jacks instead.

5 minutes of plank

If you try it, let me know how it goes!

October-Appropriate Pumpkin Chili

This recipe will officially help you Fit Yo Pants!

I know that when most of you see the word “pumpkin” in a recipe title, you roll your eyes. I get it. Trust me, I do. But sometimes that ubiquitous squash just makes a recipe really special. This is one of those times. And really, we only get to abuse pumpkin for a couple months out of the year, so let’s make the most of it!

The addition of pumpkin in what is otherwise a fairly standard chili recipe adds a warmth and depth of flavor most chilis just can’t accomplish. I also think it makes it a bit more hearty.

You’ll need (makes 4-6 servings):

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used grass-fed 85/15). If you want to keep it vegetarian, you could use beans instead – kidney or black would work best. You could also use beans in addition to the ground beef.
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin
  • 42 oz diced tomato (fire-roasted works well). I used a 28-oz. can and a 14-oz. can.
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper (or 2 small guys), chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper (if you like spice)
  • 1-2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp  cayenne
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make it:

  • Saute the beef, onions, and peppers in olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot until the beef loses most of its pink. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add tomatoes, pumpkin, and all spices.
  • Simmer for as long as you can, but at least 20 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

The First Step on the Road to Fit Yo Pants

All your pics have been submitted. You’re ready to fit yo pants. Now, the only question remaining is HOW?

The first thing I need you to do – the first step to fitting yo pants, if you will – is to recognize that whatever you’re doing right now needs to change. You don’t fit yo pants right now, and you clearly want to, so you need to do something different.

I’m not going to be able to tell you exactly what that different thing is, because I don’t know your story or your lifestyle, but I do know that a shift needs to happen. If you’re the kind of person who needs to be told exactly what to do, it might be worth considering getting a Your Healthista Consulting personalized plan. But for the next 5.5 weeks, something’s gotta change.

For those of you that are ready to commit to changing things a bit RIGHT NOW so you can fit yo pants (and feel awesome in the process), here are a few second (and third, and forth) steps to take.

  • Commit to getting rid of processed foods, except when they’re treats (see below). I’m putting this one first because it’s the toughest. Even if you think you eat pretty well, take a really close look at your diet and figure out where processed crap is creeping in. Low-fat yogurt? Flavored oatmeal? Sweetened peanut butter? Packaged chips/bread/cereal/etc.? The more ingredients, the more likely it is that food is a processed no-no. These types of foods (and I don’t care how “low fat” or “low cal” they are) will NOT help you fit yo pants, and they really have no place in your diet except as a once-in-a-while treat. So you need to get those out of your life right now, except when they’re a designated treat. Speaking of treats…
  • Commit to only having treats when they’re truly worth it (or no more than 1-3x/week). What’s a treat? To me, a treat is anything with more white carbs/sugar than any other macronutrient (protein or good fat). We know that our bodies have no use for white carbs/sugar, but we also know that they’re delicious. And unless you have an issue with overeating carbs (there are plenty of us who do), they don’t need to be eliminated completely. But you need to make sure that every sugary or carby thing you eat is WORTH IT. To decide if a treat is worth it, check out my post on the Here and Now Concept. Another good way to determine if something’s worth it or not is to use this handy flow chart.

    Just so we’re all clear, here are some examples of treats: bread, pasta, most cereals, candy, any dessert, alcohol, store-bought juice… you get the point. Even “whole wheat” or “whole grain” breads and pastas should count as a treat even though they’re not white. The small amount of additional fiber and protein they have doesn’t cancel out the fact that the main nutrient they provide is carbs. You can get plenty of carbs from all the fruits and veggies you’re eating!

  • Commit to finding a way to move your body for at least 20-45 minutes four times a week. At this point in the game, I don’t care what you do to get some physical activity in. It could even be walking. Just commit to getting it done four times a week for 20 minutes, minimum. As we progress through this challenge, I’ll be posting workouts and other fitness tips, but I need you to commit right now to making this time available for physical activity.

