Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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A Few of my Favorite Things

Before I began eating healthy and exercising, I thought that expensive workout gear was frivolous and silly. I mean, they sell the same thing at TJ MAXX for one-third the price. WRONG!!!!! I am here to tell you there is a vast difference between a $15 yoga mat and an $80 yoga mat. Just like with a pair of $10 yoga pants, if you truly do yoga in them, they’re going to roll down and move the entire class, whereas a pair of Lululemon yoga pants will stay put the entire class and still feel and look brand new after every wash. So, my list of favorites may be a bit pricey, but they are each an investment and absolutely worth it if you use them everyday.

First up is my new yoga mat. I had a Lululemon Reversible Mat for six months, and I loved it. Super grippy, it was great! Well, when you do yoga everyday, the mat wears out. For the last month, I would slide on it, and if I came from a runner’s lunge to a crescent lunge or warrior pose, it would buckle. It was just worn out. So, when I reached my 100 pounds of weight loss, my sweet mommy bought me a Lifeforme Yoga Mat. It’s AMAZING!!! It has guidelines marked on it to help you with form and your center. It’s super duper grippy, and it comes with the cutest little bag to tote it. Y’all, this mat is on another level! It’s just wonderful, and if you’re a local reader, both MH Yoga and Balance 30A sell these mats.Second on my list of favorites is my Reebok Sports Bra. Now, if you’re a female and have any decent amount of breast tissue, you know this is an important staple! There’s no bouncing or flopping or falling out of this bad boy! It’s holds the sisters high and tight! Absolutely worth every penny!Ranking third on the list are my favorite yoga pants. I actually have a tie in this category. Both the Athleta 7/8 Tight and the Lululemon Wunder Under 7/8 Tight are FABULOUS! Neither roll down in the first forward fold of the day or look junky after a wash or two. They’re quality, an investment! Just for extra points, if you happen to have any extra skin of any kind (like me), both of these pants do an excellent job of pulling that mess up and out of the way. You won’t be disappointed with these pants. Excellent buy!Lastly on my list of favorite gear are my Brooks Running Shoes. About 6 years ago, after I had Weston, my feet were killing me! I broke down and went to our local running store, Love To Run, and had my feet analyzed. Brooks was the recommended brand. So, I purchased my first pair 6 years ago, and I purchase one new pair every year. They are definitely worth the investment. I’ve never had foot pain or shin splints since I invested in Brooks. I can wear them all day and feel like I have no shoes on. They’re great! You can usually find some great deals on a pair of Brooks on Amazon. That’s where I purchased my last pair, and they were only $60. A total STEAL!Now let’s talk about favorite snacks. Like good gear, good snacks are also an investment. They’re more expensive than Cheez-it’s, but they’re all natural and knock your socks off DELICIOUS! Parm Crisps have totally taken my salad game from a 4 to a strong 9! I use these rather than croutons, because Carbs are the devil, and the texture and crunch make the entire salad better. They’re pretty great by the handful when you just need a little nibble of something! They could also be substituted for a cracker, if you eat crackers. Locally, they are sold at Publix and Sams Club. Sooooo good!My next snack is this bag of individually wrapped, pre-portioned trail mix. Sometimes when I’m not hungry enough for an entire meal, I will just eat a pack of these, and I’m good. The walnuts take it up a level! Man, these are good, and my kids LOVE them! I found these in the produce section at Walmart.Lastly on my list of favorites, is my favorite mantra. This was on, what I like to call, The Board of Happiness at my favorite place, Balance 30A. I had an appointment with Dr. Bart Precourt on Monday morning, and this mantra has stuck with me all week. Hope for tomorrow is implied. It’s just beautiful!πŸ’•

I hope you enjoyed my list of current favorites. Let me know some of your favorites, especially exercise tops and yoga tops. I’ve been wearing old T-shirt’s, and let me just say, you don’t know how heavy a cotton T-shirt that’s 2 sizes too big is until you’ve done a one hour spin class, 45 minutes of hot yoga, or gone for a run in south Alabama in the August heat and humidity. I’m open to suggestions. I’m going to invest in some different brands over the next month, and I will see which top comes out a winner. Thank you for reading and have an amazing day!



