How I Lost 35 lbs in 5 Months

Weight loss has always been a struggle for me. I have three kids and with each bundle of joy came 15 extra pounds that never left after each postpartum phase. I had my final baby 13 months ago and I knew I didn’t want to keep that weight, but I HATE exercising. And with three kids it’s not like I have any time for it anyway. I’m lucky if I get 2-3 showers each week (#momlife) let alone finding time to exercise. Nope, not gonna happen! So I knew I needed to try something else. Years ago I had tried counting calories and failed, but I realized with my busy life it was worth trying again. Using the app ‘Lose It’ (*not sponsored) I entered my stats and my goal weight. Then I started with a realistic goal weight of what I was before pregnancy #3 and a loss goal of one pound per week. The app calculates how many calories you are allowed to eat each day to meet your goals.

Getting started:

Everything I ate I logged. It was a bit tedious the first couple of days but as I added more foods they would get stored in the library making them easy to select the next time I ate that same item/meal. To be honest my goal of one pound per week sounded depressing and at times I questioned why go through all the effort of logging for only one pound per week. However, I kept reminding myself (and my husband helped remind me too) that it’s better than zero pound per week. Some weeks I lost two pounds, and some weeks nothing (damn Aunt Flow), but it did average one pound per week.  I was strict, no cheating, but the nice part is I didn’t have to deny myself any desserts (my kryptonite), I just had to eat smart and I could “reward” myself at the end of the day.

The app allotted me 1,400 calories per day to start and would eat between 1,200-1,400 calories. It doesn’t sound like much but if you make smart choices you’d be surprised how much food you can eat under that limit. Another thing that helped was my husband started the diet too. It definitely helped cooking for both of us but even if I was the only one on it I could still just eat parts of dinner to cut back on the calories.

Foods we ate:

We did a lot of substitutions like riced cauliflower instead of rice and zucchini strings instead of spaghetti (both can be bought frozen to save time, just heat up and eat. It’s a super easy switch). We also did very little bread, the big calorie hit from bread just wasn’t worth it most of the time (except for my homemade pita pizzas once per week, the 200 calories per pita were fine when we topped
with lots of veggie toppings like bell peppers, onions, and artichoke hearts – note: leave off the cheese and it’s a much lower calorie hit.).  We also tried to stick to basics like chicken or steak with veggies for lunches or dinners.  Even eating out at fast food we would get chicken sandwiches and get lettuce wrap for the buns or remove one bun and eat it open faced.  Creativity was the key sometimes

A typical day for me would look like this:

Breakfast: breakfast bread bar (filled with nuts and fruit) no butter – 190 calories

Homemade mocha coffee (with creamer and milk) – 140 calories

Snack: an apple cinnamon rice cake – 50 calories

Lunch: 2 scrambled eggs with salsa, half of an avocado – 280 calories

Snack: pretzels – 110 calories

Dinner: burrito bowl (chicken, beans, riced cauliflower, corn, salsa) – 350 calories

Dessert: 1oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (My Favorite!) – 140 calories

Drinks – all water or tea besides the 1 cup of coffee in the morning

Day’s total = 1,260 calories 

For other meal ideas I would check out Pinterest for recipes and Amazon for recipe books.

Results:

From mid January to Mid June (5 months) I lost 35 lbs. I am now back to my pre-pregnancy #2 weight and my husband lost 50 pounds. All of this weight we lost was without exercise (exercise is still  important and we hope to start a routine soon but needed the weight to start coming off first). If you do incorporate exercise (yay !) the app will take that into account too and give you an adjusted calorie budget for that day.

This was an easy way for us to lose weight, and because we now know the tools and tricks to keep our calorie intake lower I can also tell you we haven’t gained back any of the weight we lost since backing off the calorie tracking. Most weight lost on other diets would just creep back later but this diet re-trains your brain on proper portion sizes, and alternate substitutions, and what to stay far away from. And if you’re wondering, you can still stick to this diet when eating out, you just need to pay attention to the calorie counts on the menus and read the fine prints like if the sauce is included in their count or not. If you stick to items like grilled chicken and vegetables you can still eat out
plenty. On that same note, we made a choice to not count fruit or vegetables, most are low calorie anyway but even if they are higher they are still beneficial to your health so we didn’t want to deprive our bodies of the nutrition. Also, with all the veggies we ate we were eating healthier than we did when not counting calories.