  • Commit to spending 2-3 hours/week cooking. No matter how you slice it (pun 100% intended), fitting yo pants will probably require some time in the kitchen on your part. You need to find this time NOW. Look at your schedule for the week and decide when you can spend a couple hours prepping food in the kitchen. You might be hard boiling eggs, baking sweet potatoes, roasting veggies, making frittata – whatever you need on hand for the week. Again, I’ll be posting lots of yummy recipes throughout the challenge, but you need to commit the time to make them!

  • Commit to making room in your life for change. Like I said at the beginning of this post, you need to be open to changing some of your lifestyle habits if you want to fit yo pants. You need to make mental room for these changes right now. I know it won’t always be easy, but it will always, always be worth it.

If you can commit to those things right now, I promise you, the next five or so weeks won’t be hard. Starting today, get rid of all the excess treats in your life. Make time for exercise 20-45 minutes four times a week (schedule it in now!). Make a mental commitment to focus for the next five weeks to see what you’re capable of. If you do all that, I promise I’ll post an awesome recipe for you tomorrow (okay, I’m gonna post it anyway, but I’ll feel better doing it if you commit!).

Good? Good.

A Post-Thanksgiving Workout to Help You Fit Yo Pants

So! Did we all survive Thanksgiving? Is it even worth repeating all the post-Thanksgiving cliches? (“I survived… Plus a couple pounds!” “Ugh, I ate more pumpkin pie than I should have,” “I must have gained 10 POUNDS this week!”).

Alright, alright. Let’s skip the Thanksgiving weight cliches and skip right to the part where we all get back on track – eating lots of whole foods, minimizing the sugar/processed carbs, and focusing on getting plenty of protein and healthy fat. Deal? Deal.

With just a week left of the Fit Yo Pants Challenge, I admit I’ve done a pretty bad job of providing inspirational workouts and recipes for you guys. I hope you’ve been focusing on fitting yo pants for the past month or so! Just a week or so left until I’ll be asking for your after pics.

To help you out this last week, here’s a toughie-but-goodie workout that will make you forget all about those silly Thanksgiving weight gain cliches. Oh, and it snowed for the first time here! Which means it’s too cold for me to work out outside. Luckily, you can do this one in the comfort of your own warm living room(but do enjoy the pretty winter-inspired background of the workout!).

Fit Yo Pants Result Highlights

I wanted to share some of your amazing Fit Yo Pants Challenge results, because they’re pretty amazing!

First up, here’s Elizabeth:

The last side profile is an amazing difference in just six weeks!

Next up, queenbliss:

To help her stay motivated, she says: “I kept the pants on the hanger and saw them every morning when I woke up and every time I went to bed. I knew I couldn’t let myself down as I had many times in the past.”

Here’s Alyssa:

Those are some crazy results! Here’s how she did it: “I worked out 6 days a week, for an hour most days. I would do 10-20 minutes of circuit training and yoga or barre style workouts for the rest. There were definitely more treats in my diet than you recommended, but I consider myself an intuitive eater, so I only ate when hungry and didn’t overindulge too much.”

Check out Nicole’s results:

Catrina’s progress:

Awesome work! Catrina says, “To fit my pants, I ate healthier foods and cut out all drinks except for water. I’ve been running four times a weeks since I started my fitness journey.”

Stacey was really excited to lose inches, though she says her pants are still a bit snug:

Stacey says, “How did I do it? Portion control and increased exercise. Portion control was the easy part. Along with the discipline to say ‘no thank you’ when offered sweets or carbs at work.  Now that is dedication! As for exercise I kept track of my weekly minutes. To challenge myself by doing more but also not overdoing it either. Did I mention that I work in retail??? I am so proud that I was able to even loose anything during the hardest month out of the year. Let alone Black Friday!!! To be totally honest I wasn’t expecting to loose anything.”

