Category Archives: Health

100 Days of Real Food Cookbook – GIVEAWAY



NUMBER ONE on the New York Times Best Seller List! Congratulations Lisa!


Unknowingly, to me in March of 2012, our lives were about to change for the better. I participated in a 10 day challenge to eat real food. I had NO CLUE what was about to happen. NONE.


Read as we began our challenge here including a sample of our menu.

Read our experience here, including the changes we saw in our health.

…and a month after we completed the challenge here, how I was feeling and what we were doing.



The changes are real, long lasting, and profound.

Yet, this last year our family made a move from Ca to Missouri. It was an incredibly difficult time leaving the only home we had ever known and venturing over half way across the country. During these weeks and months, cooking meals from scratch and paying high attention to what went into our bodies took a back burner, AND BOY did we see the effects of that. It is amazing what happens when you start putting Taco Bell burritos and Chick Fil A sandwiches back into your body. No good can come of that, I assure you. It didn’t take long to get a hold of things again.  We are back on track.  Thank goodness.

If you hear nothing else, please hear this.

I urge you to try the 10 day challenge. Just try it and see if it makes a difference. Prior to this challenge, I fed my kids what I thought was “healthy” off the grocery store shelves. We had chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, cereal, and soup that cost $.19 cents a package. I thought I was doing well, as a mom feeding my kids. Little did I know that 2 of my children, in particular, have a HUGE negative reaction to what I was feeding them. Want a true test? Take all the processing, chemicals, and absolute fake food away and then give your child a bag of “dark skittles” (skittles that have extra food dye in them, basically). I watched my child turn angry, withdrawn, and miserable within hours. It’s the worst feeling as a mom. Absolutely horrible. Yet, if you think about it, I basically fed my child a bag of chemicals that are also some of the same ingredients that they use to make gas, like the gas you put in your car. Why would I ever do this, I wonder? Well back then, I didn’t know any different. Knowledge changes you.

I just didn’t know that this was happening.

Now I do and I have to do something about it.

“The ugly comes when I haven’t grocery shopped and the house is EMPTY and the kids need lunch NOW because they have been at church all morning and are starving. Ordering Mountain Mikes Pizza just may mean a day of stomach pain and feeling like a huge blob with no energy. I am guessing when you maintain a steady stream of highly processed foods that involve sugar and other additives, you become used to it. When you are truly eating clean and you put some of those processed foods back in your body. Watch out. I am sure everyone responds differently, but it’s not a fun thing. Trust me.”



It is a constant learning curve to navigate all the situations you encounter as a busy family living in a society that demands instant gratification and has deep emotional connections to food as an intregal part of our daily lives and celebrations. It is work to change these things. Work that is WELL worth it.

Lisa, writes a story about my son Cameron and what our family has been through in the beginning of her new book. Honestly, it is so exciting to be a teeny tiny small part of this amazing project. I had always been intrigued with healthy eating. Lisa’s blog breaks it down and makes it something you can understand. She has helped my family tremendously. Thank you just isn’t enough.

This book is phenomenal. It is a must have.

Look here to see more about what is inside!

Lisa has sent me TWO copies to give away!

Good luck! If you don’t win it, buy it, or put it on your Christmas list. Lisa’s recipes are a regular part of my cooking and have been for two years. They are delicious.

You won’t be sorry.

Best Wishes!



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Why Whole 30?

Whole 30

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the 100 days of real food blog, and I went down a road that I just can’t go back. What started off as a fun 10 day challenge {read about our results here} became the beginning of a whole new way of eating. Everything changed. The benefits that we as a family experienced were collectively too big to ignore. In just 10 days! We had the privilege of telling our story, through Melanie Warner, in a recently published book Pandora’s Lunchbox and the most interesting part about it was having the author in our home for a day as she interviewed us and hung out with our family. Picking her brain on her knowledge was so fascinating. It further cemented our changes and our commitment.

It is tough sometimes. This past year has been a lot of changes in our lives and we slipped farther than I would have dreamed back towards our old style of eating. I blame the C word. Convenience. As we have become settled in our new home, we are returning back to our healthy habits and I love it. I read a quote this morning that sums it all up.

What has been seen, can’t be unseen.

I had always been fascinated with healthy eating. I didn’t understand it. 100 days of real food blog made it SO simple to understand. Basically it boils down to this. VERY little of what you buy at a regular chain grocery store contains 100% actual food. Start reading labels. Everywhere. Give the products to your kids. If your 2nd grader can’t read the ingredients…Put. it. back. Better yet pick one of those ingredients that you can’t pronounce and google it. Figure out where it comes from, why it’s there, and what the side effects or dangers are. Then make an educated decision.

Is it more expensive? Yes.

Is it more time consuming? Absolutely.

What I finally had to realize is my health should not be determined by what money and time I have left over. Food is important. Eating well is important. Our food budget is now a non negotiable. I have worked hard to find ways to make it as low as possible, but we raised our budget by 25%. We feel it is worth it.

