Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Working out is bitter sweet...

Working out is bitter sweet for me, but mostly bitter right now. 98% of the time I do not feel like doing it. In my mind its a battle of thinking of every "justifiable" reason I need to skip that day. There is no doubt I will have justifiable days or seasons to skip but none of them were this week, so I didn't. I still managed to complete week one of our 30 day work out challenge! Its a plan where you work out 5 out of 7 days for 10-30 minutes. What I love and hate about it is that it leaves me with no excuse. Its free, its short and I do it at home.

My little white board sure helps me!

Bitter : #1. When the instructor says "be light on your toes" he has got to be joking. Nothing about me exercising feels light. For some reason I feel like a tractor trying to jump of any kind when I exercise. #2. In general i have rhythm and like to dance but when I'm doing some of these sessions I feel like I'm as loppy and uncoordinated as can be. It is quite the comic relief at times. I might just need to do a short video clip of me working out to show you..... it would be completely embarrassing and hilarious but it would be a reality check of what a very normal out of shape person looks like when trying to exercise! Dare Me? #3. When I'm done, I'm not cute like lots of video girl instructors. I'm greasy, red like a tomato and normally fall on the floor for a bit.

Sweet: #1. I love that my girls like to do it with me, they "follow along" by my side and I think its cute :) #2. About 30 minutes after I exercise I FEEL SO GOOD! Its like it stirs up everything and makes my body feel awake.  #3. I get really stoked that I just got done doing something I didn't feel like doing, but did it anyways. #4. I know its good for me and is helping aid my body do what it needs to do to keep me balanced.

If I'm being honest....working out is one of the things I can picture me quitting when I don't have to blog about it anymore. Just knowing myself and my past ways. But I do have a sliver of hope. I have hope that during this time where I'm accountable to the blog and Brianne that I will create a habit of this being a part of my life. I also hope I will feel the benefits in my body enough to not make me want to stop! We will see.....

- Kristin

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good News & Bad News

Which one do you want first, the good news or the bad news? Let's go with the bad news first, it'll give you something to look forward to… I ate nachos tonight. It was semi-intentional and I don't feel bad about it, but I sure am paying for it now, my tummy feel like I ate an elephant. Now the good news, I just did my last work out for the week (even with the elephant in my tummy) and this officially marks 2 weeks of no caffeine and very little sugar and wheat. Yea! And to be completely honest, I haven't felt this "normal" since before my surgery in April. Part of me is shocked that all of these changes are really helping.

In other news, Kristin and I are talking about planing a few monthly posts that we'll write together, writing those first two posts together was too much fun! Another thing that has surprised me along the way is how much writing this blog is keeping me accountable. I want to share the good with the bad, but I've also found myself passing on having something because I don't want to have to write about it. Seriously! I surely didn't want to work out tonight, my tummy hurts, my legs are SO sore, but there was no way I wasn't going to finish this week of exercises.

Lastly, can we talk about the crazy sugar cravings I'm having (Kristin's getting it too), wowzers! I'm pretty sure I'm in full on detox mode over here. I've thought about cookies about 20 times a day for the last 2 days, not sure why my cravings seem to be specific to cookies but that has been my number one urge. I may try a healthier cookie recipe this week, see if it does the trick.


Friday, December 27, 2013

So I hear Caffeine is a jerk...

As I mentioned before in our Q & A, I am trying to help my body regulate itself through natural supplements and nutrition, if possible. In my reading I keep hearing meanie things about caffeine and its been enough for me to take the hint and go decaf for a while or always. 

I already gave up soda so the only major source of caffeine I drink is in my coffee. Coffee is so enjoyable to me, I look forward to the warm drink, the smell in my house and the taste. So I am going to switch to decaf coffee. As you can see, a cup of coffee around me is a very common theme so this could be a great change for me to make for now. 

But why!?

#1. As I mentioned before Im reading The Mood Cure  by Julia Ross and she claims from her studies they have found that caffeine inhibits the brains levels of Serotonin and depletes some of the nutrients that are really important to my body regulating itself. This alone is worthy enough reason for me to switch to decaf right away. I really want to give my body all it needs right now to do its thing..... I love coffee, so I hope decaf will do the trick. 

