Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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Holiday Battle Plan

This time last year, I was only about 60 days into True Cellular Detox, and I was in warrior mode. I had blinders on. Faltering wasn’t an option. Well, I’m now 15 months in, and I’m tired. I’m at a plateau. I’ve been run ragged over the last 6 weeks between traveling, company, football every Friday night, Hurricane Michael, and just life.

My Tuesday was spent traveling to Balance 30a for my checkup with Dr. Bart Precourt. I left in time to attend his wife’s, Kelli, yoga class. If you are ever down that way, attend a class, any class. Class was refreshing, challenging, and cleansing. Balance is a place of healing, and a visit always refreshes my soul.

As usual, when I arrived, I stepped on the InBody machine, and while I knew my weight had not changed, I was truly hoping for gains in muscle and loss in body fat percentage. After the analysis, the results were minimal. I had gained just over 1 pound of muscle and lost just over 1% body fat. My inflammatory markers were up, and as I already knew, weight stayed the same. I was discouraged. I am discouraged. Losing this much weight is HARD WORK! I feel like there should definitely be more results for all the work I’m putting in.

Inflammation was up because my body is pumping out Cortisol for energy, because my body is in such a state of being TIRED from all the elements I listed previously. My prescription for the next 60 days is to restore and rest. While that may sound ideal, it will be a definite challenge. The next 60 days are my favorite time of year! I love, love, love November and December. It’s not just Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s also my sister’s birthday, my birthday, and my mom’s birthday. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Over the next 60 days, I’m determined to get back into that warrior mode I lived in last year. I want results! I need progress! I also am honest enough with myself to know that I’m going to need all the encouragement I can get and some incentives. I have post-it’s everywhere!!! They are on my kitchen cabinets, my refrigerator, my bathroom mirror, etc… Just little reminders to keep trudging on the right path.I also made myself a reward chart full of incentives to keep me focused. I do not get much time for myself, and I adore any time I get to spend at my favorite nail salon. I also could definitely use some new clothes. I have about 6 outfits that actually fit, which is a good thing. So, each glance at my chart will definitely give me the oomph I need to keep going. Sugar is my enemy. I could careless about chips, breads, crackers, or things like that. It’s the cakes, candies, and treats that are my weakness. So, this is my battle plan.

A third element of my battle plan is to honestly journal everyday exactly how I’m feeling, areas I feel weak, and areas I’ve succeeded. This will allow me the outlet to let it all go. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and I look forward to seeing how the journaling helps me release the negative and embrace the positive.

Maybe you also need a battle plan for the next 60 days. My thoughts are this…in order to completely be present with my family this holiday season, I need to be my best version of myself. Being run ragged, exhausted, tired, allowing sugar to down-regulate my immune system and spiral me into more exhaustion and sickness will, in no way, shape, or form, allow me to be the best version of myself. I won’t enjoy my family, and my family won’t enjoy me. So, I’m choosing to raise the bar this year and be present as my best self, and for me, that requires some tough love, self-discipline, and endurance. It’s not taking all the good things out of the holidays. It’s just a change in perspective.

I hope this encourages someone else that’s feeling run down to rest and restore and be present. It’s ok to say, “Not this year” to a family or friend gathering. It’s ok to take your water bottle with you to a party and pass on the hot cocoa or cocktail. It’s ok to have no desserts on the menu at Thanksgiving. Our health is invaluable, and we are worth it!


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Spring Break Should Never End

I took last week off to spend some much-needed time with my family. It was wonderful! It did my heart good. We usually go on a big vacation at spring break, but since Adam has only been with his new company for six months and because we purchased Banks a car, that wasn’t an option this year. Thankfully, we live a mere 90 miles from Panama City Beach, and my parents had the entire family at their condo to enjoy some quality time together.

This was the morning and evening view from my bedroom, and it was breathtaking! We had two glorious days on my dad’s boat. He even let Banks drive the boat!

