Monday, January 30, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Days 3-7

Hi all! I am sorry that I haven't blogged in a while. My computer died recently and I'm currently out of town visiting my family. Both have been factors in my delay in blogging.

I am officially a week into the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and I feel great! Today should have been day 8 but we spent the whole day at church yesterday and I wasn't feeling well most of the day so I skipped my workout. I started back up again today.

The difference in my endurance from day 1 to day 7 is amazing. On day one, I was panting and barely able to complete the modified versions of each exercise. Today, on day 7, I was still breathing hard but I was able to complete the full version of each exercise, except push ups. I still have to do girl ones. Push ups are sooo hard for me! I'm hoping that by the end of this program, I can do real ones! :)

I am spending most of this week and next with my parent's. It's hard being out of your own routine but I am sticking to my plans and goals. My mom is a great motivator and helps keep me in line with my workouts while I'm here. I mean, she gets up at 5 or 5:30 every morning just to be sure she gets in her workout before work. She suffers with fibromyalgia which makes even sleep difficult for her most nights. If she can still get up and workout then I can too! And I don't have to worry about what we are going to be eating while I am here because they eat the same way I do! That is a huge blessing!

It's a new day, a new week. How are you going to be active this week? How are you going to eat healthier? How are you going to change your life? In the end, it's up to you! You can read all about my weight loss success, you can read stories from other blogger's too. You can know all the right things to do but until you DECIDE that YOU want it and YOU are willing to work HARD to get it, nothing is going to change. Take my advice: start TODAY, start SMALL, and stay COMMITTED!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday I completed day 2 of the 30 Day Shred.

When I woke up yesterday, my whole body was sore. I knew the workout was intense but I had no idea I would feel like that the next day. I also woke up with a massive headache that didn't help matters. I wondered how in the world I would be able to complete day 2. But when nap time came, I put my daughter to bed and popped in the DVD.

I was surprised. It wasn't easy but I could actually do a few more "pushups" yesterday. I must confess, I have terribly weak arms. I always have. It took me a whole semester in high school to be able to do a few real pushups. I can barely do a girl one. I'm sure if Jillian could actually see me doing the "pushups" she would yell and curse at me, but oh well. I'm still getting a good workout and I'll get there eventually!

At the end of the workout, I was shaky and nauseated just as the day before. Is it weird to say that I actually like that feeling? I mean, I of course don't really like to feel like I need to vomit but feeling that worn out after a workout means that I gave it everything I had.

I remembered to take measurement's yesterday. I'm really excited to see changes take place in my body especially since it will be time to buy a new bathing suit before too long. I most definitely cannot wear the one that I've had for the past couple of years. I can't remember the last time that I was actually a little bit excited about trying on bathing suits. Maybe a new bathing suit will be my reward for completing the challenge.

I think it's a good thing to challenge ourselves, especially when you're trying to lose weight. It's easy to get stuck in a routine and eventually plateau with our weight loss. That's where I was. I did the same workouts pretty much every day, never really making it any harder. Our bodies respond to hard work and a variety of movements. If you are seeing the results that you want, I challenge you to change it up. Try a new class at the gym, get a new workout DVD, push yourself even if you think you can't give anymore. Your body and the scale will thank you!

I'll do day 3 later today. I wonder how long it will take before level one starts to seem easier? I had planned to stay on level one for the whole 30 days and then realized that the program was designed to increase to a different level after 10 days. So, I'll be doing that.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


I'm linking up with...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Day 1

I've had a couple of off weeks since the beginning of the year. Last week was a tough week for me. I'm sure you've all heard the expression, "when it rains, it pours." Well, I spent most of the week in a proverbial downpour. Yesterday, was the first day in over a week where I woke up and actually felt good. I had plans to go to the gym for the free body assessment that I had yet to have done since joining the gym over the summer and I wanted to try a Body Pump class. However, due to some car problems and needing to get our taxes done, I wasn't able to go, but I didn't want that to stop me. If I ever want that scale to move again, I need to get my body moving. I also know that just doing cardio isn't going to cut it anymore. I need to add strength training to my workout routine. I had been lifting weights, using the express circuit at the gym last year but I had to quit after I broke my finger and once it was healed enough, I just couldn't get back into the groove. That's the main reason I wanted to try the Body Pump class. It seemed like it would be more fun that just sitting at weight machines counting reps. So, what could I do at home? Then I remembered my copy of Jillian Micheals 30 Day Shred.