#2. I deal with this other bully called RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) sounds silly right? Well its no joke. Since I went off my medication its has gotten really aggressive. I never had it before I was pregnant and normally goes away after you deliver but mine didn't. I get it in waves usually a week or months at a time. Basically, no matter how tired or relaxed I am, when I lay in bed my leg ( mostly only effects one leg) has this incredible urge to move. Gosh I know this sounds silly. It is " a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing , pulling, ....sensations in the legs". It can take me 1-4 hours to fall asleep, kicking my leg the whole time. Ive tried so so so so many things to deal with it naturally but never had success. I have read that caffeine can affect this too! I am hoping between working out, eating changes, supplements and going decaf will help my body work this out. 

 Bye bye caffeine...hello headaches?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Favorite Easy Dinner

Since I'm still recovering from Christmas, and enjoying my time with my husband while he's on vacation, I wanted to post something quick and easy. First thing that came to my mind was my favorite roast chicken recipe, appropriately named "The Best Roast Chicken You'll Ever Have" by Caitlin Van Horn from Roost. This roasted chicken is by far one of the most commonly made recipes in our home, and considering I almost always like trying out new recipes vs. remaking the same ol thing you know a recipe is really yummy when I've made it a dozen times. 

What makes this chicken so special? Maybe it's the blend of herbs, or the use of a free rage chicken (I got mine at Trader Joe's), or the simple reminder to dry your chicken thoroughly before cooking it to make sure the skin gets crispy and doesn't steam. All I know is that it's good, and easy, and worth making! 
photo by Caitlin Van Horn
You can visit A Cup Of Jo for the recipe where Caitlin was a guest and shared that recipe. You should also check out Roost where you can find some beautiful food photography and more of her really great recipes. 

Quick side note… Having you children work along side you in the kitchen when they're young is usually more work then it is help, often takes more time, and requires a special set of patience, but the rewards that come from what they learn far outweighs all of that. I have to remind myself of this often, especially when I'm rushed or tying to get a quick meal made. But this is one of those life skills that is kinda a biggie. And since I really want my girls to be comfortable in the kitchen and grown up making healthy choices, I'll keep them helping me when possible. On Christmas Eve my daughter and I made pumpkin pie, she made the filling while I rolled out the dough. It took a while for us to get to this point but now that we're here I sure do love it.

Anyone else doing the HASfit's 30 day? I did day 3 work out tonight and OUCH, the good kind of ouch. Tonight also marks my first time doing any sort of kickboxing and it was definitely harder then I expected. 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day - Reporting In

I have to admit, I'm a wee bit giddy about how eating went today. I truly feel like I found a balance for holiday eating that was still very enjoyable. I feel it was very much in the spirit of Brianne's last post.

I was a bit more careful with how much food I put on my plate and drank water instead of soda like I normally would have. I wanted to be able to enjoy the homemade goodies family made so I ate a sliver instead of full pieces of each.

I felt wonderful. I felt in control. I felt like I was able to enjoy the best of everything but in proportion.... balance! For the first time I can remember on Christmas evening...my tummy feels light and happy :)

Also, Im learning that my girls might be the best exercise accountability partners ever! As I mentioned on Instagram, me and Brianne are doing a Hasfit 30 day workout. Its free online and 10-30 minutes long, 5 days a week. When we got home from our long day of visiting family they said "lets work out mama, it will be fun...we have time". I told them I was tired and didn't want to and that I would pick up tomorrow. "But mama, we can do it and laugh and we have time!" They actually talked me into it and we totally laughed! Ya see, I had to do this down right mean thing called a Plank ... I made weird sounds cuz I thought i was gonna die for a quick moment. Thats no joke, that Plank thing.

Over all today was very encouraging. I really hope I can do it again at our next holiday gatherings.... minus the plank thing.

How did you all do!?

P.S. Random note - The other thing I liked a ton about the balance I found today is that it didn't cause attention. No one probably even noticed I was being purposeful about what and how much I was eating. Unlike other times when I tried something very extreme or restrictive.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Planning Ahead and Surviving Christmas

I'm pretty sure my mom is at home laughing (if she reads this) at the thought of ME writing a blog post about planning ahead. Let's face it, that isn't my strong suit. I'm more of a wait till the last minute, works well under pressure kinda gal. I quickly realized day 1 of these new changes that that wasn't going to fly anymore… at least when it comes to planning meals and eating at home almost exclusively.

