Tag Archives: weight-loss

Homemade granola bars

13 Aug

Homemade granola bars
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup fresh ground peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup craisens
1/2 chopped almonds
1 scoop protein powder
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In a medium sauce pan heat honey and peanut butter for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients. Mix with wooded spoon or with clean hands. Spray a 9×8 pan with pam, pour oats mixture in pan. Use a small peice of wax paper and press down the oats until packed well. Cut into squares and put in freezer for about an hour ( I usually leave over night). #homemadegranolabars #granola #cleaneats #healthyrecipes #wellnessislived #wellness



Just like him…

20 Sep

Addictions are a beast!!!

I was watching a video about military men returning home, the surprised look on their loved ones face as they seen their soldier for the first time gave me memories of when my dad would return home. Although as children we were told our dad was in the “military” or “on vacation”, in reality he was in a half way house, rehab or prison. As I struggle with addiction myself, and mess up on daily basis, I think of my dad. I am not sure if it was because his birthday recently passed or because sometimes I just feel completely alone as my extended family is a bit of a mess.

I think about how much he might have wanted to be there for me, or keep his promises about doing good this time because he found Jesus. I think about that one last high or drink of his that kept him from me. I am not bitter towards him, I just really wish he knew that I completely forgave him and I wish he could see the woman I have become. There was a family prophecy that all Larry’s kids would end up in gangs, in prison or dead. Even though I had a rough start in life, I have completely changed the way I think and how I feel about my purpose. One of the things he always told me was, “mija, you need to lose weight because I don’t want you to get the diabetes” (adding the in front of diabetes always made me laugh). Just like him, I didn’t know how to beat my addiction, just like him, no matter how many times I tried I always let myself down, just like him, I let the guilt and shame of my past control my future and control who I was meant to be.

If you are reading this and struggle with a food addiction, you are not alone. It is so important for me to tell you that if you feel you have tried for the last time, try again. Know that your life is precious, and no matter what people say to you, your life is worth saving. I say this all the time and it is so true, this journey is tough, the first step is the hardest, but the end result is definitely worth it! I had to let this out, sometimes things are heavy on my mind and I have to write or I feel like I have missed an opportunity to help someone. Never stop trying, always strive to be better than you were the day before and keep on keepin on:)


*if you ever have any question, please don’t hesitate to write me a note

Beautiful Tragedy…

15 Mar


    The last picture I took before the birth of my youngest daughter.

    I wrote a blog back in January titled “Layers”, sometimes I just write to clear my mind and other times there is a specific thing I feel I should write about to not only remind myself but to help others. I told you about my hysterectomy and how my life was almost taken after the birth of my youngest daughter. Last night I got to meet one of the nurses who had a hand in saving my life and it was the most amazing experience. Two separate lives that were both impacted by this beautiful tragedy, two lives that were forever changed because of the power of prayer. 

    I struggled with my purpose in life after that day, I remember feeling like God was picking on me and how much I resented him for bringing me back. In my mind I feel like I was so angry because I got a glimpse of heaven and wondered why I needed to come back to such a dark and hateful world (I don’t remember anything about that day other than passing out and waking up). One painful heart ache after another is all I ever thought life would be and it was all I have ever known, I stayed stuck in a depression for over a year. There were times I was thankful and thought about my O Positive blood donor, the doctors and nurses that worked on me but never really thought about person. They had lives too, they seen trauma everyday and still had to go home not knowing if the person they were helping made it through the night. Not knowing if the person used their second chance to continue on the road that lead them where they were or if they had the courage to change. Can you even imagine working to save a mother of 5 children, one who was a newborn and another physically disabled? They worked so hard that day to make sure I was alive to be a mother to my children, a wife to my husband and a life changer to my world. The events in our lives can make us bitter or they can impact our lives in such a way that we do all we can to make sure no one ever has to experience the pain we felt. 

    When I started the Blue Slide Project (a wheelchair accessible playground at Parkside Elementary in Grants Pass, Or) I started coming back to life, I was still held back by my layers but had a spark of hope. I was leaving my house to go to meetings, forming friendships and volunteering in my community. I seen that although the world was dark and hateful, there were those who were trying to “overcome evil with good”(Romans 12:21). I met some really great people and have formed bonds that could not have formed without the tragedy’s in my life. When my brother passed away, I took one step back and felt like I was slipping again. I remember my husband telling me, “I know how much your brother meant to you, but you have a family that needs you to get better”. I was angry at first because he didn’t understand my pain, but it was those words that helped me get to where I am today. I woke up one day shortly after that talk and decided I can not let obesity take my life. 

