Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Just Two Weeks

2 1/2 pounds gained. Days with moods in the gutter. Pain and inflammation in all of my joints. Bloating that made my newly sized-down pants (from 24 to 22) feel tight. A returning pain in my knees when going down stairs. Prolonged/irregular menstrual cycle. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. The overall feeling of being heavy and in poor health.

It took only two weeks, from April 10th - April 21st. Two weeks of eating poorly and not drinking nearly enough water each day. That's what caused all of those ailments to come back.

What I eat matters. It directly effects my health in the short term and long term. This is why I have started my new 30 by 30 challenge. I want to get rid of all of those ailments listed above. I want to eat better to feel better. I am ready to start working toward a solid goal again -- a new goal to lose 30 pounds before I turn 30 in February.

Rant to self: no more excuses. If I eat fresh, healthy food, I will feel fresh and healthy. If I eat over-processed, heavy foods, I will feel it. I will feel it in my joints; I will feel it in my mood; I will feel it in my the way my pants fit. I need to make better choices to feel better. I need to continue on my path of losing weight. The time between now and my 30th birthday will pass regardless, so I might as well make the time count. I want to feel good every day. I want to regain a better balance.

Right now, I am motivated. I know that motivation doesn't last forever but, it's a good push-start in the right direction. I believe that joining my new challenge is just the push-start I need to get back on track.

For more information on my 30 by 30 challenge, you can read here: 30 by 30.

Yesterday was my first day in my new challenge. I swear I already feel a little better just from getting all of my 120 ounces of water in and stuffing my dinner plate full of fresh vegetables. It's the little things that add up and make a big difference.

Speaking of the little things, Piper and I spent a little time yesterday morning at our local park. We made sure to stop and smell the flowers, in between running up and down the "big hill", of course. Conquering big hills is definitely one of Piper's favorite things to do.

She's a pretty cool kid, if you ask me. God blessed me so much when he chose me to be her mama. Even while I was feeling a little down toward the end of last week, this girl always light my life right back up. There's no way I can feel down for long when I have that bundle of joy by my side.

Monday, April 24, 2017

30 by 30 Challenge Intro

My husband and I are starting a new weight-loss challenge and I'm really excited to share all of the details with you today!

As you may know, my husband, Nick, and I recently wrapped up a three-month long challenge with HealthyWage. From January through March, we lost 6% of our combined body weight. Each of us lost about 15 pounds! Now that the challenge is over, Nick and I are looking for something new to challenge us. We have been talking about doing a challenge of our own, and we decided on all of the details this past weekend!

Nick and I are going to be turning 30 this winter; his birthday is at the end of December and my birthday is at the beginning of February! So, we came up with the idea of trying to lose 30 pounds before our 30th birthday. A 30 by 30 challenge!

While it was tempting to count the 15 pounds we have already lost since the start of the year through our HealthyWage challenge, we decided to start fresh and consider our most recent weigh-in from Friday, April 21st, as our starting point for the 30 by 30 challenge.

Also, while the Type-A personality in me would have loved to wait until May 1st to start this challenge, I have learned that there is no better time to start than as soon as possible/right now! 

Since we are starting now, Nick only has about 8 more months until he turns 30 to lose his 30 pounds and I have about 10 months to lose mine. So, let's not wait another day!

There are 3 essentials we will focus on in order to be successful in this challenge:

1. Set a Goal with a Deadline
- lose 30 pounds each by our 30th birthdays

2. Determine a Plan of Action to Reach our Goal
- post monthly challenge updates with our current stats
- weekly meal planning and incorporate exercise plans as time goes on
- drink half of our body weight in ounces daily
- track calories through Sparkpeople daily, the good and bad
- give ourselves grace for when things don't go according to plan
- pick each other up when we stumble and never give up

3. Set up a Reward to Work Toward for More Incentive
- if we both reach our goal, we will plan a vacation for just the two of us

Nick's Stats:

Initial Weigh-In on 4/21/17: 
222.0 lbs
Before Photos:

Nick's thoughts going in to this challenge: 
"I lost 15 pounds from January through March mainly from changing my diet alone. For this next 30 pounds, I intend to start slowly incorporating exercise and build on that with more running and lifting weights routinely. I want to lose this weight so I can drop a pant size or two, going from size 38 to size 36 or 34."

Kalyn's Stats:

Initial Weigh-In on April 21, 2017: 
240.3 lbs.