Congrats and thanks to all on your fantastic work! It’s not the easiest time to decide to make healthier choices, so your progress is extra impressive. The randomly selected winner of the $100 gift card is…

Laura M.! Email me to claim your prize.

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Be proud of yourselves, fo reals.

Have You Picked Yo Pants?

You have until tomorrow at midnight to pick yo pants for Fit Yo Pants! Remember, pick a pair that’s a smidge (the uber-scientific term for “around one size”) too small. If your pants look like this, they’re not right for this challenge.

All you have to do is send me a pic of you in yo pants (hide your face if you want!) by midnight EST tomorrow to be entered in the challenge. Thanks to those of you that already sent your pic! If you fit yo pants by Dec. 1, you’ll be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card! All the deets, rules, etc., are here.

And once again, here’s why we’re doing this:

  • Not fitting yo pants is a sucky feeling.
  • Have to buy new pants can also suck ($$!).
  • Non-scale goals are best.
  • Setting a realistic, time-sensitive goal and then making a plan to get there (don’t worry, I got you covered!) is one really easy way to feel good about yourself. Fitting yo pants is just one reward for completing this challenge. Feeling good about meeting your goal is the real reward (corny but true).
  • I promise to help you fit yo pants if you follow my advice and put in some effort!

Starting next week, I’ll be posting stuff to help you fit yo pants, but it will be up to you to make it happen!

Green Soup with Ham (Meatballs)

This recipe will officially help you Fit Yo Pants!

Whoa! I feel like I haven’t been here in a while. How’s are all the Fit Yo Pantsers doing? We have a little less than a month to go, so I hope you’re making some progress and committing to all the things I asked you to.

I’m coming to you with a rich, hearty soup that will fill you up as it helps you fit yo pants!It’s full of green veggies, satisfying pork, and warming broth. Yeah, yeah, there’s no actual ham in it, but I couldn’t resist the title!

You’ll need (makes 6-8 servings):

  • 2 boxes chicken broth or stock (or you can use 1.5 boxes + water to make up the rest of the liquid)
  • 1 bunch kale*, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 large leeks*, washed thoroughly and chopped
  • 1-2 lbs green beans*, cut into thirds or fourths
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

*You can sub in ANY green veggie if you don’t have these on hand! Broccoli, spinach, zucchini – whatever you got.

Make it:

  • Add the olive oil to a large sauce pan. Start sauteing the leaks over medium heat, then add the green beans.
  • As your veggies cook, roll your pork into bite-sized meatballs and then add to the pot.
  • Cook everything together for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to smush the meatballs.
  • Add the chicken broth and kale, then bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer soup until the kale softens and the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Season with LOTS of salt, pepper, crushed red pepper (for spice), and any other spice that strikes your fancy!

Weird? A little bit. Delicious? You bet.

Last Day to Join the Fit Yo Pants Challenge!

You have until midnight tonight (EST) to send me a pic of you in your just-a-tad-too-small pants. Don’t worry, I won’t publish your pic (though if you win, I might ask your permission to anonymously post your before and after!) If you fit yo pants by Dec. 1, you’re entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card! All the deets/rules here.

All you have to do to start the challenge is send me a pic. I’ve got the rest covered, and a plan to help you fit to pants is coming on Monday!

Do You Fit Yo Pants?!

The Fit Yo Pants Challenge is officially over, and it’s time to pick a winner!

If you completed the challenge and now fit yo pants, first of all, CONGRATS! Amazing job, you. Way to dedicate yourself and meet your goal!

Second of all, if you want to be entered to win the $100 Amazon gift card, you’ll need to send me an “after” pic with you fitting yo pants by Wednesday, 12/5 at midnight EST. In your email, please also include:

  • If you’re okay with your pic going on the blog and if so,
  • a few sentences about how you were able to fit yo pants and…
  • a link to your blog, if you’d like!

I’ll randomly select a winner out of those who SEND ME AN EMAIL on Thursday, 12/6. Congrats again to all who participated!