The time spent with my manclan, parents, and siblings was a treasure! My body hated leaving them so badly, it broke out into hives…seriously, I got home and eight hours later I had hives from my neck to my toes. I spent three days taking cold showers, drinking tons of water, and rubbing aloe on my body. It was not something I ever want to experience again, but I learned my lesson…next time I will just stay at the beach!πŸ˜‰πŸ–

Apparently one day this week was National Sibling Day. So, here are a few more pictures of my siblings and me and my children from our trip. I’m thankful for siblings that are funny, kind, and my oldest and truest friends. Now, it is well-known that no one can aggravate you like your sibling, but there’s also no one else that will have your back like them either. I’m extremely grateful that despite our differences, we love one another, and I’m beyond thankful that my Banks loves sweet Weston like he does and that Weston adores and admires Banks.

Both boys got a very special invitation to be a part of their Uncle Jud’s wedding this fall! It took Weston a little time and watching a YouTube video to figure out just exactly what a ring bearer does to get on board. At first, he thought he was going to be getting married, and he was NOT happy about that! He told his Aunt Hope, “No, I’m not marrying you!!!”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Once we got the role of ring-bearer understood, he was very interested in his very important job. Banks was so thrilled to be a groomsman that he told me on the way home from the beach that he was trying to keep his excitement low-key and that he really hoped that when he gets married some day his Uncle Jud will want to be his groomsman too!😭😭😘❀️ We all love Jud and Hope and are so excited to celebrate their wedding later this year.Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without spending a day or two at Balance 30A! My mom and I went to yoga class with my sweet friend Whitney. It was beautiful! It was perfect! My heart was soaring! The love these people have for others has been life-changing for me. I was so proud of myself for being able to complete the class. It wasn’t easy, and every pose may not have been perfect, but I did it, and I enjoyed it! I wish I lived there so I could go everyday! Banks went with me for my checkup with Dr. Bart, and he got to meet the man, the myth, the legend….THE Dr. Bob! Dr. Bob certainly knows an animal lover when he sees one…..he and Banks cuddled on the floor the entire visit.❀️🐢 My appointment went well. I had an InBody Analysis done, and the changes on the inside of my body are extraordinary! Since my first InBody back in November, I’ve lost 30 lbs, 3% body fat, and my BMI has dropped 6 points! Dr. Bart put it best…he said, ” You’re a completely different person than you were when you first walked through that door.” He’s right! I am different, and in every way. I’ve learned so much about my physical, spiritual, and mental health. I just feel great, and when I stop and realize I’m not finished yet, I’m astounded!

As far as my regiment and routine for the next 30 days goes, I will of course continue eating Keto with intermittent fasting. This week and next week I’m fasting 18 hours each day with one feast day, and I will say, there is a big difference between the 16 and 18 hour fasting times! I find myself looking at the clock to be able to eat. It’s hard, BUT on Wednesday nights, I’m so flipping excited for feast day on Thursday, I can already taste those eggs and spinach the next morning! I am also doing The Brain Phase portion of True Cellular Detox again. This is to rid my brain of the remaining toxins that weren’t able to make their way out the first time. This is very common, and I can already tell a difference in my mental clarity and the “Brian fog” has definitely lifted. As far as my exercise goes, I am continuing to do Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube. She has another 30 day program called TRUE. I’m loving it. I can see progress there too. This week, I discovered that I can finally hop from plank and downward dog to forward fold!πŸŽ‰ It’s certainly more intense, and she gives you a word or thought to meditate on each day. Day 2 was most impactful with the word “Trust”. My family is definitely entering a time where we can’t do anything but trust God, and I’m so thankful for reassurance of with Whom my trust lies. I’m also trusting that I will reach my goals on this health journey. πŸ’•

So, while I cherished my time off and wish it hadn’t ended, I am TRUSTING that just as lovely times await me and the ones I love. Thanks for reading, and I hope your Spring Break was as great as mine!

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Faith and Fitness

As this weekend represents the foundation of the Christian faith, I want to explain how my journey over the last eight months wouldn’t have made it past one day without help from God.

