Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Accountability Challenge Wrap-Up

My second-annual August Accountability Challenge is coming to an end and it is super bittersweet for me.

Over the course of this month, I have been watching some amazing people fight for their health by working on daily and week-long challenges. I have come to respect them for their efforts and will definitely miss seeing their progress on a daily basis.

At the beginning of this Accountability Challenge, I had my group members share their goal for the month. My goal for August was to lose 5 pounds. I am so happy to share that I reached my goal. I lost 5 pounds in August!

As for my group members, they had a lot of success this month, too. Here's what some of them had to say about this challenge group:

Bethany S. - "I have noticed that I am more aware of my choices and being intentional about working out and drinking water. I would definitely do it again for the motivation and accountability." 
Laura W. - "I learned that I don't have to track my food everyday (which always seems so insurmountable) but just doing it 2-3 days a week was enough to make me more aware and conscious on the other days." 
Monica M. - "I have noticed that I'm much more likely to reach my daily goals when they are pre-planned. I'm much more conscious of what I eat especially when I am keeping track of portions, calories, etc. I would definitely participate in future challenges and I'd like to reach out to friends of mine as well to join us all in reaching our goals!" 
Karen B. - "I learned I don't drink enough water and there is really no reason for it... Its just a mental battle with myself to drink it..." 
Stephanie H. - "... I am horrible at tracking food. But I love to run/workout. I feel stronger and happier ... I would join another group!" 
MaryJane L. - " I learned that if I put my mind to it I can do this. I am worth it! I would definitely join again." 
Melissa T. - "I have been getting back into my workout routine and I feel better and sleep better. I would definitely join again."
Heather M. - "Groups like this are great motivation and a great tool to help encourage healthy daily choices, from workouts to water goals, food tracking, to just setting a simple goal for the day. Positive reinforcement that even if you didn't accomplish your goal for today that you get a fresh start tomorrow. A great way to keep you accountable for your choices and goals!"
This challenge reinforced for me that success is truly had by daily choices and that every day counts, either toward or against my goals! 

While I won't be hosting an accountability group in September, I sure am going to miss checking in with my group on the daily. I do plan on hosting another accountability challenge eventually. It's a lot of work but, the reward is so great... for us all!


Thanks again to everyone who participated and, if you're interested in joining us next time, send me a message or comment below. The more the merrier!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Few Things About My Week Ahead

Happy Monday! Here's a few things about my week ahead:

#1. I have a new YouTube video up! On Friday I filmed my weigh-in results for Week #10 of my 30 by 30 challenge video series. Here's what's new:

#2. I don't have much planned this week! My Etsy shop remains closed so, I don't have anything new to create, which frees up a lot of my time. While I can always find business paperwork to keep me busy, I am going to try to just enjoy the white space on my calendar this week, instead! No real plans this week, just going with the flow and looking forward to where that takes us!

#3. Since it's the end of August, I'm starting to think about my September goals. One goal that I know I'll be working on is bringing back daily blogging (Monday - Friday). Hip hip hooray!

#4. I ate waaaaay too much this weekend. I had a date night on Friday with my husband and had family eat-out nights on both Saturday and Sunday. With Fall approaching us next month, we have been trying to eat at all of the places that close up along with summer. With an extra full belly, I can say "mission accomplished" this weekend.

#5. I am wrapping up my August Accountability Challenge this week. A blog post to follow about that, soon!

#6. I am kicking it in high gear today and the days following to try and get rid of this water weight I'm hanging on to after my weekend of eating out every single day. I have been doing great with my Friday weigh-in's lately (as you can tell if you watched the video above) and I don't want this weekend to be any different. I am motivated to work hard this week for a good result on Friday!

Readers, what's something you'd like to share about this week ahead?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Milestone: 25 Pounds in 2017

You guys.

I can't believe it.

I hit another milestone worth noting for the year of 2017.

I have lost a total of 25 pounds in 2017 and, 2017 isn't over yet!

This milestone really got me thinking. I believe this is the most I've lost in a year since starting my blog in 2011. So, I looked back and here's what I found:

2011 ~ 23 pounds lost
2012 ~ 5 pounds lost
2013 ~ 5 pounds lost
2014 ~ 38 lbs gained {during pregnancy with Piper}
2015 ~ 21 lbs. lost
2016 ~ 5 pounds gained
2017 ~ 25 pounds lost + counting!

2017 is my year. I am not stopping now. I am going to end this year with at least 25 pounds lost which is the most I have lost in a year during the entire history of this blog. I know that I may not be updating my blog as much as I once did but this, this is something worth noting.

Even though I haven't been blogging very much {which should change as Summer fades into Fall} I hope you know I want to be here, sharing everything with you. Not only just for you even, I want to look back and see what I did to lose this weight. To be able to read about what I did to make it work this time. I think part of the answer really lies in the absence of my blogging. I have learned that balance comes at various costs. That in order to keep a balance, sometimes blogging is the "ball" that needs to drop so that I can still "get it all" done.

