Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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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.💗

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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!😉🏖

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!!!”😂😂😂😂 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!🎉 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. 💕

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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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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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!🥂🎉


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A Keto Birthday

Following Thanksgiving, I knew the next major hurdle would be my birthday. Well, thanks in part to the freezing temperatures and my great disdain for cold weather, I spent the majority of my birthday weekend at home. Also, the older I get, the less I enjoy always having to go somewhere. I enjoy being at home with my manclan!

I found an incredible Pinterest recipe for Keto Broccoli and Cheese Soup, and it was delicious! When I got off work Friday, I went home and made this soup. I get tired of eating the same things over and over. So, this soup was a nice change of pace.

My manclan let me open my birthday presents early, and it was perfect timing for some comfy slippers, a new lunchbox (Banks told me my old one was ugly! Hahaha), a new journal, and a 2018 planner (I love organization and order). It really was the perfect, low-key weekend.

The best surprise was yesterday morning when I weighed! I have lost 50.1lbs since July 31. I had been praying I would reach 50 lbs by my birthday, and I was pumped to see 50.1 lost! As far as inches go, I’ve lost right at 62 total inches. At this point, I have 100 more pounds to go to reach my first “desired weight”. Maybe by this time next year, I will be there! I wish I would have thought to take a picture yesterday in my church clothes. They were certainly more flattering and accentuated my weight loss better than a pair of scrubs did this morning, but such is the life!

My mom called me first thing this morning to wish me a happy 36th birthday, and she asked me if I felt older. I told her, “No, I actually feel amazing! I haven’t felt this good since before Banks was born.” It’s true! Even better than the great treasures I received for my birthday, the greatest gift this year is my health. It’s a gift that I will NEVER take advantage of again. Today was probably the first and only birthday that I’ve ever spent exercising when I first woke up and not eating a piece of birthday cake. 🙄 I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am excited for year 36, and I am beyond ready to tackle a Keto Christmas in a couple of weeks! I probably won’t post again before then, because for the next two weeks, my schedule is INSANELY busy! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and check back after Christmas to see my favorite Keto Christmas snacks and some adorable pictures of my manclan!


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A Keto Thanksgiving

Make it through Thanksgiving without cheating on my diet…✔️

Go out of town for five days and stay on my diet…✔️

I hope everyone else had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving as my family did. We went to Chattanooga to spend the holiday with my brother and his fiancé and her family. It was so relaxing, and it is going down in my book as the best Thanksgiving to date!

The general assumption is that it’s impossible to go out of town and stay on a diet, and you can’t go to a true Southern Thanksgiving without blowing your diet out of the water. WRONG! I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I also knew that I could stay on track with hard work and determination. Dr. Bart had forewarned me that these next two months were going to be the hardest yet. So, mentally, I had been preparing myself to resist temptation. I knew everything I ate in those five days wasn’t going to be organic. So, to ensure I had at least one clean meal each day, I prepped breakfast bowls of organic, free-range scrambled eggs, organic sausage, and organic spinach to eat for breakfast each morning in the hotel room. Hydration was key! I drank only water, just as I have for the past 130 days, approximately 200 ounces each day. That kept things filtered and my downstream track clean and clear. I had also mentally prepared myself to do some intermittent fasting throughout the five days to keep my body in Ketosis.

Jud and Hope’s house was beautiful! The company was amazing, and the food was delicious. Our dinner was served around 6pm. So, I fasted from lunch on Thanksgiving, and when I got hungry, I dug through the Homemade Chex Mix and nibbled on the almonds. I forgot to take a picture of my plate once I fixed it, but I ate turkey, ham, Brussel sprouts, shrimp, half of a baked sweet potato with butter, spinach salad, and one piece of Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake. It was not difficult for me to skip over the potatoes, dressing, cakes, etc… Best of all, I didn’t feel miserable the following morning from overindulging. The hotel had a great gym, and I did my Burst Workouts every other day just as I was scheduled to do. This helped keep my energy level up, because we did a lot of walking over the next few days.

