February 2017 Goals

I was determined to be on time with this month’s goals, so I think publishing on February 2nd is a win! It’s hard to believe the first month of 2017 is already in the books. How are you doing with your monthly/yearly goals? Still dreaming big? Keeping track? Let’s take a look at my January goals first and see how I did:

1.) Organize my closet: A+ I’m super happy about this one. My goal was to figure out a system that worked well for us while we budget for me to turn an extra room into a big closet. Bobby generously offered to give me the whole master closet! His hanging clothes now live in the extra room closet. he doesn’t have many so they all fit, and now I have the master all to myself! I still need to buy a few more hangers, but I pretty much have everything how I want it, and now I can actually see all of my clothes and  not wear the same thing over and over.

2.) Fix my workout routine: B- This is still a work in progress, but getting better! The past two Saturdays I have been able to go on long runs. Also, in addition to my two Orangetheory workouts every week, I did a day of cross training. I still need to figure out how to fit one more workout in, but I am happy with my progress so far.

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3.) Eat better: C- If you will remember, I kind of wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted this to look like. Because of that, my goal wasn’t measurable, and I set myself up for failure. I had little “spurts” where I would pay more attention to what I ate, but I don’t feel like I got a handle on it. I need to be more specific with my plan. Learn from my mistake!

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February goals:

1.) Track my food intake 1-2 days a week: As a measurable goal, I feel like this will work better for me. I use the My Fitness Pal app to track food, and it is a good reality check for me. However, I hate being a slave to calorie counting, so I will not do it every day. I think if I check in on myself and my habits one or two times a week it will help me out.

2.) Take Emma Kate to Disney: She has been asking to go see the big castle again, and she hasn’t been since before Christmas. It’s time to take her back since we live so close.

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3.) Time Block My days: I have been having a hard time staying focused the past couple of weeks. I end up on rabbit trails on social media, or wandering from thing to thing in the house not really getting anywhere. I am going to start using my journal to (loosely) time block and see if that helps me stay on track this month.

QOTD: Did you meet your January goals? Have any February ones?

Affordable Home Gym

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included fitness equipment as compensation.

It’s January, the month of the year when people decide to get fit (which I love!) The thing I do not love however, its how packed a gym can get at the beginning of the year. I like my space, and sometimes that can be hard to find!

As a work from home mom who has a child only in daycare part time, I also struggle to find time to get to the gym, and always wanted to have my very own “home gym.” I knew it could come in handy for those times when my toddler is napping, or I need to stretch my legs from sitting at my laptop all day. After doing some searching, I realized that having a home gym was more affordable than I thought, and is incredibly convenient for someone with my schedule.

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When I began research, I knew I wanted a mix of cardio and strength equipment, and needed room to move around. Thankfully, our new house has a huge bonus room upstairs that fits the bill. I have plenty of room to move, and work up a sweat! Here is a list of what I have, followed by some explanations:

-Pro Form Easy Strider

-Resistance bands

-Free weights

-Workout DVD’s

-Pro Form Bike Desk

-Yoga Mat

-Foam Roller

The Pro Form Easy Strider was something I wanted because I had a similar one a few years ago but we got rid of it when we moved awhile back. It’s great for cross training days, and is situated in front of my TV so I can catch up on my favorite shows while I burn some calories. This model has EKG grip pulse that monitors your heart rate, an easy to read LED display, a built in fan (yes!) and it even has wheels to be easily moved around. It supports up to 250 pounds, and has big, oversized pedals that fit even my husbands big feet. Never did I think I would be able to have my own cardio equipment again, but I do!

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As someone who has IT band problems, resistance bands and a foam roller were a must. I have a lot of body weighted exercises I do with the bands to strengthen my glutes and hips which keeps that nagging pain away. I try to foam roll several times a week as well to help with tight muscles. I was able to get a set of bands and a foam roller all for under $20, and they are invaluable to me!

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I admit, I need to do more yoga. I have a mat, as well as some yoga and Cardio DVD’s, I just need to put them to good use. Maybe now that I have my own gym space at home I will follow through.

