5 Tips To Avoid Dreaded Winter Weight Gain

I am sorry but waking up to 30-degree temperatures in November in Charleston is simply insane.

I guess there is no denying it, summer is out and winter is quickly rolling in.

A change in season doesn’t just mean colder temperatures and shorter days…It means oversized clothes that cover trouble spots, and meals that deliver comfort and warmth. Both of which are known to yield winter weight gain.

During the summer, our bodies are more of a focus. We’re wearing less clothing, we want to feel comfortable taking the kids to the beach/pool and our appetites are decreased.

High temperatures is the reason we crave lighter fare like fish, grilled chicken, and salads during the summer.

But falling temperatures (like the ones we saw last week) changes it all. In an effort to keep our bodies warm, our metabolism is increased. That’s all great, except that it also boosts our hunger sensors. We want more food and we want food that fills.

Suddenly heavy meals like lasagna, beef stroganoff, and baked potatoes smothered in chili and cheese make their way to the dinner table. Not that anyone is complaining, because let’s face it… those foods are amazing.

But combine those comfort meals with sweaters and comfortable leggings and you’re suddenly outlining a weight loss resolution for the New Year.

I want you, your husband and your family to kick off the year feeling better than ever. Not having to have the talk of “oh we’re going to start making some changes around here” (that’s never fun).

Follow these tips to stay looking fabulous this winter!

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The Pumpkin Workout For The Whole Family

Even those with the best intentions will be eating an extra piece of candy (or two or three) this week. It’s okay, and believe it or not, I encourage it. Trying to avoid your kids fun sized candy bars is like trying to avoid the stomach bug when everyone in the house has it… impossible.

The more you try to avoid it, the more likely you are to lie to your kids that Dad ate all of their Reese’s and Tootsie Rolls (though you know it was really you). So don’t try to avoid the sugary pull. Practice self control and work to enjoy just 1-2 pieces.

If you do find yourself enjoying a few too many candies, then that’s what this workout is for!

Make it even more fun by bringing the kids into it. Have them use a small (decorative) pumpkin and get the whole family working out.

Then after the workout is done, enjoy a small box of Sugar Babies. Just kidding.

The Pumpkin Workout

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Spooktacular Spectacular Trick-Or-Treat Energy Bites

Is it really almost Halloween? Wasn’t it just Labor Day? I guess the old saying is true: time flies when you’re having fun.

Lately, there has been a lot of fun going on in my kitchen. Anytime there is a festive holiday approaching, you can assume that healthy (and non-healthy) food bloggers are coming up with some themed treats just for the occasion.

I’m no different, except that I purposely spent some time brainstorming Halloween treat ideas that could be extremely hands on for the kids.

After all, studies show that kids that help prepare food are more likely to eat it, even if it’s healthy, knowing that they played a part in the process.

Energy bites are a staple in our home. Each weekend I put together a huge batch for the upcoming week. They’re easy to make, packed with energy and easy to grab for on-the-go snacks or to toss in a lunch box. Though you might have to hide them if you want them to last more than an hour!

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Top 5 Family Friendly Fall Races In Charleston

With morning temperatures in the 60s, I have one thing on my mind: Running.

This time of year is a runner’s paradise. Those who had been hibernating during Charleston’s humid summers are digging for their running shoes and Garmins to make their way back out onto their familiar roads and paths.

And those who had been toying with the idea of taking up running are now taking action and seeing what their feet are capable of.

Yes, running in Charleston is in full swing. That also means races in Charleston are a dime a dozen. Personally, I’ve already committed myself to doing 4 races within 5 weeks. It’s hard not to over race when there are so many great opportunities each weekend.

I’ve done a lot or races over the years, so I thought I would share my personal favorites coming up. These are the ones that aren’t too big or too small. The races that you can even have your kids participate in without feeling worried they’ll get trampled (the bridge run will never make this list).

Top 5 Family Friendly Fall Races

1. Crowfield 5K.

I did this race its inaugural year and have loved it ever since. With just a few hundred people, it’s the perfect size for new and experienced runners. The start line is at Middleton park, which is perfect for kids to stay occupied as they wait for the race to begin. The trails through Crowfield are my favorite running paths in Charleston, with fall canopies overhead, you’ll beat the sun as you cross the finish line. Click for info.

2. Turkey Day Run.

I’ve never actually run this 5K race due to family Thanksgiving traditions, however I’ve heard nothing but great things. It’s going to be on the larger side in terms of race participants. However, if you enjoy seeing people dressed in Turkey Day garb then you’ll want to be there. Click for info.

3. Pajama Run 5K.

Wake up, roll out of bed and get to the start of the race? Sounds like a plan. This race is so much fun. The atmosphere is great, the course is easy to navigate and having a guy run by you wearing a giant onesie is priceless. The Pajama Run is great, but the after party is pretty amazing too. Great food, music and if you care about race shirts, they have the best each year. Click for info.

4. Reindeer Run.

Though it’s all about Christmas, it takes place at the beginning of December, so I’m adding it to my fall list. This is my favorite race in Charleston. Snow machines sprinkle down flurries, Santa dances on a stage and even dogs are welcome to run (as long as they have antlers on of course). It’s a race party that you and your kids will love. If you only choose one, do this race! Click for info.

