My name is Gabby.  

I lost half my body weight through exercise and eating right.

 I'm here to motivate you, inspire you, and make you laugh on your journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle.



Hi there, everybody!  Today I'm talking about helpful tips, tricks, and even recipes that will help you lose weight. This is Part 3 of my weight loss interview. Don't worry, you don't need to read the installments in order!

Healthy eating is often the hardest part for those of us trying to lose weight. The many pitfalls and misleading food facts out there certainly don't help matters. It's important to learn what constitutes as a true healthy food and to recognize false 'healthy' claims. Today I'll be giving you lots of healthy food tips! I'll cover what foods you should be buying, how to order at restaurants, and how to avoid misleading food labels. I'll also reveal some fitness tips on how to get the ENTIRE family involved in getting fit and healthy!



{Novelist Jillian Neal interviewed me and asked me fantastic questions about how I lost 120 pounds. The interview was published in four installments. Below you'll find the third installment. You can find the original publication of this interview on Jillian's blog here.}


PART 3: Interview with Gabby

All right today we're discussing healthy eating. It is one of the integral parts of weight loss, and Gabby is not only sharing her shopping tips and knowledge she's also sharing recipes!

1. I noticed in the pictures you shared with me that your husband appears to have slimmed down as well. Would you say that your entire family, your girls included, are healthier due to your weight loss and dramatic life change?

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Absolutely. First and foremost, I don’t bring truckloads of junk food into the house anymore. Since I fill the house up with healthy foods and snacks, they have no choice but to eat healthier. Honestly, they didn’t skip a beat. My kids have always loved healthy foods and my husband has never been a foodie like me. He’ll eat whatever you put in front of him.

The activity was the biggest change for everyone. We were used to being sedentary. We would always have family movie nights and family game nights but we’d never do anything that entailed moving. I had bought a couple workout DVDs for children. They focused on having fun and being active rather than actually ‘working out’. We started doing those as a family and everybody absolutely loved it! Our favorite is Shaun T's Fit Kids Club. Shaun T teaches you a bunch of fun, and often silly, dance moves. Oh my goodness, it is sooo fun! We laugh the whole way through it and the girls get a kick out of watching mommy and daddy do the silly moves. I recommend it highly. More than anything though, we just made a point to go outside more. We’d run around with the girls in the backyard or take them for a walk. We started playing Frisbee, bean bags, wiffle ball, soft ball, or do relay races. It was good for all of us. Not just in a healthy kind of way, but in our connections with each other. We became this fitness team. A lot of my defining moments happened during our family fit time.

It’s amazing to see how much the mommy in the family can change the course for everybody. As the matriarchs, our emotions and actions will often set the tone for the household and have a powerful ripple effect down onto everyone.

It was in this power that I realized just how important it was for me to keep forging ahead in my journey. I wanted my girls to grow up living healthy, happy, and confident lives and I wanted my husband to live a long healthy life by my side.

After I lost my weight, my husband and I started taking boxing and kickboxing classes at a combat gym. He didn’t want to but I made him anyway ;) I have always been enthralled with boxing even since I was a child. I told my husband before my weight loss that if I lost all of my weight, I wanted to learn how to box. And not just the boxy-dance-y stuff. The real deal… at a real boxing gym. I don’t think he ever thought the day would actually come where I made the boxing pipe dream a reality. At the time he just nodded and said ’sure honey’. Well needless to say, after I lost the weight, I was still hell-bent on learning to box. The classes were grueling, but in the best possible way! Jay came to love it as much as I did.

It was an incredible experience to do together. Something like we’ve never done before. We fell in love with it so much that we bought the girls their own boxing gear and started teaching them how to box. They of course don’t punch each other but we have taught them all the proper punches and kicks and they practice on the heavy bag or Jay and I will hold pads for them. I gotta tell ya, fast forward a couple years, and both my girls can pack a punch! I get the biggest kick out of watching them. They are so good at it! They both get this twinkle in their eyes when they are boxing. They feel so strong and invincible. It makes my heart soar to see them so sure of themselves.

I also have special things that I only do with my girls. It’s our Get Fit Girl Time. Our favorite is doing obstacle courses. I’ll set up an obstacle course where we have to zip from one station to the next. I use a timer and when the buzzer blows, off to the next station we go! Hop-scotch, jump rope, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and relays are some of the most popular stations. Our driveway is super long so that’s a favorite spot to do our obstacle courses. I think the neighbors think we’re nuts, lol. But man do we have fun!

Another fun thing my girls and I love to do is have our very own dance parties. We blare some music in the living room, get our fake microphones, and we start shaking our booties for all they’re worth. Before you know it, we’re all sweating and out of breath. But more than anything, we laugh. It’s time that none of us even sees as exercise, it’s just magical moments. Moments that I hope they never forget… I know I won’t.

2. I know as I began losing and began navigating my way through my weight loss I was infuriated by restaurant and food industry claims that certain things were “healthy” when they weren’t at all. Did you find this to be true? Any advice on how to handle misinformation?

Ugh. Yes, eating out can be tricky if you’re solely going by labels and descriptions. Restaurants will deem certain dishes ‘healthy’ or a ‘smart choice’ and in truth, they’re not. Similarly when shopping at the grocery stores, every item tries to have some kind of a healthy catchphrase. I live by one rule and one rule only and that is…

I trust nothing.