Despite not knowing when I will be posting regularly again {Monday thru Friday}, I do know that I will be continuing to work on losing more weight. I will be enjoying my life with my family. I will be posting weekly weigh-in videos on YouTube. I will be updating my Instagram account and, I will be posting more blog posts again soon.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and for checking in!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your Mind Makes You Lose Weight

Yesterday I shared a blog post about how visualizing my success has been increasing my success in weight loss this year. As I was writing it, I knew the topic felt familiar. Sure enough, I found a similar blog post that I had written just 6 months ago on this topic, here: Visualize Success to be Successful.

Visualizing my success is obviously a really good tactic for me! Just 6 months ago, I was visualizing myself at my current weight {really, I was, read here: Visualize Success to be Successful} -- now, I'm at that weight I envisioned! I'm at the weight I was visualizing 6 months ago {231 lbs. to be exact} and it feels just as good as I thought it would. All of the effort paid off and it was worth it.

Now, as you read in my post yesterday, I have been visualizing myself at my next short-term goal weight, 210 pounds {as part of my 30 by 30 challenge}. I have just under 6 months to get to this next goal and I am certain that if I keep using the tool of visualization, I will get there. I can see it!

Everyone, including myself, likes to talk about the food that helps us to lose weight, or the exercise. But, at the end of the day, it's my mind makes me lose the weight. If I fill my mind with positive thoughts and images, I'll get there. 

If I'm envisioning myself at a lower weight, day after day, my mind will find the ways to make it happen. I'll choose healthier decisions more often than not. I'll "be in the right mind-frame" to succeed. So much of this journey has to do with my mind; it's honestly the most important part of my body to keep healthy.

Readers, how are you taking care of your mind today? I am going to look through my Healthy Living Motivation board on Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Visualizing Success Increasing Success

Visualizing my success has been such a crucial part of my success in losing weight in 2017. 

It's one thing to say, "I want to lose 30 pounds before I turn 30" and it's another to really visualize myself at that lower weight. In my mind, I allowed myself a few moments to really see that number on the scale, and feel the excitement of reaching my goal. I even captured the moment when I visualized my success on video!

I love looking back on the moment when I realized I was going to really do it this time. I knew I was going to see that number on the scale and feel the difference in my body because, I allowed myself to believe that I could do it. Again, I didn't just hope I would reach my goal, I really believed it because I could see it. Now, while I am only 1/3 of my way to that "30 by 30" goal, I know even more that I will get there.

You hear it all the time -- "just lose the weight, it's worth it, I promise". But, it's true. Don't believe me either? Well, then trust yourself. Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize yourself at your goal weight. Picture yourself stepping on to the scale and seeing that number come up. Feel the burst of excitement in your belly and the smile that instantly appears on your face. Tell yourself, "I did it!" 

Did you see it? Did you feel it?

Now, tell yourself, "I am going to do it!"

I am telling you that you can do it!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

That Time When I Went Missing

Hey! I went missing there for about a week. I don't usually post on the weekends but, since I haven't posted anything in well over a week, I figured sooner would be better than later to give you all a quick update.

# 1 - I am still alive & well. But, if you follow my Instagram account or my YouTube Channel, then I bet you already knew that fact.

# 2 - I am still losing weight! Yeah, I am shocked too. My August Accountability Challenge Group is really helping me stay accountable to reaching my goals.

# 3 - I am enjoying summer with my family. We have been taking a lot of little adventures together as a family lately and, it's been the perfect way to round out the end of summer. Not like summer is ever going to come to an end, right? RIGHT?!

So yeah, that's where I'm at right now and I hope you'll be hearing more from me soon! Of course, if you're in my August Accountability Challenge Group, you'll be hearing from me bright and early every day this week and throughout the remainder of the month.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

We Don't Grow When Things Are Easy

This one is for the 29 members in my August Accountability Challenge Group.

You guys. We aren't even done with week one of the August Accountability Challenge Group yet and, I already can't wait to tell you how proud I am of all of the people in this group. In this first week we have had people admit some "failures", pick each other up, shout out their success, cheer each other on, share helpful tips and so much more! My heart is so humbled by every single one of these group members.

While every single person in my group inspires me to do better every day, I want to talk about a few select today. I want to talk about the ones who don't give up after falling down.

How easy would it be to just stay silent and not admit when you fall? I've been there, I know it's a lot easier to just stay quiet when you get tripped up, without letting anyone know that you stumbled down. But guess what, the easy stuff doesn't change you.


Admitting a trip up isn't easy but, it will make you grow. To people of my group who haven't nailed every single challenge -- thank you for this reminder. Thank you for showing me your courage to continue on despite not being perfect because, as well all should know, it's not about perfection; it's about progress.


As for the people who have completed every single challenge thus far, you guys are rock stars, too! Just remember this post, should you have a trip up in the coming weeks. The goal is to make some progress and honestly, the fact that you've committed to being in this challenge group with me {in the prime-time of summer} is some major progress in itself. 

