Can’t Stop Eating: My Goals for 2014

Can't Stop Eating - picture of woman stuffing food in her mouth with open fridgerator

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My name is Holly Johnson and I have a problem.  It’s called late night snacking.  I crave pistachios like they’re crack cocaine. I eat so much fat-free kettle corn that I should probably buy stock in Orville Redenbacher.  I also eat a whole lotta cheese….and I mean A LOT (only the good stuff, of course).

It wasn’t always this way.  When I was younger, I rarely snacked.  In fact, I hated eating after dinner…so much so that I rarely ate anything after 7:00 p.m.  Then something crazy happened.  I had kids.

My kids are currently 2 and 4, and they’re both girls.  In other words, they cry a lot.  And when they go to bed at 8:00, I take stress-eating to a whole new level.  Sometimes it’s popcorn.  Other times Greg breaks out a giant block of delicious extra sharp cheddar.  And while I haven’t technically gained any weight from this habit, I’m still hanging onto the 6-8 extra pounds I’ve gained since having kids.  And I’m not happy about it.

This is just one of the 2014 goals that I’ve already started on this year.  I’m just tired of snacking at night, you know?  I’m not overweight by any means but I’m afraid I’ll wake up and be 300 pounds one day if I’m not careful.  To hell with that.

Reflecting on 2013

Regardless, 2013 was an awesome year for us.  In case you didn’t follow daily, here’s what happened:

So yeah, 2013 was awesome.  Even though Greg had a career crisis for a while, it all turned out great.  And now that we’re getting settled with our new life, we have plenty of plans for 2014.  What’s on the agenda, you ask?  Plenty:

  • We’re going vegan.  After a year of vegetarianism, we’ve decided to eliminate all animal products from our diets.  I’m very excited about the transition but extremely sad about not being able to eat real butter.  Have I ever mentioned that I love butter?  Regardless, we feel that this is a good move for us.
  • I’m going to learn how to cook.  Did I mention that we’re going vegan?  Obviously I need to improve upon my cooking skills in order to make this work.  Look at this pan of sugar cookies I made on Sunday.  I mean, WTF.  I obviously need to brush up on my skillz and it’s on the agenda for real, peeps.
  • No more late night snacking.  I’m serious about this folks.  I’m serious.  If I can’t stop eating at night, I’m going to ban myself from the kitchen.
  • Continue to grow my website and freelance business.  This, my friends, is a given.  Yes, 2013 was an awesome year but we still have plenty of room to improve.  In fact, if you’re looking for a writer, feel free to hire me by filling out this form.  (I am specifically looking for writing jobs about motherhood, vegetarianism/veganism, and social issues)
  • Save 50% or more of our post-tax income.  We’re pretty darn good at getting a good return on equity with my business and saving 50% or more of our net pay.  And although we could always improve on this, we still want to live.  I’m happy to settle for a 50% savings rate so that we can travel often and live in a nice house, but that’s just me.
  • Go on three nice vacations.  In February, we’re going on a kid-free trip to Jamaica with some people we met in the Dominican Republic last year.  Is that weird?  After that, we’re going to take the kids to Florida for a week of family fun.  Next fall, we’re going to visit London and Paris, with a few side trips thrown in just for fun.

What are your goals for 2014? 

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  1. My 2014 goals is not to gain more weight (damn married life) If you’re going to save 50% net pay does Greg have a 401K at work? Do you have a SEP IRA which will allow you pretax contributions, or a SEP Pension. I would go that route to boost up your contributions.

    1. We both have a SEP IRA because Greg technically owns half of my business. We also have Roths. Greg’s work has a 401K plan that matches (up to 4 percent I believe!) but he can’t sign up for it quite yet.

  2. A. Tindall says:

    Going on vacation with new vacation friends is only weird if you get one room.

    1. Ha! Great point!

      Yeah, we’re not going to Hedonism or anything! We have our own room!

  3. The vacations sound awesome! Oh, and I am a cheese junkie too. I am seriously impressed with the vegan goal- you’ll have to post updates on how it is going!

  4. Sounds like you have a fun 2014 planned with all those trips! I would love to go to Europe next year but I don’t think that will be happening.

    1. Yes! We’re still trying to decide 100% if that’s what we want to do. We’re using 60,000 starpoints for our hotel and they’re good anywhere in the world. It’s hard to decide when you can literally go anywhere!