I used to think I was doing pretty good. I bought dinosaur chicken nuggets because they said all natural and boxes don’t lie, I thought. I bought wheat bread. We didn’t regularly consume boxes of pop tarts, Oreos, and chips. In fact, I rarely bought them. What I did not know was that sugar was in basically every single thing I was feeding myself and my family from spices to chicken. Many of the staples of our diet consisted of chemically induced, factory generated, ingredients that resembled real food, but in fact was not. I honestly was shocked the further I studied.

We are still finding our balance and likely will always struggle to some degree, because we live in a “give it to me now” society. It is no longer the accepted norm to spend an hour to prepare dinner. Not that it has to every night, but you get my point. Faster = better. There is always more to learn and I strive for progress, not perfection.

As this new found knowledge has collided with my desire to be physically healthy, I found Whole 30. It was the missing piece for me.

I have a basic knowledge of my food and what I am eating and NOT and that is awesome, but it is time to turn to balance, how I eat, and why I eat. The next level.

It Starts With Food

Buy it. Read it. Try it. Whole 30 is just 30 days. It cost nothing.  It is just 30 days. I haven’t even made it through yet, but I know what I am going to find on the other side.

Whole 30 does not require supplements, shakes, pills, drops, or anything else. You EAT FOOD! For me, it really made sense. Absolute sense.

You eat the food God created, the most nutrient dense food you can find, and your body responds in amazing ways. It all boils down to that.

What if the migraines you suffer with your whole life could disappear because of a change in what you eat? What if you could feel more energy? I could go on and on, but look at it this way…


The ingredients off of a chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A: (straight from their website)

chicken (whole breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoned coater [enriched bleached wheat flour {with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening {baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, spice, soybean oil, color {paprika}], milk wash [water, nonfat milk, egg], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane as an anti-foaming agent]), bun (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: liquid yeast, soybean oil, nonfat milk, salt, wheat gluten, soy flour, dough conditioners [may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylates, calcium peroxide], soy flour, amylase, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate], calcium propionate added to retard spoilage, soy lecithin, cornstarch, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), pickles (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, potassium sorbate [preservative], natural flavors, polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1).


I learn this new road because I don’t want chemicals coloring my pickles. I just don’t anymore.

There is another option.

You can buy bread with five ingredients.

You can buy and eat real food. The way God made it.

Try it for 30 days and see, but you may never ever ever go back.

I am finishing up day 5.

I want to feel amazing. I want to have enough energy to do what it is God has me on this earth to do. That is the bottom line. So, I am turning to His creation to do that. Food has far more influence on our day to day life then I think many times we give it credit for.

Have you even done a whole 30? Let me know your best tips if you have!

Happy Monday!



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Loving God

I used to write regularly about my health journey. Recovering eating disorder, yo yo dieter, and exercise addict that I was. I have learned so much in the past years since I really began to change my life in healthy ways. It has been a slow and terribly painful process. I am not very nice to myself. I do NOT have any concept of how to live “in the middle”. Balance is a bad word in some areas of my life. These are areas the Lord has been working in my heart tremendously.

I have never written about anything else that has had the same response as when I write these posts. I have connected with people and have pen pals and prayer partners and it has all been pretty encouraging. Until one day, I was the brunt of someone’s cruel words. My worst fears being talked about behind my back. You see, I like control and I like victory. I like it a lot. I expected that when I decided to get healthy from the inside out that it would happen quickly. However, the war that was taking place in my soul was this: I know how to manage my weight, but not one tool I use is healthy. After I read Made to Crave, I had such a deep desire to give God this area of my life, but I created chaos in the process. I didn’t know what to do. I planned to read the book, do the questions, get permanently fit, and be able to cross this problem area off my to do list. Heck, I even went on to teach the class twice. Here I was two years later, still blindly stumbling around and still trying to learn how to exercise moderately, eat healthy, and do so in a way that had me at a healthy weight. BUT as I learned I had layer, after layer, after layer of issues I needed to deal with. I had been so open and transparent with my journey that I began to fear what people might be saying about me. That I wasn’t making progress, that I still needed to lose weight, that all of these efforts were doing nothing. Then it happened. Those words were said in the cruelest of ways and that fact killed me. I don’t know how people can possibly be so downright vicious. It’s never fun when your worst feelings of failure are brought out into open and used so carelessly for other’s entertainment.

It honestly sent me spiraling and I shut my mouth, tight. I chose to go down another path of another program that I thought would work great, and faster, and then it didn’t “fix” me. Because the reality is I am not after solely a healthy physical body, I want even more than that to learn what I am supposed to, give God ALL areas of my life, and live with absolute peace in my heart. I am not trying to be a super model, but I will not settle for mediocrity. I firmly believe that God calls us to take care of our bodies the BEST that we can. Whatever we “look” like is not really up to us, but the choices made on a daily basis in these areas are. I know how to over exercise and under eat with the best of them and honestly what fueled that discipline was control and anger and as I lay my control at the foot of the cross the results were no longer something I seemed to be able to attain. Praise God. I am having to learn how to do this like a stinkin’ little baby. From scratch. From the very beginning and it is messy. Super messy. Give me a capitol S and a capitol M. I have never felt so human. Giving up your all to Jesus sounds pretty when you sing it in church. When you are down in the trenches dealing with deep past issues and pain it can be a lot more difficult.

