If you’re anything like me, you equate relaxing with a night big fat glass of wine. I mean, who doesn’t? I won’t lie, the mellow buzz that comes from those first few sips of red is blissful. Light some candles, get a little giddy, and let the stresses of the day melt away while you devour a few episodes of the Real Housewives. This was my nightly routine. Until I realized those few glasses of wine were wreaking havoc on my sleep, my skin, my gut health, and my weight.

The first time I realized I needed to cut back on my evening “wine down” time, I panicked. How was I going to shut off after a long day? Could I get tired on my own? Would I sleep? These were all pretty legit thoughts, as I was using red wine as a bit of a tranquilizer at night. I don’t know about you, but I have one of those brains that does not stop. If there’s a thought to think of, I’m thinking of it. Time for bed! Let’s replay every conversation we’ve had over the last month, think about renting vs. buying, mentally plan out our next vacation, and debate over which shoes would look best with that new dress.

I knew I needed to create a new healthy routine at night that would allow me to chill out without alcohol (at least most nights). I started doing a little research and trying some new things out, and here’s what’s been working for me. And for those who are wondering, I still enjoy wine if I go out to dinner, or on the occasional night I’m really in the mood for it, but I try to keep it out of the house. I probably enjoy it, on average, one night a week these days. And it’s made a big difference.

Bedtime tea. And the one I drink has catnip in it, ya’ll! Yes, CATNIP. But before you envision me sucking on a mouse made of yarn, let me clarify. The catnip herb has relaxation properties in it that also help calm your nerves. It’s soothing and has been known to help you prepare for sleep. I drink Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night. You can grab it in most supermarkets, on Amazon, or on their site. This stuff makes me slightly drowsy and just helps me unwind a bit. Nothing crazy. But it works. I also love Yogi bedtime tea. Both have pretty much the same effects.

Hot pink bubble bath. Okay, it doesn’t have to be pink. But it helps. I love to take a bath at night and throw in a Lush bath bomb with essential oils. I imagine the stress of the day melting off me as I soak. I take a few minutes to replay the high points of the day in my mind and celebrate everything I accomplished.

Limiting phone/screen time an hour before bed. I used to lay in bed with my phone glued to my hand for at least an hour – sometimes more. Like, really Cara? Do you need to be on Instagram right up until your eyeballs close? I read that separating yourself from the phone and computer about an hour before bedtime really helps you disconnect, so I decided to give it a try. It honestly helps so much. I won’t lie – at first I had to get over the crippling anxiety of not knowing what my very last email of the night was going to be, but I got over it (LOL). I now turn on a mindless show like the Real Housewives of Anywhere, and sip my catnip tea in peace.

Lavender essential oil. This. gives. me. LIFE. Diffused or on my wrists, or both. I love lavender. It’s such a beautiful scent that really helps take the edge off. I dab a few drops on my wrists and do a few inhales as I’m getting ready for bed. When I inhale, I imagine myself breathing in positive thoughts, and when I exhale, I imagine myself breathing out the stress of the day. I sometimes even throw a few drops in my aromatherapy diffuser and let the soothing scent help me drift off as I watch Ramona fight for the best bedroom in Mexico. (any Real Housewives fans out there!?)

Gratitude. As soon as I get in bed, I immediately begin thinking of everything I’m thankful for. I list each thing off in my mind. I am usually out by the time I’m on number 5 or so. It’s honestly such a peaceful and happy ritual and it always puts me at ease. Note: this also works for any situation you may feel anxious in. I do it when I’m about to take off on an airplane, or whenever I experience rough turbulence that makes me nervous (spoiler alert: I’m not the best flyer!)

Visualization. If my gratitude list doesn’t knock me out, I turn to visualization. I imagine, in detail, how I want my next day to look. I think about what I’m wearing, what I want to experience – all happy things. Sometimes I even replay really exciting moments in my life that make me feel good. I just allow myself to get lost in my mind and it feels so good. Remember: your thoughts create your reality. Make sure they are fabulous!

 

With love and moderation,

Cara

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, listening to the last few podcasts, or been following along on my Instagram, I have been sharing my weight loss journey with you guys in a very raw and vulnerable way. I’ve shared that I’ve lost weight before – this is not my first rodeo. I have lost and gained probably the same 20 or 30 pounds most of my life.  I joined Weight Watchers when I was 11 and I’ve been on some kind of tortuous diet pretty much ever since then.  I am no stranger to the game.  However, as I’ve recently said, it’s different this time. I’ve lost 21 pounds since starting my new mindful nutrition program in May and I truly feel like a new woman.

