Personal Blog

  • The Real Secret to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off.

    If you've "TRIED EVERYTHING AND CAN'T LOSE WEIGHT", read on. Because, yes you can.

    The Secret to Losing Weight
    Are you stuck in a weight loss plateau? Do you feel as though no matter WHAT you do, you can’t lose weight? Do you eat healthy and work out regularly but still feel like the fat on your body won’t budge? Does real fat loss seem like a distant dream to you?
    I hear you. I have felt this way for years, and many of you that have been following me for a while KNOW this. I’ve been a woman past the age of 40 (update: I’m 50 now!) with hormonal imbalance, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Low Cortisol, Adrenal Fatigue and even Adrenal Burnout, and a host of other health concerns– dealing with all the issues that come with a slow AF metabolism.
    I FEEL YOU.
    The good news is, I have recently experienced a massive breakthrough around what it takes to lose weight, even if you’re at a weight loss plateau, even if you have hormonal imbalance issues, even if you have Hypothyroidism, even if you are past the age of 40….yea, all of you. I’ve GOT YOU.
     

    Let me bring you up to date: My recent history with weight gain, and weight loss plateaus.

    Kelly Olexa How to Lose Weight
    So many of you that follow me have seen me share my struggles with health setbacks and the resulting problems losing weight and getting my fitness game back on track. Most of you have asked that I share the history, and I think it WILL be helpful for you to hear what happened and what I learned from the past couple of years (in other words, read on and learn what NOT to do when you want to lose weight and keep it off!)
    Stressed Out

    How STRESS can destroy your fitness efforts if you let it.

    It was the end of 2016- around Fall to be exact, when I began to experience problems. This is where, in retrospect, I can see that the STRESS I was experiencing in my personal and business life was affecting my body. I’m certain that this was when my adrenal fatigue was developing and my cortisol was starting to plummet. (I’ll go into detail on all these things in other posts, so stay tuned). Without going into too much detail- I was under a tremendous amount of stress. Our company was going through changes, I was not the leader I needed to be, and as such, there was a lot of turmoil within the culture of our business. I often had trouble sleeping– and when we don’t sleep, that causes a HOST of problems for our overall state of health. It certainly affects our workouts and our eating– we tend to make poor choices in food when we are overly tired, and we often can’t do the workouts we want to because of fatigue. No bueno.
    That fall, I sold most of my stuff in Chicago (that was a GOOD thing: I decided to get rid of all the dishes and furniture and paintings that reminded me of my past life with my ex-husband, and start all over- moving down South. I strongly recommend the practice of NEW BEGINNINGS and CLEARING OUT SPACE IN YOUR LIFE for new and better things to enter in. I didn’t want to sleep in the same bed that I slept in with my husband. I didn’t want to eat on the plates we were gifted from our wedding registry etc.) – and I moved to Austin TX. 
    NOTE: I was intending to move to Phoenix. But the stop in Austin was initially intended to be a stopover: I had met 2 business contacts (a married couple who described themselves as baller management consultants with Silicon Valley experience and their goal was to consult with our company and help transform our business model) and they had invited me to stay in their “guest house” in Austin while we launched a podcast. The plan was to stay for 4 weeks and move to Phoenix. What happened instead was that I fell in love with Texas and decided to move there. 
    Sadly- what happened over the next 4-5 months was a combination of me 1) experiencing a LOT more chaos and drama within our business life (MORE STRESS) and 2) following the advice of this self-proclaimed “expert” in health and hormonal balance. Yes, the same man who claimed he was this serial entrepreneur with a brain equal to Steve Jobs, also claimed to know everything about medicine and health and healing my hormones. 

     

    Lesson #1: Don't take health advice from an unqualified self-proclaimed expert.

    Ladies, let me tell you this. When you are in a bad place with your body- when you feel like you are totally lost and you can’t lose weight and you are broken, understand that you are vulnerable. And when you are vulnerable AND desperate- that’s a bad combination, because you will FALL FOR ANYTHING. It is so important for us to listen to our GUT, trust our intuition– and I cannot stress this enough. WHEN WE IGNORE THOSE GUT FEELINGS, WHEN WE DON’T TRUST OUR INSTINCTS, THAT IS WHEN WE MAKE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES. My first biggest mistake was trusting this con-artist (I did not discover until later that everything about this man was a fraud)— both from a business perspective and also from a health perspective. I did whatever he told me to- because he had me believing he could heal my body– the body that had suddenly started feeling fluffier and that suddenly could not lose any weight. 
    He told me to essentially STOP WORKING OUT– that because my adrenals were in such a bad spot, I should be only doing calming movement- going for easy walks. No intense, Kelly-O-Style workouts. He also was a hardcore Paleo Diet fan — only he wasn’t about DIETING. Rather, he told me to eat, and eat a LOT. He was a fan of this controversial doctor in New Orleans (Dr, Jack Kruse) and they were both convinced I had to reset my leptin- so he had me eating a plate of raw oysters every morning 30 minutes after waking. Then I’d have a plate of pasture raised eggs (about 4 usually) and bacon with guacamole and 2 bulletproof coffees. 
    FOR BREAKFAST

