a confession, pantry organizing & salad jars

by | Apr 10, 2018 | a slice of life, Balance | 81 comments

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle has been a challenge for me.  We’ve been through P90x and Whole30 together.  I’ve shared my successes and I’ve shared my failures.  For those of you who have worked hard, lost weight, and gained it back, well…  I’m right there with you.

I haven’t even wanted to write about it on my blog, because it’s a big, embarrassing, failure.

Why, oh why, can I not get it (and keep it) together in this area of my life?!?

My weight crept up a bit over the past couple of years, but I have gained over 10 lbs since I moved.  And I’m really feeling it!  I’m tried of looking at a closet of clothes and wondering what will fit.  I’m tired of dreading shopping for clothes.  I’m tired of being out of shape when I was once pretty strong and fit.  I’m tired of starting a plan and quitting, because I just don’t want to do it.

I have finally made up my mind to stop ignoring it and making excuses.  It finally occurred to me that I need to take the way I’ve been approaching art and apply it to health and fitness.

Progress over perfection.  Put time into it every day (or most days) and all of that time will add up to visible progress.  Make room for it in my life, because it’s important to me.  Invest in tools that will help me be successful.  Listen to and read things that are motivating, inspiring, and educational.  Start right where I am.

So, I’m doing it.  I’m not doing a plan.  I’ve done dozens of plans and I don’t need another plan.  I know what I need to do and I just need to do it.  So, I’m doing it.  Maybe I’ll share details down the road.

But, first things first.  Healthy eating starts at the grocery store and this is where I often get into trouble and make compromises.  If I bring my favorite yummy things into the house, I will eat them, so I need to stop bringing them into the house.  At least for a time.

I also need to stock our pantry and fridge with yummy things that are healthy.  And that’s what I worked on this weekend.  I threw away anything that would get me into trouble and stocked up on things that won’t sabotage my goals.

I started doing this a few years ago, but I like to take most foods out of their boxes and put them in jars or airtight plastic containers.  I also like to use larger open bins to contain small things, like snack bags for the boys, onions & potatoes, small cans and packets, etc.

(The pantry basket is THIS ONE from Target.)

It not only looks neater, but it’s a much more efficient use of space.  There is so much bulk in most packaging.  And the locking lids keep food fresher longer.  Most bagged food in my house wouldn’t get closed properly, but everyone will put these lids back on.

THESE are my favorite kind of container.  I’ve had some of mine for years and not one has broken.  These OXO containers are nice, too.

I have lots of nuts and seeds for snacks as well as some parmesan crisps.  All of my other snacks will be things like veggies, fruit, olives, cheese, yogurt, etc.

I also took some time after grocery shopping to chop up some of the produce, so it’s ready to snack on, cook for a meal, or pack it to go.

I also use a lot of containers in the fridge.  I find the produce boxes really do help fruits and veggies last longer.  THESE are my favorite.  I have an OXO one as well (the one with raspberries in it), but the lid doesn’t lock on it, so it’s a box of spilled berries waiting to happen.

And I made a bunch of salad jars.  It really is amazing how well lettuce and other salad fixings keep in glass jars!  These don’t look like a lot, but I really cram the lettuce in, so it makes a huge salad…

I’ll add avocado, nuts, dressing, etc. after I dump out the salad.

I have also started exercise.  I was walking regularly when it was warmer, but it was too cold (and snowy) last week.  I’ve also started strength training and working on core and flexibility with pilates and yoga.  Man, I have so far to go!  I am toying with the idea of making some videos as I attempt it, just so I can see my progress in a few months!  They will be comical, I know, but an encouragement as well.  Eventually.

Just like with my art…  I need to not let the fact that it might not look great in the beginning stop me from starting.

For motivation and information, I’m listening to the Cut the Fat podcast.  I’m 5 episodes in and it’s excellent.

I’ll share more on my Instagram stories, if you’re interested in following what I’m doing a little closer.

So, here’s to ugly yoga poses, slow jogs, embarrassingly winded cardio, and barely-bent squats!  Bring it all on.

It can only get better from here!


  1. Janet Metzger

    Morning Marian,
    For the last few months, my hubby and I have cut added sugars and bad carbs out of our diet. I was getting very discouraged because it seemed like I was not seeing any results. Then a friend said my face looked thinner! I ran home and weighed myself and sure enough…I had lost 8 lbs!! I guess it came off so slowly (like I put it on) that I had not noticed it. We now eat good lean meats, lots of veggies and salads, we snack on nuts and cheeses. I switched to unsweetened almond milk, which I now prefer to reg milk. We don’t worry so much about fats, but rather avoid sugars. I have not had a potato, rice, regular bread or pasta for a while now and really do not missed it. Amazing what you can get used to.
    My motivation in addition to my health is the upcoming wedding of my eldest son. I want to look good and feel good in a pretty dress.
    Good luck to you…I know you can succeed. I am cheering you on from Warrenton, Va!
    The Empty Nest

    • Kim Smith

      Janet – this is awesome. KETO living. I believe this is the answer for me too! I’ve been doing this for 2 wks and it is so hard but I already feel better. I hope I see the same results.
      Thanks to Marian for the motivation!