So, I'm giving myself a 30 Day Challenge to actually complete the first level of this DVD...

I completed day one, yesterday. I waited until I put my daughter down for a nap. I actually tried day one a few months ago and couldn't even get through the first workout. I ended up sitting down and watching the rest of it. Ha! There were a few times that I wanted to quit yesterday but I persevered, knowing that I will get results if I press on. I did have to catch my breath for a second or two here and there but what matters is that I finished. At the end of the workout I was tired, sweaty, shaky, and even a bit nauseous! I felt a great sense of accomplishment though! I remembered to snap a few before pics. My husband wasn't home so I had to settle for the, pics through a mirror technique. I forgot to take my measurements so I'm going to do that today. I am sore today but it's the good kind of sore, reminding me that I had a great workout yesterday and that my body is responding to it. I ate a healthy lunch today of baked fish, Lima beans, and baked sweet potato. Diet is just as important as exercise!

A friend of mine, Brandi, that I went to college with, decided to take the challenge with me. We are reporting in to each other through Facebook after we've completed each day! I'm looking forward to hearing her results as well. One thing that kept me accountable and pressing onward when I did the C25K training was blogging about it each week. I plan on doing the same for the 30 Day Shred. I may not blog every day since that might get monotonous but I'll at least blog every couple of days on my progress and how I feeling about it.

If you are looking for an intense workout at home, I would suggest this DVD. I'm sure any of Jillian's DVDs will do the trick.

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole

I finally got around to trying a recipe that was given to me back in May of last year. The original recipe comes from Spark People and you can find it here. I gave it a few modifications after my mom tried it and said it was bland. We absolutely loved it, including my four year old!

Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole

Cooked quinoa

1 medium bell pepper chopped, 3 cloves of garlic chopped, dried minced onion and 1/2 packet of taco seasoning.

2 medium/large sweet potatoes shredded

3 cups cooked black beans, 1 cup cooked quinoa, 2 shredded sweet potatoes, sauteed peppers and garlic with minced onion and taco seasoning, and 1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese.


2 eggs and 1 cup of salsa whisked together.

Pour egg mixture over bean and quinoa mixture.

Pour into a 9x13 greased pan and top with remaining 1/2 -1 cup cheddar.

Fresh out of the oven.

Served and topped with cilantro! YUMMY!

I forgot to take a picture of the black beans by themselves. Sorry that it was missing above! 

Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole

1 cup cooked quinoa
3 cups cooked black beans, drained*
2 large sweet potatoes, shredded
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Dried minced onion
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
2 eggs
1 cup salsa
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x9 (I only had a 9x13) casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Saute bell pepper in a small amount of EVOO. When bell pepper is almost done, add chopped garlic, desired amount of minced onion, and 1/2 packet of taco seasoning. Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl combine quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, bell pepper mixture, 1/2 cup cheese and salt and pepper (I actually omitted the salt and pepper). In a small bowl whisk together eggs and salsa. Pour salsa mixture over the bean and quinoa mixture and mix together. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve and garnish with cilantro.

*You can use two cans of black beans. I used dried beans that I had soaked over night and cooked for about 2 hours this morning. I cooked the beans with two chicken bouillon cubes, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin. If you use canned beans, you may want to season them up a bit.


Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


I am linking up with...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So, I'm an Army Wife...

Now what?

Last Thursday, my husband was officially sworn into the US Army. I am so proud of him!

In the almost nine years that we've been married, we have gone 'round and 'round about Ryan joining the military. I was against it! We argued, I cried, I was angry and mean. It wasn't until recently that I realized that I was holding my husband back. He didn't feel that he had my unequivocal support, no matter what decisions he made. He has wrestled continuously for the last few years about what he needs to be doing but he felt that no matter what decision he came to, that I wouldn't support him and if I did, I would do it begrudgingly.

That's a hard pill to swallow.

I grew up in the same town that my parent's grew up in. Until I was 18, I had only known one little corner of south Georgia. Both sets of my grandparent's lived there as well. We were next door neighbors with my dad parent's and I saw them daily. We spent majority of the weekend's with my mom's parent's. I love my grandparent's deeply. I am beyond thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up near them and to feel their love and support throughout my childhood and teen years. They still support me now, I just don't live close enough to visit them often. I have countless memories with all four of them that I will cherish forever. I want that for Abigail.

