10 Tips to getORGANIZEDfor your

10 Tips to get yourself ORGANIZED for your upcoming WEIGHT LOSS

10 Tips to getORGANIZEDfor your

Let’s face it…if you’re anything like me, you’ll fall off the wagon w/your fitness & nutrition unless you have you sh*t together.  Food is my weakness and when I’m not organized, I fail at eating clean & helping my family eat clean.  Same goes for my workouts – these things have to be planned, or they simply don’t happen.

I’m 3 weeks post-delivery and am anxiously waiting for the ‘go ahead’ to get back in the game, so I’m using these next few weeks to get myself organized and set myself up for success.

I wanted to create a post here to help anyone else out that might be getting prepped to get back on track.  If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

So here are a few tips to help us GET READY to get BACK IN THE GAME!  And P.S. – kudo’s to you for doing so :-)

1.  SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUTS, make it an important date with yourself, and treat this time just as you would any other appointment.  Pick a day each week to look at your upcoming weekly schedule (mine happens to be Sunday’s), and schedule your daily workouts.  If you go to a gym, keep in mind the time it will take to get to/from the gym.  I prefer at-home workouts, so this is a huge time saver for me that I don’t have to worry about.  Also take into consideration the time it will take you to get cleaned up & showered afterwards.

2.  ESTABLISH A BEDTIME ROUTINE TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE WELL RESTED.  Did you know that sleep deprivation interferes with weight loss?  Not to mention a ton of other negative effects not getting enough sleep has.  An organized sleep routine will help keep you focus, well rested, and in a much better mood.

3.  PLAN YOUR MEALS & MEAL PREPARATION.  Sit down once per week and plan your meals for the upcoming week.  Take into consideration what your schedule looks like and if you’ll need to grab something quick and pack your meal/snacks.  Plan when you’re going to go to the grocery store.  Don’t plan elaborate meals on days where you know you will be working late/have to take the kid’s to practice.

4.  CREATE A RELAXING HOME & OFFICE.  You no doubt have areas and things in your life that stress you out.  Start paying closer attention to those, and if you feel a negative emotional response every time you notice these things, it’s time to do something about it.  Cleaning your office might be a great place to start, then move on to individual rooms in your house.  You’ll be amazed at how much less stress you’ll have when you can actually find what you’re looking for in that mess of yours!

5.  ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN.  If the thought of organizing your kitchen is causing you to freak out, no worries.  Pick a cabinet to start with, and work on one area at a time.  Throw out any foods that have gone bad.  If you have food that doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle & they haven’t been opened, try and find a local food pantry to donate this to verses just tossing it.  Next – disinfect your fridge.  Wipe it down and get it sparkly clean – it’s fun to start with a clean slate!  If you’ve already been to the grocery store and have your healthy eats, organize them now.  Once you’ve done that, look at your cooking tools (which I have an obsession with!).  Organize your drawers and stow away the seldom-used appliances so you can easily access the items you use most.

6.  ORGANIZE YOUR WORKOUT GEAR.  This really excites me!  if you know where to find your sneakers, headphones, water bottle, towel, and workouts clothes, heading out the door to the gym or waking up early to workout is a much easier process.  If you shower at the gym, keep a pre-packed bag of toiletries designed to use just at the gym.

7.  MAKE A DECISION TO LOSE WEIGHT.  This is huge.  How many times have you said you’re going to do this in the past?  Find your WHY.  A deep down meaningful reason as to why you must lose weight and get healthy again.  Maybe for your children?  To be around longer for your spouse?  To lower your blood pressure?  We all have a different reason – dig down deep and find it.  Write it down and keep it on a post-it note on your refrigerator.  Figure out what has to change in your life and environment to support you to reach your goals.  Eliminate the negativity and start to build a foundation for success.

8.  MANAGE STRESS.  You’re going to feel overwhelmed in this journey, so be prepared for it.  Find ways that you can help yourself de-stress.  Yoga?  Deep breathing?  Massage?  Learn to manage your emotions in positive ways instead of resort to a junk food binge.

9.  SILENCE THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD THAT SAYS YOU CAN’T.  You are your worst critic.  KNOCK IT OFF!  One of my all time favorite quotes is “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”  Start thinking and talking positively about yourself and look up positive affirmations for yourself.

10.  MIND WHAT YOU EAT.  Pay very close attention to every food you eat.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, the snacks out of the vending machine, etc…  Try to differentiate if you’re actually HUNGRY or if you’re just BORED.  Read labels and research what you’re putting in your body.