This morning I completed Day 30 of 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene! Whoop whoopπŸŽ‰πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ! I have seen tremendous results this month. This month I lost 10 pounds and dropped 12 5/8 inches. Now, all of that cannot be attributed to just doing yoga. I finally have the understanding of intermittent fasting, and I truly believe not varying from my Ketogenic Diet and powering through intermittent fasting each day (I’m currently at 16 hours of fasting per day) have definitely contributed to a month of fantastic results. I’m going to celebrate my results by spending some time with my family at the beach and attending my friend Whitney’s Vinyasa Yoga class Saturday morning at Balance 30A followed by an appointment with THE Dr. Bart Precourt on Monday morning. I can’t wait! I’m so excited! If you don’t understand the excitement, you clearly haven’t visited Balance before!πŸ’•

When I began this journey eight months ago, I knew that the changes didn’t need to be solely physical. I wanted to be healthy, and physical health is non-existent without mental and spiritual health. I will confidently say these changes are far more difficult than choosing to eat clean and exercise daily. Spiritual changes require you to reprogram yourself to do the opposite what actually comes natural to us as humans. HuhπŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ????

As a Christian, I am set apart. I am held to a different standard through my attitude and actions. In Galatians, we are given a list of “fruits” or characteristics ALL Christians should be known by, meaning when a non-Christian encounters us, they should be able to know we possess something they don’t because of these characteristics. As I was studying these characteristics back in July, I fell to the brutal truth that I didn’t exude very many of these fruits. Eye-opener😳!!!! I began praying for these attributes daily. I wanted to love everyone from every walk of life without passing judgement or trying to understand why they do what they do. I just wanted to share a smile and show love. I wanted to be joyful again. I wanted to be excited for each and every new day and find joy in the small things. Peace and contentment in the place God has me and my family everyday was important for a positive mindset. Patience, boy did I need a big dose of this one! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a definite Type A personality, and I like a plan and I like for it to be followed right then! So, I’ve been praying for patience with others as well as with this health journey, because becoming healthy certainly doesn’t happen overnight! Kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are ones that I didn’t necessarily struggle with all that much, because anyone that knows me knows I will go above and beyond for others. I definitely possess the gift of helping, and I love performing acts of goodness and kindness for others. The only problem was, I was so busy doing for others that I had forgotten to be kind and good to myself, which is how I ended up at nearly 300 lbs and miserable. Because of all I lived through as a single mom, I genuinely remain faithful. Heck, faith is all that got me through my twenties. Hahahahaha! Gentleness and self-control were certainly two fruits that anyone that met me prior to July would never have seen. Because of growing up in a very direct and matter of fact family not to mention living a life of learning from the hard knocks rather than being rescued, I was rough around the edges. I therefore said things matter of factly, disregarding how it came across or made those on the receiving end feel. I possessed no self-control. I said, did, and ate whatever I wanted. I still pray every single day multiple times a day for these two fruits in particular. I constantly ask forgiveness for anyone I may have hurt through the years. You know, it’s like the old saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.” I was hurt from years of failures, wrongdoings from others, a hard life, etc… and so, in return, I hurt people. I still feel shame for many of my attitudes and actions. But there’s good news…All of that shame and wrongdoings were taken care of on the cross✝️. This weekend we celebrate a man, my Lord, dying innocently on a cross for me and all my wrongdoings and shame. Man, what a gift! He didn’t just die though, He rose from the grave displaying the fact that as a Christian, I have the promise of life after death in Heaven with Him. I truly can’t wait! My faith is the most important thing in my life. It’s the foundation of my marriage. It’s where I find my instructions for parenting, and it is what I have leaned upon in order to become the best version of myself. I’m thankful for the cross, and I’m thankful for a God that loves me despite my failures. I can’t wait for a weekend of celebrating my Savior with a family that has loved me as He does, and I can’t wait to see how my faith continues to grow through this journey. I can’t wait to be my best version of me!