Before Photos:

(My legs and arms are so white that it's safe to say I am haunting this house)

Kalyn's thoughts going into this challenge:

"Along with Nick, I also lost about 15 pounds from January through March of this year. In doing so, I dropped one full pant size going from size 24 to size 22. In April, I started to gain a couple pounds back and so now, this is the perfect time to start a new challenge. I intend to get back to our good eating habits immediately and slowly start incorporating more exercise, too. Before the end of this challenge, I intend exercising multiple times a week to be a solid routine for me. I would like to drop two more pant sizes, going from my current size of 22 to a size 18 -- a size I haven't been in since high school, almost eleven years ago."
The challenge starts now! Wish us luck!

Friday, April 21, 2017

After We Break, We Rise

My husband has a really great way of calming me down when I get too stressed out. I am feeling much better today after spending a good two hours talking everything through with Nick the other night. We talked about everything from my large workload with the business down to how much I've been struggling with my eating habits and lack of self-control these past two weeks.

I don't do well when it comes to doing things on the fly. I mean, I am okay with it to some extent. It kind of comes with the territory when you're the parent to a toddler. Not everything goes according to plan and I get that; it's just, I struggle when there's no plan at all. 

That's basically how I've been functioning these past few weeks -- no plan Stan over here. Between getting the flu, to saying goodbye to my childhood home and helping my mom move residences, to trying to dig myself out of a lot of work at home and with my business -- I am just ready to start focusing a bit on myself and my health again!

I have been white-knuckling my way through these past few weeks, trying to do it all and do it all well, and it just finally all caught up with me the other night. I think we all have to go through those times. Where we stay strong for so long and then all of a sudden we break down. It wasn't even over something big. I guess that's how it usually works though; it's usually something little that ends up being the thing that does us in. 

The important thing though is how we handle ourselves after we break. 
After we break, we rise.

I feel very little shame in admitting that I broke down -- it doesn't mean I'm weak, it just means that I was tired after being strong for so long. It all caught up to me. After getting everything off of my chest the other night with my husband, I feel like I hit the factory reset on myself. I feel good as new, or nearly new.

My husband and I discussed some things we're going to try to do to help get us back on track with our weight loss. We were able to lose 15 pounds together from January through the end of March. Now that it's nearly the end of April, we are ready to start losing more weight again. We have come up with a new challenge for ourselves, one that we will fine-tune this weekend and I will be happy to share with you on Monday, next week!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Feel Defeated Today

Nobody ever wants to share when they're stressed out, anxious or just plain old down in the dumps. Well, I'm going to talk about it today. These past couple weeks have had some really high-highs and some low-lows.

The highs:
We had an amazing Easter
My mom got a new house
Piper started swim class this week!! Ah yay!!
Nick and I had an amazing date day/dinner date
The weather has been mostly nice
I'm getting a lot more outside-time
My sister is past-due with her first baby so I'm becoming an aunt any minute now

The lows:
Housework is out of control
Laundry is piled up to the max
Work {with my business} is kinda nuts -- okay, really nuts
I feel behind on everything that I usually have under control
I over-scheduled myself for the next two weeks
I've been over-indulging on unhealthy food way too much
I'm dehydrated and I've gained some weight, see: weekly weigh-in's
My sister is past-due with her first baby and she's halfway across the world, so I can't be there even though it's where my heart is right now.

I usually try to find more good points than bad but, reality is, it's not always like that in life. The important thing is how you deal with it all. Lately, I've been dealing with it by eating way too much and way too late at night. I feel out of control and I'm going to really try to get some of that control back. The first step: sharing my defeat. 

I feel defeated today and, that's okay. Not every day is going to be a win. Not every week is going to be a win. What matters most is that I stick through it, and come out on the other side. I don't necessarily even have to come out stronger. I just simply have to make it out. I will make it out to the other side.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter 2017

This past Easter Sunday was definitely one for the books. The weather was incredible and Piper had a wonderful time with us, as we spent the day visiting with family.

The morning started with Piper sleeping in until about 8 a.m. Nick and I were already awake, showered and sitting outside when my mom arrived with Evan and Piper's Easter basket from their house. Piper must have known, because she woke up minutes after they arrived and before we knew it, she was outside with all of us, searching for her basket, which Evan hid in her playhouse.

After they left, we gave her the basket that was left by the Easter bunny at our house. We all said a little prayer together, thanking God for all of our blessings, in which Piper ended with "In Jesus name, Amen". And boy did that warm my heart. Praying together has become one of our favorite things to do. It means so much more to me than I can even describe.

