Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


Befores and Afters

Changes….whether we are talking about our health, career, having children, etc…change is exciting but it also requires work, lots of it, on a daily basis. I’ve worked incredibly hard the past 8 months to make both inward and outward changes. Today, I have some before and after photos depicting the changes I’ve made. The photo on the left was taken last June, 6 weeks before I walked through the doors of Balance 30A. That visit changed my life! Here I am 8 months later, 75 pounds lighter and more importantly, so much more healthy. I no longer snore, no longer have edema in my feet, no more angina, no cold extremities, no irregular monthly cycles, no abdominal pain, no more skin breakouts, and so much more. For those that regularly read my blog, you know that I’ve been doing 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene. The photos on the left were taken on Day 1, and the photos on the right were taken this morning, Day 22. Could those possibly be the semblance of ABS forming???? πŸ˜³πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈπŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ». The answer is yes, yes they are!!!! BOOM!!!! Now, I know Sports Illustrated isn’t about to call me about being in next year’s swimsuit catalog (nor would I ever accept), but for someone who 8 months ago couldn’t see her feet over her stomach, abs peeking through is AWESOME!!!!! More than awesome, it is yet another milestone on this journey. It’s fuel to keep going!How was I able to make these changes. Well, the first thing was I had to be vulnerable and ask for help. Once I had my family and the folks at Balance 30A behind me, I felt better, because I felt like, for the first time, someone wanted to help me. Someone was cheering me on! After I asked for help, I made up my mind I HAD TO CHANGE, not only for my physical health but also for my mental health. I was miserable, sad, depressed, emotional, and irate at times. The decision to change wasn’t a one time thing. I have to make that same decision every single day, or I will end up exactly where I started, and I never want to be there again. It’s the choice to exercise everyday, the choice to eat real food from God’s garden that fuel my body, the choice to absolutely not compromise or slack off when the opportunity presents itself. The photo on the top was my go-to favorite ballpark food! I love ballpark nachos with jalapeΓ±os!!!! That’s what I ate every night we were at the baseball field the last few years. This year I have chosen to take my supper with me: two boiled eggs and spinach tossed in the juice of a lemon. It’s all about making choices to create the changes.More importantly and more drastically than the physical changes are the spiritual changes. It’s been a time of me having to fully rely on God. I’ve had to face some not so great behaviors and attributes within myself, anger and hurt I was harboring (some of which I’m still combating), loneliness, conceit, and my lifelong habit of finding comfort in food. I’ve prayed 1 Peter 3:3-4 multiple times over the last 8 months. The outward beauty is futile without inward beauty! Instead of coming off as gruff and rough around the edges, I want to encourage and learn to be compassionate. I want to grow from someone treating me poorly rather than retaliate. I want to constantly be reminded that as a Christian, I’m never alone, even on days when I feel like I have one friend in the entire world. I want to be confident yet humble rather than conceited in my knowledge and abilities. Lastly, I want to allow the RIGHT foods to fuel my body and find comfort in the Cross, the Bible, and my family.

So, change…it certainly isn’t easy, but man is it worth it! You just have to make a choice…


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How Do You Know If You Haven’t Tried???

This week has been wonderful! It began with a trip to Balance 30A on Tuesday afternoon with my sweet mom. THE Dr. Bart Precourt shared his knowledge of the KETO diet with a room FULL of people. The wisdom gained from this workshop is invaluable. I’ve been eating KETO for nearly eight months now, but I still learned so much, especially in the area of intermittent fasting.