I don’t remember a day not struggling in this area in my entire life and much like teenagers today cut themselves, girls back in my day punished their bodies mercilessly with all kinds of horrible things and I quickly and without much thought joined right in and developed a big issue. A big internal issue that I chose to begin talking about recently. I recently read something online where a gal had gained a big chunk of weight in a short time and was embarrassed to go to her dr. She finally did and as the dr. entered the room, she quickly began explaining her weight gain when he stopped her and said, “we all have scars, some are just more visible than others.” Amen. and Amen.

So true. My flesh desperately wants to bury mine. However, doing so leaves me trapped. It’s not an option.

So, this is the road I am on. I still am on it. God is here. I am learning. I am mad, frustrated, happy, and hopeful in the best way.

I have quoted Lysa’s book many times on this blog, particularly the line where she says, “This is a spiritual journey with great physical benefits.” I wholeheartedly agree. This journey is far more about my walk with Christ than my waistline.

You see, I don’t need one more program, one more eating plan with colorful containers to tell me what to eat, or one more app on my phone. Although all fabulous tools and ones I will continue to use…what I need is more of Jesus.

I surrender all.

A song easy to sing and hard to do.

I have started and stopped programs more times than I have put my socks on in this lifetime and yet every single time I get knocked down or fall and get back up there are lessons learned. Lessons riddled with humility and filled with His grace. I have learned so much about nutrition and fitness and tried so many different methods that it makes my head hurt. BUT, ya know what? None of them are my answer. Not one. I firmly believe Satan wants to keep our heads spinning. Try this, try that. This one will work. That one will for sure. The truth is they all work. Every single one of them works, if you do them. The truth is they all end. Jesus doesn’t.

It’s not about the program I choose, it’s about me. It’s about fear of trusting God in this area. It’s about fear to jump. It’s about the fact that it’s scary and living with my arms wrapped around myself is far safer than spreading my wings to fly.

Bottom line it is about learning that I can’t do this my way, on my own, and on my time table.

I learned at church recently about living in a state of constant desperation for God. While things that pull us away from God can take many many forms, this is mine. It will likely be a struggle for a long time and something I have to chose to constantly surrender to Him. Not doing it my way, but His. He made me in the first place. He knows what He is doing.

He is worthy of my praise.

He is worthy of my life.

I want to learn to obey Him in this area for the sole reason because I love Him. Not for better clothes,  kudos on FB, or even feeling better physically. Although none of those are bad things, my motivating factor must be obedience, to the one who laid down His life for me, and knit me together.

It’s become a very personal issue between me and Him. A struggle that has taken me years to realize to the depth that I do that I am absolutely incapable of doing this without Him.

Moving 1800 miles across the country and leaving behind everything and everyone I know and love has unraveled me in the best way.

May we all learn to live in a state of constant desperation. Dreaming God size dreams.

and loving Him…

above all else.







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My Truth.

I am deeply excited about my health journey. Not because after 2.5 years I still have not reached my goal weight and stayed there. Rather, because I have been running to Jesus to ask Him for help, to learn to know Him better, to live with Him in the number one spot in my life. I have talked many times about Made to Crave. One sentence that stuck out to me in early 2011 when I started this path of being healthy is that ,”It is a spiritual journey, with great physical benefits”. Lysa TerKeurest is, in fact, quite right.

I have been super transparent with this journey and held nothing back. This has brought me support, connection with others, and criticism and while the criticism can be hard, that is o.k. The main thing that God has been reminding me lately, very loud and clear, is that He loves me. He has also been teaching me to keep my eyes upward and not on other people. What may be right for one, may not be right for another. Our struggles are all different.

I have prayed for God’s help for a long time in regards to my health. Then one article I read talked about processed food being created to actually cause us to crave it. Light bulb and a serious oh my gosh moment ensued. So, I am eating food that makes me crave more, overeating it, and then I pray to God for help to not eat it and be healthy. Anyone wanna stand in the freeway and ask God to save us with me? Seriously, it’s pretty much the same thing.

So, FOR ME, I feel like this journey has led me to a permanent change in my food. I was searching for a way to follow a nutrition plan to guide me into that change. I am a straight carb girl and I mean almost 100%. My foods have become more unprocessed and clean over the last year, but still remain a lot of carbs.

After I finished Insanity last year, I panicked. I was tripping out on how to have a plan and not make it my idol or my saving grace. This may sound like a hot mess of crazy, but this is honestly where I have been. I was in search of the thing that would click and make it all work. You know what I have realized in the last month? I have had it all along. It’s Jesus and utter dependence on Him. Whatever tool or plan or program He leads me to to follow, I still need Him to make it work long term. The plans are o.k. How I used them were not.

So, for some sheer honesty…I was getting kind of anxious because I had a fear that somewhere, sometime, someone would point out the amount of effort I have put forth and the lack of outward results that have come from it. The scale is not reflective of the work I have done, but my heart is and no one may be able to see that…yet. I am not going to be quiet about my health because too much good comes from bringing darkness to the light and there has been so much darkness in this area of my life.

