by Melanie

Stickin’ to the Plan + a Fun Trip to Idaho Falls

October 21, 2014 in Adventures, Family Life, Goals, Low Carb, Restaurant Food by Melanie

Hey, hey, hey!  I’m happy to say I’m still goin’ strong with my low-carb diet.  I really love it, although I’m getting a little sick of eating so many of the same things.  I’m eating a TON of veggies, eggs, nuts, chicken, salads, protein pudding, protein shakes and a little cheese.

Here are some of the positive things I’ve been experiencing on this diet:

  • I don’t really have a lot of cravings, which is nice.  Carbs and junk food always sound good (I’m sure they always will!), but I don’t crave them and it’s not too hard to stay away from them.
  • I sleep like a baby.  Seriously, it’s like a deep, restorative sleep.  I love it.  Whenever I clean up my diet, I always sleep better!
  • I’ve lost 3-4 real, legit pounds.  Right before I started this diet, I bloated up and gained a couple pounds for some reason.  I felt so so chubby.  Soooo, if you count those “superficial bloated pounds”, then I’ve lost 6-7 pounds total.  Woo hoo.
  • It feels SO GOOD to eat real, nutrient dense food.  I’m so happy to be disciplined and not controlled by all of the yummy food temptations lurking around everywhere!
  • My clothes are fitting ever so slightly better.  I have TWO pairs of jeans that I can “fit” into.  However, I’m very much poured into them and have a beautiful “muffin top,” but they do ZIP UP and technically fit.

Here are some of the negative things I’ve been experiencing on this diet:

  • I am SO DANG tired and have a major brain fog.  I know this is a typical symptom of a low-carb diet though.  My body is used to using sugar/carbs for energy and it’s in the transition of using fat for energy instead.  Yay.  I’ve heard that the fatigue/brain fog can last for 2-3 weeks though.  We’ll see.
  • I am seriously so sick of veggies, but I will continue to eat them!  I like to think of them as “medicine” and just eat them anyway….kind of like it’s my duty.  Ha.
  • Exercise is very HARD and very DAUNTING lately because of my lack of energy.  I still try to fit some sort of exercise in most days, but I’m cutting myself a little slack too.

Well, that pretty much sums it up!  I’m still feeling very determined and WILL NOT quit.

******************

We went on a quick trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho over the weekend and had such a GREAT time!  We went up Friday night for our nephew’s wedding and decided to make a “fun family trip” out of it as well.

I was so worried about sticking to such a strict diet while traveling, but we did great!  Thank heavens Kev is doing it with me!  I packed a bunch of healthy things into a cooler and it worked out perfectly.  I also made myself some protein pudding just as we were heading out the door and ate it while we were driving.

Healthy Low Carb Travel Food

I packed “homemade chocolate,” peanut butter, nuts, jerky, chicken, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, olives, and veggies with guacamole and ranch dressing.  Everything tasted so good and I was so happy to have our little “healthy stash.”

Oh, and I’m still working on the “homemade chocolate” recipe.  When I get it right, I will share it.  It’s basically a mixture of coconut oil, cocoa, protein powder and stevia.  It’s great.

I have a million pictures to share with you from our trip, so here goes nothin’!

We stayed in the Hampton Inn and I LOVED it!  It was just perfect for us.  It was so clean, spacious and comfortable.  We also loved the indoor pool and yummy breakfast in the morning.  BTW, the hotel in no way sponsored this post; I’m just sharing my own thoughts and opinions. :-)

We got two adjoining rooms and it was awesome.

Kev and the kids in our hotel at Idaho Falls

On Friday night, we took the fam to Panda Express for dinner.  I ordered the two-entree plate with mixed veggies, String Bean Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken.

The Fam at Panda in Idaho Falls

This was definitely one of the better choices on the menu, but afterward I looked up the nutrition stats and was surprised to see it had 42 carbs!  What the??!  It was high in sodium too, but I figured that would be the case.  I wasn’t too worried about it though because we were on vacation and it was still a pretty decent choice.

The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel.  They of course had plenty of sugary, carby options!

Temptations at breakfast in Idaho Falls

My son’s waffle looked so dang good.  I was happy they had some ham and little omelets available.  It wasn’t super healthy, but it fit the bill.

Having my breakfast in Idaho Falls

After breakfast, we took the kids swimming in the hotel pool.  They had a ball!

The fam swimming in Idaho Falls

My oldest son looks like he’s missing an arm in that bottom pic.  Weird.

Carson and I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines and watching everyone play.

Me and Carson in Idaho Falls

After swimming, we went on a beautiful walk on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt.  I would LOVE to go running there.  It was gorgeous!  There were so many fun things to see along the way.  The kids loved it.