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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’•


Onward and Upward

Well, I did it! I finished Dr. Bart’s 21 DayCleanse. Last Saturday, I drove down to Balance 30A with my manclan, and I had my post-cleanse InBody Analysis. This machine is incredible. It measures your height, weight, itra and extra-cellular water weight, skeletal muscle mass, BMI, visceral fat, and much more. According to the InBody machine, I lost just over 7 pounds over the twenty-one days, dropped one percent body fat, and most importantly, cleansed my gut! As a means of celebration, my manclan and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Chiringos on beautiful Grayton Beach. Everything on the menu is organic, grass-fed, and wild caught. I still had two days remaining on the cleanse. So, I opted for the Quinoa And Veggie Bowl with a piece of blackened fish on top, and it was the best meal I had in the entire 21 days! Hahahaha! It was filled with brussel sprouts (one of my new favorite veggies), arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I literally turned the bowl up and drank whatever juices from the veggies and fish were left. πŸ˜‹

We had the most wonderful day together. Sometimes the quick trips are the best! Yesterday was the final day of the cleanse, and I had a phone consult with Dr. Bart to discuss the plan for my next 60 days. During these two months, we are focusing on regulating hormones. I will be taking three different Standard Process supplements: Wheat Germ Oil, Chaste Tree, and Symplex F. I will also return to eating a Keto diet, focusing particularly on keeping carbs low, good fats high, and getting enough fiber through plenty of veggies. I will also be upping my exercise routine from every other day to six days a week. Now, I’m not talking about spending hours in a gym everyday, because that’s not my cup of tea. I’m merely looking to get my heart rate up for a good 15-20 minutes. The goal is to burn fat and build lean muscle. I will also continue with my intermittent fasting, which I’m going for my first twelve hour fast today. I had a shake with avocado, spinach, and blueberries this morning at 6am and will eat supper tonight around 6pm. Intermittent fasting is excellent for burning fat, and it helps you enter into Ketosis more quickly.

I’m excited for these next 60 days! I’m already seeing huge changes in my appearance and definitely in my clothes, and I can’t wait to see what changes occur over the next two months. I have some personal goals I would like to reach- lose at least 15 more pounds (that would put me under what I weighed when I got married), get into the cute size 12 white jeans my mom gave me, and start running again. The last one is very important to me! I used to love running. It’s so freeing, and I love being outside. I ran for the first time in 4 years today, and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it! I was only able to run for 11 minutes without stopping, but it was a starting point. I really love all the changes this journey has brought. I find myself dreaming about the end result. My amazon cart is full of swimsuit options and clothes and scrubs in smaller sizes. I love that my skin is clear, eyes are bright, and everywhere I go, people can’t believe the changes. God uses those things to encourage me to keep going. When I stop and think about the fact that I’ve completed a 100 Day Cleanse on the cellular level (True Cellular Detox), made it through the holidays while actually LOSING weight, began my year with another cleanse, and now I’m on to the next phase, which is regulating my hormones, it blows my mind! I’m so humbled and grateful! In case you haven’t figured it out, this isn’t about being skinny for me. It’s about being healthy. There’s a difference! My visit to Balance 30A on July 28,2017, changed my life, that’s for sure! Thanks for reading and check back next week to see how everything is going, including the running.❀️

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Somewhere Between a Doughnut and a Cleanse

As I mentioned in my last post, I am beginning my year with Dr. Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse. This cleanse is no joke, and it isn’t for the weak! December was EXTREMELY difficult for me, but I stayed on track and even lost weight. I thought that if I could tackle the month of December, I could do anything it took to lose weight. Folks, this cleanse is on a different level! There’s a lot of prep (chopping fruits and veggies, making shakes, hand-washing dishes,etc..), and lets be honest, if it isn’t grown in a garden or an orchard, you can’t eat it! Most days have been fine. The shakes are delicious, and I enjoy experimenting to see how the different flavors will come together. I generally take whatever vegetable is leftover from supper the night before as my lunch, and I’ve been eating a spring mix salad at lunch as well. For supper, I’ve been cooking either a vegetable medley-type meal, or I’ve come up with some yummy recipes in which I’ve just substituted sautΓ©ed mushrooms for the meat (zucchini spaghetti and Mexican quinoa). My kids never knew there wasn’t meat in either one. I suppose the hardest part of the cleanse is the fact that, for the first time since I began this weight loss journey, I’ve been hungry. For instance, right now, at this very moment, if I weren’t typing this blog, I would have to choose to go to bed to keep from going in the kitchen and eating! I haven’t been hungry everyday, only the days in which I’m insanely busy (Thursday and Sunday). I only have two weeks remaining on the cleanse, and I can do anything for two weeks. So, despite the fact that my stomach is gnawing on my backbone, I’m going to press on! “You only fail when you give up!” That’s what I keep telling myself.

