Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday - I'm Baaack!

I'm baaack! Ha! If you've spent any amount of time here on my blog you probably remember that I used to host this link-up every week with my girl Alex. That girl is too busy these days being a complete CrossFit rockstar and raising her sweet little girl and blogging right now just isn't her thing. And then I just wasn't in the best spot with my whole weight loss journey so I handed the link-up off to Heather and Ash. They've been owning it and doing such a great job... and I'm so thankful that they let me back in on being a part of Weigh-In Wednesday every week again. So if you're on a health journey of any sorts and you blog, please come link-up with us! You can link-up each week or just every now and then... it doesn't matter, we just want to give you support on your journey!

Last week I kind of swore off stepping on the scale so I don't have an actual number for you today, but now that I'm part of the link-up again I will be sharing my loss or gain with you on Wednesdays starting next week.

Today I want to talk about drinking your calories and how it can affect your healthy living. For me, drinking my calories is quite often more of a struggle than the actual food I eat. My old habits go like this... stop and grab a coffee on my way to work, sip on that coffee all morning long, have a Diet Coke with my lunch, and then I'd sip on that all afternoon long. By the time I'd leave work at 5pm, a good 11 hours into my day, I'd have drank zero water. Zero.

We all know that water is the best option to keep our bodies healthy, and for me it's absolutely a key piece to losing weight. But just how bad were the coffee and Diet Coke for me? Well, I'm no nutrition expert but I'm smart enough to know how they were affecting my body.

My two problems with coffee are that I'd have it with cream and sugar, and let's be honest, even though coffee isn't big on calories, no one's going to lose much weight adding that extra junk to their morning Joe every day of the week. I also don't drink my coffee very fast so I'd sip and reheat that bad boy all morning long meaning that I wasn't taking the time to drink any water. For me, that's just the way it goes.
Diet Coke is a different story. When I joined Weight Watchers a while back I remember being relieved that Diet Coke had "0 points." Diet Coke was my vice, my favorite little addiction. And the fact that it wasn't making me gain weight? Well, that was a total score! But the more I paid attention to my body, the more I realized the DC wasn't doing me any favors. I'm not much of a sweets person at all (give me all the salts!) so I didn't know why every afternoon after I'd take my first few sips of DC that I'd run to the store and get some candy. It's true folks, artificial sweeteners in things like Diet Coke make you crave more sugar. And you don't need to read the 8894516 articles to prove it. Listen to your body, that's your best resource. Aside from the sugar cravings, DC was making me so bloated and I didn't even realize it. It wasn't until after I started drinking a lot of water every day that I noticed a difference. About 10 days after making the switch, I couldn't believe the changes I felt in my body. 

Add in the numerous and immeasurable benefits of drinking water and I'm here to tell you, from my own personal experience, that there's no way you're going to achieve your fitness goals if you're drinking so many calories each day. And just because your diet soda doesn't have any calories, you're still doing your body plenty of harm by drinking it. You're not fooling anyone by drinking "diet" soda, except for maybe yourself.

As my girl Jennie Finch says, embrace, love and respect your body, it's the most important thing you will ever own.

So tell me, are you having trouble drinking your calories? Is soda still an everyday part of your life even though you're trying to get healthy? I know it's a struggle for SO many people and I'm certainly not judging you. I just want to help you put down the crap and pick up the water, 8 oz. at a time.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some of My Blogging Favorites...