    Ladies– he did not have me counting calories AT ALL (truth be told I had not been in a calorie counting mode for years) but was one of those “Just eat Paleo and you’re fine!” advocates. Bullshit. That breakfast alone (because the coffee had a big chunk of grass fed butter and 2 egg yolks in it) was easily 1000 calories. EASY. But– MISTAKE #1– I did not trust myself, I didn’t think I could know what to do for myself- and I FOLLOWED ADVICE I HAD A BAD FEELING ABOUT.

    I did not feel right about STOPPING MY WORKING OUT and eating all this high fat FOOD.
    He had me eating a Paleo lunch (I’d guess average was 500+ calories) and a Paleo dinner (probably 750 or so)and then I remember I’d have sweet cravings so I’d want an apple or nut butter- and he’d scold me for that. He said that eating a piece of fruit was “bad”– eating anything but eggs, meat, guacamole and coconut oil was “bad”. I fell for it- even though my instinct told me RED FLAG.
    LIFE LESSON: DO NOT IGNORE YOUR INSTINCT. TRUST YOUR GUT. WOMEN’S INTUITION IS A STRONG POWERFUL THING. Don’t EVER ignore it.

    Bad Advice = Bad Results

    That’s me above in April 2017. You can see the disgust in my face, can’t you? That was me working out 6 days a week and eating healthy and I was just THICK. 
    So what was the result? I blindly followed this guy’s advice and got FATTER. YUP. As the months went by, my clothes got tighter, and I was MISERABLE. If you followed me on social media back then, you’d notice a big LACK of post-workout selfies. I was embarrassed by my body and I also wasn’t working out because this idiot told me not to.  
    I fired the idiot in April and that’s when I discovered what a total fraud he was and how I had dodged a bullet. I fired him and he went BATSHIT CRAZY on me – desperate to come to my apartment to get money from me. In the coming weeks, I did some overdue due diligence on him and discovered that I was his 5th or 6th “mark” – he had tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate other companies, gain shares and walk away with money not due to him. He was (and is) wanted in several states for hundreds of thousands of dollars due to various businesses and other ex-wives– yea, the classy loser doesn’t pay child support. He’s a dangerous lying con artist who is still at it. He finds women he can con and then usually marries them, opening up bank accounts in their name and under like 100 different business names so he can avoid the IRS taking his income. Truly the biggest loser I have ever met in my life. 
    I Finally went to see my now primary hormone doctor- Dr. Sebring. I was so desperate to get normalized again- we did bloodwork and my hormones were all over the place. We were starting from scratch. 
    He put me on HCG– and let me be clear. This is a controversial topic– I’ve done 2 separate rounds of HCG and whatever you think of it- it does create results— and I think at that time, it gave me what I needed. This was April of 2017– and I’d been miserable and gaining weight for 6-7 months. When I did the HCG Diet, even though the weight on the scale only moved 2 pounds, I shed a lot of fat. It was the jumpstart I needed and – frankly, I do not regret it. 
    I’ll do another post on HCG and what I feel about now and I plan to interview a woman who has been living the HCG life for years and doing it very successfully. You can make your own decision.
    The key with HCG— and here is LESSON #2 my friends– YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH. You have to know all the components of something before blindly jumping in. 
    See a trend here? When I’ve been very insecure and vulnerable and desperate, I’ve made impulsive non-informed decisions that backfired later. MY MANTRA NOW: Make informed decisions! 
    I didn’t ask enough questions about HCG so I didn’t understand how it worked and how important it was to reverse diet out of it. So – that summer when a friend of mine told me to dive right into Faster Way to Fat Loss, I did. I stopped taking HCG on a Sunday, and went right into FWTFL. That was an uninformed decision. 
    I think because I was training so hard with a trainer and eating pretty well, I didn’t have major problems like most would experience with NOT reverse dieting out of HCG. In fact, for the rest of 2017, I made great progress with building muscle and leaning out. I have quite a lot of feeling flyAF selfies during this time, compared to the end of 2016.

