Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday - Meet (Co-Host) Ashlee

Since I'm on vacation this week and not weighing in or posting for Weigh-In Wednesday, I wanted to introduce you to one of my co-hosts for the weekly link-up in case you're not already familiar with her. Ashlee is so inspiring in her journeys so be sure to give her a follow! I'll be back next week to weigh-in so let's all keep our fingers crossed that I'm able to stay on track over vacation!
Erin did a guest post for me a couple weeks ago so I am here while Erin is on vacation! My name is Ashlee from Ash's Right Direction. I started my blog in July 2011 (Whoa! Three years ago) a couple months after my wedding, around the time I got my wedding photos back and I was shocked! I could not believe I had gotten to the size I was. I had a bad doctor's appointment which involved me being put on blood pressure medication and I didn't like that! I decided it was time for a change. I joined Weight Watchers and went to meetings. I lost 35 lbs before getting pregnant in November that year. I had an amazing little boy in July 2012, I was active at the 6 week mark, but it took me until February 2013 to finally get my head back in the game! I started counting calories with My Fitness Pal and never looked back.  I am now almost 20 lbs lighter than I was pre-pregnancy and I have another 20 lbs I want to lose. I blog about my hectic life as a working mom, wife, and a girl trying to get off the extra pounds. We live an active lifestyle now that I love. We all have that tuning point, we just have to embrace it and use it to catapult us to our goals.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Get to Know Erin (and Sallie & Perkins!)

Today one of my very favorite bloggers is here to not only introduce herself, but also to introduce her 'friends' Sallie and Perkins. Erin and her husband, Jared, are super fun people and they're also very inspiring! Erin and Jared Sallie and Perkins have opened up about their debt (something we all deal with on some level) and have shown how they've tackled it over the last year. (Hint: they've been super successful!) Read below to meet Erin, Jared, Sallie, and Perkins and make sure to visit Erin's blog here.
Hey everyone! It's Erin, but not the Erin you're used to. I blog over at Love, Fun & Football and I'm honored to be posting on She's a Big Star today! We have been bloggy friends for years now, I'm pretty sure. I've actually lost track of how long because I just feel like we're "real life" friends at this point. One day (fingers crossed!) we'll actually get together and chat over Mexican food. 

If you come over to my blog you'll meet me, and my husband Jared of course. That's us!
We love all things Disney, by the way. Just another reason us "Erins" get along so well. :) 
But you'll also meet a couple of non-Disney characters on my blog. They go by the names of Sallie (Mae) and Perkins.
You see, we started our marriage a few years ago with around $50,000 of student loan debt. Ouch. What's mine is yours, huh!? The first year or so of our marriage we didn't pay much attention to them. We paid the minimums each month and just figured they'd get paid off one day. One VERY distant day in the future.

Until we woke up and realized that wasn't the way we wanted to live our lives. I didn't want to be paying for an education 10 or 15 years down the road. And I certainly didn't want to pay all that extra interest if we kept up with only the minimum. So we made a plan, and we put it all out there on the blog. The first steps were easy- getting rid of cable, reducing cell-phone plans and cutting out any type of 'extra' subscription that we didn't need. We are firm believers in Dave Ramsey and started following his baby steps to get going in the right direction.
What we were able to do in just a year's time blew OUR minds. We paid off a LOT of debt that a year earlier would have scared us to death. It was hard, don't get me wrong. There were many days I wanted to just say screw the whole budget thing... let's have fun! Let's spend money! And truth be told, sometimes we did. We even budgeted for some vacations for our own sanity.
But we always, always, always got back on track. Living with financial freedom is something we are so excited about and are only months away from. You bet there's gonna be a party to celebrate when that day gets here!

You can read ALL about our debt shenanigans here, and I promise, there are some pretty fantastic embarrassing photos of us along the way. I love to encourage others to dig out of that messy hole of debt and get on with their lives as they COULD be. And don't worry, I talk about a few other things too so even if you aren't in debt- I'd love for you to stop by and say HI!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday - Calories vs. Nutrition

First things first, let's talk about the actual 'weigh-in' portion of 'Weigh-In Wednesday'. For the longest time I wasn't even bothering with the scale but I quickly learned that if I'm going to stay on track, I need to weigh-in at least every week. This week's results:

Weight loss this week: -2.6 lbs.
Weight loss overall:  -8.8 lbs.