I'm extremely close to my parent's and it was hard enough to leave them behind when Ryan and I moved after we graduated from college. But once I had Abigail, living far away from my parent's became one of the hardest things. I want so much for Abigail to be able to say, "can I spend the night with Nana and Papa?" and for me to not have to save money for gas, pack our bags, drive four hours, and live out of a suitcase for several days. I want her to have what I had with my grandparent's. But living four hours away is doable. We get to see them every couple of months and usually for a week at a time. She has a great relationship with my parent's and I know that will never change no matter where we live.

So, when it came to my husband pursuing his dreams, I held back because I was afraid. Afraid that his dream might take me too far from my parent's and Abigail too far from her grandparent's. I wasn't willing to risk that. So I fought and I fought hard. I was stubborn, rude, and all together difficult. Now, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that I have not been the help-meet to him that he deserves. I am ashamed that I did not offer him my total support. I am ashamed that he has been stressed because of me. And I am sorry. I love my husband deeply and it hurts me to know that I haven't been there for him the way I should have been.

I am still afraid. What military spouse/family isn't? Some of you out there are seasoned veterans in this military life. Mine is just starting out. I have no idea what to expect. I've only seen Army Wives, the TV show. But while I am afraid, I have peace. Does that sound weird? To be peaceful about something in which you are afraid? I am also excited. Excited for my husband to fulfill his dream, to do what he has felt the need to do for so long. I am excited about new adventures. I am still worried that we will end up somewhere so far away from my parent's that I won't get to see them nearly as much as I do now. I'm afraid that my daughter's relationship with my parent's will consist mainly of phone calls, letters, and Skype conversations and that we'll only get to visit with them once or twice a year.

I also recognize that this will be a growing, stretching, and learning time for me. I pray that God will do a great work in my life and heart throughout all of this. Realizing that I wasn't being the wife my husband deserved is only the starting place.

Pray for us.

Ryan leaves for basic two days before our 9th wedding anniversary. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes. How are we going to explain daddy's absence to a four year old? How am I going to explain to her why he will miss her birthday party this year? Because he'll go on to training for his job as an Army Medic after basic. How will I raise our daughter alone during the time that he is gone and be responsible for all the things that he takes care of here? It seems like such a huge task. I'd appreciate any advice and information from you Army wives out there? PLEASE leave me comments and help me along on this journey!

No matter where we end up when he is through with all his training, I know this...I support my husband, I am proud of him and his willingness to sacrifice for his country, and I know that God is able and in control!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


I am linking up with...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spicy Baked Chickpeas

A can of chickpeas in our house usually means a batch of hummus. I have a serious addiction to hummus. It's a good think it's healthy for you. I'd been wanting to try something else with chickpeas for a while. I just couldn't bring myself to do it because of my deep, deep love for hummus. Did I mention I LOVE hummus, yet? Ha ha! 

Today I finally got up the courage to make something other than hummus with the chickpeas in the cabinets. Enter my new love...spicy baked chickpeas! Oh my goodness! They are so tasty and good for you too! I can already tell that this will be a staple snack in our house. Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber. Just be sure not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting! 

Chickpeas, EVOO, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, and Salt.

Drain the chickpeas.

Rinse chickpeas and drain well.

In a small bowl combine EVOO, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, and Salt.

Whisk to combine.

Once you've drained the chickpeas, pour them out over a paper towel.

Use another paper towel over the top and gently roll over the chickpeas to dry them off.

Chickpeas have a skin, some of this will be removed while drying. You can just throw  the skin away.

Pour chickpeas in the bowl with the EVOO mixture.

Stir to coat the chickpeas.

Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet. I lined mine with foil.

Spread chickpeas out over pan.
Place in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes.
Chickpeas will be golden and crunchy. Be sure to pay close attention to them near the end of cooking time to make sure they don't burn.

Voila! A healthy snack!

Don't they look yummy?!

Spicy Baked Chickpeas
Serves 3

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbs EVOO
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas well. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients, whisk. Pour chickpeas onto paper towel. Using another paper towel, gently roll or pat the chickpeas to dry. Remove any skin. Place chickpeas in bowl with EVOO mixture and stir to combine. Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet and spread out. Place in oven for 35 minutes until golden and crispy. Be sure to pay attention to the chickpeas near the end of the cooking time to make sure they don't burn. Enjoy!