The Pro Form bike desk is something I have ALWAYS wanted. I sit at my laptop working all. day. long. I frequently have to get up to stretch my legs because I get so stiff. How awesome to multi task like this?!? I can get all of my work done while burning calories and keeping my blood circulating. I can pedal for hours! No more excuses for not having time to workout.

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As someone who loves boot camp classes, free weights were also a must. I don’t have many, but plan to build up a supply as my budget allows. My boot camp classes taught me so much, and I can do dozens of workouts and moves with just a few weights and get in an awesome burn.

With just a few pieces of equipment, I have been able to cover cardio, strength training, injury prevention, and stretching/maintenance in my home gym. It was definitely more affordable than I thought it would be, and is something I can enjoy for many years to come. After all, you can’t put a price tag on your health.

Be sure to check out all of the other fitness equipment Kohl’s has to offer at great prices. They also have a great Fitness page with workout gear, health products, as well as tips from top health and fitness experts.

QOTD: What is your favorite “must have” home gym equipment?

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites, so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

Tampa Tuesdays: Orangetheory Fitness

Before we moved to Tampa, I went to an amazing gym. I took boot camp classes four days a week, and a HEAT class, which is very very similar to Orangetheory. Soon our town opened an Orangetheory studio, but because of my love for my current gym, I never tried it out.

Fast forward to the end of 2016, and a move to Tampa. After doing some online research and not really finding anything nearby that was similar to my gym “back home”, I decided to give Orangetheory a shot with Megan. You get to attend your first class for free, so why not? They asked me to show up thirty minutes before class was to begin in order to get me set up and explain the class flow with me.

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First a little background. Orangetheory is an interval based, sixty minute workout led by a “coach” who trains you and gives you tips throughout the class. On average people burn over 500 calories per class/hour.

“The physiology behind the Orangetheory Fitness workout involves heart-rate-monitored training designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours postworkout. “ –(source)

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Upon arrival, they had me fill out some paperwork, and gave me a heart rate wrist band to borrow for the free class. I was shown around the studio, and as soon as the class before ours let out, I was brought into the fitness room and shown exactly how the treadmills and rowers worked. Then we went over to the weight area and he explained to me how they would put exercises up on the TV as well as have the instructors show us how to do each one to make sure we kept proper form.

I was told you either start in the weight room or on the treadmill (“treads” as they call them there). In most classes you stay on the treadmill for 25 or so minutes then switch to rowing and weights, but some days we switch back and forth doing ten minutes on each to mix it up. He asked if I had any questions, and told me since it was my first time I could choose if I wanted to start on a treadmill or in the weight room and they would reserve a spot for me. Everything was very low pressure and laid back which I appreciated because I was already nervous!

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Everyone stays out in the hallway/waiting area until time for class. At that time, the instructor comes out and explains what we are going to be doing that day. Then they go over any promotions or orders of business that need to be addressed, and then they head back into the studio room, get their headset on, and high five everyone into the room.

I like to start on the treadmill first, so I hopped over there and started warming up. Orangetheory has big TV’s up on the wall with everyone’s heart rate, calories burned, and splat points. Splat points are what you earn when you stay in the orange and red (two highest zones). You get one point for every minute. that you stay in said zones. The zone below orange is green, which is a fat burning zone. They encourage you to stay in orange and green the most, with just a few minutes in red.

Presentation is everything! Domino Arts does it for you.

(photo credit: Orangetheory fitness, used with permission)

I also learned that on the treadmill they would use three terms I needed to learn: base pace, push pace, and all out. The instructor calls out intervals such as “push pace for 90 seconds” and then “drop to base pace for 30 seconds” so it’s important to know what these mean for you.

Base pace is your steady pace whether it be power walking or jogging that you could just keep going at for a long time. I think of it as a warm up and recovery pace. Push pace would be closer to a race pace for a longer distance race in my mind. Something difficult but not absolutely killing you. All out is well….all out. Hard as you can sprint or power walk (power walkers typically use a high incline here.) The changing up of the speeds and inclines keeps me from getting bored, as does knowing I will only be there for 25-28 minutes each class.