It's a start and it's progress. I know this is a frustrating and long journey that will take time but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't feel like this will take forever.  Week after week, I'll just keep going and I know over time it will all add up. This week I'm happy with the loss. I was very successful in my eating, tracking, and drinking water, which were my goals to get me back on track. The only real slip-up I had this week was on Friday as I was traveling home from picking up Ryan in Pennsylvania. For my drive out there on Thursday night I had packed all my snacks and even my dinner but I wasn't able to do that for Friday's meals. So those meals were eaten at the drive-thru but they were much less harmful than what I would have eaten a few short weeks ago. So even though it was a slip-up, it was pretty unavoidable and didn't really feel like a failure at all since it was progress.

Speaking of food, today I wanted to show you examples of what I ate this past week and what counting calories looks like for me. I do count my calories since it's a pretty easy way to keep myself on track but I also think that counting my calories is just scratching the surface. Right now I'm sticking to a 1,550 calorie diet and will see how that works for me... and the most important part to me is making sure those 1,550 nourish my body. I think too many people just concentrate on the number of calories instead of the actual nutrition they're getting from those calories. For example, there are days when I eat a Lean Cuisine for lunch for around 350 calories. I know they're not the best but they'll do in a pinch and are a heck of a lot better than the drive-thru. But they're pretty small, leave me hungry all afternoon, and really have no nutritional value. Instead, for 366 calories, I had this one day for lunch last week...
Tuna fish, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and cucumbers mixed with a little Light Miracle Whip. This was packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and had at least 2 of my daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Not only was it delicious but it kept me full all afternoon. I still had my afternoon snack because I believe in feeding my body every couple of hours but could have easily gone without it simply based on hunger.
How about a snack? To get me through that 3pm lull in my day when dinner seems so far away I could grab a 100-calorie snack pack of whatever crackers / chips I want. It would taste pretty decent but it wouldn't come close to filling me up and by 4pm I'm sure I'd be looking for another snack. Instead I reach for watermelon... it's summer right now so there's no better snack than watermelon! I can have a whole big bowl full of watermelon that's packed with nutrients (seriously, Google it... watermelon is so good for you!) for less than the amount of calories in a tiny bag of those snack packs. I know which one will fill me up and get me through the afternoon and it's certainly not the 100-calorie pack of crackers!
And this right here is one of the best dinners I've ever made. The chicken and rice were good but those green beans and tomatoes were absolutely the star of the show! I'm telling you, they were hands down one of the best things I've ever eaten! This meal came out to 540 calories and at first glance that may look high if you're counting your calories. But those calories were well within my daily limit and they were full of things my body needs. And I could have cut down on the number of calories by not using a butter sauce for my veggies... yes, I said a butter sauce... but butter is good for you and has things that your body needs. Would I cook my veggies in a butter sauce every day? Of course not. But once in a while is certainly not going to hurt your weight loss and it will actually benefit your body in other areas. If I was focusing strictly on the number of calories that butter would have scared me away... but I know better to look beyond just the number of calories.

Next time you go to reach for a low calorie snack or meal, ask yourself if you're actually nourishing your body. If the answer is no, you can (and should!) easily replace it with something that will! 

How do you get in plenty of nutrients while counting calories?


Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekend Recap - Bringing My Babies Home From Camp

Good Monday morning afternoon, friends! I can't complain about being back at work today since it's a 4-day work week for me... we leave Friday morning for vacation / Ryan's baseball tournament so I'm off from work all next week too and I'm pretty damn happy about that!

This past weekend got started early for me as I left Maine Thursday after work to go pick up Ryan at his baseball camp out in Pennsylvania. He goes to camp at Little League headquarters out in Williamsport where they have the Little League World Series. It's an absolutely beautiful place... long drive from here, but totally worth it once you get there! Ryan had actually called me Wednesday night to tell me that he'd made the camp's all-star team and asked if I could get there for the all-star game Thursday night. It broke my heart to tell him that I couldn't get there in time... I can probably count on one hand the number of 'things' I've missed so to not be there for this totally crushed me. Out of all the kids at camp, they select 2 teams to face off in an all-star game the last night of camp at one of the big stadiums with all the other campers and coaches watching from the stands. It was a big deal for him and he's still talking about it days later. Luckily, I have an old co-worker (from Disney World back in 1998!) whose son happened to be there the same week and she went to watch the all-star game and snapped a few pictures for me... thank God for Facebook!...
The 8-hour drive was actually good... the open road and some good music is always therapeutic for me so I didn't mind the drive one bit. I got to my hotel just after 1am and then was back up early to get to the complex for Ryan's Friday morning game. I love just sitting there with my coffee watching him play ball at these gorgeous facilities and knowing in that just a few short weeks there will be teams from all over the world there battling it out for the World Series. Not really a more perfect place if you're a fan of youth baseball... 
Ryan pitching
(Well, there may be one more perfect place... and we're headed there on Friday! More on that to come!)

