Mix and Match to Create Your Own Diet/Fitness Plan

Like many people, I would like to lose some weight. And I am not one of those people who starts a new diet and then in the first week they lose 15 lbs. I’m lucky if I am extremely faithful to the diet and I lose 1 lb in two weeks. It doesn’t matter if I am trying Paleo, keto, calorie restricting or intermittent fasting.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. I think it’s beneficial to create your own plan for fitness and weight loss . Combine different philosophies and mix them all together and you will probably come up with a plan that will last long term because it will cater to you as an individual and it will coinside with your nature.

My Plan

Remember I said I have a hard time losing weight? My theory is my body goes into starvation mode after calorie restricting for so long so my weight loss plateaus or I actually gain weight. If we lived in cave man times this would be great for survival.

But we don’t. So it’s just annoying.

So what I am doing right now is:

  • Metabolic confusion – 2 high carb days and 5 low carb days. Wednesday and Saturday are my high carb days.
  • Unavoidable exceptions – if there is a celebration or surprise or some other unexpected occurrence, my rule is that I will fast until from dinner until lunch time the next day, and make that day a low carb day.
  • On low carb days I try to be as close to keto as possible but maybe allow one fruit or 1 slice of whole grain bread. If I have carbs its minimal and it is a whole grain or fruit.
  • I track my food in my fitness pal. On low carb days I eat 1450 calories. High carb days 1750.
  • If I am having a super stressful day I will let myself go over my calories. If I haven’t kept track all day I just try to make healthy choices and follow the tricks in “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I eat small portions . I drink lots of water. I move my body. I eat dessert but moderate amount. If I am out to dinner I only eat half of it’s a large portion.
  • I do a HIIT workout on high carb days and a regular cardio or toning workout on low carb days.
  • I only weigh myself once a month. This keeps me from getting discouraged when the scale doesn’t budge or even shows weight gain.
  • I plan to reward myself with a small gift for my weight loss milestones . Something that will reinforce positive behaviors and habits I am trying to cultivate int my life. For example, I just bought a morning routine audiobook.
  • Even when calorie restricting I try to be balanced in my food choices. I learned this from a dietician when I had glucose intolerance. Each meal should have a protein , starch, and a either fruit or dairy. I can always have as many non-starchy vegetables as I want. On low-carb days I just choose starches and fruits that have fewer carbs.

Does it work?

So far, yes! I lost 6 lbs my first month. My plan is sustainable and suits my lifestyle, my temperment, my personality and it tells me actions to take when the inevitable happens. It prescribes how to handle setbacks and failures without getting derailed. It allows me to focus on my progress and not feel bad about not being perfect. It has flexibility and I actually like it. If it’s time to have a dessert I can do so without guilt because I have already decided when it’s time to have a dessert.

When Anxiety Strikes – Make a Plan

As some of you know, I am a person who suffers from anxiety. Sometimes I even have panic attacks. I believe sometimes medication is necessary. I currently take an anti-depressant that helps with anxiety. No shame in that. But pills aren’t magical. I still have to take responsibility for the action aspect of managing my anxiety. That’s where a making a plan comes in handy!

But first…

These are just my experiences and do not replace the advice of a professional. Therapy is great so if you need it, get ir. If you aren’t sure if you need it , get it. It will only benefit you. Please also know that after taking a pill and executing a plan, you still might not feel better for awhile. That doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. Feelings take time to pass. Name your feelings, accept your feelings, and take heart knowing that they will move through you. Your ego will try to tell you that you will always feel this way and that there’s some there’s something wrong with you and you are the exception to all the good advice so you are just doomed to feel horrible forever. Yuck! That kind of self-talk ain’t nothing but the devil.

Benefits and Automation

Making a good plan is a great place to start on your path to feeling better. Not only will some or all of these actions affect your brain positively be releasing stress-reducing hormones, they will also distract you. Here are things i put into my plan. Your plan may need to be tweaked depending on what is causing your anxiety, but most of these actions can be automated. I like to make a little index card that in “laminate” with packing tape and cross things off with a dry erase markers as I complete them.


