Family

3 Reasons Taking Care of Yourself is NOT Selfish

Taking care of yourself isn't selfish so it's time to get to it. Here's how you can make it work!

As a working wife and mother, I know exactly what it feels like to come last. I put myself there for nearly 2 decades but it hurt everyone, especially me. You see, not taking care of yourself is selfish because you don’t love yourself as much as other people in your life love you. For women, setting aside time for self-care often feels selfish. But, in reality, the opposite is true. The next time you feel like you’re being selfish for taking care of yourself, consider these three points.

1. You’re Much Happier

Taking care of yourself is the best way to increase your happiness. How happy you are depends solely on you; nothing and no one has the power to make you happy. It’s an inside job.As Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands.” When you’re happier, shit doesn’t get to you as much, which leads to less irritability.

2.  You’re Less Irritable

Taking care of yourself, specifically through diet and exercise, has a way of removing irritation from your life. Knowing that you’re feeding your body what it needs and you’re keeping active is the greatest form of self-love.

How amazing would it be to feel less irritable?

Moods are contagious so make sure you spread a good one! Your family, friends, coworkers, etc will thank you.

If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, think again. It's actually the most selfless thing you can do.

3. You’re Less Stressed

Exercise is the best form of stress relief available and it’s the one most often ignored. I’m guilty of this. When shit hits the fan and life becomes overwhelming, I know that exercise will help me feel better but I don’t do it. I always regret it.

How amazing would it be for you and your family to have a happier, less irritable, and less stressed you?

A Real-Life Example

Before I started taking care of myself, I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. All of these are lifestyle conditions that could’ve taken me out without warning. Think about that – I could’ve died of a stroke all because I didn’t eat right or take 30 minutes to exercise. I could’ve left my family without a wife and mother. My family can function just fine without me for 30-45 minutes a day while I exercise, but an entire lifetime? I’m not ready to leave my family (no matter how crazy they make me) so I had a choice. I chose to take care of myself so I could stick around.

How to Make it Work

If you have children, you’re probably thinking that you can’t squeeze in time for yourself. Here’s the thing – you can if you change a few things. I understand that my children may be older than yours, but there are things you can do to make time for yourself. I follow a morning routine that may help you carve out that much-needed time for yourself. Have babies or toddlers? Take full advantage of nap time. So what if your house isn’t immaculate. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and your family, right? In the end, no one is ever going to say that you kept a clean house.

Because each of us have different obligations, schedules, and whatnot, it’s important to take a long, hard look at your schedule and start prioritizing your time. I can almost guarantee that you’ll find time for yourself if your schedule. Go look for it!

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Shit Happens: Life Update & How to Cope

Shit Happens & Hope to Cope

It’s been almost 2 months since I’ve published anything here and I have no excuse for it. Life has overwhelmed me lately and I’m just now regaining my footing. I was somewhat prepared for this during the holidays but I was not prepared for the shit storm that has come my way. Because sharing is caring, here’s what life has been like for the past 60 days…

Shit Happens and How to Cope

Back in October, my oldest boy got himself into some trouble. Since he’s of legal age, mama can’t bail his ass out anymore. I tell ya, no matter how much you try to teach them and talk to them, eventually they’re going to do what they want to do. It took me a long time to realize that his actions aren’t a reflection of my parenting and I still struggle with that sometimes. Hopefully, this taught him a valuable life lesson and he’s learned from it.

Naturally, when this shit went down, I immediately texted my BFF, who’s been there for more than 25 years. Long story short, she and I are no longer friends (her decision, not mine). Why? Wish I could tell you. She unfriended me on Facebook because I posted something she didn’t like. I shit you not – I have the text message to prove it. I tried calling her to work it out but she never answered the phone.

That hurt me deeply and took me a long time to recover. But, I’ve learned a few things, about her and myself, since then. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that how other people treat you is a reflection of them – not you. People treat you according to what they’re going through at the time. It’s time to stop taking responsibility for other people’s shit; you have enough of your own shit.

