Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


Real. Honest. Weight Loss.

While buying smaller clothes and feeling energized and strong are wonderful, there are some parts of weight loss that NEVER get talked about, and I can’t find highlighted on very many blog spots. To someone that has only needed to lose 10 or 20 pounds at a time, this won’t apply. I’m talking about major weight loss and what you’re left with….extra skin and becoming just as self-conscious over the loose skin as you were when you were 100 lbs heavier.

People that don’t understand will chalk this up as vanity and minuscule, because like I said, they don’t get it. Yes, it’s super exciting to not shop in the plus size section anymore, but when you’re still having to wear larger clothes than you actually are in order to accommodate your extra skin, or that really aggravating extra skin on your tummy gets stuck in your zipper and ends up ripping your skin…..it ain’t fun. It ain’t cute, and in turn, it messes with your mind and allows Satan to attack you physically just like he did when you were fat!!!! Grrrrrr!!!!!!

I’m here. I’m at this point. I feel like screaming. As of July 4, I have lost 93 pounds and over 100 inches since July 28, 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I feel amazing. I exercise everyday, and even find myself wanting to push harder and further with the exercise. I get compliments often from people who haven’t seen me in a while, and that is wonderful. No matter how much I focus on the positive and quote truth to myself of who I am in Christ, when I look in the mirror, or try on clothes I feel ashamed and self-conscious. Ashamed that I ever let my health get so far out of control, and self-conscious because even though the size 12 dress fits, I still have to buy a 14 to accommodate the extra skin and it’s too big everywhere else. Lately, I’ve even found myself avoiding waving at people, because a few weeks ago I waved at a friend and my 5 year old told me, “Mom, when you wave, your bat wings swing back and forth.” Now as innocent as his statement was, it hurt my feelings, and ever since then I’m extremely self-conscious about it. If you don’t know what he’s referring to as “bat wings,” they are all the extra skin on my upper arms. My biceps are toned and I can feel my triceps now, but where all the fat was in my arms is now just loose skin that apparently is still waving even after I’ve stopped.πŸ‘‹πŸ»

These are my “bat wings” for all to see, and for those of you that get it, I’m thankful that I am not alone. We talk so much about being the best version of ourselves. That’s all well and good to talk about it, but in reality, I know myself, and I know I will never feel like the best version of myself until all this loose skin and the self-consciousness is gone. Being the best version of yourself references not only your physical health but also your mental and spiritual health. It’s hard. It’s a different kind of hard than being 150 lbs overweight, but hard nonetheless.

This extra skin in my lower belly is what gets caught in zippers and rips and just sits there like a kangaroo pouch when I try on cute clothes. My brother is getting married in October, and I started trying on dresses last week and was excited to put something on that showed off the work I’ve done, but in actuality, I tried on 5 dresses and cried in the dressing room because now I have 2 options…wear Spanx and be uncomfortable in order to smooth my kangaroo pouch out OR wear a dang mumu to cover it all up. I will tell you now, I refuse to wear a mumu! I’ve spent the better part of my adult life in mumus because that’s all they make for fat girls!

Some may be reading this and thinking, “this is just vanity. This girl is just vain.” You’re the people that just don’t get it. Maybe you think I’m having a pity party. Again, you don’t get it. Until you’ve lived it, you don’t get it! The hard part is this isn’t something I can fix quickly, inexpensively, or anytime soon for that matter. I still have about 60 lbs left to lose (at least), and I can’t even see a plastic surgeon until I’m within about 10-15 pounds of my healthy weight. So, until then, it’s just this constant battle in my mind as well as the emotional battle that then ensues. It’s exhausting!