  • Call a trusted friend. This will make you feel relaxed, feel reassured that you aren’t alone, and maybe even make you laughed. It will also help you overcome any shame you may be feeling.
  • Pray. Pray for healing. Sit with God and tell him all you worries. Release them into His hands.
  • Play. Create. Color. Go swimming. Play with a child. Bake something.
  • Do a grounding exercise.
  • Take a nap.
  • Meditate
  • Watch something funny. I recommend Jim Gaffigan.
  • Exercise . Dance. Just move your body.
  • List worries, then facts.
  • List worst-case scenarios and what you would do if they happened
  • List things you’ve been through to remind yourself or how capable you are.
  • Go to bed early, get more sleep
  • Delete unnecessary tasks, delegate things you don’t have to do, delight in the tasks you do have to do.
  • Give yourself grace. Eat the cookie buy the shoes. Now isn’t the time to be rigid. Don’t go buck wild and binge or run up your credit card. But it might help to eat a cookie even if you are on a diet. And buy a new pair of shoes even if you are on a budget. When the battle is harder, the needs are greater, remember? You have real NEEDS right now. You aren’t just sloughing off duties and being irresponsible. You have probably been acting TOO responsible and working TOO hard. That may be why you are out of balance. Time to take a break! My ego wants to tell me “see you can’t lose weight.” And “see you can’t reach financial goals”. Instead of being realistic and remembering the path to success has ups and downs. As human beings we have real needs that we can’t always anticipate. You have to view these downs on your path as a time when you need extra fuel to keep going.
  • Go out in nature and just take it in. Walk barefoot, feel the air, notice the movement of the trees and the sound of the birds chirping.

What are some things you do that help you with anxiety?

Dear Grandma, You’ve Made a Difference

You deserve to know how you have contributed to my life. Throughout my life you have taught me many things, some directly, many indirectly – learned through your example.

The Comfort of Home

When I was a little girl your house was a magical place with beautiful roses, yummy things in the oven, and treasures to discover. A grandmother’s house from a storybook. Beautiful antiques, family heirlooms,  bookshelves built by my grandfather. You have lived there my whole life. Your house is my second home. It always looks basically the same and smells the same. You may not realize how important the home you and Grandpa made together is to every single person in our family. How important you are and the impact you have made on so many.

Me when I was a toddler at your house.

The Value of Faith

You have taught me about faith, hope and how to be resilient through your example. You have been through some hard things. Unexpected twins, three young babies at once, 15 years of caring for your husband with a brain tumor and his untimely departure. Through it all you have kept your unwavering faith. Even when your vision started to fade you focused on what you can do to make your life better. You stay vibrant by listening to audiobooks, radio, staying interested in other people’s lives, and  puttering in your garden.

 You always have had this magnet on your fridge and it shows that you live your life this way:

 Christ is the Head of this house ; the Unseen Guest at every meal; the Silent Listener to every conversation. 

There you are to my left when I was pregnant with my first baby.

The Gift of Hospitality

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Raplh Waldo Emerson

You have always been an excellent hostess. For my whole life almost every birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter was at your house. You always insist that we pray a blessing over the food. Your hospitality was not always just about throwing a great party, though, you opened up your home to me, my sister, my cousin and countless other people. Sure you needed a little extra money but you could have charged far more. You wanted to share the blessing of your home with others, and you have always created a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety.

Easter time! I was probably 8 or 9 here.
A selfie of us when I lived with you.

The Beauty of Music

You always have some beautiful music playing whether it would be from a musical, something classical or some hymns. You often sing along which is joyous to hear. You introduced musicals to my sister’s and I when you would have us over at your house. Thank you for this gift. Many of my peers have never seen any of the classics and I have had teachers surprised by my exposure to the classics. You have helped me become a more cultured, well-rounded person through your love of music. You celebrate music when you invite those in our family with musical gifts to play and sing around the piano. This is an extraordinary thing. My husband was amazed when he saw that our family does this. He thought it only happened in movies! Most families these days are far too sarcastic and cynical to engage in such a way and spend their time in front of a screen. Thank you for upholding this tradition.

Queen Grandma

I hope you know how loved you are and the beautiful legacy you have created. A closely knit family of eternal beings. You have devoted your life to family and relationships and it shows. Thank you for your beautiful contribution to all of our lives. In my heart you are elevated to the status of a queen. I love you Grandma.

You with my first baby.

Are You a Perfectionist?

I used to think perfectionism was being picky, very scrupulous and detail-oriented. Or the person humble bragging about why they take forever to complete a project, “I guess I’m too much of a perfectionist.”

Only in more recent years have I become more organized, but even now I don’t think anyone would use the above to describe me. I’m more concerned with the big picture and I am pretty easy going.

So yes, while all that may be true of some perfectionists, perfectionism has much more to do with your ego and the “shoulds” that you, others, or society have placed there.

Your Ego

For example, I may learn about my ego and how to observe it and then my ego will then think “well now you have the tools to combat your ego, so if you ever feel bad again there must be something wrong with you.”