I'm always searching for new blogs to read and I love it when I find bloggers who I just 'click' with. Those are the blogs that I read faithfully day in and day out, every time they have a new post. There are definitely 'blog circles' and I feel like most of my readers probably already read a lot of these other blogs, but just in case you don't I wanted to post a few of my daily must-reads. If you're not following these ladies (and a gentleman!), you totally should be...
Mix & Match Mama - Shay is my favorite blogging example of having it all together. I'm sure in reality that's probably not how she feels, but it's certainly the way she presents herself. Shay has her family, faith, work, fashion, different blogs, her new house that they're in the process building, fitness, and she manages to balance it all so perfectly. BLOG.
Venus Trapped In Mars - I love Sarah's blog despite the fact that she's a Vols fan!;) #godores #anchordown Seriously though, besides her love of sports, Sarah is really creative and helpful on her blog. Reading her posts, you're always going to find something either funny or helpful so you can't go wrong. Plus, Sarah's a great example of an independent woman and I just love that! BLOG.
Where We Can Live Like Jack & Sally - Everybody knows Holly, she's pretty much internet famous. She's also one of the funniest people and has me laughing every single day. Her writing has a way of making you feel like you've known her forever and she doesn't sugar coat anything. She's real and sometimes in this blog world, that's a tough quality to find. BLOG.
From Here to Eternity - I found Courtney's blog about a year and a half ago, just before she had her adorable daughter, Mia. She blogs about all things Mia on a daily basis and posts the cutest Instagram pics of her little girl! BLOG
Four Fit Sisters - These ladies are pretty freakin' awesome, there's no other way to put it. They keep it real on their blog when talking about all things health and fitness and are so helpful and motivating. Definitely a daily must read, especially for anyone that's interested in making a healthier lifestyle. BLOG
Homemade Happenings - A fellow Erin and fellow Mom, this girl and I just clicked a while back when we started reading each others blogs. I love to follow along with her daily life of being a wife and mom to three handsome boys! Also, she'll be rolling out a new blog re-design soon and I can't wait to see it! BLOG.
Helene in Between - Helene comes across as such a fun person. She loves to travel and is so passionate about music so those two things right away make her a favorite of mine. Also? Simply put, she's very kind... a quality that's often lost these days. BLOG
Life According to Steph - I like to think I'm fairly organized but Steph takes it to a whole new level... she's an organizational pro! Between her organization tips, her recipes, travels, and plenty of fun pics that she posts, she is a definite must-read. BLOG.  
Living in Yellow - Another Erin, this girl runs her blog like we all wish we could! She's taken her passion for blogging and has been able to turn it into her business and job. You can count on Erin to post every day of the week and it's always something useful or fun! BLOG.

Adventures of the Roberts - I "met" Cari a few years back through our mutual love of country music, before she was blogging and while I had taken a long hiatus from my blog. Now that we're both blogging regularly, I love to keep up with her life and her adorable daughter daily! BLOG.

Love, Fun, & Football - Yet another Erin (I'm sensing a theme here!) that I've been following for quite some time. I think I originally found her blog through Cari and I'm so glad I did! She's funny, loves sports, and gives great advice and motivation on saving money / getting out of debt. She's one of my absolute favorites! BLOG.

Mama Chrissy's Chaos - Chrissy is another one of my favorite ladies who I just clicked with right away when I started reading her blog. If I remember correctly, I think I started following Chrissy back when I'd host the Weigh-In Wednesday link-up each week. It was nice to follow along her weight loss journey and even more fun to keep tabs on her growing family. BLOG.

Skinny Meg - This is such a fun blog to read. Not only is Meg super motivating in her fitness routine and past weight loss, she has the most adorable family! She also comes across as just plain fun... her clothes, her house, her daughter's personality... you can just tell that they live a very 'fun' life and there's obviously nothing better than that! BLOG.
Table for Three - This blog should probably be renamed Table for Four with their recent new addition but either way, it's one of my favorites. Megan blogs about her family life which includes her two adorable daughters, Olivia and Ava. BLOG.
Travel Babbles - Kym is another "real" blogger... when she writes, she's honest and that's something so refreshing to read! Her blog is funny, motivating for life in general, and a definite must-read if you're looking to get past the "fluff" of a lot of other blogs. Kym doesn't post any of the fluff, just real life, and that's makes her one of my favorites! BLOG.
the life of jake - I found Jake's blog through Holly since they always host fun link-ups together. Jake is super funny, stylish, and he has the best opinions on things! He also just bought a new house and has shared the fun (and not so fun!) process of becoming a homeowner. BLOG.

So now it's your turn... tell me some of your favorite blogs, including your own, so that I can add them to my list of daily must-reads!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Birthday Weekend Recap

Happy Monday, friends! This weekend wasn't anything too spectacular or out of the ordinary but what's a Monday morning afternoon blog post without a weekend recap, right?!