Kristyn Mergenthaler

travel food 1

Healthy Snacks for your upcoming Summer Road Trips

With summer RAPIDLY approaching, so will your summer VACATIONS!!!  Whether or not you’re driving or flying, I wanted to pass along some ideas on healthy, kid friendly foods that travel extremely well!

For those of us that are cautious about what we eat and what we provide our family’s for nourishment, you pretty well know that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.  If you don’t plan snacks and your meals ahead of time (regardless of if you’re traveling or not, you’ll be more tempted and not have any other choice than to eat out somewhere…most of the time somewhere less than healthy, right?  At least that’s how it is for me, especially if we are trying to minimize travel time and utilizing the drive-thru at a fast food joint is our only other quick option.

So by putting this list together, I hope to save you guys some money on eating out during your travels, as well as making you & your family’s tummy a bit happier and healthier.  If you eat all that heavy crap while you’re traveling, then you’re going to have to pull over and poop in public somewhere or even on an airplane.  And who wants to do that!?!?!?!  You’d probably get the finger from the guy seated next to the bathroom on the flight, too.

  • Fresh fruit ::  Apples, oranges, banana’s, grapes, & berries.  If you do canned/individually wrapped fruit, buy the kind packed in their own juice, NOT in syrup.
  • Veggies :: Baby carrots, celery, sliced peppers, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers & sugar snap peas.
  • Dips for the veggies/fruits :: Guacamole, hummus, ranch (if your kid is anything like mine, this is the only way he’ll eat raw veggies).  You can find guacamole & hummus in individual packets for easy use.  And for the ranch, I make my own.  I use a packet of the Hidden Valley ranch dip and mix with PLAIN GREEK YOGURT verses the sour cream.  Nobody ever tastes the difference!
  • Hard boiled Eggs
  • String Cheese
  • Nuts – Almonds or Sunflower Seeds (requires spit cup)
  • Dried Fruit – Raisins, apricots, cranberries, apples, etc…
  • Squeezable yogurt
  • Shakeology
  • Trail mix & Kind Bars
  • You can easily pack a lunch, too.  My go-to is always old school Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches.  I buy natural peanut butter and jelly and whole wheat bread.  Pair that with the veggies & trail mix and you can pull over for a picnic somewhere for lunch!
  • Bottled water or a refillable water bottle.  Note that you’ll be able to dump & refill your water bottle at the airport to make it through security.

SNACKS TO AVOID ~~ Sugary drinks, processed foods such as chips, candy, & snack cakes.  You and your kiddo’s will likely not be thrilled with the length of time you’re cramped in a small space traveling anyways, don’t make it harder on everyone by filling them with sugar & then tying them into a carseat!  Saves everyone’s sanity a bit…

Obviously, stopping at a restaurant is the only option, especially if you’ve eaten your snack foods ALL DAY.  If you find yourself having to do this, try to avoid fast food.  But if you must – see if there is a chic fil-a anywhere.  They have grilled chicken now to choose from!  Or at another fast food joint, you can order a grilled chicken sandwich MINUS the bun and get a salad as your side.  Unsweet tea if you have to get your caffeine fix and don’t like coffee.  If you stop at a sit-down restaurant, here are some ideas that are healthy options that most places have on the menu:

  • Breakfast – Oatmeal, eggs, whole wheat toast, turkey bacon, fresh fruit
  • Lunch – Salad or wraps
  • Dinner – Lean meat (not fried), veggies & salad

Other necessities you’ll not want to forget to pack ~ Paper products if you’re doing sandwiches during a pit-stop (if paper towels won’t suffice), a bag for trash, hand sanitizing wipes, a gazillion napkins…or a roll of paper towels, which is usually my go-to.

Don’t forget – IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL when it comes to keying in on your nutrition and watching what you eat.  But don’t panic if your travels are unexpected or there is little to no prep-time, just be mindful of what you order when eating out.  There ARE healthy options out there, even if you must do fast food, you just have to get creative!


travel food 1

HEALTHY Chicken Cordon Bleu

If you’re anything like me, keeping your family’s belly content is a full-time job.  Both my husband and son are VERY PICKY eaters and would much rather choose something highly processed/full of sugar over any piece of fruit.  Well…who am I kidding…I would, too!

But after becoming a mom, I had to start considering not only what myself and my hubs was eating, but what my son was eating.  So I started to research ways that I could turn the foods that we already love into a somewhat healthier version  No, it doesn’t always work and some evenings they get a PB&J or bowl of CoCo Wheats put in front of them…but I realized that it was MY responsibility as the one who was doing the cooking to find ways to help us get healthier.  And I had to do it WITHOUT my son realizing that.