  5. Those are some great goals for next year! I can’t wait to read about your vacations and going vegan! I love cheese too and Tillamook is super good.

  6. Those are great goals. I totally get the eating when kids go to bed! Wtf?! Im also sittong at pre preg weight and id like to be 10 lbs less since i was trying to lose weight when i got pregnant….i know what i need to do i just need to execute. I couldn’t go full vegan since I like eggs and cheese too much but I have been considering going veggie since I don’t eat much meat as it stands now.

    1. Being a vegetarian is pretty easy, especially if you don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with. I think I will miss the cheese and butter but that’s about it!

  7. Going Vegan huh? That’s awesome. I could never do it because I enjoy meat too much and I recently discovered grass-fed butter which is amazing! I’m interested to hear about your adventures. Also I’m not sure I could give up cheese.

    If you are looking for something that is easy to make and vegan (at least i’m 99% sure it is vegan, I’d have to look at the label), check out The guy makes the most amazing vegan empanadas I have ever had in my life. They are a little pricey at 4 for about $10, but hey, they are delicious and local!

    1. I will check it out!

      Yeah, I eat a ton of butter. My kids do too. They think it’s a legitimate side dish or something. I need to learn to cook more vegan foods. Being a vegetarian has become easy but it’s not going to be enough!

  8. Wow–going Vegan–big decision! I went Vegan full time last year. Its hard work but I think worth it. I ended up getting pretty sick and I started working with a nutritionist. It turns out– I was eating too much soy and carbs. I have a fungus called Candida and it feasts on sugar, carbs, and soy. We worked together to start introducing meat back into my diet for health reasons.
    I love veganism but unfortunately for me, it didn’t work. Check out She has kids and is a vegan and makes the best stuff. I make a lot of things from her website and cookbook that were amazing!

    1. Yikes! Glad you worked with a nutritionist! I keep hearing about Candida but wasn’t really sure what it was! I will check out that site!

  9. I need to stop that late night snacking myself, Holly. PLUS, it seems like once I start, I can’t stop. Once the floodgates open, I’m looking eat everything. 🙂 If you find a way to successfully keep yourself out of the kitchen at night, let me know.

  10. Those vacations sounds amazing! I hope to take just one vacation next year, and I really don’t care where it’s to. As long as Victoria and I are able to get away from work I’m happy.

  11. Late night snacking is absolutely a killer… It is easily the biggest obstacle to my own weight loss goals. It doesnt help that I like to have a glass of red wine or two, here and there, which certainly lowers my ability to control my food desires.

    We went to the Dominican a few years back and met some awesome people down there. It doesn’t surprise me at all that you did the same..

    1. Yeah, the people we met are awesome….so awesome that they invited us to come on their vacation this year. Woot!
      Of course, we probably won’t hang out with them the whole time….just part of the time.

  12. Holly, I sure do feel your pain. Due to a health issue, 2 years ago I was told to lose 40 pounds. I lost 60 but have slowly regained 15. When I lost the weight the doctor said that’s great now lose 20 more. Can you imagine how demoralizing that was? I’d lost more than they originally said but even that wasn’t enough. I think I started eating again just to spite them. That showed them, didn’t it? But during that time they couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel better. It was because I never felt bad to begin with, and during the diet I felt hungry ALL THE TIME. Isn’t it funny how one can be so disciplined in one area like personal finance, but have little will power for something like eating. Of course there is a physical reaction to not eating as well as the mental one. With finance it is just mental. I’m not sure which aspect is worse. So, good luck on your new endeavor. I hope the results are what you are expecting.

    1. Yes, weight loss doesn’t get any easier as we get older, does it? I’m mostly just trying not to gain weight and to get back the good habits that I used to have!

  13. Have you tried brushing your teeth earlier? I am unable to snack after I brush at night.

      1. It works for me, too!

  14. Going vegan?! That’s tough. I have gone vegetarian multiple times for different lengths of time and it was great. I tried to go vegan once and it was tough. Good luck! You guys are better people than I.

    Crazy to see the list and look back at this past year and realize how many life changes you guys crammed in. At the end of the year now, you guys seem to be happier and more excited about what’s to come despite what seemed like setbacks throughout.

    Here’s to a great 2014!

    The Warrior

    1. Thanks, sir!

      Vegetarianism has come naturally because meat seriously grosses me out. But veganism? Not sure. I think I will miss cheese at first but it’s starting to gross me out too.