I’ve lost these 21 pounds in the middle of a book launch, in the middle of life, in the middle of travel, in the middle of all that stuff.  But more importantly, besides the weight coming off, my whole aura is elevated. I’ve lost weight and gained an entirely new vibe. I’m happier. More positive. More empowered. If you look at this Instagram post, I shared a side-by-side comparison of where I was on April 13th of this year and where I was on June 15th of this year, which is a two month difference. And it’s incredible to see what a massive transformation has occurred within that time frame.  The first noticeable change is in my body, clearly. It is evident that I was totally trashing my body back in April.  I was drinking every single day.  If I took a day off from drinking it was probably because I was hung over. (I’m being totally real here).  I was drinking wine every single night.  It may not have been a bottle of wine, but it was easily a glass or two.  I was partying on the weekends because I was working so hard during the week, and ironically work felt so much harder because I usually had some kind of mild hangover from a few glasses the night before. I was going nuts on the weekend and partying and drinking way more than a bottle of wine because I was working so hard during the week and that was my “reward.” That reward continued till 3 o’clock in the morning most weekends, where I’d go get pizza or whatever other crap I could find in my drunken haze. Again – being totally real.

And I was sad.  And when you look at that picture of me you can see the sadness.  You can see the frustration.  You can see how uncomfortable I am in my own body and most importantly, in my own mind.  If I have ever understood the connection between mind and body, it’s now.  It’s been something that has eluded me for so long, and for so long it’s bothered me that I have been able to accomplish every other goal that I set out to accomplish in my life. Everything!  Topping bestseller lists, getting dream clients, landing opportunities, getting on live TV, being in magazines, making more money in one month than I used to make in an entire year.

I have been able to accomplish everything, but developing a healthy relationship with food was just not one of them for the longest time until now. I didn’t think I would find freedom around weight loss and around getting to a healthy weight.  And I really want to stress the healthy weight part. Of course, I want to be able to slip into a pair of size 6 jeans. I mean, who doesn’t?  I think we all want to feel great in our bodies. But that’s not my driving factor here.  My driving factor is first and foremost, my health. I’m 38 years old. I’m going to be 40 in less than two years. Our risk for disease does not get lower as we get older and gain more and more weight.  So that was something that I had to get honest about. I want to maintain my good health and become even healthier as I age. Frankly, I don’t think a lot of women are thinking about that, let alone planning for it.

I had to also be honest with myself about the fact that I have been hiding. I was hiding in clothes, I was hiding behind wine, I was hiding behind food, I was even hiding behind my work.  You can’t make something run efficiently if some part of that thing is broken.  If you’re driving a brand new beautiful Mercedes and everything looks great on the outside but a major part of that car breaks down, like a muffler or something, it’s kind of worthless, right?  That was a terrible analogy, I don’t even drive, I don’t even own a car. Do we need mufflers? I think so. I live in Manhattan, what do I know?

Anyway, for the longest time the connection between my body and my mind felt off, it felt like it wasn’t aligned.  It felt like there was just something missing.  There was something wrong.  There was something I didn’t feel that I had control over, until now.

So how does this fit into business? My husband said to me the other day, “You’re sharing a lot about your weight loss and your health journey on your podcast and on your Instagram and the blog.  Do you think your audience is responding well to that? I think you should just keep mixing in your other stuff, just to be safe”.  I looked at him and said “Ryan, I appreciate that and thank you for your input. But I don’t post anything to attract an audience.”  The content that you ladies see me putting out is not to make money, not to get followers, not to attract an audience.  I post to share what I’m discovering about myself, in the hopes that maybe it will help you discover something in yourself.  My focus has always been, and will always be, adding value, but I need to do it in a way that’s authentic to me.  I have to post passionately, or not post at all.  There is no in-between for me.  I can’t remain on a loop that’s not reflective of my own evolution and my own vibration, just to keep other people comfortable who may like to see quotes about business or who may like to see poetry, or who may like to see like fashion or clothes or outfits of the day, or whatever it is that initially drew them into my world.

So I just want to thank you guys for bearing with me as I unlock this next level of growth for myself and I put it all out there, because you do stick around and you do come join me on these crazy journeys, and I think it does inspire a lot of you.  And for those of you that it doesn’t, maybe you don’t have to lose weight, maybe this is not something you’ve ever struggled with, I understand if you need to check out for a little while and maybe follow someone else or listen to another podcast, but this is where I’m at and it’s my truth and I can’t apologize for my truth, I can only live my truth and share my truth.  And I’m 1000% committed to my own wellness and I have every faith in the world that it will inspire you to look within and commit to yours in some way, shape or form.  Maybe it’s not the food, maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s needing to put yourself first and focus on self-care.