When I’m at a restaurant, I order my own custom meal. My husband teases me about it because sometimes the waitress’ eyes will glaze over because of all the questions I’m asking. But honestly, most people in the service industry are used to people changing their orders and asking about nutrition facts. I know one thing. I’m not going to ruin my whole day of hard work because I didn’t ask a few questions! No way, Jose. You can’t go wrong when ordering a plain baked chicken breast, broiled fish, or even a lean steak. You can ask them to hold the bread, steam your veggies, switch out white rice for plain brown rice or wild rice, or add a basic salad with dressing on the side. Always go with the vinaigrette dressing when possible. Even oil-based dressings like your basic Italian is better than the creamy dressings. And always have them on the side. You will always use less if you dip your fork into the top of the dressing rather than pour it all over everything. If you’re a seafood lover, there’s lots of healthy choices. Baked, broiled, steamed, or grilled fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab legs are all good choices. If you stay away from the butter, you’re golden. There’s always an option. Just make sure you are the one calling the shots.

In relation to the grocery store. When you’re contemplating buying something, it comes down to one thing. Ask yourself … Did a caveman eat this?

To eat healthy is to eat REAL food. Food that is from natural ingredients. A whole food diet is truly the best way to eat. Other than your staple brown foods such as brown rice, brown pastas, oatmeal and other grains, you really shouldn’t be buying anything with a crinkly wrapper or in a box. I’m pretty sure cavemen weren’t eating Cheetos and Better Cheddars.

You should be buying the predominant amount of your food along the perimeter of the store.

Grocery stores set up almost all of their perishable and whole foods along the outside walls of the store. All the junk lies in the middle (again save for your grains).

Be careful about being fooled into thinking you are making a healthy recipe when if fact you may not be. Many recipes will label themselves as 'healthy' yet they are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Look for recipes that use lean meats, complex carbohydrates, plenty of fresh ingredients, and unprocessed ingredients. I saw a recipe not too long ago that claimed it had 'NO SUGAR' but when I looked at the ingredients, it called for chocolate chips, brown sugar, maple syrup (not pure maple syrup), and quick oats. No sugar? Last time I checked chocolate chips and maple syrup, and hello, brown sugar have tons of sugar in them. Just because they aren't 'table sugar' doesn't mean you get to say your recipe has 'NO SUGAR'. Also, quick oats are stripped of most of their healthy attributes. You should always stick with steel cut oats or old fashioned oats. When looking for healthier versions of desserts, look for recipes using natural sweeteners.

I am a HUGE fan of stevia. I use it in all my baking as well as in my coffee and tea. It is one of the only all-natural sweeteners out there that does not illicit an insulin surge from the pancreas which makes it the perfect choice for a diabetic. So beware, just because it says it is healthy doesn't mean that it is.

If you turn a box over and don’t recognize some of the ingredients or it has more than 10 ingredients, it’s a safe bet it’s not healthy, no matter what load of bull they’re saying about it. Put it back on the shelf. It won’t help you lose weight and you don’t want this fake, harmful food making it’s way into your children’s tummies!

3. Where do you feel is a good place to find healthy recipes? What are a few of your favorites?

I am constantly looking for new yummy, healthy meals. My favorite way to find recipes is to search Pinterest. I have a Healthy Eats board that I am continuously pinning new healthy recipes to. I get a lot of fitness inspiration and workouts from Pinterest as well. I have over 30 health and fitness related boards on my Pinterest account.  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest here. I also get a lot of recipes from the Allrecipes.com's healthy category. I also love tinkering in the kitchen and coming up with my own recipes.

Some of my own recipes that I love and use constantly are:

Want to read the rest of my interview? 

You can click on the pictures below or click these links:



Don't forget to check out Jillian's blog and her bestselling (and spicy hot!) romance books. I've read every single one and I keep telling her she needs to write faster!

*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.


Please Note: The affiliate links provided in this article are for products that I purchased and use regularly. I did not receive these products free nor was I asked to do a product review.

 *Affiliate Disclaimer: Half of Gabby has recently become an Amazon Affiliate. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all affiliates to put a disclaimer on their website/blog. Most disclaimers are so filled with confusing lingo that you don’t even understand what they're saying. I’m going to break it down for you the way I'd want it to be broken down for me. I’m not a fan of complicated and unclear regulation jargon. So here’s the dealio. Half of Gabby takes up a tremendous amount of my time. But because I love it so much, I really want to continue dedicating my time to it. For six years now, I have been providing product links to products that I use and love and in turn recommend them to my readers. These products have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle and/or improve my family life. I have helped sell countless products for six years and have never received any commissions… Until now. As of September 15, 2016, I will be providing links just as I've always done, but now will receive a very small commission if you purchase an item through the affiliate link that I provide. An affiliate link is simply a link that brings you to a place where you can buy that product. I will not earn a commission by you simply clicking on the link, you must actually purchase the item(s) within 24 hours of putting it in your Amazon cart. Prices are exactly the same for you if you purchase through an affiliate link on Half of Gabby. You will NOT pay more by clicking through the link. My promise to you is that I will never recommend a product that I don’t fully 100% believe in and/or use myself and recommend to close friends and family. This will allow me to continue working hard on Half of Gabby without it using up time that I need to otherwise dedicate to contributing to my household. I'm happy to be able to continue my blog and to continue talking with, meeting, and helping people all over the world with their health journeys!