They're delightfully crunchy!

I can't wait to make these again and experiment with different seasonings! You may as well go ahead and make a double batch because they'll be gone in no time! :)

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Saturday, January 14, 2012

And the Winner is...

Congrats to Courtney at Feminine. Unique. New. for winning the sQoosh Band giveaway!

Courtney, please send your info and mailing address to and I'll get your new sQoosh Band out to you soon! Let me know how you like it, once you've tried it out.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win. Be on the lookout for more contests and giveaways this year! You can order you very own sQoosh Band from their page on Facebook or online at the website listed in A Fabulous Fitness Product Giveaway.

Don't forget to check out my newest tab, "My Favorite Healthy Foods" at the top of the page. It will be an ongoing list of things that I love to eat. If you are struggling to figure out what healthy things you should be eating, this list is a starting place. You can also read my newest blog post, When You Don't Know What To Eat.

Have a great weekend!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Friday, January 13, 2012

When You Don't Know What To Eat

In the past, when I struggled to lose weight, my main problem was that I had no idea what I should eat. It seemed that most things considered "healthy" for me were too gross, too expensive, or too hard to find. I remember making the comment, that I could lose weight if someone just told me what to eat and I tried that once. I signed up for a "diet" program at a local gym. I had an evaluation with a personal trainer, we discussed what foods I liked and what foods I didn't, I was shown how to operate gym equipment and given exercises to complete. I had a book that had a place for me to keep a food journal, keep up with my weight loss, and had my meal plan in it. Sounds perfect, right?

Well, I failed miserably at this "diet". I'm sure it worked for a lot of people but even though I had been told what to eat based off of my likes and dislikes, I still hated the food I was eating. I like tuna fish. I always have. My mom used to make it for us every couple of weeks for lunch during the summers. She'd boil some eggs, chop them up, add in some mayonnaise, toss in the tuna from the can, and we'd eat it up. However, if she had fed me tuna fish every day for a week and expected me to be excited about eating it, she would have been wrong and I would have probably gone hungry for most of that week because in her house, you either ate what she fixed or you didn't eat at all.

On this "diet" I was expected to eat the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week. Now, had I been told that I could eat pizza, cheeseburgers, or chimichanga's every day for a week, I might have felt different. But scrambled egg whites, tuna fish, and baked chicken with sweet potatoes, every day for 7 days turned out to be disgusting and disturbing. I still love all of the foods I was supposed to eat but I DO NOT want to eat them every day.

Needless to say, I didn't last long on this diet, and was eventually refunded part of my money. I tried Weight Watchers a few years later and while that offers you a great deal more to choose from food wise, you have to stay within your "points" for the day. I had no patience for counting points for every morsel of food I was putting into my mouth. I got even more annoyed when we were going out to eat and I had to spend way too much time on the computer figuring out points for entrees. I've yet to count calories while losing weight. I'm not saying that there won't come a point where I'll need to do that but right now, I don't. I'm also not saying that I don't look at or worry about calories, I do. I always look at the nutrition panel on food before I buy it. I check calories per serving, sugar, fat, protein, fiber, and the list of ingredients to make sure it's not super processed or that it doesn't have too many words that I can't pronounce. I try to stay away from that stuff. I try to eat as clean as possible but I also refuse to sacrifice flavor. You can lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle and still love all the foods you eat!

Not once since I started losing weight and keeping it off, have I said, "this is so disgusting, I wish I was eating something else." I LOVE the foods that I eat. The key is to learn what sort of foods are good for you and find the one's that you like. Learn to take recipes that you love right now that maybe aren't so healthy and find ways to make them better for you. I found that the more I ate healthy the more I liked healthy foods. I try new stuff all the time. Sometimes I like things and sometimes I don't. If I don't, I don't force myself to eat it, I move on and find something else that I do like. To make it a bit easier on you, I've compiled a list of foods that I love and incorporate into my healthy lifestyle all the time. You can find the list on the newest tab located at the top of the page, the "My Favorite Healthy Foods" tab.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Fabulous Fitness Product Giveaway

It's finally Wednesday!

Why am I so excited?

