Monday, October 9, 2017

How I Lost 6 lbs In Just 3 Weeks - No Exercise!


Not bad for less than 6 months postpartum! No photoshopping, editing or filters!
First, let me start out by saying that I am NOT telling you not to work out. In fact, PLEASE work out!! Your body needs it. I am actually starting to work out...not cardio just yet but doing strength training with resistance bands and some light weights. I want to carve out some muscle tone while I'm shedding some pounds.

But I want to share with you some tips on how I lost the weight and to let you know that you can do it, too!! Are you ready to drop those unwanted pounds without paying for fancy drinks or pills or even a gym membership? Even though I was cooking low fat vegetarian food at home...I seemed to be stuck on a plateau of sorts...my weight was actually starting to go up a teeny bit and I needed to make some changes...and fast!

Here's how I did it:

It all started (the proverbial kick in my pants)...I was watching TannyRaw on YouTube. She gave a simple little statement that is so basic....so seemingly tiny...but it still blew my mind:

"What is your ideal weight? Find out the calories you need to be eating to maintain your ideal weight...and start eating within that range."

Okay..STEP ONE sounds too easy, right?? I thought so anyways. But it made so much sense! Like, if you drastically cut your calories just to lose weight, obviously you'll gain it back if you go back to your regular eating habits. BUT if you change your way of thinking....making it a lifestyle change...you will just get used to eating that amount of calories and you'll be able to maintain your ideal weight and keep the unwanted pounds off! It won't be like you're out there, floundering around, with no real maintenance plan in place.

That is your plan: Eat For Your Goal Weight

Okay...well, how do you know how much you should be eating for your goal weight?

I used this calculator...it also takes into account your age (which really does play a role due to your metabolism getting slower as you age)...CLICK HERE FOR THE CALCULATOR.

So that was STEP ONE: finding out how much you should be eating.

STEP TWO is finding out how you've been cheating yourself with hidden calories and whatnot. This part is a little harder because this is where you have to hold yourself accountable. Don't worry...no one has to know this part...but it's still pretty embarrassing when you see for yourself how you've been cheating yourself out of your goal weight this whole time. (At least it was embarrassing for me....)

I knew that I was eating GREAT at home...but what about when I went out? I was eating out on Date Night, Saturday night and Sundays all day.

I downloaded the app My Fitness Pal onto my phone. It lets you look up the calories (and other nutritional information) of the foods you eat. It has almost every restaurant's menu that you can think of, too. So I put it to work. As it turned out, my problems definitely came from my food choices when I ate out.

I'm going to give some examples of what I mean...how I sabotaged my goals....maybe you'll be able to relate...

For reference, I am 36 years old, am 5'0" tall and want to weigh 120 lbs.

My daily calorie goal should be around 1300-1700 calories (since I am also breastfeeding).

Let's say I went out to eat on Date Night at Applebees....

I order the 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders, okay?

That alone has 1,580 calories!!

Now, I typically only eat half of that...but still!! Plus I shared a plate of appetizers with Antonio!

That can easily add on another 1000 calories!

And that was just in ONE meal!!


Let's just assume that I ate about the same on Saturday nights when I went out with the whole family.

Holy guacamole, I can't believe I had never even bothered checking (or worrying about) how many calories!

Now...this was another huge slap in the face....

Our Sunday morning tradition has been to go to Dunkin Donuts and get a large frozen coffee. The large vanilla iced coffee with cream and sugar is just 220 calories...so, to my way of thinking, they're just adding more ice to make it frozen, right? Same calorie content (or close), right?

WRONG!!!

A large vanilla frozen coffee with cream and sugar is...almost 1000 calories!!

Plus I'd also sometimes have a sour cream donut (my personal favorite)...that is another 350 calories!

I ATE ALL OF MY DAILY CALORIES BEFORE NOON!!



Then add on lunch and dinner.

Yeah. And that's how I sabotaged myself. Some weeks, we'd even "treat" ourselves to an extra large frozen coffee randomly during the week.

Those calories added up.

And I realize that all of those "stubborn" pounds that didn't want to come off...well, I deserved every one of them. If it weren't for breastfeeding, I probably would have gained a lot more weight. (Breastfeeding can burn 300-500 calories per day)

I took action IMMEDIATELY. I'm a pretty balls-to-the-wall, go-big-or-go-home kinda gal. I had no one to blame but my own ignorance...but I was no longer ignorant and it was time to eat for my goal weight.

