Healthy Eating Habits: Tips to Stay on Track

a step toward healthy eating habits
I don’t want to look!

Getting Back on Track

I hate saying “back on track,” yet I say it a lot. It’s my go-to phrase after too many weeks of poor eating and exercise avoidance the likes of a lazy sloth. I allow myself to reach a point of personal disgust when I finally say, enough! Tomorrow I’ll get back on track (it’s always a Sunday, as if starting fresh on a Monday is really going to make a difference).  The thing is, I don’t want to get back on track; I want to stay on track. I want healthy eating to be the norm not the goal that always seems out of reach. Back in January my column, Matters of Life & Beth, I discussed my success with the Dukan Diet.  That was the last time things were going well as far as minor weight loss goes.

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sugar

Now, here I am again trying to get my eating habits under control. And the truth is, I don’t need a diet, I just need to say no to everyday indulgences and get back to day to day healthy eating. This means eating in moderation, drinking a lot more water than I do and cutting back on processed and sugary foods. My biggest problem when it comes to a healthy diet is sweets – once I start, I can’t stop. Easter really did me in yesterday. Sugar is to me like alcohol is to an alcoholic… bad, bad news. The more sugar I have the more I crave, but it doesn’t end there. The sweet stuff makes me hungrier in general, which then leads to over eating on a bunch of other bad foods.

It’s as if the sugar goes directly to my brain shutting down all sensible thoughts about healthy eating.

I spoke with Samantha McCarthy, MS/RD, a registered dietician at my gym Cedardale Health & Fitness for some guidance, and here’s what she had to say:

“The problem with sugar is that it can be really addictive. Trying to cut sugar out or at least decreasing the amount in your diet can make a humongous impact.”

This includes artificial sweeteners because it’s not just table sugar, but the sugary taste that can lead to cravings. I didn’t realize that…good info.

Healthy Eating Tips to Stay on Track

Sam also suggests being mindful of what you’re eating and planning ahead. This is probably the biggest challenge for me, but if I can make it happen, I know I’ll be glad to get off the roller coaster of good and bad eating habits. Here are her top tips for maintaining your healthy eating habits:

  1. Don’t think of healthy eating as a diet, because if it’s a diet it’s temporary. It has to be part of your lifestyle.
  2. Cut back on the sugar – if you can do that you’ll be cutting out a lot of the junk in your life.
  3. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  4. Plan and prepare ahead of time.

Today, I’m back on track and my fingers are crossed that I stay here. Thank you Sam for the great advice.

Do you have any great diet tips or healthy eating ideas that help when living a healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear them!

To book your own session with Samantha McCarthy, MS/RD, contact her by phone at 978-373-1596 or online at

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Keeping Up with TV Texting – I Can’t!

binoculars to read TV texting
Bedpost Binoculars – The only way I can keep up with TV texting.

You’re probably wondering what the heck that photo is all about. Those are the mini-binoculars I use to read TV texting between actors that every show now seems to display with the apparent expectation that I can read that far away. My sister was over the other day and asked, “Why in the hairy heck do you have binoculars on your bedpost?” (yes, she really talks like that). It has become so normal to me that it didn’t occur to me that they do seem odd hanging there unless I’m some kind of Peeping Tom peering out my bedroom windows into the homes of neighbors. Rest assured – I am not.

Allow me to explain. My favorite thing to do is curl up in my bed at night to watch my shows. Lately, I’ve been challenged by the distance between me and my beloved television. I can see the characters just fine; however technology has, yet again, wreaked havoc on my happiness. Dialogue has been replaced with text exchanges or a stream of social media content at the bottom of the screen that apparently I’m supposed to be able to read from across the room. Newsflash BravoTV and all other networks, but let’s be honest, mostly Bravo – I can’t read TV texting between actors unless my nose is nearly pressed to the screen. It is so frustrating because I’m missing out on critical aspects of my shows when I can’t read the tiny print. Am I alone? Is anyone else having this problem?

Enter my mini-binoculars! It might sound ridiculous, but indeed they get the job done. I am now able to read text messages on screen and am back to being fully engaged in my shows. Hey, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

Two shows that have been particularly challenging from keeping up with TV texting throughout the plot are House of Cards on Netflix and Younger on TVLand. TV people, enough already. Just go back to the good old spoke word. Please!

I hope this gave you as big a laugh as it did my sister.

Have a great weekend! Hippity Hop.

For a little more on this subject, check out this article from

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I Love my Dog: An Ode to Oscar the Grouch

Holding my dog Oscar
Oscar the Schnauzer – look at that face!


I love my dog! I really love him.  Is that weird?  I know my fellow dog lovers won’t think so. Dog love is hard to explain. It’s essentially the same kind of love you might have for a child because, let’s face it, our furry friends become our babies. But some will argue; they aren’t children, they’re dogs. I understand and I’m sure people who don’t share the same passion for pets probably think we, dog lovers, are nuts. But since Oscar came into my life, I can’t stop myself from coddling and spoiling him – for that I will not apologize.