I know my truth. I know my Jesus. I know my path.

I recently began a program of 121 days of crazy strict rules. A program designed at its core to teach healthy eating, reset your metabolism, and lose unhealthy weight. There is nothing like removing something from your life to realize its hold on you both emotionally and physically. This program is a perfect fit for me because it is addressing all of my personal vices. This program is a perfect fit because for the remainder of the 121 days I have given up control. That, my friends, is the core of my struggle. This program arrived in my life days after the morning conversation I had with God where I said, “You get it all. I’m all in. Whatever the cost.” It’s almost like He planned it.

Today, I have given my health completely to the Lord and what I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that He made our earthly bodies for His purposes and we are to maintain them for His glory. I have had too many problems over the years with eating disorders, control, yo yo dieting and the like, to think that I can remain divided. These dietary changes I am currently learning through this plan are permanent for me. That is the first time I can say that. They must be. For me.

The change is to eat a diet primarily of things God straight up created all on His own without our help.

He’s a pretty fantastic creator. He did it right. He thought of everything.

He knows what He is doing a million times over.

I. will. trust. Him.

Happy Monday, my lovelies! Have an awesome day!


P.S. the book that my family and I were in a small part of about our food changes has been released! It’s super good :) You can get your copy here.







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Insanity. A Real And A Little Bit Harsh Of A Post.

There is something to be said about diary style blogging. It may be “nicer” to have gone through something and then write about it when it’s done. You can be careful to insert the necessary and leave out the messy. That’s not really what is going on here. I am on this journey. This is my tale as it happens. I’ve had some huge discoveries in the last couple of months and they are messy and convicting for me.

Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. ~Albert E.

I read that the night before I began Insanity, the actual program. I thought it curious because here I was “geared up” for another intensive program. Part of it just didn’t feel right. I have done many programs, without the results I want. What was going to be different this time? I’m still missing something. I shrugged a shoulder and progressed anyway.

I recently finished Insanity. I did the first eight weeks, every work out and then on week 9, I stopped. I did it knowingly and I am o.k. with that right now. With my husband off work that week and it being the week after Christmas I decided to take a break. I am happy with the dedication I had and changes in my body that Insanity gave me. The results were indeed not completely what I wanted, but I did not complete the nutrition side up to where it should have been. The results not coming the way I wanted should be expected. The program itself is awesome and I have no doubt will achieve results if you do ALL OF IT.

It’s a funny named program. Appeals to the all or nothing types and probably seems ridiculous to the others? I am not sure. BUT one thing is I don’t really find it all that “insane”. Insane would be working out for like 8 hours a day. Then lets talk crazy. I’ll even buy you the cup of coffee for our chat. Insanity workouts in month 2 average 60 minutes, even less in month one. I don’t find that excessive really. It’s intense, yes, crazy hard. Insane, I don’t think so. Hard work outs for sure. Results are measured by the effort you put in. Great results requires hard effort. I loved it and am repeating it. Don’t let the name of it scare you away. Bottom line is I think most tools on the market are effective to some degree. You gotta find the ones you like. Like Beachbody says…Decide, Commit, Succeed.

Every step in this life long journey to better health is important. Every lesson learned {and there have been a ton for me} is part of the big picture. Once I dedicated myself to doing this the “right” way and seeking after God’s direction rather than the best quick fix that I could get my hands on, I began seeing results that had me on the road to lasting changes. The last couple of weeks have been incredibly intense in my own heart and head.

The thing I have realized most importantly is this:

*insert harshness*

We don’t get to decide what we are willing to do, do that, and then complain that the results are not what we want or are unfair. God set this gig up. He’s got it covered. In fact, the more I learn about real food (the food God made) the more in awe I am about God. The foods He made are truly incredible. The ones man has made, not so much.

We can not decide we don’t want to feel deprived, not eat the right portions, and then get upset and pray for His help. He must be sitting on the throne going, are you kidding me? It’s kinda like standing in the freeway in the fast lane and praying for His protection.

We can not eat a diet filled with processed food, sugar, caffeine and then complain about being tired.

We don’t get to run ourselves ragged and fill our lives so full of activity that we say “I just don’t have time to work out today” and then get upset because our pants stop fitting.

We also don’t get to decide that we are going to beat our bodies in submission to look perfect in our eyes and today’s standards and neglect every other responsibility in order to achieve that.

Our health must certainly take its rightful place. God gave us these bodies and we are to take care of them. He designed them so we need to take care of them HIS way not the way that we decide that we are willing to do it. The answer on how to take care of that requires the obvious information that we all know. Eat the right things. Eat less. Move more. Etc. Etc.

A lack of knowledge is certainly not the reason that way over half of Americans are obese.

*harshness over*

In total annoyance the other night about something totally unrelated to my health, I seriously kinda threw that “GOD, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HELP ME? You are supposed to be helping me” thing out there. Loud and clear the response….Are you doing your part? My humble answer to that was no, actually I am not. That’s kinda important.