    Sometimes Momentum Creates Great Success.

    What worked in 2017.

    The picture above is me in June 2017. I had some great success in 2017. Sure, I started it off with a relatively extreme diet, HCG, but it was the jumpstart I needed. Sometimes, a boost of success can create massive momentum and I firmly believe that can be the best drug ever to keep you going!
    As I jumped from HCG into FWTFL, once again, I did the Kelly O thing: I was impatient. I wanted more results and wanted them faster. So I didn’t do the FWTFL workouts – I trained with my trainer at Gold’s Gym. HARD. And thus he made suggestions to my diet. Big time. He was a purist and told me a lot of things to not eat. LESSON #3: This is me listening to the advice of too many people: my doctor, my trainer, my FWTFL friend, and social media. I was applying 700 different “rules” about losing weight and working out. I was adding way too much extra training and extra 24 hour fasting days– I was pushing my adrenals to the extreme. By the end of 2017 and early 2018, I began to lose steam. I was TIRED again. A LOT. I didn’t realize it but I was edging toward Adrenal Burnout. Work stuff was getting bad and stressful: I was in the middle of a potential lawsuit against a vendor and I had a lot on my plate.  So, STRESS + OVERTRAINING + inconsistent dieting = a bad hormonal state. I kept going at it but was finding myself lost. I felt that I was perpetually in this state of “almost fit” but never there. I was always at about 15-20lbs over my ideal weight. As such, I asked my FWTFL friend to help me- tell me what to eat, how much to eat, how to diet: I was so confused with information overload– all the fitness BS I’d been told or read or heard and tried to apply- it all conflicted with each other. She recommended a dietitian. I hired this woman and retained her for the rest of 2018. BAD CALL. 

    Sometimes even a dietitian can be wrong.

    What did the dietitian say to do? She said to stop intermittent fasting because it wasn’t serving me. She realized that I was terrified of all foods (true) because of all the conflicting rules I was trying to follow. She wanted me to eat intuitively- no rules, nothing off the table. I could eat whatever I wanted. And I was told to stop all intense workouts. (Does this sound familiar??) I was told to only do weight training that didn’t elevate my heart rate. These “rules” about working out scared me and I tried to comply PERFECTLY. All my intense workouts stopped and I worked out less overall. 
    I remember my man saying to me as I started to feel fatter around June “how can you not gain weight if you are eating MORE and working out LESS??
    He was so right. But – LESSON #4:  I didn’t trust myself. My gut, my instinct said that all this was WRONG. But I convinced myself “I don’t know better. I’m not a certified trainer or dietitian, I have to listen to them“. So I kept on paying this dietitian. (Please note: I feel strongly that this dietitian’s advice was 100% WRONG for me but I do think she is immensely smart and talented and I’m by no means saying dietitians are bad; this is more about me knowing my body and trusting my gut: SOMETIMES, we know better what’s best for us!!) I got thicker and thicker. By the time Steve and I went to Park City the end of August, all my jeans were barely fitting me. I remember distinctly every time we went out for dinner and I was SQUEEZING myself into my clothes and barely able to button my jeans. I began living in blazers again to hide my core. This photo above is from a photoshoot that depressed me beyond belief. I was so hot and miserable and felt like a sausage stuffed into my Spanx. I can just SEE how swollen my face was and how thick my middle was.
    In the middle of all this- I’ve been dating the best man in the universe, the love of my life and– I’m mortified by my body. Embarrassed to have him see me like this. Wanting to look my best for him and failing. It was depressing.
    By December of 2018 I was the heaviest I’d been in years. I distinctly remember heading to Houston to spend the holiday with Steve’s family and I had to go out and buy a pair of “fat pants” to fit me. I didn’t want anyone taking my picture. I was hot. I couldn’t fit in literally- anything in my closet. I was so angry I knew it was time for change.

    2019: Taking Matters Into My Own Hands.