  2. Elizabeth

    I’ve been sticking to 3 meals a day, and no mindless snacking for a long time now. I have slowly lost 47 pounds over the last two years. I eat what I want for meals, but I always count calories and know how much I’m putting in my mouth. This is the only way I’ve been able to lose. Fad diets have never worked for me. Eating healthy and drinking lots of water leaves me with so much more energy and my skin looks so much better too.
    Your frig and pantry are well stocked for success!

  3. Lisa M Ackley

    You go girl!!! I love your honesty! I too struggle, and it only get more challenging with age. I have been inspired and encouraged by your writings. Keep up the good work!

  4. Kaye

    I really needed to read that this morning! I too have been struggling for the past several months, so I appreciate your honesty. I love all the containers and organized/prepped produce in your pantry and fridge. Sunday I cleaned out my fridge but that’s as far as I’ve gotten, so thank you for getting me motivated to finish the job!

    You’re awesome Marian!

    • Kathy

      Read Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stevens. I lost 85# and 3 medications!

  5. Marianne

    I’m 51 and pudgy. I’ve been exercising, at home, since Thanksgiving and my strength has improved dramatically. I still need to get the nutrition side improved. So, not matter how unbent those lunges may be you will feel a great change. Good for you!

  6. Margaret Robinson

    Best of luck and thanks for sharing (which can’t be easy)!!

  7. Kate

    I eat pretty well, but I’m a slacker with exercise. I was walking daily, even when it was very cold. Then we all got the flu and it took a couple of weeks to fully recover. And then I got too busy trying to catch up. I think it’s been a month since I’ve taken a serious walk. Maybe if we get some sunshine soon, I’ll be motivated. Do it now, Marian, it gets much harder to take the weight off after menopause.

    I don’t count carbs; I just avoid eating breads, pasta, and any dessert made with wheat. It’s mostly because my digestion is way off when I do eat them. I feel better and sleep better without it. I’m reading through an interesting book – “Against All Grains” – which has some great recipes. You might find it worth reading, Marian; families with TD1 children have found it very helpful.

  8. Kim

    Here’s the best healthy eating advice I can give: IF GOD MADE IT, EAT IT. IF GOD DID NOT MAKE IT, DON’T EAT IT. Food in its whole, fresh form, straight from the plant or animal, is what we are to eat. If it has been processed or manufactured, it is NOT healthy to the body. If you notice a bad reaction to a food on the “God list,” though, you might not be able to eat that food, even if it is healthy. If you stick to this rule, and add in some exercise, not too much, you will effortlessly lose excess fat.

  9. Amy

    Weight- I agree. This sounds exactly where I’m at, and what I’ve been going through. My mind set lately is it’s going to take a long time to get off and that’s ok. I just can’t give up because I’m not seeing the results. The results will come and the weight will stay off permanently- that’s the end hope and result we all want- right?
    Here is to woman all over the world trying really hard to become healthy and get rid of the unwanted weight that are trying to fit into the clothes that we have in our closet!!!
    Wish you well Marian.

  10. Darcy

    GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Thanks for sharing – I’m in the same boat. I’ve been making healthier eating choices for most of 2018 (portion control, healthier options) and I’m plateauing….time to add in exercise, but not sure when that will happen. Thanks for the encouragement of this post. 🙂

    • Arlene

      I was stuck on a plateau also and decided to drop all dairy (definitely hard) and start fasting. That did it! I feel so much better (and miserable if I cheat) it’s rather motivating. Basically only eat from noon to 6 pm (2 meals a day). (Or you pick a convenient 6-hour window that works for you) Nothing but water/unsweetened tea otherwise. If hunger strikes, drink. Stepping on the scale and seeing a steady drop has been so encouraging as I HATE exercise and this way I’ve been able to lose without it. I also love spending less time in the kitchen and less money at the grocery store.

  11. Claudine

    Omg I’m the same. You are a step ahead for saying “enough”!!! I’m slowly cutting things here and there, and not buying anymore!
    Good luck!! The salad jars and the fridge look amazing!!
    My meal prep involves making a big frittata (veggies and eggs – I bake mine in a pirex) and keeping it in the fridge so I can eat that when I feel hungry, instead of reaching out for carbs.
    Thank you for sharing!