  15. Bahaha, your sugar cookies cracked me up – I’ve done that. They still taste delicious if it’s only your family eating them, assuming they’re not a gift for friends.

    I already have my goals up and getting going with them. I am taking a month-long head-start on them rather than waiting until January 1st 🙂 Good Luck with your goals!

    1. They tasted great and the kids still decorated them!

  16. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    Great goals! And those sugar cookies look delightful, I might add 😉

    1. That picture pretty much sums up my baking skills.

  17. Solid goals for next year Holly! I think that’s cool you’re going on a trip with someone you met on a previous trip. My Mom and Stepdad do that all the time, usually several times a year at least. I have some of the same goals for next year – growing our business and getting serious about putting away money into our SEPs each month as opposed to holding on to it in our savings account throughout the year. Our big trip, after Vegas next month, is taking the kids to Disney the week between Christmas and New Year’s – 🙂

  18. Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby says:

    I haven’t even started to seriously think about goals for 2014. I just posted about goals for December this morning.
    I love how you don’t have goals a mile long. That may be why I fail at year long goal setting.

    1. Ha! Yeah, my goals change too. I just want to make our life better in general so our goals are flexible.

  19. You admit an obsession with cheese… and then say you are going vegan?! Good luck!

    1. Yeah, Holly. Did you read the post? We went vegetarian last year and are going to quit eating animal products altogether in 2014. We did it in phases instead of going cold turkey on everything. I don’t think it’s that uncommon. Obviously I am going to quit eating cheese. I think I’ll survive.

  20. Wow going vegan that’s a big step! I don’t eat much meat but here the quality is amazing compared to what they feed you in Europe or the US, I think I’d probably don’t want that in my system much, and I hope you drop the extra pounds!
    Looks like you have a full year ahead, I just know I am going to miami in Feb and that’s it so far.

  21. Is your whole family going vegan or just you and Greg? I’d be curious to see how that works if you have to cook two different sets of meals. I think I could live without meat, but cheese would be hard. We actually visited the Tillamook cheese factory this past summer. There is seriously a person who cuts cheese for a living! I so wanted them to have t-shirts that said “I cut the cheese in Tillamook, OR but no luck.

    1. Ha!

      Just me and Greg. I already make two meals every night anyways because the kids will only eat like ten things. So unless we want to eat grilled cheese, pancakes, scrambled eggs, peanut butter and jelly, or mac-n-cheese, I have to make us something anyways.
      Obviously once we stop eating animal products altogether most of that will be off the table anyways. My kids do love fruits and veggies and stuff so we usually share side dishes with them.

  22. Sounds like you guys had a busy year! I’m not sure if I can be vegan, but I’ve definitely tried to cut down on meat. The vacations sound pretty awesome.

  23. You guys have had an eventful year, that is for sure. Sounds like everything is heading in the right direction though. We haven’t set concrete goals for next year but we are planning a trip to Europe for a few weeks in the summer. Too bad that you guys are going to be in London in the Fall and not the summer, otherwise we could meet up!

    1. Yeah, totally!

      I think we’re going to go the week after labor day. Our hotel points stretch further that way and flights seem to be slightly cheaper.

  24. Glad you guys are living the new town! One of my goals for 2014 is to create a sustainable business. Should be fun!

  25. Good goals to have going into the new year. Going vegan is a big step, I could not do it at this point in my life. If you cant eat butter as a vegan, how about Cheese? Europe would be nice to visit in the spring for me as well.

  26. Awesome goals, Holly! Love the vegan thing – can’t wait to hear more about that. Sounds like you’ve got a great 2014 ahead!

  27. If you’re going vegan, doesn’t that mean giving up the delicious cheese too?

    I’m not a terribly snacker at home because I rarely bring snack foods into my house, but at work it’s awful. I stress eat like it’s what they’re paying me to do. That’s one habit I’d like to eliminate in 2014, as well as finding a fulfilling career and make some tough decisions about the direction I’d like my life to start taking.

    1. Yes, that means giving up cheese, butter, and all animal products. We became vegetarian last year but kept eating cheese and dairy. We’re ready to give that up now too.

  28. Oh my goodness, I *love* those cookies! A baker after my own heart 🙂 Awesome goals, especially your 50% savings goal! I’m aiming for 40-45%, so it’s great to know that someone out there is shooting even higher to keep me motivated!