    I finally got some nerve and terminated my contract with the dietitian in January of 2019. The man and I made plans for me to move from Austin to San Antonio so we could get a place together: we were so tired of going back and forth between San Antonio and Austin every weekend and not seeing each other during the week. I was determined to make 2019 my comeback year. 
    I don’t have a TON to share about my fitness lows or highs in 2019 because the truth is, as many of you know– 2019 was the year that chronic pain took over my world.  I moved to SATX the end of March– Steve and I took a vacation trip to wine country right after-and I remember the headache situation affecting that trip: I got my eyes tested at an eye doctor while I was out there and spend $1500+ on new designer blue blocking glasses to help my headaches. Didn’t work. That summer the headaches got progressively worse and more often– and then the migraines joined them- and got worse and longer and more often. 
    I’ve shared on social media that in 2019 I probably missed 70% or more of my WORK time and WORKING OUT time. Not an exaggeration. I’ll be publishing an entire post on that in detail (I’m sure you are picking up on how my blog posts here are going to be less often (2 weekly) but more detailed and higher quality— so stay tuned (be sure you subscribe– I’m launching a newsletter series next week FINALLY!) and sharing an eBook of all my research and findings on solving chronic headaches and migraines. Stay tuned. 
    So- 2019 was the year of chronic pain and of me lying on the couch in fetal position most of the time. God bless my man for putting up with me and supporting me and taking care of me. He is an angel and then some. God I am SO BLESSED by his love. 

    THE DIET BREAKTHROUGH: THAT CALORIC DEFICIT MAGIC.

    I had the biggest losing weight breakthrough OF ALL TIME (not joking) in November. So there I was still dealing with headaches, getting ready to go on a trip to Chicago for Christmas, and somewhere online I stumble on Jordan Syatt. I honestly don’t remember how but who cares? This guy was talking about Caloric Deficit and it drew me in– especially when he mentioned he had a podcast interview with a woman with Hashimoto’s- I tuned in right away. That podcast (the one from 9/24/19) BLEW MY MIND! This woman was just like me– she’d been complaining that she’d “tried everything” and that she was “eating healthy” and couldn’t lose weight because of her Hypothyroidism! And then she hired Jordan and he asked her about tracking her food- and LIKE ME (and probably like you) she said, dude I KNOW WHAT I’M EATING!! Cut to the end– she starts tracking calories to reach a specific caloric deficit and loses weight. GO FIGURE. I immediately applied this and GUESS WHAT- SAME FOR ME. 
    I experienced such great success by applying this simple BUT HUGELY IMPORTANT principle– I published a 3-part video series on it. See below. (NOTE: I interviewed Jordan on my podcast. Two parts- amazing interview. Go listen!

    The Truth: If you want to lose weight, you have to DIET.

    This is so huge and so impactful I want to urge all of you to drop all the obsessing and worrying about everything else and get back to basics. DIET is not a dirty word. In fact, diet should be your best friend. The fitness industry has put out a lot of BS the past couple decades about “diet” being a dirty word. It’s what you need to do and do well, for a short period of time (NOT ALL YEAR!!) if you want to drop the pounds. You gotta do it. You gotta do it seriously and to the letter. 
    But you can make it fun- and you can- if you do it like me — I’ve created a program for myself that takes my caloric deficit, uses intermittent fasting combined with calorie cycling and 1-2 cleanse days a week- and that lets me have a bigass cheat day on Fridays which I often spread over to Saturday (meaning I typically don’t use all calories on Friday so I have leftovers to use Saturday). I’ll go into detail on how I do this in my next post as well as talk about the next big breakthrough I had this past week- around SNACKING. People, I’m telling you – it’s like I’ve found the holy grail. The way to lose weight without losing your mind- the way to lose weight and get in great shape while still having wine and cheeseburgers when you want…the way to get it DONE and then move on to maintenance mode.You stay tuned, this is the year you’ll see me do it. I’ve never been so confident about it – ever and I hope you join me. 
    Now that you’ve come this far, here are some links to more resources that I know can help you. 

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    Talk to me. What are YOUR biggest frustrations with losing weight? ?

    I’d love to hear from you. Chime in and leave a comment so I can be sure the content I put out here and on the podcast and YouTube is what you want! And if you like what you see here, spread the word, tell a friend about this blog or share on social, THANK YOU! 
    P.S. I am getting my NASM certification this year so I can be even more helpful as I work with women coaching them on losing weight and getting in outstanding shape. 
    P.P.S. If you’d like to set up a consult with me to design your diet program and have me make nutritional product recommendations– use the contact me form or just leave a comment with your email. 

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  • MACA vs. CACAO. What’s the difference and what is better for your HEALTH?

    MACA VS. CACAO: Is one better than the other for our health?

    MACA VS. CACAO

    We live in a time where phrases like “Non-GMO” and “Holistic Nutrition” and “Clean Eating” are thrown around regularly. And if you spend time perusing fitness, health, nutrition and wellness content here, or on Pinterest (are you subscribed to our boards yet?) and Instagram you’ve no doubt seen these phrases, along with labels like “Organic”, “Paleo”, “Whole30” and more.