To those in my same boat, congratulations on your weight loss and taking the action required to become healthy. We will get through this, and I’m sorry no one sees the need to address this portion of weight loss. I get it! It’s hard. It’s embarrassing. Its uncomfortable. Here’s what I’ve been telling myself and maybe it will help you as well. I have to admit, it’s a bit of tough love, because that’s the way I operate. When the self-conscious thoughts and emotions overcome me, I tell myself, “Jessica, pick your hard. Pick your embarrassment. Pick your uncomfortable.” I would rather roll up my bat wings in order to wear a structured shirt than only have the option of mumus. I would rather be embarrassed by my bat wings flappin in the breeze than be embarrassed because my rear end doesn’t fit in a chair. I would rather deal with how uncomfortable it is to get my kangaroo pouch unstuck from my pants zipper than the uncomfort I felt when I was out of breath and having chest pains just from going grocery shopping this time last year. No one ever told us this journey was going to be easy. If it was, everyone would do it. It will be worth it someday. When we truly do feel like we’ve become the best version of ourselves, it will be soooooo worth it, and then I will write a blog about that. Until then, let’s just put on the dang Spanx and wear the dress we deserve to wear!


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Yoga Love

When I began this journey to health last July, I knew I could discipline myself to eat the right foods, but the part I dreaded was the exercise. I’m not the girl who’s going to join a gym and spend hours there each day. That’s not my gig, nor do I have time for that. I enjoy swimming, hiking, riding a bike, and being active in general. What I don’t enjoy is being yelled at why I exercise, forced to do something I don’t enjoy doing, and do anything I don’t have passion for. At that point, it’s just a chore and another stressor in life. So, I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Bart at Balance 30A never once told me that’s what I would have to do to lose weight.

Now certainly you can lose weight by merely changing the way you eat or having a weight-loss surgery, but simply weighing less doesn’t make you HEALTHY. My goal was to be HEALTHY. I want to live to be old and not take any medicine, like my great grandmother. She was HEALTHY. So, in order to be HEALTHY, exercise was essential, because muscles are essential for posture and movement. Exercise also benefits your mood, outlook on life, helps relieve stress and anxiety, etc… The benefits of exercise and a HEALTHY body are endless.

For the first eight months of my journey, I merely reacquainted my body with moving. I would do jump squats, run in place during a show, and jumping jacks for literally 10-15 minutes/day. That’s literally all my body could handle, but the more weight I lost and the more endurance I gained, my body and my soul wanted more. On March 1, I began 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene, and I LOVED it! It was hard but began to get easier the more I did it. I was also able to do it in my own home, which helped my self-esteem and my bank account. After my first 30 days were up, I did True Yoga With Adriene for another 30 days. I continued to improve physically, mentally, and spiritually so on May 2, I began Yoga Camp With Adriene. It was very challenging, but I stuck with it and continued to grow. I am currently doing Yoga Revolution With Adriene, which is a 31 day series. Needless to say, I’ve fallen in love with this practice.πŸ’—πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

I like that yoga is something you can do no matter what your physical capabilities or age. The first public yoga class I attended, the lady behind me was 76 and killin it! Heck, my mom is nearly 63 and teaches spin and yoga and doesn’t take any medicine (BEAST MODE)! Yoga is not hard on your joints and doesn’t push your body to unrealistic levels. Adriene does an excellent job of showing poses at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. Mostly I love the way I feel about myself, my day, and life after I practice. I can’t put into words how refreshed and clear your mind is when you finish. The best way I can think to describe it is PEACE. There’s just a peace that comes over you while practicing yoga, and you can’t help but to carry it with you throughout your day.

As I’ve advanced, the 30-40 minute online sessions are no longer enough. So, last month I began adding 3 sets of push-ups/day, and this month, I’ve added 10-20 minutes of cardio as well. Six days a week I jog around my neighborhood and on Thursday, I go to my mom’s spin class at MH Yoga. This isn’t something anyone has made me do. I just WANT to do these things now. It’s funny how the more time you spend thinking positive and renewing your mind and health, your priorities change. Where I once looked forward to watching trash tv (Real Housewives on Bravo) and eating a bowl of ice cream every night, I now wake up refreshed by 6am, can’t wait to hit my mat and get my day started, rarely watch tv, and am ready for bed by 9pm.