Presentation is everything! Domino Arts does it for you.

(photo credit: Orangetheory, used with permission)

In the weight room, everyone got a station that has a bench, bosu ball, ab roller device, TRX straps, and free weights. The instructor showed us each exercise we would be doing (they were also on the TV), as well as how many reps we would be doing them for, or how many rounds. A lot of times in between rounds we would row 300 meters, etc. to change things up. I also like that they tells us how heavy or light we should go on weights depending on what we are doing that day. Everyone goes at their own pace with their own weights, so people of all fitness levels can be doing the same workout which is awesome. My instructors have always been good to correct my form or tell me I should be using a heavier weight. They truly seem to care about us working out properly and not just saying cues they are told to say.

At the end of the class, our trainer led us through a quick stretching session, and then the TV’s showed us our calorie burn, splat points, and how many minutes we were in each zone. We were also immediately emailed a copy of that information which I love having!

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After my first class was over, the guy that showed me around beforehand came in and asked me how I did, and if I had any questions. He then went on to explain the pricing structure to me, packages, and purchasing a heart rate monitor. There were three levels of class packages at my studio:

-4 classes for month

-8 classes per month

-unlimited classes per month

You can also purchase a “pack” of classes to use within a certain amount of time, and there were drop in rates as well. Another cost that you need to factor in is the heart rate monitor. I bought the wrist strap kind and it was $99. A lot of times they run specials, and I was able to take advantage of a mid month special where I purchased my package of classes and heart rate monitor in a bundle with a free hoodie as well as some extra classes to use that first month.

A couple of things to note:

-There is no childcare at OTF, which would be an awesome addition!

-I would not recommend doing OTF 5 days a week, but that is solely my opinion. I go twice a week, and push myself REALLY hard. There is no way I could go for that many days without completely tearing my body down. I would say 2-3 days max if you are giving it your all out effort. (also going on consecutive days is super hard!)

-Be sure to bring a water bottle and towel. You will sweat a ton! My studio had a place to refill your water bottle which was helpful as well.

-My studio had lockers where you could put your keys, jacket, phone, etc. while you workout. There  also was a shower and bathrooms.

-If you want to start on the treadmill, get there early. At my studio everyone crowded around the door to get to the treadmills first (very annoying, I wish they would just hand out numbers as you walk in)

-Classes can fill up fast depending on location. There is an app you can download to sign up for classes, and if one is full you will be put on a waitlist. At my studio, if you don’t cancel at least 8 hours before your class time, you will lose the use of one of your sessions that month, unless it’s an emergency. Good motivation if you ask me!

-You can go to an OTF anywhere in the country once you sign up! This is great for those that travel a lot, or if you have a studio near your office and also one by your house. I love this idea!

I also love that there is no time commitment when you sign up, it just goes month to month. If you ever want to quit for awhile then pick it back up later, you can. I have been going to OTF for a month now and I am really enjoying it! I still miss my boot camp class like crazy, but this has been a pretty good substitute for me. I still feel like I need to do one heavy lifting strength training session a week and one run, but this class is great for intervals, endurance, and to work up a great sweat!

QOTD: Have you ever tried Orangetheory? What are your thoughts?

January 2017 Goals

I know I’m a little late with the goals this month, I just have had so much to talk about here on the blog! I hope you all are having a great start to 2017. I bought my new planner, and have been busying myself with filling in important dates, birthdays, and events. (Yes I know I am a total nerd, I’m ok with it!)

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Several of you asked about my planner when I posted it on my Instagram story, and I love it. I got it from Amazon.

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You can find the exact one I got here: me & my BIG ideas Create 365 The Happy Planner, Hello Life, 18 Month Planner, July 2016 – December 2017 (I got it on sale because it starts with July 2016 and goes through 2017), or you can get just the 2017 version here: Create 365 The Big Happy Planner, Make Things Happen.

