Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Day of Healthy Eats with Chinese Take-Out

Some people have asked me how I manage to eat things like Chinese Take-Out and still lose weight. For me, it's all about "give and take" or balance. If I am going to take a bunch of calories up for dinner-time then, I'll need to eat less throughout the day to save up for that big indulgence.

The last time I was planning to order Chinese for dinner, I decided I'd document and show you everything that I ate in a day to fit the take-out into my calorie range.



Not everyone is the same. This works out for me because I did a lot of research and went through a lot of trial and error. I follow the recommendations of Sparkpeople.com and stay within a set amount of calories and macros in order to see results with my weight-loss. 

At 238 lbs and with my current goals, my nutritional ranges come out to 1,570 - 1,920 calories | 177 - 312 carbs | 35 - 75 fat | 60 - 168 protein each day. Please don't follow those nutritional ranges for yourself without inputting all of your own data into the website: www.sparkpeople.com. It's free and I'm not sponsored by them, they are just a website I've had success with and used personally for years.

Now, obviously I am not perfect or else I'd be at my goal weight by now. I go over my calories and macros more often than I'd like to admit but, whenever I'm practicing some healthy self-control, I can literally have my cake and eat it too -- as long as it's in my calories for the day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Meeting Goals with Southern Breeze Sweet Tea

Thank you, Southern Breeze Sweet Tea, for the free product in exchange for my honest review and for offering a free shipping promo code to my readers, "APRILSHIPFREE" {valid 4/1 – 4/30, for free shipping on your 1st order at www.SouthernBreezeSweetTea.com}

As you know, I made it a goal for the month of April to drink half of my body weight in ounces of water at least 5 days a week. Well, that equates to just under a gallon of water a day for me! I have hard a hard time reaching this goal but, drinking Southern Breeze Sweet Tea helps!


You might be thinking -- wait a second, how does tea count toward your water intake? Well, not all tea can. I can count Southern Breeze Sweet Tea toward some of my water intake because it's a pre-sweetened zero-calorie cold brew tea!



Not only has Southern Breeze Sweet Tea been helping me with my water intake but, having a cold glass of sweet tea at night has been helping me with my late-night sugar cravings, too. I mean, who doesn't like to end the night on a sweet note? Thanks to Southern Breeze, I can do so -- guilt free!

I have been killing my water goals lately and, I have been staying track with the rest of my goals, too. I am super pumped to check the scale come Friday! I am already feeling a difference in my clothes so, the scale is due to follow-up with some proof of progress, soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Biggest Critic vs. My Biggest Cheerleader

This past weekend, I let myself be really vulnerable for the sake of overcoming fear. I created the video below where I shared some of my worst thoughts as my own biggest critic and countered those thoughts with some positivity.


As I mentioned in the video, being vulnerable is important to me because it takes away the power that fear has over us and, fear holds us back from much more than failure ever will. 

I mean, what is failure anyway aside from a learning experience in which to grow from?

Today I challenge you to identify some of your own biggest critiques of yourself and to instead, become your own biggest cheerleader in those areas!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Giving Up or Perseverance

Happy Monday! Today, I want to talk about perseverance.

Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. It's pretty much the key to any weight-loss journey. On Friday, after another weekly weigh-in where I felt as if I am going nowhere fast, I recorded this video and there was one word that kept going through my mind afterward: perseverance.



I have been stuck for a while but, I will persevere.

This weekend, I did really well with staying on track with my goals! I went to bed at a decent time, I stayed hydrated and, I stayed within my calories.

This week, I am hoping to get to the gym a couple times and, continue my trend of staying on track with everything else! One way I plan to stay on track is by having dinner planned out for the week. If I have a meal plan, it's one less excuse to go off-track!

S - Turkey Chili
M - Chicken + Fries + Mixed Veggies
T - Taco Salad
W - Chicken + Fries + Mixed Veggies
T - Burrito Bowls
F - Air-Fried Chicken Wings + Salad

I've got a plan, now, it's time to work!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Week Two Recap - April 2018

Another week down and this one was a constant battle for my focus.