In my walk with Christ is where I see the biggest change from doing yoga. Some church-goers have the perception that yoga=worshipping a false god/voodoo. Nothing could further from the truth! If you are a Christian, God will reveal Himself, speak to you, and change you through yoga. It’s a practice that is focused on mental, spiritual, and physical health. The meditation time has been a real game-changer! Not very often do we sit in silence and just LISTEN. I begin my meditation by taking some deep breaths to clear my mind, and then I follow by expressing gratitude to God for all the blessings He’s given me and my family, and then I just ask Him to speak to me. Many times tears will just run down my face, because He reminds me of how much I’m worth and encouraging thoughts come to my mind and fill my body and lead me throughout my day. It’s just that PEACE that I spoke about earlier.

So, if you’ve never tried yoga, I encourage you to give it a go! What do you have to lose? The answer is nothing, but you have EVERYTHING to gain! Don’t put it off until another day. Today is the International Day of Yoga. So, there’s literally no better day to start than NOW! You don’t have to have a mat or a membership to a yoga studio. I did yoga for the first month on my bare living room floors, and there are a multitude of free yoga sessions on Youtube (that’s where I found Yoga With Adriene❀️) and Lululemon has a free 20 minute session on their website. I know if you’re a female, you already have the right clothes. I see ya all over town in yoga gear. So, why not do some yoga in those yoga pants?🀣🀣🀣 If you’re local and just don’t want to do it by yourself, hit me up! I would love to join you. 😊

I’m thankful for this practice and how it’s helped change me. I’m thankful for my family and friends that have encouraged me. I’m thankful for Adam, my kids, my mom, and my entire Balance 30A family-you all are my inspiration!😘 Most importantly, I’m thankful that every morning when I show up, my God meets me on the mat.πŸ’•

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10 Months Of Keto and 90 Days of Yoga

If you subscribe to my blog or read regularly, you know all about my Keto journey. May 28, marked 10 consecutive months I’ve been at it. If I’m honest, I had really hoped and prayed that I would have already lost 100 pounds by the 10 month mark. I didn’t make it. Of course, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I didn’t lose one single pound the month of April, and with only three pounds lost the entire month, May wasn’t much better either. As a total weight loss, I am down 87 pounds. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m BEYOND proud of myself, but the overachiever perfectionist in me had really hoped for more.Hitting the 10 month mark wasn’t the only milestone I’ve had lately. Today was my 90th consecutive day of yoga! I have fallen in love with this practice!πŸ’• I completed three 30 day online yoga series. First was 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene . Second was True 30 Days With Adriene, and for the past month, I’ve attended Yoga Camp With Adriene. Tomorrow I begin Revolution With Adriene, which is a 31 day series.

This practice has changed me. It has helped calm me, taught me to love my body even its imperfections, encouraged me, challenged me, made me sweat (a lot), and most of all, it has become a quiet place where I talk to God and He talks to me. I certainly have experienced physical changes as well. I’ve lost multiple inches over the last 90 days. The photos on the left were taken 90 days ago, and the photos on the right were taken today. I’m amazed at the visible muscle tone and how much stronger I am! Poses that I couldn’t do on day one are now easy. For example, on day one, I couldn’t even do a side plank, and today I held one on each side for 5 breaths. πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

My sweat made a smiley face on my mat today, and I took that as an, “I’m proud of you. Be proud of yourself,” love, God.😊Today’s mantra was, “It’s All You.” Well, I changed mine to, “It’s All You, God.” As I sat in meditation this morning, I cried as I thought about the last 90 days and even the last 10 months. While I know that I have certainly put in the work to accomplish all that I have, it’s God who sent the right people into my life at the right time to be my TRIBE, and it’s Him that has endowed me with self-control, strength, and determination. I’m just so humbled and proud.πŸ’—

I also have a really big idea that I’m praying about and would love for you to pray about with me. I’ve already reached out to my prayer warrior friends and family about this. I’m so thankful for people I can go to with big ideas and trust to pray over me. So, here’s the big idea…I want to go to yoga teacher training and teach a Christian faith-based yoga to anyone who wants to come, and I even want to go to different churches and shelters to use this as a women’s ministry. It’s really burning in my heart, and I’m praying for the answers of how(it ain’t cheap), when, where, and can this really be SOMETHING. Basically, I just want the opportunity to share the love I’ve found on the mat through this practice with others that may need to feel loved or be encouraged or told that they are good enough. Because of my love of this practice, I can’t explain the emotions that come with this idea. So, thank you for praying with me. Thank you for reading, and if you follow the Dugouts and Diapers Facebook page, you already know that in order to spend more time with my manclan, this summer I will only be posting every other week. If you don’t follow the Dugouts and Diapers Facebook page, you should! Until next time, here’s to month 11 of Keto, the next 31 days of yoga, and a really big idea! Xoxo πŸ’•

