Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Healthy Weight-Loss Rewards

Today, I want to talk to you about weight-loss rewards. A weight-loss reward is just another card in the deck when it comes to reaching your goal of losing weight, and to be honest; it's one of the more fun cards to play. 

Have you ever heard of the saying, "keep your eye on the prize?" Well, this is what I think they were talking about, or at least this is what I'm talking about. Goal setting, action planning, follow-through, success and then, ah-hah, a reward. Reset and repeat until ultimate goal is met.

Now, when I say weight-loss reward, I'm not talking about treating yourself to a cheat meal because you've been staying on track. Nuh-uh. I'm talking about healthy weight-loss rewards. Rewards that will help you feel good about yourself throughout your journey of losing weight. 

I like to reward myself for every 5 pounds lost. You can see all of the weight-loss rewards I have gifted myself, thus far, by clicking here: Goal of Losing's Weight-Loss Rewards. As you may find, I haven't been rewarding myself in a couple years now, but that's all about to change. Why? Because it works. It really, really works!

Right now, I have my eye on a certain prize and it just so happens that the prize is on sale. Best news, it's not just on sale for me; it's on sale exclusively for my readers, too!


Fabletics is giving away (and I mean, giving away) a $15 exclusive offer to new members. With this offer, you'll get a top + bottom outfit for only $15. All you have to do is take a quick five-question quiz (I took it myself and it took me less than a minute) and the VIP Member Offer is yours, all yours.

Take your quiz, now: Fabletics Lifetsyle Quiz. You'll receive the $15 Fabletics Outfit* at the end!


(*exclusive offer expires with limited quantities, so act fast!)

Now, I've invested in a few workout clothes this past year, and since doing so, I have found that it really makes a difference in my workouts. When I feel good in my workout clothes, I workout harder and feel better. That's how I decided that I wanted to make a workout outfit from Fabletics my next weight-loss reward. The fact that the outfit is on sale sweetens the pot even more. 



I know that this reward is one that will keep me motivated in my weight-loss journey, so I can reach more weight-loss milestones and therefore, receive more weight-loss rewards.

Readers, do you reward yourself when you lose weight or reach your goals? What are your favorite rewards for yourself and how often do you reward yourself?

disclosure: this is a sponsored post. all opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall Craft Show and Pumpkin Carving 2016

It was a little quiet here on the blog all weekend and that's because we were busy working and having fun!




Losing 6 pounds wasn't the only thing I was working on last week, my husband and I were also working on getting ready for a Fall craft show! The show was held on Saturday and it was a lot of fun! Here are some of the items we have up for sale:







Getting ready for the craft show and being there at the craft show was a lot of fun! My mother-in-law sat with me most of the day, while Nick watched Piper. In the afternoon, my mom went to relieve Nick so he could sit with me, and help me pack everything up, too.




It just has to be said that without my husband and the help from our mother's with Piper, I wouldn't be able to chase my dreams so easily. I am so thankful for them all!




On Sunday, we got together at my mother-in-law's house for our annual family pumpkin carving! It was so much fun this year with Piper! She painted her own pumpkin with finger paints and she loved watching us work on carving ours, too.





I made a cat pumpkin this year because Piper is slightly obsessed with cats right now. She calls them "kitties" and she is really good at saying "meow"! She also is fairly good at saying pumpkin, for the most part it sounds like "onionk". It makes me smile every time.




Between the craft show on Saturday and the family gathering at dinner-time on Sunday, it was a little bit of a struggle to stay within calories. I tried to calculate my calories as best as I could, both days, and I really feel as if I staying within them, but right at the top of my limits. I also made a big effort to drink a ton of water at the craft show on Saturday. I ended up drinking 6 bottles of water before the day was over, and counted that as a success!

On Monday, I was feeling a little behind on things after our fun and busy weekend. I had some orders that needed to go out the door that day and things got a little frantic. I didn't stay within my calories and I didn't drink much water, either.




I'm feeling a little less chaotic today, and I'm ready to get back on track for the rest of the week!

Friday, October 21, 2016

The 7 Day Streak Weigh-In

I have completed 7 full days of staying within my calories! I haven't had a 7-day streak of staying within my calories since before I became pregnant with Piper in 2014! I am extremely proud of myself. I forgot what it felt like to do a happy dance over something I've accomplished. I feel so empowered!