Another lesson for me was that, sometimes, friendships don’t stand the test of time. No matter how long you’ve been friends, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be friends for the rest of your lives. Guess what? That’s ok! We have to constantly evaluate the people in our lives to see if they’re still in line with our goals. I’ve lost a few people over the years, only to realize later that it was for the best. Sometimes our “friends” don’t have our best interests at heart. Why would you want to surround yourself with people like that?

Outgrowing friends isn’t a bad thing. We outgrow almost everything at some point in our lives. In order to be successful in your life, you need to be surrounded by people who support you and want what’s best for you. Your friends shouldn’t have their own agenda for your life and you shouldn’t feel obligated to follow their plan.

I’m still struggling with this but it’s getting better every day. Moving into November, I had dental surgery the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which made dinner interesting. If you recall, I had surgery the day before Thanksgiving last year. Let’s hope next Thanksgiving is uneventful! After that surgery, I came down with a sinus infection that left the right side of my face swollen. Once I got the echinacea on board, I was good to go.

Throughout all of this, I didn’t workout (well, maybe once or twice), which made me feel worse. Here’s the thing: working out clears my mind and helps me feel better about everything. But, when shit hits the fan, it’s the first thing I don’t do. What?! It’s a constant inner conflict that I need to get over. I come up with excuses for why I “can’t” workout.

The good news is….I lost weight during this time. I didn’t log my food and I ate what I wanted but I was very aware of my portion sizes. But, here’s the catch…

I now know that I don’t have to be so anal about logging my food and tracking calories. BUT – that’s usually where I tend to get myself into trouble. With that being said, I’m trying something different for the month of December. Instead of tracking calories in the Lose It! app, I’m writing down everything I eat in the new health section in my Filofax. Stay tuned for how that works out.

Shit happens to every single one of us. What separates us is how well we’re able to cope with it. Sometimes we turn inward and mentally and emotionally destroy ourselves. But, other times we’re able to turn outward and better ourselves. Do what it takes to be in that second category. Always remember that we’re works in progress – perfection doesn’t exist and setbacks will happen. It’s ok to slip up…just don’t stay there. Get back on that horse immediately and take care of YOU!

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I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More!

I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More

I lost 100 pounds! I lost more than my youngest kid weighs. It’s an amazing feeling, but it hasn’t been easy. I fought for every ounce I lost, scolded myself for every pound I re-gained, and celebrated every single step I took toward achieving my goal. During this process, I dealt with countless obstacles and it would have been so easy for me to give up. I even did for a little while. When I first began my journey, I weighed in at 278.6 pounds and had type 2 diabetes. But, y’all already know that. Right now, I’m 178.6 pounds and in no danger of being diabetic!

According to the Lose It! app, it took me 23 months and 16 days to achieve my goal of losing 100 pounds. Not too bad considering that I stopped trying for quite a few months and was limited on physical activity due to having a hysterectomy. Once I was released, it was on! I may have lost 100 pounds but I’ve gained so much more from this journey!

Love, Acceptance & Patience

Before I began, and even during, this journey, I didn’t love or accept myself and you can forget about having patience with myself. I didn’t hate myself but I wasn’t pleased at all. Each time I looked in the mirror or caught a glimpse of myself elsewhere, I would cringe and automatically focus on my flaws. My face was fat, my belly stuck out further than my boobs, etc.

Throughout this journey, somewhere, and I can’t pinpoint where, I fell in love with myself. I learned to accept myself for who I am and not worry about what I’m not. My patience was severely tested each time the scale didn’t move or someone would poke fun at me for measuring my food. I learned that I had to wait for my body to catch, which it always did. And, for those who poked fun at me, who’s laughing now, huh?

Perfect Does NOT Exist

For a type A person like me, perfection is always the end-result. Well, forget about it because that shit doesn’t exist. Repeat after me: there’s NO such thing as perfect! If you wait for all conditions to be perfect to start, you’ll never start anything. Life isn’t perfect – there’s highs and lows and in-betweens and you gotta learn to roll with it. Enjoy the good moments, learn from the not-so-good moments, and chill out in the in-betweens.