One of my all-time favorite and go-to places for recipe ideas is http://www.skinnytaste.com (she also just came out with a recipe book!).  So a couple weeks ago when I sat down to do our meal planning for the week I stumbled upon her Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe.  It looked so simple that even I would have a hard time screwing it up.

Let me rewind for a sec and tell you that my family EATS A LOT OF CHICKEN.  Like..A LOT.  And recently I’ve discovered a new ‘brand’ of chicken that I love.  It actually makes me cringe to eat any other ‘brand’.  Harvestland Boneless Breasts – the individually wrapped ones – are the ones that I buy.  No hormones, no additives, and a lot of their other products are ORGANIC (although these are not certified organic…YET).  The better buy can be found in a BOX typically in the center bins at Wal-Mart.  They’re still individually wrapped, but already FROZEN.  You get 5-7 very thick breasts in each box.  Just as a tip for any recipe, once I thaw these I always either butterfly them or cut them all the way through.  Otherwise they’re extremely thick and takes a lot longer to cook.  And typically TWO breasts feeds myself, my son, and my husband…because once butterflied or sliced, it becomes 4 peices (didn’t you know I was a math genius, too!?).  I usually just place the frozen wrapped breasts into cold water about 30-45 mins before I’m ready to get started with whatever I’m cooking.  Pictured below are the ones that come individually wrapped but fresh, not frozen.  The box looks similar but I was unable to find a picture of it online and have tossed mine already.


Ok back to what I was really leading up to — the recipe!  I’ll copy and paste it here, but you can also find it on skinnytaste.com.  Here’s a picture of how mine came out, too!  The hubs & son DEVOURED it and we had leftovers for the next TWO nights :-)  Pair it with a salad and you’re done!  So super easy!  My version looks slightly different than the original recipe because I did not have grated parmesan, I only had shredded.  I would recommend the grated over the shredded, however!  Let me know if you loved it, too!


  • cooking spray
  • 12 thin sliced (36 oz total) skinless boneless chicken breasts, 3 oz each
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 oz (6 slices) thinly sliced lean deli ham, sliced in half
  • 6 slices (4.4 oz) Sargento reduced fat Swiss cheese, cut in half

Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.

Wash and dry the chicken cutlets; lightly pound the chicken to make thinner and lightly season with salt and black pepper.

Lay the chicken on a working surface and place a slice of ham on top of the chicken, then the cheese and roll, setting them aside seam side down.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites along with water to make an egg wash.

In another medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Dip the chicken into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs.

Place chicken onto the baking sheet seem side down. Spray the top of the chicken with more cooking spray and bake about 25 minutes, or until until cooked.

Makes 12.

chicken cordon bleu

PUSH-UPS :: How much do you actually lift during these things?


You either LOVE THEM or you HATE THEM, right???  But have you ever found yourself wondering exactly how much weight you’re really ‘pushing’?


Whether you love or hate push-ups, they’re fantastic at SCULPTING your shoulders and arms, building up your pecs, and MOST IMPORTANTLY IF YOU’RE A LADY – they give us a little lift!  Not to mention they make your back look beyond incredible.

But they aren’t easy.  So, I can understand why when Tony Horton or Shaun T yells at us to knock out a set of push-ups in P90X or Insanity you grown.  And as you do more and more, it feels like you’re pushing more and more weight.  Am I right!?

So I wanted to share with you guys a way to determine approximately how much weight you’re lifting.  This is gonna sound silly, and you’ll probably look ridiculous….but it works.  Put your scale on level ground and place your hands on it and do a push-up ON YOUR TOES.  Have someone on-hand to be able to read the number on the scale if you can’t for some reason or another.  Then, repeat the exercise again but on your KNEES (for a modified push-up).  The number you guys see is approximately how much body weight you’re lifting, although the number on the scale will vary depending on your arm position.

To get all fancy – articles published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed that men lifted about 66.4% of their body weight with each rep when they did a push-up on their toes.  On their knees, they lifted about 52.9% of their body weight.  So in other words, a 180-pound man will lift 119.5 pounds per rep doing a regular push-up and 95.2 pounds doing a modified push-up on their knees.

And if you’re new to Push-Ups, here are a few tips:

How to do the perfect push up:
Whether you’re on your toes or on your knees, it’s important to have the proper form. To do a perfect pushup:
1. Get into plank position and make sure your hands are aligned with your shoulders but just wider than them. Tighten your core.
2. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, tucking your elbows in as you do. When you’re at the bottom, your arms should be at 45-degree angle. Keep your back flat and do not let your back or hips sag.