Pretty interesting, right? Your ego is always out to make you think there is something wrong with you and perfectionism is the defense mechanism against that. That hyper awareness of checking all your boxes and covering all your bases to avoid some kind of pain, discomfort, or rejection.

That hyper awareness of checking all your boxes and covering all your bases to avoid some kind of pain, discomfort, or rejection.

Only there’s no way to completely avoid those things.

This video about the ego really resonated with me.

The Effects of Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist can result in being a high achiever but it can also result in being an underachiever, especially if it causes you to procrastinate. For example, since perfectionists want a perfect solution to every problem they will put off working on the problem until they find the perfect solution. In other words, they never start. In the home environment, this is why you see people make piles of things everywhere, because they haven’t found the perfect place to put things, discard of things, or the perfect amount of time to dedicate to a project. I definitely do this! Here’s some more details about the effects of perfectionism taken from an excellent article:

Extreme Procrastination. While they may ultimately get a lot done, people who struggle with perfectionism are often terribly inefficient in their work, suffering from persistent and intense procrastination. After all, never starting is a good way to ensure we don’t fail.

Opportunity Cost. Along with the inefficiency of perfectionism-driven procrastination comes the problem opportunity cost: All those extra hours and units of energy spent striving for perfection could have been spent on any number of more fulfilling activities and experiences.

Chronic Stress. Perfectionism drives people to constantly do more, leading folks who struggle with it to take on far more projects, challenges, and stressors than they can reasonably handle. This surplus of to-dos quickly leads to chronic stress and burnout.

Persistent Dissatisfaction. People who struggle with perfectionism have the above mentioned ever-present voice in their head reminding them of how much there is to do and how badly they should feel if they don’t accomplish it. Aside from the guilt and frustration that results from this persistent inner critic, long-standing perfectionism makes it difficult to truly enjoy things in life and find genuine satisfaction. It’s hard to enjoy the present when we’re always looking ahead to new tasks or behind to old failures.”

So what do you think? Are you a perfectionist too? I think it’s great to have this kind of self-awareness because it directs you to areas you need to grow. Realizing that I’m a perfectionist made me realize my problems with procrastination weren’t just because I was lady or whatever it actually was because I was waiting for a perfect solution and was frozen until I did. When you can correctly diagnose your issues you are put on a path towards of growth instead of staying stuck in shame and blame.

How I Inadvertently Became an Attachment Parent and Why It Isn’t For Me

The purpose of this post is to share my personal experience and to also let others moms know there are other options out there if you aren’t happy with the way you are doing things. If everything is working great for you, you and your family are happy, healthy, and well-rested, keep on keepin’ on. I would never want this post to make anyone feel wrong or guilty about their choices. I believe involved parents are all trying to do what’s best for their children and what established authorities have told them is best. Also note, this post is not medical advice. I am a mom of three sharing my experiences.

Continue reading “How I Inadvertently Became an Attachment Parent and Why It Isn’t For Me”

Why I’m Proud to be a Stay-At-Home Mom

Being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) in some circles is a great thing and in others it’s frowned upon. (Don’t believe me? Watch this.) I have been scrutinized for choosing to be a SAHM, and we all know the typical adage of a SAHM sitting around eating bon bons. Ha! There are stereotypes of all kinds of moms, whether you work outside the home or in the home. Why don’t we stop judging people based on stereotypes and commend the actual efforts they are making for their families, amen? Anyway, how can you judge a person based on their title? You can only judge individual behaviors as being lazy, etc. It is possible to be lazy no matter what work you do as a mom.

This is MY cup of tea, it’s okay to have your own.

With all that said I think it’s important to be proud of what you do, give yourself credit for it, and be grateful for the opportunities within your work. While at the same time, own the fact it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is yours and that’s okay. Here’s why I’m proud of the work I do as a SAHM, what I have learned as a result of being one, as well as why I’m grateful I get to do it :

I can effectively balance competing demands.

My kids respect my authority.

I save my family tons of money.

I bring peace to my family.

I am a stabilizing presence in my family.

My house is well-maintained. I’ve learned to be a good steward of our belongings.

I know what we need and what we don’t.

My children can be sick and rest and I don’t have to choose between them and outside work.

I have quantity time with my children and therefore quality time happens naturally .

I get to set my own schedule and priorities.

I decide when the work day starts and ends and how strenuous it will be based on everyone’s needs (including mine) .

I have more time to teach my kids about discipline and chores.

I get to be my kids main influence.

I can set aside time for creative pursuits.