I've been waiting for a week now to share with you an incredible product and host my first giveaway! Yes, you read that right, "Life As I Know It" is giving away an amazing fitness product today!

What is this incredible product?

It's the sQoosh Band!

It's kind of a funny sounding name for a fitness product, right? That's exactly what I thought when I first heard of it. I actually stumbled upon it one day when I was on my husband's Facebook account. I was browsing his news feed when I saw that a former co-worker of his had posted something about a sQoosh Band. So, being the nosy person that I am, I clicked on the name and read more. I quickly became interested in the product because I had just started The Couch to 5K training. It was the middle of May and down here in South Louisiana, it's pretty hot by that time already. I was frustrated every day on my runs because of sweat constantly dripping in my eyes. If you've never experienced this, trust me when I say that it's the same as getting ocean water in your burns! I had been pondering what I should do about the situation and then all of a sudden, there was sQoosh. See, it does pay to be nosy sometimes!

My husband's friend and former co-worker's name is John Fournier and he is the genius behind the sQoosh Band. I quickly ordered a sQoosh after "liking" the page on Facebook. John was kind enough to send me the one I ordered and another to give to a friend. My mom was signing up for the 5K with me at the end of my training so I thought it was only fair to give the other to her. We both loved them! The sQoosh was my lifesaver. There was no more being blinded by sweat and no more burning eyes. The sQoosh is light weight and comfortable to wear. I not only use it when I run, I use it at the gym. It sure beats carrying a towel around!

But, WHAT is it?

OK. OK. I'm getting there.

John says,

sQoosh meets the need of many runners/athletes that are carrying towels, shirts, bandannas, even sponges to keep sweat out of the eyes. We say why run holding that cumbersome stuff? Why not run Hands-Free? We have the answer! Read on...

sQoosh Bands are MORE THAN A SWEATBAND! These are unique because unlike sweatbands, you wear them ON your HANDS for easy/accurate face wiping, then when it fills with moisture you form a fist to "sQoosh" out the moisture and the band is ready to go again! 

Great for winter runs! Keeps knuckles from chapping and you can tuck your fingers in the terry band to warm finger tips. It's amazing!

These bands are: lightweight, aerodynamic, and moisture wicking.

You have to see it, to believe it:

 Yours truly sporting the sQoosh:

FYI: I've lost 13 pounds since this picture was taken
The sQoosh had humble beginnings. John writes...

While running in the Atlantic Coast Triathlon (a half Ironman event) here in Fernandina in 2009. I was wearing a headband wrapped around my hand (as I've done for years) to accurately, wipe sweat and crud from my face/lips/eyes. Halfway through the run portion I thought, why not turn this contraption into a workable product? " Necessity is the mother of invention"... and looking around me I saw runners with all kinds of strange sweat wipe contraptions revealing a true need! 

Enter sQoosh! 

After the race I went home and for the next year and half diligently plugged away at developing a prototype that has the modern wick dry property exterior and ultra-absorbent palm interior. A few friends joined me in this creation and its name sQoosh was given after the sound it makes when you "squish" the moisture from the band. After miles and miles of testing and sweating, it is amazing how well this works! Nice thing is, it really lives up to its name, when the sQoosh fills with moisture you can dispense by simply forming a fist and boom it's light again and ready to absorb more! The bands also have a nice safety feature in that they incorporate a stylish, reflective strip for higher visibility in the dark.

sQoosh Bands are getting great reviews. They are currently sold in several stores in Northeast Florida and online at Ilene's Gator Store. John broke a bit of good news for his company to me in a message the other day where we were discussing this blog post and giveaway. He is proud to announce that sQoosh Bands are now being sold in the Ritz Carlton-Amelia Island Fitness Center! Congrats John! 

Today, you have the chance to win your very own sQoosh Band! The rules are simple. You must be a follower of this blog (not just by email) and you must leave a comment below. The contest will close Friday at midnight, the winner will be chosen at random, and will be announced on Saturday morning. Good luck!

You can find out more about sQoosh Bands at and on the sQoosh Bands Facebook page. Be sure to like the page and tell him that Jessica from "Life As I Know It" sent you!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


*For the giveaway, the order in which you comment will be your number. I will be using a website that will randomize the numbers to determine the winner. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

When Things Don't Go Your Way...

I hate setbacks. Especially the ones you have no control over.