    Don’t feel embarrassed if you are familiar with all of these catch phrases and terms but deep down are confused and wondering….”what really matters??” and “what do all these catch phrases MEAN anyway?”. You aren’t alone!

    In the coming weeks, you’ll see new posts here doing deep dives on all of these phrases and topics, to help you better navigate the grocery aisles and make better choices.

    In addition- like today, we’ll be exploring in greater depth some popular ingredients that you’ve likely seen and probably wondered about. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of reading articles or pinning something that talks about the benefits of turmeric or cinnamon or cacao (or something similar)- and then seeing that product at the grocery store, remembering “Oh wait, that was supposed to be really good for…..for….well, it was really healthy and good for me, so I’ll buy it and figure out how to eat it later.”-

    WHO DOES THAT?

    (raises hand)

    I found two lovely glass jars of dark powder in my cabinet, labeled (because I am THAT person that has my cabinets organized like Julia Roberts in Sleeping With The Enemy) “CACAO” and the other “MACA”. I found myself making a protein shake one morning going, “What’s the difference between MACA and CACAO?” and I was voxing with my dietitian  about the very detail. I did a poll of our community and was (pleased) to find that more than 65% of those polled had no idea the difference between the two or the benefits OR how to use the ingredients.

    So here we are. You’re welcome.

    Let’s start with CACAO. I figure we’ll go alphabetically so as not to show preference.

    ca·ca·o

    kəˈkou,kəˈkāō/

    noun

    beanlike seeds from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate are made.

    Let’s be clear. CACAO is not COCOA. Cocoa is made from CACAO beans.

    Cocoa is produced when cacao beans are treated with high heat, which does destroy many of its inherent health benefits. So while both ingredients can provide that chocolaty flavor, go with cacao to gain all those healthy bonus points.

    We found some fantastic information via an article on Nuts.com about the very healthy benefits of cacao:

    • Lowers the Risk of Diabetes, Hypertension and More – because it is a superior source of MAGNESIUM. (Yea, stay tuned, we’ll be publishing a post on MAGNESIUM coming soon, be sure you are subscribed!)
    • Reduces Inflammation and Supports Heart Health because of the abundant presence of flavonoids.
    • Provides a fantastic source of IRON. (My last doctor’s appointment, my bloodwork showed I was VERY low in IRON. No Bueno. This is a priority for better health, my friends. You need optimal iron levels.
    • Eating More Cacao Can Improve Your Mood “Cacao contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is sometimes known as a “love drug.” — essentially it creates elevated mood and higher energy levels.” (paraphrased from Nuts.com article)

    Friends – the more research I did, the more goodness I found on Cacao. Holy Smokes! This is the gift that keeps on giving.

    P.S. here is a great post on Cacao Nibs with some additional info comparing cacao vs. cocoa via Dr. Axe: CLICK HERE to read.

    Dr. Mercola also has a solid read on Cacao on his blog. CLICK HERE to read more.

    Let’s talk about MACA next. You’ll often see this written about or talked about as a “SUPERFOOD.” Hmmm.

    MACA is not, (as I thought…oops!) related to the cacao beans or any type of bean. It is the root of a vegetable found in Peru. It is sometimes referred to as “Peruvian Ginseng” and is well known for boosting both energy and libido.

    via GIPHY

    Well, hello.

    My initial research showed some correlation between consuming MACA and – resulting hormonal changes like raised testosterone or progesterone. Not all these studies are substantiated enough but- if you, like me, have any hormonal imbalance issues, I would recommend- and many of the articles and white papers I read for this piece said the same thing—avoiding consuming this until you review with a doctor you trust (I plan to discuss this with my doctor, and may come back to update this post based on what I find).

    This woman wrote a great post- and I highly recommend it – CLICK HERE.

    I read many blog posts where women shared reports of bad bad PMS when taking MACA and tender breasts as well as weight gain. As always, we encourage you to do your own research, don’t just take our word or our position on anything.

    MACA – is also a cruciferous vegetable- (think, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and it has some good macros: 28g of MACA powder has 20g carbs, 4g protein, 1g of fat.