I have more control over what I and my family eat because I have more capacity to cook.

My home environment is more peaceful and under control than it would be otherwise.

A side note

This is the way my family and I are choosing to do things and it’s what works for us. We have chosen this way of life because it is in line with our values, temperaments, financial situation, and overall life circumstance in general. We don’t choose it because it is the “right” or only way to do things, and we realize our priorities may change in the future and we are open to that. We make sacrifices to live this way but for us the quantity time we are able to have is well worth it. We are blessed to be able to find a way to make it work, I realize many families can’t especially where there is a very high cost of living.

If you can’t be a stay-at-home mom, or don’t want to, own that and be proud of what YOU do

I also want to note I fully support women working outside the home for whatever reason whether it’s an emotional need or financial need. I also support any woman in getting outside help and outsourcing where she can and where she sees fit even if she’s a SAHM. I don’t think this is indulgent, I think it’s wise. When you outsource you can save your energy on things that are closer to your core values, like more family time, or time to use your blue flame. It’s all a matter of where you think it’s most important for you to be spending your time and making that work according to your financial situation. Money is a tool and I think being wise is putting using your money in a way that aligns with your values and current hopes and dreams. It doesn’t mean always saving money no matter the cost.

Postpartum Rules of Engagement

As I stated in my previous post, I’d be writing about my postpartum rules of engagement. To learn more about what I mean exactly by “rules of engagement”, check it out my previous post.

I am an extremely analytical person. I need structure, I need rules, or I go crazy. And when I am tired, hungry, irritated, restless, etc and not on my usual routine I get more irritated and frustrated and I can start to engage in unhealthy habits like avoiding feelings through eating or being overly busy. Having rules and routines and knowing how to manage my expectations makes a huge difference in my overall feeling of calm. I can be a slave to my expectations and it just adds frustration to my life. For instance, instead of expecting this will be the night that the baby sleeps more, it is more helpful to expect that the baby will wake up swveral times and if he only wakes up once or twice I can be thankful. Expectations can be tricky things! Knowing the facts helps and setting guidelines also helps.

Let’s start with the facts.

Fact: I just had a baby.

Fact: My sleep is therefore unpredictable.

Fact: My schedule is unpredictable.

Fact: I have other people who need me.

Fact: I have needs.

Fact: We are in a pandemic.

So based on the facts, I am not in a normal everyday, predictable circumstance. This means that even if I am on top of the things I can control like my eating habits and exercise, I still am going to be coping with some yucky feelings from time to time because of being off my routine and from lack of sleep. So what to do?

Make a Plan

Here are my postpartum rules of engagement, if you will:

My mission: Take care of myself and everyone else in as calm a manner as possible, let go of expectations and practice gratitude. Help my baby learn to sleep and guide him onto a flexible routine.

My goal: Thrive in current circumstance and give myself grace because the battle IS harder right now.

When will I re-evaluate my goal? July 6, 2020.

How will I know I am succeeding? I practice self-care (get dressed presentably, bathe, read, write, move) each day even for 5 minutes. The dishes, laundry, and tidying aren’t necessarily COMPLETE but worked on. Everyone is hugged, kissed, fed, and loved. My baby is well fed and well rested. He is woken up around the same time each day and has his last feeding at the same time each day.

What are some possible obstacles and what will I do when they occur? (My if, then plans) When interruptions occur: Go back to where I was I. My routine.

If baby needs me: Delegate care to husband or go to baby.

If I am hungry, angry, lonely, tired: Eat, talk to someone, exercise or take a nap accordingly. If one or more isn’t possible, make my life easier – ask for help, get paper plates, get take out, or just try to make the things I have to do more fun. Delegate, Delete, Delight.

If I feel like emotionally eating, do it just make it a fruit and healthy protein snack.

If I feel frustrated because the house is a mess, practice self-care and then make a REALISTIC plan to get things in order.

If I am mad because I am “behind” on my routine, remind myself of my expectations: the routine is there to help and can be followed in a flexible manner according to the family’s needs.

My rules help me to be in the present moment and help my rigid mind have something to expect. If it’s time for lunch, make lunch. If it’s time for dinner, make dinner. If it’s time for winding down, wind down. Respect the boundaries of the day. They are there to promote a sense of calm and peace. Drop unfinished work and accept progress, just for now.

Rules of Engagement

I can’t take credit for the concept of “rules of engagement”. A good friend of mine and my family coined this phrase.

So what do I mean by rules of engagement, first of all? They are the rules we set for ourselves to cope with life in the best, healthiest way possible with our current circumstances.

