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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? No.one. 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. 😛 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

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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 ❤ 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

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.
Breakfast
  • Shakeology with unsweetened coconut milk and banana
Lunch
  • 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)
Dinner
  • 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! 

How to make the best choice?

I can’t sleep! Everyone else is tucked in their nice, warm beds snoozing away and I’m on the computer typing. What a shame, not being able to sleep should not be one of the problems that a mom has. Its not fair, really. Lol. I kind of did it to myself though, the husband fixes an amazing cup of coffee and I made the mistake of having some later this afternoon. So now I’ve got a coffee buzz – but no sleep!

Something has been bothering me… What do you do when you know you’re about to make the wrong choices but you consciously do it anyways? Like that stupid cup of coffee. I knew good enough that it would keep me up later tonight then what I wanted to but I went ahead and had it anyways. (But really, mama needed her caffeine. Ha.) Or when you peruse the cookie isle at the grocery store, knowing that it wont do you any good to stand there – but you do it anyways. Then you get home and find that somehow the Oreo’s managed to find their way home with you. Woops. Did you know the serving size is 2 Oreo’s? Really. Who eats just 2?! Not me. Ever. I might have good intentions to eat just 2 but then I look down and have eaten 2 whole sleeves.

There is this constant battle between knowing what is good for you and actually doing it. I talk about this with my 10 year old all of the time but it applies to me just as much. I’ll tell him that in any situation you’re faced with you’re always going to be presented with several different choices – so pick the best choice. Best choice: Buying the bag of Oreo’s that I know I will inhale? No. Buy the bag of apples instead. Best choice: Drink the coffee because I’m so tired and grumpy and have seemingly convinced myself that I cant function without it, even at 5:oo in the afternoon? No. Drink a huge glass of water or decaf green tea and deal with no caffeine.

Which brings me to my point. Picking the best choice by exhibiting some self control and discipline. Prov 25: 28 “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”

It is easier said then done but the more you practice it – the better you’ll get at it. Im talking to myself here. No late afternoon coffee pick-me-ups anymore. :/ Sad but I know its not whats best for me. They get me jittery, cant fall asleep until late, and then I wake up late. Which throws off my whole day. Which just sends me back to the late afternoon coffee pick-me-ups. Instead of cutting it out completely, I’m going to choose to replace it with some (decaf) hot tea.

I’m starting a PiYo Challenge group the day after Labor Day. I ❤ PiYo and what it did for me the first time I tried it so I’m ready to see similar results again this time (increased strength, inches lost, smaller stomach, more flexible). I can not wait to do it in a challenge group form, working it with some friends and being inspired by their hard work will be amazing! But my number one thing that must happen – I’ve got to get out of bed in the mornings. Early. I want to have time to get the workout in before the kids are up and before the busyness of my day starts.

I really hate waking up early, ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you – do not even come at me before 9am. LOL! However, for this PiYo Challenge Im going to really put my self control in check. Along with eating clean and daily exercise .. Waking up at 6:30am (that pains me to say). Doing my normal morning routine, plus adding in the work out. And then cutting the crap in the late afternoon so that I am in bed at a decent hour. No more of this 1-2am nonsense. Working at mastering self control and discipline because I already know what the best choice is – but actually doing it is the hard part.

prov 25 self control

Where’d I go? Transformation

I talked about joining the #FitTeamInspire group in the post before last but for today I wanted to share some of the exciting results that Ive seen! Since joining and becoming part of the Beachbody community at the end of last year I decided to throw my dedication into this new avenue. I had lost 50 lbs after delivering kiddo #2 but I did it all on my own. This time around, after baby #3, I really wanted to connect with others and have an extra push.