In a effort to avoid distraction, I didn’t take any pictures while at the workshop. On our way home, my mom and I talked about all the things I should have taken pictures of for my blogπŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ. At the end of the workshop we tested our blood sugar and ketones, for those that were already on a KETO diet. My blood sugar was 73, and I was super pumped that my ketone reading was 1.6! What does that mean???? It means I was in ketosis and burning fat!!!!!! Whoop whoop!!!!! Burn baby burn!πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯Thank you to everyone for all of the yoga mat recommendations. After much research on every mat mentioned, I decided on the 5mm Lululemon Reversible Mat. What a difference a mat makes! WOW! I love this bad boy, and I’ve already dropped sweat on it. Today I completed Day 15 of 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene. Today was tough! It’s certainly getting more difficult. My abs hurt when I laugh, and my booty hurts when I walk, and even my quads burn a little when I sit down. My form is certainly not perfect, especially in this photo of myself in Warrior 3, but like Adriene reassures me in her videos, I will get there. I know one thing, I was certainly feeling the burn in this photo (Photo creds to my sweet husband). I am so thankful I gave yoga πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ another try. So many times we give up on something after one bad experience. My mom teaches yoga here in town, and when I’m off of work for my kids’ spring break, I’m going to give her 5:30am class a shot! She’s just as encouraging and kind as Adriene. So, I know I will love her class too.πŸ’•I am going to end this post with this beautiful reminder that my loves at Balance 30A had on the chalkboard. It was especially for me. I needed the reminder that The One that created me makes no mistakes, and He has been with me throughout this entire journey. To top it all off, there were stars drawn all around the message, and for those that don’t know, my middle name is Starr (yes, with 2 r’s), therefore stars are very special to me.βœ¨πŸŒŸβ­οΈπŸ’« You are also wonderfully designed! So, I encourage you to not give up, keep going, and give something that may not have been such a great experience the first time another try. After all, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to TRY.”

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She Is Strong

Last week I needed to mash the reset button on my attitude and my exercise routine. I’m so thankful I did! I have continued with my 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I love being able to do yoga in my own home, and Adriene is funny and makes learning the proper way to do the different poses very easy and enjoyable. She’s encouraging and gives alternate ways of doing certain poses in case you’re not quite as limber as a seasoned yogi. I’m pretty sure that we would be friends in real life.πŸ˜‰

Here are a couple of pictures that my son, Banks, took while I was practicing. I haven’t purchased a mat yet, but that’s on my “to-do list” this weekend. Any recommendations of your favorite mat would be welcomed in the comments. I love how challenging yoga is, and I live for that moment that we take that downward dog into cobra or especially ending practice with a happy baby pose.πŸ™ŒπŸ» I’m in no way trying to brag on myself here. I’m truly just trying to be transparent, but I must say, I’m stronger than I thought I was. I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold my own body up or be as limber as I actually am. I’m proud of myself! So, after 8 days of incorporating yoga into my daily routine of eating Keto and intermittent fasting, I can certainly see a difference in not only my energy level but also in my mood and sleep. I have literally been asleep before 9pm every night this week and I’ve felt happy and upbeat, despite our insane daily schedules. I’ve also lost 4 pounds this week!πŸŽ‰

I’m pretty pumped for next week!!! Tuesday afternoon I will be traveling with my mom to Balance 30a to hear THE Dr. Bart Precourt talk about eating Keto. If you’re interested in having a broader knowledge of The Keto Diet, you should come to the workshop as well. I have been eating Keto for nearly 8 months now, and I have officially lost 71 pounds and over 120 inches. I’ve gone from a size 22/24 to a 13/14, and even my feet have shrunk from an 8.5 to a 7.5!πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

While I’m very excited to spend some time with my mom and my friends at Balance, I’m equally as thrilled that today is Friday, and I get to spend the weekend with my manclan at the ballpark. ⚾️ Here’s to the weekend and finally seeing progress again!❀️

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Earlier in the week I honestly expressed where I had become lackadaisical in my exercise due to my obligations as a full-time employee, wife, and mother.

As most of you have probably realized, I’m my own worst critic! I’m a perfectionist, and I despise letting anyone down, myself included. Sooooo, my God being the loving yet convicting God that He is, reminded me He made the day, and He doesn’t make mistakes. Within each created day, He has given us ample time to complete everything we need to accomplish in order to be our best selves.

Once I humbly admitted my fault, I began to think,”What can I do to relax?”. I love running and being outdoors, but because of birthing two children naturally, running ain’t what it once was! 😬 (Moms will understand what I’m referring to here). So, after much thought, I came back to a type of exercise I’ve only done once…yoga. It was challenging yet relaxing, and had I not been fat-shamed by the teacher, I would have kept going. To even anticipate trying this practice again after being humiliated shows me how far I’ve come in strength and courage and bettering my inner self. I knew it would have to be something I could do at home, and it would have to be an idea I could commit to. So, I found 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.

The first day was definitely for beginners. So, I was thankful for that. I felt as if I had truly worked out, yet I was relaxed and proud of myself. My idea is that by the end of the 30 days, I will be at the beach for spring break and heading into my appointment with THE Dr. Bart Precourt at Balance 30a, and I want to be strong enough and confident enough to take a yoga class with my loves at Balance while I’m there. πŸ’—

So, two days down, 28 to go! Here’s to seeing our faults, resetting our minds, setting a goal, and working toward it!