Another thing that you and I both need to remember: all calories are NOT created equal. Eating healthy, whole foods (not processed...or at least minimally processed)...those calories are better for you than fried, processed and fat-laden calories. So making sure the calories that you do consume are healthy...you will, more than likely, lose more weight faster.

I cut out most of our Saturday nights out and cook something delicious at home. If we do get something to eat, I make sure that it fits inside my daily calorie budget.

(Fun factoid: Did you know that a large Coke can run you an additional 250-300 calories?!)

In fact, I keep a daily food log with My Fitness Pal and count my calories every dang day.

I make sure that I do not go over my goal.

And the weight is just melting off, ya'll.

I've lost 6 lbs in the last 3 weeks just by eating the right amount of calories for my goal weight.

Oh!! By the way...I'm still allowing myself an occasional Dunkin Donuts treat...but I'll just order myself a SMALL iced french vanilla coffee...no cream, no sugar. The vanilla "swirl" they put in it is sweet enough, trust me. And that is only around 115 calories.

And as long as I continue on this path (know better, do better), I should not only reach my goal weight rather quickly but also KEEP OFF THOSE UNWANTED POUNDS.

Looking back, that's probably how I gained so little with my pregnancy with Isabel (15-20 lbs, I think it was)....because I didn't eat for two. I ate mostly at home because restaurant food sounded awful to me. And I lost it really fast after I had her. But then I went back to eating out...and look what I did by doing that. ::sigh:: Well, time to be good to myself and eat responsibly!

If you are wanting to lose weight...do you think that hidden "out to eat" calories are the culprit??

Do your research and be accountable, loves! You owe it to yourself!!

And, if you're feeling brave, let me know in the comments if you discovered that you, like me, have been sabotaging your own success!!

Sending you all love and light!!

xoxo

PS...For you breastfeeding mamas who are afraid to lose weight for fear of your milk drying up. I have not noticed any drop in my supply. In fact, my milk production seems to have picked up!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Watermelon Lime Good Girl Moonshine


Watermelon Lime Good Girl Moonshine
RECIPE

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am getting ready to give Trim Healthy Mama a try.

This drink (Good Girl Moonshine) is one of their staples. It's fat free, low carb & sugar free and is to be enjoyed throughout the day. There are many ways you can jazz it up...here's one of the ways. 😉

INGREDIENTS

2 Watermelon Lime Zinger tea bags (Celestial Seasonings)

Truvia or Stevia, to taste
(I used 2 packets of Truvia)

1-2 tablespoons Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar 

2 pinches ground ginger (more or less to taste)

DIRECTIONS

Bring 1 cup water to boil

Put the tea bags in a quart size mason jar and pour the boiling water over them

Let steep for 5-10 minutes 

Remove tea bags and add the stevia/Trivia, ginger and apple cider vinegar 

Stir it well and then add cold water and ice to the top of the glass

ENJOY!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

My 6 Favorite All-Natural Everyday Health & Beauty Must-Haves


As a mom of 5, I really don't have a lot of time to primp and fuss over my appearance.
I hate how many health and beauty products that are advertised and being used by millions of people are so horrible for your health. Most of them are laden with toxins, carcinogens and other really unhealthy ingredients.

But I really don't want to be looking like the back end of a grizzly bear, either.

There has to be a middle ground, amiright?!

Here are my favorite everyday health and beauty products that also just happen to be all natural...most of them with only 1 ingredient each! And they're all really affordable, so everyone can use them.

Please note that these products are what work for me. They may not work for you and that's okay! I'm sure that there are other natural products that will fit your skin type and lifestyle perfectly.

A bit of background info:

I am 36 years old. I have combo skin...parts are super oily and other parts get really pretty dry, especially around my chin and mouth. It's weird...because some parts are both oil AND dry....

So here we go....you ready?!


My first and absolute favorite product is


Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil!

I use this stuff for SO MUCH!!

I've been using for it for years to wash my face. It's really quite simple...almost too simple:

Just scoop up some coconut oil in your hand and massage it into your skin.

Sometimes, if the room is cold, my oil will be hard and white...looking almost like Crisco. But just your body heat will melt it when you put it in your hands.

Sometimes I let it sit on for a few minutes to really clean deep and moisturize.

Then just wet a washcloth with hot water and vigorously wipe off the oil.

This removes makeup...even my waterproof eyeliner and waterproof mascara!