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No 7 Year Itching Here

On the heels of The Royal Wedding, Adam and I will be celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary on May 28. Last Saturday, the world was abuzz with excitement and anticipation as Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. Everyone was going nuts about the fashion, the guests, the flowers, and every other aspect of the wedding. Well, it made me think of my own wedding.

I walked down the aisle in a $200 dress, $13 ballet slippers, my mother’s veil, and a bouquet I made out of my grandmother’s old broaches, and the only reason we got married in a church is because both Adam’s Nanny and my Ma’am made us promise we would get married in a church and not elope🀣🀣🀣. There weren’t any flowers hooked to the pews or an extravagant arrangement at the front of the church. It certainly wasn’t royal wedding caliber. There wasn’t all the fuss. Why didn’t I have the extravagant wedding most girls dream of? Well, honestly, I didn’t care. None of that was important to me. The only thing that was important to me was the covenant being made with God and Adam. None of the rest mattered. If I had a chance to go back and change something, I wouldn’t. I was relaxed and happy and honestly just ready to head to the honeymoon with the most wonderful man in the world!πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜‰Why didn’t the big production and everything associated with it matter to me? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it was because I was nearly 30, and I knew what life was about. I had stood on my own as an adult for many years. Maybe it was because I was already a parent, and many of the traditions that are symbolic in a wedding ceremony didn’t apply to me. Maybe it was because I’m just not one that enjoys that type of thing. Mostly I think it was because I was so in love with Adam that I would have married him on our second date (no lie)! He was EVERYTHING I had prayed for the last 8 years. It was only the marriage that mattered not the wedding.❀️ Please don’t misunderstand me though, if a big shindig is your thing, go for it! No judgement, just reminiscing.πŸ’—There are more reasons than I can write in a blog about why I love Adam. The most important one is he knew my worth, and he showed me my worth and still does. When we started dating, I didn’t love myself very much. He would compliment me, and I would criticize myself rather than just say, “thank you.” We had been dating about 2 months, and he bought me the book A Jewel In His Crown. This book is AMAZING! It tells you how God sees you, and when Adam gave it to me, he told me he wanted me to see myself and love myself the way he and God saw me and loved me. 😍😍😍 Super romantic, right??? Well, it was life-changing for me. I suggest every teenager and anyone that feels that they have to get married because that’s the next step read it. It will keep you from settling for just anyone. I also suggest it to the woman that’s been married for years but feels absolutely alone or anyone that struggles with knowing your self-worth. You’re spoken for! You’re treasured! You’re loved by God, your Creator!❀️I’m thankful that prior to getting married I was able to discover my self-worth, because if you’re married you know this all too well, it’s no longer about you. It’s about speaking love every single day to your partner through words and actions. When Adam and I dated, we did the study The Five Love Languages. This was a total game-changer for us. It allowed us to know and see how the other best receives love. I was able to go into our marriage knowing that acts of service (cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc) speak love to Adam, and he knows that physical touch (hugs, kisses, holding hands, intercourse) speaks love to me. Over the last seven years, we have been intentional with making sure the other knows they are loved and treasured.

