Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Neato Keto

I've decided that my intentional journey this year will be in doing the Keto plan - I refuse to use the D word. I feel sure that most know what it is by now, but I'm keeping my net carb amount to 5% of my calories daily. My protein around 25% and my fats around 70%...

I'm no stranger to the low carb life - as I've done Atkins numerous times in the past - and I can't explain why this time is different... but it's not quite as restrictive as Atkins' first two weeks -- being that within my macros - I can have up to 25 grams of carbohydrates a day. Now, that also needs to take into account that you subtract out the fiber content from the total carbs and get the net number... so my NET carbs are under 25 grams a day.

With the many times, I've done this before - I suffered excruciating withdrawal symptoms for up to a week. I did my research on the keto flu before getting started and I was ready for it - I never knew in all the Atkins stops and starts that what my body was struggling with was the loss of sodium. So this time, I armed myself with electrolyte water and added a little more salt to things the first few days. I never really got those dreaded migraines like I have in the past. My biggest struggle has been fatigue - I go in spurts. One minute I'm feeling incredible and knocking out all. the. things. Then a bit later, I'll find myself completely worn out - so I feel like my body is still adjusting to burning fat for fuel instead of sugar.

I'm in it to win it though - so I'm just taking it one day at a time. Like I said before - I'm not looking at this as an all or nothing thing. It's my new lifestyle. So if I'm at a party or something and there are carbs, and I want some -- I'll keep it to a small amount and go on living my life. Just because I have one small thing doesn't have to derail me entirely from my whole plan.

In the past that has been my thought process, I would cave and have one thing -- and next thing you know 6 months have gone by and I've been off the wagon the whole time. Not this time... I've got a friend that I'm super comfortable sharing the slips with and we've vowed to help each other through that "failure" mentality.

I'm two weeks in on the plan so far and I'm still loving it -- I've got just enough variety that I'm happy and I'm trying out all sorts of new recipes and sharing them over on my recipe blog. If you scroll down there is a label that will pull up all of our keto-friendly recipes.

My plan is to keep to the semi-basics for the most part as much as I can and add whatever we're craving. If I need to bake something -- I'm happy to do it. I'd rather do that than buy something packaged as low carb because that way I know and can control the ingredients. This week - I made John some mini cheesecakes that are low carb and have a pecan crust. I made myself some chocolate mousse -- but I'm looking for a different recipe on that one.

In addition to my keto plan, I've added in intermittent fasting. I'm going most days from about 10 PM to 12 or 1 PM the next day to eat. I seem to be doing just fine on that and even though my doctor was strongly against it - things are going fine. One thing I can tell you that has been eye-opening is that the night before starting the plan - my sugars were 358 and since beginning the plan they haven't been over 130 even once! I'm excited to go back next month to show her by sugar readings -- maybe I'll even begin my goal of backing off of some of my medications. 

I saw the doctor the day before we started and she put me on a new shot that is helping curb my hunger as well - I'm virtually NEVER hungry anymore... and I used to be a huge snacker. It's so strange... between the shot and the added fat in my diet -- I'm losing weight and never hungry. 

I haven't added this in just yet -- but it's coming. I've been seeing some ads for the Body Groove workouts and I'm thinking about getting them. It looks much for free form and I'm looking for something to completely change the way I think and feel about working out. Has anyone seen the ads or heard of this program? I'm curious how it works -- it looks like it would be fun and maybe something that James and Tyler can do with me at least whenever he wants to join in.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Well, I'm a bit late... but it's 2019!

I've learned a few things in the short time that it's been 2019, and I thought I'd start off a series of upcoming posts with that. What I've learned is that in years past - I've set goals and I've given resolutions of things like I'm going to lose 25 pounds... only to quickly fail. That gave way to me only setting resolutions of things like lose weight... with no set amount, because in my mind... even one pound gone in the year would be a success, right?

Well, none of it has been successful, and I found myself at the end of 2018 feeling pretty defeated. I thought that I was just destined to be heavy and on tons of diabetes meds for the rest of my life. Nothing could or would ever change for the better... Then I heard one of the most profound podcast episodes I've ever heard.

It was a couple of days in the new year and I was catching up on getting my Powersheets set up for the year, and determining what my goals would be and I heard something that I will never EVER forget... Two things actually: 1) There is nothing magical about January 1st. There is nothing special about January 1st other than the fact that for the next month or two you'll be writing the wrong year on everything... or maybe it's just me? 2) The reason that resolutions fail by and large is that there is no heart reason behind them. They are just shots in the dark at things that we feel like we need to improve.

That's when it clicked for me. Will I be perfect in this pursuit? Of course not, but what I can do is embrace the progress that is being made and know that things are better than not trying at all. How does that look different in real life?

It looks like choosing goals that are tied to reasons, real tangible reasons... for instance - with my weight loss goal - why do I want to do it in the first place? There are a few reasons there actually:

  • to feel better and not have creaky joints
  • to get off of all of my medications
  • to have more energy for my family
  • to be ALIVE longer for my family
Let's be real honest here - since few people read this anyway -- there is safety in putting it out there, but I was on a path to certain earlier death until I changed things. Granted I have only changed things in the last two weeks... but I'm headed in a better direction than the alternative. With my weight and my diabetes working together - it was almost a guaranteed certainty that I wouldn't make it until a natural old age. How can I look into the eyes of my family and not know to the depths of my soul that I need to do better for THEM? Take me out of the picture... but how can I not get control over this issue so that I can be there for many more years to come? 