Then I quickly connected it to this health journey. It has been a long time. A life time of eating disorders now in my past, the time spent on recovery has been valuable, not wasted. I have learned so much and am so grateful with all the work that God has done in my heart. It’s all been necessary. However, the last piece has been that I don’t want to give up the ability to eat what I want when I want. That’s just the bottom line and it isn’t comfortable to say that out loud, in case you are wondering. I hate feeling controlled. I hate being accountable. It isn’t so much about the food. It’s internal.

Up until recently, I was not aware of this in my own life. It’s taken quite some time to see it.

I need to come on my knees before the throne of the one who made me. Give Him my all, daily. Recognize that this is a huge tool that Satan uses to knock people down and keep them in bondage, quite literally. Give God my heart, soul, calories, and confess my resistance to His control in my life.

You see the thing I figured out LOUD AND CLEAR is that I don’t get to define the rules and then decided if I am going to live by them. He defines them and I obey. It’s really fairly simple.

This is all a process that God will remain faithful in guiding us to the foot of the cross. Whatever your path looks like or wherever it takes you is unique to you. There is no one fix cure all to anything in life. If there is one outstanding lesson in all of this is Run to Jesus. 

To me, taking care of this body in modern day America, is super challenging. Laura Ingalls didn’t have Krispy Kremes and Mercedes to distract her. {If they did, I am certain that Almanzo and her woulda been joy ridin’ down the main street of Walnut Grove.}

A healthy lifestyle takes a lot of discipline. It many times isn’t fun. It many times hits very deep issues and baggage I have and makes me want to go fetal. It many times is just plain hard.

It has to be done.

Yep. It. Does.

Let’s encourage each other in truth and not excuses. Love each other enough to say it like it is. That’s why I love Jillian. She yells it out. I love her passion. Let’s be that for each other (perhaps minus the yelling and swearing). Remind each other of our goals and the expectations that God has for us to take care of our bodies, in love, and maybe more importantly in honesty.

I had a total stranger tell me last Saturday {while in the midst of a conversation about working out}~ You look fine. Thirty pounds to lose these days is really not all that bad. You should be happy with where you are, you are doing great. It would be quite easy for me to adapt to that standard. However, in my heart I know that isn’t right because I don’t want to give up control of this area of health. It’s an internal issue and a spiritual one. I have been resisting it for a long time, cloaked in so many excuses and circular reasoning. I’m done.

Besides I don’t wanna live a not all that bad life. I wanna life a freakin’ fantastic knock it out of the park one and my health is directly related to my ability to do that.

I feel like an onion.

God’s been peeling the layers away one by one by one for a long time. I keep thinking, “oh crap, there is more to deal with? For the love…”. I kinda feel like I’m at the center now. He’s shown me the truth just like I asked Him to.

This is it.

What are you gonna do with it?







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Be Happy

This post is untimely for bringing holiday cheer. Now that we have that out of the way….

You know what is a miserable way to live? When nothing is ever good enough. I am recovering from that syndrome myself. I have spent most of my life never being satisfied with the outcome of something that I do. Always looking for how I can improve it the next time. It robs great joy. My heart just screams for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, BE HAPPY WITH SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!

o.k.? alrighty then.

Now, I fight it again because in a matter a few days now I will have completed Insanity. Fifty four workouts in sixty three days. I will have pressed play 54 times. Workouts ranging from 40-85 minutes. I have spent hours invested in making myself healthier. I have done fabulous, right? Well depends on who you ask :). I fell short of my goal. Again.

Really? um yeah, I did.

My nutrition choices did not match the success of my exercises. About week 3, I aborted the tracking process in regards to my weight and measurements. I am just not there yet. I can’t handle the numbers. They derail me and really I am doing the best I can and need to continue. It’s not like if the numbers are good I am going to stop working on my physical health. SO? for now they take a back burner. God is working so much on my insides, just like I asked Him too. It’s not as easy to measure that up in a nice little box.

I am going to focus on the positive. Just know that while I am writing this I am reliving the scene from Liar Liar where Jim Carrey is having a massive all out war in his office with his ballpoint pen. You know the one? The pen is b l u e. My fingers want to type out all of the things I need to improve on and where I fell short. While I think it is imperative to look at those things so that you can continue to move forward, the successes must be celebrated.  Celebrated without the buts…. (That was kind of a fun sentence to write). You know? That was good but….. I am happy about it but……

Sometimes you gotta STOP THE BUTS…

This morning I had a mind numbing revelation. I woke up and as I often do I thought about my day yesterday in regards to fitness. I stayed up late and busted out my workout. It was a good one too. Yay! I was happy, but then I remembered that I did not count my calories or track my food all day and my countenance fell and failure feelings came flooding in. I hopped out of bed and thought I am going to stick with my first thought…happy about my work out. Wouldn’t it just be nice to live with that all day? I think I shall. Then I kinda stopped and realized how twisted that conversation was. What if I started my day every day feeling like a success? What would life be like if I truly viewed myself the way the God of the universe views me?

Wow. I think JUST MAYBE I should. We all should.

