My @work workout

Posted by Jess
I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who snacks to pass the time, especially at work when time seems to hate me. I don’t munch on anything too unhealthy, but I’m sure an entire pack of yogurt-covered pretzels can’t be shrinking my waistline. I suppose any normal person would just stop snacking, but me being the food maniac that I am, I decided to create an @work workout.

Here’s a mostly inconspicuous workout that you can do at work:

The At Work Workout || A Little Cup of Jess

A Note on the Isometric Plank:
Hook your thumbs over the edge of the table so that your hands don’t slip. It’s just like doing a normal plank, but you’re standing. This one is a little bit more noticeable, but works wonders for your arms!

And that’s it! I’ve only been doing this for a week now, and I’m already starting to see some definition in my calves and arms. No changes in the bum yet, but I’m sure I’ll start seeing some improvement soon. Anyways, try it out and let me know what you think! And if you already have an @work workout, share it in the comments below!

Until next time,

5 Ways to Conquer Cravings

Posted by Jess
I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I fall victim to the attacks of cravings; especially during my lady time of the month, when it’s like gorilla warfare. And it’s not always chocolate. For instance, this morning I was craving Ramen Noodles. Random, right?

For me, a lot of it is psychological. I tend to be an emotional eater, as I associate feelings with foods. For example, I always have a large bowl of spaghetti, or cream of wheat, when I’m sad; and grilled cheese when I’m feeling nostalgic. This is actually a habit that I’ve struggled with for many years, and I am just now gaining some control over it. There was a time in my life where I would get upset, run straight to the kitchen, and devour like ten waffles! Fortunately, I’m passed those days, but every now and then it throws a grenade at me.

I’ve done some research, and while “keeping a food journal” and “drinking more water” are fine tips, these aren’t going to keep me from reaching for that bowl of ice cream tonight. So I’ve laid out 5 tactics that will help win the war against cravings!


#1 Know Thy Enemy
First, in order to win the battle, you must be able to identify the enemy; you don’t want to get caught in friendly fire! So here’s how to tell the difference between actual hunger, and cravings:

You know you’re experiencing a craving, 
when you feel an intense desire to eat a specific type of food and nothing else.

When in doubt, ask yourself, “Am I willing to eat veggies or fruit instead?” If the answer is no, then you’re most likely facing a craving and need to determine a plan of attack. (However, if veggies or fruit is what you’re craving then go ahead and eat your heart out! Those guys never hurt anybody!)

#2 Try Forehead Tracking
Have you ever had a craving where it’s all you can think about, and the more you try not to think about it, the stronger the craving becomes? Well according to David J. Kavanagh PhD, cravings become more intense when you visualize the food. In fact, visualization is a primary cause of cravings. So when you can’t get that strawberry cheesecake out of your head, try forehead tracking.

How to do it: Tap your fingers in an imaginary line across your forehead and follow each taping finger with your eyes.

Why this works: There’s a part of your brain (called the visuo-spatial sketchpad) that’s responsible for mental imagery; it’s the reason why you visualize and daydream about the food you’re craving. By tapping your forehead and following the movement with your eyes, you’re forcing this portion of your brain to pay attention to two things at once, and as a result it gets distracted; thus freeing you of your daydream about that doughnut. Think of when you try to talk on the phone and watch TV at the same time, you always end up loosing track of one…it’s the same concept.

#3 “When I have a craving, I will imagine ___________”
A study at McGill University showed that you’re more likely to reduce your craving if you replace the images of the craving with a non-food image. So think of an object, or an activity, that you can remember in detail (I think of watching the sunrise). Try to remember exactly what that object looks like … What does it smell like? … How does it feel? … Hold on to that image, and each time you feel a craving coming on say: “When I experience a craving, I will imagine [YOUR OBJECT GOES HERE].”

Why this works: In addition to overriding your visuo-spatial sketchpad again (see #1’s "why this works"), this also uses a technique called "implementation intentions", which is the hard way of saying: if ‘that’ happens, then I will do ‘this’.