    Generally speaking, there are some good benefits to be obtained from MACA for better health. MOST of the claims I read about were vague “…may increase better performance in sports….” Or “….may provide clearer thinking…” or “….may aid with energy….”- well, so does water. It just seemed to ME that after doing a lot of reading up on this food—it was a whole lot of speculation vs. overwhelming proof backed up by lots of data that MACA does any one specific thing. This is – again – my personal opinion. Most of the findings tended to refer to benefits specifically for men in regards to libido and sex drive. Guys- have at it.

    via GIPHY

    It is my feeling after doing the reading for this blog post- that I’ll be incorporating CACAO – like I have been- in protein shakes (recipe below) and in other recipes. For now, I probably will not add any MACA in to my diet until I discuss with my doctor—and I’ll share his opinion as well in posts to come.

    Please note: This post has affiliate links.

     

    My Favorite Chocolate Protein Shake

    Chocolate Protein Shake

    Kelly’s Current Favorite Paleo Protein Shake

    (I use a Nutribullet blender and highly recommend it!)

    Into the Nutribullet container, add about ¼ cup crushed ice and about ¼ cup filtered cold water.

    Add:

    • 1 Cup Cashew Milk (or Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. I’m currently avoiding dairy and in general cannot tolerate regular milk, but you could use regular milk too—go for grass fed cows/organic etc.) Current favorite brand is the Califia Cashew Milk, available at most grocery stores and on Amazon.com.
    • 2 TBS Cacao
    • 2 TBS PBFit Powder
    • 1 Scoop Undenatured Whey Protein from ISAGENIX (CLICK HERE TO BUY— send me a note if you’d like me to help you pick out other nutrition products from ISAGENIX I am now an independent rep for the brand because I’m obsessed!)
    • Optional: Add sweetener of choice (Sometimes I’ll add Torani Sugar Free Syrup like Salted Caramel– just a splash will do!)

    Blend well, drink immediately.  You’re welcome.

    What do you think? Have you used MACA or CACAO? What is your favorite way to incorporate these ingredients?

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  • Why You Will LOVE Vacation in Park City, UTAH.

    Vacation in Park City

    You need a BREAK. You need a vacation. Seriously. It matters for your health! Hence, why we’ve launched FitFluential Explorer. This travel series will showcase amazing places to visit all over the U.S. and then globally – why? To encourage all of you to take more VACATIONS and more TIME OFF. You will reduce your STRESS and improve your well-being.

    According to Project: Time Off, “More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days. … U.S. workers forfeited 222 million of the 658 million unused vacation days. These days cannot be rolled over, paid out, or banked for any other benefit—they are purely lost”

    People- our workaholism situation is NOT doing us any favors. The cases of Adrenal Fatigue are rising dramatically- and while people are not using vacation days, they are using SICK days. We need balance. We need a break. It’s time to make it a priority to take vacations!!! Get out and see this country. Do it for your health. 

    Today’s FitFluential Explorer post is showcasing PARK CITY, UTAH. What a place.

    I had been to Park City numerous times for business over the past years and fell in love. This past Fall my man and I headed out there for 2 glorious weeks, spent a fabulous time in a Homeaway home (hello what did we DO before Homeaway? We are OBSESSED.) and recorded all the favorite things we did, so YOU can see why you should head to Park City, UT for your next getaway. 

    NOTE: In our view there are two times to see Park City– summer months and then snow/ski season. NOTE: The Sundance Film Festival takes place from January 23rd, 2020 to February 2nd, 2020- and so typically, December and January can be very busy and booked months. BOOK AHEAD. 

    We went the last 2 weeks of August and it was perfection. The weather was typically 70 degrees during the day and at night it was build-a-fire night weather around 45-50 degrees. Look up weather before you go as winter arrives EARLY for Park City but it’s BEAUTIFUL. We are planning to book our HOMEAWAY home for this August and for New Year’s Eve way in advance. 

    So, read on and see what we love about Park City. GREAT food, GREAT cocktails, GREAT crowds, very laid back vibe, fun shopping, tons of hiking and when it’s winter, SKIING galore, plus many other outdoor sports and activities. 

    It is an epic place to get OUT and enjoy nature then head inside by a fire with a toasty beverage and meet some new friends. 

    A View of Main Street in Park City, UTAH

    This is downtown Main Street in Park City. This street goes on for quite a way and as you hike up and down, you’ll get your walking steps in for sure. Look up how to deal with the elevation situation because first timers, it WILL surprise you how out of breath you’ll feel. Our Homeaway home was like 3 minutes up the mountain from here so it was perfect. Main Street is full of restaurants and shops and real estate brokers: don’t kid yourself, you WILL want to buy a place here until you see the sticker prices. Gulp.