Why is it important to have rules?

Well, if you are anything like me, you are a perfectionist who has an ego to contend with that loves to beat you up for your decisions. When you have rules it helps alieviate some of that nonsense. It also helps you see what is realistic for your current circumstance, avoids decision fatigue, and defines what success looks like in your life as it is right now. You can also lay out terms for when you give yourself grace and when you are making an excuse ahead of time so there won’t be any in the moment “I don’t feel like it” stuff going on.

A good book called the Kindness Method lays out a framework that can be applied to many different life goals. Answering these questions helps you develop some “rules of engagement”:

What is your goal?

When will you reevaluate this goal? Set a date.

How will you know you are succeeding?

What are some possible obstacles that will occur and what is your plan for overcoming them? (If…then…)

What are unavoidable circumstances, events, interruptions, emergencies, etc. that could cause a lapse to occur?

What will you do to make sure the lapse doesn’t become a new bad habit?

How will you celebrate your wins?

Stay tuned for another post about my postpartum rules of engagement!

Managing Expectations During Postpartum

I have just become a momma of three!! ????

I love all of my babies and a new baby brings so much joy.

But it’s hard! Hard to balance the competing demands of the children, the house, my own needs and my husband’s.

And since I’ve never been a mother of three before, I don’t really know what to expect and how much time will be dedicated to caring for everyone. Over time, things will get more predictable but meanwhile, I need some sense of normalcy . Here’s my plan:

  • Get dressed and wear clothes that fit now/buy a few new ones
  • Try to keep my routines but loosely
  • Keep writing
  • Keep reading
  • Keep family traditions like movie night
  • Prioritize special time with my older kids even if it’s once a week.
  • Utilize my kids help
  • Involve my kids in the babies care even if it’s having them choose the babies outfit for the day
  • Prioritize getting to bed at a decent time but have some time with husband watching a show
  • Make time to laugh. Jim Gaffigan anyone?
  • Take little walks to process any anxiety/stress
  • Give myself grace to get the help I need
  • Recieve help graciously.
  • Try to delight in the dishes and laundry …thank God I have so many people to love.
  • Practice awareness with my emotional state and talk about it and take action to alleviate and process difficult emotions.
  • Eat the cookie, buy the shoes. Give myself grace to let go a little when it comes to all the things I try to be on top of all of the time.

What helps/helped you navigate the postpartum time?

When the Battle Gets Harder, the Needs are Greater

I was listening to Jennifer Fulwiler’s new podcast and on her episode about “now we are all fat and broke”, she talks about how we need to give yourself grace when we are in hard circumstances, such as a global pandemic. She talks about how she’s been eating junk food, drinking too much and buying too much and the difference between addiction and just using things to cope for a short period of time.

Human beings have ever-changing needs

This really resonated with me because I can be too hard on myself and want to operate and maximum efficiency every single day no matter what. I have difficulty looking at my circumstances realistically and I can burn myself out by creating unnecessary pressure. I can also add stress to my home by taking on unnecessary tasks. I forget as human beings we have dynamic needs and everyday is different.

Eat the cookie, buy the shoes

Guys sometimes we just need to eat the cookie and buy the shoes. (As Joyce Meyer would say).

The “responsible” part of us, our ego, tells us that we aren’t trying hard enough. That we can’t be trusted to get on track at a better time and if we are tired it’s because to there is something wrong with us instead of thinking oh wait it makes sense that I feel this way and talk about it with someone some solutions.

How do you know you really need a break and it’s just not laziness?

It greatly helps me to make a list of serious reasons that would prevent me from following “rules” I have for myself. Under these circumstances, as Jen Fulwiler’s husband pointed out, the needs will be greater. I’ll need more food, more rest, more recreation and more help. Help could be meals out, a person helping me, child care, more screen time for everyone, etc. This also may mean spending a little more money. I think it’s important to set a date though where you will evaluate if you are still in survival mode so things don’t get out of hand and your temporary ways of coping don’t become problematic. Serious reasons to “break the rules” :

  • A global pandemic
  • New baby
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Illness
  • Emergencies
  • Unexpected guests
  • Major life transitions
  • Moving
  • The loss of a loved one

You just have to give yourself grace when the battle is harder. Most people I know just blame themselves and push themselves more when the battle is harder…but then they burn out. You gotta carry on , refuel, rest, and refresh so you can keep going long term. There’s nothing wrong with you, things aren’t normal right now, they may just truly be harder. If there’s something you can change, change it but if not just give yourself a break. ❤️