New Blog, New Me

Whos with me?

Why did I go from eating junk food, fast food, fried stuff, lots of red meats, too-large portion sizes, cookies, cheese on everything, and other naughty things all of the time. Well isnt that apparent? can eat junk like that all the time and be healthy. Its just not possible. I got tired of it. Enough. You know? Time for something drastic and long-lasting. Time for a new me! May 2012 I became a vegetarian and enter a whole lifestyle change.

Since then I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning and progressing, for me that’s what it is all about .. Progress not perfection! Progressing towards a completely plant based diet, towards someone who uses food as fuel not therapy, towards a mom who is confident and fierce. I’ve been feeling like it’s placed on my heart to start a new blog series, that’s also tied to my other social media accounts, which highlights the plant based/meat free diet. Starting in November each month will have a different theme and once a week I’ll post topics related to that. Themes like: 1) How to eat meat free on the cheap! 2) How to get all your protein from a plant based diet. 3) How to eat out while sticking to a veggie meal…

I get told a lot from people that they want to cut back on how much meat they are eating but are not sure where to start. Or even if its possible. I want to say – “Yes it is totally possible and here is a little info on how to do just that.” Maybe one day Ill get my ducks in a row and become a PiYo instructor and get a weight loss management certification. Become truly too legit to quit and all… But, admittedly I am not a personal trainer, Im not a nutritionist, I am not a size 2, and I dont have some body building 6 pack. So why am I even qualified to talk on this subject?

Well I am passionate about it and Ive stuck to it even through some struggles. Ive had many many people attempt to talk me out of not eating meat. It makes some people uncomfortable. Im not sure why but it does so they make it their goal to bring my diet up in conversations whenever they can, to persuade me to “go back”. No one cared enough to talk to me when I was 230 lbs, eating fast food multiple times a week, and clearly making bad choices all of the time! No one gently sat me down to have a heart to heart about what effect my diet and lack of exercise played on my health. None of these people seemed all that concerned when my choices lead me to getting gestational diabetes; while they saw me testing my blood sugars 4 times a day and restricting my foods to make sure I was staying within safe ranges for baby. Nope not a word to my face. However, after I decided I don’t want to eat any animals, limit the animal products (milk/eggs/cheese), and focus on eating more plant-based foods – that’s when people wanted to say something. Go figure? I know what its like to face opposition and my passion for my diet has helped me to not stop.

My passion drives me to learn more about the nutrition side. I love finding new foods and nutrition programs that will help me get closer to my goals. When I started out in 2012 I knew nothing. Not a single thing! I joined private Facebook groups, I scoured Pinterest, blogs and Instagram, I connected with like minded people, and I discovered some fantastic professional foodies/chefs. I honestly like looking stuff up! So if I didnt know an answer I’d dig around until I found it. Those all have been what has helped me stay on this path, but it did take some time. There are so very many different resources out there for vegan and vegetarians that it can get a little overwhelming, which is the exact opposite of what a newbie needs. Ive found some great resources from experts and the opportunity to have a forum where they can all be compiled together would be amazing.

While I know some would disagree with the method (meat free eating) I do feel led by the Lord to share my passion with others. He has given me a heart for helping people. I can feel that so clearly. The pull to want to come along side the person I was back in 2012 and help her see that there is a better way. To tell that frazzled mom: You don’t have to live in the prison of obesity, there is a better way, you can become comfortable in your skin, you can find happiness through exercise, and you can work at getting victory over the struggle of being overweight. As I am working for those things myself, I feel the Lord asking me to step out in faith because He has placed this passion in my heart for a reason. So my goal during this veggie series is to help others while honoring God. 

Check back on Mondays for the new blog posts that correlate to the monthly topic. You can also leave your email address to be added to the subscription list. Today was an introduction. I wanted to put my heart out there about why Im starting this in the first place. Next Monday Ill cover the main reason why I changed my diet to vegetarian – What are the health benefits of a plant based diet? (This wont be me ranting over eating animals. I wont go all crazy lady on ya. Lol. :P Nor will I be talking out of my butt. Ill give info from various professionals on the positive sides to a plant based diet and you can make the decision yourself about how you feel.)

Im excited! Who’s with me? 

Plant based vegetarian blog series trystea

Who needs accountability?