I’m Capable

I’ve learned that I’m more than capable to achieving anything I set my mind to. My body is capable of working hard and doing more than I ever thought possible. I’m capable of making changes and sticking with them. I’m capable of walking away from food when it doesn’t serve me in a positive way. I’m capable of processing my emotions without using food for comfort. The point is, I’m capable!

Strength, Confidence & Determination

I cannot begin to articulate just how strong, confident, and determined I feel now. It’s amazing to feel this way about myself and I’m enjoying every second of it. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’ve already come so far. My confidence is through the roof these days and that’s taking some getting used to. I’ve always been somewhat determined and everyone tells me they wish they had my strength, but I don’t remember the last time I truly felt strong and determined. I’ve never felt it like I feel it now, I can tell you that.

I used to give up fairly easily when things weren’t going the way I thought they should go. But, one quote has changed my mindset for the better:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore and I’m much happier because of it!

Food Isn’t Evil

I’ve never thought of food as evil, but I’ve had many other thoughts about it in the past. I’ve learned that I don’t have to give up the food I enjoy to achieve my goals. It all comes to moderation! I still get my iced coffee from Dunkin’ but I get a small or medium instead of a large. You notice I said “a”? I only get one when I used to get multiple. I try to stick to no more than 2 Dunkin’ runs per week. I don’t feel deprived of something I enjoy but it’s not enough to wreck all the work I’ve done.

I no longer run to the chips or cookies or cakes when I’m upset, which is much less often these days. I’ve actually started craving healthy foods, like celery. Who the hell craves celery?! I know that’s what you’re thinking. But, I do. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about food and nutrition and getting healthy the proper way that it no longer bothers me when junk food is brought into the house. I’m just like, “eh, whatever” and I keep it moving.

What’s Next?

I’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time and this still isn’t my stop. I’ve set a new goal of 160 pounds and I’ve added strength training to my routine. I currently walk 3.25 miles most mornings and workout with weights after that. I wake up at 5 am every day so I can get an early start on my walk to beat the heat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (it’s very hot and humid here). I’ll evaluate things again once I hit 160 and go from there. I’m not aiming for a specific number on the scale; I’m aiming for what makes me happy and healthy.

Lost 100 Pounds But Gained So Much More

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4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

It’s officially summer and, for me, that means BBQs, seafood feasts, pool days, and late nights playing cards. How many BBQs have you attended where healthy food was abundant? Yeah, me either. But, all is not lost. There are ways for you to stay on track during the summer and some of them are much easier than you think!

BYOF

That’s right…bring your own food. Don’t feel bad about this either! Back in April and May, we had birthday parties for my niece and nephew. I brought my own food to each one of the parties and I stayed on track. It wasn’t without some ribbing from the family, but I was able to stay on track while celebrating so it was a win-win for me. In the end, that’s all that matters. My sister hosts an annual BBQ every July and I always bring a covered dish. Last year, I brought cole slaw made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and some healthy apple won-tons.

Even if the BBQ isn’t a bring your favorite dish kind of thing, it’s still best to bring something that you can eat. Even if you’re the only one eating it. Make up a turkey burger patty before leaving and be sure you have your choice of bread to eat it on. There are a ton of recipes online for you to review to make BBQ staples in a healthier way. Do some research and experiment with a few things before the BBQ.

Plan Ahead

Ok, y’all know that planning was going to be included in here somewhere. If you’re a person who schedules a cheat day, it’s important for you to know what’s coming your way. Even if you don’t schedule a cheat day, you should still plan ahead for summer events. By planning ahead, you can adjust your meals accordingly leading up to the event so that your body is better prepared to handle what’s about to happen.

Buy Local

Buying local is going to help you stay on track with your weight loss and your budget. Produce stands pop up practically everywhere so take full advantage of them! Not only is it a great way to support your local farmers, you also get some of the freshest produce available while saving money! Many local farmers don’t use all the crap that’s put on food when it hits the grocery store. How many times have you bought something you thought was ripe only to learn it wasn’t? That’s because, at some point, it was sprayed with a chemical to change the color to make it look ripe.