I was trying to keep my goals in the front of my mind but, there were so many other things that needed (and sometimes downright demanded) my attention this week.

Monday

Monday was about as great as it gets for being on track this week. I hit my bedtime goal of 9:30, I tracked my nutrition, I did yoga in the morning and made it to the gym. I was very close to reaching my water goal for the day, too. Monday was a good day.

Sleep: 9:30 p.m. (1/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (1/5)
Activity: Gym (1/3)
Water: 96 oz. / 120 oz. (0/5) 

Tuesday

I didn't pay much attention to my healthy living goals on Tuesday. As soon as Nick was home from work at 4 p.m., I was off to back-to-back meetings with our church. I did have a non-scale victory, fitting into some size 22 pants and wearing them out to both meetings!



For those who might have missed it, I'm volunteering as our site as an administrative assistant for our ministry leads and, I'm loving it! The meetings were bucket-fillers for sure. I just didn't put much focus on my healthy living goals that day.

Sleep: 11:30 p.m. (1/5)
Nutrition: Not fully tracked (1/5)
Activity: None
Water: 64 oz. / 120 oz. (0/5)  

Wednesday

Wednesday was "wild"! Just check out yesterday's post if you missed it: A Wild Wednesday.

Sleep: 9:30 p.m. (2/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (2/5)
Activity: None (1/3)
Water: 64 oz. / 120 oz. (0/5)

Thursday

Thursday started out as a rainy day spent at home, catching up on some much-neglected housework and, writing most of this post you're reading now. Then, we ventured out to Nana and Papa's house, where we had lunch. Piper didn't want to leave after lunch so, she stayed to play while I went out to clean out the car. The sun started to come out and it warmed up to about 60 degrees. I took a few moments outside, breathing in the fresh (warm to our region lately) air before going back to pick up Piper.

Sleep: 9:30 p.m. (3/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (3/5)
Activity: Gym (2/3)
Water: 120 oz. / 120 (1/5)

Friday

This morning, I weighed in at 238.2 lbs. It's not as big of a loss as I would hope for but, understandably so. I feel like I tried to focus on my healthy living goals but, it wasn't my main focus by any means. Some weeks, that's just okay!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Wild Wednesday

Happy Thursday!

Yesterday, I took Piper to the library for a special story time. There were some representatives from our local zoo at the library with a few of their furry friends!




Piper had so much fun petting the animals and, dancing around at the end. It was so cute to watch!



After the fun at the library, we went to Piper's pediatrician's office. I have been suspecting that Piper has a bladder infection or a UTI for a few days now and so, we went to get that checked out. It turns out, she had some blood in her urine and so, the culture was sent out and we should know more soon.

After Piper's appointment, we stopped at my chiropractor's office so I could get my back adjusted. I'm friends with my chiropractor and so, I started telling her about the blood they found in Piper's urine. She asked if she could look at Piper's back and when she did, she found her to be very out of alignment. She lifted Piper's feet and I could see they were off; one foot was like 2 inches shorter than the other. My chiropractor made a couple gentle adjustments, lifted Piper's feet again and, they were completely even! She said her L3 was out of alignment which correlates to the bladder. I love my chiropractor! Regardless of what Piper's culture results are, I have a lot of faith that the adjustment will help!

Later on that night, we went over to our pastor's house to have dinner with their family. Angi made a keto cheeseburger calzone that was out-of-this-world good and we brought some strawberry shortcake for dessert. It was so nice chatting with them over dinner. Piper loves to play with their kids, too. It was a good end to a wild Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Preschool Registration

Last week, I found myself filling out Preschool Registration paperwork for Piper to start preschool in the Fall. Can you guys believe it? I mean, I know September is far away (and I really hope it takes a long time to get here) but, I just can't believe it's time for my baby to start preschool this Fall. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sharing her one month update for you all. Now, my baby is three and will soon be a preschooler.


When I look at the picture of my almost-preschooler, I think about how Piper is still just as captivating as she was the moment I first laid my eyes on her. I still find myself stealing glimpses of her tiny features, thinking about all that we've been through in these past three years. 