Goals. Goals goals. Ok, so you may have seen my post last week talking about creating goals in general. I hope it gave you something to think about, and maybe now you have created some goals for 2017 for yourself with some action steps. (If you missed the post you can check it out here.) Let’s take a look back at my December goals then move into my January ones, shall we?

December goals:

1.) Get unpacked: B+ While 99% of the boxes are unpacked, everything is not “put away” in it’s proper place. I need to get to organizing now that we have unboxed all the things.

2.) Be intentional and present this Christmas season: B- Eh. I really tried, but moving in to a new house, in a new state, right smack in the middle of the Christmas season makes it tough. We watched lots of Christmas movies, went to EK’s preschool program, Christmas eve church service, and had family come into town. However, it all just felt a little…rushed. I want to so badly do better next year.

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3.) Get into a workout routine: B- Again with the yes/no. I DID join Orange Theory fitness in December (blog post coming next week!) but that is only for two days a week. I also recently got pieces for a home gym (that post coming soon as well!) but now it’s more of finding time since Emma Kate is only in school three days a week. I need to workout more than those three days, so I have to figure something out to make it better. Right now I am thinking OTF twice a week, home gym twice a week, and a long run to make five workouts. Now to just get the timing right so I can actually do this…

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January goals:

1.) Organize my closet: We have an extra bedroom off of our master that I have dreams of making a “dressing room” for me. Since it’s not currently in the budget, Bobby and I are sharing the smaller master closet. We are trying to come up with a temporary solution, and I need to figure it out sooner rather than later, because I am just wearing the same 4 outfits over and over because it’s easiest. Ha.

2.) Fix my workout routine: I am determined to get this figured out and have a solid couple of weeks with it “working” for me. Once I do it I will be able to stick with it, so I just need to figure out what times and days work best for what workouts.

3.) Eat better: I know I’m being vague, but it’s because I’m not sure what I want this to look like just yet. Maybe only eating one treat a day? Only drinking water? Less snacking at night? Still trying to figure out the specifics. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my clothes are fitting a little tighter. Better eating coupled with a better workout routine should get me back on track, I just need to get the rest of the Christmas candy OUT of my house, and meal plan better. Sometimes convenience wins in our house and it’s not the healthiest choice. Better planning is key.

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That’s it for this month! I will check back in at the beginning of February to let you know how I did.

QOTD: What goals do you have for January? Did you meet your December goals?

Get Paid to Be Healthy

I often hear people say things like “well if I got paid to workout I would do it more often!” What if I told you that there IS a way you can? For doing simple things like walking and writing healthy tweets and getting sleep. Um, yes please! Count me in! This is perfect with the New Year, because hopefully you are already moving more than you were in 2016. I recently stumbled upon an article about a new app called Achievemint that allows you to connect different fitness trackers and social media such as FitBit and Twitter, and it gives you points for certain healthy things you do. The points add up and turn into CASH. Yes, like money deposited into your PayPal account cash. Here is a screen shot to show you what I am talking about:

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So yesterday I did normal things like tweeted a healthy tweet, weighed myself, went to sleep, and walked around (NOTE: I wish I slept 9 hours ha! My FitBit read “laying in bed watching the Bachelor” as actually sleeping. Oops!) and checked my points at the end of the day on Achievemint. I am literally making passive income for just doing my normal thang.

There are so many apps you can connect, like your Garmin, Foursquare, Map my run, My fitness pal, FitBit, and Runkeeper (and lots more!) Connect your Twitter account to get points for tweeting health related things. It really is that easy. If you want to be more active to participate even more in this app you should  learn Modafinilcat closed explanation that will help you keep you alert and more energetic.

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A few more details:

-You can earn up to 80 points a day for for tracked activity like running, biking, and walking.

-You can earn up to 6 points a day for posting healthy things on Twitter, or Foursquare.

-Points expire one year from the date in which they are earned

-Once you reach 10,000 points ($10) you can get paid! Holla!