What does this look like in our home now? Before if we had ran out of eggs or breakfast foods we would just grab bagels or Starbucks in the morning and then do our grocery shopping after. Now I'm planning ahead better. If we're out of breakfast foods then I make sure I do a quick, late night run to the store the night before. Another biggie is planning errands around meal times. I know this sounds pretty basic, but it's something I've been putting far more thought into then I did before.

Little changes turn into big changes and that's something I'm excited about.

Lastly, since Christmas is tomorrow and we will all have mounds of food at our disposal, I though I'd quickly share my plan for getting through the holiday. I will be eating and enjoying every moment of it. I just can't imagine my girls begin grown, coming over for a holiday meal, then tell me that they don't want the pumpkin pie I worked hard on and have made them every year since they were little because they're dieting. I've had a great week, with so much improvement and I'm feeling really good, but I'm all about searching for balance. Food holds memories (good and bad), I want my girls to remember the healthy meals I made for them everyday, but I also want them to look forward to special holiday meals and remember how good my pumpkin pie and homemade rolls are.

Come Thursday I'll be back to my new ways and probably feeling a little crummy from enjoying our Christmas.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Self Control and Cheese Fries

I like the fact that this journey is going to make me face an area of my life where I lack self control. My self control right now, when it comes to food, is a wee bit messy. I find it insane how hard it is for me not to snack at times or pass on something I know wouldn't be the wisest choice for me right now. For example... today at lunch my friends ordered cheese fries from heaven. A pile of salty fries with melted cheese over them... they proceeded to dip them into glorious ranch dressing. I sat there with pain in my being, I literally had to close my eyes at one point (where I quickly imagined swimming around in a pool of that ranch) and laugh at myself for how much I wanted to eat them. I totally could have had a bite or two, no biggy, but I said “i’ll pass” simply because I’m trying to practice self control. I was thinking about why I even care about self control so much and 2 main thoughts came to my mind. 

  1. This affects all of life. As a wife, mom, home school teacher, church member, friend, driver, grocery shopper, etc...I need to be able to choose what I believe is right/best and not be swept away by every feeling, circumstance or pile of cheese fries.
  2. You might roll your eyes here and be thinking, ugh, not another Christian blog. Its not my intention to turn this into a “Christian Blog” but there is no way my thinking about this can be separated from my faith. It touches every area of my life and I know Brianne feels the same. It just so happens the bible speaks a lot about self control. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit Gal 5:22-23, in 2 Peter 1:5-7 it is mentioned as something we need to be growing in,  2 Tim 1:7, 1 Peter 4:7....and more. The very fact that God guides us in His word about having and growing in it is enough for me to place an importance on it. I will not do this perfectly, of course, but the fact that this journey will cause me to refine this area of my spiritual walk is quite the added benefit.

Once again, I’m not saying I’ll never eat heavenly cheese fries, I’m just saying that I want to be able to say no if I want to. I succeeded in passing on something today, Brianne was at the table too so that made it a bit easier, but I’m sure I’ll need to spill my guts about something that I caved on in another post. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

What's My Plan?

What's my plan? Well to be perfectly honest, I don't really have one (which is surprising considering my perfectionist tendency that Kris so graciously pointed out in our Q&A Ha!). And I think if I waited until I had this great big plan I probably wouldn't have actually done it anyways. Sometimes starting something without having a clear cut plan is better then putting it off until that magic day when everything seems to fall into place.