  29. That cookie picture cracked me up! I could do no better, I’m sure. Mrs DB40 is the cookie baker in our house.

    Good luck going vegan! I have no experience with that but hear it can be great. I’m sure there’ll be an adjustment to life without butter and cheese and that, but hey, change is good.

    No idea on what my 2014 goals are but I guess I should get on that!

    1. I think I’ll be fine without butter and cheese after I get used to cooking without them.

  30. Hey Holly, my name is Joshua Rodriguez, and I have a problem…I’m a smoker! So, my 2014 goals include quitting smoking. Also, I’d like to make 50k or more in side income. I know it’s going to be a bit difficult to do both, but I also know that I can!

    Now to your goals….vegan huh? Chipotle has a vegan option now and it’s delish. Now, I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I still eat veggies and tofu. You gotta try the new Chipotle dish. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s the only vegan option.

    1. Have you tried an electronic vapor cigarette yet? My best friend and hubby and long-term smokers and they finally quit that way. The vapor still has nicotine but not all of the chemicals and carcinogens.

  31. Late night snacking is a serious guilty pleasure of mine! I have yet to gain any weight, either, but I think I should start going to the gym to counteract it just in case. Those vacations sound amazing!

    1. Yeah, a little exercise can’t hurt anyone! I need to get some exercise too. I feel all couped up in this tiny house this winter.

  32. Great goals! I have a late night snacking problem too so that is going to be one of my goals as well. So is growing my website and freelance business. I have a lot of room and time to grow so I’m excited about that. 2014 is going to be great! 🙂

  33. I think going vegan sounds so awesome…and healthy! I must admit I’m rather jealous of your 3 vacations next year, especially Paris and London. Lucky duckies 🙂

  34. We’re hoping to be debt free next year– including the mortgage. Then, we’re going to celebrate with a trip to Paris (hopefully).

    1. Yay! Did you get the Starwood Preferred Amex? You can get your hotel for free! =)

  35. Looks like some great goals for next year! I don’t eat much meat, mostly fish but I don’t think I could convince Chris or the girls to become full fledged vegetarians or vegans. And ummm… if that’s the amount of cheese you still have left – you better start eating because 2014 is only a few weeks away! LOL! I do hear you on the eating at night. I’m pretty good but it seems like once you start, you can’t stop! Love the vacations you have planned for next year. Sounds great. I already have vacation envy. 🙂

    1. We only have one big block of sharp cheddar left. We have sliced cheese too but that’s for the kids =/

  36. Did the sugar cookies taste decent at least? They kind of look like pancakes! I am a huge snacker, and I hate it. I’ve always been one, mostly because I get full easily, and don’t eat regular sized meals. Most people say I eat like a bird, but then I’m hungry a half hour later. Ugh. Best of luck with everything on the list – the vacations sound wonderful!

  37. those sugar cookies…LOL. I have to laugh cause they look just like mine!

    Great goals for 2014. We’re trying to save 50% of our income next year too. No vacations for us though, husband just started this new job and has can’t take off for a long while.

    1. Aw……bummer! Well, hey. Maybe the year after?

  38. I recently decided cheese was a real issue for me so I started a Whole30 to cut it out for a while. I’ll try adding it back in after I’m done with the month to see if it’s causing me any problems (aside from the psychological dependence). The first few days were really hard – apparently I was eating cheese with many of my staple dishes as well as just alone sometimes like you are – but now I feel pretty normal about it.

    1. I think I will be okay when Greg stops too. I just have to quit buying it, along with all the other dairy.

  39. I used to love eating at night. Mid night snack was the best. But my stomach decided to not like that anymore, so I was forced to stop snacking at night. I still do sometimes, but not every night.
    It’s so awesome that you guys made friends on a vacation to take another vacation together. I’m so bad at making friends, it just sounds unbelievable to me.
    Good luck with all your goals and I have no doubt that you’ll reach all of them.

    1. I’m not that great at making friends either. But sometimes it just comes naturally.

  40. Good goals. The only question I have is how are you going to give up the cheese? It seems that you love it with a passion (me too, sharp cheddar is my weakness). Is there a AA type group for cheese lovers or people trying to stop eating cheese?

    1. A year ago I thought it would be hard to give up chicken too…but it wasn’t. Now I wouldn’t eat chicken if you paid me! =/

  41. I need to learn how to cook too and eat healthier, but I could never give up cheese! Good luck with your goals! I haven’t thought about my goals for 2014. I should do that.