So, on a less deep note. Insanity rocks. My plan is to finish next week, take a recovery week and do some light running and swimming, and then repeat month 2. I also have started wearing my armband again. I was having major issues with getting it to work, so I switched over to Jillian Michaels to track my information. I heart her and her site is awesome.

I actually love the place I am in right now because I have found tools that I love. I really don’t think the secret is finding which fitness tool works because I think most of them do on some level. I think the trick is finding which one works for you. I think Shaun T and Jillian is a pretty good combo. The basics. No frills. No gimmicks. Hard work , heart, and head knowledge should be a winning combo.

The biggest thing I have learned during Insanity is how to work hard. I think so many times in life we feel pain, get uncomfortable and instinctively stop and run away. All of these drills in Insanity teach you how to stay in it. There is breaks but you push yourself beyond what you are capable of on a regular basis and it’s life changing. I promise.

I previewed the DVD months ago, laughed, and said I would never do Insanity. Now it’s my favorite. Go figure.

In spite of all the areas that I need to improve on, I love how I feel every single day. Every movement is easier, I feel my muscles, I have way more energy and I look forward to my nightly husband approved work out date with Shaun T and me.

I’m a fan.

I am 2 seconds away from buying a Shaun T hoodie.

and my favorite news? I now can do push ups like the big boys do…on your toes. Three in a row. I have never been able to do them like that, not in my whole life. So 3 is pretty spectacular, right?





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The Greek God And The Beached Whale

I have a story.

I had turned 40. It had happened and I survived, barely. I had given birth to four children and I was ready to take back possession of my body and so the crazy took over to make it happen. After years of not being nice to myself physically, I wondered if it was possible to whack out my metabolism to the point of rebellion and it’s refusal to comply with my efforts. Was this even possible and how could I test that?

After some research, I discovered hydrostatic body fat testing.

You are submerged underwater for the most accurate testing there is. Almost fool proof, I read. Sounded good to me. This would tell me how many calories that I burned in a day, not what some chart would guess I would burn. If I knew that, then I could set how many calories to eat accordingly and loose some weight. Seemed easy enough. I needed this information.

I set out to find where I could have this testing done in my city and lo and behold I discovered that it was going to be on a truck. Oh yeah, high class. This truck traveled around the state and visited various fitness centers for the testing. It seemed legit and I signed up, using $50 of my birthday money. Welcome to the forties.

I called up one of my besties because obviously a girl just doesn’t do this kind of thing alone. I was so excited to find out what my metabolism was like, I really didn’t stop and think through what the test would entail. Turns out that was probably best.

We arrived in the parking lot of Gold’s Gym and pulled up to the truck that reminded me of one of those crazy food trucks. We started to walk over when I first started to think through the awkwardness of what was about to take place. Just then, the door swung open, the setting sun cast a halo effect around this man, the heavenly choir was singing, and it was clear that God had spent extra time on him. He was very nice looking, which is obviously, exactly what one would hope for in this awkward situation. I tried to find some sort of dignity to walk up the five steps to meet him. I heard the memorized instructions being shared with me and I had a slight out of body experience realizing that in a matter of moments I was going to be the only one in a bathing suit under fluorescent lights with my bestie and a Greek god that had 2 % body fat– in a truck. AND, I voluntarily paid money to do this. What is wrong with me?

I changed behind the curtain, took a deep breath, and came out trying to act normal. I made it. I was standing in a bathing suit, head held high thinking I got this. THEN he says “please step on the scale”. For the love of all things that are right in the world. Now Zeuss man was going to weigh me? I close my eyes and start chanting, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” It didn’t work.

Then I saw it. A giant jelly roll pan submerged in a big tank. Oh Father, what have I done? It’s too late to run from Zeus’ truck, for many reasons. The least of which is not that I am 6 months post 4th baby delivery and in a bathing suit. So, I acted casual, breezy, if you will. This is completely normal behavior and didn’t bother me at all. Pinky swear.

I am instructed to get in the tank and lie face down on the jelly roll pan. I imagined that this is what they haul whales and large under water sea life around in. But wait, that’s ridiculous because the whale would blubber off the sides, or is that why we went for a jelly roll giant pan rather than a plain baking sheet type?  Then I realize that I am missing my further instructions with all this nonsense and I start paying attention. I’m laying face down, trying to awkwardly keep eye contact with the man towering above me while trying to figure out how to maintain modesty of my bathing suit top while I am in the most awkward position imaginable.

Then it gets worse.

Zeuss man puts weights on my lower back to keep me from floating. He then tells me that I am going to take a big breath in and go under water, blow all my air out until I am about to pass out and then count to 5, while laying my head on the jelly roll pan.  After that, I can come out of the water and breathe. I need to empty my lungs of air for an accurate reading. Um, yeah. As it turns out, that’s incredibly difficult by the way. I would say try it, but I like you. So, please don’t.

I’m laying face down covered in weights, trying to achieve a state of pre fainting, while underwater in a tank, in a truck, with a Greek god leaning over the side yelling instructions and banging the side of the tank in efforts to cheer me on. It’s official, I have reached a new low. All I can think is my bestie owes me SO big for me allowing her the pleasure of attending this natural disaster with me.