Nick and I had a lot of fun helping the Easter bunny pick out what to give Piper this year. She got a little bit of chocolate, some fun games, bubbles and big girl underwear {see yesterday's post on Potty Training}.

Nick's dad came over that morning to give Piper an Easter basket from his house and Piper had some fun playing outside for a bit before we all had to leave.

Around noon, Nick and I took Piper over to my dad's house for Easter brunch, where Piper had a great time playing with her Aunts {Maria and Anna} and her Uncle Nicholas.

Around 2:00, on the ride home from my dad's, Piper fell asleep in the car. Nick dropped me off at my mom's new house so I could hide some Easter eggs for a little Easter egg hunt that afternoon. Piper woke up just in time for me to finish hiding the eggs and to get home to make green bean casserole for our family dinner.

My mom's Easter dinner started at 4 p.m. and it was a beautiful evening spent at their new house. Evan and Piper had a blast searching for their Easter eggs, which were filled with chocolate, coins and dollar bills.

I have been meaning to get this post up for days now and I'm still running out of time here to type it up so, I will leave you with some more pictures from the week leading up to Easter. The pictures below are from when we got together with Nick's mom's side of the family to color Easter eggs {our annual tradition}.

Piper's third Easter {p.s. she's still only two} came and went in a flash. We had the best time with her! We're constantly reminded how blessed we are with her in our lives. God is so good.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Potty Training - The First Three Days

Remember how my blog is about me "losing weight while living life"? Well, this post is more about the living life part -- with a toddler! Reader beware. Potty training has kind-of begun in our household!

We aren't super consistent with the potty training right now so, please don't expect this to be one of those posts where I tell you my toddler got potty trained in a very intensive potty-training-boot-camp weekend type thing. Not like there's anything wrong with that, we just don't have any need to rush things over here.

After all, along with training Piper to actually use the potty chair, I am trying to train myself to remember to ask her if she needs to go potty, too. Instead of forcing it with either one of us, things have been pretty laid back for these first three days.

Here's how it all started...

On Good Friday, April 14th, Piper randomly asked to go on the potty. Her potty chair had been sitting out in our bathroom a couple times before, just to get her use to it being around, but it has been in the basement for about a little over a month now.

I put the potty chair away when she started teething hard on her two-year molars. Piper didn't need any extra pressure during that time. Just recently, like within the past week, her two year molars came in fully and so, her asking for the potty chair to come back was really in perfect timing. I decided to act on it right away. I brought the chair up from the basement and she sat on it for a little while. Nothing happened that morning but, she was happy to be a big girl sitting on a potty for a couple minutes.

Later on, right after her nap, I decided to ask her if she wanted to try to use the potty again. She was very excited and said "okay potty yeah". So, Nick and I both took her downstairs and sat in the bathroom with her for a little bit. 

First, she wanted mama to sit on the big potty too, and then it was daddy's turn. After a few minutes, I told Piper to try and go toot on the potty. I figured she didn't know what it meant to go pee or go poop since I don't acknowledge when she does those things {since she's still in a diaper}, but every time I hear her toot, I tell her "Oh you tooted, say excuse me". So, she definitely knows when she toots and how to do it.

She tried to go toot on the potty, as I asked, and instantly she started peeing on the potty. I was sitting next to her on the floor when I heard her start to pee; I looked at her excitedly and she looked at me with fear in her eyes. I told her, "Yay! You're going pee on the potty! Good girl! Yay!" She said "Yay" in an unsure tone and got up to see what she had done. She looked in and looked back at me worried and said "Mess! Oh mess!" {Haha} I told her, "It's a good mess! Yay!" and she repeated me, "Good mess!"

I had Piper wipe and flush her potty. I told her she could have a sticker some ice cream for going "toot" {pee} on the potty! She said "Horray, ice cream!" and we all celebrating with some afternoon ice cream!

The next day, I asked her a few times if she wanted to go on the potty and it was a firm "NO, I NOT". I didn't push it, and I said that was okay. On Easter Sunday, I asked even less often {because we were running around, visiting family} but, again, it was a firm "No" from Piper. She didn't even want to try and sit on it.