    Not pictured, but there is a FANTASTIC BOOKSTORE here called Dolly’s Bookstore– you must go if you are book reader like we are. So charming. Follow them on instagram HERE

    Also not pictured but a MUST visit- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory OMG THE CHOCOLATE!! Pure heaven. 

    This is a view on a street OVER from Main Street looking UP the street, actually this was our view sitting outside for brunch one day at Harvest Park City. OH LET ME JUST TELL YOU  you have to go here. More pictures of our brunch meal below. 

    As you can see- you are surrounded by mountains and — obviously- ski lifts. And tons of cute shops and restaurants everywhere. Below is a picture of this killer pizza bread we had at Red Banjo Pizza Parlor – we went there on our last day to sit up on the balcony and have some beer and pizza. The Yelp reviews are not great, but the food is, and while the service was slow, we LOVED sitting out on that balcony.

    Red Banjo Pizza Parlour. YUM with a view.

    Below is a “I am a tourist” shot of me on the balcony at the pizza spot, so you can see the view. Tons of restaurants have balconies, FYI! So awesome. 

    Java Cow Cafe & Bakery. Heaven on Earth.

    Now. I must shout out my MAD LOVE for Java Cow Cafe & Bakery. What a FUN place. The best coffee and lattes and cappuccinos you can imagine. GREAT shopping inside- really unique, hysterical gifts you don’t see just anywhere. We literally came here every day for almond milk cappuccinos and gluten free muffins. 

    This is inside the shop– tons of pastries, made to order sandwiches and bagels, just everything your hungry heart could desire. Get here. Thank me later. 

    There is no shortage of sweets here for your sweet tooth. BAE had a chocolate covered almond sprinkled croissant that almost made him weep for joy. I had a gluten free muffin that had me speechless.

    This is the outdoor seating area where we sat and had our coffee and breakfast like every day. Seriously. 

    Main Street Deli. OUTSTANDING food! And dogs.

    This deli was our first stop on our first day. It delivered delish food, tons of choices, a super fun staff, and a massive selection of hot sauces. We were hooked. Main Street Deli you had us at hello.

    Park City in general is very dog friendly and this guy was sitting outside several days in a row. Don’t worry, he was fed and petted WELL. 

    Another cheesy tourist pose (and yes, I’m having a diet soda, chill.) to show the have not only tables but a fun window bar where you can people watch. So worth it.

    I wasn’t kidding about the hot sauces. We are big time into Sriracha and all other forms of hotness to add to our foods. Are you?

    Next up is a super fun bar, the No Name Saloon. I’d say this is not as much a place to bring kids, it’s much more a BAR and restaurant vs a restaurant with a bar. We LOVED IT. 

    No Name Saloon.

    You will have the best time at No Name Saloon, trust me. The food and drinks are amazing. Can we say TATER TOTS extraordinaire? Oh heck yes. Below is the outside. 

    This is what you’ll see right when you walk in. Awesome fireplace and note: they do card so if you are under 21, good luck with that. 

    See the mountain lodge vibe? We dig it.

    This (below) is the bar upstairs. 

    Another Tourist Photo!! Yay! This is the upstairs balcony where you can eat and chill and mingle. So fun. 

    This is the main bar downstairs– such a great group of bartenders too. 

    Grappa Italian Restaurant.

    Oh heavens, if you want SUPREMELY delicious food with an atmosphere you can’t dream up, you must make reservations at Grappa Italian Restaurant.

    Heaven on earth. Service is great, food is outstanding and your biggest challenge will be where you most want to sit– all the views inside and out are AMAZING.  

    Above is outdoor seating– complete with heat lamps if it gets cool, and it does. And below is a view of the upstairs inside dining.  

    This is the downstairs inside dining room. Wonderful wine list and they also know their thing when it comes to dirty martinis. Just sharing. 

    Hiking in Park City, UTAH

    Went hiking about every day. BAE would look up different parks and we’d head out. Do your research and let me tell you this — plan for wearing layers and bring food and water. These photos are from the day we confidently attacked Lake Blanche Trail. 

    After 5 1/2 hours of hiking and over 1K calories burned, we were DESTROYED. Seriously- our mistake was not packing enough FOOD and WATER. Learn from us. 

    Bad lessons aside, this hike is amazing- it is STEEP people. We are healthy adults who work out regularly and we had to stop for breathing every 10 minutes. My heart rate was in the 125-135 zone the whole time. 

    This is BAE and us about an hour up. Little did we know we had 2+ more hours to go! LOL.

