About Me

My name is Steph and I’m just a girl who loves to cook.

IMG_6637That’s it really. My love of cooking and baking goes back a long ways, but my love of healthy cooking stems from my struggles, like many people, with weight, body image, and food issues for many years.

I was a fairly athletic and active kid and teen, but in my late teens and twenties, I adopted a more sedentary lifestyle combined with really poor eating habits. I dieted many times during that period and I lost and gained probably hundreds of pounds. I tried every diet, low carb, high carb, juicing, detoxing, cabbage soup, diet centers, green tea capsules, laxatives, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper drinks…everything!

“Your greatest responsibility is to live a life that nourishes your highest truth.” – Mollie Marti

In 2008, at 5′ 6″ and the age of 27, I reached my highest weight of 341 pounds. I felt extremely unhealthy, dejected, helpless and desperately focused on losing weight. Because of my short-sighted approach to the problem, I decided on what seemed like a quick-fix solution, which was not the gradual and balanced approach to weight loss and wellness that I now know is the only thing that really works when it comes to weight loss maintenance.

I don’t want to criticize or advocate any specific approach or method for losing weight and can only speak about my personal experience, but many approaches will work in the short term to lose weight. Whether it is extreme calorie restriction, excessive exercise, or even surgery – you’ll probably lose some, or even lots, of weight initially with any kind of plan. Different approaches work differently for different people and for different reasons. No judgement here. As I said, I believed every pitch, bought the DVDs and customized diets from the late night infomercials and ate nothing but fruits and vegetables for a week to ‘flush fat’ from my system. I now believe that I took the wrong approach by focusing on the outcome, rather than the process.

“Fall in love with the process, and the results will come.”

The real question when it comes to lasting weight loss and better overall health and wellbeing is, will your solution actually confront the problem?  In other words, will you keep excess weight off and become healthier and happier if you don’t get the necessary support to change your relationship with food and permanently alter your everyday habits? My experience says no. And again, I have tried everything.

I didn’t smile for the camera much back then.

Because I was so big and was looking for a quick solution and was more focused on thinness than overall health, I didn’t take the most balanced approach, make lasting changes to my daily eating and activity habits, or get the support I needed and eventually, I started to gain weight. After a couple years, I had re-gained about 60 pounds of the initial 140 pound weight loss. Feeling completely defeated, I knew I needed to do something different, so about a year ago I began a journey of change.

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” – Max DePree

At first, the change was slow. I started by deciding to cook more meals myself and eat out a lot less. I drank more water and started to be a little more active. I made a commitment to speak more kindly to myself and practice positive affirmations every day. I have had to change my relationship with food and figure out new ways to prepare and enjoy it. Any time I have failed at diets in the past, it was because I felt like I was on a diet and was basically waiting for it to be over. Shifting my thinking and making really delicious food that looked good too, I lost about 20 pounds of the re-gain in a few months, and then, in February of 2014 I decided to join Weight Watchers for additional tools, ideas and support and to date (26 April 2014) have lost an additional 20.8 pounds. I am now working towards a happy weight and more healthy general state of being.

For the last year or so, I have made a few significant changes to my approach and finally, I feel more confident than ever that I can get to goal – and stay there.  On my journey, I have learned a few tricks along the way about how to prepare food that is light, but also delicious. I share my recipes with you here.

IMG_5461
The occasional cupcake is still a must!

What do I mean by good food?

Good food should nourish, sustain, and connect us. Good food does not make us unhealthy, feel unwell, or cause us guilt, sadness, shame or helplessness.

Good living should include regular physical activity, a serious commitment to working on your emotional health in a variety of ways, and definitely the occasional treat in moderation!

All of my recipes and meal ideas incorporate as many natural and whole ingredients as possible and most include nutritional information and Weight Watchers PointsPlus values, as that’s the plan I follow these days.

My loves
My loves

I was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts and am the youngest of five from a big, loving, and loud family. I am married to my best friend, Rod who is my partner in love, fun and adventure and, along with my family, is my biggest supporter. We have a gorgeous and very smart 6 year-old daughter named Darcey (who was born during Rod’s first marriage, but we don’t use the term ‘step’ in our 100% family family) that we spend as much time with as we possibly can. I am a PhD student and teach college classes full-time in Media and Communication Studies while finishing my degree. Aside from cooking and baking, I love to be active, spend time with family and friends, travel, read and enjoy all kinds of music, movies and TV. I also love to follow recipe, diy, and beauty blogs and try out new ideas.

Follow my recipes and journey as I work on getting to goal!

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.” -William James


Follow me:  Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

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31 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I am super excited for your blog as I now have a place with all your recipes because I can’t keep them all straight on my phone, captured by screen shots!! 🙂 I have loved everything and am excited for more.

  2. Your “About Me” is wondering and really inspirational. I am also really excited about your blog! Can’t wait to see what other goodies are in store! 🙂

  3. Great to find the blog! Love your Instagram posts so this is even better! Thanks for taking so much time to help others!

  4. Steph… I think you are wonderful for sharing your journey with alot of people young or old that are struggling with weight issues. Keep up the great work, amazing cooking and positive attitude!! x

  5. you know i love you, i am so proud of you, i admire you strenhgh to do so many things and be so fearless… Congrats 😉

  6. Hi !
    I am so happy I found your blog, your recipes look delicious and I appreciate you sharing them. I would like to ask if you have a Sample Menu ? Something I can follow day by day ?
    Thank You(:

  7. Hello Steph,

    I see on your Instagram page you posted a crock pot meal with Chorizo and veggies…Can you put the recipe on your blog?