    Last night when I talked to the nurse I had the opportunity to see how valuable my life was to strangers, how much they didn’t give up on me and how even to the point of death I was still “fighting”. After the doctors had done all they could to save my life, they informed my husband that they did not expect me to make it through the night. She told me how 3 nurses gathered in the hall after working on me for about an hour and prayed that my fate would not be death. The next day she peaked her head in the door to see that I had survived the night, and that is one of the things I remember as I was slipping in and out of consciousness.  We both stood their sobbing, and I began to thank her for what she did and for being a life saver. Of course her response was, “the doctors saved you, I didn’t”. My reply was simple, “yes, but you prayed”. So why would I ever give up on my life? Why should I ever feel like my work here is in vain? I won’t anymore, I cried all the way home thanking God for sparing my life and for a second chance. I was brought back to do good works and change the lives of my family and those around me. Although I am not perfect, and often make mistakes, I told God I would do my best from this day forward to be the light and carry hope.


    Here is a picture I was always ashamed of, every time I saw it I seen trauma I never seen a miracle although I knew there was one there. I remember that day, and days after, it was such a dark and lonely time because no one was able to convince me that my life was a miracle. I have a scar on my neck from the picc line in my jugular vein and was angry every time I saw it. Now its a reminder of hope and I will no longer be ashamed of my scar but celebrate in all I have overcome. I don’t want to sound boastful I am just so grateful that God is faithful to his word. When He says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3 All Glory to God who saved me by his grace and gave me hope through all my beautiful tragedy’s, 


    This was the day before I left the hospital, can you see the picc line in my jugular vein?

    Please if you are reading this, don’t let a tragedy wake you up, don’t let pain be what motivates you to change your eating habits or the things in your life that hold you back. I know a lot of this is repeats from previous blogs but I really want you to understand how much freedom I have received by letting things go. For Christ died so we could live, He carried our sin and shame on the cross so we could have freedom. The greatest beautiful tragedy of all time…

    Be blessed,








    My current before and after, a 151 pound loss in a little over 1 year.

  • I’m not who I was…

    18 Feb


    Do you ever feel like this guy? Having the weight of the world on your back, on a constant uphill battle? I know that at 34 I spent most of my life lost, thinking I had things figured out only to discover that the worst had not yet come. My weight issues did not happen over night, I spent way to many years carrying baggage I wasn’t meant to carry going down a road that lead me no where.

    My journey to health has helped me shed the pounds and get rid of things I had no business holding on to. I wrote about “layers” a few weeks ago and think it’s important to bring up again. I have people tell me all the time that they don’t know what they are doing wrong with weight loss. My response will always be to change your mind about food and get rid of all your pain, failures and disappointments. Free yourself!  Forgive others even when you will never hear your sorry. Love those who are unlovable. Be the friend you wish you had, and live your life to the fullest. Not sure why I wrote this, I guess as a reminder to myself. I have changed so much and I never want to go back to the way I was.

    I am going to end with this song, I heard it the other day and really related to the words.

    Hope you are encouraged today!


    Why not?

    12 Feb

    The why’s of this world will weigh us down and break our spirit. Why did they do that? Why did this happen? Why can’t I lose weight? Why is that person so successful and I am not? Why, why, WHY?! Ask yourself a new why, why not me? Why not today? Why not now?!!!

    Sometimes we focus on someone else’s journey that we leave ours unwritten. Today tell yourself “why not me?” The cares and worries of this world hold us back from who we are meant to be. Live in freedom, be the person God created you to be aim high and don’t look back at the person you said goodbye to. My journey to health came as a result of a tragedy,  that tragedy saved my life.

    Today I choose freedom,  today I choose health,  today I choose to save my life. Use your choices wisely:)

    Happy Wednesday, 



    25 Jan

    I am often asked the question, “how do you stay motivated”? There are several things that motivate me, in the beginning the Blue Slide Weight loss challenge and my baby sister’s wedding kept me going. There was/is something in the back of my mind that is a constant reminder of why I need to be healthy. When I say I am on a journey to save my life I mean that in the most drastic way, addictions are tough. I come from a family of addicts, I have watched the people I love get slowly taken from me because they could not, didn’t want to, or didn’t know how to control their addiction. For me it was the same, I starting drinking at the young age of 14 and found myself on a road that was leading me to my destiny. Growing up without my father I was more likely to use drugs or alcohol, have a teen pregnancy, be obese and there was a greater chance to be sexual and physically abused. To be honest, although it was hard not having him, I think it would have been harder and I would have turned out worse had he been in the home. I do not blame my parents for any mistakes that I have made nor blame them for the life I had, everything that happened or was said to me made me the mom, wife, sister, friend I am today. Although I was more likely to fail in life because I didn’t have my father, in the end the choices were mine.