  12. Pamela

    I’m 64 and we also moved last summer and I’ve also gained 10 pounds since the move. I was already a few pounds over my desired weight BEFORE packing on the extra 10. sigh. I am also tired of looking in the closet wondering what fits or will cover the flabby areas. I’ve had 2 surgeries since moving and that hasn’t helped either. I am with you in this fight but gheesh I sure am tired of it. The salad jars are a good idea I will employ.

  13. Amber

    The book Trim, Healthy Mama will change your life! See if your library has a copy of it! Written by Christian sisters who give God all the glory (these are the ladies from the music group Considering Lily —if you remember that one. Their Mom speaks for Above Rubies . Freedom and a trim waistline! 🙂 Blood sugar friendly and helpful in stabilizing blood sugars to avoid the insulin spike cycle, so helpful for people with diabetes, as well.

  14. Teresa

    Thank you Marian for addressing the dreaded weight discussion! You are not alone in this struggle. I was thin until in my thirties and then it started creeping up slowly. I lost some weight in my 40’s when I cut out sodas but I substituted it with other sugars. Now, in my late 50’s and post-menopausal I am the heaviest I have been and its harder than ever to take off the pounds but that is no excuse!

    I know sugar is a big enemy and I am working on that plus I have started walking daily and exercising. I will look at some of the suggestions other readers have posted that has worked for them.

  15. Lynette

    I absolutely love Weight Watchers! Their food plan has, over time, nudged me toward a more nutrient-filled diet with room for enjoyment. I am maintaining at Lifetime and am enjoying life, travel, etc. without stressing over food. I must say I enjoy the meetings and find them a really positive environment. Each person needs to find out what works for them; this has been life changing for me.

    • Carrie Schwab

      Lynette, I just started WW again after years of complaining how some other diets I had tried weren’t ‘liveable’. It’s such a great plan, and I’m amazed at how they have updated the programs with the times – they really take away just about any excuse you can come up with by making things so easy! I do the online version, and it works seamlessly between my home computer, work computer, and smart phone – I can track things (or look things up) any time, anywhere. The recipe suggestions (that you can save to your favorites) are super helpful, and the ‘free points’ foods (including chicken, eggs, fruits & veggies) really make it easy to find lots of ways to fill up on healthy food without using points. The barcode scanner on my phone makes grocery shopping interesting (and eye-opening) instead of stressful. It’s really a bargain in the long run, and teaches you healthy, real-world ways to adapt your eating habits for a healthy future. Congratulations on your Lifetime status!

    • Dawn

      Lynette, I’m also singing the praises of Weight Watchers! For the first time in my life, I am at my healthy weight. It took me just over a year, losing about one pound per week. Now at lifetime for six months, I know what I must do to stay at my goal weight. I continue to track everything that I eat and attend my weekly meeting. I also stay focused on my ‘why’ ~ I want a long and healthy retirement! I wrote about my WW journey in a blog post entitled “Nourish… to Flourish.” Perhaps it might inspire others…

      This year, I also began keeping a Self Care bullet journal. It’s such fun to be creative with my art supplies as I track all of my healthy habits daily! I love the freedom and flexibility of WW. Making time to track my foods and attend meetings feels like a wonderful ‘gift’ ~ to me, from me! Wishing you continued success and a Lifetime of good health.

      Marian, thank you for sharing your journey with us here. You inspire us in so many ways! I love your honesty and always look forward to your Instagram Stories. You have gathered such a wonderful, encouraging community here! I know that you will do well with all of your healthy goals. Be patient with yourself. Slow and steady leads to success. Maybe we need a ‘virtual’ Walking Club! 💗

  16. Danielle Beard

    Marion, I was the same, same same!!! I started going to Orange Theory a year ago, lost 15 pounds, converted a lot of body fat to muscle. It’s awesome! If you have one in your area, you will likely love it! xo Debi

  17. Debbie

    Right there with you. Trying to eat healthier and need to exercise. I usually get into shape when I start gardening but it’s been too cold in Maryland for me to be outside. I’ve weighed the same for several years but gravity and no exercise is showing! Keep inspiring us!

  18. Kay

    Your refrigerator is amazing to look at! Today I will be going to the grocery store and even before I read this I had my mind set on only getting healthy stuff! You have motivated me to stick to it! This weekend we are expecting nice weather. Guess I’ll get started on my walking again. 🙂 Good luck to you. I know it is a struggle for lots of us.

  19. Vicki S

    If any body knows the answer I would be most appreciative. I love the salad jar idea! I eat salads a lot but have only one Tupperware style container a nice size salad would fit in so I constantly have to wash. What size jars are the best to use for a salad jar salad. Hard to tell by the picture. Many thanks! And WW works! Love the new freestyle.

  20. Rhonda

    I hear ya! The only new clothing articles I buy are scarves and shoes — they are certain to fit. 🙂 Seems like the only way I can lose weight is on a low carb diet, but we have so many birthdays and holidays that sabotage my efforts! I found this site yesterday and plan to start tomorrow (after I finish the Easter carrot cake). The best to you in your efforts!