In addition to becoming more intentional about my nutrition, I’ve really scaled back on drinking, too. I’ve had wine one night out of the past 22 nights, and I feel awesome. I have come to realize that life is just so f’ing good with energy and vitality, and most importantly – with the guts to be honest with myself.  So this is me, stripped down, ripping off the Band-Aids, and showing up in a new way, and I feel unstoppable.  So whatever your truth is, if you’re in business and you’ve been afraid to put it out there or if your truth is something you’ve been afraid to confront within yourself, I encourage you to face it.  I encourage you to ask yourself “What am I holding back on?  What am I denying?  What am I not really fully looking at?  What have I not given all of my attention and all of my focus and all of my energy to?”  Because there’s usually something that we’re burying deep down that we don’t want to face, and I really hope that my journey and my story and everything that I’m putting out there can inspire you to ask yourself that question and have the courage to answer it.

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Growing up in an Italian family from Brooklyn, pizza was a staple in my house. As was pasta, eggplant parm, and all the other delicious foods you can smother cheese and sauce on top of. As I’ve adopted a healthier lifestyle and a new mindset around food, I’ve searched for ways to “hack” my favorite dishes so that they remain in line with the principles of the nutrition plan I’ve had so much success with, but still taste delicious.

One of my favorite, most satisfying meals has been this quick and simple egg white pizza + cauliflower rice “pizza bowl” dish. By swapping out traditional pizza crust, or even cauliflower pizza crust (a common swap for bread) for egg whites, you’re not just eliminating carbs, but you’re adding protein to this dish which keeps you satisfied, and keeping calories to a minimum. Both important things for a healthy weight loss program. I’d probably have this as a dinner since there are no carbs involved, as dinners on my nutrition plan call for 25% protein and 75% veggies.

I decided to add a side to this pizza to add in some more veggies and keep me full longer: enter my cauliflower pizza bowl. I could not be more excited about the way this turned out and I am thrilled to share both ridiculously easy recipes with you!

To make the egg white pizza, simply heat a pan over medium-high eat, spray with a non-stick cooking spray (I use cold pressed olive oil), and cook egg whites fully until you have a well-done crust. This usually takes me about 5-7 minutes. Once the egg whites are cooked through and you start to see a nice crust forming on the outer edges, top with sauce, cheese, and Italian seasonings. I use Rao’s sauce, and a nice blend of cheese like the one pictured below. To season, I add a pinch of garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

I usually take the Kamagra soft tabs, as they are not that bitter (the weekenders are of course better, as they taste like milk powder), but the normal ones do not really bother me either. I chew it and then just rinse with a little water.

For the pizza bowl, I buy my cauliflower already riced. In fact, I have a rule in my house: I only buy veggies pre-chopped. I am much more likely to make healthier choices when things are done for me, and less work is involved. I’m a busy bee, so sitting around ricing cauliflower is just not something I choose to spend my time on. Sure, you’ll pay an extra 50 cents or a dollar, but the peace of mind knowing that everything is literally done is worth it. Chances are, if I had to sit around chopping and dicing and ricing vegetables for a half hour, I’d probably just order take-out, which would cost me a lot more, and certainly be less healthy!

To make the pizza bowl, spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray, and heat to high-medium heat. Add the cauli rice, stirring occasionally until it begins to heat and soften. Sometimes I’ll throw a splash of water to help get it soft. After about 5-10 minutes, as the rice is cooked, add your sauce and cheese. Season with the same things you put on your pizza. And that’s it guys. So damn easy.

The perfect dinner!

If you’d like to learn more about the nutrition plan I’m doing, shoot me an email at Info@TheChampagneDiet.com and I’d be happy to talk to you about it! I’d love to invite you to join me and my Rebel Body Babes community where I’m coaching the 500+ women doing the same plan every day with advice, support, recipes, and more. We are truly like a girl gang for wellness! Not only have I already lost 16 lbs on this plan, but my confidence has soared and I’ve been able to conquer my emotional eating, which has been major for me. It’s been mind-blowing to view weight loss as a positive experience and actually have fun with it and realize I can love my body, but still want to make my body a better place to live. I’ve never felt or looked better, and I’d love to help you feel the same!

With love and pizza,

Cara

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I will never forget the first time I cried in a dressing room. I was 18 years old, overweight and painfully awkward, shopping for a dress for my prom I desperately wanted to skip. My high school years were nothing like the ones in the movies. I was not exactly popular, and I felt more like a 40 year old woman trapped inside a teenager’s body. My focus was my career – even back then – and I wanted nothing to do with senior ski trips or cheerleading squads. I passed on most school activities (including class) because I’d rather intern at the record label I worked at or stay home working on my music fanzine.