To make matters worse, every time I come out of the water gasping for breath, like I’m about to die, I get annihilated. I am face down and so as I come up for air, my long wet hair starts attacking me like octopus tentacles around my oxygen deprived face. That only adds to my gracefulness.

After multiple times at this horrific ritual, I am told that he is done. He has it. He now knows the magical information that I am after. I can go dry off and get changed. I thought the day would never come.

If you have ever doubted my commitment to my health, please don’t do it again.

…and yes, my metabolism is perfectly normal.



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ONE CHANGE: Cold Cereal

Boxes used to regularly line my pantry shelves of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Frosted Mini Wheats, and all varieties of Cheerios. I thought of myself as middle of the road, when it comes to cereal healthiness. I used to teach my kids that Fruity Pebbles and Captain Crunch were desserts and we would treat them as such. So, I thought my choices were good.

Check out this website that grades your food. They don’t seem to address GMO’s or some other additives. However, it is a great starting point. Check out my “healthy” choices, they were all graded C or F. Nice, huh?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch is given a C

Wheat WholeSugarRice FlourCanola OilRice Bran OilFructoseMaltodextrinDextrose,SaltCalcium CarbonateCinnamonSoy LecithinTrisodium PhosphateCaramel ColorAnnatto Extract ColorZincIronVitamin CNiacinimideVitamin B6Vitamin B2Vitamin B1Vitamin A,Flavor(s) NaturalFolic Acid (Vitamin aB)Milk Non-FatVitamin B12BHT To Preserve FreshnessVitamin D


Frosted Mini Wheats is given an F

Wheat Whole GrainSugarBlueberry(ies) Flavored Crunchlets (SugarCorn CerealSoybean(s) OilCorn Starch ModifiedWaterFlavor(s) Natural & ArtificialGlycerineCorn SyrupRed 40 LakeBlue 2 Lake) , Flavor(s) Natural and Artificial BlueberrySorbitolGelatinIron ReducedNiacinamide (Vitamin aB)Blue 2 LakePyridoxine Hydrochloride (HCL) (Vitamin B6) ,Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) (Vitamin B2) , Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)Red 40Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)Zinc OxideVitamin B12BHT To Preserve Freshness


Frosted Cheerios is given a C+

Oat(s) Whole Grain (Includes Oat(s) Bran) , SugarCorn MealCorn StarchCorn SyrupSalt,Trisodium PhosphateColor(s) AddedSugar Brown SyrupVanillinTocopherols Mixed (Vitamin E)

NOW as far as cold cereals go, we are pretty limited in our selections. MANY of the so called health food cereals are really not all that much better than. You have to R E A D labels. Try for 5 ingredients or less. Stay away from words you can’t pronounce and avoid anything with the term NATURAL FLAVORS. If you don’t know what an ingredient is. Google it! Be informed as much as you can!

We currently buy:

1. Shredded Wheat:

I started buying Post Shredded Wheat because the ingredients involves Wheat. Seems safe right? They add BHT to the packaging which knocks the score down to C+. I just discovered this a couple of months ago. Now we buy Shredded Wheat at Trader Joes (their brand) as it does not contain BHT.

We add berries, bananas, a little cinnamon, or honey to the top sometimes. Most of the time we eat it straight from the box.

2. Homemade granola. So many options and varieties. It’s delicious. You can change the taste by changing the ingredients.

3. Bin cereal. We have a favorite corn flake type cereal at Whole Foods. It’s organic and has corn and is sweetened with pear juice. Check those out.

Make granola and buy bin and get yourself a couple of these darling Mason Jars (also available at Target for $20) to store them in.

These are typically all that is in our pantry in the way of cold cereals. Very occasionally, I may purchase another box of cereal here and there. Never with food dye or chemicals. There are a few options at Trader Joes that are Organic, but do contain added sugars. (Remember certified Organic means NO GMO!) They are rare around here, but they do make an appearance from time to time. I want to save our sugar consumption for things that need sugar, like cookies :). Cereal really doesn’t need it at all.

Remember…what isn’t in the house, can not be eaten. If you want to make changes in this area. Don’t bring it in!!

I made the switch on this cold turkey. If there is a box of Fruity Pebbles next to a box of Shredded Wheat, I can tell you which one is not going to be picked. Not by me, or the kids. No one in my house complains about cereal. Except for my 8 year old, but she has never liked cereal, of any kind. She prefers a four course meal at breakfast, which she rarely gets as her mother is NOT a morning person!

Happy cereal eating!!!!

*I am by no means an expert on this information. This is me simply sharing what changes we are making and the progression of our kitchen to move towards as clean and as unprocessed eating as we can. In March of 2012, I emptied my pantry and refrigerator of all of our regular foods that contained enormous amounts of sugar, food dyes, and chemicals. This worked for us because I am kind of an all in type of girl.  I am constantly learning, constantly realizing new information, and constantly evolving in my kitchen. One change + one change + one change  = some pretty big changes and improved health. It is doable.



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The Tough Days

I am in the 6th week of Insanity and what began as a “I need to try this because everyone is doing it and I don’t wanna miss out” type of situation has turned into something much deeper.