On Monday, I decided to ask again. In the morning I asked twice and both times she said, "No, I not". I told her, "Okay, but let's say 'not right now' or 'maybe later', instead". So, when later came, right after lunch, I searched YouTube for a potty training song, and played it for Piper without saying a word about the potty. She asked to watch the potty song a few times again before I suggested watching the song while sitting on the potty, just like the video showed. She was a little reluctant, but nothing like she was before, so I decided to make it as fun as possible and she went for it.

I swear, we watched the potty song with her sitting on the potty about 20 times. No exaggeration. It was about 30 minutes into sitting with her when I decided to bring out the bribe: chocolate. I said that she could have some chocolate if she went "toot" on the potty. She was really excited. She wanted some chocolate, so she started to try and push. Nothing happened.

I went and got her a sippy cup of water and a book to read. I put the chocolate on the counter, where she could see it and told her "You can have this chocolate when you toot on potty". I asked her if she wanted me to still sit there with her or go, and she said "go sit on couch". So, I sat outside of the open door of the bathroom, out of sight, and waited. 

I told her "Just yell 'mama I tooted' when you go toots and you can have chocolate". It was less than 5 minutes later when I hear her happily exclaim "MAMA, I TOOTED!" I was so excited for her, and she was so excited too! She peed on the potty for the second time in three days! I said "YAY! YOU TOOTED!" and immediately gave her the chocolate.

I know that potty training is a really long process so, I'm not putting a deadline on anything. I also didn't do any research on the topic before we started potty training, which is kind of unlike me. Piper prompted this potty training adventure and I've been going off of my gut instinct and her ques naturally, ever since. With that being said, I am always open to advice so please, share any tips you may have with me! 

I can't be certain but, I have a feeling we're in it for the long haul here. I think the potty chair is out to stay. I don't have any intentions of making Piper potty train before she's ready; there's really no need. But, I do want to keep Piper as interested in the potty chair as I can since we got the ball rolling. 

Here's to the next stage in toddler-hood! I'm going to try and help make this as stress-free on all of us as I can by being patient, not setting any deadlines and just letting her call the shots.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Need to Flush It Out with Water

Happy Monday!

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. As for here in Pennsylvania, the weather on Easter Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day! I'll get more into Easter and all of the fun we had in another post this week. Today, I have a fun announcement to make!

Last week, I shared my review and hosted a giveaway for Good Food Made Simple

Thirteen (13) people entered the giveaway and I used random.org to pick the winner.

Congratulations to Cathy B. -- you won free product coupons from Good Food Made Simple!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and, a special thanks to Good Food Made Simple for sharing this giveaway with us all!

I am still enjoying my Good Food Made Simple entrees! They kind of saved lunch-time multiple times last week. Eating those entrees for my lunches was probably the only good-for-me meals I ate all week.

Last week was crazy! My mom, stepdad and little brother closed on a new house and, last week was moving week. Any spare time, and every single night, was spent over at my mom's new house; helping them move in and get settled. 

My mom treated us to dinner multiple times last week, which was a mix between McDonalds, take-out pizza, wings, etc. Then, on Saturday, Nick and I got to go out for a date and had dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Of course, Sunday was Easter, so we had brunch at my dads and dinner at my moms. Looking back, I think I only cooked dinner for my family once last week. 

Let's just say, last week was rough. I didn't have any balance in the food that I ate; it was mostly all bad and, I didn't track any of it, either. To make matters worse, I didn't drink much water during all of this craziness and I can feel the inflammation in my joints already. Bad food choices and lack of water will do that to me.

I am so happy today is Monday. I know every day is a new day for a fresh start, but; now that the craziness of last week is over and the newness of this week is upon me, I feel ready to get back on track! 

My main goal for today is to drink 120 ounces of water to flush out all of the inflammation in my body! Baby steps as I get back on track.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Greeting 2017

I can't believe Easter weekend is here, already! 

If you need a good cake recipe for your Easter get-together, here's the one I made for when we got together with Nick's family to color Easter Eggs earlier this week: Fluffy Homemade Vanilla Cake. It turned out wonderfully.

I'm so grateful, Nick has off work today for Good Friday. Let family time and the long Easter weekend commence!

From my family to yours, Happy Easter. Praise God, He is Risen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Weight-Loss Secrets

Recently, I was asked by someone "what is your weight-loss secret?" I had to think about it and I don't think there's much of a secret here.

As I was on my journey of losing 15 pounds these past few months, I just tried my best to stay the course, even when I didn't see the results. When I would gain a little weight, I wouldn't give up. I pressed on until I saw the results I wanted to see. I guess my weight-loss secret is to just keep going, through the good and the bad. 