    Thanks!!
    WatchingWeight in Phx!

  8. I came across your blog looking for a light version of crumb cake and read the About Me section – you’re an amazing person! I’ve also struggled with my weight for years – my highest weight being 305 lbs when I graduated from college in 2002. I lost down to 178 and am now back up to 260 – it’s just so so hard – of course I did have a baby in Janurary, but even before that I was starting to gain my weight back. I think your perspective will definitely help. I actually joined Weight Watchers a month ago so it’s crazy I came across your blog because I saw a lot of similarities in our stories. I don’t really subscribe to a whole lot of things but I think keeping up with you and your recipes will help me be accountable as well. Thanks for sharing all of this!

  9. I came across your blog looking for a light version of crumb cake and read the About Me section – you’re an amazing person! I’ve also struggled with my weight for years – my highest weight being 305 lbs when I graduated from college in 2002. I lost down to 178 and am now back up to 260 – it’s just so so hard – of course I did have a baby in Janurary, but even before that I was starting to gain my weight back. I think your perspective will definitely help. I actually joined Weight Watchers a month ago so it’s crazy I came across your blog because I saw a lot of similarities in our stories. I don’t really subscribe to a whole lot of things but I think keeping up with you and your recipes will help me be accountable as well. Thanks for sharing all of this!

  10. I enjoyed reading your story, very inspirational! Your recipes look like food that isn’t lacking on flavor and I probably wouldn’t know that they are healthier than most things out there. I love to cook and bake like you, but I struggle with how to make my favorite foods healthier; I am then left feeling deprived and that I’ll never get to eat those foods again. How did you transform your cooking and baking to be healthy?

    1. Thanks Evan! I really try to minimize the high fat, high calorie ingredients and focus on cooking and baking methods that keep the flavor but don’t call for lots of fat. For example, instead of frying french fries, I spritz them with oil spray and bake. Little tweaks make a huge difference. At the same time, I do not exclude healthy fat, like avocado, olive oil, and peanut butter – but I always measure them and stay mindful of portions. This has to feel like a balanced lifestyle and never like deprivation or it will not be successful in the long run. Thanks again for your message!

  11. Good morning! Here it is January 15 and I am just discovering your blog!!!! Yay!!!! Impressive!!! I have been following you on Instagram for a few weeks now and absolutely love your posts, ideas and pictures of food!!! (of course, the occasional beauty tip and gorgeous outdoor shots are awesome!) It wasn’t until today that I decided to try your blog and I am so glad that I did!!! It was your post from approx 34 weeks ago that hit me the most – yes, I have been reading your posts from the past. Anyhow, the illustration of the arrow!!!! Wow!!!!! If only weightloss was a straight and narrow shot!!! My journey is that squiggly arrow to a “T”!!!! Ups, downs, lots and lots of swirls upon swirls!!!!! I too am a WW member – Lifetime it seems although NEVER reaching that LIFETIME status 😦 My husband did a year ago and he looks FANTASTIC!! Anyhow, I was looking back at my weight tracker – from 2011 until now. (Although I have been a member off and on for many years!) THERE IS THE ARROW!!! Up, down, up, down – blah blah blah. Well I made a decision with myself that 2015 would be MY year!!! My year to reach goal!!!! Yes!!! I will!!!! Weigh in is today as a matter of fact!! I want you to know that I am so happy that I found you!!! You are an inspiration and I know that your ideas, recipes and thoughts will help me along the way!!!! Thank you!!!! You are a very busy woman – a wife, a mom, a student and an unbelieveable “blogger”, “instagramer”……I just want you to know that I APPRECIATE what you are doing to help others like myself 🙂 Have a great day!!!
    Carey 🙂
    from Toledo OH

    1. Wow, Carey – thank you so much for this post! Sometimes when you are blogging it feels very much like talking to yourself, and that’s part of the therapy of it, just like journaling. The thing I love most is the opportunity to connect with people who share my struggles and can say, “I get it”, that seriously makes me feel like I can accomplish my goals because I am not alone. That crooked arrow is how things really work, as much as we would love for it to be simple and straightforward, life never is! The ups and downs are all part of the learning and each learning experience gives us a little more knowledge to apply to the bigger journey. I know 2015 is going to be your year. You will get lifetime status. I believe in you! 🙂 Thanks again xx

  12. Thanks so much for your story! I really enjoy your real approach to being healthy, no gimmicks just good healthy meals! I’m trying get healthier myself and i enjoy following your recipes on IG and your blog. Thanks for motivating me keep going.

  13. Thanks so much for your instagram. I started following you on there a few months ago and love your posts so much. I was doing Weight Watchers (joined in January 2015) and lost 30 pounds this year. I recently found out I was pregnant, but want to continue my weight loss plan. Were you still actively trying to lose weight while pregnant? What kind of a plan did you follow (if any)? I will ask my doctor about this when I go in for my first appointment in three weeks, but thought I would ask you now while I’m thinking about it and seeing your IG posts. Also, are you able to do Weight Watchers while breast feeding? Thanks for any insight you can provide.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Katie! When I read comments like this I feel really inspired to continue sharing my journey. I did not actively try to lose weight while pregnant. I really tried to eat healthy foods but also indulged quite a bit and put on weight. Now that I’ve had the baby and am not nursing, I am back on Weight Watchers to try to lose the weight and reach my goal. They do have an option for those that are breastfeeding which includes more points. Congratulations on your pregnancy, it really is a wonderful experience! 🙂

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