My heart aches a bit to think of letting her go to preschool this Fall but, it helps to know that she is more than ready for this new transition. My independent girl (even from the start) has no problems saying goodbye to me when I drop her off at child-watch at the YMCA or, on Sunday's during church. She does just fine in those environments, away from her parents and, she loves any opportunity to play with other kids.

It has been one of the highest privileges of my life to have watched my daughter grow and share my influence on her all-day, every day from the moment she was born, up until I send her go to preschool. It's almost seems like this transition is a re-birthing period. I'm experiencing some of the same feelings I had at the end of my pregnancy with Piper. During my pregnancy, I had her all to myself and I knew that once she was born, it was time to share her with the world. Since we've been in our own little bubble these past three years, with me staying at home with her, sending her off to preschool is stirring up some of those same emotions. It's time to let her go and, experience a whole new chapter of her life. A big chapter.

If this sounds a little over-dramatic, it is and, it isn't. The past three years I've been a stay-at-home mom, all day, every day. Now, come September, Piper will be going to preschool 5 days a week in the mornings. It's going to be a big transition but, it helps my heart to know that this is a transition she's happily awaiting and ready for and, I know I'll be ready for it, too. Just not yet. I'm going to be cherishing these last few months with her before she officially becomes a preschooler.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Weekend Recap + Meal Plan

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? We had another great one, over here! It started out slow and ended slow.

Friday

Friday night was a much needed chill-night at home. We made air-fried wings, homemade pizza, watched some movies and just enjoyed a quiet night in.

Saturday

On Saturday morning, Nick and I went to a leadership training at church. We sat in on the session for "leading through insecurity". It was such a relevant training because who doesn't deal with insecurity from time to time, really?! Nick and I got so much from that meeting! We left feeling super inspired.

After the meeting, we dropped Piper off with my dad while Nick and I went grocery shopping and ran a couple errands. We grabbed a bite to eat while we were out, too. It ended up being a really nice impromptu date day, with grocery shopping included -- hah!


When we got back home, Piper took a nap to recharge for a night out with her Nina and Papa! They all went to a local Spring Get-Together party while Nick and I finally started making some new progress on the bathroom renovation upstairs.


Sunday

On Sunday morning, we made a dinor-style breakfast at home and then headed off to church as a family. Some weekends Nick goes off to church early for sound check but, he wasn't playing guitar this weekend so we all got to eat Sunday breakfast and go to church together!

After church, we went to my mom's house for lunch. When we got home, we changed into comfy clothes and hung around the house for the remainder of our Sunday. It was a nice, slow end to a great weekend!

As for the week ahead, here's what I've got planned for dinner:

Monday - Chicken + Fries + Mixed Vegetables

Tuesday - Sub Salad

Wednesday - Dinner with friends

Thursday - Chicken + Fries + Mixed Vegetables

Friday - Wings + Salad

I didn't drink enough water this weekend and, I'm really feeling dehydrated today so, my goal is to hit my water goal every day this week!

Readers, what's one healthy habit you're going to be focusing on this week?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Week One Recap - April 2018

In order to stay accountable with reaching my goals, I am sharing an overview of my progress for the first week of April!

Overall this week, I got a decent amount of sleep. I tracked my nutrition each day! I met my goal for getting to the gym 3 times this week and, while I didn't reach my water goal very often, I always got in at least 96 oz. of water each day, which is a good amount!

Piper and I really enjoyed going to the gym this week! While I work out at the YMCA, Piper plays with the kids in child watch. Since the weather is still acting like it's winter out there, it's been great for us both to get out of the house this week!


Monday

Sleep: 9:00 p.m. (1/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (1/5)
Activity: Gym (1/3)
Water: 96 oz. / 120 oz. (0/5) 

Tuesday

Sleep: 9:30 p.m. (2/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (2/5)
Activity: None
Water: 96 oz. / 120 oz. (0/5)  

Wednesday

Sleep: 12 a.m. (2/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (3/5)
Activity: Gym (2/3)
Water: 120 oz. / 120 oz. (1/5)

Wednesday was a race from start to finish! I just have to share it!