  21. MaryLisa Noyes

    My best to you in this quest. I love the glass containers in the fridge. Great idea and produce is ready to go for a time saving and healthy choice!

  22. Kathleen

    One word: Keto.
    It is a game changer. Cut out all that sugar. I lost 20lbs in 2 weeks with no exercise. I had been trying to lose 20lbs for over 10 years. All those cereals, potatoes, pastas, fruits are no bueno.

    • Marian Parsons

      I’m doing low carb, but can’t go Keto all the way. I don’t have a gallbladder and I need some grains to balance out the fat or it messes up my digestion. I’ve heard so many good things about that way of eating, though, so I’m adopting what will (hopefully) work for me.

  23. Karen

    I love your honesty. I think it’s great that you’re always using your voice to inspire so many!
    I really needed this today. I was walking and exercising all the time and felt strong & happy with my weight. But last year, I injured my feet while trying to incorporate Running and I’ve been forced to take it easy.
    I guess everything just shut down and now I’m feeling overwhelmed with the weight I’ve gained. Thanks for all the wonderful encouragement and suggestions! I love the organization!

  24. PC

    Exactly – get rid of the poor nutritional foods and there are lots of good foods. One of my favorites is using large portabella tops lightly grilled on the stove with pesto, real Parmesan, and mozzarella toppings. I have been limiting red meat for years and weigh less now than in the last 20 years. I eat real clean food and do not go hungry.

  25. jackie pankuck

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! Thank Marian…I’m in.

  26. Shawna

    Is there any secret to making a salad jar? Do you need to add anything at the end to keep it fresh? I have seen salad jars on Pinterest, and they require a lot of additional steps to keep things fresh. Oh-and where did you get your jars, they are so cute!! Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      The secret is putting in the wetter ingredients first, like sliced cucumbers, and then pack the lettuce in on top. I don’t add anything to keep them fresh and they stay good for at least a week. The jars are from Target.

  27. Linda

    Low Fat is not the way to go! It is based on a flawed study and has been perpetuated for years by the food and drug industries. There has been so much written and studied related to this in the last several years. No sugar, no starchy carbs is a better option. Read info by: Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly Books) Maria Emmerich (Ketogenic Cookbooks) from Hudson, WI, Dr. David Perlmutter (Grai Brain) Dr. Mark Hyman (What the Heck should I eat) , Gary Taubes (The Case against Sugar). Grains and sugar are in almost all processed foods and have contributed to the skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity in our country. Good luck with everything!

  28. Laura Higgins

    Terrible stomach pain, bloating, exhaustion led to my leaky gut diagnosis. Was put on Whole 30 diet. Lost 30 pounds. Pain is a big motivator! I do Paleo now and feel and look much better. I’d never stuck to a diet before, but my Functional Medicine doctor explained everything I needed to do in detail and it worked.

  29. Melanie from germany

    Hi Marian, there is nothing to be ashamed of although I know this feeling myself. Have been struggling a lot with weight issues and the restrictions that come with being overweight.
    Problem with diet is addiction….. to sugar…. which is not only in candy and chocolate but in bad carbs etc…. get rid of the addiction and you will not have a problem balancing your weight. I know, easier said than done. Been there done that…. I suggest to go raw for a while. As a treatment, a fast. Start out with green smoothies (I did “green smoothies only” for 14 days, then added raw food for another 40 days…. ). You might want to check out Victoria Boutenko´s books and websites. It resets your system. We bought a vitamix 12 years ago and it is the ONE thing i never want to miss in my kitchen anymore. After 4 days of green smoothies you feel the energy of the chlorophyll take over and if you can get over those first few days you are good for the rest :-). The rest comes naturally…. you WANT to move, you want to go for walks or take a swim or whatever it is you love to do. But you have to clean your system first so you are able to feel vibrant again. When we are not “polluted” we are automatically drawn to what is best for us. Wishing you a great time to come!

  30. Barbara

    I’m right there with you…as far as going up and down the scale. My husband and I lost weight on WW about 20 years ago. One thing that was said in one of the meetings that really resonated with me was, “Do you eat to live or live to eat?” It may seem strange, but that little “ditty” changed how I look at food/eating. Good luck in your endeavor…I know it is not easy.

  31. Mary M.

    Good for you! I took a sugar detox class over a year ago with a nutritionist. It was an eye-opening
    journey. I had no idea how sugar hides on labels and the disadvantage of fake sugar. Every day
    is a new day.
    Just this week I decided to put up salads in mason jars and seal them with my vacuum sealer.
    I put the dressing on the bottom and dump it out into a bowl just before I have lunch. The dressing
    will run down the sides. It takes all the guess work and temptation out of lunch.