I don’t generally share a bunch of recipes on my blog, but I’ve decided to share with you guys some of my favorite shake combinations:

Very Berry Spinach Shake Pearocado Spinach Shake Citrus Carrot Shake

1 cup unsweetened almond milk 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop Standard Process Whey 1 scoop Standard Process Whey 1 scoop Standard Process Whey

1 scoop Standard Process Vanilla 1 scoop Standard Process Vanilla 1 scoop Standard Process Vanilla

1 handful organic blueberries 1 organic pear 1 orange

4 organic strawberries 1/2 organic avocado 1/2 organic banana

1 cup organic spinach 1 cup organic spinach 1 cup organic carrots

1 handful of ice cubes 1 handful of ice cubes 1 handful of ice cubes

These are all seriously delicious, and the Citrus Carrot Shake tastes like dessert! It’s FINE! I have a few different concoctions I can’t wait to try this week.

Friday night, I made Mexican Quinoa and Cabbage Steaks. The Mexican Quinoa recipe is something that I just made up, but the Cabbage Steaks I found on Pinterest, and they are seriously delicious! The crispy crunchies on the edges are so good! One person that reviewed them on Pinterest said they tasted like a bloomin onion, and I was skeptical at first, but she wasn’t kidding! They were out of this world! They were also super simple to make. So, just click the highlighted name, and it will take you to the recipe. As far as my Mexican Quinoa goes, here’s the recipe:

Meatless Mexican Quinoa

1 jalapeΓ±o chopped

1 organic onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 tomato chopped

4 organic mushrooms finely chopped

1 cup organic quinoa

Spices: parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, 2 cloves of garlic chopped

Directions: Cook Quinoa according to directions. While Quinoa is cooking, sautΓ©e mushrooms, onions, garlic, and peppers in a pan with a little olive oil and spices until tender. Add tomato and let it cook down. When the Quinoa is ready, top it with veggie mixture and some avocado.

I hope you all enjoy the recipes, and I hope that this post hasn’t been discouraging to anyone. I just feel that it’s important to keep it real with you all, because I would never want to mislead anyone into thinking what I’ve accomplished over these last nearly six months has always been easy and fun. It has taken a tremendous amount of discipline and determination. It has required sacrifice, perseverance, and diligence. My mom was wearing a shirt tonight that said, “Somewhere between a doughnut and a cleanse.” I told her I loved her shirt, because that’s exactly how I feel, except I’m actually somewhere between a bowl of cheese grits and a cleanse. Hahahaha! (I’m not a doughnut fan). I haven’t cheated, nor am I going to, but this is hard, and this week has required mental toughness. While the cleanse is more about ridding your body of all the “junk” that has been consumed, it has had some perks…I’ve lost nearly five pounds this week, for a total of 61, which has put me on the downhill side of the mountain toward 100 lbs. My grocery bill was also nearly $20 cheaper by not having to purchase neither meat nor dairy. There’s always a silver lining, and I can see the results and more importantly, feel the results. I’m not losing stamina or the eagerness I first set out with, but I am being challenged, and I will persevere!


2017….A Year of Change

Wow! Is 2017 already over? That was quick! This year, for my man clan and me, can best be described as a year of change. It has certainly had its ups and downs, but overall, I would say it was one of our best years yet.