  42. Good luck on going vegan.. I couldn’t do it, because I am a complete cheese monster. I LOVE CHEESE. I will be happily sticking to vegetarianism – although I don’t drink milk, so I’ve at least cut that dairy product!! Counts for something, right? 🙂

  43. My goal for 2014 is to enjoy life more, and that means that I want to take a couple of vacations. I haven’t gone on a real one since 2008. I’ve spent all my time off visiting family. Grandma got sick in 2011 and died in 2012. Dad got sick my birthday week last year with leukemia (1st wk of Dec) and then just died barely 4 days after his birthday this November. I went to be with my family for a month and his shortened life really hit home for me (given Greg’s profession, this light bulb likely went off for you years ago). It’s important to save for retirement but man… It is more important to enjoy your day to day because you aren’t guaranteed retirement or tomorrow. I have an issue beating myself up any time I purchase something (or go anywhere), but still let spending get away from me every now and then, and then I avoid looking at my account. It needs to end. I will find the balance in 2014. PS – I spent $6000 on travel, stuff, a car rental, family stuff, and food over the last month so my other goal is to pay that back off, then put another $600 in savings, then pay off my TSP loan early. I should start 2015 with no debt except my student loan, which isn’t going anywhere for 8 more years. This is more long term, but I want to be finally ready to leave the federal government and go to work for myself in 8 years, as well. It will take every bit of that time to prepare.

    1. You should take a vacation, Meghan! Like you said, life is short! The $ is worth it, I think.

  44. Public service announcement: Oreos are a vegan friendly food, you’re welcome. Good luck on the diet transition. I tried a vegetarian diet for a while and I just couldn’t stick with it. I’m horrible with balancing nutition and wound up getting some deficincies. I don’t think I could ever try veganism though. Cheese is just too big a part of my life.

  45. If you like butter a lot, I recommend giving Earth Balance a shot. I love their butters and they’re vegan with tons of different types to choose. I did a vegan diet for a month and it was hard, especially since it was summer and I was busy catching up with friends before moving back to college. The bad thing about many alternative vegan products is they have soy though.

  46. My snacking problem is between 3-6 pm. I have one “normal” snack but I can’t stop there. I might as well have dinner at 4 so I can stop snacking. I think we all have our weak moments. What a year you’ve had. Glad you love your new town. I’ll save my long-winded goals for my own blog, but they include more writing gigs as well.

  47. I still don’t have everything planned out for 2014 but I know I will buy a new mountain bike to hit the trails, I wanna go to Jamaica and Las Vegas. I definitely want to grow my blog more.

  48. Those sugar cookies totally crack me up because they are totally something I would cook. Whatevs they taste the same right? I don’t think it’s weird you’re vacationing with folks you met on another vaca, I actually think it’s nice. Bf an I were talking the other day about how it would be nice to have more “couples” friends. I mean we both have friends, but we tend to hang out separately since our friends are all mostly single.

  49. I am eating like a fiend now that it is fall and soon enough, winter. I just am freezing and want to eat everything in sight. It’s terrible. I don’t label myself as anything, but I prefer to eat mostly veggies. I love fish, cheese and ice cream though! I was eating too much ice cream and realized that frozen bananas, almond milk and peanut butter make a delicious vegan “ice cream”. I’m excited about your travels and your goals for 2014. I need to start thinking about mine.

  50. I didn’t know you were vegetarian (going on vegan). That’s so cool. A good friend of mine is vegan and makes amazing food that I would have never even thought of. Awesome goal!

  51. I recommend Cardiff in Wales over London. It’s a little smaller and you don’t feel so overwhelmed with stuff to do. Cardiff is a lot easier to walk around, versus tube tickets or taxis in London. And Cardiff has some great hotels that I’m sure are in your free points. I didn’t get to Paris, so no hints there! Would say to go closer to August/September do to when it starts getting dark in Great Britain. I did Wales end of November and it’s dark/nighttime around 4 in the afternoon.

  52. I. LOVE. TILLAMOOK CHEESE. Which is obviously why I could never go vegan :). We tried it for 2 weeks once, it was really difficult!

    Those are awesome goals. I always need to work on improving my cooking skillz. I can cook a few (a very few!) things well, but if something doesn’t come out right the first time, I get really frustrated and give up on it.

  53. A vegan diet is SO much better for you than a diet with animal products. Good for you for taking that step. I’m a huge snacker too, and I have never been 100% successful at kicking the habit.

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