There were 4 days from when Kristin and I first talked about making healthy changes during a car ride, till the day we actually published our first blog post. Even in those 4 days we were both quickly trying to get a name picked, and blog set up so that we didn't end up quitting before we even started. Usually in the past when I'm ready to make some changes to how I'm eating or exercise, I get this sudden burst of motivation and excitement and there's no stopping me! This time however is so different. I think one of the main reasons is because of my thyroid levels which have made my brain kinda kooky. Since having my thyroid removed in April I've been kept slightly hyperthyroid (your body is less likely to grow cancer cells when it's hyperthyroid vs. being hypothyroid). The side effects can be brutal at times, irritability, intolerance to heat, itchiness, memory loss, a short attention span, and some crazy anxiety, to name a few… basically being hyperthyroid = bad. My body not being as likely to grown cancer cells = good. According to my doctors (and the second opinion I got) I'll need to stay like this until I'm in the clear, and since they still have concerns, there is no ending in sight.

As soon as I started reading Mood Cure something clicked. It just made sense to me. I'm not doing my part by giving my body enough good, nutritious food, healthy fats, protein, and veggies so it can work as well as it can. I'm still working my way through the book, but as Kristin mentioned yesterday, there is a 4 part survey you take at the beginning that helps to identify the area you need the most improvement with. I scored highest in the area showing a lack in serotonin, which can effect your sleep, memory, appetite, behavior, and mood, along with many other things. After reading the very, very, detailed section about serotonin deficiency I decided the first things that would go are artificial sweeteners and I started cutting way back on caffeine. I know, I know, that is downright absurd to many of you… desperate times call for desperate measures, people!  Right now since I'm already jittery, last thing I need is a lot of caffeine (I'm still having a little), and boy oh boy have I paid for the lack of caffeine over the last 3 days. Ouch! Since caffeine and aspartame are both considered "anti-serotonin substance" it seemed like a good place for me to start. I also started making sure I'm taking my 5-htp supplement, 2 times a day to help with my serotonin levels.

Yay for progress and small changes! And yay for yummy, easy, and healthier lunches!

*mixed greens, apples, cranberries, chicken mixed with a bit of mayo and pepper, plenty of red onion, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar*


Thursday, December 19, 2013

What have I actually started doing?

Pretty much the only thing I'm doing cold turkey is dropping soda. Oh that sounds like a little step but I love me some Dr.Pepper. I have asked my daughters, who are 4 and 7, to help me with this. If we do end up in a drive through, I have told them to make sure I don't order a soda. They think its so funny they have the chance to get me in trouble :)

As far as some of my first baby steps:

1. I have started fighting big time against the urge to go through a drive through. I know we will pass through them now and then, but not like we do..... or did. 

2. I have started reading "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross . I cringe a bit even sharing that because I have never ever read a book like this, title alone would turn me off... let alone the Index. The only reason I even gave it a chance was because of who recommended it. His opinion carried enough weight for me to look into it. This book is all about the study of understanding imbalances in the body and how to help your body regulate them naturally through nutrition and supplements. So far it has been so helpful in condensing the years of research they have done and how rad the body is at what it does if we give it what it needs.  I have not read all of it yet and some things still rub me weird, but over all very informative book thats fun to read.

3. I have started taking the recommended supplements the book has suggested, which I'll go over soon in a separate post. I must admit though, I stood in that supplements section dumbfounded at the amount of options. The normal me would have just walked away in defeat.... but I asked an employee for help and just got one.

4. I have just started stretching and doing 100 sit-ups each day...which I already missed one. :/ I'm not sure yet what exercise I'm going to TRY to implement or how often. There are too many suggestions out there and that makes my head hurt. Being a gym rat is not an option for me right now, I'll need to do it at home. I would love to hear suggestions about this if you have any :)

5. I made a messy chart on a white board to set out to remind me to both take my supplements and do my stretches/sit-ups. I really don't like seeing that chart in my face without those satisfying X's written in. It helps me do it.

6. I went to the store. Don't laugh, I don't cook much so I don't grocery shop much. I know my standard purchases but now with me needing to change many of those I felt lost on what to get. I know the book I'm reading is going to play heavy in my direction with food, so I need to get to those chapters quickly! Good thing is, even thinking about the things I purchased as much as I did, HAS to be an improvement! Brianne is going to take me to the farmers market too so that will be helpful. She'll show me the ropes. I did learn one thing..... veggies are pretty!

Couple neat things that stood out this week was just marveling at how God made our bodies work.... its a masterpiece really. The other thing was the relief I felt knowing I fed my family better this week. My girls are getting to see mommy make better choices even if its hard. Thats a great lesson for life!