Adam spent the majority of the year doing the job of the general manager at his hotel, and ultimately he was overlooked and passed over for the job. While this news was crushing, he remained faithful, and God gave him a better job with an incredible company, and he didn’t even apply for it. They sought him out! I’m so proud of him and all that he has accomplished professionally this year. He’s truly an inspiration to me, and his faith, patience, and hard work were rewarded in the end. He also led our family spiritually to a new church. This was not easy for me, and I shed many tears, but seeing the spiritual growth in all of us has been incredible. Adam is extremely easy-going, but when he’s passionate about something, you can hear the authority in his voice. I’m thankful for his guidance and most importantly, his love for each of us.❀️

Banks is a 10th grader (I’m still in shock over this!), and Weston is in 4P. The changes in their life were equally as impactful. Banks experienced his first college visit. He has his drivers permit. 😳 He’s taking his first AP class, and I’m happy to report that whatever happens to children from 7th-10th grade has finally worked its way out of his system, I think…Hahaha! Lately, I find myself impressed with his more mature and well-thought decision-making, and he’s truly the best babysitter in the world! He exhibited tremendous character throughout a very humbling football season, and most importantly, he’s grown in his Christian walk over the past six months. We have three more college tours scheduled for the new year, and although these tours make me cry a little, I am truly thrilled to watch Banks grow. He’s a good boy!

Weston goes to school five days a week this year, knows all of the alphabet and what sound each letter makes, and he can count to 50 without messing up. He played his first season of tee ball, absolutely loves to read, and will push a hot wheels car for miles! He found his independence this year. He wants to do everything by himself! He’s an excellent helper and finds joy in helping others. He wants to be just like his big brother and shows that by copying everything Banks says and does. I’m so proud of and thankful for my sweet Weston, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to change and grow.

As for myself, I went back to work full-time, left my family for a week to go on a mission trip, and began my journey to get healthy. My health is, by far, our biggest change. I say “our” because it hasn’t solely affected me. It has changed my whole family. I went from having chest pain, crying all the time, edema, and wearing a size 2XL/22 to exercising 4 days/week, smiling, laughing, losing weight, and currently wearing a size large/14. As I type this, I find myself crying tears of thankfulness. I was sick, and I mean really sick. I’m extremely grateful for my health today. I never want to be unhealthy again! To date, I’ve lost 54 pounds. I did not have weight-loss surgery, nor did I take some magic pill. It was sheer determination and hard work! It was discipline, and I couldn’t have accomplished any of it without the support of my family and my Balance30a family. Walking into that building on July 28, 2017, will go down simultaneously as the hardest and most rewarding day of 2017. It changed my life…It changed my family’s lives!

I fully intend to continue toward my best version of me in 2018. I can’t wait to start the new year by doing Dr.Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse. Have you signed up? If not, there’s still time! I am not sure what Dr. Bart has planned for me this year, but you can be certain that I will give you all the details in my blog posts.

I received The Magnolia Story for Christmas, and I finished reading it last night. I photographed some of Joanna’s words. The top photo perfectly describes what I learned in 2017. “Letting it all go is freeing. I am learning that getting our intentions right simplifies our decisions in life and changes our perspective. And in the end, what it’s all about is thankfulness and contentment.” I let it all go when I cried like a baby in Balance Health Studio that day in July, and I’ve learned through spending more time with my manclan and getting to know a new church family that my perspective has changed, and I am perfectly content and beyond thankful for all the ups and downs of 2017. The bottom photo is how the book ended, and it was clearly my mantra for 2018! “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning-and he will be there until ….The End.” I LOVE IT! I know that 2018 will also haves ups and downs, but I have a Savior that loves me, a husband and children that love me and are healthy, an incredible family, and I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years. So, why give up? Why feel defeated? My plan is to be intentional, thankful, content, aware, and healthy in the new year.

Thank you all so much for reading my blog, and I pray that the new year holds peace and blessings for each and every one of you. Check back next week for my first post about Dr. Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse! Happiest of New Years to you all!πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