I woke up around 6 a.m., sent Nick off to work and, got a shower/ready for the day before Piper woke up at 7. We ate breakfast and were at the YMCA by 9:30 a.m. I worked out while Piper played with kids in child watch for about an hour. After that, we went to the post office and grocery store. 

In the afternoon, I made Piper some lunch, made some lasagna for my friend who recently had a baby and brownies for a get-together at Nick's mom's house later that night. I spent the rest of the afternoon responding to emails and working. 

When Nick got home, I went to the school to get Preschool Registration papers (ah!), went to the post office again and then, to drop the lasagna off to my friends. After all of that, I picked up Nick and Piper to go to Nick's mom's house for dinner. We had a delicious boiled dinner, as Nick's mom calls it. It's healthy and delicious!


Whenever we got back home, I filled out the Preschool Registration forms until too late at night and then I had some trouble falling asleep after such a busy day. All in all, despite being a busy day, I stayed pretty well on track with my goals, with only sleep suffering that day.

Thursday

Sleep: 9:30 p.m. (3/5)
Nutrition: Tracked (4/5)
Activity: Gym (3/3!!!!)
Water: 96 oz. / 120 (1/5)

Friday

This morning, I weighed in at 239.0 lbs. I am so happy to be in the 230's right now, and I'm looking forward to working my way through them during the remainder of the month!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Goals - 2018

Time has a way of sneaking up on me lately. It's already the middle of the first week of April and, I haven't even set out my goals for the month. Well, that's changing right now.

Last month was a mixture of ups and downs. I would be on track, then off, then back on track, then off again. I need to remember, I'm seeking balance in this weight-loss journey. Balance doesn't mean perfection. Balance means balance. A medium of ups and downs. There will be on track days and there will be off track days. I must persist through it all.


In March, I was trying to focus more on my habits than the weight on the scale. However, I did still keep track of my weight-loss progress each week.

3/1/18: 244.9 lbs. 
3/8/18: 241.2 lbs. 
3/15/18: 240.8 lbs. 
3/22/18: 238.6 lbs. 
3/29/18: 240.2 lbs.

In March, I would weigh in on Thursday each week. In April, I am going to do my weekly weigh-in's on Friday.

This month, I am going to focus on the same things I try to focus on every month. Sleep, nutrition, activity and water.

Sleep
My goal is to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. each work-night. I don't have to go to sleep right away but, I need to be in bed.

Nutrition
My nutrition goal is to track my calorie intake 5 days each week.

Activity
My activity goal is to hit 10,000 steps at least 3 times a week or visit the gym 3 times a week.

Water
My water goal is to reach 120 oz. of water 5 times a week.

I hope to keep myself even more accountable with some weekly check-in's this month. Setting goals is only a part of the battle. Now, it's time to work!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Easter Weekend Recap 2018

How was your Easter weekend? Ours was pretty great. 

My husband was off from work on Good Friday and, I was so glad! Not everyone considers Good Friday to be a holiday when, it really is the most important one of all. 

When I was younger, somebody told me that Easter was their favorite holiday and, I was surprised. It's not one that you hear very often, or at least I didn't hear it much. Now that I'm older and practicing my faith, it's a no-brainer. Of course Easter is my favorite holiday; without it, I would be plagued by my sin, void of mercy from our Lord. Jesus died so I could be saved. Easter is my favorite holiday, indeed. 

If you were around late last week then, you know one of my best friends just gave birth to her first baby. On Friday, I finally met him. Sweet little Leo. I'm not going to share any pictures because, they haven't publicly shared pictures themselves yet, but believe me, he is 8 lbs of perfection!

Friday

On Friday, I made some Chicken Gnocchi soup for my friends and visited with their sweet son. Spending some time with my friends who have just recently become parents was so incredibly special to me. Those first few days after having a baby include some of the most raw moments in life (at least in the amount of life I've had the privilege of experiencing so far) and I feel so blessed to have been apart of some of those moments with my dear friends.