    The things we are told as children can stick with us for the rest of our lives, that saying, “sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a bunch of crap. Physical wounds fade, but words stay in your mind forever, although some may be able to brush things off, others like myself are not. They stick to us, they become who we are and we take what others say about us as truth. I was often told that I was too sensitive and dramatic. But if you tell your children they are worthless and good for nothing, then there is a high chance they will feel worthless and good for nothing. And they will meet people who confirm what they were told, and they go through life trying to cover up the person they were meant to be. 

    So I put on layers, my food addiction started when I was 8 (my earliest memory) and when I did see my dad his first comment would be that I needed to lose weight. I was often called a “bitch,fat bitch and my favorite, Orca”. I didn’t know what orca meant but knew it wasn’t a good name. I later figured out it was a whale, so I kept putting on the layers. Abuse would come to memory and I would eat to cover it up. I didn’t want to remember anything so I buried it, at 14 I ran away from home and that is when I started drinking. I remember going to school drunk and my English teacher Mr. Ortiz pulling me out of class and telling me basically, “what the heck is wrong with you”? He was the only one that ever reached out to me, but I had so much negative that his one positive was over powered. I didn’t stand a chance and I knew I had no future, graduating from high school was my only goal in life and I sucked at that. 

    It was no surprise to anyone that I would end up pregnant at 17, I felt so much shame being the only pregnant girl in our small town. My friends mom was the nurse who took my pregnancy test and it was very clear that I was tainted and parents started to fear if their teenage daughters were around me they would be pregnant too. I was alone, no future, no hope!! After I had my first born I was probably around 200-220 pounds.I worked for a plus size store, starting meeting people and my confidence was higher, I was discovering a whole new world. Started working for a bank shortly after and things were finally starting to look up for me, I was seeing a little bit of sunshine and my future didn’t seem so hopeless. I started losing weight and think I was down to 180. I hit a rough patch with drinking again, met my husband who would not tolerate it and wouldn’t be with a girl who partied so I tried to change. I was pregnant again and after my son was born I was married.

    After about 5 years we found ourselves at a crossroads, I filed for divorce when I was pregnant with our twins, I miscarried one at 3 months gestation. My attorney said wait until after the birth of the surviving twin to sign so we wouldn’t have to go back to court. When Isaac was born he was in the NICU because of lung infection. At 2 1/2 months he was in ICU with Pneumonia and at 3 1/2 months old he was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma (cancer), two weeks later he was paralyzed. My husband and I decided we needed each other to get through this hard time and put the divorce on the back burner. During his treatment and hospitalizations I gained about 80 pounds, with each trauma I kept putting on the layers. I had another miscarriage in 2008, I was devastated, left with empty arms and I wasn’t sure why I had to go through so much. All my pain, hurts, disappointments, fears, failures were being covered up, I wasn’t going to let anyone see me.

    When it was time for the birth of our 5th child I believe I was around 270 pounds, I suffered massive hemorrhaging after my c-section and my heart stopped 3 or 4 times. I was given several blood transfusion but I kept bleeding, my doctor decided to save my life I needed a hysterectomy. I was not expected to live and to be brutally honest there was a time when I wished I did not make it, I didn’t want to live this life anymore. I didn’t understand at the time why one person had to go through so much pain and heart ache and had to struggle so much just to survive. 

    So when my brother, who was the most loving, forgiving, and encouraging constant person in my life died because of obesity, I had to make the choice to save my life. As hard as my life was, it was mine. I had to take the layers off so I can fully be who God intended me to be. NOT worthless and good for nothing, but a strong woman who loves passionately and is willing to do any and everything to make sure her family is taken care of, that her friends know just how blessed she is to have them. I can’t help but think that as I was dying after giving birth to my daughter, that my brother was praying for us to trade places. He was the last face I seen before I went into a coma, and I know how much he loved me.