    I really hate to excersize but I do love water aerobics three times per week. Granted it was
    tough getting out on the darkest days but that is behind me now. The time (five and six o’clock) is inconvenient
    too but I deal with it.

    I have no will=power and don’t bring anything home that I might be tempted to eat. I
    Oh yes
    there is a piece of chocolate cake in the freezer that I have been eyeing but that will have to
    Take care and I am sure you will be fine. Remember success is a journey. Mary

  32. Sally

    I hope you are being gentle with yourself. You have been through so much in the past year or so. It seems like you went straight from your busy season at Lucketts and straight into house hunting, packing up you house, yard sales, traveling. Yikes! Not only that, but you’ve left a home you e put a lot of love into and made a lot of memories. You were close to your parents home down the street, had your studio and you saw Kriste every day. It seems to me that you two worked together like a well oiled machine. It often looked to me that sometimes you both knew what the other needed and boom! done. I guess my point is, to please be gentle with yourself, give yourself some grace. You’ll get to where you want to be. You always do.

    • Chris Moore of Seattle

      I love this. SO well said!

  33. Chris Moore of Seattle

    Um…what if the weight you’re at now is where you’re ‘meant’ to be? It always creeps back up to where it is now. Why see it as a sign of failure? Maybe that’s you! In pics of you, I always think you look nice, esp since you have grown your hair out. Love the length! Why buy into the feeling that everyone is looking at you thinking “If only she’d lose 10 pounds, she’d be pretty”. What is 10 pounds? And why make it a battle for the rest of your life. And those same people-AFTER-you lose the 10 pounds will be like, now she needs to get her teeth whitened, now she needs to get her nose fixed, now she needs to….whatever. There are always people ready to buy into beauty criticism. I once worked with a woman who said and deeply felt “I’d rather be pretty than smart.” Mission Accomplished in her case!

    Just sayin’

    • Marian Parsons

      Really well put and I know this has been a part of the struggle for me – loving how I am no matter the size. There is definitely some healing that needs to happen there. While I do want to lose weight, I am focusing on eating and working out for health and the weight loss will come.

  34. Christi

    I totally understand your challenges and share them. I think that that this cycle happens because we think it’s about food, and I do think some food like sugary food is literally addictive. It’s not about food, really, it’s about identifying why we use food to fulfill an emotional need, and exploring new ways to address those emotional needs with something other than food. It’s so not easy, but unless we really do this important work, no weight loss will ever be permanent.

  35. Lalagigi

    Logging everything I eat into MyFitnesPal has helped me be accountable for everything I put in my mouth. It takes a while to get your foods set up, but if you eat the same things regularly, it’s easy to track. I can see immediately how many calories I’ve consumed and know when to tell myself to STOP!

    • Anne in Virginia

      I agree! Having to account for what I eat in the MFP app takes time but is what I needed. It gives you calorie credit for exercise and lets you know how much you have left to “spend” as the day goes on. You can even link it to your Fitbit. I also like MyFitnessPal’s blog (both food and exercise). I joined the Y and started doing PiYo, which takes elements of Pilates and Yoga but is its own thing; cardio/strength. You can get DVDs through BeachBody, but I like going to class with the girls. And I like to walk — look up in the MyFitnessPal blog about its effectiveness compared to other exercise. BUT, losing weight is 80% about what you EAT, so you have to start there. Your pantry and fridge are inspiring! Thanks for sharing your journey, Marian.

  36. Mary

    Just like you I cut up celery and carrots and there they sit until they get yucky and I have to throw them out. It’s a battle!! I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life. I have to see my doc tomorrow and she’s going to yell at me ;-/. I hate exercise. Have a bad foot and a bad knee and a bad right hip. I need to walk but… I never knew i could come up with so many execuses!!
    I need a person who can yank me by the hand and say ‘we’re going for a fast walk’..
    Wishing you great success…. maybe i’ll be inspird by your success!

  37. Caroline

    I just want to add that you have been through an exciting but hard and tiring year full of change, especially with moving so far (and into our tough climate!). So along with your great eating and exercise plans, also plan to be patient and kind to yourself!

  38. Lisa

    You can do this! Just repeat after me; eat to live, don’t live to eat. All those things we think we just can’t live without….we can.

    Cheering you on!!!!

  39. Maureen

    I’ll second what others have said about cutting out sugar…that has made a huge difference for me! I was gaining +/- 10 lbs a year since turning 50. Combine weight gain with menopause and I just did not feel well. I found Dr Becky’s YouTube channel — a nutritionist with a free 0-1-2-3 eating plan — it changed everything: 0 refined sugars, 1 big lunch salad daily (with 4 cups of greens), 2 cups of cooked veggies with dinner, and stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. I lost 45 lbs in just over 4 months and have kept if off for 8 months and counting. Eliminating added sugar (I’m a label reader now…I was shocked how many items contain added sugar) and eating lots of veggies is now my lifestyle. It was only after I lost the weight that I added in strength training to build and tone muscle. When I started I said I’d give it a go for 30 days… and then I just kept going, because I started seeing and feeling immediate results. I’m happier and healthier now than I was when I was ten years younger. Good luck to everyone on their good health journey…it’s definitely possible to change to a healthy lifestyle!