    Words cannot describe this wrong turn we took. That’s me trying to hike up these monstrous rocks without dying. Please pay attention to the signs guiding you where to go. If you reach this wall of stones, you are heading the wrong way! LOL

    Davanza’s Pizza and More. Perfect for After Hiking.

    After our almost 6 hours of the death walk or that hike on Lake Blanche, we called in pizza to go from Davanza’s. So amazing we got it the next day too. 

    Fun spot with outdoor and indoor seating, good for kids, great bar, amazing food. Really friendly staff too. 

    DO YOU FEEL THIS?

    Harvest Park City. AMAZING breakfast/brunch/lunch.

    We walked by Harvest tons of times – always saw it full of people eating outside and usually a line– before we finally came for brunch on a Sunday. This food is PHENOMENAL. You must go here. 

    Above is the “Nourished Toast” that BAE ordered. Below is the “Buddha Bowl” that I got. TO DIE FOR.

    You gotta order their Paleo Banana Bread. Thank me later. 

    Old Town Cellars for the Whiskey and Wine Lovers.

    We decided in Park City to begin our Whiskey adventure. It’s a great place to do so. The Old Town Cellars Winery and Lounge is a cool hangout- we ordered Whiskey with these iced glasses that just made the whole tasting thing that much more delightful. 

    The inside is a very chill lounge with couches and some tables with chairs. Great photos on the wall with historic Park City imagery– you’ll want to buy them all like we did. 

    High West Distillery. Awesome Food. Great Cocktails

    We loved the High West Distillery so much, we came here 2x for dinner. What a cool place– GREAT service and fun crowd. We sat outside and then later headed to the bar where we met some new friends. 

    Deviled Eggs. Need I say more?

    Words cannot describe the level of delish for these Jalapeno Popper things. HEAVEN.

    Truly you must go here. Their menu is exquisite, the service is outstanding, the cocktails are superior and the view is epic.

    Five 5eeds Restaurant

    This Five 5eeds Restaurant is tucked into a strip mall by a grocery store. Well worth the visit. The food is AMAZING. Note; you will wait. Secondly, the service is good, but not what I’d call attentive. We waited a long time for coffee and food but it was soo good we overlooked the less than attentive server. 

    We saw the person next to us order this and we did the same. HEAVEN.  Shakshouka is thy name.

    Sundance Resort

    In my opinion, if you are at Park City, you gotta make the drive (about 45 mins max) to Sundance Resort. Founded by Robert Redford, this place is heaven. You can hike, ski, host a wedding, dine, and more. We ate at the restaurant, look at some items below. AMAZING FOOD. 

    Try to sit outside if you can — the surroundings are breathtaking. Below is the bread they bring to the table. heavenly.

    Brussel Sprouts to die for.

    We went horseback riding through the mountains- an hour long tour– it was so incredible. We had a local guide leading the way and he’s the one that took our picture. Are we not so cute?

    710 Bodega. Fantastic Dinner in Park City UTAH

    Trust me when I tell you, you have to visit 710 Bodega. It’s a fast walk from the Old Town Cellars so you can head there for cocktails first then do dinner here. Above are the Fried Brie Bites. HOLY HEAVEN.

    Words escape me with these Lamb Lollipops. We were licking the plate I think.

    If memory serves, these are the Piquillo Peppers – delightful. 

    Sammy’s Bistro. INCREDIBLE FOOD. A MUST-SEE.

    We stopped in Sammy’s Bistro on our way home after renting bikes and cycling for several hours. We had not read that Guy Fieri had been here – but we don’t blame him for loving the place. The food is INCREDIBLE!!!!! Seriously we still talk about the shrimp dish. We think it’s the Coconut Shrimp.

    Above is the Salmon and below is the Savory Chicken Bowl- we added lots of hot sauce and LOVED every bite.

    Glitretind Restaurant at Stein Eriksen Lodge. OMG.

    Our last night we had dinner at the Glitretind restaurant in the beautiful Stein Eriksen Lodge.

    You have no idea. The scenery is so breathtaking, truly, and then you add outstanding service and truly exceptional food….You must get the Toffee dessert- thank me later. This place is wonderful. At night they have fire pits lit and will bring you blankets so you can sit by the fire with dessert and wine and just love life. GET HERE.

    We love Park City. And here are some places we recommend that we sadly did not get on camera.

    Flying Sumo Sushi. Fantastic.

    The Back Door Deli. 

    Others to follow. 

    Why don’t YOU tell the boss your dates, book a Homeaway in Park City and go there!!

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