willpower (n): energetic determination; the ability to control oneself and determine one's actions; firmness of will; control of one's impulses and actions; self-control.

So.  We ALL know at least one person who passes on that extra cocktail, says no to that piece of birthday cake and looks past all those tantalizing treats at family gatherings... wouldn't you like to know HOW they do that?!  Easy, I can sum that up for you in one word, WILLPOWER.   Yep, that easy, a little known thing called willpower.  Easy!? I know you must think I'm crazy, but really we can teach ourselves to have better willpower, just like we can train our bodies with exercise and strengthen our minds by reading and studying books.  Here are a few things I do to strengthen my willpower.  With the months ahead and the feeding frenzy that is about to being with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas galas, these tips will come in handy to keep you from derailing your progress and sabotaging your diet.

1.  Boost your brainpower.  You have got to get it in you head that you want to be able to resist temptation of anything that can potentially delay or hinder your goals.  Write down your goals on paper, refer to them often.  This reminds us of what we want and what we have to do to achieve those goals.  Every Friday I take 10 minutes in the morning to write down my weekly goals, things I want to achieve by the end of the week.  Try it, you'll be amazed at how efficient you'll become.

2.  Be a dreamer.. but not too big.  It's awesome to have big dreams for yourself.  Dreams are actually goals that just haven't been put into motion.  The reality is, your dreams no matter how big or small, CAN become a reality, you just have to take the necessary steps to get there.  My advice, start small.  Say you want to lose 100 pounds, obviously this is not going to happen in a week, but for one week you can set a goal to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day and eat more fruits and vegetables and eliminate processed food.  If you do this everyday for a month, I bet you will have lost at least 10lbs, if not more!  So, if you do this for 10 months, in less than a year you will have lost 100lbs!  WOW!  Now THAT is a goal.  Think about it.  Baby steps ;)

3.  Think about things in a 'what if' scenario.  Do this with everything.  What if I packed my lunch tomorrow for work the night before... I could pack only healthy foods and I'll save some money by not eating out AND I'll save calories by not eating fast food.  What if I stay up too late to catch up on my DVR shows from this week and I miss my early morning wake up call to workout, I will promise myself to at least go for a brisk walk on my lunch hour.  Always think ahead and think of every 'what if' scenario... being prepared is always a good thing!

4.  Be your own cheerleader.  You can't expect to go through life waiting for others to bring you up.  YOU have to bring yourself up, in the end, it's up to YOU!  Work to be a more positive influence, not only for yourself, but for others as well.  To get in a good mood, try cheering someone else up, said by the great Mark Twain.  And it's so true!  No matter what is going on in your life or how you feel strive to see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that in the end everything will work out.  Yes, we all have struggles, but the way we choose to react to them makes 100% of the difference.  Be positive, be happy, enjoy life :)

So, those are some of the things that roll through my brain on a daily basis, I hope they start to roll through yours!  As we head into October there are a few things that you should know, I've fully prepared myself for the coming months and you can do the same so you can stay the course of your goals.  October, November and December are upon us.  What do those months mean to me.... EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY.  Yep, it's inevitable and yep I will indulge in cheer for sure, BUT I will also be putting myself in a position where I will still have to hold myself accountable for my health and fitness goals.  So, what I've done is I've created TWO challenge groups, one is a 30 day challenge that will carry through til mid November and hopefully prepare and instill GOOD habits before the big holidays hit, the other is a 90 day challenge that will carry through til the end of the year.  Each involve and promote fitness and healthy eating.  What to join in on the action?  You know how to get ahold of me, we'd LOVE to have YOU!

Hold on tight folks, we are about to enter the war zone!!!  2 more days til October.... WOW!
What better way to start off a Monday than with chocolate!  I love chocolate and finding all the guilt free ways that I can have it and still manage to reach my fitness goals is one of my daily yahoo! searches :)  So, here's what I found, thought I'd share with all of you!

1.  Plain ole dark chocolate!  1 ounce of this delish treat is only about 150 calories and is heart healthy and even prevents some cancers, score!

2.  Mmm fudgy bittersweet brownies, no not from the box!  From scratch of course, see below!

1 large egg
1 egg white
3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 ounces high-quality unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup buckwheat or presifted whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square nonstick baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, yogurt, and vanilla extract; set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, oil, salt, and 3 tablespoons water, stirring constantly for 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa and chocolate until chocolate melts, then add egg mixture. Add all flour, stirring until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into baking pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until top is firm. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into squares.

3.  Chocolate covered soy nuts - About 1/4 of a cup will set you back just 140 calories -- and it packs in 5g of protein!

4.  Banana with chocolate dipping sauce!

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Small pinch of salt
1 small banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon chopped toasted walnuts

In a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the honey, butter, and salt, stirring frequently. Serve the chocolate sauce and walnuts in bowls for dipping, accompanied by the banana chunks.

5.  Chocolate Pudding - Super-easy and super satisfying! At just 150 calories, how can you resist!