P.s. As I was wrapping up this post I grabbed a handful of carmel corn the girls brought home from grandmas and stuffed it in  my mouth without even thinking twice about it. What in the world? Wow, I have some impulsive habits to break. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Preparing for battle

That sounds a bit dramatic, but in my mind this sure is a battle. I don't know what my whole plan is yet but I do know that I would like to keep the food inside our home as healthy as possible, that way when we have the chance to go out with friends, or my husband and I go on a date it can be a special treat.

First up on the agenda today (once the girls were busy with their school work) was to clear out all of the junk that has slowly crept in… Dr. Pepper I used for a recipe, packaged food I would grab at target when I was too lazy to go shopping, microwave popcorn (the girls didn't appreciate that), random canned food… The basket is stuff I can donate, the trash bag is partially eaten or perishable goods that needed to go!

The other thing to go today was artificial sweeteners. I don't have a big weakness for soda, I cut out sodas years ago, and now when I have the occasional diet coke it doesn't really bother me that much. My weakness is for iced tea, which would be perfectly ok if I wasn't using sweet n low to sweeten it. I've used sweet n low in my tea since I was a teenager so this is a sore spot for me, and embarrassingly hard to give up. When it comes down to it I want to be ok with choosing calories over chemical so sweet n low and all anther artificial sweeteners got the boot. From now on I'll be working on easing my way into liking tea less sweet, or maybe even transitioning to hot tea with honey (which means I need to learn to like honey a whole lot more).


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Bit About Us - Question & Answer

Q. What is your favorite food?
A. Pasta with bread and way too much butter..oh and cheese. 

A. I love food, good food that is, so it's hard to pick a favorite. Top 3 would probably be fresh bread, cheese, and pumpkin pie (tis the season!).

Q. Why with her?
A. Brianne can practically read my mind and she has this way about her where she can say almost anything to me and it doesn't rub me wrong. She is excellent at making fun of me and for some reason I laugh right along with her about it. SO between us sharing a lot of the same struggles with bad habits, some health concerns and the ability to laugh at and with each other, she's a great person to go through this with. 

A. We're a good match for something like this. We really do have such similar struggles and the same desire to make changes that will better our bodies. And we're both kinda clueless on what it will take to actually make us stick with it. 

Q. Do you exercise?
A. Does the occasional dance party while driving count? If not, then no. 

A. Currently? Um, nope. 

Q.What is your favorite music right now?
A.  Favs in my iPod are Ben Howard, The Lumineers, Of Mosters and Men and “The Drive” soundtrack. 

A. I'm horrible at actually putting music on my phone but right now I have the Of Monsters and Men album, Dolly Parton's Jolene, and a few songs from the musical Annie for my girls.

Q. Do you cook often?
A. I make a mean bowl of cereal. I am around a 10 year old level in the kitchen. I know how to cook about 4 meals with slight variations so it looks like I know more. Everyone knows better then to call on me to bring a homemade dish to an event, I’m the chips, salsa and drink girl. Its pretty pathetic. 

A. I love cooking, seriously love it. But that doesn't mean I'm good about making 3 meals a day at home. Staying consistant with cooking at home has been hard, especially this time of year! That is definitely one of my biggest goals. And surprisingly, I actually know how to make a healthy meal when we're home and I put the effort into it. 

Q. What do you think will be the hardest part?
A. The hardest part for me will be sticking through long term and needing to cook more at home. I dislike cooking quite a bit and feel I have little time or desire to learn. Wahhhh. 

A. Sheesh, everything! When it comes down to it I think the hardest thing for me will be the planning and thought that will go into it until it gets to a point where it's more normal. 

Q. Hobbies?
A. Nature Journaling and reading. 

A. Pretty much anything artsy/crafty I love! We always have a project or 2 going on over here. 

Q. What’s your worst habits?
A. Eating when I’m not hungry, eating too much when I am hungry and choosing what sounds good instead of what IS good. 

A. Running to grab food (fast food or restaurant) when I really just need to go grocery shopping… ugh, laziness!

Q.Who is most likely to give up first?
A. Me for sure. I’ve become quite skilled at giving up in this area and on top of that Brianne has a competitive streak in her that will outlast me hands down.