After his game and after we toured the Little League museum, we hit the road to head home. Our 8-hour drive turned into an 11-hour drive with the traffic and a little detour we took but again, I didn't mind it one bit. 11 hours just sitting in the car and talking with Ryan was absolutely perfect... we talked about so much in those 11 hours, just simple moments but they were all so perfect. I was so happy to be back with my boy after a week apart!

Saturday morning I got to hit the road first thing to go pick up Emily at camp after being away from her for two weeks! These two weeks were definitely easier than last year's two weeks since she's been at camp before and I know how much she loves it. But two weeks are still two weeks and that's a long time to be away from one of your kids so I was more than ready to bring her home! Her, though? Not so much. I barely got a 'hi' when I pulled up to her cabin... she was just not ready to leave. Neither were a lot of the other girls. There were lots of tears all around camp and it broke my heart to see so many girls crying and just not ready to leave their friends for another 50 weeks.
Emily w/ her counselor
As tough as it is for these girls to leave, I know how incredibly lucky they are to have each other and to have such a special place that's so hard to leave.

Needless to say, I was so happy to have both of my babies home! We spent the rest of Saturday at baseball for Ryan and then at a friends house for a cookout and pool time. Throw in some unpacking from camp, chores around the house, and a couple of naps, and you have our weekend. These next few days will go by quick as we get ready to head out of town again!

How was your weekend... are you busy with lots of summer plans too?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Giveaway - #TracktheTank

Image Map I'm sticking with the weight loss / health theme for my post again today and this time it's for a super fun giveaway! Candra and Tia came up with this great idea and a bunch of other bloggers joined in...

I wasn't kidding when I said it was a bunch! Candra and Tia purchased a workout tank and sent it off on a little adventure. All of the ladies listed above have their own healthy journey that they're working on (in some fashion) and we all want to help motivate YOU! We're each getting the tank shipped to us, signing it with an inspirational message, and taking a picture to track the journey. We're all taking different pictures of the tank.. some selfies, some pictures of our kids with it, some pictures showing the route, etc. I snapped a few pictures here on the Maine coast, where I live, so you could see how far east the tank traveled...
(Those spots on the tank are just raindrops!)
Once the tank has reached all of the ladies we'll give it away to one lucky winner, along with whatever other goodies we may have thrown in the bag! Something to keep you inspired, something that reminds you that you're not alone on this journey, and something that lets you know we're all here supporting you 100%!

To go along with the journey of the tank we want to know what motivates you. What's your reason to stay healthy, be in shape, and what makes you keep showing up and trying again even though you've failed over and over?

I could list a million reasons of why I want to lose weight and continue on this healthy path that I'm on right now. There are so many things I could tell you that go through my head as I'm prepping meals or reaching for my water bottle or stepping on my scale. But those millions of reasons all boil down to one thing...
This girl. Me. I want to be healthy and happy to live the life that this girl is supposed to, to be the type of mother that I want to be, to travel the world and see the sights, to be kind and happy everyday, and live my life the exact way that I want. Being overweight affects every single one of those things and so much more. So that's what motivates me. The little things, all of them, all add up to one single reason... to be the exact person that I'm supposed to be

Now that I'm done with the tank I've shipped it off to New Jersey! Keep up with the tank as it travels by visiting the ladies above and don't forget to enter after the tank is finished it's travels!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday - Guest Posting for Ash...

It's that time of the week again, friends... Weigh-In Wednesday with myself, Heather and Ash! Today I'm pulling double-duty... my Weigh-In Wednesday post is actually over at Ash's Right Direction since she's away on vacation up in my neck of the woods!

I'm actually pretty excited and motivated this week in my journey... I haven't been making the progress lately like I should be, but with my kids being away at summer camp right now I've had a few solid days to concentrate on myself. Crazy concept, right?! It's really helped get me back on track and I'm looking forward to the days / weeks / months ahead and getting rid of this extra weight!

I even actually weighed in this week... imagine that, I actually stepped on the scale for a 'Weigh-In' post?! Another crazy concept right there! That's something I hadn't done in almost a month but I'm happy to report that the scale was down 3.8 lbs. Is that a solid month's worth of hard work and eating clean? Of course not. But I'll certainly take it and I'm excited to see where I am at this time next week. And next month and the month after that.

Head on over to Ash's blog to read my actual post instead of just my rambling here... hopefully there are people out there who can relate and need the support just like I do!

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