Meeee, this girl does! Last week went sideways. I could list plenty of reasons but pretty much they all boil down to .. I took a week long break from all things. Lol. I managed to survive with the 3 kids and hubby in tow. Bleh. Even when you are so very much wanting to change things and make better choices, sometimes you’ll have a hiccup and come to a halt. Getting back to it by making plans and setting a goal will help you start turning those gears again.

My plan: follow the 21 Day Fix and train for a 5K Thanksgiving run
My (short term) goal: Lose 15 more pounds

The people over at Beach Body finally listened to all the voices asking them more a more reasonable vegan 21 Day Fix eating plan. They way the plan was before, the only vegan sources of protein allowed were tofu, tempeh (which is tofu-like), Shakeology, and a very vague “veggie burger”. Thats just not enough choices and no one wants to eat 4 servings of tofu a day! I did the whole 21 days before, eating only vegan foods, but it was pretty limiting.

But they recently edited the 21DF plan to include many more plant based sources of protein, along with a new break down of carbs, and a change in the 21DF container amounts. Which made this girl super happy!!! I can do the plan while focusing on eating a vegan diet and actually continue the nutrition plan after the 21 days is over! (Why do I <3 this plan so much? They have a pretty great listing of yummy and healthy foods you can eat, you use their recommendations for calorie bracket and container amounts, cook the food, measure it in the containers, and eat the allowed containers for that day. Its really simple and takes little thought.)

I just prepped my meals for the next 3 days. Why 3 days? I figured out that batch cooking for any longer then that takes too much time, the food doesnt stay super fresh, and I start getting tired of eating it after 3 days! Im posting not exactly to get anyone to join (although, hello, you totally should join!) but to have the accountability of putting it out there. Encouragement and accountability. Because I want to lose the stupid final 15 pounds that have been hanging around. And I want to show that this nutrition plan is very do-able (even for people with dietary needs or restrictions, like no animal products). It can be done. You can do it. I HAVE done it (after baby no. 2) and I WILL do it again this time. Woop Woop!

  • Breakfast : Smoothy (Shakeology, Salad greens, Banana, 2tsp chia, water)
  • Lunch: Quinoa, Tempeh, String beans, Mushrooms
  • Snack: Apples, Nuts, 2teasp peanut butter
  • Dinner: Brussels sprouts, snow peas, tofu, Sweet potatoes, hemp seeds, 1tsp oil
  • Snack: Edamame, Cauliflower, Brown rice

21 day fix vegan

Who do you compare to?

Do not compare yourself with others

My mom’s birthday was this week and we went back home over the weekend to celebrate. You know what that means? Lots of family and fun time. And lots of food… Birthday cake, s’mores, and pimento cheese sandwiches for days! Its all about balance, some days are great and other days are filled with pimento cheese. But that was my entire weekend.

When I got back to my house on Sunday night I was super sluggish, I climbed into bed but before I fell asleep I made an attack plan on how to get back on track this week. The only person I needed to be better than was the person I was the day before. That I can do! Instead of fretting over my weekend or comparing myself to someone else, I decided to focus on making better choices then what I had made over the weekend. Step 1: No more sweets or pimento cheese. Ha. Step 2: Search Google for some tips! Help and advice from the experts. Step 3: Make a plan and attack it! Here are my goals for this week:

Drink a ton of water. Go to bed 30 mins early. Eat meals from the 21 Day Fix Fixate cookbook. Dont eat after 9pm.

To put that into practice, I closed my kitchen at 9pm last night. Why? Late night snacking trips me up and thats when Im most likely to make that unhealthy choice. Something about after dinner ice cream while I’m watching The Walking Dead… mmm! However, studies specially show you will snack MORE if you’re watching something sad, scary, or action packed. (If you have a little extra time, read THIS, it details Cornell University’s findings on this subject and is really interesting!) So last night at 9 pm I closed my kitchen. No more eating. No mindless eating in front of the TV, no emotional eating, no more food. I made a hot cup of tea (straight tea with no sugar or milk), sat down and enjoyed that with my tv show..but that was it. I felt great making that decision.

Making simple, obtainable, specific goals to crush so that I can be better than the person I was yesterday.

Are you going too slow?

If you haven’t noticed, its fall! Its getting cooler so that means hoodies, Clemson football, fires in our fireplace, scarves, pumpkin everything. We also have several birthdays to celebrate in our family (my moms, mine, my hubby, the threenager) … I absolutely love fall time as it reminds me of new beginnings and special memories.