Friday night, Jud and Hope invited our kids to spend the night with them, which freed Adam and I up for a much needed date night. My thoughtful husband had pre-arranged a reservation at a completely organic farm to table restaurant for the two of us. Tupelo Honey Cafe was ADORABLE!!!! Great atmosphere, great service, and outstanding food! They bring you a basket of homemade biscuits with Tupelo honey and homemade jam before your meal…just push the basket to the side. That’s what we did. Adam had pork with a muscadine chutney and Brussel sprouts. I had the flank steak and eggs with hominy and mixed greens. When you order steak and you don’t get a steak knife with your food, you know it’s cooked right. It was tender and juicy and the runny eggs sent this dish over the edge! 😋 Best of all, it was totally on the Keto diet!

Now that I’ve tackled Thanksgiving, bring on Christmas!!!! I’m looking forward to more laughter, Phase 10 trash talk, food, fellowship, and family time! Keeping the weight off during the holidays isn’t an exact science or impossible. It’s a mind game. Your either committed or your not. I’m committed, and after losing two more pounds over Thanksgiving (grand total of 44 pounds), I have no doubt that I will be at the 50 pound mark by Christmas! I am so incredibly thankful for this journey and for my health this year! I hope that all my readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. ❤️


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Thanks and Giving

Family, food, a home, a job, clothing, etc…the general list of things for which we are thankful. This year my list is a bit different. The top of my list remains the same with my salvation in Jesus Christ being what I’m most thankful for, but definitely number two on my list is my health. Without my health, I could not be the wife or mother or daughter or sister or friend that God created me to be. I could not be my best version of myself. This journey to great health has only just begun, but I’m incredibly thankful that I am no longer where I was 110 days ago.

Now that I have completed the True Cellular Detox, I will begin the Cellular Vitality Phase. This phase is helping to keep the purified pathways from the detox open, and throughout this phase, my damaged cells from years of living an unhealthy lifestyle will continue to repair themselves. I will continue on the Ketogenic Diet, and my burst workout routine will stay the same.

While I know remaining committed throughout the holidays will be a true test, I’m committed, determined, and ready! As of today, I have lost a total of 40 pounds and 44 5/8 inches. I NEVER want to undo what I’ve worked so hard to accomplish, and I never want to feel the way I felt four months ago!

None of my accomplishments would have been possible without certain people giving their time, talents, gifts, encouragement, and support. The first two pictures are of my Balance 30a family. Yes, I consider them family. From the moment I walked in their doors on July 28, 2017, they opened their hearts to me. I don’t want to play the “poor fat girl card,” but honestly, more times than not, obese people are overlooked, ignored, and frowned upon when they walk into any type of health facility, gym, clothing store, etc… Not at Balance Health Studio! These beautiful souls embraced, loved, and supported me from the moment I walked in the door. They wanted to help me get healthy. Emma and Whitney (both in the top picture) greeted me with a hug and a smile on a day that I was so scared and broken. They have encouraged me throughout this journey, and I was SUPER excited to see them yesterday. The second picture is of THE MAN, Dr. Bart Precourt! I worked with physicians for years, and I’ve never met a doctor that truly wanted his patients to be healthy the way Dr. Bart does. He gave me answers, encouragement, and hope, and for that, I will forever be grateful. My family has given me so much support and encouragement that I am humbled by how blessed I am to call them mine. I have the best parents on earth! They want me to be healthy and love me enough to encourage me and invest in my life. My manclan is beyond words. They have adapted to the Ketogenic Diet without complaint, and they actually feel better themselves. Without my manclan, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Because of the encouragement they have given me, I am able to be a better wife and mother.

As we enter this week of reflecting on what we are thankful for, why not consider your health? Why not be the best version of yourself? The holidays are hard. There are emotional highs and lows, financial strain, gluttony, and a very busy schedule, but there are other options. I am excited to, for the first time in my life, consider what I’m putting in my body and being still in those moments of emotion and allow myself to feel. Utilizing the tools Dr. Bart has given me is going to allow me to be the best version of myself this holiday season.

So to my Balance 30a family, thank you for loving and supporting me. I can never put into words just exactly how grateful I am to know you all. To my parents, you’re everything God instructs a parent to be. You’re loving, caring, and you invest in us. I’m beyond thankful for you both. To my manclan, you are my heart and my strength. The love I have for you three is beyond. Thank you! To all who read my blog, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Be your best you this week.❤️