Soak Up Vitamin D

I try to plan at least 1 pool day a week with family and/or friends. This usually means BBQ’ing burgers and hot dogs and everything else we can find. Instead of indulging in that, I opt for fresh fruit and some grilled veggies…maybe a turkey or veggie burger. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb nutrients we need from foods. It’s advised that we spend no more than 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen in order to get the most out of the sun. Set a time if you have to and then be sure to apply your sunscreen. I opt for SPF 50 by Coppertone Sport because it protects my skin if I sweat.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest so make sure you do just that! You don’t have to blow it all because of a BBQ or a get together with friends and/or family. Just be sure to plan ahead for such events and do your best to work toward your goals each day. I’d love to know what your go-to “secrets” are for staying on track for the summer so feel free to comment below.

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The Importance of Being Intentional

The Importance of Being Intentional: Why Goal Setting is Important

Each and every one of us has goals we want to achieve. What good are goals if you never follow through to achieve them? Those aren’t goals; they’re dreams. Goals are things to work hard to achieve to make your life better. It’s important to be intention when setting your goals so that you’re more likely to achieve them.

How to Be Intentional

Be realistic. Don’t set goals so high you’ll never reach them. That’s a form of self-sabotage and you’re not going to do that. Even if you think your goals are too small, so what. We all have to start somewhere! For example, when I first began my weight loss journey (again), my goals were to drink 2 bottles of water each day and get 5,000 steps per day. Those are small goals to me now, but, back then, they were huge!

Write them Down. To make your goals more concrete, you should write them down. Keep the paper somewhere you can see it regularly, like the fridge or your desk. I like to type my goals out in my Notes app and share them to Instagram. Why? Because sharing them with others makes me want to work hard to achieve them.

Plan Ahead. I can’t stress the importance of planning enough! It will help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Use a calendar or a daily planner to help you plan for the week ahead in case you could get thrown off course. If one of your goals is to exercise 3 days per week, take a look at your calendar to see what the best 3 days are. There’s no need to be caught off guard!

Tell Others. Nothing makes you want to follow through more than knowing others are watching you. Let me be clear – you’re not telling others about your goals so that you achieve them for those people. You’re telling others to help hold you accountable to yourself. This helps you set goals that you’re more likely to achieve.

Being intentional when setting your goals helps set you up for success. Don’t even think about setting a goal that you know you can’t or won’t achieve; it’s not worth the disappointment.

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How I Set the Tone for My Day

How I Set the Tone for My Day

I recently read a blog post about setting the tone for your day and it intrigued me. After reading it, I realized that we are responsible for how our days go. With that being said, I started thinking about how I set the tone for my day or rather how I wasn’t. I used to just get up in the morning and start my day automatically. Things are a bit different now and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Set Goals for the Day

I set small goals for myself for the day first thing in the morning. Okay, not exactly first thing in the morning; I do need my coffee. The goals I set for myself aren’t big ones; just ones that help keep me motivated and on track. Some of my goals are the same each day, such as completing my to do list. Others are different depending on what I have to do that day. For example, if I have appointments in the morning, one of my goals is to walk the park instead of my usual route.

Think Positively

Believe it or not, the first thought we have in the morning influences our tone for the day. I never really thought about this until I read the post. Since then, I’ve started having more positive thoughts in the morning. Instead of waking up at 5 am on Monday, thinking “ugh, Monday”, I wake up at 5 am on Monday and think “It’s going to be a productive start to the week!”. Kinda sounds corny, I know, but it works!

Be Flexible

Admittedly, this one is difficult for me because I’m a planner gal. Y’all know how much I love planning my days and I don’t handle it well when things don’t go as planned. But, I’m learning to be more flexible when it comes to this. Things don’t always go like you think they should and there’s no sense getting pissed off about it. Remember this…

Exercise

I’ve found that I have to exercise first thing in the morning. Not only does it help clear my mind, it also makes be happier and keeps me from overeating. Exercising is something that I do for myself every day. It’s good for my mental and physical health.