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Is It Spring Break Yet???

For those of you that have walked this journey with me for the last seven months, you know I have been very open and honest every step of the way. Well, here’s where I’m at…I’m exhausted! I want to spend one day curled up in my pjs, eating a big bowl of cheese grits, and watch a marathon of The Real Housewives. There it is…the raw truth!

When I started this blog, I named it Dugouts and Diapers because that’s where I was in life, always at the ballpark watching my then 10 year old play baseball while finding an empty bleacher or picnic table to change my infant’s diaper. Life wasn’t busy nor was it hard. I just thought it was. Today, today is busy and hard. Juggling working full time, one playing high school baseball, the other playing tee ball (and of course all of their games and practices are on the same nights), church, college tours, ACT tests, school dances, a husband, and there’s a dog and a home to maintain in all of that too….I’m flat out exhausted!

Now somewhere in all this chaos and tag-teaming children, I’m supposed to find time to exercise 6 days a week. Honestly, it hasn’t happened until yesterday in the past two weeks. Yes, I can tell a difference. Yes, I know I have to find the time to do it. But here’s my question, when???? What do I push to the side in order to find the time to do this? If I spend that time away from my family, that’s wrong, because they are my priority. If I don’t do my chores at home each day in order to spend the time exercising, that’s no good, because if you know me, you know I can’t function nor sleep if my house isn’t clean. I’m truly not making excuses. I literally do not sit down from the time I wake up at 5:30am until 9pm. Then once I sit down, I fall asleep within ten minutes, because I’m so exhausted. For example, last night I sat down at 8:40pm and was asleep in my chair by 8:45pm.

I’ve read trainers and fitness gurus say, “you make time for what you want to do, and if you want to exercise and lose weight, you will make time for it.” I’m not hating, but I’m convinced that these people A.) Don’t have children, B.) Have a Nanny, babysitter, housekeeper, yard man, or all 4, or C.) Hold exercising and working out as an idol in their life and are putting it above both their family and God.

I’m truly not saying that to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I’m just being real. I have requested the entire week of spring break off of work, and I’m devoting that week to rest, relaxation, time with manclan, and figuring out how to DO IT ALL. πŸ€ͺ

I apologize for the very raw post, but I wouldn’t be true to myself or to my readers if I were anything less. On the plus side, the weather is amazing here, and I spent time gardening this weekend, which is my most favorite thing to do, and my husband exercised with me yesterday. We went on a wonderful jog/walk.😍 Although I haven’t had much time to stay on track with my exercise, I haven’t gained any weight. I’ve remained diligent at eating Keto and consistent with intermittent fasting. The scale is still trending downward, but not exercising regularly, definitely slows the pace. I know I will find my stride again soon. I’m just convinced motherhood and baseball season aren’t for the weak! πŸ˜‰

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Love Is What You Do

Well, today is Valentine’s Day, and as many of you know, I had set a goal for myself to be back at my wedding weight by today. Well, sadly, I did not make it. According to the scale, I am a mere two pounds away.😭😭😭 I have been rationalizing it by the fact that I am one week away from starting my monthly cycle, and I generally weigh anywhere from 3-5 pounds heavier the week prior. So, in actuality, I probably really did meet my goal! Hahahaha! Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself to keep one foot in front of the other.

Since I did not meet my goal, I am going to take this opportunity on this very special day to write about LOVE.πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

These three….my manclan….my loves, they are everything to me. They support me, encourage me, drive me nuts, give me purpose, bring me to tears, consume my thoughts and prayers, but mostly they love me well.πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ’— Over the last seven months, they have been my constants. We have been one another’s best friends. A lot of changes at once in a person’s life will truly allow you to see people for whom they truly are. These three, they are the real deal!

Adam loves me everyday, but when he chose me, despite my flaws or my past, that was the greatest act of love he could have ever given. He has supported and encouraged me throughout this weight-loss journey. He loves our children and wants what’s best for them and is willing to do anything he can to help them reach their goals. He’s truly the best, and I’m so very thankful that he’s mine.Last week, Adam and I were able to show Banks love by buying him his first car. 😱 It was so emotional and joyful for all of us. I truly believe that the greatest joy as a parent is being able to do very special things for your children. We had been looking at vehicles for a year or more, and I had been praying that God would provide the perfect vehicle at the perfect price, and He never fails! We sacrifice A LOT for Weston and Banks to attend the school they do, and we honestly did not think that being able to purchase a vehicle for Banks would be a reality, but when you work hard and are faithful in saving and giving, God makes a way. It is truly an Ephesians 3:20 (my favorite verse that I pray over my life and family everyday) scenario. Banks is genuinely a good boy who gives 100% to his church, his family, his school, and his sports. He’s respectful and kind and ALWAYS puts others ahead of himself. He endures a lot on a daily basis, and he deserves this gift! He deserves to be loved and to be shown love at its fullest.