5. Race For The Cure.

This race is huge, and the energy is even bigger. If you’re looking for a laid back walk/run event then this is perfect. If you are aiming for a personal record, still do this race, but know you won’t likely hit your PR. It’s for a great cause and aside from the run there are so many great events going on to keep you and the kids busy for hours. Make an entire morning out of it on gorgeous Daniel Island. Click for info.

You’ll notice that I only mentioned 5K distances. 5Ks are perfect for everyone: beginners, advanced, stroller pushers and even kids. Several of these events have fun runs (usually 1 mile) that are perfect for little ones before or after the main race. There are several other race distances going on in Charleston, too, make sure to check out Active.com to see what peaks your interest!

A few I know of: 

Check them out and trail for a run together as a family. It’s a great way to get out and enjoy the cool temperatures and each other.


Fall For Fall With This Delicious Cinnamon Apple Bread Recipe

It’s actually fall in the Lowcountry?

As someone born and raised in Charleston, I can say that this feels like a first! Crisp mornings with low humidity days? Don’t question it, just appreciate this time and fall in love with fall.

Autumn conjures up thoughts of pumpkin lattes; bowls of chili while watching football; and rich, cinnamon apple treats.

While I adore pumpkin, I think that it gets far too much attention. Apples, my friends, that’s  fall. And in case you’ve been craving freshly picked honey crisps and pink ladies, like I have, rest assured that many of the local venders are selling North Carolina apples at the market.

But what’s a person to do with a bundle of apples? Make this bread. This was the outcome after finding myself looking at far too many apples for a single family to eat…

It’s become a fall staple in our home. My family simply goes wild the second they smell the aroma of the nutmeg, cinnamon, and apples all baking together.

Slice it up when still slightly warm and add a smear of almond butter. Now you’ve got a wonderful breakfast to feast on. Or a snack you feel comfortable giving your kids because you know it’s loaded with healthy fiber, protein, complex carbs and antioxidants.

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The Smart Mom’s Guide To Fitness


Getting frustrated when things don’t go your way is easy… especially when it has something to do with “your time”.  It’s easy to let out a loud sigh of disappointment and stomp away letting everyone around you (especially your husband) know that you’re upset.

But you’re a smart mom, and smart mom’s react differently.

For today, “your time” is specifically your fitness time. Those 30 minutes that you pray you’ll have for a workout and to devote 100% to yourself. For your sanity!

What’s the best way to handle your workout program so that everyone is happy? Well, here’s the Smart Mom’s Guide To Fitness to answer just that.

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Foods That Cost Less At The “Health Food” Stores


I remember the days when I used to be able to buy a week’s worth of groceries for both my husband and me for under $75. Those days are long gone.

Food prices continue to creep up. And as I have learned more and more about food and nutrition over the past decade, the quality of food that enters my house has only allowed my grocery bill to climb even more.

We want to provide the best for our families, and that often means spending more money on organic, all-natural, and fresh foods. Luckily, I’ve learned a thing or two about weekly grocery shopping so that I don’t go into cardiac arrest when the cashier announces my total.

The biggest lesson… Some items are cheaper when purchased at the high-end stores. Not all foods, but several.

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The 12-Minute Puma Detox Workout

After a somewhat overindulgent weekend, it’s time to get back on track and up the antics of our workouts.

Anytime I have a weekend that is filled with more sweets and cheat foods than I prefer, I find that kicking off the week with a workout a bit more intense than normal helps to “detox” my body and get me back on track.

Please don’t take that to mean I am suggesting you spend hours in the gym or running crazy amounts of miles to justify a weekend of splurges. A detox workout doesn’t have to take forever, it just has to get your heart pumping, muscles working and your body moving.

That’s why I designed the following workout.

It’s only 12 minutes long, and because it requires absolutely no equipment, your kids might want to join in too!

The Puma Pounce Workout

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4 Ways To Secretly Make Foods Healthier

One thing that has always surprised me is the instant “turn off” that healthy food gets.

I can make a delicious batch of sugar-free cookies and if I don’t announce they’re healthy, they’ll be devoured within seconds. I’ll be left cleaning crumbs and wishing I had set one aside for myself.

But if I make the announcement:

“Try these vegan, sugar-free cookies!”

I’ll be left with a plate full of 1/2 eaten cookies. Not that this upsets me, it means more for me.

But it is frustrating and I’ve learned over the years that what my family doesn’t know, won’t hurt them. In fact, it will help them because I am making sure their pallets are still happy but they’re getting an extra boost of nutrients simultaneously.

What kind of “healthy stuff” gets snuck in?

4 Secret Ingredients To Make Your Food Healthier

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7 Things Fit People Do That You Should Copy

When I started my boot camp business and blog, I looked at other businesses that were running similar programs and had similar ideas. I talked with other trainers and bloggers to see what worked for them and what didn’t work.

And then…

I copied them.

Our cat Nike

It’s the first rule of life, find what works and follow along.

The same is true if you want to be fit and healthy.

Simply, put yourself in the shoes of another who is already fit and healthy. And then wear those shoes proudly.

What makes them any different from you? Well, find out what they’re doing that you’re possibly not, right here.

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