Reaching Goals and Taking Names

Almost thirteen months, Fifty-six weeks, three hundred ninety-three days….that’s how long it took for me to reach a HUGE goal! I have officially lost 100 pounds!!!!! I literally cannot believe it! I mean, it’s basically equivalent to what Banks weighed in seventh grade!!!!! Mostly, I’m so proud of myself!!!!! I have worked extremely hard over the last year, and there have certainly been times I felt like giving up, but I didn’t. I wanted to reach my goals more than I wanted to give up. I feel like these last fifty, maybe sixty pounds that I have left to lose are totally doable. I’m not overwhelmed by that number anymore, because I’ve finally reached this landmark milestone on this journey.The top picture was taken July 4, 2017, three weeks before I took action and decided to make a change. The bottom picture was taken this afternoon. I don’t even recognize or know the woman in the top picture anymore. There’s not one part of me that is the same. This journey has changed me completely. Obviously there are physical changes, but my outlook and attitude toward situations has changed, my spiritual life has definitely changed, and it’s all because my focus has changed. The question I get asked the most is, “How have you stuck to this for so long?” Well, I think the answer is, “I don’t have a choice.” In my mind, the only choice I had last year was to change everything or die. That sounds extreme, but it’s the truth. I was miserable. I didn’t have money for weight loss surgery nor did I want to take that route. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I was never deceived into thinking it was going to be easy. I knew the incredibly high mountain I had before me, but I knew the rewards of feeling better, looking better, having more energy, and the influence I would have on health choices my children would eventually make far outweighed the difficulty this journey would entail.

The other question I get asked by people that don’t follow my blog is, “How have you done it?” I simply say, “The old fashioned way of change of diet and exercise.” To expound upon that…I eat a completely organic Ketogenic diet. Now, if you look up Keto recipes on Pinterest, you’re going to find crap food that is horrible for your cardiovascular health. Organic, whole food Keto is TOTALLY different. I eat a lot, like A LOT of veggies. I aim for 30 grams of fiber/day. I make it Keto by the addition of grass-fed butter or organic olive oil when I cook the veggies, or when I eat raw veggies, I either dip them in an organic avocado dressing or I blend them into a whole food protein shake. I basically follow the rule of, “If it grows in God’s garden, walks in God’s garden, or swims in God’s sea….eat it!” It’s all about eating real food rather than crap made in a lab by chemicals. It’s simple really! I also exercise…everyday. A year ago, ten minutes of exercise was all my body could handle a few days/week. Now, I either run, do yoga, or take a spin class everyday. Those all take anywhere from 45 minutes to a hour. It’s amazing how much stronger my body has gotten! The photos above on the left were taken in March when I began yoga, and the photos on the right were taken a couple of weeks ago. It’s amazing to see the difference in the definition of my abdominal muscles, and on the side view, you can really see the ripples of extra skin on my side from where my tummy has deflated. My butt is smaller too! Hahahaha! So, if you were wondering if I followed through on my promise to buy diamonds when I lost 100 pounds, you better know I took myself to see my friend Nancy Kopko at Herring’s Jewelers!!!!! I bought myself diamond earrings. This morning I paired them with my ruby and diamond earrings Adam bought me a few years ago. I like the fact that they’re simple and not overstated. They were within budget πŸ€ͺ and every time I wear them, I’m reminded of this accomplishment. When you lose 100 pounds, you deserve diamonds and more.

So, here’s to the next leg of this journey. My plan is to continue doing what I’ve been doing and try not to become discouraged as I know that these last 50, maybe 60 pounds aren’t going to come off as effortlessly or quickly as the first 50-60 did. I cannot wait to reach my final goal and at that point, I will reveal how much I weighed when I began this journey. You won’t believe it!!!!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and helped me along the way. I love you all. To all my readers and subscribers, thank you. To all those on this same path, We can do it! To anyone who wants to start but doesn’t quite know how, get in touch with me. I will help you and you’re worth it!πŸ’•

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Blink and They’re Grown

July 28, 2002, changed my life forever. I became a mom. I didn’t plan it. I wasn’t ready. The timing was bad. The circumstances were awful. Little did I know that God had HUGE plans for this little 7 pound 1ounce, 23 inch long baby boy.πŸ’™

I was just a child myself. I didn’t know how to raise a child. Within the first few days, I was presented with a multitude of options and decisions that had to be made. It was more than my 20 year old self could handle, but thankfully I had parents that loved me and showed me grace. I didn’t have any idea how much this little LIFE would change mine. Mathis Banks was the best baby. He was a nursing champ! He slept well, cried very little…strong and resilient from the beginning. When I lost all my friends, he was my buddy. Banks was my constant sidekick for 9 years.

I messed up….A LOT….but he loved me despite poor decisions, working all the time, no money for vacations, and no daddy. We did our best, and he kept me going. It was giving him life that saved mine. Without the birth of Banks, I don’t know that I ever would have come to know Jesus. Without Banks, I wouldn’t be the person and mother I am today. Without Banks, I would be incomplete.