We adopted Oscar when he was seven and now he’s ten.  I think the fact that he was older when we got him made me attend to him all the more. He’s my little old man and an easy dog too. Even Tony (my husband), who vehemently didn’t want a dog, reveres Sir Oscar. You know the story – man didn’t want dog, now dog is man’s best friend…

Tony says he wishes he were a dog; now seeing what a charmed life Oscar is living. Sleep, food, walk, love and attention – it’s all good.

We are a family obsessed. My girls’ devotion to him has not waned a bit since the day we got him, my sister is as in love with him as I am and, somehow, every conversation circles back to him.

The funny thing about Oscar is that while we adore him, pamper him and treat him like the regal king that he is, he seems generally irritated by all of us. He likes to do his own thing most of the time and when we frequently scurry around to hug him or pick him up, his expression of pure exacerbation cracks us up. We’re never offended, because his aloofness is part of his charm. He may be a wee standoffish, but he’s a sweet boy, so he lets us have time with him. If a dog could roll his eyes in utter annoyance, I know that’s exactly what Oscar would do.  Instead, he just gives us a minute and then frantically squirms until we are forced to let him out of our affectionate grasp.

The fact that Oscar is a little grouchy actually makes him even more endearing. It may be why I love my dog the most. In a way, it’s nice that he’s not jumping all over us, licking or demanding play time.  He’s just a mellow guy who we somehow got lucky enough to call our own.

So, if you ever see me baby-talking to my dog or fussing over his every need like he’s a toddler, don’t think me crazy, it’s just that I love my schnauzer -A lot!

kisses for my dog Oscar


I know I’m not alone. What do you love most about your pet?

TBT –  Check out my Merrimack Valley Magazine column about Oscar from September 2014 – Matters of Life & Beth.

Thank you Jen Killilea for the photos!

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Tech-Tip Tuesday: Make your Own Emoji with Bitmoji

bitmoji - make your own emoji
That glass of wine should be a martini!

Do you Bitmoji? I came across this fun little app when my friend, Rose, texted me a cartoon image of herself that looked so much like her, I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw it. I immediately texted her back to ask, “how did you do that?  “It’s a Bitmoji,” she said.

Well, that meant nothing to me, so I went straight to my in-house tech team for clarification. On duty that day was my oldest, Julia. She let me know that Bitmoji is an app you can download to your phone. It allows you to make your own emoji, a.k.a. create an avatar likeness of yourself to go along with the cute messages you see in the featured collage. Thank you to my youngest, Ally, for helping me put that together. I don’t know what I’d do without my girls, xoxo.

Bitmoji lets you pick your eye-color, skin tone, hairstyle, fashion sense and more to make your own emoji.

Julia kindly created Bit-Beth for me and before I knew it, my friends and I were sending these little bit-o-grams to each other whenever we wanted to communicate.  Julia let me know she thought bitmojis were a little goofy and more for the “mom” crowd, but I didn’t care.  I think they are clever and a perfect mood booster when simple texting and Emojis just aren’t enough.

Want to see how cute you are? Then go ahead and download Bitmoji to make your own emoji. Your friends will love the new you.

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Hurricane Vase Fillers: Fun Seasonal Decor

Decorative Hurricane vase fillers
Top view- jelly beans – one of many great vase fillers

American Easter is a week away!  I say American because I’m a Greek girl. I celebrate Greek Easter which isn’t until May 1st this year. By that time, the Easter buzz will have come and gone. While I don’t go all out decorating for Easter, I always like to bring some seasonal décor to my home. My girls appreciate the holiday spirit that comes from a basket of colorful eggs and some pretty pastel placemats. My favorite thing to do at Easter, or any other holiday or change of season for that matter, is so simple and always a huge hit. They are cheap and easy vase fillers for the two hurricane candle holders that sit prominently on my kitchen island.

Years ago I bought two extra-large glass candle holders at Home Goods.  They had to have been less than $20 each. At Easter, I pop a pillar candle in the center of each hurricane and fill it with jelly beans. Done! Everyone who walks into my kitchen comments on these simple, yet eye-catching, holiday decorations.

Jellybean vase fillers
Jellybean Hurricane

I have also filled the hurricanes with candy hearts in February, Lucky Charms cereal in March, candy corn in October (most popular), shelled nuts in fall, wine corks in winter, terrariums made with coffee grounds and faux succulents in spring and faux lemons and limes in summer.

It’s a quick, inexpensive and fun way to add a little variety to my home décor. Give it a try, but know this: if you fill your hurricanes with candy, guests will go elbow deep into a burning candle to satisfy their sweet tooth – no matter how many times you tell them it’s just a decoration.

Search Pinterest for more fun and seasonal decorating ideas.

Enjoy! Happy Easter and happy spring!

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