Last Monday, I woke up ready for the day, ready to get back to my "normal" routine after the holiday hustle and bustle was finally over. I went for a walk/run with my friend Mary that morning. I made good choices for breakfast and lunch. I drank my green tea. Everything was going as planned until...

I fell down the stairs in our apartment.

Yep! I'm a klutz.

I managed to fall down about five steps, landing hard on my right side - buttocks, back, and arm. I knew I had hit hard but I could tell immediately that there was no "severe" damage and I thanked God for that. Literally! I went about the rest of my day with only minor soreness from the fall. I thought all was good...


I woke up the next morning with my back muscles being crazy knotted and some stiffness in my neck. I already have a history of back and muscle problems, so this was not good. I decided to take the day off from my exercise routine but I ate great the whole day, even making super healthy and yummy "fish packets" for supper. And then I blew it! I had been craving ice cream since before Thanksgiving. I have a rule about not making foods off limits but eating them moderation, occasionally. I like ice cream but I am not in looove with ice cream the way my mom is! Ha! So, I just kept refraining from eating it. However, after dinner that night, my craving could not be tamed and I knew in that moment, if I didn't eat ice cream that night, I might very well go off the deep end with my eating soon. My hubby went out later and brought me back an Oreo Sonic Blast and I ate every last drop!

On Wednesday, my back felt OK but I knew I should take it easy. My eating was good. I did the wrong thing, however, by picking up and holding a little girl at church Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, a nerve was pinched in my right shoulder causing my arm to ache almost all day. I called my friend who is a physical therapist and she gave me some tips and advice and told me to take it easy through the weekend. My eating became lax. I definitely failed the first week of the 31.3 Jump challenge. I didn't eat clean, I indulged a little too much, and of course, there was no exercise.

By Friday, I was GRUMPY! My body wasn't getting the TLC it deserves and it knew it. I diligently drank my green tea all week. It was my saving grace. On Friday, each time I waited in the kitchen for the microwave to heat my mug of water, I did lunges, squats, and even jumping jacks. I had to do something to get my heart rate up. On Saturday, I went for a walk, even though by this time the knots had moved to my right buttock. I took it easy though and went at a more leisurely pace than my normal brisk walk.

I commented to my friend Clara today that I am always surprised at how my eating correlates to my level of exercise. When I'm diligent with my exercise and I'm pushing myself, I have no problem making the right choices. But when I'm slack with exercising or I'm just going through the motions, I have a much harder time resisting temptation and often don't.

So, I had a week of setbacks. But just because I've had some setbacks doesn't mean I'm going to quit. Nope! That was the old me. That was the old frame of mind. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself either. I'm just going to get up in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, and get back to my "normal" routine. I'm hoping the scale is kind to me tomorrow but even if it isn't, at least I'll know where I stand. I still have the same goals and the only way to reach them, is to DO. DO whatever it takes. Maybe you are out there reading this and you've already given up on your resolution (hate that word) to lose weight this year. One bad choice doesn't mean you give up. One whole week of bad choices doesn't mean you give up. A lifetime of poor food choices doesn't mean you give up. Start somewhere. Start small. DO something.

Clara and I are going to be reporting our weekly weigh-ins to each other as accountability. I'm pretty excited about that. It will help me stay more focused knowing that I have to report an actual number to someone. The best thing you can do is to find a support system. Find someone to be accountable to. Find someone to cheer you on. And please, let me know if I can help you in anyway. I have set up an email account just for you all. If you have questions, comments, concerns, or something else that you want to say but don't feel comfortable leaving a comment, you can email me at

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Friday, January 6, 2012

Feasting in Fellowship Link Up

Today is one of my favorite blogs "Feasting in Fellowship Link Up" day. Head on over to Comfy in the Kitchen and check out her recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup in the Crock Pot. While you're there browse around the other sites that have linked up and before you know it, you'll have several new healthy recipes to try. That's one of the major complaints I hear from people trying to lose weight, that they don't know what to cook or they need some new recipes. I used to be in that boat too but thanks to Janelle's blog and other great websites, I have tons of recipes waiting for me to make them.