I’m right in the middle of my PiYo Challenge but the outdoors keeps calling me! I think it’s time to start running again, as fall has always been my FAVORITE time to run. It was during this time, 3 years ago that I started running. Something about being outside under the sun, in the cool crisp air. It clears my head and keeps me happy. I keep saying I want to start back so time to dust off my running shoes.

On Tuesday morning the hubby took the kids to the gym while I stayed home. I was going to work out and do house work, however after I completed PiYo Sweat, I took one look outside and was out the door. Off running before I could talk myself out of it…


My first run in ages! I had a goal in mind about how far I wanted to run, it went a little like this … Ok when I get to the end of this street I’ll stop, no no, when I get to the end of that driveway I’ll stop, no wait, when I get to that mailbox I’ll quit, wait, when I get to the top of this hill I’m definitely finished … That was my entire internal dialog, with a little prayer here and there asking Jesus to help me. Until finally. I was truly done. A mile finished a little under 14 minutes.

Now I’m sure that might sound “too slow” to some people but eh. Coming from a girl who use to never ever exercise, *I* am proud of my 14 min mile! I ran for 14 mins straight. The thought of quitting because I’m going too slow never crossed my mind. A 14 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile! Woop! Shoot yeah I am excited because getting out there and trying is the accomplishment for me.

too slow run

On my run I had a goal in mind of how far I wanted to get and even though my abs were cramping, the legs hurt, my lungs burned, and that darn hill about killed me .. I made it! Which made me think, you know sometimes WE have to be our OWN cheerleader. Sometimes we are the ones that have to push ourselves, to look inward, to ask Jesus for a bit more strength to keep going. We are not always going to be surrounded by friends or children or a husband or a trainer to encourage us. It’s in those moments, when we are alone and faced with the choice to give up or keep going that we truly grow.

So weather it’s going on a run for the first time in a year, your usual workout or the daily healthy eating habits, or even something like housework! When you’re faced with the choice to either stop or keep going … Keep going! Be your own cheerleader. Push forward. Too slow? Never.

Can you see? LASIK detailed

So something exciting is happening on Saturday, Im getting LASIK! I have had several people ask me about the experience so I figured a blog post would be the easiest way for me to tell about it. I cant remember anything that Ive wanted longer then this, Ive been waiting for 12 years; ever since my optometrist first told me about it when I was 16. I had such bad vision, even back then. He said I needed to wait until I was about 21, when my vision stopped changing and my prescription evened out. Well 21 came and went but my vision continued to get worse so I wanted to wait and not rush the process.

So long glasses and contacts

So long glasses and contacts

In 2008 my husband had the LASIK procedure, happy college graduation to him, he had great results which just fueled my desire to get it done on myself. I remember sitting in the doctors office waiting for him to get out of surgery. His vision was just as bad as mine and as soon as he walked out – boom he could see! It was crazy. Recovery for him was not too bad, he had to wear these funny shields over his eyes at first to protect them. (Im pretty sure I have a picture of him, right after surgery, at home napping with the shields taped to his face. Hahaha. I wont share them here, though, he would kill me.) It took a few days to completely heal but afterwards he was good as gold. If you’d ask him he would tell you that it was a little painful. 7 years later and he hasn’t had any problems or issues.

I was hoping to have the procedure in 2011. I had a consult with the same doctors office that my husband used, they went through the testing and then at the end of the appointment I sat down with them to go over typical pre-surgery questions to determine if I was a candidate. How long have you worn your glasses/contacts? Do you take any medication? Have you ever had any eye trauma or an infection? … Could you be pregnant? –> Me pregnant? No! Nope. Nuh uh. Not pregnant. But I guess the lady could read my face as she got to that question. Well technically … I guess it could be a possibility ;) LOL. So she said we would hold off on going any further until I could test and confirm that I was not pregnant. — I rushed home, took a test, and discovered YES I was pregnant with baby 2! Woopsie. After calling her back and letting her know that the test was positive, she then told me that I was not a candidate for LASIK at that time, to wait until after delivery plus a few months to give my hormones time to settle down and my eyes a period to stabilize. Apparently pregnancy can make your vision change. I was kind of bummed. I mean, hurray for being pregnant. But. Wait longer for the surgery?!