I remember when I was almost a year post-partum, someone told me that it takes about two years after giving birth to really feel like yourself again. I remember smiling and nodding at them but really, I didn't believe them. I thought to myself, "What do you mean? It's almost been a year. I am feeling more like myself now!".

I guess I didn't realize that while I was feeling a little more like myself at that time, I wasn't focusing more on myself. Being able to focus more on yourself definitely comes with time after having a child, and in that sense, all I can say is, it is not selfish, it is necessary and "Amen!"




There are a few things that really helped me get on this 7-day streak, and I want to mention the things that helped for my future-self and anyone out there who may benefit from these tips.

1. My husband hid the scale from me. It's true, he hid it from me, but not very well. I found the scale mid-week (because he hid it "in plain sight" and I stumbled upon it as I was doing laundry) and it took everything I had not to weigh myself on right then. I'm glad that I stayed strong. I weighed myself today, as planned, and it was totally worth the wait! I found out that I lost 6 POUNDS this week! I am at my lowest weight since 2015. (244.8 lbs)

2. Dark chocolate at night. Night-time snacking can be tough. Especially when it comes in the form of a chocolate craving. In order to curb my cravings, I have been giving in to chocolate, but the dark kind. While I can eating milk chocolate all day long, the dark chocolate is a different story. It's bitter and sweet, and it's just enough to get rid of my chocolate craving while not breaking the calorie-bank.

3. Eating only the food that I enjoy and keeping track of all of it. There wasn't a single thing that I ate this past week, that I didn't love. If I wanted something a little higher in calories, I just adjusted my day accordingly. (i.e. if I had a high calorie lunch, I had a lesser calorie dinner.)

4. I gave myself plenty of "me time". This is important to stay fresh during the week! To focus on my goals and even refocus, as needed. I woke up an hour early before Piper a lot this week, and that seemed to help set the tone for the day. I felt in control and unstoppable.

5. I didn't over-commit myself to others. I kept my schedule well this week and because of that, I felt less stressed. Therefore, no stress-eating!

(Also, plenty of water and sleep helped during this first week "back at it", too.)

I remember many times throughout the past year, I would search back through my blog archives, in effort to find exactly what I ate to lose the weight before. I was becoming a little frustrated in my searching, not because of what I didn't find, but because of what I found. Instead of finding weeks where I would eat only healthy food; I found weeks where I ate everything that I wanted (the healthy and not-so-healthy stuff), just in moderation. That's the key though, no matter how many times I forget, moderation is the key.


(source)

For my future-self, and anyone else who may be interested, I'm going to share every single thing I ate this past week.


My personalized and current calorie range: 1610 - 1960 calories per day


Friday, October, 14, 2016: 1938 calories

Breakfast: 187 calories
- maple and brown sugar oatmeal with a side of raspberries and coffee with creamer

Lunch: 466 calories
- grilled chicken breast chunks with a side of corn, broccoli bites and sweet potato bites

Dinner: 905 calories
- homemade bacon chicken ranch pizza on naan bread

Snack: 380 calories
- nestle raisenets chocolate covered raisens

Saturday, October 15, 2016: 1953 calories

Breakfast: 294 calories
- poached egg with side of skillet potatoes, one sausage patty and a slice of wheat toast

Lunch: 551 calories
- KFC chicken tenders, coleslaw and homemade mac n cheese

Dinner: 497 calories
- homemade chicken ranch pizza on naan bread and concord grape wine

Snack: 612 calories
- dark chocolate, slice of white cake with white frosting (at lunch party), fit and active spinach and cheese pretzel stuffed sandwich

Sunday, October 16, 2016: 1413 calories

Brunch: 555 calories
- 8 oz. steak, one burger patty, half cup of green beans and roasted radishes in olive oil

Dinner: 744 calories
- aldi's biscuits, chicken salad with ranch, homemade mac n cheese and concord grape wine

Snack: 114 calories
- dark chocolate

Monday, October 17, 2016: 1955 calories

Breakfast: 240 calories
- 1/2 bagel with cream cheese and coffee with creamer

Lunch: 582 calories
- chicken fries with ranch, homemade mac n cheese and 2 squares of dark chocolate