  40. PJ

    Progress, not perfection is my motto in all things. It seems like you are receiving loads of advice, so I hesitate to add mine, but this is what is working for me: linking exercise to something I already do (I do my ab work while the water for my French press coffee is heating first thing in the morning), making appointments with a friend to meet for walks, tai chi class that has increased my mindfulness and balance, and an almost vegetarian diet. Whatever you choose to do, please do it for yourself, and do not compare yourself to others. All best wishes, PJ

  41. Tara

    I joined a gym about 8 weeks ago. I have not lost much weight because I still eat bad snacks. Gotta cut those out. Otherwise we eat pretty healthy meals. I have always hated gyms, but joined Planet Fitness and LOVE going! It has increased my energy levels and I am stronger! So, I just need to cut out the snacks.

  42. Helene

    Good for you…I to have lost and gained. The best is weight watchers because you are never hungry …with the new program many foods are no points. Eggs, white chicken, fruits and veggies. You should check it out. I am down 25 in 6 months. I am sure it is more of a challenge when cooking for a young family. Keep at it and best luck.

  43. Eileen

    I’ve just started the Four Hour body by Tim Ferriss. He’s rather brash- but he challenges the fad dieting and plans ideology. I’m hoping I can incorporate his ideas into a happier healthier lifestyle.

  44. Rebecca

    What finally worked for me was to watch my calorie intake on “school days” and then I didn’t have to think about what I was eating on special occasions or church dinners, date nights, etc. It actually made those special occasions “more special!” I find the discipline satisfying and instead of treating myself to a snack or other food treat, I use that time gardening or painting, etc. I lost 50 pounds 2 years ago and have kept it off! I just back away during the regular “school days.” 😊. I know you’ll find what works for you.

  45. Kay

    Yoga should be avoided for spiritual reasons. Research.

  46. Peg

    Love this post today! At my age (58) it becomes harder yet to lose unwanted pounds. I kicked my really bad vice (Pepsi) to the curb almost three years ago. It was easier for me to give it up entirely. The first few weeks were tough because somehow I got in my head that I couldn’t eat Mexican food without drinking Pepsi. And I love Mexican food. Now I don’t even miss it.

  47. Ann

    Your plan is sound. Don’t loose too fast you can have health problems. Take it gradually and praise Him for each ounce of success! Love your blog!

  48. Vicki K

    Seems like every decade brought 10 more pounds, and meno does not help. I am Auto-Immune Protocol (RA, Hashimoto’s, Fibro, Chronic Fatigue et al), Paleo option, now transitioning to Whole Foods Plant Based diet as much as possible. See “Forks Over Knives” group on FB.

    WATCH: YouTube, Dr. Michael Greger, “How Not to Die.” Your jaw will absolutely DROP! He backs it up with solid research to prove each statement he makes. Do take a look, SO interesting!

    Best of luck to you.

  49. KJ

    I love today’s post. Caring about your health, being fit and strong are always good things and too many times are not high enough on our priority list because our lives become so stressful and busy. I love the idea of the salad jar and want to try that. Your organization is beautiful yet practical and I’ll bet will help to use things up as they can be SEEN. (Outta sight, outta mind). Congratulations on your quest. I don’t think there is one person alive who will not feel better at a slimmer size. I know I do. At my age, things begin to hurt, or become a problem that hinders exercise. I remember working out and hating it, but my mantra always was….”Thank you God for making my feet work, my legs work, giving me the ability to walk long distances, move my body to work out….Thank You”. I think we should all be thankful for whatever movement we do have and USE it, or else we loose it. Sounds cliche….but it is sad when and if it does happen, and it WILL happen if we don’t stay moving, be agile, and flexible. Great post and good luck Marian. You will do a great job 🙂 Oh, and do your research about FAT. It is a very integral part of good health. Bad, Bad Bad to cut out all fats. Eating fats does not make one fat…All the new research proves that. We have been misled for decades. read read read all the new research. 🙂

  50. kddomingue

    Hey Marian! The non-plan plan that you’re adopting is one of the best plans there is. My husband is a Cajun whose family lived to eat rather than eating to live. They’d be talking about what they were going to have for dinner while they were still eating lunch, lol! It baffled me as I had always been one of those people who would get aggravated because I had to stop what I was doing to have a meal. All of this to say, my husband liked food. But at 60, his love affair with food caught up with him and at 5’4″ he was 25 pounds overweight, out of shape and didn’t feel good. He has sleep apnea and even though he’s on a CPAP machine, the extra weight wasn’t doing him any favors. So he told me he wanted to go on a diet. I told him that we’d been down that road before and it hadn’t worked because he simply gained the weight back when he went off the diet. The solution was a change in mindset. He decided he’d rather eat to live (and live longer) than live to eat (and possibly die much sooner). Powerful motivation! Food doesn’t have to have sugar, be processed or be fancy to be good, amiright? Anyway, we took all temptations out of the house, moved the elliptical into the garage where we’d trip over it and managed not to kill each other until the cravings went away. We started January 2nd and Easter Sunday saw the hubs at his weight goal.