Most importantly, I made sure not to make any changes that I couldn't keep up with for life. For example, I can't go the rest of my life without eating carbs; so I found a way to lose weight with carbs in my diet. {I also can't go the rest of my life without chocolate, so I give myself a little bit of chocolate every day.}

The truth is, I don't know if there is a universal weight-loss secret for us all. In my own personal journey, there's been a lot of trial and error to find what works best for me. The thing is, everybody is different and more importantly, everyone's body is different. For example, I have a problem with binge eating, so I stay away from depriving myself of anything in particular. Allowing myself to have a little bit of everything keeps me on track, and helps me to avoid binge-eating. That's just me!

If there was a weight-loss secret out there, I would have to say it's only something you can find for yourself through trial and error. Perhaps there is a special weight-loss secret for us all. Personally, I know that when I gain weight from an over-indulgent weekend, I can just drink a ton of water and stay within calories for a couple days after and the excess weight will {usually} disappear from the scale. It's my own little secret that I have found works for me.

Readers, what is a weight-loss "secret" that works for you? Please share!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley

{psst. I have a giveaway going on NOW through April 15th. 
Check it out here: GFMS Giveaway}

This past winter, I found a lot of joy in reading. Sometimes, I read fiction books but, mostly I have been reading books about life and how others are navigating it. One of my favorite reads from this winter has been "Grace Not Perfection" by Emily Ley.

Emily Ley is a creative, who designed The Simplified Planner. She works from home, and she has twins around the same age as Piper. I have some things in common with Emily Ley, so this was a really great read for me.

There were some quotes from the book that I just had to write down for myself to look back on. I figured I would share my favorite quotes with you here, too. Every quote I'm referencing here stirred something in my heart, brought a tear to my eye or, gave me an "ah-hah" moment; as if those were the exact words trying to come out from my heart.