    The layers we put on ourselves or the ones people put on us are not meant to be there, as we discover who we are and the layers shed we can fully walk in freedom. Yes I am a food addict, yes I will always be a food addict, but I don’t have to let my addiction control who or what I am. When everything else is crazy in my life, when I can’t control what the doctors say about my son, or how I am going to pay this or that. The one thing I do have control of are the things I put in my mouth and how I treat my body. So I will use this to my advantage and work hard to save my life. So when you ask me “how do you stay motivated”, my response will be I want to save my life, I want to be free!! I thank God for helping me through everything.

    I hope wherever you are on your journey that you would make the choice to live in freedom, it is an amazing feeling and although I still have a lot of work I feel like I have come a long way. I have learned that dealing with my layers is the only way I can fully heal and be free. It is so hard but a necessary part of my journey, thank you for being apart of it!!



    My Meal Plan…

    14 Jan



    PLEASE REMEMBER I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR A NUTRITIONIST, I have been asked what types of things I eat and what has helped me lose all my weight. I did NOT have any surgeries and did not use any weight loss aids, no magic pill or shakes just hard work and dedication to health. I copy and pasted this from My Secret to Weight loss blog on wordpress monapinonmomof5@wordpress.com ” In the past 9 months I have tried a few weight loss plans but mostly have stuck with counting calories and exercising (Weight Watcher meals and Slim Fast barare my usual go tos). You really have to listen to your body to figure out what works best for you. The secret to my weight loss success was not a magic shake or pill, it was me believing in myself and working hard towards my goal. It’s not the weight loss plan that works, its the persons hard work and determination that makes the plan work. It was all trial and error for me, in the beginning I chose to do a low calorie diet and although it taught me to only use food for fuel it had negative side affects. My hair started to fall out and I was fatigue, since I loved to exercise (and love my hair lol) I quickly realized that I needed to eat more. I still eat the foods I love but I have learned to make a healthier version and in proper portions.”

    Here is a sample of what I eat throughout the day.


    1 cup of coffee with a splash of flavored cream (I use regular cream at home but when I buy my drink out I get sugar free caramel with (1 tablespoon of cream)

    Fruit Smoothie (when it is warm out)

    1/4 cup of yogurt

    3/4 cup of milk

    add about a cup of frozen fruit


    Oatmeal, I add a little bit of milk and 1/2 tsp of brown sugar (You will get use to not using so much sugar over time)


    Veggie egg white omelet (I usually eat this on Saturday because I have time)

    2 egg whites

    1/4 cup onion

    1/4 cup bell pepper

    1/4 cup mushroom 

    sprinkle of cheese

    Slim Fast Bar or Weight Watcher Meal

    (this is what I eat now since my mornings are usually busy.) I try and not eat bread more than once a day.)

    Mid morning Snack (choose 1)

    A few slices of lean turkey (this is my usual)

    handful of nuts

    dried fruit (if I want something sweet)

    fresh fruit


    Chicken Salad with salsa as dressing


    Progresso Soups Light or regular I try to go over 100 cal per serving 


    Slim Fast Bar/Weight Watcher Meal


    Subway Oven Roasted Chicken/pepper jack cheese with tons of veggies a little bit honey mustard and siracha sauce


    afternoon snack

    Same as Morning snack



    1 corn tortilla baked (rub coconut oil on tortilla, bake for 4 min each side at 400 degrees).

    1/2 cup ground turkey

    homemade refried beans





    plain greek yogurt (to act as sour cream)


    Evening snack

    Same as other snack choices, I like to eat protein but will eat a fruit if I have not had one yet.

    Basically I eat whatever I make my family for dinner but I watch the portions, I never feel deprived because I found healthier ways to make the things I like. You have to ask yourself when making a food choice, “if I eat this will it help me get closer to my goal or push me further away?” If you feel hungry throughout the day and have already had your snack eat some nuts or a few slices of lean turkey. When I workout in the morning I am hungry from all the extra calories I burned so I make sure I have a snack when I get home. Water is so important, I can not stress this enough, it will not only help you feel fuller but helps with digestion and you will find that your skin is healthier. Whatever plan you are on as long as you stay focused it will work! You will start to see a change in your attitude when you see it as a lifestyle and not a diet. I currently eat between 1,200-1,500 cal depending on my exercise. If you are just starting out, start with at least 15 min of exercise a day and work your way up to 30-45 min. In the beginning I only walked for exercise, if you can do more that is awesome. Please listen to your body, like I said before I am not a nutritionist, I have no clue if what I am doing is right I just know it was right for me. If you have any questions please message me below or visit my facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/savingmona

    Thank you so much for reading!