Dinner: 942 calories
- italian combo sub with creamy italian and mayo

Snack: 190 calories
- tbsp of cream cheese frosting (just needed a taste!) and 3/4 cup mandarin oranges

Tuesday, October 18, 2016: 1763 calories

Breakfast: 310 calories
- 1/2 bagel with cream cheese and coffee with creamer x2

Lunch: 265 calories
- baked tilapia with side of broccoli bites

Dinner: 960 calories
- 4 slices of little caesars pizza

Snack: 228 calories
- 4 squares of dark chocolate

Wednesday, October 19, 2016: 1634 calories

Breakfast: 228 calories
- two slices of turkey bacon, scrambled egg and egg white, and coffee with creamer

Lunch: 465 calories
- fit and active cranberry chicken quinoa and sienna bakery oatmeal walnut raisen cookie

Dinner: 561 calories
- 2 cups ground turkey brussels sprout skillet and 3/4 cup of rice

Snack: 380 calories
- fit and active spinach and cheese pretzel stuffed sandwich and dark chocolate

Thursday, October 20, 2016: 1902 calories

Breakfast: 240 calories
- 4 slices turkey bacon and coffee with creamer x2

Lunch: 445 calories
- grilled chicken strip with ranch, 1/2 mac n cheese cup and dark chocolate

Dinner: 647 calories
- 8 oz slow cooker pork with pineapple and 1/2 cup of rice

Snack: 570 calories
- 3 miniature reese peanut butter cups, 3/4 cup ground turkey brussels sprout skillet and 1 cup rice


Disclaimer: (1) I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. (2) All that I've shared is not intended to be used as a "meal plan" of which you can follow. I have shared this with you to prove to you and my future-self that you don't have to drink brand-name shakes, or do any form of super-restrictive dieting to lose weight. If you do those things, chances are you may gain the weight back when you re-introduce the things you've restricted yourself from (been there, done that, many many years ago). In my experience, when you're first starting out, it can be enough to just watch your portions and stay within your own set limit of calories for the day. Of course, everyone is different and please don't change your diet without consulting with a physician, first.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Happy Life with a Healthy Lifestyle

Tonight, my husband and I took Piper to the park. It was another nice fall day in our area and so we just had to get out and enjoy it!




I decided to bring my camera to the park with us, and I'm glad that I did. The sunset was beautiful tonight and my husband was able to snap a few shots of Piper and I before the sun set.







I'm so lucky that my husband is so talented with the camera. What was just an ordinary night at the park will forever be cherished through these photos. I wish our little girl could stay this little, forever!




Before we went to the park, I made a healthy dinner ahead. I portioned the dinner out into containers and put them in the fridge, to be heated up when we returned from our time at the park. I made this new recipe: Ground Turkey Brussels Sprout Skillet and it was an absolute hit! The only change I made to the recipe was that instead of using cayenne and chili powder, I used Caribbean jerk seasoning. I just couldn't help myself! Whenever I see a recipe that uses coconut oil, I instantly grab the Caribbean jerk seasoning because it pairs so well with the coconut!






I'm coming to realize that if we want to enjoy our Fall nights together, we need to eat a little later dinner. The sun is setting earlier and earlier each day, so prepping dinner ahead and reheating after a fun night together is the way to go right now! Planning ahead like this also keeps me on track and erases the excuse of eating out.





These times with our little girl aren't going to last forever, and we're making sure to enjoy every minute, all while trying to live a healthy lifestyle. It can be done with a little planning ahead. I leave you now feeling balanced, happy and loved. Have a great day, readers!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Waking Up Early Gets "My House" in Order

This week, I started something new. Up until this week, I had been waking up whenever Piper would wake up in the mornings. This week, I decided to set my alarm for 6 a.m., to give myself a little time to myself before she wakes up for the day.

Piper has been getting up anytime between 5:00 - 6:00 a.m. for a bottle every morning but, since it's still dark out, she seems to want to go back to sleep for an hour or so. Some mornings she sleeps right through until about 7 a.m. Then you have the occasional sleep until 8 a.m., which is wonderful! However, that usually comes after a long night.