Quotes from Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley: 
"Looking back, I can see God orchestrating every failure, and milestone into a song of daily surrender and joy."
"The good life is rich, slow, real and flawed."
"Here's the thing about doing it all, even if you can do it all, no one can do it all well."
"The truth is, if we take care of ourselves the same way we're nurturing everyone else, we'll find all sorts of joy and be better for everyone we love."
"What good are we when we are overwhelmed, overbooked and over committed? We need care, rest nutrients and full hearts to be able to speak life into the people we love.
Our hearts are moving, loving, organic things. You might say our hearts are wells-deep and wide. If our well is not fed by a freshwater spring, where it can be replenished and refilled, we have no water to give to the ones we love. If our well is fed by a stream of comparison, anxiety, and stress, guess what we have to give to our families? Sharp words, headaches and impatience will brim at the top. Nothing good comes out of a poisoned well. But what would we have if we let our wells be filled with things like, rest, laughter, confidence, good tea, hugs and adventure? I want to overflow with that sweet water."
"Somewhere, some time ago, someone told you that you had to do it all -- and you had to do it all by yourself. Instead of saying no, paring down, and embracing quality of life over quantity of commitments, you allowed your life to spin out of control, And it's left you without half a second to take a deep breath."
"I hadn't realized that worry, anxiety, the need for control and the chase of perfection zap the life, energy and health from our bodies."
"Give yourself permission to slow down. In fact, give yourself permission to just stop. Press pause on as much as possible, and take inventory of your life. What are your commitments and responsibilities? What can go? What are your priorities? What can you say no to?"
"What would your life look like if you let your well be filled even five minutes a day, with the things that make you feel deeply alive?"
"Our time with little ones is so fleeting. It is both the fastest and slowest time of our lives. And for many of us, beginning motherhood coincides with a lot of other important life milestones. Our careers may be taking off. Our parents are getting older. We have big responsibilities and so many things beeping and buzzing to notify us that we're needed. Our minds are consumed with bills, to-do lists, behavior issues, comparisons, and attempts at doing everything just right. And all while, our little ones are growing another quarter of an inch. Their chubby thighs are slimming. Their wobbly walks are steadying. If we don't purposefully and intentionally slow down, free our hands, walk away and say no, this precious messy season of life will pass us by."
"I've realized that I have to manage my expectations and be realistic about how much I can participate in during this season of my life. We can't stay late when we take the whole family somewhere. That's just life right now. And that's okay. This is a season that will be gone all too soon. When I have this type of perspective, it helps me approach life -- and other -- a little more graciously when things don't go as planned."
"You don't have to be the best at everything. Allow your weaknesses to be someone else's strengths. That's what community is for. There is nothing wrong with stepping aside for sanity's sake. Instead of stretching yourself too thin, create margin and manage your expectations about what you can handle right now. Once you stop beating yourself up for what you're not doing, you're able to be more gracious with the people you love. And you give someone else the chance to shine in the role you couldn't take on."
"We live in a society of more, faster and extra. So we feel like we need to respond more, faster and extra. But that's a useless exercise. So much joy can be found in slowing down. I fight against my fast-paced, overachieving nature every single day. I fight the urge to take on anything and everything. Remember, you have a max capacity. Identify those areas of your life that are overflowing and distracting you, and do something about them. Unsubscribe. Quit. Uncommit. Slow down. Be still, Make revisiting these tasks a monthly routine in your life."
"After everything, one of the best lessons I've learned is this: everyone has a story about how they started out. Every dream began in somebody's garage or at someone's kitchen table or over two pretty average cups of coffee. Every successful person was new once and had to ask a lot of questions to figure out the way. Every person you admire has accepted help and advice from others and has fallen on his or her face countless times. Show me a self-made success story and I'll show you someone who's tell you a fib. No matter what your passions are in this life or what road you're traveling or what goal you're chasing, know this: it's okay to get dirty. It's okay to try one thing, mess up and try something else. It's also okay to keep trying to climb that same tree, evening if you fall down ten times. The difference between people who achieve their goals and people who don't is their ability to dust themselves off and wear their dirty outfit proudly."
"Your desire for a better life has to be stronger than your fear of what it may take to get there. It's as simple as that. Don't put off creating the life you dream of because you're afraid you can't do it perfectly."
"Comparison is truly the thief of joy. And we've established a standard of perfection in our work and our families based on what? Social media highlight reels? Perfect people? {I'm telling you -- they're like unicorns. They don't exist.} Being a woman with many loves and responsibilities will test your patience, stretch your will and make you love more fiercely than you ever thought possible -- because time is your most precious commodity."
"What will your legacy be? How often have you considered that the perspective you have will be passed on to your children? The way you let go of mommy anxiety will be handed down to your daughter. The love you give away to the world will be reflected on your children, and their children, and their children after them."
"Be still and listen. Let God's truth resonate in your life just as it is. Not one day when your house is clean. Not one day when all the laundry is put away. Not when the time is right. But right now."
Those are most of my favorite quotes from the book, Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley. The entire book is filled with treasures of advice. It's a book that I will keep in my collection, knowing that I will go back and read it again. It's just that good.

Right now is a great time to get "Grace Not Perfection" by Emily Ley as it is currently ON SALE! Get your copy now {affiliate link}:

Readers, have you read Grace Not Perfection? What is a book you'd recommend that I read next?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Why I Quit Jazzercise

{psst. I have a giveaway going on NOW through April 15th. 
Check it out here: GFMS Giveaway}

I'm not sure if you've noticed from my lack of posting about it but, I decided at the beginning of this year not to renew my Jazzercise membership. This was kind of a big deal, considering how much I loved Jazzercise!

I tried Jazzercise for the first time in my adult life about 9 months after Piper was born, in October of 2015. Our local Jazzercise studio was hosting a free month of classes, for new people to give it a try. My mom and my sister got me to go for my first class, and I was hooked. At the beginning of November, I signed up for a 3-month membership! You can read about when I started Jazzercise, here: Addicted to Jazzercise.

During the winter of 2015/2016, Jazzercise was my lifeline. At the time, I was a stay at home mom to a one-year old, and my husband worked all day and went to night classes a couple times a week. Jazzercise was my much needed "me time". It gave me something healthy to look forward to at the end of some very long days.

After my 3 month membership was up in January 2016, I renewed for the entire year. 2016 was a great year for me to be a member of Jazzercise. Considering the season I was in, it was exactly what I needed. I got to meet new people, work out and spend an hour just focusing on myself. As the mom of a one-year old, it was a great outlet.

Once summer rolled around, I started to notice myself going to Jazzercise class less and less. Nick was finally graduated from his schooling, so we got him back at nights all throughout the week. The weather was nicer and I found myself wanting to spend my evenings outside instead of inside a Jazzercise studio. It was hard because I knew that I had paid for the entire year, so I started to feel guilty for not going. I picked it up again back in the Fall but, it just wasn't exactly the same.