So now after one more pregnancy and giving my eyes over a year to stabilize from that, its finally my turn!

What does the process look like? After I called and set up the first appointment, my doctor emailed a video series on the procedures and recovery. These were pretty inclusive and answered a lot of my questions. I thought it was a great way to inform me of what I will expect. Next I had my first consult, during which I had my vision checked and they give me a bunch of material to read, and they detail the procedure along with answering any questions you have. For me the was a piece of cake; they sat me down in front of different machines and had me look into the machine while holding my eye open and keeping very still, while the machine took a picture or particular measurement. It took about 20 mins, maybe.

However, for my husband the testing was a different experience. He was nervous going into it (where I was not) and during the part where they had him sit down in front of the machines, he could not hold his eye open big/long enough or sit very still. Which was not too much of a problem other then it taking longer for them to get the proper picture or measurement, because they had to repeat the test over and over.

Once all of the testing is done they do a typical eye exam, you know the one where they put that funny thing in front of your face and ask you if you can see the letters on the wall. The doctor answered all of my questions and decided how we should proceed because LASIK is not the only eye surgery offered, there are other similar procedures and the doctor talked with me about which one would be best. After I left the doctor’s exam I then went to the office to talk turkey… Pricing and payment info. No this is not a cheap thing! They do offer credit card type payment plans but you can go ahead and pay the full amount day of the surgery. We scheduled the surgery and all of the pre-op/post-op appointments. And she notified me that I had to take out my contacts and wear glasses 2 weeks before surgery date.

The second appointment I had yesterday, they redid all of the tests and eye exam – to see what the true results would be from me being out of my contacts and wearing glasses this past month. In my past blog about LASIK, I talked about how the doctor was not sure if I would be a good candidate for this because of scar tissue on my left eye. At the end of this appointment my doctor answered the big question – Yes I should be fine to have LASIK. Woot!

Pre-op instructions are pretty simple. I have to get 2 different eye drop medicines filled before surgery. The woman said they run $150 each (ouch) but that they were including a coupon to reduce the price to $35 each. (I havent gotten these filled yet so I do not know the actual price. Im hoping it is in fact $35!) One of them I have to use the day before surgery and the morning of surgery. They also gave me some eye cleaning wipes to use right after the drops. I have to wipe across my eyes, from temple to temple. She instructed me to also take 600 mg of ibuprofen the morning of because it acts as an inflammatory. I was also told to wear super comfortable clothes on the day of the exam, that they keep the room cold and will have a blanket for me to use to keep me comfortable. (Awe how nice, a blankie!) They will give me Valium to keep me calm and stress balls to squeeze in both hands to keep me still. It will take anywhere from 2-4 hours and I should be able to see fine right after but I do need my husband to drive me home. For the post-op instructions, she told me that once I get home Im going to want to take a nap. It will feel like there is sand or eyelashes in my eye and that my eye lids will act like a natural band aid so I need to keep my eyes closed. Rest for as long as I can. Basically, this mama will be out of commission for Saturday! Full recovery takes up to a week so no make up, rubbing, or touching my eyes. I will have to use those prescription eye drops for a period of time. I did forget to ask about exercise and sweating, although I am assuming I’m not going to want to get any sweat in my eyes while they are still healing. (Can you say OUCH!)

Post-op appointment will be 1 day after and 3 days after and they will check to make sure my eyes are healing properly. After that, I’ll be good to go.

My vision is so bad now that if I take off my glasses and look across the room, I cant even see shapes or colors unless they are high contrast. The other night my hubby stood a few feet in front of me and held up his fingers to see if I could tell how many he was holding up. Nope. Sitting here on the computer, if I take my glasses off the keyboard just looks like a black blob and the screen looks like a white glowing square. Everything blurs together so much that there are no other discernible colors or shapes. Not needing glasses or contacts to see, I cant wait to know what that feels like! 


Plan my what..?

Today in my Fall into Fitness PiYo Challenge I did the Core workout. One of my favorite in the PiYo series because I know I have a bit of a mommy tummy to deal with and I want some abs! I’ve never had them before. However, along with the core exercise, diet is key to leaning out and getting those abs to show through. When I hear experts and trainers talk they consistently agree that you cant out exercise a bad diet.