**If you sign up for an account using my link, you will get 250 points to jump start you! (This is an affiliate link, but hey, you get rewarded, too!) Good luck and make that money!

QOTD: What apps would you connect? Ok, now go sign up, it’s free!

Dreaming Big in 2017

I have stated this before, but I have a love/hate relationship with the whole New Year’s resolution thing, and tend to veer more towards goals. As with everyone, the Christmas season was very busy, and I have not had a lot of time to sit down, reflect, and think about how I want to move forward in 2017. 2016 was a big year of change for us.

We moved to Florida, Bobby was gone for work for five months, we sold our frozen yogurt shop and our house, I wrote a book, and we now have a very active and talkative two year old. It took all of my energy just to keep my head above water, and I want to get back to some of the strategies I talk about in my eBook for creating more time, organization, and being less stressed out.

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I have a hard time letting go of control, and (I have talked about this before,) get bent out of shape when things don’t go exactly according to my plan (which tends to have a VERY high bar). I really need to learn to just let things go, and go with the flow more. With that being said, I also want to be careful to not sell myself short and just let EVERYTHING go, or I don’t think I would ever get anything done!

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I am a believer in dreaming BIG and believing in yourself, and that’s exactly what I want to do in 2017. I don’t want to be that person that looks at others and says “wow I wish I could (enter cool thing here) like her. She must be really smart/naturally gifted/better than me.” Hhhmmm. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of smart, naturally gifted and talented people out there, but don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something because you weren’t born with a certain special talent.

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I firmly believe that if you are intentional with your time, dedicated and ready to work hard, you can do more than you ever thought imaginable (as I look in the mirror and say this to myself!) I also believe in baby steps, and not trying to overhaul everything in one day…because that never works.

So let me ask you a question. What do you WANT out of 2017? Like what do you really really want? Like want it so bad it keeps you up at night, and you worry that if you don’t reach this goal you will never forgive yourself. If there were no money restraints, time restraints, etc. If you could do anything, what would it be? Also next, what is ONE THING I can do today to work towards my dreams for 2017? Baby. steps.

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In order to help you with this, I think it’s a good idea to write this stuff down. Goals and dreams work best when they are measurable, so be sure to put timelines, details, and action steps in your plan. Don’t write things like “I want to lose weight”. (how much? by when? How do you plan to do this?) or “I want a new job” (by when? doing what? Where have you started looking? can you make certain contacts to help get you on your way?) Breaking your goals down helps them seem less daunting, and having a plan helps make things more manageable. At least it helps me!

Free fitness and goal tracking printables

Be sure to sign up to receive your free printables to help you with your dreams in 2017. Just click here and my fitness and goal setting printables (for things other than fitness!) will be delivered to your inbox! Friends, I am right there with you with big goals and dreams and figuring out ways to get there. Making a plan is step one. It’s an important step so don’t skip it. Write everything down and let’s get going. We are going to rock 2017!

QOTD: What goals do you have for 2017? Or go ahead and brag, what is something you accomplished in 2016?

December Goals 2016

It’s the last month of the year! (Insert happy and sad face all at the same time.)  Did you make any big goals for the year? How are you doing with them? What about your November goals? Am I asking enough questions? I’m going to be honest, with the move last month, I didn’t have much time for anything else, and my goals kind of got forgotten about.

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As a refresher, here were my November goals:

1.) Get the house ready for moving: A- Ready or not, it got moved! I didn’t get to comb through everything I wanted to and purge/donate/sell, but I did get most of it done and have only had to get rid of a few things while unpacking boxes. Pretty happy with this one, but also wondering how we have accumulated so much stuff over the past ten years?!

2.) Workout consistently without boot camp: B- Meh. My last week in Mississippi, I did HEAT class and went for a run, but it wasn’t my usual intense 5-6 days of workouts. While I was on the road, I did two hotel gym workouts, and I worked out yesterday in our new neighborhood gym…but I need to get on a schedule and get more consistent. I’m considering starting Orange Theory. Thoughts?