Sacrifice is a major part of parenting. There were times I went hungry so he could eat. There were many years daycare and babysitters spent more time with him than I did due to school and work. There was a time we didn’t have a vehicle and walked where we needed to go. There were bills that were paid late. There were some really hard times. This kid ALWAYS smiled, laughed, excelled in school, and was there to hug me and love me. He’s incredible! Some kids cave and rebel when they’re made to feel less than by their peers because they don’t have the best of possessions or don’t live on the right side of town or don’t have a dad. Not Banks! He has used it all to drive him 1.) Closer to God and 2.) In full pursuit to fulfill his dreams and prove to all those that have made him feel like a “nothing” that he is indeed a “something”. Though the first 9 years were tough, we had blessings coming. We prayed and prayed for a husband and a daddy, and In 2011, God delivered. It went from just the two of us to a family! From the first time they met, Adam and Banks were best buddies! Banks would hang on him and wrestle, and I don’t know who loved it more, Adam or Banks. As a matter of a fact, Adam told Banks he loved him before he told me! A lot changed for Banks when he was given a daddy. Adam has taught him confidence, how to tie a tie, all the ins and outs of muscle cars and cars in general, talked to him about the birds and bees😬, and taught him to drive. Because of Adam’s love, Banks is adopted and chosen!

It was not long after Banks was given a daddy that he was also made a big brother. After being an only child for 10 years, I wondered how he would take this change, but in perfect Banks form, he instantly was the absolute best big brother in the world! Seriously, he helped change diapers, play, was always willing to take a picture with Weston, and is now Weston’s role model, babysitter, and best friend. The past two summers Banks has taken care of Weston everyday while I work (40-50 hrs/week). I come home to a clean house and well-cared for 5 year old. Banks is truly an amazing kid. Most teenagers are selfish and only care about what they want during the summer, but Banks never complains about having a summer job. Weston is one lucky kid to have a brother like Banks!Banks is not only a hard worker, but he is also athletic. Over the past 16 years, he’s played 10 years of city league baseball, junior high school baseball, junior varsity school baseball, junior varsity football, and varsity football. Sports is another parenting sacrifice. It’s time-consuming and takes a lot of patience, and sometimes self-control, but it’s worth every penny and every hour spent at a ballpark and stadium. Athletes are disciplined, driven, and sports teaches kids a lot about humility, teamwork, and confidence. There’s no where I would rather be on a Friday night or an entire Saturday than watching my Banks play ball.

I’m not finished bragging yet! He is also smart…like really smart. You wouldn’t know it now, but he was actually kicked out of our local magnet school after one semester of kindergarten because the teacher said he wouldn’t behave. Of course, he had perfect grades and had not missed a question all year. That same teacher also mandated that I have him tested for attention problems. The physician wrote on a prescription pad, “This child is bored. Give him something to do!” I wish I had that teacher’s phone number now. I would send her every picture I’ve taken over the last 16 years of every academic accomplishment he’s achieved. I would also send them to the principal of that magnet school so she could see the outcome of a child she had no faith in and gave up on. Banks still makes excellent grades, just passed his first AP exam, already qualifies for scholarships at every college we’ve visited, and does an amazing job of balancing both sports and school. He’s self-motivated. He wants to be an attorney, and we have been touring college campuses to find the best place for Banks to fulfill his dreams and succeed.

As you can see, the last 16 years have been filled with trials, hardships, diseases, rejections, crying, fun, blessings, adoptions, vacations, family, sports, achievements, success, laughter, and most importantly LOVE. On Saturday, July 28, the little baby that changed my life will be 16. He’s handsome, kind, respectful, smart, athletic, funny, and destined for greatness. I’ve prayed and cried over this child. I’m his biggest fan. Together we’ve beat poverty, loneliness, hatred, discrimination, epilepsy, and every other odd that was against us. Banks, I’m so proud that you are now a man that loves God first, your family, are a loyal friend, never too big or embarrassed to take a picture with your mom, and always put others first. I knew when you were born that God had amazing plans for you. I’ve never stopped and never will stop helping you achieve every goal you have. Your birthday changed my life forever, and I could never be more thankful and proud to be your mom. The years have passed quickly, and I can’t believe your going to be 16 and a junior in high school, going to prom, and applying to college next summer. You make me proud, and you make all the hard times worth it. I will always be your biggest fan! I love you and happy birthday, my Banks!

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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’•


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🏻

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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!