But before you go, check out one my most favorite healthy recipes...Vegan Black Bean Soup! I posted this recipe at the beginning of December but we love it so much in our family that I felt it deserved to be posted again. It's easy on the wallet and it will leave your taste buds happy and your stomach satisfied. What I love the most about this recipe is that it tastes so good, you'll forget that it's really healthy for you. Let's face it, that's all we food lovers really want while we are losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, to not feel like we've given up something in exchange for something that leaves us dissatisfied. I assure you, make this soup ONCE and you'll be making it AGAIN!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ten Blogs to Follow

I told you before the end of last year that I would do a blog post devoted to my favorite blogs that I follow. Now, I know that you can just scroll down and look at the list on the right side of the page but that doesn't really give you much indication to what the blog is about or give you reasons why I follow them in the first place.

Below you'll find the ten blogs I read the most (in alphabetical order)...

1. Biblical Christianity - Dan Phillips

I love this blog because Dan doesn't mince words when it comes to the Gospel. My mother-in-law recently ordered Dan's book, The World Tilting Gospel, for my husband's birthday. I'm looking forward to reading it once it comes in...after my husband reads it, of course. Some of my favorite posts are his Friday Hither and Thither entries. Dan's sarcastic sense of humor combined with his Biblical discernment makes this blog a winner in my book!

2. Butterflies & Ladybugs - Misti Coleman

Misti is one of my friends here in Louisiana. I love to read her posts about motherhood and her heart for adoption. You will too!

3. Changing My Blueprint - Clara Blitch

If you're reading my blog then you know that I mainly blog about weight loss and healthy living. Clara's blog inspired me to continue on in my journey when I needed it most. After reading her blog in it's entirety, I contacted her through Facebook and we became fast friends and supporters of each other's journey's. She lives in the same town as my parents so I make it a point to meet up with her when I am home visiting. Those visits always leave me encouraged and inspired. And you might like to know that her before and after pic was recently posted by Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser on his Facebook page!

4. Comfy in the Kitchen - Janelle Nehrenz

I can't even remember how I came across this blog to begin with but I LOVE it. Janelle posts some really great recipes and is in charge of fellowship meal and such at her church. She provides really helpful hints to make cooking easier and more enjoyable. Check out her What Every Comfy Kitchen Needs tab and you'll even find a link back to my blog. My suggestion is next to last on the list.

5. itmom - Lyndsay

I came across Lyndsay's blog while "Googling" for some craft ideas for my daughter's 4th birthday party. If you are a mom, you'll LOVE this blog. She always has the most creative ideas for things to do with your children and I'm pretty sure I've seen several of her ideas "pinned" on Pinterest. 

6. Not that it matters, but... - Jamey Nolan

Jamey is a friend of ours here in Louisiana. His blog is basically stories from his life and lessons that he's learned. I promise you that you'll be holding your stomach with tears streaming down your face if you read this blog. He is HILARIOUS! And the predicaments that he finds himself in have to be true because they are too ridiculous not to be!

7. Peak 313 - Clare 

I discovered this blog through my friend Clara (mentioned above). Clare is an aerobics instructor who not only loves fitness but she loves Jesus too! Her blog is full of helpful hints, advice, and inspiration for losing weight, staying fit, and being healthy. 

8. Reasoning from the Scriptures - Olan Strickland

This is my dad's blog. I may be a little partial to him but trust me, you'll love his blog. He is the pastor of a small church in Alabama. The sole purpose of his blog is stated right in his tagline and it's scripture, "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God..." 2 Corinthians 10:15

9. The Sands Sidebar - Melissa Sands

Interesting fact about Melissa - my mom used to babysit her when she was a kid. I used to babysit her son years ago when he was a baby. Crazy, huh? Melissa writes about her life and often includes examples of her photography and graphic design work she does. 

10. Women Living Well  - Courtney

I stumbled across Courtney's blog when a friend of mine posted a link to it on Facebook. Courtney's blog is all about being a Proverbs31 woman and all that it entails. I especially love her posts about marriage and motherhood. 

Take some time and browse these blogs if you haven't already. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

What blogs do you read?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

31.3 Jump & Gentle Mommy Challenge

I've spent some time over the last couple of days thinking about topics for future blog posts. I have a lot of new and exciting things coming up to share with you all. But before I get to those, I want to mention a challenge I am taking part in over on a another blog I follow. Clare at Peak 313 is all about health and fitness. I love reading her blog and getting tips and advice on living my healthier lifestyle. But she isn't just concerned about physical health, she's also concerned about her follower's spiritual health. Her challenge for the month of January is called "31.3 Jump"

31 Days, 3 Commitments, Jumpstart Your Year! The challenge is to eat clean, move more, and renew daily. She even has printable's for exercise ideas and scripture memory cards. Please check out her site and join the challenge.

