Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

Leave a comment

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.💗🧘‍♀️

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.💕


Leave a comment

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!💕 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. 🧘‍♀️

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.💗

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 💕


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.💕😘💪🏻

Leave a comment

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!😋😍 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!💗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. 🍋 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!💪🏻🧘‍♀️

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!

Leave a comment

Take Time to Listen

Have you ever felt like you’re being pulled in a million different directions and your body is SCREAMING for you to just stop and be still, but you can’t hear the screaming over all the noise of life? Well, that has been my week. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be a pitty party. It’s more about the lesson I learned this week.

I enjoy taking care of people. I’m good at it, and it blesses my heart more than it ever could theirs. The sad thing is many times I spend so much time making sure everyone else’s needs are met that I forget and don’t make time to meet my own needs. I spend 9 hours/day taking care of the sweetest 87 (88 on May 2) year old lady with dementia, CHF, and Diabetes. I spend the remainder of my day trying to meet the needs of my husband and children. I don’t want to be a super hero, but I do want them all to look back at life and say, “My wife/mom did everything she could to help us, inspire us, and make life great for us.” Being that wife/mother takes WORK! My job in itself is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Those that know anything about a dementia patient will understand this.

So, take my normal week and add baseball games, school meetings, The Brain Phase, and 18 hr/day intermittent fasting, and you have this week! Don’t misunderstand me, I am a blessed woman with a great job, a magnificent husband, and incredible children, BUT my body was SCREAMING at me this week, but I couldn’t hear over the chaos.

Other than my 30-40 minutes spent with God in the mornings this week, there was no silence. So, this morning when I unrolled my yoga mat and turned on my iPad to do Yoga With Adriene: True 30 Day Journey, I was completely blown away and brought to tears at her word of the day…LISTEN. She had kicked my rear all week with focus on core workouts and upper body. My abs are sore when I giggle and my hair has looked like a rat’s nest all week because it hurts to raise my arms above my head. Not joking! Sorry if you saw me in public this week. I haven’t given up on myself, I’m just sore! 🤣🤣🤣 Today was a gentle yoga session spent in silence listening to my breath, being present in the moment, and I even got to hear some gentle words of encouragement from the Lord during my time on the mat this morning.

Since the weather is warmer, generally people wear less clothes in Spring and Summer. Well, when you’ve lost nearly 80 pounds, you have extra skin to go with it. It ain’t pretty! I want to wear a cute sundress, but I have “bat wings” hanging from my arms, and I’m having to wear granny panties to smooth out the apron of skin hanging from my abdomen. I’ve become especially self-conscious of these aspects now that the weather is warmer. I will be honest, I cried about it a little this week. However, while I was LISTENING this morning, the Lord reminded me through Adriene’s words that, “You’re doing amazing, and this will all be worth it when you are at your healthiest!” Thank you, Lord, for always knowing just what I need! Thank you for forcing me to LISTEN!

Now, the lesson learned from all of this is that I’m going to dedicate at least 15 minutes/day to just sitting in silence, whether it be on the yoga mat or in the bathroom, wherever I can find that peaceful place. While taking care of others is something I love, taking care of myself is important too. Do you know what your body is telling you? I encourage you to take the time to listen. The moments spent in silence help dissipate the cloud of chaos around you.💗


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???? 😳🧘‍♀️💪🏻🙌🏻. 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 jalapeños!!!! 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…

Leave a comment

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 blog🤷🏼‍♀️. 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!🔥🔥🔥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 🧘‍♀️ 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.💕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.✨🌟⭐️💫 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.”