    You can do do it! You’ve picked the BEST plan! Your own!

  51. Stacy Smith

    You have clearly touched on something so many of us are struggling with. Thank you for being real! I want to share with everyone an online exercise program I found recently that I absolutely love. It’s called Fit2Be. From beginner to advanced there is something for everyone. The instructor, Bethany Learn, is so encouraging and gentle and stresses moving at your own pace. The exercises are also appropriate for healing diastasis recti- when the abdominal muscles separate and get messed up, especially after childbirth, and makes it hard to lose the ‘pooch’. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing!

  52. Kimberly

    Marian, you are lucky you live in what appears to be a lovely, safe neighborhood, so you can probably walk any time of day or night and be OK. I live in Los Angeles, and even though I’m on the west side which is allegedly safer than other areas, my neighborhood is sketchy and there is no way in heck I’d walk around there at night, and even during the day makes me uneasy because we’ve got a growing homeless population that are encroaching on the area. (I’m so thrilled I pay an arm and a leg for rent!) So, I bit the bullet and bought a treadmill. Nothing too big or fancy, it cost about $1,500 on sale. Maybe if you got a treadmill and set it up in your basement, you could use it for those early morning or late night walks (or runs!) when you can’t or don’t want to leave the house either due to inclement weather or the hour of day or night?

    Your food prep and menu looks superb! Glad to hear those food saver containers really work, I’m just about ready to purchase some for myself.

    • Patricia

      Another thing to consider is a rebounder. It only cost a couple hundred dollars if you get a new one and has the added benefit of being able to roll it into a closet when needed. Rebounding gives your lymph system a boost, you can jump or jog, you can hold onto the rail or not use the rail and there are exercise videos with it. And it is gentle on your body but you still get a work out!
      Kudos Marian – your transparency and humility always encourages and teaches.

  53. Valerie

    Hi Marian,

    You’re so organized and you do so much–I know you will be successful. Progress not perfection.–one day at a time and don’t let a challenging day sabotage you. I had a little to lose and it had crept up on me and I chose weight watchers. I’ve been successful and had lots of support, but it really was about sugars and portion control.

    Every day can make a difference. I’ll be routing for you!

  54. Marilyn Craighead

    I’m a petite person with no weight issues. And then I started having serious dairy issues. And I fought for 5 long years to keep eating what I wanted. I made myself miserable and almost ruined a family vacation. So I’m now dairy free and lost more weight, which for me is discouraging. So whether it’s gaining or losing we all have a battle it seems. My life verse has never been more at the forefront of my life than it is when it’s time to enjoy a meal… Philippians 4:13
    Blessings to you.

  55. Carla

    Thank you so much for your honesty and for keeping it real. I’ll be cheering you on (and myself too…because let’s face it…losing weight, keeping it OFF and exercise can be a real struggle especially as we get older!) Appreciate you and love your posts.

  56. Bev Ellinger

    Watch “What The Health” on Netflix…I must say I was stunned.

  57. Barbara Ann

    Yep. My husband took a photo of me this afternoon as I was “helping” my 5 y o grandson in his tae kwando class. There was a mirrored wall behind me, and when I saw my rear in that photo, reality struck! I saw what everyone else has been seeing ever since I gained back the weight I’d lost! Your topic today was written just for me! Now I have to get back o to the driver’s seat with my fitness and nutrition.

  58. Felicia

    Good for you, Marian! I think everyone has been on the “fall, get-back-up” journey for one topic or another in their life. The fact that you are getting back up means you are not failing! Food choices are 90% of meeting your goal, exercise is the other 10%. Finding a buddy to walk along side you…. there’s no applicable percentage to that. Find someone to encourage and who encourages you, you wont regret it. Keep us posted, we WANT to cheer you on! (btw… I’m sitting over here feeling slightly guilty, as I am the one who purchased your bar & weight set when you moved from PA 😏. I am using it though, several times a week!)