I also sometimes massage it into my body before a shower and at the end of my shower, before I wash my body, I use a washcloth to take the oil off. The heat and steam from the shower really help it to penetrate and leaves your skin so soft!

Rub it onto your legs before you shave (you can use it as a shaving "gel" or just put shaving cream/gel over top of it in the shower and shave as normal...be sure to rinse your blade well!) and your legs will be silky smooth.

Rubbing it into you hair a few hours before a shower will make your hair moisturized and super soft after you shampoo it out. I always still condition my hair afterwards, too.

Mahri also uses it to oil pull. Basically you swish it around your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spit it into the trash. (spitting in the sink will just clog it up!) It helps to gently whiten teeth and is rumored to pull toxins from your body!

Coconut oil has SO MANY uses...it's definitely not just for cooking!


I've only been using this product for about a month...but I fell in love with it right away!

After I wash my face, I massage my face with pure rose hip seed oil.

I use it at night before bed and in the morning.

It doesn't leave my face looking oily but I usually wipe a wet washcloth over my face (after the oil has been massaged in for awhile) to remove excess oil before applying my makeup.

Since I began using it, I immediately noticed that my skin looks brighter and more vibrant. It definitely makes my skin look very healthy!

And most days that's it for my skin care routine.

Those 2 products work wonders and keep my face clean and well moisturized.

But sometimes, if I think that under my eyes is looking kind of sunken in and need a boost, will use another amazing oil....


This is CASTOR OIL.

As you can see, this stuff is very well loved!

I just rub a small amount under my eyes at night before bed and by morning, my eyes look much better. Less tired.

It can also be used to treat acne!

Castor oil is magical and has SO many health benefits!

I even sometimes will use this in my hair (let it sit in my hair for a few hours before my shower...I'll even blow dry my hair while it's on to help it penetrate better). But this is a little harder to wash out than coconut oil, so be careful!

Now onto dental hygiene!


Activated Charcoal

I have been using this particular brand for about a month and love it!

In the past, I have used plain activated charcoal powder to brush/whiten my teeth. I did notice right away that it did remove some (tooth) surface staining.

This brand, though, tastes good! (regular activated charcoal doesn't have a flavor)

It tastes almost like a mint brownie mix.

I just apply the dry powder to a wet toothbrush.

Your teeth and mouth will be BLACK!

But it comes off as you brush and after a quick rinse, it's gone.


My other new favorite product for dental hygiene is actually a tool.


A tongue scraper.

Most of the odor causing bacteria on your mouth lives on your tongue!

Gross, right?

I use this little baby after I brush and it scrapes the nasty stuff right off!

After that, I rinse with a mouth wash...usually an off-brand Listerine.

Now for my last favorite everyday product...


Deodorant.

Because...self explanatory.

I used to use another brand of natural deodorant called Primal Pit Paste.

But it caused my armpits to majorly detox...weeks of itchy red rash, painful swollen lymph nodes...all that jazz. It just wasn't worth it.

So I started using the crystal deodorants. I've used the solid crystal type that you wet down and apply. But this one is my favorite. No extra steps of wetting down and applying. Plus it smells GREAT!

And, best of all, they work amazingly well for me.

And those, my friends, are the products I use every day to keep myself looking (and smelling) great!

What are your must-have beauty products??

Monday, August 7, 2017

VIDEO: HUGE $200 Weekly Grocery Haul | Healthy Eats | Large Family

It's been awhile since I've done a grocery haul...and this one may be one of my favorites...simply because it shows all of the craziness and family stuff that I usually edit out or try to keep off film.



Turns out...our life and all it's craziness is pretty cool.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Problems With Breastfeeding

Please note that I starting writing this a few weeks ago but never got the chance to finish it until now. This all took place about 2-3 weeks ago...so watch for more updates coming your way (hopefully) soon!! xoxo



I had wanted to do a video update about Isa's and my breastfeeding journey, however, time does seem to slip away from me before I seem to pick up the camera.

If you watched our 1 month update video HERE, you know that Isabel's doctor has been slightly worried about her weight gain. Mainly that it seems to be very slow.

Her doctor asked me if I would be willing to meet with one of the lactation consultants that they have on staff at the pediatrician's office (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this office?!!) and, I'll admit, at first I was wary. I have been breastfeeding for over 4 years. I really didn't feel like meeting with a LC like I was some kind of newbie. I know how uppity that sounds and I don't mean to...but we all have things that we are proud of...my breastfeeding "skills" are one of my things. ::shrugs:: But I do want to make sure that I am doing all that I can to ensure Isabel is happy and healthy.