Either way, waking up by my alarm around 6 a.m. (or not going to sleep after getting up before that for Piper's morning bottle) has been helping me get my mind on my goals, first thing. I have time to think about my goals and time to plan out the day, or as much as you can with a toddler.


(source)

Day one of waking up early was hard. Piper woke up around 5:40 a.m. on Monday, crying for a bottle. Once I was done feeding her, she said "ni night" which meant she wanted to keep sleeping, so I put her in her crib and closed the door. I looked at the time on my FitBit and my silent alarm was about to go off in about 5 minutes. Even though I wanted to go back to sleep, I stayed up. I fix myself a cup of coffee, took a shower and started getting some work done for my business. I felt a little bit like a zombie that morning, and the thought of me going back to sleep entered my mind about 12 times before the coffee kicked in. I ended up getting a lot done, and was in a great mind frame for my goals before Piper finally woke up around 7 a.m.

Day two of waking up early was easier. I woke up on my own at 5:50 a.m. and decided to stay up because I saw on the monitor that Piper was rolling around a bit. I went downstairs and fixed her a bottle. I gave it to her before she started crying and again, she told me "ni night" because she wanted to go back to sleep afterward. I went downstairs, grabbed a cup of coffee and had another production morning before our morning even started together. 

I already noticed an energy change on day two, and it's been great to have that time to myself to get "my house" in order. And, when I say "my house", I mean my head, of course. Sometimes I do get the actual house in order, as well. I do like to start the day with a sink free of dishes and a dishwasher empty, ready to take on the dishes of the day!

Some days, I'm sure the temptation to keep sleeping in along with Piper may come over me, but I'm going to try and save that for the weekends or the days when I really don't have much work to do.


Readers, when do you wake up in the morning? When do you carve out some time just for yourself? Do you do it daily?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Little By Little

"She was unstoppable; not because she did not have failures or doubts but, because she continued on despite them." -Beau Taplin


source


This is where I'm at currently. I am on a 4-day streak of staying within my calories and I haven't weighed myself since Friday. I made some goals for myself (here) and I've actually stuck to them for four whole days. I know four days may not sound like a long time to most, but to this toddler-mom who has been having trouble focusing on herself and her own needs, it's a big deal.

Something clicked and sparked for me on Friday, and it was a spark that ignited a fire. As the end of last week grew near, I was feeling more and more defeated. I could see yet another week coming and going without me making any progress on my weight-loss goals. I wasn't only feeling defeated, I was feeling hopeless.

I realize now that feeling of hopelessness was exactly what I needed. In reality, I'm not hopeless, none of us are if we truly don't want to be. Despite the negative thoughts that I was allowing creep into my head, I knew deep down that I could do this. I just needed to start right then. Not next month, not on Monday, but right at that moment when I was feeling out of control. I needed to start on that Friday. So, I did it. I took the time to really focus on what I was eating that day, and I ended the night within my calories and feeling in control. On a FRIDAY!



source

It's been four days now and the fire that was lit by a little spark on Friday is still burning. It hasn't been burning all on it's own, though. I have been feeding the fire with positive thoughts and inspiration. I started reading "The Spark" again at night, and it's kept me out of the kitchen and therefore within my calorie range. I've also been reading motivation quotes every day, a few of which I've shared in this post.

Basically, what I'm coming to realize is that in my current stage of life (mom to a busy toddler), if I want to lose weight, I need to keep my well full of inspiration and take some time to focus on my goals each morning and every night. Focusing on myself and my goals doesn't come as easily as it once did, so I need to put in more of an effort if I want to see the results I did before.

I can do this.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Weight is Lifted without the Scale

Whew. I feel like a weight is lifted from my shoulders. Writing that post about the things that aren't helping me lose weight really opened my eyes. In just a few days time, I have gone from feeling like I was spiraling out of control with my weight-loss efforts to now feeling empowered, again.

I am currently working on a three-day streak of eating within my calories, and it feels great to be back in control. I haven't weighed myself since my (pre-decided) last weigh-in day of Friday. I am planning on weighing myself only once per week (instead of daily), and that will be on Fridays.

It may sound silly, but I actually had my husband hide the scale. He'll bring it back out on Friday morning for my weigh-in day. I needed him to hide it because the scale has suddenly (or not-so suddenly) became an addiction for me. I felt the need to weigh myself daily, and I'm weaning myself off. 

