Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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

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

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

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

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



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. 😋

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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Failure, Flu, and Finally Some Meat

Friends, I will begin with confession…if you read my last post, you know that throughout this 21 Day Cleanse, I mentioned that I have been hungry. Well, last Wednesday night I was starving, and it was only 7pm. I had eaten supper, but I was so hungry, I had the most horrific headache and the tummy growls were audible. I was so aggravated and flat out HANGRY (so hungry that you’re angry) that I failed! I did. I got a bag of the chips that I put in my kids lunch, and I ate them. Granted there’s only about 12 chips in the bag, and they were gluten free, but I wasn’t supposed to eat them, yet I did. Being the perfectionist that I am, I felt horrible. I cried and was extremely upset with myself. I had let myself down and felt like I had let everyone around me down. I mean you would have thought it was the end of the world. Adam was so sweet. He comforted me and talked firm to me. He basically told me to get a grip and not be so hard on myself. My sister told me the same thing and even told me that being that upset was obsessive and that wasn’t healthy either. They’re right! I do want to be healthy, but I don’t want to be one of these people that are so obsessed with every morsel they put in their mouths that they can’t function. That’s an eating disorder, and I’m not interested. After I gathered myself, I gave myself a pep talk. I reminded myself why I was doing this and how far I had come. I asked God to give me strength and perseverance throughout the remainder of this journey, and then I thanked Him that my headache was gone. Hahaha! I finished the week strong, and I only have 8 days remaining on the cleanse. I plan to finish this thing completely come hell or high water.

After my midweek failure, I received a call from Weston’s school saying he didn’t feel well and needed to come home. He was fine Friday morning, but I went to pick him up, and he was pitiful. He had big plans with his brother to play tee ball in the backyard on Saturday, but when Saturday morning arrived, he said, “mommy, I don’t feel good. I think bubba and me are going to have to play tee ball another day.” Bless his heart! After a Saturday morning trip to the pediatrician in 20 degree weather, we receive the news he has the flu. My kids never get sick. So, it was truly a pitiful sight seeing my buddy just lying on the couch and asking to go to bed at 7pm. Well, this afternoon the pediatrician called back and said his strep culture came back positive as well. Of course it did, because this week has already been so dang fabulous (sarcasm)! Soooooo, the Nichols infirmary has done around 12 loads of laundry, dusted, vacuumed, cleaned bathrooms, and wiped down everything can be wiped down. I’m a clean freak anyway, but when sickness invades, I enter into crazy cleaning mode. At this point, we are praying no one else in the house gets sick, and I’m taking every measure to ensure that we remain well.

While this week certainly had its challenges, it hasn’t been without a HUGE positive. On Friday, I was able to add one serving of organic chicken or fish to the cleanse. This particular photo was my take on Chicken Marinara. It is simply spaghetti squash topped with sautéed chicken, onion, and spinach with homemade tomato sauce. It was delicious! Oh the difference a little meat can make.

While this will definitely not go down in history as my best week of 2018, there certainly were lessons to be learned. I learned that eating that bag of chips was inevitable. It was going to happen at some point, and I know what to do to combat it from happening again, but if it does happen again, I’m not going to beat myself up and freak out over 1 misstep. I also learned to listen to my body. When I feel hungry or don’t feel satisfied, I have to listen but make a wiser choice than a bag of chips. I also learned that a sick 5 year old is an excellent distraction from myself and my thoughts. I’m always happy to learn, however, I just wish life’s lessons wouldn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m also extremely happy to eat meat again. So, adios to this less than stellar week and cheers to a better week ahead!

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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 sautéed 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 jalapeño 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, sautée 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!