I am loving this workout. Not because it’s fun, but because it requires an all in. Pretty much every time I press play I get an equal mix of dread and adrenaline. Every time I am done, I am dripping with sweat and completely spent. I need that. The all or nothing speaks to me.

The beginning of month two has brought me a new round of soreness, as I stared at the TV in disbelief today and said out loud, “Who are you people?”. I picked my jaw off the floor and joined them to the best of my ability. It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done. Now I can barely walk and I feel fantastic. Some say twisted, I say therapeutic.

If you have been reading for awhile, you know that I refer to Biggest Loser fairly often because I kinda heart that show more than any other. Well, you know the workouts where they have their “moment”? They are spent, look like crap, are exhausted and fetal on the floor by their throw up bucket at the end of the tread mill because they likely have just fallen off? In those moments, the deep revelations of soul healing work is begun. I’ve been there a few times during these weeks (minus the treadmill and the throw up bucket).

There is just something transforming about giving every shred of what you have. I have “worked out” regularly for a long time. This is a new level. I love me my Turbo Fire and it is a great workout. The calorie burn tells me so. It’s awesome and I have a great time doing it. Insanity? Insanity is fantastic on a whole different level. I need someone pushing me. Pushing me hard. Slapping the gym floor, dripping sweat, yelling, “You, can freaking do this.” Because the truth is I can and I often forget.

There is a time for dancing and a time for pushing to the limits and beyond what you are capable of. So that when you are done, you remember that the impossible is possible. It just takes some effort and much more effort than what is comfortable.

I decided to stop tracking the inches and pounds lost until the end of the program, which will be on Dec. 29th. I get quite derailed, quite quickly, when I don’t see the numbers doing what I want them to. I am giving my best because that is all I can do. I am trying to let go of the outcome. My best is rarely enough in my opinion. I am rarely satisfied with the outcome of my efforts. A weakness that has plagued me many times in my life. I am working on it.

I have done all of the workouts. I haven’t missed one yet. Six days a week for the past 5 weeks. I have been hit or miss on tracking my calories. I struggle with the discipline of that part. Haven’t been horrific, but haven’t been as fantastic as I want to be. A truly fit life style is a blend of heart, mind, body, and soul. They all play a very big part.

I’m so glad I’m doing this.

It’s in the eyes of my littles that I become inspired to be my best. God asks it of me and they sure deserve my efforts. While my littles will always be little to be, they really aren’t so little anymore. I am getting a bit freaked out about my age, for real.

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. How old must you be to have been married that long? Um 4o and 41 in our case. They just don’t tell you when you are 41 you feel 32. It’s the strangest thing. I feel very unready to move into this next phase of life where I trade pacifiers for car keys and diapers for cell phones. Yet, its approaching like a freight train and I can not stop it. Get ready, I must. Grow old gracefully is going to take some work, I guess. Right now I am growing old while kicking and screaming. It’s not so pretty.

Today has been rough. One of those days we all have. I saved enough calories to splurge on a peppermint hot chocolate from McDonalds because I tell you its ridiculously good. I sit here in my bedroom by the glow of my Christmas Tree, scared to move because my thighs will yell at me and I am a giant mix of emotion. The days that are SO much. Today is that. We live in a world with plenty of yuck. The yuck forces growth and for that part I am grateful.

Tomorrow morning I get to go photograph some sweet preschool children, hang with my own, tackle school lessons, take my son on a photo shoot, string popcorn, grin and bear it through another Insanity workout, and do all things that a mother will do.

“Being uncertain and scared and riddled with doubt some days isn’t a sign of bad things to come. It’s actually quite the opposite. After all, if great things weren’t on the horizon, I don’t think the enemy would be so bent on attacking us.”

-Lysa TerKeurst.

This comforts my soul.

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Eating Real food takes longer to prepare, requires more frequent trips to the store, and provides higher prices.

Awesome, right?

I fight back in every way possible and a must for me is meal planning.


1. It helps me control chaos and potential complaining. Everyone can easily look at the meals on the fridge to check out what is coming up. You get what you get and you definitely won’t throw a fit.

2. Helps control my budget. I repeat a lot during the time I am planning for. This uses up ingredients and reduces the quantity of different items that I have to buy.

3. Pushes me to sit down and spend some time to be creative in choosing my families meals and snacks.

With the world living in my computer these days, I decided to try something new this month. I have created a Pinterest board specifically for the time that I meal planned for {which this time, was a period of about 19 days}. This way, all of my recipes are in one place. I haven’t tried all of these yet, so I don’t want to commit to put them in my recipe book just yet. I will be able to easily access all of these recipes and then delete the board when I am through, only saving the ones that we like!

I have included links below to both my meal plan, as well as my Pinterest board. If you have any questions, please let me know. I have been asked many times what we eat! Hopefully, this will give you an idea.

This meal plan gets printed out and lives on the side of my fridge. Have you wondered how to find these real food items in the store? It’s a bit like Where’s Waldo. Next week, I am going to start getting into specific food products and what we used to use and what we use now.

Have a great Sunday!





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