After doing such an amazing job on Friday, staying within my calories, I woke up on Saturday morning with one thought in mind; "I wonder if I lost any weight"! I wanted to weigh myself so badly; to gain that recognition from a job well done. But, I didn't. I stopped myself. Instead, I told my husband about my feelings and he happily hid the scale in effort to help me. Pathetic? Maybe. But I'm being honest here, and admitting a problem is the first step in fixing it, right?

Anyway, I wanted to end the post today with some motivational quotes that I have found on Pinterest and have been sharing with my October Challenge Group.









I hope some of those quotes make you feel some inspiration to make healthy choices, today.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Identify What Isn't Working & Change It

After stepping on the scale almost every day since the beginning of the month, I have seen no change in the number. If anything, I have seen a gain. I come to you now, feeling a little defeated.

At first, I want to throw my hands in the air and yell, "I don't get it"! I don't understand why I'm not seeing a change. I don't know why I'm not losing weight. I'm doing "everything" right, so why isn't the scale "proving" that for me? 

I've been exercising more than before; I've been doing everything that I did before (when I lost 40 pounds before getting pregnant) and now (20 months postpartum) the same efforts aren't working. "Why?!", I ask myself now, while throwing a toddler-like fit inside my head, "why?!"




I digress.

The truth is, I'm not doing "everything" right. While I have been exercising for 2 - 3 hours per week, I am slacking on a bunch of other things. I'm not always drinking 120 ounces of water a day; I've only been reaching that goal a couple times a week. I don't always stay within my calorie range and I haven't been managing my stress very well (i.e. night-time snacking). I haven't been putting myself first very often, either. So when I look back, I realize that I haven't actually been doing a lot of the things I did before (when I lost 40 pounds). So, while I don't want to admit it, the scale is kind of right.

Even so, I don't think it's healthy to be checking the scale everyday. I think doing so is actually hindering my progress with weight-loss. After checking the scale today, and seeing that there had been no change in weight, I decided that this just isn't helping me, and I need to stop. 

Checking the scale daily isn't motivating me to do better; it's actually starting to put negative thoughts in my head. Thoughts like, "I should just eat whatever I want because it's not making a difference anyway." I mean, yuck. If that's not the beginning of an "all or nothing" mentality, I don't know what is. The "all or nothing" diet mentality is something I thought I said good-bye to, years ago.

I had a moment of weakness today when I let that "all or nothing" mentality sneak back in my train of thoughts. I felt hopeless there for a minute, and I tried to think of a way I could turn my attitude around; a way that I could feel like I was regaining control of myself. That's when I came up with two lists. A list of things that aren't helping me lose weight and a list of things that will help me lose weight.


Things that aren't helping me lose weight:

1. The Scale - see above.
2. Over-committing - I've been giving too much of myself to others and not leaving enough energy for myself.
3. My old water bottle - it's been broken and I have been struggling with drinking enough water without one.
4. Trying to out-exercise a bad diet - I have been nailing my exercise goals and failing at my food goals.
5. Little planning with even less action - I plan out meals for dinner, but struggle with breakfast, lunch and snacks. Leading to poor last-minute choices in a hurry.


Things that will help me lose weight:

1. Checking the scale no more than once per week.
2. Start saying "no", more often.
3. Buy a new water bottle.
4. Take time to prep healthy food ahead (chop and store lettuce for salads, etc).
5. Plan meal options for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners.

I have written out both of these lists on a piece of paper and I'm going to hang it in sight. I think it's important to identify and admit what isn't working, that way you can move on from it and make a change.

Readers, what are some things that aren't working for you, and what changes are you going to make to get yourself to a happier place?

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fall-Time Spirit

It's almost mid-October and it is finally to start feeling more like Fall around here. The leaves are even starting to change, too. I noticed the leaves were changing this morning when I was on a drive to my friends house. My friend, Leah, invited Piper and I over for a play date with her son, Rowan. She fed us lunch while we were there, too. It was so nice!

Piper and Rowan are around the same age, only a few months apart. It's been so special to see them growing up together. It's also a little funny to see them interact as toddlers, now. We're just starting to entertain the idea of "sharing" so, playtime is more of a lesson in sharing, more than anything. I think it's a lesson that we'll be working on for a while, too.