I know that there will be struggles, but one thing I also know is that I love these people in my life fiercely -- both those that live within my home and those family and friends that I interact with on a regular basis... I happen to be someone that loves BIG often at the detriment of my own health because I also tend to be a people pleaser. Maybe of my goals, this year are all wrapped in on this topic. 

I'm one of those people that comes up with a word for the year, and each of my 7 goals for 2019 is tied to this word. My word for this year is Intentional. (I'd love to have a ring with that word stamped on it or even a bracelet -- I'll have to look for one)

Here are my 7 goals... 
  1. Spend intentional time with God either through devotionals or Write the Word Journals
  2. Intentional time with people that matter - John, the boys, friends, family
  3. Intentionally improve health through diet, increased water, intermittent fasting, and exercise
  4. Focus intentionally on our budget and debt snowball
  5. Be intentional with my daily reading for enjoyment both nonfiction and fiction
  6. Intentionally create a second book for publishing
  7. Intentionally spend time on homemaking through decluttering and cleaning routines
Will these all happen perfectly - probably not, and some of them will take a backseat at times for the others -- but what I do know is that 2 weeks in -- I'm feeling better than I ever have and I'm showing no signs of stopping. Something has snapped in me this year and I feel so much more grounded in knowing that there will be bad days and there will be good days -- but showing up for myself will never EVER be a disappointment to those that matter. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Heart of a Mother: A Gift and A Miracle

Since I was a little girl, I've dreamed of writing a book. I never really knew what it would be about, until much later when my life became so much more than what I would have ever imagined. Through all the tough times, we just keep pushing forward... all while God was weaving the most incredible tapestry within our story. 

The book is based on our story from our meeting through our struggle to become parents, but there is so much more woven into this story. There is something for everyone to hopefully glean from these pages. In addition, I've added discussion questions so that you could use it as a part of a book study with a book club or a group of friends. My hope is that by reading our story, you'd learn the power of leaning into God and never EVER giving up. 

About the book: How often can you look back on the most difficult times of your life, only to catch a glimpse that they were already preordained by an amazing God? In this powerful journey through their many challenges, you will experience one family’s incredible story of struggle and triumph to parenthood. Be encouraged as you read how they found humor, faith, and an abundance of Grace along the path that was carefully laid out for them before the foundations of the world. From infertility to a pregnancy that was foretold to be impossible, you will be inspired as you watch God unfold their story that ends in unimaginable greatness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Get Your Powersheets TODAY!

There are so many incredible products this year from Powersheets in 4 different cover colors... 

They've also got a lovely neutral 6-month updated set 

The Best Year Yet Bundle is a great option - it includes a set of Powersheets in your choice of color, a zipper pouch in your choice of color, tending tape, wildcard pages, and a goal setting sticker book! This option alone would qualify you for the free shipping that they are offering until midnight on Thursday the 25th. 

In addition to the Powersheets this year, they've added a couple of new products as well. 

They've got a set of Joyful Greeting Cards in an adorable box that will help you cultivate the relationships in your life. 

They've also got this amazing Cultivated Wall Calendar that is new this year -- which is a great addition to their collection. 

Lastly, they also have the amazing Write the Word Journals in several different versions -- these are another product that I dearly love! 

In addition to all of these great items -- any purchase between 10/24 and 10/25 (at midnight) that is over $100 will receive free shipping! 

Happy Launch Day Everyone!!! Head over right now with any of these links and shop to your heart's content! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Lego Birthday Party

This past weekend we celebrated our youngest's birthday with a Lego themed party.  He chose this theme fairly close to his party date so we didn't have a whole lot of time for planning, and our budget was tighter than normal this year. I think we managed to pull off a super cute party even with those constraints. 

I found some cute patterns online to build the birthday boy's name out of Legos, but we couldn't exactly decide which size Legos the pattern was for... so we ended up doing our own thing to build his name out of Duplo sized blocks. We also built two 8s to make the mantel look symmetrical. I also got some plate and cup sets that came with the banner and tablecloth.  I ended up with two of these sets.  I also got this favor bag set, and these add-ins for the guests. If I had it to do over again, the add-ins were too small for the kids to even really make, so I'd opt for these instead.

If our budget had been larger - I would have looked into this photo prop, these photo props, this pinata, these balloons, or this additional decoration set. 

I was able to find this free resource to print Lego paper -- so I printed them on a pack of 5 different shades of paper that I found here.  I took the paper and cut it into pieces and put this pattern on the wall, under a large Minecraft village that Tyler had made. I also put some of these blocks around our TV, because the party was mainly held in our living room/kitchen area. Given more time, I might have put them in some other areas around the house too.

This was Tyler's cake this year, we did not make it like we did last year.  He really liked it though. 

A couple of our friends that were coming are doing the Keto diet, so I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of food for them to eat as well as keep it simpler this year for our budget.  In parties past, we've always served a full meal for the most part... but this year it was more finger foods.  Tyler made fruit sticks with grapes, cantaloupe, and strawberries.  I thought about adding pineapple as well, but you could do any sort of fruit that you like.

We also made a meat & cheese tray with turkey chunks, summer sausage, salami, cheddar cheese squares, and colby jack squares. We had some extra space, so we served olives with it. For those not eating low carb, we served some Ritz crackers on the side of our meat tray. Our next item, is a Vegetable Tray with Ranch Dip -- we included: carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, broccoli, and celery in the tray.  Tyler requested Charleston Cheese Dip because it's his absolute favorite. 

We serve the Cheese Dip with pita chips.  Then we made two forms of Greek Salad -- a green salad version, and a pasta salad version.

Here is our sweet birthday boy who had a wonderful day surrounded by people he loves the most. Eight is Great, and he is SO happy to finally be the same age as his brother for the next 6 months!