It hasn’t been easy. Marriage isn’t for the weak. It takes effort and action! We have been through a lot in a such a short period of time. We’ve each lost jobs. We’ve been through sickness. We’ve had financial struggles. We are raising men, which takes definite teamwork. We’ve suffered loss, extreme hurt, and disappointment. We’ve also had wonderful laughs, great vacations, excellent conversations, and life-changing moments. We haven’t allowed the bad to break us. Instead we talk and cry and pray about things. Although it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies, there’s absolutely no one else in this life I would want to walk alongside. Seven years ago I said, “I do” to the most encouraging(all the time), hardest working (for real though! His work ethic is incredible), best provider(always does whatever it takes to provide), most handsome😍, God-fearing man I’ve ever known. To the end of this life, if I could choose anyone in the world to marry, Adam Nichols, I will ALWAYS and FOREVER choose you! Happy Anniversary and many manymore!😘😘❀️❀️


The Power of a Tribe

Ready to quit….that’s where I was this week! I was ugly crying and just plain DONE! I’m a results person. I’m not the type of person that finds joy in lying around in pjs all day. I feel as if I’ve wasted the day if I haven’t accomplished something. This weight loss journey is the same way! I feel as if it’s just a big ‘ol waste of time when I don’t see results. As I mentioned in Feast Day Favorites and a Little Progress, I didn’t lose one ounce the entire month of April. Well, two weeks ago I weighed and had lost 5 pounds. It was just the energizing motivation I needed. It was RESULTS! Since then I am back to not losing one ounce. To try and encourage myself, I measured. Maybe it was inches I had lost rather than pounds. NOPE! A measly 3/4 of an inch was all! I was so upset and defeated. I cried, prayed, and contemplated quitting. What’s the point of going on if you aren’t seeing results????The point is my TRIBE! They encouraged me and reminded me of where I started. My mom, a staple of my tribe, and the OG of healthy, amazing 62 year olds, sent me these two pictures. The top picture was made on my dad’s boat July 4,2017. Just 24 days before I walked through the doors of Balance 30a and began this life-changing process. I was MISERABLE! I was 300 lbs, a size 24/26, and that dress and the swimsuit underneath were a 2XL. The bottom picture was taken last Sunday on Mother’s Day. That’s my mom in the pic with me! Isn’t she beautiful????😍 I’m now wearing a 12/14, size Medium T-shirt, and a two piece swimsuit with abs showing! As much as I would like to burn every old picture of myself, I’m thankful for the reminder of where I was and where I never ever want to return. https://jstarrnichols.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/720p.movThe other chief of my tribe is my husband. He made this video of me doing my own yoga flow to my own music, and favorite song of all time. He told me how great I’m doing and how beautiful he thinks I am. 😘He encouraged me to just keep going, and it will all work out. I watch this video, and I’m proud! I’ve done yoga for 71 consecutive days now, and although I notice that the pillows on the couch aren’t straight, and I still can’t pull my leg from 3 legged dog up to a low lunge YET. Mostly I notice the progress and the strength I’ve gained not only over the past 10 months but just over the last 71 days of doing yoga. I know my shoulders and core are sore from doing 3 sets of push-ups each day. So, I can feel the difference. Sometimes you just really want the scales and measuring tape to reflect the work and effort you’ve put in.So, what’s the plan? The plan is to continue logging each set of perfect-form push-ups I can do three times everyday. The plan is to continue doing yoga without missing a day. The plan is to continue eating organic keto no matter how sick and tired I am of spending $250/week on groceries. The plan is to NEVER give up, no matter how long I go without seeing numerical results. The process is hard and long and frustrating at times, but when I see that old picture of myself, I don’t ever want to be that girl again. I want to be better for myself and for my tribe that loves me so well! If you’re venturing down a life-changing path like I am, you’ve got to have a tribe. You’re not going to make it without one. There’s going to be ugly cry, tough days! Let your tribe carry you on those days! If you don’t have a tribe, get one! Find the people in your life that encourage, uplift, and love you! They’re essential to your success.

To my tribe….I love you all! This week would have been failure without you. You make me better.πŸ’•πŸ˜˜πŸ’ͺ🏻


Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

Most little girls, especially down here in the South, dream of and have a picture perfect plan of going to college, getting married right after college, and having babies shortly after marriage. I was never that girl! All I ever wanted to do was become a physician. I ended up being quite a phenomenal mother. So, looking back, I don’t even know that girl. There are still glimpses of her in aspects such as my incessant attention to detail and order, my love of learning, and my need and want to help everyone. Life without my boys….that I can’t imagine! For me, becoming a mother certainly wasn’t wrapped up in the beautiful little bow πŸŽ€ that most girls envision. I was 20 years old, single, had disappointed everyone I loved, and was scared to death. I was presented with many options and choices about what would be best for me and what would be best for the child. It was overwhelming, and no one should have to face these decisions! People do though, every single day! It’s heart wrenching!😭😭😭 After the indescribable love and grace my parents showed me, I decided to keep the little 7lb. 1oz. little boy I gave birth to naturally at 5:31am on July 28, 2002.Mathis Banks Nichols changed my life! He was the one thing I had in my life that I was determined not to screw up! I made more mistakes than I can count, and some I pray that he never remembers. I was a child raising a child. The days were filled with me working and going to school. He spent more time at daycare and with the babysitter than he did with me, but as a single mom, you take on the responsibility of not only meeting the basic needs of a child but also of providing a life for your child. There were many nights that I would cry myself to sleep wondering how in the world we were going to make it. There were many meals I went hungry so that he could eat. There was a time when I didn’t have a vehicle and we had to walk where we needed to go or call a cab (if I had the money). Those first 8 1/2 years of life just being the two of us were beyond hard! That’s what being a mother is all about though….it’s not about you! It’s about sacrifice, the hard, the good, the sweet, the bond, THE LOVE!πŸ’•While some days still aren’t easy, that little baby boy that changed my life has now grown into a truly good, handsome, intelligent, and kind MAN! While I know I am a phenomenal mother, some days (like today) I cry tears of thanksgiving and humility for all that God has done and is going to do through Banks. He’s had a plan for him since the day He formed him in my womb. He knew that selfish, weak girl needed to know that it wasn’t all about her and she was stronger than strong and that life was going to be hard, but it would be oh so worth it! God had all kinds of amazing blessings in store for Banks and me.After God sent me a husband and Banks a dad, I got to become a mom for the second time. Although this baby was entering the world with that pretty little bow of a husband, good jobs, and a family, it still wasn’t easy. Travis Weston Nichols entered the world at 12:18am October 16, 2012. I had been on 8 weeks of complete bed rest, 6 weeks in the hospital. My body was in panic mode, yet there was no time to heal my own body and take care of myself, because in case you didn’t know, being a mother is full-time work! Unlike any work you will ever do! This little boy changed my life again. It was a different hard than doing it all alone as I did with Banks. It was more of a physical hard. That pregnancy wreaked havoc on my body, and I wasn’t healthy and couldn’t take the time to get healthy so there was definitely a lot of depression, further weight gain, outbursts of anger, and sheer exhaustion. Hence, here I am 5 years later working my booty off (literally) to be the healthiest version of myself. Thankfully, Weston is so smiley, happy, and loving that just at the time I’m heading to the bathroom to have a good cry, he’s there with those sweet lips puckered ready to give a hug and kiss.😘 Again, life-changing! Raising men is no joke, and I feel so blessed to have been chosen to raise these two wonderful men. The future is bright for these two!😎I don’t believe that anyone who gives birth is automatically a good mother. It takes inspiration and determination to be a good mother. Maybe some draw it from their childhood or grandparents or special friends, but me, I learned how to be the mother that I am from my mom. She’s phenomenal! I didn’t always agree with her or even understand why she made me do a certain thing at a certain time, but now, looking back as a mother myself, I know it was to help build character, work ethic, and mold me into the woman I am today. If I could only put into words the love and grace she has shown me time after time after time….maybe then you would know just how magnificent she is. She taught me to be tough when I’m hurt. She taught me tough love. She taught me that being a mother to my children is more important than being their friend. She taught me to believe in myself. She taught me put God first, husband second, and children third. She taught me to give and do all I can to help my children. She taught me to value myself and my health. She stood beside me and held my hand as I birthed both of my boys. When I had Banks, she assured me I could do it, but it wouldn’t be easy. She let me know that she and my dad would ALWAYS be there for me and my siblings, and they have been. She’s never coddled us, but that’s certainly why we are all able to stand strong after walking the paths we have. She taught me to LOVE and LOVE BIG! πŸ’• She’s taught me that while “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy,” it’s oh so worth it! Pam Leverette, words will never be enough to tell you just how loved and adored you are! You inspire me!😘

So, if you’re a single mom reading this, I’ve been where you are. I know you’re sad, scared, and exhausted. Here’s my advice…put on your big girl panties, finish school (there’s millions of grant dollars to put single moms through school), quit leaving your kids with your parents (they’ve already raised you. This isn’t their job), get a job (multiple jobs if that’s what it takes), respect yourself enough to know your worth (one poor decision doesn’t have to define you), spend more time being an amazing mother than looking for a baby daddy (pray for the right man and God will send him in time. I prayed for 8 years!), and lastly find a source of inspiration, you have a LIFE that is counting on you!