Also, another blog I follow is Courtney's over at Women Living Well. Her blog is all about being a Proverbs31 woman and all that it entails. She is joining in on the challenge as well.

While you're over there checking out her blog, be sure to check out the Gentle Mommy Challenge.

Let me know if you join in on either of the two challenges. I've joined both!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Life Goals in 2012

Hello 2012 and Happy New Year friends!

I start this new year off very different from the beginning of last year. For the first time, I am going to tell you all how much I weighed in January 2011. Now, remember, I've said before that I wasn't exactly sure how much I weighed at my biggest point because I was too scared to get on the scale and find out for sure. But after having dropped weight and knowing how much I weighed in May when I started running, I've been able to make an educated guess and I'm going to give you the number that I now use as my "starting weight"...215 pounds. Even as I type that, I still have a hard time accepting it and I've had a lot longer to process that number than you have. However, today, I sit here 51 pounds lighter than I was at this very time last year and I feel great.

January 2011
Taken today before by Abigail

While everyone is out there making and probably already breaking New Years Resolutions, I am confident in the fact that I've made a lifestyle change. Yes, at the beginning of this new year, I still have goals to meet in losing weight but I'm not just starting out, I'm continuing on a life long journey. I hope to meet my goal weight before the year end, that is, if the world doesn't end first! Ha!

I am excited to embark on some new lifestyle changes this year that don't involve my weight. I'll do this the same way I've done the other...with baby steps and setting short term goals to reach long term goals.

Here are a few of my new goals for the year (weight loss ones included):

1. Lose around 40 pounds - I say "around" because I'm not 100% sure about that number. 40 pounds puts me at the weight I want to be but I'm not sure if that number is actually possible or not. I'll figure that out as I get closer. To help me reach this goal, I've set smaller goals...

  • Lose five more pounds by the end of 2011 (you'll remember that this is the goal I set just after Thanksgiving) - I missed meeting that goal by one pound! I'm pretty thrilled with that! So that already puts my 40lbs down to 36lbs! :) Sounds like a great way to start off the new year to me!
  • Lose 30 pounds by my 29th birthday - my birthday is at the end of April and when I initially set this goal after Thanksgiving that gave me a total of 5 months to lose 30 pounds (and I've already lost 4).
  • Focus on strength training
  • Focus on my tummy and strengthening my core
  • Run a 10K (I began training for this after Thanksgiving with my friend Mary. We've been off training for about two weeks for the Christmas holiday but we should be back at it this week. If all goes well, we should be running that 10K Easter weekend)
  • Ride my bike 2-3 times a week - my parent's bought me a bike for Christmas and I hope to get as much use out of it as possible. Plus it's always a good thing to change up your routine and try new things. It keeps things entertaining and challenging which is a must for getting a good workout.
2. Be more organized - this has NEVER been a strong suit for me. But I know doing this will make my life better, will reduce stress which will benefit the overall health of my family, and ultimately will help me meet my weight loss goals. 
  • De clutter and get rid of "stuff" - I plan to spend a week or so really going through our things and getting rid of what we don't need. This will also help whenever we have to move again because that seems to be something we do every year or so whether it's across town or somewhere new.
  • Rearrange our living spaces to get the most benefit out of them
  • Make a daily schedule and stick to it - this will include school time for Abigail, exercise, play time, household chores, etc.
3. Finish my novel - I've only been working and reworking on this thing for about six years. It's time to quit being afraid of succeeding in this and finally finish it. 
  • Create a writing space - this involves #2
  • Write every day - this also involves #2
4. Make my blog better - not really sure how I want to do this but there are a few things I'd like to accomplish with my blog... 
  • A better design 
  • More user friendly
  • Increase readership
  • Make money
  • More reader feedback - it makes blogging all worthwhile hearing about how I've helped someone. That's the whole purpose of writing about my weight loss struggles and victories. I also would like to hear your suggestions about what types of posts you want to see in the future. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.
There you have it folks. The above is some of the things that I want out of 2012. What do you want?

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,