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3.) Get Bella groomed before we move: A+ Bella got a haircut and looks so pretty! One less thing to worry about for awhile. Check!

4.) Change our address on all the things: C- I got our mail forwarded and have changed some of the things, but there are still SO many more things to change address on. I think this will be one of those things I will be constantly doing for months, and doesn’t really get changed at one time (at least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better mmkk?)

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Moving on, here are my December goals:

1.) Get unpacked: Y’all, we have a lot of boxes to still unpack and go through. A LOT. I think they may be growing at night while I sleep. I am trying to not get overwhelmed and take it one box at a time, but it’s hard to not want everything in it’s place right away.

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2.) Be intentional and present this Christmas season: We have a lot going on this month especially with being new and trying to get settled in, but I don’t want to “miss” Christmas. Emma Kate is starting to understand things about Santa, the tree, etc. and I don’t want to fly through this special time. I mean, we still have so many Christmas movies to watch.

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3.) Get into a workout routine: We haven’t decided what we are going to do yet as far as joining a gym (again, maybe Orange Theory?), so for now I will be running and working out in our neighborhood gym. However, I need to get into a routine and be consistent. I have worked too hard to go backwards.

Are you having a hard time keeping track of your goals or reaching them each month? I have found that printing them out and keeping them in front of me either on my refrigerator or mirror helps! Check out my free fitness and other goal tracking printables here so you can download and print for yourself!

QOTD: Did you meet your November goals? What are your December goals?

Novmeber 2016 Goals

Another month! October flew by and we are now in my favorite time of year! I may or may not have listened to a Christmas CD in the car on the way home from Disney #SorryNotSorry. I usually hold out until after Thanksgiving, but since we won’t be getting our tree up until the week after Thanksgiving due to the move, it made me happy to have some Christmas going on right now.

Anyway, I feel like I say this every month but November is going to be super busy! We are MOVING at the end of the month and there are so many moving pieces that I am hoping will fall into place. Before we look at my goals for November, let’s check out how I did in October:

1.) Not gain weight: B+ I am giving myself this grade because I am currently up a pound, but I’m pretty sure it’s bloat and water weight coming off from the trip. I didn’t eat all that terrible to be honest. Best way to not stuff yourself silly in Disney? Bring a 2 year old and you will be scarfing down a small plate of food in less than five minutes before you are off chasing them somewhere. We had breakfasts in the villa, and only did two sit down meals. The rest were shared counter service meals and snacks which we brought from home. I had ice cream twice but that’s really it for junky food! I didn’t even get a dole whip (sad panda) Also, we walked an average of 8/9 miles a day and I ran once on my own, so hopefully that helped keep any extra weight away.

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2.) Get organized for Disney: B+ This also gets a B because I felt super stressed right before our trip, BUT, we made it there, and I didn’t forget anything major, and everything was fine! Our plans ended up changing a good bit but not because of lack of planning.

3.) Sell our house: A+ YES!!!! I am happy to announce we are under contract. This was one of the reasons I was a little stressed before leaving for Disney. We had a showing the day I was to drive down to my parents house, but I had already allocated that time to pack, and they ended up staying at the house for 45 minutes! Thankfully they ended up putting in an offer, but I was in quite the time crunch getting the house show ready and then packing up after they left. Anyway, the inspection went well, just a couple of minor things to fix, and we are scheduled to close the day before Thanksgiving. It’s all happening so fast and I have so much to do, which brings me to November’s goals!

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1.) Get the house ready for moving: This one is going to be a doozy. We have packers and movers coming, but there are things I want to take with us that I don’t want them to pack and fragile/valuable things as well…so I have to sort through everything/throw things away etc. before they get here. We will be at my parents over Thanksgiving and then in a hotel for about three days before we get into our new house, so I need to think ahead for things for Emma Kate etc. for that trip. (Oh did I not mention? We put in an offer on a house in new Tampa and are closing November 28th! Praying the inspection goes well on Monday!)