Our #FitTeamInspire has hosted several challenge groups that I completed: the PiYo and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs. I also used the Focus T25 workout dvds.. as well as continuing with cardio and Zumba class at my gym. Ill be honest, Focus T25 was my least favorite program, its a lot of jumping (plyometrics is the fancy term) and ya girl just isn’t good at that! Its hard and uncomfortable and sucks. Lol. I guess its a good kind of hate. My goal is that once I loose a little more weight, to start and complete T25! The instructor, ShaunT, makes the workouts killer, its a no-joke kind of thing because he demands that you give it everything you’ve got and requires you to focus only what you’re doing. The workouts are short but boy do they work you!

PiYo and Zumba are my exercise loves; PiYo is like yoga on crack, only body weight is used so it makes me feel strong. The progress I saw with this one was slow but once I started noticing a change it was like, BOOM, hello muscles! Plus it is easy to take the moves and use them wherever, when I was on vacation in Key Largo I did PiYo on several mornings. Zumba is ridiculously fun and leaves me feeling oh so sexy! I take the class at my gym and its heavenly for when I need an hour of kid-free time. Finally, 21 Day Fix Extreme is THE program for getting your diet in check. It really helped me tune in to what I was eating and knock out any unhealthy habits. Its fool proof in that the lady who developed it did all the hard work for you, all you have to do is follow the directions and you’re good as gold.

I know that sounds like a lot of different kinds of programs but I love switching it up. Trying new things keeps my interest and helps me stay dedicated because Im never bored. As opposed to just going to the gym and running on the treadmill, yawn! I took a pic of myself before I started with the programs and then again last week, to compare. Sometimes it feels like progress is at a standstill – if the scale wont budge or if I have an off week – but these pictures don’t lie.

Before and After weight loss with Beachbody I’m pretty stoked with the progress! I’m toying around with doing another round of the 21 Day Fix Extreme because I appreciate the dummy-proof program and I think that’s exactly what I need right now with homeschooling starting back. Crazy schedules means this mama doesn’t have the time to mess around. Ain’t no body got time for that! So while this picture shows a before and after – I’m determined to make this “after” my new before!

I wanted to share what I had been doing because I know when I see some else’s transformation I want to know exactly what they did to get their results. There are innumerable different programs & eating plans out there that are suppose to help people get fit, lose weight, get stronger, be leaner, have a sexy body, and be healthy. However, the key is to be dedicated and consistent with whatever it is you’re doing.

Trust the process

Why dont you act?

Its a pretty simple question, why dont I act? When faced with choosing something that is good for me I tend to try and talk myself out of doing it! Ill come up with a list of excuses, tasks to do instead, or reasons why it wont matter if I simply dont act. How many times have I woken up in the morning and faced tasks that I should do (eating a healthy breakfast, working out, doing some kind of a chore -laundry ugh-, or even spending time with my Lord in prayer and scripture reading) and instead of doing them, I simply dont. Ill talk myself out of it and choose to other things. (Netflix marathon of The Walking Dead, yes please!)

This past Friday the family and I were driving back from our vacation in Florida back to our home in South Carolina, we stopped in Walmart to stretch our legs and grab a few snacks for the road. We all split off and headed in different directions to go find what we wanted (no worries, the hubby had the little kiddies with him), when we met back up I somehow managed to have a package of Reese’s Cups in hand. (Um, Im not quite sure how they jumped off the shelf and into my hand, but they sure did!)

My hubby and I got to talking about how impulsive I can be. I have no problem grabbing a candy bar from the check out counter, its an impulsive move and almost an automatic move for me. (Stupid grocery stores and their junk food traps!!!) We get to the check out and I start scanning the chocolate to see if theres something I want. I know I struggle with making not so good impulsive choices but when it comes to the good ones, I can talk myself out of doing them without any problem.

BeMoreImpulsive

Recognizing that this is an area where I struggle has helped me make baby steps, I know its a problem and I know I can work at fixing it. Its like when exercising a muscle, the more you target that area the stronger it’ll become. The more you replace bad habits with healthier ones, the more automatic they will become! You wont have to talk yourself into things like eating good food, working out, being productive, praying and reading your bible … because itll become like second nature. Be more impulsive with healthy choices.

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