The fam on a horse bench in Idaho Falls

The kids on a bike bench in Idaho Falls

With the moose at Idaho Falls

The kids on a train in Idaho Falls

The kids on our walk in Idaho Falls

The Family with the Idaho Falls Temple

Kev, D and Brooke in a tree at Idaho Falls

I saw this beautiful area of green grass and I told the kids they “had to” run and play on it for a bit.  I want them to live up their childhood, lol!

Walking in Idaho Falls

It was a beautiful walk and everyone had a great time!

Afterward, we went to lunch at Chick Fil-A.  Kev and I both ordered the Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken.  It’s so good!

The fam at Chick Fil-A

After lunch, we decided to go bowling!  Kev and I didn’t bowl (to save time and $$!), but we loved watching the kids bowl.

Bowling with the kids in Idaho Falls

After bowling, we stopped by a fun novelty ice cream/candy store and the kids loved it!  We let them each pick one thing.

The kids in a fun candy store in Idaho Falls

We then made the 3+ hour drive home.  It was such a wonderful weekend and we had so much fun together!

Overall, I was happy with how I ate and I was very grateful for the fresh food I brought from home.  I didn’t drink nearly enough water while we were traveling though.  It’s so much harder to stick to my “water goals” while traveling!

Well, this post is MEGA long so I will end it.  I also need to head to bed!  I hope you all have a wonderful night!

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by Melanie

The Storm Before the Calm

October 17, 2014 in Adventures, Exercise, Low Carb, Meal Ideas, Nutrition by Melanie

I don’t have a lot of time today, so I’m gonna make this quick (that would be a first!!)  Ha.

Anyway, I’m loving this low-carb diet thing SO MUCH, but it is freaking hard!  I’m on day #5 and my body is slowly starting to adjust and chill out.  Days #3 and #4 were so so hard, but I told myself to NOT give up because I know it gets a LOT easier eventually.

Seriously though, we went to Costco on Wednesday night and I wanted to eat the ALL of the (Costco sized!) bags of Halloween candy.  The bread, muffins and fruit all looked so dang good too!  Heck, the Cheerios even called my name.  It was tough.  However, this morning I’m starting to not feel so ravenous.  It’s still not easy, but I’m encouraged that it’s getting easier.

On Day #3 I did have one small “issue” and it was pretty lame.  Oh, and it happened right after we got home from Costco.  Hee hee.

First off, I have to mention one thing that’s hard about low-carb is that I haven’t felt “satisfied.”  My body may not be hungry (I’m eating plenty of food!), but I always feel like I want to eat “something.”  I think it’s more of a craving instead of hunger.  With that being said, I ending up snitching a few chocolate chips.  They looked so good and they only have 9 carbs per tablespoon.  Soooo, I justified it by saying I could have 6-7 chocolate chips….then I went back for 3-4 more!  But, that was it.  No big deal.

BUT, right after the chocolate chip incident, I was cleaning out my fridge and saw a container of Cool Whip (yes, it’s full of terrible ingredients that will kill you) leftover from Carson’s blessing.  Anyway, it was almost gone so I thought I’d throw it away to clear out some space in the fridge!  BUT, it looked so good to me (yes, I’m desperate!) so I looked at the carb count and it only had 2 carbs per 2 tablespoons SOOOO I grabbed a spoon and ate a spoonful!

Then, I promptly left the kitchen.  Geesh.

I’m happy to say I think that was my LOW and things have gotten better since then.  It’s still hard, but I’m not craving everything in sight.  In my experience, if you can get through the first week of a low-carb diet it almost becomes easy.  BUT, that first week is NO JOKE.  Man.  One thing that’s helped me is to tell myself, if I give up then I’m essentially accepting my body/weight/fitness level the way it is.  I ask myself “Am I OK with that!?!”  Of course the answer is “Heck NO!”

Soooo, I keep plugging along.

Some of you may think I’m “obsessed,” “fanatical,” “crazy nutzo lady,” but I know this is what it takes.  Food cravings and food addictions are very REAL and very STRONG, so you have to FIGHT back HARD.

I like to think of myself as “committed” and “dedicated.”  Oh, and if you’re just trying to “lose a little weight” or become an average size/average looking person, then you really don’t have to be this “crazy.”  You can just watch portions/calories and exercise a few times a week and you’ll eventually get there.  Buuuuuuttttt, THIS is the type of body I’m striving for….

Athleta Model motivation

Yes, you gotta have a little bit of “crazy nutzo lady” in ya to get there!  Oh, and this chick is an Athleta model and I really think they are inspiring.  They look so healthy, athletic and fit…..not sickeningly stick thin.

Oh, and I WILL get to this goal eventually and I WILL get there doing it the RIGHT, healthy way with proper diet, sleep and exercise.  Oh, and I know that overall health is a lot more than just a rockin’ bod like this chick has.  I love to be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle because it makes me FEEL good, gives me so much more energy, confidence and it just feels good to be disciplined and in charge of my life.