So I agreed to meet with the LC (Lactation Consultant).

My appointment was NOTHING like what I was thinking! Molly, the LC that I met with, was so extremely friendly and helpful! Here's how our appointment went....

As soon as we came in, she weighed Isabel. Then she asked me if I would be comfortable removing my shirt to nurse Isabel skin-to-skin. I had no problems with that, so once I removed my shirt, she had me lie down on the couch in the LC room.

She placed Isabel on top of me, not really near my nipple, and we watched. Isabel fairly quickly began scooting herself across my body and found my nipple all by herself! She was able to latch on initially and nurse a bit but soon "lost" her latch and struggled to relatch.

I sat up and latched her on and she was, once again, able to nurse for a few minutes before losing her latch.

We tried different positions to help her regain her latch...all to no avail.

She took a look in Isabel's mouth and concurred with Isa's doctor: posterior tongue tie.

But then she found something else interesting: Isabel has a high palate.

Meaning the roof of her mouth is higher than normal. That, paired with the tongue tie, poses a big problem with breastfeeding. See, when a baby nurses, their tongue basically pushes the mother's breast (the part inside of baby's mouth) against the roof of their mouth. It's kind of like a wave motion and that's how the baby nurses.

But in Isabel's case, her tongue is tied down to the floor of her mouth. She'd have a hard time pushing my breast against the roof of her mouth anyways...but since the roof of her mouth is even higher than what is considered "normal", it's extra hard for her. That's why she's unable to maintain a latch for very long.

Molly said with resignation that she rarely EVER promotes using a nipple shield except in extreme cases. But she feels that Isa is one of those cases. A nipple shield is what it sounds like, sort of...it's like a shield made out of super thin silicone that's shaped like a nipple. It goes over the mother's actual nipple to help baby get a better grip, so to speak; to help them achieve and maintain their latch. So we tried nursing with a shield.

It didn't work. She just screamed and screamed, mainly out of frustration.

Though she wasn't able to nurse for very long, we weighed her again, just to see how much milk she had drank. It ended up being over 2 ounces.

Molly had a few suggestions to help Isabel get more calories, though:

I can nurse, as usual, but also add in a couple of pumping sessions.

I can use a Haakaa to collect breast milk from the other breast while Isa is nursing on the other.

I can begin nursing Isabel anytime she even begins to remotely show interest in nursing. Even if she's not fussing or crying. Basically, if I see her lick her hand (a classic sign of looking for milk, even if just for comfort), offer her the breast.

I can also massage and sort of manually express milk while she's nursing to encourage the fattier hindmilk to reach Isa faster.

She also recommended scheduling an appointment with a well-known and oft-recommended pediatric ENT here in Atlanta to get her frenulum clipped (to get rid of her tongue tie). She said that he is typically booked a month in advance, so that I could just schedule the appointment and just wait and see what happens at Isabel's 2-month Well Child Checkup appointment in 2 weeks to see if there is any improvement in her weight.

As the final part of my appointment, Isabel's pediatrician came in to review and give his ultimate decision on what he recommends. Molly went to powwow with him first, to try and convince him not to tell me to supplement with formula.

When he came in, he was all smiles. He said that there was a definite improvement in her weight gain, albeit a very small improvement. She went from gaining a mere .5 oz per day to .7 oz!

But she went from being in the 4th percentile for her age/weight to being in the 3rd.

But he said that he was still happy that there was an increase in her weight gain...he just would like to see her to get up to 1 oz per day.

He did not suggest supplementing with formula. In fact, he said that she was looking a little more "filled out" than she did at her 1 month Well Child visit.

He also said that he was not convinced that she needs her tongue clipped. Ironically, Molly said that out of all of the doctors that she works with, he's the most on-board with understanding the impact tongue-ties have on the breastfeeding journey. (She said that many doctors feel that tongue ties really aren't a "thing". What?!) He actually said that he did not feel that I needed to take her in to have it clipped.

That made me happy. I really didn't want to have it done, nor did Antonio. But we would definitely let the doctor's opinion weigh heavily in our decision making. And he said that he didn't think it needed done! ::whew::

So now the game plan is for me to just nurse super frequently and see if she can get her calories in that way. Hopefully we will see a difference at her next doctor's visit!

Wish us luck!! xoxo