Friday night we busted out the cheer bow one last time this season for Emily's end of the season cheer banquet. Dinner, desert, slide show of the season, team gifts, and lots of 2nd - 8th grade girls... so obviously that means there was a lot of laughing and a lot of noise! Such sweet sounds though, everyone seemed to have a great time. And those 8th grade girls, who will be leaving the program next year to cheer in high school, had the entire room in tears with their speeches. I'm not just talking about 'awww, that was sweet!'... I'm talking big, crocodile tears from parents and coaches alike! So sweet, and so brave of those girls to get up and give speeches in front of such a big crowd. I was very proud of them!
Emily and her coaches
Saturday was my birthday... thirty-freakin-five. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we headed down to the beach. The busy season down at the beach doesn't start until Memorial Day but a lot of the food stands are open and there were plenty of locals there soaking up the sun and yearning for summer. 
And since calories don't count on your birthday, I enjoyed pizza and fries for lunch...
So good! We also went and grabbed ice cream since it was opening weekend at the corner shop! Probably a few too many calories but oh well, I enjoyed them! I also went shopping with my mom and picked up a couple new outfits for the summer.

Sunday I was hoping for a repeat of Saturday's weather to watch Ryan's double-header but no such luck. It rained all morning and the fields were a mess so they had to cancel the games. Two weekends in a row, four games postponed... such is baseball life in spring in New England. Next weekend we are in Mass. for his games... let's hope for better weather! While the rain fell outside, we played games and had a relaxing morning at home before heading to lunch and frozen yogurt with friends. And wouldn't you know, the sun even came out during the afternoon... of course!

Now it's Monday and I've hopped right back on the healthy train... days like Saturday are absolutely necessary every now and then but they can definitely throw you off track. Oh, and I was filling out some paperwork this morning and under age I had to check the '35 - 39' instead of the '29 - 34' box, so there's that. #oldpartyofone

Hope you all had a great weekend!


Friday, April 11, 2014

35 While 35

Today is it folks, my last day of being 34... gulp. The milestone is tough to swallow... I feel like 35 is old so it's bothering me a bit. But instead of focusing on the fact that I'm fucking old turning another year older tomorrow, I'm shifting my focus to 35 things I want to accomplish in my 35th year...

1. Develop a better skin care routine
2. Move
3. Go to the dentist instead of chickening out and canceling my appointments like I've done for the last couple of years
4. Spend less on the frivolous things
5. Save more for the important things
6. Take a full beach day with my kids
7. Get in the habit of stepping away from my computer and cell phone in the evenings
8. Fall in love
9. Fix my car
10. Buy a new fancy camera
11. See Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars in concert
12. Travel to 1 MLB stadium other than Fenway Park
13. Get closer to Jesus
14. Buy new furniture
15. Purge my house
16. Get a new job
17. Go to a non-baseball professional sporting event
18. Take more pictures of myself
19. Go boating
20. Finally become a Nellie girl
21. Spend more time with friends
22. Make new friends
23. Re-connect with two male friends that I've lost touch with
24. Focus on myself... something I haven't done in a long time
25. Revamp my wardrobe
26. Get a tan
27. Get up earlier and develop a stress-free, put together morning routine
28. Find the perfect foundation
29. Buy an MK Watch
30. Buy or receive a piece of Tiffany jewelry
31. Have a stress-free Christmas season
32. Get 100% out of debt
33. Get 1 month ahead of bills
34. Find the perfect fitting pair of high-end jeans
35. Meet Jason Aldean

That's a pretty busy list but it feels good to have goals and put some attention back on myself... I'm excited to get started!

My fellow April babies, what are your goals for the year ahead?


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday

Good Wednesday morning everyone... halfway to the weekend, I can dig it!
Pretty Strong Medicine
Today I'm linking up with Heather and Ash for Weigh-In Wednesday, although we won't be doing any actual "weighing in" around here. I've pretty much been ignoring the scale lately because in reality, the scale doesn't much matter. What matters is how my clothes fit and how I'm making changes (or not) in my body. What matters is whether or not I'm being healthy, and the scale doesn't really tell me that. So yes, I do weigh myself a couple times a week but I really don't put very much trust or truth into what it tells me.

If you've been reading this blog for a while then you know I've had more ups and downs than a roller coaster with this whole weight loss journey. I've been highly motivated and exercising like crazy, and I've been not motivated at all and eating all the bad things, and basically through all the highs and lows in between the two. So where am I at right now? Definitely in an upswing and just trying to make it last.

