Well, I’m here to tell you that maintenance is possible. I’m a month in and I’m still unlearning all the things but paying way more attention than I ever have. I think that’s been one of the biggest gifts this year: paying attention. I got so used to the grind that I convinced myself that if I just didn’t pay attention (or conveniently distract myself with chicken wings and wine) that whatever this pace I was trying to keep up with would eventually solve itself. I guess what I didn’t realize was that I’d have to eventually deal with the consequences of not paying attention and that the energy it takes to actually pay attention took far less energy than the energy I spent feeling bad about NOT paying attention. Funny how that works, huh?

I also tested some new things these last two weeks, which included getting back in the kitchen and cooking and baking a ton of things. It’s kind of why I started this blog 10+ years ago (how has it been that long?). Plus, I’ve been listening to my friend T. Marie King who keeps reminding me that I NEED a hobby, so I’m rediscovering my hobbies of cooking and writing again and that’s been nice. (See? I listen sometimes.)

I also tried a new thing, which is definitely becoming a hobby of mine: Pilates! Where in the world has Pilates been all my life? My kiddos were talking about the fitness test at school and I’ve been passing along my hate for all things school fitness tests. When will we find a better way to embrace fitness at our schools? I failed the sit up, push up, one-mile run, and chin up test every year of my school life, I think. But do you know what I didn’t fail? Sit and reach. Do you know what my children are skunking everyone on? Yep, sit and reach. Pilates is the answer to my sit and reach dreams AND it is in air conditioning AND I don’t have to talk to anyone AND I have my own little area to be in BY MYSELF. So, take THAT, school fitness tests! Y’all run and sweat and shred while I sit and reach and shred in my own way. My kiddos don’t know this yet, but their sit and reach scores will come in handy when they turn 45. As my 10 year old says: “Bet.”

The biggest question I get is if I’ve gained weight since losing so much on Optavia. It’s only been a month, but I’ve held myself accountable by tracking my meals on Cronometer and I also consulted my friend Sonthe Burke (my favorite RD) on my goals. I’ve remained steady even while enjoying homemade s’mores with my kids and some of the recipes I’m listing below. I’m learning slowly but surely that if I’m paying attention, it affords me all kinds of options and choices I never thought were possible and that’s a big revelation for me. And so let’s get to the food, shall we?

Key to paying attention so that I can be balanced is sticking with a routine, which I so appreciate Optavia for helping me solidify. As a reminder, I got used to eating small meals every 2.5-3 hours on plan, so I’ve carried that with me into maintenance, which has been so helpful.

Breakfasts (around 6:30)

Almost ALWAYS some sort of toast (Dave’s Killer Bread Thin Seed or 21 Grain has been my go to)
1 tsp of Peanut Butter or Seed Butter
Half a banana (green) sliced on top
Always coffee with oat or almond milk

Mid-morning snack (around 9:30)

Always Siggi vanilla yogurt (2% / 5.3 ounce)
Fresh fruit (the other half of that green banana, berries, hemp seeds, drizzle of nut butter if I need it)
Sometimes an Optavia zesty lemon crisp bar

Lunch (around 12)

Always a salad I’ve prepped in advance on Sundays: Spinach or lettuce, roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, quinoa, feta, tahini dressing or dijon mustard vinaigrette I make in advance for the week, some dried cherries or golden raisins or cranberries, and some kind of nut (pecan, walnut, sunflower seeds). If I’m feeling fancy, I add some feta.

Snack (around 3)

Just ask my colleagues about my recent obsession with persimmons. Here’s what my desk looks like around 3!
I also add in some Optavia cereal or a handful of nuts.
This is an important snack for me because if I’m not careful, I’ll be incredibly hungry around supper time and start the snacky snack snacking. EAT WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY to avoid the snacky snack monster. Trust me.

Dinner (5:30 or 6)

Whatever I cook for the family, just in smaller amounts. Some recipes we’ve loved lately:
Barefoot Contessa Meatloaf
Our Savory Life’s Creamy Lemony Chicken and Potato Soup
Half Baked Harvest’s Creamy White Chicken Chili

Snack: (8 or 8:30)

Always always always my Optavia brownie with whipped cream. Always.

Other snacks we’ve been enjoying:

5-Ingredient Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Truffles
Barefoot Contessa Triple Chocolate Loaf Cakes
Barefoot Contessa Apple Pie Bars

Did I mention Halloween was last week? I had to try a few of the winning pieces my kiddos brought home, BUT… those Minimalist Baker’s Peanut Butter Truffles were so much better than anything I found in their bags.


Alexandra Andersson’s Meal Prep Videos


Vitamix Explorian Blender
Rubbermaid 4.7 Cup Brilliance Food Storage Container 5pc Set
Baloray Lunch Bag Tote Bag
Tatcha The Starter Ritual
Sorel Women’s Out N About Slip-On Wedge Bootie
Sorel Women’s Evie Pull-On Bootie
All the things on Wolf & Badger
Chandelier Candle
Fearless Candle
Cereal Candy
Bold Awakening Candle
Dear Mama Candle
Hanger Rack in Metal and Wood
Reusable Straws
Felt Coasters
World Market Christmas Decor
French Mauve Jacket (I wear the black one three times a week)


Black Food by Bryant Terry

Clinton teaches teens about going hungry at home

Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company

Uplifting the Student Vote

I Was the First Black Man in America to Earn a Michelin Star and I Want to Make Sure I’m Not the Last

The Ideas That Inspire Us

This video and more specifically this quote: “With gratitude, optimism is sustainable. If I can find gratitude in whatever I do, in whatever situation I am in, if I can find one little thing I’m grateful for, then it reverses the whole situation. It allows the possibility of grace, of something fantastic happening.” “https://people.com/tv/michael-j-fox-opens-up-about-painful-injuries-recovery-and-kind-acts-that-changed-his-life/

Hope to be back next week with another update…