Morning Routine

Keeping my morning routine is essential for me if I want to complete my to do list. This routine consists of enjoying my coffee, having breakfast, and cleaning up around the house. If I have a busy day at the office or with appointments, I move pretty quickly. However, if I have a slow day, I take my sweet time…with 2 exceptions. I don’t rush through my coffee or my breakfast; that’s my time to reflect on yesterday and prepare for today.

Did you know that you’re responsible for setting the tone of your day? Not many of us realize it, but it’s true. Your attitude is completely up to you. Don’t waste anymore of your precious time worrying about things you can’t control or change; accept what is and move on.

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Does Planning Help with Weight Loss?

Does Planning Help with Weight Loss? Learn how a daily planner can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Y’all know that I’m a planner junkie and I’m never without my Filofax. I’m often asked a lot of questions about it when I’m out about how I use it, if I decorate it, and so on. I’m never at a loss for words when it comes to “my book” and I’m always excited when someone asks me about it. Now that I’m back to losing weight, I’ve been asked how it helps me with that and I thought I’d share my answer with the world. Does planning help with weight loss? You bet your ass it does and here’s how!

Stay on Track

I use my Filofax for every thing under the sun, including staying on track with my weight loss. For me, I have to write everything down in order for it to get done. When it’s written down and I get to check it off, I feel so accomplished and eager to get more done. This helps me stay on track with everything I need to. Although I log my food in the LoseIt app, I still use my Filofax to write certain things down regarding food. Keep reading to find out what those are.

Meal Planning

Once a week, I sit down with the hubs and plan our meals. I have to do this twice most times because of the differences in how I eat these days. There are a ton of meal planning printables available on Pinterest you can use as your meal planner or get ideas from to create your own. When I first started meal planning, I used some pages I bought from Target (gotta love the dollar spot!).

Target Dollar Spot Meal Planner

When I was using this, the hubs and I sat down on Sundays and planned out our dinners. Since he works long hours and the kid is in school, dinner is the only family meal (during the week) I need to plan out. For me, however, I plan out all 3 meals.

This worked out very well for me when I was using the week on 2 pages inserts, but, now that I’m using the day one 1 page inserts again, I needed to make a change. I now write my meals done on my day on 1 page inserts to keep everything in one place.

Daily Meal Plan

Track activity

I’m not big on decorating my inserts or using stickers, except when it comes to tracking my activity. I bought some small heart stickers from Amazon a while ago that I use to indicate when I worked out. I don’t put these on my daily pages; I use them on my month on 2 pages. This allows me to see, at a glance, how I’m doing with activity for the month. My daily pages is where I write down what activity I’m going to do. For instance, when the weather is nice, I go on a 2 mile walk outside. Instead of writing “workout” on my daily page, I’ll write “2 mi walk”. If we all do something active as a family, I write that down, too.

More Organized

Being organized is huge for me because I always have so much going on. My Filofax is where I write down everything I need, want, and have to do on a daily basis. I write all appointments down on the month on 2 pages insert and on the daily page of the appointment. My monthly view is used for setting appointments so I need to write them on the daily page as well or I’ll forget all about them. It may seem like I’m doing extra work but it works for me. I know who has what going on at any given time and that makes me happy!

Held accountable

If there’s ever a day when I ate terribly or I didn’t get in any activity, I always go back to my Filofax to find out what happened. I try to keep these days to a minimum but they still happen sometimes. If I’m out all day with appointments and running errands, I know that I need to plan ahead and pack a lunch, throw some snacks in my bag, and figure out how to get in the activity I need. I really don’t like leaving tasks unchecked in my book, so I do everything I can to do everything I’ve written down. Even if I don’t feel like it, I get it done…most of the time.

Do you still thinking planning doesn’t help with weight loss? Planning is an essential part of my life; without it I would probably be sitting on the couch, staring into space. You need to find out what works for you and run with it. Need help or advice? Contact me today and I’ll help you get on the right track!

Does Planning Help with Weight Loss? Learn how functional planning can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

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