On Friday evening, my family went to the Good Friday service at church. Piper got to play with kids in class while Nick and I sat in service. The service was very moving and I connected with it deeply. The service focused on how Jesus felt alone in those final hours leading up to his crucifixion. He felt alone in a way we never have to because of his sacrifice. It sounds so incredibly small in comparison but, in being a stay at home mom, I've experienced so many moments of isolation and moments of feeling alone. Sometimes I feel like nobody else could understand but, I was reminded at service on Friday night that Jesus also felt alone. Jesus understands it all and more. Jesus has been alone in ways I will never have to be because of his sacrifice. 

Saturday

On Saturday, I got a little time away from home, all by myself. I went to a Starbucks to write most of this post you're reading today and, the one you read yesterday, too. While I was out on my own, I made a meal plan and went grocery shopping. I've been cooped up at home a lot these past couple weeks, still waiting for the weather to break and so, I've been making an effort to take a few hours outside of the house whenever I get the chance.

Nick is so good about giving me the time I need but, it's usually me who has the trouble getting out to take it. Any other moms out there that can relate? I feel guilty for needing time alone; to write, to process, to plan, to better care for myself and my family. My being hesitant to take time for myself is an issue because, we all do so much better when I take the time to practice "self-care", if you will. I think practicing self-care as a parent is a topic that could be covered in great length in a separate post, so I'll move on. 

Sunday

On Sunday, Piper was so excited when she woke up and found that the Easter bunny had left some goodies in her baskets. My mom and little brother came over early that morning with another basket for Piper, too. She got a lot of gorilla and monkey themed gifts this year because, she's kinda obsessed. It's adorable!




That morning, my husband left home early to go to sound check at church. Nick played the electric guitar during both Easter services on Sunday morning. It was such a good service -- the music was great, the message was great. I love our church!



After service, I made macaroni and cheese for a get-together at my moms and to share with our friends who are taking care of their sweet newborn.

That afternoon, we went to the get-together and then, my mom watched Piper so Nick and I could check in on our friends again.


A lot of our traditional Easter celebrating actually took place before Easter this year! Last weekend, we hosted a family get-together at our house for dinner and to color Easter eggs.






Piper liked decorating the eggs but, not as much as she liked hoarding them after they were decorated. She like putting all of the eggs back in the carton, just to admire the way they looked all decorated together. She's so cute.


Easter weekend was great for us and, I hope it was a great one for you, too!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pintful Peanut Butter

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Ours was pretty great. I'll share more on that tomorrow with a full-weekend recap! Today, I wanted to talk about a new product I've been loving lately! Pintful Peanut Butter


Pintful is the first and only natural, vegan, high-protein peanut butter claiming to be the healthiest peanut butter and it's packing in 50% more protein than standard peanut butter!




I received a sample in the mail last week and, I'm pretty much hooked. 

I love that Pintful was created to fuel a healthier lifestyle -- allowing me to enjoy the peanut butter I know and love without having to feel guilty about sacrificing my health or diet to do so.

I've been having Pintful Peanut Butter with my snack each day and, it's been giving me life. Seriously though, it's like a tablespoon of energy!

Here's my new go-to snack, made with Pintful Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates

What you'll need: 
2 tbsp. Pintful Peanut Butter + 3 dates. 

Slice dates lengthwise, removing pit. Stuff with peanut butter and enjoy! 



Between the dates and the healthiest peanut butter in the world, this is a snack that not only satisfies my sweet tooth but, it also gives a little pep talk to my soul. I always get a burst of energy after eating this snack. It's the kind of energy that clears your head because you just fed your body something healthy and nutritious. 

Pintful, a natural, vegan, high-protein peanut butter, is seeking to raise $10,000 to set straight the current unhealthy peanut butter market. Be One of the First Tasters of the World's Healthiest Peanut Butter Starting at Only $6. I know I'll be getting myself some more Pintful, soon!

Disclaimer: I received product in return for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.