Group: your dedication is inspiring and I am so happy to be working alongside you all this month! Keep up the great work, everyone!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Treating Myself Within My Calorie Range

Hot summer days and ice cream just go together. Am I right? I have wanted to end the day with an ice cream treat almost every day so far this week and so, I have. I made sure to save enough room in my calorie-range so I could fit it in each day. 

If I learned anything from my binge last week it was to not deprive myself of something I want. I just need to make room for it. So, if that means having smaller meals throughout the day or even making the treat smaller itself so I can indulge a bit, then so be it!

So much of my success in this weight-loss journey has to do with self-discovery. While I blog about what I'm doing to lose weight, that doesn't mean that what I do will work for you. I am just sharing what works for me, mostly so I can look back on my journey and re-evaluate as needed.

I know from experience that deprivation doesn't work for me. I can't restrict myself from eating certain foods. My favorite way to be healthy and lose weight is to have a little bit of everything in moderation.

Here's an example of what an average day of food looks like for me:

That is an example from July 14, 2017. For breakfast, I had a smoothie. I had a tortilla wrap for lunch. I had a tomato and mozzarella flatbread pizza for dinner. I see in the snack category that I must have finished Piper's Wendy's leftovers {mom-perk} and I also treated myself to some Reeses Pieces.

At the time, my calorie range was somewhere between 1,610 - 1,960 and so, as you see in the example, I made sure it everything I ate that day fit within that range and I got some treats in there for myself, too.

As I lose more weight, my calorie range will change. One way of knowing that it's time to switch up my calorie range is if I'm doing everything right {staying within calories} and I still end up having trouble losing any significant amount of weight.

Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I do stay around the same weight for a couple weeks but, that's usually because I have a few days of going over my calorie range. It's when I'm sticking all within my calorie ranges and I'm still having trouble losing weight, that is when it's time to re-evaluate the calorie range.

Since I have lost 20 pounds this year, I re-entered my stats into and found that my new calorie range should be 1,560 - 1,910. As of today, that's the new calorie range I am aiming for each day.

If I ever have trouble staying within my new calorie range {which I shouldn't since it's not much of a difference, yet}, I'll adjust and try to ease into it better. It's all about trial and error and finding what works best for you!

The plan can only work as long as I'm working it -- and I'm working it this week, for sure!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Full Summer Weekend of Fun

Sometimes it's the ordinary days that bring me so much joy.

Yesterday was the first day that I got to take full advantage of being on "summer break" from my Etsy shop. The weather was perfect yesterday morning and so Piper and I went down to the park. We spent a lot of time swinging on the swings and just playing around. We were the only ones at the park on this Monday morning, which was really nice.

After playing at the park, we went down to the creek to throw rocks. After a while, Piper found some mud to get her hands into and, I let her. She was so excited and started throwing the mud into the water along with some rocks. Piper loves to throw rocks into the water. She could do it for hours if I let her, and actually, I did let her go at it for about an hour until it was lunch time.

After Piper ate lunch, I read her some books and put her down for a nap. Instead of working during her nap, like I've been doing all summer, I actually had two hours to myself. I decided to use those hours to clean the house because, well, we had a really busy weekend and not much got done around the house. I know, I know, that doesn't sound like the most exciting thing to do during my two hours of freedom but, a clean house makes me feel good. When I feel good, I make good, healthy choices. So cleaning my house helps me to lose weight. It's a science.

This weekend was busy and full of summer fun -- with a little bit of Christmas thrown in there. 

On Friday, my mom hosted a "Christmas in July" party, where we dressed up and watched the movie "Elf" outside, with her projector. We've love watching movies under the stars at my moms house this summer. That night was especially fun!

On Saturday, Nick and I had a little date night. We took a long drive on some back roads and found a trail down at Pymatuning State Park. We held hands and went for a walk along the water. It was so peaceful. We also stopped to see all of the fish while we were there, since that is the main attraction of the park. It was fun to do something so different!

After our walk by the water, we went out to eat at a new restaurant in the small town of Linesville. We were the only ones in the restaurant, which I was surprised because it was such a little cute place. 

We both shared an order of mozzarella sticks and each got a personal pizza. I had a BLT pizza and he ordered the BBQ Chicken. Both were amazing! It was a great way to end the date night!

On Sunday, Nick played electric guitar with the worship team in church. He did a great job and I was so proud of him. 

His dedication to our church, his work and our family amazes me. We don't always make it easy on him and yet, he juggles everything that comes his way with such grace, patience and understanding. I love that man so much!

Sunday evening was a really fun night for our family. We attended our church picnic at a local camp ground.

Everyone brought a dish to share and boy did we enjoy ourselves! The food was great and so were all of the family activities at the camp ground!

There was a big pool open for us to swim in and a splash pad for the little kids. We made some great memories this weekend.

 I love summer so much, this one in particular being my favorite one so far!

I'd be happy if time would freeze right now.