True Cellular Detox

Exercise, eating clean, counting calories, counting steps, and watching the number on the scale go up! Grrrrrr!!!!!! This has been my life for the past 5 years. I would lose 5-10 pounds but never anything more. I never had this problem until after I was on 8 weeks of bedrest during my second pregnancy. During this time, I gained 80 pounds, and after he was born, I was exhausted and was never able to achieve any real weight loss results. I've tried and given it my all for nearly 5 years. I went to my physician, and they would tell me I was an excellent candidate for weight loss surgery or would offer diet pills, which when you have epilepsy, do more harm than good. I didn't want a quick fix. I was willing to do the work. I just wanted to know why! Why, despite all my efforts, can I not lose weight, and why do I feel exhausted, ill, and just plain sick?

Fast forward to July 28, and I emotionally met with Dr. Bart Precourt and the staff at Balance 30A in Seagrove Beach, FL. Dr. Bart has helped my parents find an all-natural way to maintain their health as they grow older, and my mom suggested that he could help me too. It was emotional, because I had struggled for so long. After extensive testing, we discovered that my hormones were so far out of whack, which happened during the bed rest nearly five years ago, that my body was filled with inflammation. Dr. Bart explained that when the cells needed certain vitamins and minerals, despite my choice to eat healthy, the cells couldn't absorb the nutrients they needed because of the inflammation, and my body didn't know what to do with what I ate, except store it as fat.

Please understand that I, in no way, am saying that my weight gain was completely hormonal. I did make some poor choices, because I was so overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted with no results, despite my best efforts as well as dealing with the stresses and challenges life has presented us. Some of this was my fault. Everything is a choice!

Dr. Bart and his staff are so kind and compassionate. From the moment you walk in the door, you feel like these people genuinely want to help you. That was such a comfort as well as an answer to prayer. After my appointment, I told my mom that for the first time, I felt like there was actual hope for me to be healthy again. I cannot put into words what a comfort that is.

Two weeks prior to my appointment, I had made the decision to begin a morning exercise routine and revisit our previous clean eating habits. So, I was already headed in the right direction to prepare my body for the treatment. How do you treat this? Well, you rid your body and brain of all the toxins that have caused this inflammation and are keeping my body from functioning properly. For me, it's going to be at least a 100 day process.

For the first ten days, I continued waking up every morning at 5am to exercise and ate no gluten, no sugar, no red meat, no dairy, and drinking only water, which is all my family has drank for the last two years. So, that part wasn't difficult. I was also taking Standard Process supplements, which Dr. Bart sells at Balance, three times each day. Literally three days into this, I felt like a new person. I've told many people, "You never know just how sick you actually were until you begin to feel better."

The next 90 days will be divided into three phases: Prep Phase, Body Phase, and Brain Phase. These three phases make up the True Cellular Detox. You begin by completing an online training course, to familiarize yourself with the program as well as to explain what's going on in your body, and how each phase is going to affect your body. I began Prep Phase today. My morning was greeted with some of the suggested yoga poses, breathing exercises, and a burst workout, which is recommended in the training videos. I haven't been hungry or miserable at all, due to the filling Ketogenic type diet. I've felt satisfied, hopeful, optimistic, and excited.

Each phase will last 30 days, and I will consult with Dr. Bart at the end of each phase, where we will recheck my toxicity levels and progress through various testing and measurements. He and his staff have made themselves available at anytime to me, which again shows their dedication to helping people be healthy as well as their care and compassion.

I'm so thankful for not only Dr. Bart and the Balance 30A team but also for my incredible parents that are always willing to share their knowledge and wisdom as well as offer support in any way they can. If my mom had not told me about Dr. Bart and had I not seen the results she and my dad have achieved, I never would have gone. I am also so extremely grateful for a wonderful husband that is so supportive and has finally seen and understood just how sick I was for the last five years. I'm thankful for children that are not picky and eat anything that is cooked, because cooking two separate meals wasn't an option. Hahaha. I'm thankful for the perseverance and will that God has instilled within me to give my everything to this process. I've always been determined, strong, and a hard worker. I'm thankful He made me the way He did.

I will continue to update my blog periodically throughout each phase and post results as I see them. If anyone reading this has ever felt hopeless when it comes to your health, I encourage you to contact Dr. Bart and his staff at Balance 30A, because they can help you and want to help you.