I went shopping for my prom dress with my mom and my aunt. We must have went to 10 stores that day, and each one was a more miserable experience than the next. I remember feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin. I hated everything – my arms, my belly, my thighs. I wound up in a long, A-line black satin dress. I despised it, but it was the most decent thing I could find that actually fit. The entire experience of shopping for that dress was humiliating, and it wasn’t the last time I cried while trying on clothes.

My weight haunted me throughout my entire life. I was always battling an extra 20 or 30 pounds, and through all my fad diets, all the insane things I did to keep the pounds off (like chew my food and spit it out before actually swallowing it), I could just never get thin. And aside from dealing with the obvious inconveniences of being overweight (feeling totally gross naked, being slower than most, panicking over getting your ass to fit on a small chair), I also faced one major issue for a girl who lives for fashion: nothing ever fit or felt good on me.

I can’t even begin to count the hours I have spent obsessing over the way I look in clothing. Calling out sick from work because everything in my closet was too tight. Canceling dates because I couldn’t bear to see myself spilling out of a pair of jeans and what if the date went well and he maybe had to see me in a bra? Avoiding beaches like the plague because the thought of putting on a bathing suit made me nauseous.

Fortunately throughout the years, I have done a massive amount of work on my mindset around my body image. I learned that loving my body, right now, exactly as it it, was the most important thing I could do for myself. Even if I didn’t love the way I looked in my jeans. I learned that my size did not define me. But still, deep down, I knew I was overweight. And I also knew that the older I got, if I remained overweight, I’d be at greater and greater risk for illness and disease. And if I am totally transparent – I just wanted to be able to walk into a damn store and pick a dress off the rack and feel fabulous in it. Was that so wrong?

Despite all of these desires to want to get healthier and feel better in my own skin, I still wasn’t making it happen. Here I was, at 38 years old, with a massively successful career, yet I couldn’t lose the weight.

Until I realized – I could.

You can read up on the new mindful nutrition plan I have been following for the past two and a half months here. It has been absolutely life-altering. I’ve lost 16 pounds so far, and although I have about 30 more to go, I feel incredible. My energy is through the roof. I feel in control of my health. I’m having a blast creating new recipes and finally learning how to eat to maximize energy and weight loss. And guess what? I’m eating a TON of food. This plan is all about feeling good. It’s the first nutrition program to incorporate mindset work and address emotional eating which, let’s be real, is the cause of most weight gain. And to top it all off, I’ve co-created an online community of 500+ women who are also following the program and it’s literally become my favorite place on the internet.

The other day, I decided I’d treat myself to some new clothes to celebrate my progress so far. Again, total transparency: I have been living in black leggings and sweatshirts for the past two years. I have been hiding. I can’t remember the last time I wore jeans. I love to wear all black, but not every single day. But I convinced myself it was my “look” because frankly, I didn’t like the way I looked in color. I thought I was more comfortable in leggings every day. Yet ironically, it was the complete opposite. I was more uncomfortable than ever. Because all I was doing was hiding the body I was clearly not taking care of.

So I went online, took a deep breath, and ordered a bunch of tops that I wasn’t quite sure would actually fit. I figured at best, I could save them until I lost a little more weight. You guys, everything arrived today, and not only did it all fit – it looked fabulous. I may have shed a happy tear (a far cry from all those days sobbing in dressing rooms) because I finally feel good. I finally feel like I’ve found something real. This isn’t my first weight loss rodeo. But this is the first time I have lost weight in a healthy, sustainable way, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I will keep it off forever. This is the first time I have the right tools and the mindset to create my healthiest dream body. It’s all happening. In living color.

Okay, enough feelings. Let’s talk clothes. Here’s a peek at some of the new pieces I got (everything below is from Alice + Olivia, my new obsession). I can’t wait to wear them!

If you shook your head YES to any of this post, chances are we’re soul sisters. I’d love to help you break free from the bullshit stories you are most likely telling yourself about why you can’t look and feel good. I know them so well because I told them to myself for a long, long time. Shoot me an email at Info@TheChampagneDiet.com and let’s talk. I’d love to share more information about the nutrition plan I’m on and have you join me in Rebel Body Babes where I’m dishing out daily support, check-ins, recipes, and more to the 500+ women in our tribe. Because everything is better with sisters. <3

With love (and a major Amex bill this month – lol),

Cara

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