I like to meal plan on Sundays, keeping in mind I need to use whats already in my kitchen … because I’m cheap and I want to go ahead and use what I already have. Here is my meal planning menu for this week. Its all animal-free, I cook enough for myself and my family and then my hubby will cook the meat for every one else (Im the soul vegetarian). For some of the meals I’m using the Beachbody Fixate cook book (so if you want a review of that particular meal or curious about ordering it ($15), shoot me a comment and I can walk you through that). I also find a lot of recipes on Pinterest! Its flooded with healthy options but you do have to pay attention to the ingredients because not all are meat free.
  • Shakeology with unsweetened coconut milk and banana
  • M- Spicy tofu and cabbage, baked sweet potato, broccoli
  • T- Fixate Zoodles with veggie tomato sauce
  • W- Cauliflower steaks with mushroom gravy and roasted sweet potatoes
  • T- Leftovers
  • F- Veggie burger, baked beans, and slaw
  • S- PB&J (lol)
  • M- Fixate chili over wheat pasta
  • T- Leftovers
  • W- Fixate stuffed bell peppers and peas
  • T- Burgers, baked beans, corn
  • F- Tofu, carrots, and green beans
  • S- Grilled veggies with brown rice
As a busy, homeschooling mom I really do not have the time or energy to cook some over the top meals but all of these are very do-able. Plus with a little prep work (cleaning and chopping veggies, batch cooking the tofu) I dont actually have to spend very much time cooking it because a lot of the work is already done. Score!
meal planning menu
Meal planning Sunday, join me! I found this super cute Meal Planning template on Pinterest to make it even easier to keep track of grocery store items and daily menu.

What if I fail?

Social media can be a fantastic tool but it can also be a big ole lie! Its super easy to post only the great moments, the good days, the times when you are spot on with your nutrition and exercise, and only showing the after pics. People only showing their highlight reel and never talking about the insecurities or challenges they face. (Well, I guess there are those people who never have battled anything difficult in their life, but I am not one of them.) I do not want to be guilty of publishing a fake version of myself which is why this post is important to me.

Today starts Week 2 of my Fall into Fitness PiYo Challenge. I have some fantastic challengers who are killing it, so far they have totally exceeded all the goals they have set for themselves. It does take a commitment in both money and time; an investment in their health and dedication to stick with the challenge for the 60 days. Along with being inspired by their awesome work, I think its important for me to be completely honest with where I am at in this challenge to: 1) show the progress you can expect, 2) help encourage others that yes I struggle too, 3) I think when you share something personal about yourself that it ties you closer to the people around you.

It’s easy to share when you’ve gotten to the finish line and can show what you’ve accomplished … but its so hard to share when you’re just at the starting point. What if I fail? What if I don’t accomplish my goals? What if I get made fun of? What if? Especially with such a sensitive topic as weight loss. Every single person has an area in life that they struggle with. My struggle just happens to be weight related and I’m fighting to overcome that. Its not a brave thing to share when you have made it to the other side of that trench and have overcome the problem. It is brave thing to share while you are in the middle of fighting to dig yourself out of the hole. And I am still in the fighting stage.

That brings me to this post. My “Before” pics, I took these last week right when I started the challenge so they are really my current pics. No trying to stand in a way that made me look super cute for the camera, no trying to suuuuck it in, no hiding. I posted the pic on my Instagram because I appreciate the support, encouraging comments and love I get there. I haven’t shared them anywhere else because I was a little … nervous.

These shorts I got 2 summers ago when I had originally lost 50lbs. I remember getting them and loving how they fit. I was so happy and confident! I tried them on at the start of this summer and I couldn’t even button them! No amount of jumping up and down, wiggling, sucking in my gut, nothing I did made these babies close! I am happy to say that now they button! So that’s progress. I was even able to get them to zip! But I would never wear them out in public because of how dreadfully uncomfortable they are. Squishing my stomach and not cute. No.

Progress Pants

So here are my Progress Pants. The scale can say whatever it wants to. I have stopped caring what the number is. But my clothes dont lie. I am determined to fit comfortably into these babies by the end of my PiYo Challenge. (Which means, yes I will be wearing white after Labor Day, ha!) Losing inches and gaining confidence, those are my goals. Even though it is a little scary to show the “Current” pic, I will because magic happens when you step outside of your comfort zone! 

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