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2.) Workout consistently without boot camp: Now that my beloved boot camp session is over and I’m not joining the next one since I’m moving, I need to hold myself accountable for working out. I can still do my HEAT classes at the gym and of course run, but I will need to lift on my own so I don’t lose the muscle I have worked so hard for.

3.) Get Bella groomed before we move: I know this seems silly but I have so many things to do before we go and Bella needs a haircut! It may be awhile before we find another vet so I want her to have a fresh cut right before we move.

4.) Change our address on all the things: This will be our fourth house, and definitely one of the things I dread most about moving. All the paperwork like forwarding mail, changing addresses on all the things, credit cards, auto bill pay, anything I buy online, etc. etc. Hopefully we will be in this house for a good long while!

Free fitness and goal tracking printables

Do you have a hard time sticking with monthly or smaller goals? You can download my FREE printable goal fitness trackers here to help you stay on track for this month!

QOTD: What is a goal you have for November? When do you put up your Christmas tree?

7 Things to Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. The past few months have been categorized for me in one word: Overwhelming. Not always in a bad way, but overwhelming just the same. Sometimes I deal with things in a positive way, and sometimes I run around like my hair is on fire. Here are 7 of my best tips for when life gets overwhelming:

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1.) Learn how to say no: I discuss this at length in my book, but learning to say no to every opportunity, social engagement, and freelance job has helped me to feel less overwhelmed. It is simply impossible to be all things to all people, and being stretched thin does not make me a good wife, mother, or productive member of society. I would rather have a few things on my plate and do them WELL as opposed to too many that don’t get done right. One of the biggest decisions I had to make when Emma Kate was born was to step back from a management role at work that I enjoyed. It sucked but I knew there was no way I could do the extra work to the best of my ability while caring for a newborn.

2.) Prioritize: Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the things that are really important to us. If family is important to you like it is to me, then you may need to rethink some of your extra circulars so you can spend more time with them. If you really want to be able to workout more, then going to bed an hour earlier and cutting off the TV may work for you. Sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s for something you really care about then it is totally worth it!

3.) Pray/devotion/quiet time: This is the most important one for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it is probably because I am not starting my day with quiet time and prayer. It just starts my day off right and gets me in the right mindset as I face problems and anxieties. Does this mean every day goes perfectly? Absolutely not, but I am more likely to respond more correctly when I have started my day with quiet time.

4.) Ask for help: I need to look in the mirror and say this one. I can sometimes struggle with not asking people for help. I know everyone is busy and has their own problems to deal with, so I don’t like dumping on other people or asking them to help me. Sometimes though, its necessary to get back to a good place, and I know my friends really don’t mind, and the issue is with me!

5.) Cut out the time suck: Social media is a wonderful thing, but for me it can also be a big time suck. What starts out as getting online to write a sponsored post for work, turns into scrolling through feeds for ten minutes. That’s ten minutes I could be doing so many other things, and I sometimes do this multiple times a day! I don’t know what your personal time suck is (talking on the phone? TV? video games?) and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but sometimes I know I can tend to go overboard and end up wasting precious and valuable time.

6.) Time blocking/Buy a planner: I am a very visual person, so if I have a million things to do just floating around in my head, I am bound to forget one of them and when one ball drops, several others seem to drop in quick succession! Writing things out in a planner and even going so far as to time block my day hour by house, or in thirty minute increments can help me to stay focused and on task when my mind starts to panic at all I have to do.

Related: 5 Steps to reaching your goals

7.) Release control: Oh so hard my friends. Sometimes, crappy things happen that I have no control over. I get my feelings hurt. Something happens at work that upsets me. I get sick. I have a bad night’s sleep. All of these things can be a recipe for disaster if we try to control them and spend our time worrying about things we can’t change. It has served me well in the past to take  step back and remind myself that I am not in control of everything, and that’s a good thing! I often need to stop worrying and just let it be. Let go of the tight grip I have on situations. It’s not going to change anything except to stress me out and overwhelm me.

So inhale. Exhale. Think about which of these things may help you the next time life gets overwhelming and see if it helps. I hope so!

QOTD: Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they work for you?

Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?