Make sense?

Okay, that’s the end of my rambling today. ;-)

Sooooo, I thought I would share a pretty picture…

Beautiful Sunrise

I drove my son to High School the other day and the sunrise was gorgeous!  BTW, Kev usually drops my son off at school on his way to work, but KEV crashed his car (fender bender), so it’s been in the shop and we’ve been a one car family.  Yes, it sucks.  Oh, and these pics were taken after I had already taken Kev to the train station.

Crazy life.

BUT, I love the beautiful world we live in.  This sunrise made me want to go running!!!  But, as long as I have a baby who is waking me up in the night, I will NOT be a morning runner.  Ha.  Oh, and just so ya know, my son took these pics as I was driving, NOT ME!

*****************

I’ve still been having some sort of eggs for breakfast every morning.  I’ve had to get a little creative….

Scrambled eggs with green onions topped with cheese and avocados and some grape tomatoes on the side.

Eggs with green onions, cheese, avocado with tomatoes on the side

I cooked up some BACON yesterday and crumbled it on my eggs.  It was a nice change and tasted indulgent.

Eggs, bacon, tomato and avocado

I made this interesting concoction this morning.  I made some scrambled eggs with green onions and peppers and then topped it with cheese, romaine, cucumber, tomatoes and salsa.  Totally weird, but it worked.  I also had my warm lemon water on the side.  I usually have it separately, first thing in the morning, but today I didn’t!

Interesting egg, cheese, veggie salad with warm lemon water

I had some leftover chicken/veggies for lunch the other day…

Leftover veggies and chicken

I cut up some celery and put peanut butter on some and some Frank’s Buffalo sauce on the others….

Celery with peanut butter and buffalo sauce

This was really good!  Oh, and Optimus Prime wanted to be in the picture as well.  I was inspired by his strength.  Hee hee.

I made some Chile Verde (pork roast) for dinner the other night and made myself a little salad with it.  It hit the spot…

Chile Verde Salad

Kev and I grabbed some In-N-Out burgers the other night.  We got them “protein style” (wrapped in lettuce) and “animal style” (meat cooked in mustard + grilled onions and special sauce.)

Kev and I with our In N Out Burgers

Oh, and I looked up the stats for these burgers and they have 11 carbs, which is higher than I want right now.  I’m thinkin’ most of the carbs came from the “special sauce” though.  I think next time I’ll get it with no sauce and just mustard.

I’ve been LOVING my protein pudding every day!  I look forward to it!  Yesterday I added chia seeds and crushed almonds to it.  Yuuuuum!

Protein Pudding with chia and almonds

I’ve still been exercising pretty regularly.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday and 2.5 on Monday.  I also did this workout on Wednesday and it killed me!  The last time I did that workout I was 8 months pregnant and it was WAY harder for me this time.  Lame.

But I got ‘er done AND I’m taking a break today.  My body is SORE and we have a crazy day today so I’m taking a “rest day.”  Although, somehow the word “rest day” doesn’t accurately describe ANY day in a Mother’s life.  Ha.

Well, I gotta run!  Did I keep it brief?!??!….not really.  Dang.  Have a great weekend!!!

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by Melanie

Carson’s Blessing Day + My New Healthy Adventure

October 14, 2014 in Adventures, Goals, Meal Ideas, Motivation, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Plan by Melanie

Well guys, I haven’t been able to blog for a while, so I have a lot to share!  I will do my best to keep it brief and not go on…and on…and on…and on!

On Sunday, we blessed baby Carson at church.  It was such a special day and I’m happy to say I held it together pretty well and didn’t break down crying.  Yay me.

After his blessing, we had lunch at our house with family and friends.

Eating at Carson's blessing

Carson's blessing

It was really nice.  We had soup, breadsticks, salad, fruit, pasta salad, Jello, chips and a bunch of treats.  The soup and breadsticks tasted so great and made the perfect fall lunch.

We took a million and one pictures of Carson throughout the day.  He was passed around a lot and everyone wanted a chance to hold the “baby of honor,” lol.

A whole bunch of pictures of everyone holding Carson

This picture cracks me up.  Check out the two “characters” in the back.  Hee hee.

Kev, his mom, Carson, Ben and Jake on Carson's blessing day

Here’s another one!  The Three Musketeers…

Cute cute kiddos

And here’s a few more…

Family at Carson's baby blessing

Kev and I with Carson on his Blessing Day

Some of the wonderful men who helped with Carson’s blessing…

Carson on his Blessing day with his entourage

Afterward, we all took a big nap and I snapped this sweet pic…

Carson sleeping on his blessing day

What a cutie pie.  I never wanted to take his blessing “outfit” off because I didn’t want to admit the day was over. :-(

It was a great day.

Sorry for the photo dump. :-)

********************

Well folks, I’m excited to tell you guys about my new healthy challenge/endeavor I started this week!