Now that it's starting to feel more like Fall, I find myself rediscovering things that I love about Fall-time. Fall baking, warm beverages, walks outside, dressing all warm and cozy, and lighting candles in the house, just to name a few. I have been lighting my coconut candle (even though it's not a Fall scent) everyday, so much so that it's already half gone. I bought it last week!




One of our favorite things to do in the Fall is to definitely get reunited with our love for baking. Not only are baked goods delicious, the warm oven heats up the house, too! We have already made pumpkin muffins, banana bread and zucchini bread from some leftover zucchini from our family garden!





While all of this Fall baking isn't necessarily good for our waistlines, it really is good for our souls. Plus, Piper is learning a lot in the kitchen these days! I couldn't be more proud of her love for food and cooking!




This weekend, along with some baking, I also did some purging. I went through a little purging spree of all the clothes and shoes that no longer suited our needs. It felt really good to get rid of about 4 bags of clothing and 2 bags full of shoes. When I went into my closet for the first time this morning, I felt like a weight was lifted! I love all the space and how nicely everything hangs, now. It feels good to work with less. Sometimes less is more, and this is the case for me right now!

As I was getting rid of some items this weekend, I found my big cozy zip up robe that I put away this Spring. I was very happy to be reunited with my robe, especially on this chilly Fall morning! I also found a pair of brown boots that I had forgot about. I am so excited to be reunited with all of my Fall and Winter clothes!

Now that I'm in the Fall-time spirit, the only thing left to do is decorate the house for Fall! I am going to go grab my Fall bin from the basement and get to work now that Piper is asleep for her afternoon nap.

Readers, when do you decorate for Fall? Is it starting to feel like Fall where you are?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Flashback Friday - Fair Week - 2016

Oh, my heart. This post is an extra special one for me. We live in a small town and every September, we go to our small town's fair. I have been going to this fair since I was a little girl. The fair is actually the place where I fell in love with my husband, when we were only 15 years old. This little fair holds so many fond memories for us both, and now we get to share the fair with our daughter for the second year in a row. It's all just so sweet and sentimental to us.




Piper is at a really fun age right now. She was almost 20 months old when it came time for the fair this year. She had a lot of fun walking around while holding our hand, but would let us push her in the stroller from time to time, too.





Piper found a love for chicken fries dipped in ranch at the fair this year. She got chicken fries almost every day, while Nick and I got our annual (and sometimes fair daily) Gyro's.





There's no doubt that the fair food is good, but Piper's favorite part of the fair was visiting the animals each day!





At our fair, we probably have about 8 - 10 animal barns filled with animals. There's a rabbit barn, multiple cow and horse barns, a sheep barn, a pig barn and a goat barn. In the goat barn, there was a little children's play place, which Piper really enjoyed!







I had so much fun watching Piper light up when we were in those animal barns. It made me want to have a little animal farm of our own! Since that's not really in the cards for us right now, we took our time enjoying all of the animals at the fair.






















Let me just take a moment to say that this picture below of Piper pulling me along is the epitome of walking around the fair with a toddler. She was a busy bee and we were along for a really fun ride with her that week!







Out of all of the animal barns, there was a clear favorite for Piper. Piper was obsessed with the sheep this year! Every time we would go into the sheep barn, she would run over to the pile of hay and feed all of the sheep. It was the cutest thing she could have ever done.





I couldn't be more happy that she loved the sheep as much as I do; they are my favorite animal! I even choose a sheep theme to decorate Piper's nursery. I guess we are both a little obsessed with sheep.









We got to spend a lot of time with our family and friends at the fair this year. We live in a small town so even if you don't go to the fair with somebody, you end up walking around with someone you know before too long. That's what's great about living in a small town!




I made sure to spend a lot of time with my sister at the fair this year, because this was her last week home with us before she moved to Guam. Looking back at this picture is bitter-sweet because she's been gone for almost a month now. 

It was really hard at first, but I'm so glad that we spent so much time together before she left, and we still get to talk to her almost every day.

The fair was a great time this year, and I'm already dreaming about what next year will be like with an almost-three-year old!