A. She's right, my competitiveness runs deep… but if I can't beat her I will surely take her down with me. 

Q. What is one awesome thing and one stinker thing about her?
A. Just one of each? Okay, one awesome thing is that Brianne has and would do anything for me. She comes to my rescue at pretty much every level... from sewing the hole in my dresses armpit as I’m running out the door to a party all the way to taking my family into her home when I need 24 hour care because I was so ill. Thats pretty awesome. One stinker thing about Brianne is that she is a bit of a perfectionist. Though this does well for her in most areas of life there are times I want her to relax.  Just let the bow be crooked, let the wording be just “okay” , don't be concerned my closet is so disorganized or not worry about the shade of the paint color. Or maybe Im just wanting her to be lazy like me? Hmmmmmm.

A. Hey now, Kris! But seriously, who likes a crooked bow?? This one is easy, Kristin actually IS awesome. She oozes happiness and joy. Even at her weakest moments she is focused on keeping Christ in the forefront of her mind. And I'm pretty sure there is a little 6 year old trapped in her that still adores things that are cute and miniature in size. This next part is much harder to answer. The first thing that came to my mind is that she's really hard on herself if she feels like she has let someone down or dissapointed them. That's probably what also makes her a great friend. 

Q. Why now?
A. There are SO many reasons for this but the main one for me is that I just took my last dose of a prescription medication. I would love, if at all possible to heal my body through food and natural supplements. Don't get me wrong, I am so so grateful for modern science and medications available to us, Im not opposed to using them if needed. But, I also don't feel like I’ve given it my full effort for a long enough period of time to see if my body can do it on its own. 

A. I've been wanting this for quite some time but always seem to fall short and slip back into bad habits. Having someone to drudge through this with made it so much more exciting.

Q. Do you have any medical conditions?
A.  Yes. Im trying to decide how much I want to share about this part of my life on the internet, so Ill just say this for now.... After having a baby, enduring an infectious disease and multiple illnesses my body has never been the same. It has been a hard and vulnerable journey. I really have a lot to say on the topic so I hope I come to a place where I’m ready to share about it. 

A. Oh so many. Where do I start? Earlier this year I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and 2 weeks later I had surgery to have it removed. Until I'm in the clear I am begin kept hyperthyroid so that my body will be less susceptible to growing thyroid cells. With that comes some pretty hefty side effects. 

Q. Can you ever imagine becoming a health nut?
A. The thought of me becoming a health nut is hilarious. So no, I cant. If I ever post on this blog that I am “prepping meals for the week”, “working out regularly”, "waking up early" , “enjoying a new recipe” or “growing Kombucha” I will be utterly shocked.

A. That would be amazing and part of me would love that. But really I'll be ecstatic if in 6 months from now I'm still making progress and seeing changes! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Public Embarrassment Needed...

What do you do when you have attempted a healthy lifestyle but always seem to fall back into the same rut? Well, you grab a friend and put it on the internet, because obviously public embarrassment is needed. This is our messy, scary, intimidating, downright embarrassing, and somewhat overwhelming attempt at changing something that feels impossible to change. Reality is we're not even sure we can do it… And the bowl of Top Ramen we're in the middle of eating definitely isn't helping the problem.

Three biggest things on our minds
  • Health- trimming down would be icing on the cake but when it comes down to it, improving our daily habits is our goal. A healthier gut and a clearer mind!
  • Balance- we're wives, friends, involved with our church and homeschooling moms.  Extra time is something we don't have much of these days. But we also believe there has to, there must be, a way to balance a busy schedule and a healthy lifestyle… without becoming obsessive.  Right? 
  • Approach- Set your bar looooow people. Don't expect miracles or pictures of us in sports bras. We've tried so many different things and there are many opinions out there. We want to do this in a way that will stick… more then 2 weeks. Baby steps. 
We've been friends for a long time, get along like an old married couple and are willing to be as honest as we can without embarrassing our husbands. We both share a lot of the same struggles but we also have our own junk to figure out.

Comments, suggestions and discussion is totally welcome... but no meanies. 
This is a drama free zone and mean comments will be deleted.