If you can’t do a push-up on your toes yet, don’t give up! You’re still getting a great workout.

For the few of you who want to make your push-up harder and lift more of your body weight, here are some tips from easiest to hardest:
1. Slow it down. By taking more time to do each repetition, you increase the time that each muscle must stay contracted.
2. Bring your hands and feet closer together to move your center of gravity forward and make your shoulders, pecs, back, and triceps do more work. Tighten your core to protect your lower back.
3. Change the angle. Place your feet on a stable surface – such as a plyo box or weight bench – and keep your hands on the ground. This puts more of your weight onto your shoulders.
4. Move away from a stable surface and do your push-ups on a medicine ball or balance ball as demonstrated in P90X2. These exercises will not only challenge those muscles groups but also force you to tighten your core to stay balanced.
5. Forget push-ups. Do handstands instead.

YUMMY Prime Rib ~ Recipe included :-)

prime rib

OMG, is anyone else tired of turkey & ham??

I was.  Like, bad.  I couldn’t take another casserole or slice of ham or turkey or I was literally going to barf!

My brother and his family, along with my hubs & kiddo, had been snuggled into my parent’s house for the past few days celebrating Christmas.  I got the craving for STEAK.  STEAK and veggies!!  Earlier in the week I’d seen a cooking show where the chef was cooking Prime Rib.  So, off to the store I went!

But let me fill you in on a little something if you decide to try this recipe – the meat is PRICEY.  I paid $63 for 6 pounds of rib eye.  BUT, that also fed 6 adults and 3 children and we have leftovers in the fridge, so keep that in mind!  When I cook for my family, I try to make it as healthy of a meal as possible, but also knowing that I’m feeding a variety of people so that has to be taken into consideration, as well.

So here’s what I did.  I followed the recipe below for the prime rib.  I threw in some baked potatoes for anyone who wanted a starch.  Then sautéed up some asparagus!!  My brother sautéed some mushrooms & onions, too, to go along with the steak.  And of course my typical salad was available for anyone who wanted it, too – spinach, oranges, strawberries, feta, walnuts, & an all natural raspberry vinegraitte.

For all my health conscious folks, I’ll warn you – this recipe has A LOT of salt.  But it’s a “crust”, so it can easily be scraped off, and the great part is that the flavors seep down through the meat while cooking.  So you still get the flavor, but can eliminate most of the salt once it’s cooked and ready to be sliced and served.

ALSO, I only used 6 pounds of prime rib vs. the 12-15lbs.  But then followed the salt crust recipe exactly and just didn’t pour all of it onto the meat.  Let me know if you try this, I’ll be curious to hear if it’s as big of a hit for your friends/family as it was for mine!  Cheers <3


  • 1 whole Rib Eye Roast (I Use Boneless, But You Can Do More Traditional Bone-in Prime Rib) About 14 Pounds
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Tri-color Peppercorns (or Any Peppercorns)
  • 3 sprigs Rosemary
  • 3 sprigs Thyme
  • 1/2 cup Minced Garlic

Preparation Instructions


Preheat oven to 500°F

Cut rib loin in half (roast halves separately for more controlled/even cooking.)

Sear both halves in olive oil over very high heat until nice dark golden color. Place tricolor peppercorns into a bag, crush pepper corns with a rolling pin. Strip the leaves from the rosemary and thyme springs. Mix salt, crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves and garlic.

Pour olive oil over the rib loin and pour on the rub mix. Pat slightly to get it to stick to the meat. Roast for 20-30 minutes at 500 degrees, then reduce heat to 300°F and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 125 for rare/medium rare (roast will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven.)

NOTE: If you’d like the meat more cooked, leave it in the oven longer. Just keep an eye on the meat thermometer and don’t let it cook past medium rare!


Remove from oven and let rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.

NOTE: You can buy half this quantity of meat and just proceed with the preparation instructions. You’ll wind up with one prime rib instead of two!

**Recipe by the Pioneer Woman**

Exercise is the most potent but underused Antidepressant…

health and happiness

Question – what do you do when you have a bad day?  Do you go home and pig out on pizza and chocolate ice cream?  Maybe have a glass of wine to forget the troubles from your day?  While all of those might be delicious (not arguing with ya one bit on that one), do they actually benefit you in some way?  If you have a legitimate reason why they do benefit you, I’d love to hear it…but for the sake of this post, we’re going to go with “no…pizza, chocolate ice cream, and wine don’t benefit your health or bad mood at all”.