This past Fall and Winter has been the first of those seasons in 5 years where my husband hasn't had to go to night classes a few times a week. I found myself getting more "me time" just from him being home more, and not needing Jazzercise as much as an outlet as I did before. Also, despite how much I don't want to admit it, Jazzercise was doing a number on my knees and I had to take in consideration that the price went up for 2017. So, I made the decision at the end of 2016 to end my membership.

Do I miss Jazzercise? Yes, sometimes. I definitely miss the people! I made a few really great friends during my time there. I miss the atmosphere, too. But, it just wasn't worth the money this year. Jazzercise wasn't making me lose weight, which could have been because I used it more as an outlet as-needed rather than a strict workout regime. I have actually come to find more success in losing weight after quitting Jazzercise. Since quitting, from January through March, I ending up losing 15 pounds {with very minimal exercise at all}.

Going to Jazzercise wasn't all about the weight-loss for me. Is that a nice benefit when it happens? Of course. But, going to Jazzercise was more than that, and the season for it in my life has seemed to come and past. Will there be another season in my life for Jazzercise? I sure hope so! I loved what Jazzercise was for me; a place where I only focused on only myself but, also a place where I didn't have to be alone. A group therapy, if you will.

So, while I am no longer a member of Jazzercise, I will tell you that I still highly recommend it. Did it help me to lose weight? Not as much as I thought it would. It did something more meaningful than that for me. It gave me a place to feel like I was still apart of the world at a time when I felt secluded as a stay-at-home mom to an infant and, it gave me the feeling you get when you're doing something well for yourself. It was perfect for the season I was in but, I am in a new season now.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Good Food Made Simple Entree Meals Review + Giveaway

It's no secret that I'm a fan of "Good Food Made Simple". You might remember my post on this brand from last year when I was Spring Cleaning My Freezer with Good Food Made Simple. Since I loved GFMS's breakfast bowls and burritos so much, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to find that Target now carries GFMS's new line of restaurant-inspired entrée meals, too!

{psst. there are GIVEAWAY details at the end of this post!}

Good Food Made Simple's entrée meals are made with organic ingredients and use simple, real foods like whole grains, organic veggies and humanely raised meats. Focused on flavor, Good Food Made Simple worked with a professional chef to recreate restaurant-inspired recipes for a true culinary journey.

Now, before I had the chance to try Good Food Made Simple's products, I was guilty of believing that all frozen meals were made alike. I think this is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about GFMS; trying their brand changed all of that for me. Not all frozen meals are made alike, and I wish I would have known this secret sooner!

The reason why I love "Good Food Made Simple" is right in the name. It's really good food {no antibiotics ever, no added hormones, no animal byproducts fed} and it's really simple to make. Good Food Made Simple is committed to revolutionizing the freezer aisle with clean, made-with-organic foods.

I honestly don't know how they do it but, their frozen meals don't even taste like they were ever frozen at all. I mean, I put the meals in the microwave {I know I do} but, they come out of the microwave tasting like they just came fresh from the oven. It's that good!

Whenever I worked in an office away from home, freezer meals were my jam. They are a great way to stay on track as they are perfectly portioned with no guessing on the nutritional value. It was the best way to go when trying to lose weight in an office setting. Now that I'm working from home with a toddler underfoot, I have come to find that these freezer meals are just as pertinent to helping me stay on track, like ever before. After all who knows that there's not enough time in a day more than a mom, am I right? Frozen meals are still my jam.

While I don't like to play favorites, I do have to say that Good Food Made Simple's Cavatappi Bolognese was one of them. It's so hard to choose a favorite because they are all just so good!

For me, nothing beats a hearty, hot meal on a busy day and that's exactly what you get when you warm up one of these Good Food Made Simple entrée meals. These meals practically beg you to take a moment to just sit back relax as you eat them -- and thankfully, since the meal only takes about 4 minutes to warm up in the microwave, you'll have enough time to do just that! 

Now, I didn't just make your belly grumble with anticipation without just cause here. I have a good reason and even greater news! 

> Good Food Made Simple is giving away free product coupons to one lucky reader of Goal of Losing! 
>> To enter this giveaway, simply comment on this post with the entrée meal you're most interested in trying {or the one that you already know you love from experience} 
>>> A winner will be selected at random on April 15, 2017

Disclosure: I have received products as part of a sponsored collaboration. All opinions here are my own.