My sweet Weston….he is such a lover!!!! He enjoys telling others how much he loves them, gives the BEST hugs, and I hope he never gets tired of giving me kisses (until he gets to be a little older because then it will just be weird).😘 Weston and I got to go on a date last Wednesday. We enjoyed a trip to the grocery store (Weston’s favorite) and dinner together. We did bath time and story time without any interruptions, and before night night prayers, I explained to him how much I love him and how wonderful spending time alone with him was. He didn’t say anything, he just hugged me, and in that moment, my eyes filled with tears and I was so thankful for him. It was that same joy I experienced when we gave Banks his car.

While some people always ask me, “Don’t you want a little girl?” A little girl would be wonderful, but there’s something about boys and how they love their mother. That bond is special! I wouldn’t take anything for my manclan!

We aren’t celebrating extravagantly today, because we are leaving Friday morning for a fun 4-day weekend. We will be touring THE University of Alabama on Friday (Roll Tide!!!) and Birmingham Southern College on Monday. We plan on enjoying the weekend in Birmingham being present with one another, looking toward Banks’ future, and seeing both friends and family that we love. My plan is to take pictures of what I eat on trips like this, and next week, I will write about it and show you that just because you’re out of your element, you can ALWAYS find right choices on a menu! Thank you all for reading my blog, and I pray that each one of you is loved welltoday.πŸ’•

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Everything Is Too Big…And That’s A Good Thing

Well, a couple of weeks have passed since I finished the cleanse, and I have gone back to eating an organic Keto diet. Dr. Bart has me on a hormonal repair regiment for sixty days. I am taking Symplex F, Chaste Tree, and Wheat Germ Oil. These supplements along with my diet and exercising 6 days/week have me feeling even better than I was, which is quite an accomplishment, because I have been feeling better and better with each passing month. I’ve continued to run everyday. I love it! It’s so freeing. Most weekdays, I’ve been stopping by Westgate Trail before I go pick Weston up, and it’s working out beautifully. I love being outside, and since Banks has had baseball practice until 5:30 or later every night, I can just stop and run for about 15 minutes, pick Weston up from extended day by 4:45, and swing around to the other side of the school and wait on Banks to finish practicing.

All of the continued hard work is paying off. I weighed and measured this morning. I have lost 6 pounds and 4 inches in the last two weeks, which puts me a mere 6 pounds away from what I weighed when I got married nearly 7 years ago. My goal has been to reach that weight by Valentine’s Day. That gives me 11 days to get there. I’m certain I am going to do it! Discipline, discipline, discipline…the key to anything worth while.

While I certainly look better and feel better, there is one problem…everything is too big, including my wedding rings. They just slip and slide all around my finger all day. I suppose I’m going to have to take them off and wear one of those silicone bands until I finish losing weight. My scrub pants look like clown pants on me, and I have to pull them way up high under my bust and cinch the waist in really tight with the drawstring. I have some smaller scrubs in my amazon cart. I’m just waiting until I get paid to order them. One thing I did purchase for myself was a custom shirt from my friend, Chandler Rogers. She’s the creator and designer for Only1 Apparel. She up-cycles old clothing by making it unique and original. She bases her clothing on the fact that each person is “a masterpiece, one of a kind, and unique.” A percentage of her profits are donated to charity, and she’s a genuinely wonderful person. I’m in love with my hand-dyed and distressed shirt, and I’m super excited to dress it up with a cute little skirt or throw it on with some leggings and my sneakers like I did today. I urge you to check out her website and buy yourself a little treasure from Chan!

Well, as I continue to work my booty off (literally) to reach my goals, please pray that I make it to my wedding weight by February 14. I would love to celebrate with my Valentine knowing that I was physically back to the woman he married. We have a very busy next few weeks ahead of us. So, my posts may be short, simple, and to the point in order to accommodate for all the plans we have. Thank you all so much for reading my blog, and I hope you have a great week!