Bare with me…I recently started exercising in the mornings and let me tell ya…that was a GENIUS idea.  I work a full-time job for the U.S. Government in addition to owning my own fitness business, and that full-time job can get extremely stressful.  Working out in the mornings really helped me start my day off on the right foot!  For the longest time I refused to do morning workouts, but I decided to get my lazy ass out of bed and start doing them anyways.  I started getting up early, having a protein bar and some preworkout formula.  Within 15 minutes I was ready to conquer the world and my workout!!  It just really set the scene for the rest of the day.  I found that if I skipped my morning workout, I had the thought of trying to fit it in looming over my head for the rest of the day.  Not to mention that after my workout, I felt energized, accomplished, and though I might have had shakey muscles, I was smiling.

So why is it that working out in the mornings prevented me from strangling someone at work?  Or killing my husband?  Or to better word that, how does working out in general actually increase your happiness?


Even exercising just 3 days per week has been shown to decrease the odds of developing depressing by 16%.  The more frequently you exercise, the more that number goes down.  Depression isn’t something to take lightly, it’s the most commonly treated mental health illness.  And it isn’t something you should be ashamed about if you ARE depressed.  But the key thing you need to focus on is how you’re going to resolve the issue.  Most of the time, medications and/or psychotherapy are recommended.  But what about folks who seek a more natural approach?  If this is you, someone you know, or someone who just wants a boost of happiness, try exercising AT LEAST 3 times per week.  You’ll start feeling the rush of endorphins and the high of exercising, and feel less anxious throughout your day.  You’ll not only be working on your physical health, but also your mental health <3

But is there a direct link between exercise and happiness? We know that exercise has been shown to improve the sleep patterns of insomniacs, as well as lower their anxiety

. Studies on rats indicate that exercise mimics the effects of antidepressants on the brain. Exercise is also responsible for the creation of new brain cells in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory


health and happiness 2

Interestingly, happiness and exercise are similar in two notable ways: both are independently associated with a boost to the immune system, and also with the release of endorphins.

So if you’re having a bad day/week/year, don’t reach for the junk food or alcohol in your cabinet. Reach for a workout instead!! It’s clincally proven whereas pizza, chocolate ice cream, and red wine are not ;)

And as always, if you are looking for guidance on where to start in your exercise journey, please e-mail me at kristynmergenthaler@gmail.com or send me a message on Facebook :)

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Why your future self and life partner will thank you for NOT skipping leg day…

seriously.  Who likes the agonizing pain of burning quads?  Like to the point where it’s painful to climb up the stairs?  I sure as heck don’t.  Especially the next day when I have to sit down to potty.  And don’t even get me started on lunges.  I LOATHE them and always feel like I look like an idiot trying to do them.  But here’s why we need to suck it up and do them anyways…

My intent with this blog is put everything in laymen’s terms.  Not everyone comprehends all of the technical mumbo jumbo, so I’m going to try and keep everything plain and simple here.  Your quadriceps are the largest muscle in your body (if you don’t know where your quads are, best take yourself back to Human Anatomy.  But I digress, it’s the muscle on the FRONT of your thighs).  Ok anyways, since they’re the biggest muscle in your body (the other muscles in your legs are some of the largest in your body as well), by working those muscles, you BURN MORE CALORIES and raise your metabolism.  So even if you aren’t concerned about having totally hott well defined legs, DON’T SKIP LEG WORKOUTS because those are the workouts where you’re likely to burn the most calories!!!

Now let me tell you how I came to actually enjoy working my legs.  I discovered a program that sculpted my legs like WOAH.  I mean, like so awesome that I took pictures of my legs and posted them on facebook.  I mean, who does that?  Someone who is darn proud of the hard work they’ve put in, and wants the world to see her legs, lol…that’s who ;)  And of course my luck, I got them all hott and sculpted just in time for cold weather so they’ll be covered up all winter long!  But don’t fret…if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I’ll be sure to continue posting pictures of their hottness throughout the winter…I wouldn’t want to deprive you of that.

If you’re looking for a great leg (which actually is an overal great plan) workout to really sculpt and get super awesome defined legs for next summer, please send me an e-mail at kristynmergenthaler@gmail.com or message me on Facebook :)leg dayleg day 3 leg day 4 leg day 5

And to satisfy all of you who understand the terminology – “Aerobic forms of leg workouts such as running, walking and cycling don’t just improve general health, they also encourage your leg muscles to grow. This muscle growth causes an increase in your metabolism, because muscle tissue has higher energy requirements than fat. Leg workouts therefore can facilitate weight loss in addition to providing cardiovascular benefits. Metabolism, however, only accounts for a portion of weight loss, and exercise should be combined with a decrease in caloric intake to sustain long-term weight reduction.”