  59. Jan Fusco

    Good for you Marian. I LOVE to eat. Both my husband and I do. We have certainly put on plenty of weight. I’m 5’11” and 63 and a half years old. My husband is 5″7″ and almost 56 years old. We have plenty of weight to lose. To make a long story short we tried several “eating plans” and the one that has always worked best for me when I get started on a weight loss regiment is Weight Watchers. My husband and I are very serious about it now and are doing well. One of the things that gets me through is fruits and vegetables are zero points and I LIVE on watermelon and cherries. (I know you love cherries too). Of course the winter was hard and we did gain some weight but we’re right back on it. I eat plates full of watermelon and almost a bag of cherries in two days when they’re in season. The new plan that started in January is call Flexstyle and it added a lot of items that are zero points like white meat chicken/turkey, all beans, lots of other stuff. Anyway…WW seems to be the best plan for me. Good luck on your quest.

  60. Sue from Indiana

    What really works for me is simple – no flour, no sugar. It’s difficult to start but once you get used to it, it’s pretty easy. No counting, no measuring, just reading labels and staying away from those two things. I do well on it, then fall off the wagon (of course) so it’s time to get back on. Throw in some walking and usually I do pretty well. It’s been a long winter/spring, so hopefully I will get back to eating better!!

  61. Anne

    Just an FYI Marian – storing onions with potatoes causes them to sprout sooner. If you use them quickly though, I guess that is not an issue. Keep up the good work!

  62. Bernie Bowman

    It is a struggle…I am also feeling the pain….
    Have you ever tried Leslie Sansone or Jessica Smith walking videos….they are on you tube…You can choose a 15 minute easy walk or intervals or longer…lots to choose from. They are very good with cardio, I would recommend you try these. Good luck, especially with spring right around the corner! Yes, our snow will go away one of these days in Minnesota! Remember, when it snows its usually between 1 inch and 72 inches! 🙂

  63. Monique

    Stay healthy that’s the most important thing of all:)If you are meant to weigh a bit more.and are healthy..that’s fine:) Don’t be too hard on yourself.You look great!
    You do everything so well..and honestly I don’t know how you do it all.
    I’ve always loved accomplishing things..but never could I compare myself to you.
    I’m 64 also:) I guess we’re all mothering you..lol yet you have your own and will have a ball on that unforgettable trip coming up with her..:)Hope your back feels better..those are things that put dampers on doing things..Take care!
    PS your fridge looks amazing.

  64. Vickie buenger

    I have all 3 of my kids getting married within the next year starting in August. 😱 So, I decided I need to lose 25 lbs. before then. I know it’s not a lot but I am of small frame so it will be big for me. I am not a Weight Watcher member but I do follow their WW freestyle Facebook page. They have so many great recipes, ideas, and motivational members cheering you on that it keeps me going. Look into it, it’s worth the follow.

  65. Jessica | Petal + Ply

    Right there with you! We’ve done several rounds of Whole30 and the weight came off and then back to “normal” eating and the pounds crept right back on. Ugh. I need to just clear the house of all junk once and for all and stop making excuses for a formal exercise routine.

    Cheering you on and hoping I’ll be motivated enough to implement changes myself!

  66. Amy

    Lots of great things mentioned here. I didn’t read all the comments, but I didn’t see “The Way we Live Now” with David Suchet. Great plot, acting, etc. My husband and I watched it years ago and loved it. I’ve looked on Netflix and Amazon video and haven’t been able to find it.

  67. Patti

    I’m happy for you that you’ve reached this part of your journey. It seems like when we’re starting out a “plan” is the answer but eventually you’ve learned enough and realize you know what you need to do. There’s no magic formula and a lifetime is a loooong time to keep up with any one diet, eventually we fail. This is how we live also, making health a priority, trying to make 80-90% of our week filled with healthy whole foods and to just keep moving at some type of exercise. Sometimes it’s just a walk, sometimes it’s a full workout with weights at the gym but something. I definitely have bad weeks but I insist on being nice to myself – “progress not perfection” or else guilt will take over and I’ll be eating drive-through lol. Anyway this has worked for us. I’m 47 and find it very easy to keep the weight off even though I’m always working to maintain strength and cardio as I get older. Good luck hon, you are on the right path now!

  68. Cynthia

    I know…this is probably, “old hat,” for many of you, but I (re)joined Weight Watchers in Jan. 2018. I love the new program, “Freestyle.” You can eat what you want and tailor it to any other diet that you may need to be on such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, low sugar, etc. The support is always there, the recipes are amazing and the WW community is awesome and always inspiring. It’s tough doing it alone and then keeping the weight off. Weight Watchers helps you the entire way.

    (No, I don’t work for Weight Watchers, just an avid fan of the program.)

    ~ C

  69. Laura F

    Thanks for sharing your struggles 🙂 Keep your head up and your focus sharp…..you inspire and teach and lead us all so well, I know you can achieve your goals!

  70. Michelle

    Have you ever heard of Bright Line Eating? Check it out at brightlineeating.com. It has helped me immensely.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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