To the new mother that is suffering from Postpartum depression and health issues, I’ve been there too. My advice to you also begins with put on your big girl panties, it’s your hormones and health (it’s fixable), make time for your health. You’ll be a better wife, mom, and friend if you’re healthy. You’re worth it!

To my mom and every mom out there, Happy Mother’s Day! We were all CHOSEN for this journey called motherhood. We are freakin superheroes!πŸ’ͺ🏻

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Feast Day Favorites and a Little Progress

This week I’m going to give you all a list of my favorite things to eat on feast day. If you aren’t familiar with what a feast day is, it is one day set aside each week to refuel my body with the nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and carbs that have been depleted during my intermittent fasting. Feast Day doesn’t mean rolling up at Chick-fil-A and ordering a number one with a peach milkshake….that was my old go-to treat😬. Feast Day is spent fueling my body with whole foods from God’s creation and aiming to eat 75-100g of carbohydrates. I have to say, it’s not easy to go from eating 30g or fewer carbs/day to tripling that in one day. How do you do that without eating foods that are terrible for you? Here’s a few of my favorites…

These Coconut Date Rolls are AH-MAZING!πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ I limit myself to only two on feast day. They have 14g carbs and 5g of fiber each 😲 but no sugars except the natural sugars from the dates and coconut, and two is plenty! It isn’t like eating an entire bag of M&M’s and still wanting something sweet afterward. These satisfy and don’t disappoint! You can find them at your local Publix in the produce section.Another favorite is an Organic Sweet Potato. With 24g of carbohydrates and 4g of fiber, this is another great choice for feast day. With the exception of my current obsession with cabbage, I think sweet potatoes are the most delicious veggie God created! Throw a little grass-fed butter on that bad boy and BAM! You have some fine food! I eat the entire thing, skin and all! Love ’em!πŸ’—My newest feast day favorite is Bubly . It’s a naturally flavored water with no sugars or other sweeteners. Just water, natural lemon and lime flavor. πŸ‹ After not having sugar for nine months, it tastes exactly like a Sprite to me. It’s a nice change of pace from room temp filtered water all the time. Soooooo good! Try it!As far as progress goes, April was one of those months where you just have to stay focused on the end result. I didn’t lose one ounce the entire month, yet I followed all the rules and did everything right. It’s discouraging when that happens. It’s hard to not give up, but my TRIBE, oh my TRIBE….they encouraged me and loved me and listened to me and told me I was beautiful. They are why I kept going! I’m thankful I did, because when I measured at the end of the month, I had lost nearly 7 inches! The pounds may not have changed, but I am continuing to get lean.

The pictures above are befores (pics on the left) from when I began Yoga With Adriene March 1, and afters (pics on the right) from this morning. I just completed my second 30 day yoga series, and I can’t believe the visible changes when I place these side by side! It may not seem like much in day-to-day life, but I’m so thankful I kept the before pics so the discouragement I was feeling from April shows that progress is still being made. Tomorrow I will begin my third 30 day yoga series, and two days ago I added 3 sets of push-ups each day to my fitness routine. Combining these exercises with my 5 days of 16-18hrs of intermittent fasting, 1 day of 24 hours fasting, and one feast day, I have faith that May will render even better results!πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

I encourage anyone seeking to make 2018 the healthiest year of your life, keep going! Don’t give up! We all deal with lackluster days, weeks, or months, but don’t lose sight of the BIG picture. Let your tribe know your struggles and let them love you! Have a feast day and move on! Let me know if you try any of my feast day favorites and share some of your favorites for me to try!