As y’all VERY well know, I’ve been frustrated with my lack of weight loss lately.  I’ve tried to be patient, but I realized that “being patient” was actually starting to be counterproductive for me.

Because I was “being patient,” I started to justify crappy food indulgences and missed workouts because after all, I’m a “new mom,” I’m “sleep deprived,” I’m “hormonal,” “I’m nursing”…..blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  I essentially starting coming up with a lot of good excuses and developed a bit of a “victim mentality.”

It was not good!

So, last week I was talking with my sister, who BTW, happens to be very fit, a marathon runner and a personal trainer.  Needless to say, I value her opinion.  Anyway, she told me when she had her last baby (almost 6 years ago), she had 20 pounds to lose and was very frustrated.

Hmmmm, that sounds oddly familiar.

Anyway, she told me she went on a low-carb diet and lost all the weight pretty quickly.

I told her I’d thought about going on a strict diet, but have been hesitant since I’m a nursing mom.  But, she told me (and I agree), that a lower carb diet IS a healthy diet!  You essentially fill your body full of a whole bunch of real, nutrient dense food!

No duh!  It was like a light bulb went off in my head.  I’m a HUGE believer in low-carb diets (short-term), but I think I needed to hear the suggestion from someone else to realize that is EXACTLY what I need right now.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask my advice about weight loss and the FUNNY thing is that I always suggest a low-carb diet initially.  I tell people if they’re not seeing results, have reached a plateau, have been eating crappy food for a long time, feel addicted to sugar/carbs, then they should eat a low-carb diet for a while.

I’m not a fan of low-carb diets as a lifestyle, but I KNOW they are very, very effective at cleansing the body, resetting the metabolism, controlling appetite and re-teaching the body (and mind!) HOW to eat and WHAT to eat.

Anyway, I could go on and on and on, but I’m just going to sum it all up by saying….I’ve started a low-carb diet this week!  Woo hoo!

I started yesterday and I will keep going for three weeks, until November 3rd (yes, it will include Halloween!)  At the end of the three weeks, I will evaluate things and see if I want to continue or add in a few healthy carbs.

I’ve set myself a “goal weight,” which is about 15 pounds lighter than I am right now.  I am not going to take a “cheat day” until I hit that goal weight.

I’m feeling VERY stubborn and VERY motivated and WILL NOT stop until I get there!  Oh, and here’s what my “diet” looks like…

I WILL eat: All vegetables (except potatoes), nuts, nut butters, seeds, lean meats, eggs, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, a little cheese, avocados, tomatoes, and protein shakes.

I WILL NOT eat: grains, fruit, milk, sugar, pastries, junk food, fried foods, processed foods

Pretty straight forward.

So far I feel great!  I know low-carb diets get REALLY hard around day 4-5 though, so I’m bracing myself.  And, to those of you who think “Low-carb diets don’t work,” well I’m here to tell you THEY DO!

In fact, I dare say a low-carb diet may be one of the most efficient and effective ways to lose weight.  Yes, they are freaking hard and royally suck, but they WORK!

Low-carb diets give the pancreas and liver a break, help reset the body and get the appetite under control.  It also re-teaches the body how to process carbs.  However, it’s vital to not just go back to your “old ways” when the low-carb diet is done.  You have to make permanent lifestyle changes in order to see permanent changes in your body!

Yes, carbs are good for the body, as long as they’re the RIGHT carbs (whole grains, fruit, sweet potatoes, etc.)  However, if you’ve been abusing carbs for too long **raises hand** then it can be very helpful to the body to take a break from them for a while until the body “chills out.”

I could go on and on and on (and I have!), so I will be quiet now.

Here are some of the things I’ve been eating the past couple days….

Different egg/veggie concoctions (the top pic is hard-boiled eggs and the bottom one is scrambled)…

Hard boiled eggs and veggies

Eggs with peppers, onions, tomato, avocado and feta

I got a Cobb salad at Chick Fil-A while I was out running errands yesterday…

My Chick Fil-A salad

I got it with grilled chicken and it was SO good!  I also enjoyed my lunch with this cutie…

Jake and I at Chick Fil-A

For dinner last night, I made grilled chicken

Grilled Chicken

Zucchini, summer squash, carrots and onions in foil packets on the grill (I just sprayed them with a little olive oil and sprinkled them with seasoned salt and pepper)…

Squash, carrots and onion on the grill

And big ol’ salads

Salad Fixins

Everything tasted great!

Chicken, Salad and veggies

I’ve also been snacking on protein pudding

Protein Pudding with almonds

And things like veggies, string cheese and nuts

Carrots, almonds and string cheese

Yay!  Well, I need to end this because despite my best efforts, I’ve made this post WAY too long!

I will of course keep y’all updated on my progress!  I hope you all have a great night!

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