#4 Imagine Eating the Food 30 Times
A study done at Carnegie Mellon University showed that imagining eating a food thirty times before actual eating it causes you to eat less of the food you’re craving.

#5 Hold a Yoga Pose
Getting up and doing a full fledge yoga sequence is best, but sometimes the anticipation of too much effort will make you avoid the activity all together. So instead, try holding one pose, like Downward Dog or Warrior Pose, and bring all of your attention to your breathing.

Why this works: A study done at the Seattle Children’s Hospital found that “food preoccupation may be reduced by focusing attention on yoga poses.”

BONUS: #6 Brush Your Teeth
Not sure why this one works, but it does!

What You Should Remember:
  1. A craving is an intense desire to eat a specific type of food and nothing else.
  2. Try Forehead Tracking to get the image of the craving out of your head. (This is done by tapping your fingers in an imaginary line across your forehead. Follow each taping finger with your eyes)
  3. When tempted by a sudden craving, replace the thought of food with another image, like watching the sunrise… or Ryan Gosling!
  4. Imagine eating the food 30 times before you actually put it in your mouth.
  5. Do some Yoga!

So, next time you find yourself under the attack of cravings, pull out these tactics, divide and conquer! Just knowing that you have a plan should make overcoming the urge so much easier. And if you have to throw in the white flag and surrender, don’t feel guilty; we can’t win every battle. But rest assured, next time you’ll be back, with vengeance!

So my fellow vigilantes, it’s your turn, what foods do you crave? And what do you do to thwart them? Do you have a plan of attack, or do you just surrender? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Who Says Couch Potatoes Can't Be Fit?!

Posted by Jess
How much time do you spend sitting on the couch watching TV? Normally, I’m not much of a couch potato, but lately I’ve been finding myself on the couch much more often than I’d like to admit. So I decided: if I’m going to be a couch potato, I might as well be a hot one!

According to eHow, a 150lb person burns around 84 calories per hour while sitting down, watching TV. That’s not too shabby for just watching an episode of Doctor Who, but why settle for only 84 calories? I want to be a hot couch potato, not medium warm! For an hour-long show, there are about 20 minutes worth of commercials; that’s 20 minutes that I can be building killer abs!

So, my fellow starchy crops, after scouring the web (and Pinterest) I’ve compiled a list of simple exercises that will keep us fit in our moments of laziness!

The Ultimate Couch Potato Workout || A Little Cup of Jess

This workout is surprisingly fun because you don’t know what’s coming up next. It’s like workout roulette! For example, the last time I did it, I got a bank (burpees), a hair & beauty (high knees), and two car commercials (the longest plank I've ever held). I’ll be honest, when the second car commercial came on my arms were like, wtf!! But hey, if it gets me one step closer to my killer bod, then it’s definitely worth it! Do you already exercise while on the couch? Or are you reading this, thinking, “F_ck that!”

Anyways my couch potato amigos, it’s your turn to put this workout to the test. Let me know which commercial exercise is your favorite in the comments below!

And the next time someone gives you grief about wasting time in front of the television, just tell them: “It’s part of my workout!”

Until next time,

Herb Ice Cubes

Posted by Jess
I love using fresh herbs in my smoothies, especially cilantro and mint, but every time I buy them, most of it seems to go bad before I can use it all. So after many wasted greens, I've finally found a way to make them last longer: Freeze them in ice cube trays. Here's how:
Cilantro Ice Cubes || A Little Cup of Jess


  1. Chop your favorite herbs.
  2. Pack leaves into ice cube cells, fill about half way.
  3. Pour water into each cell so that leaves are completely covered.
  4. Cover tray with foil, label, and store in the fridge overnight.
  5. Remove cubes from tray and store in plastic baggies in the freezer for later use.
So far I've only frozen cilantro, mint, and my green smoothie cubes, but I really want to find more herb combinations. I love this because when smoothie time comes along, all I have to do is pop a cube or two and blend. It saves me soooo much time in the morning. BTW I haven't tried it yet, but you could totally throw these bad boys into a pot of soup or rice! Anyways, what's your favorite herb combination? And how do you keep them fresh? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time,