I track my food religiously with MyFitnessPal and stick right around 1,400 calories a day. MFP has met set at 1,240 calories and while I know that's way too low, I do try to stay close to that because for right now, it's working. Is that a healthy, long term process? Probably not. But it works for now. That being said, I don't stress or beat myself up over it if I go over the 1,240 mark and most days I end up some where between 1,300 - 1,400.

I've also been walking each day and while I know that's not hard core exercise, it's a start for me and it's helpful. I have an hour long lunch break at work, which I typically don't even take. We all eat lunch sitting at our desks while getting work done but I've decided to take half of that each day to walk. Right now that 30 minutes gets me about 1.5 - 1.75 miles and it feels good. It feels nice to know that I'm moving my body and it feels nice to have the fresh air and time to be alone with my thoughts. Another bonus? It helps my anxiety. It sure enough hasn't cured it by any means but it certainly does help. So those 5 days a week when I'm at work, I take that walk. It doesn't take any extra time out of my day and I love that when I get home in the evening, I don't have to take any extra time to workout. Should I step those walks up into a more meaningful workout? Sure, eventually. But I'm not trying to change all of myself in one day... I'm trying to make meaningful changes that will develop into a habit. So far, so good.

I had someone ask me to blog about what I eat and there's really no big tricks to that. I eat simple, mostly because I need easy. I do try to eat mostly clean(ish) because I believe in it, but I'm not even close to being 100% strict with it either. Right now I'm somewhere in the middle. This week for breakfast I've been eating granola every day and then will snack mid-morning on some fruit, usually an orange or banana. Lunch lately has been soup, lots and lots of soup. Perhaps not the best solution for clean eating and sodium intake but right now it's easy and helps me stay on track. I have a few Saltine crackers in my soup each day, too. I snack again in the afternoon, usually on veggie sticks with hummus or a granola bar, or sometimes both. Dinner is usually a lean protein (red meat only once every couple of weeks) with lots of veggies... I eat a lot of chicken (almost daily) with salads or roasted veggies. I load up on the veggies and eat way more than "1 serving," but at least I'm filling up on veggies instead of something unhealthy. After dinner seems to be the toughest time of day for me as that's when I just want to snack on everything. Lately I've been curbing that habit by "treating" myself to some peppermint tea and popcorn a couple hours after dinner. It really, really helps to have that treat and I can (usually!) resist snacking once I've had that. Oh, and water... water is such a huge key to being healthy and right now I'm getting in about 80 oz. per day.
 If I've forgotten to pack a lunch for work, I'll go to the grocery store and hit up the salad bar instead of running through a fast food drive-thru
 A few ounces of a boneless pork chop with lots of roasted brocoli and onions (and yes, I use paper plates!)
 Simple salad with steak
Lettuce wrap tacos
What are some of your favorite staples in your diet right now? I definitely need to shake things up a bit with my meals so I'd love to hear your suggestions. Are you staying on track or have you strayed from your goals? Wherever you are on your journey, I can say that I've been there... more times than I care to count. If you're doing great, congratulations... if you're not, just get back on track! Fall down seven hundred (in my case) times, get up eight! :)

Happy hump day, y'all!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Recipe - Pancake Muffins

Yeah, you read that right: Pancake Muffins. This recipe 100% comes from Steph and she should get all the credit but after making them this weekend, they were just too good not to share here on my blog. 

Emily loves all things pancakes so as soon as I saw these I knew I'd have to give them a whirl. Steph made them smaller, "pancake bites," and I just used the same recipe and made them bigger, into muffins. You can use whatever topping(s) you'd like but I used bacon... because, hello, bacon.

What You'll Need:
Pancake Mix (whatever you normally use - store bought or homemade)
Maple Syrup
Cinnamon Sugar mix
Desired Toppings (cooked breakfast meat, fruit, etc.)

Mix pancake batter as usual / directed, add 1-2 tbsp Maple Syrup, 1 tbsp Vanilla, and plenty of cinnamon sugar to taste. Top with crumbled bacon, sausage, fruit, etc. Bake in muffin tins at 350° for 8-12 minutes until done. Eat, enjoy, and go thank Steph for your new favorite breakfast treat!

Side note - I made these on Saturday and we devoured them. We loved them so much that I made them again for breakfast on Sunday!
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