I know 5 months seems like a long time but to be healthy the weight needs to come off slowly so you don’t risk health complications or the weight coming back. This diet changes the way you will think about food and will make you ask yourself whether something indulgent or high calorie is really worth it. This diet was easy to stick to because I still got to have little sweets, but instead of eating junk all day I would wait until the end of the day to see if I stayed below my limit and could reward myself with a small treat.

Other recommendation:

  1. Get a food scale and measuring cups/spoons. Some foods will require either of these to know how much you can eat. I found some food very interesting when I’d measure the serving size, some I’d be shocked I could eat more and some shocked me with how little of it I could eat.
  2. Don’t get coffee drinks from coffee bars or fast food. They are extremely high in their calorie count. Instead, brew your own coffee (or use a keurig) and add a little creamer and milk or low calorie sweetener.
  3. Portion 100 calorie bags of snacks and desserts, we like kettle corn or Berry Kix. Just use your scale to properly portion your own 100 calorie bags for on the go so you don’t blindly just keep
    munching when distracted (you can buy 100 calorie snack packs but you get very little in them and they cost a fortune).
  4. Substitute veggies like riced cauliflower or zucchini for rice, potatoes, or noodles in a recipe. Swapping zucchini noodles for spaghetti will save you a ton of calories and make it so much healthier.
  5. Meal prep lunches for work or school. A simple container of seasoned chicken with green beans and riced cauliflower are very low calorie but very filling. If you have the calorie room you can even coat with a low calorie dressing or sauce (but measure as the serving size can be VERY deceiving) speaking of sauces…
  6. Watch out for sauces and dressings. You’ll be shocked when you see how much calories are in most sauces and dressings. Even if they look reasonable on the label the serving size might be
    unrealistically small.  Try substituting Italian dressing instead of ranch, etc.
  7. You can still have bread, just maybe make sandwiches open faced so you use half the amount of bread.

I hope my experience and tips can help you with your weight loss goals. Just remember I’m not a doctor and some people may not benefit from lower calorie intake. Also, don’t eat so few calories that you become unhealthy. There were a couple days that I would be doing too good with low calorie meals for breakfast and lunch (even with healthy filling meals) that I would need to eat a higher calorie dinner to get me closer to my limits so that I would still feel good and have energy. I definitely tried to not let that happen, but it was a learning curve in the beginning.

* I just want to say I am not a doctor or a dietician. This is just the method I had success with and am offering up this information in hopes it can help someone else in their weight loss journey. Always
ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for a diet.

 Good Luck!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites

Mom Life Quotes

I love quotes. They can inspire me, validate the way I feel, and make me laugh. Sometimes all you need is a good quote or saying to put you in the right mindset again. This is where I will be collecting all the quotes I pick for my “Quote of the Week”. I hope you find one that speaks to you and uplifts you today.  Enjoy!

My Favorite Mom Hacks




Are you looking for some good and useful mom hacks? You’ve come to the right place. This is my constantly growing list of tried and true mom hacks. These aren’t just taken from other blogs, these are all hacks that I have used in my own personal life. I hope some of these hacks are helpful for you too.

Seal it:

Keep diaper bag clothes in a sealed baggie. That way if something like juice or applesauce leaks you’ll still have clean backup clothes and a happy baby.

Keep out the wind:

Keep a cheap crib size fitted sheet in your trunk or diaper bag. If you go to a windy place you can put it over your stroller to keep sand, debris, and cold away from your baby or toddler. Because nothing ruins an outing quite like sand in your baby’s eyes. This was a life saver for our daughter at an air show that resulted in a 30 mph sand storm. As a result, she was completely free of any sand, but me not so much.

Travel clothes:

Keep those outfits that you don’t like as much in your diaper bag all the time. You know, the outfits that you always pass up for something else because you just don’t like how they look or how they fit on your baby. If a diaper leaks or blows you’ll have a change of clothes ready to go without having to pack for each outing  (usually resulting in totally forgetting that change of clothes and being up ‘you know what’ creek without a paddle.)

Shhhh:

Make a door sign to deter visitors from ringing the doorbell or knocking when baby is sleeping. I just printed mine and laminated it so bad weather wouldn’t ruin it.  Here’s what mine says:    “Shhh… Please DO NOT knock or ring the bell.  It upsets the dog, which upsets/wakes the baby, which upsets the Mom.  Please leave all packages on the porch.  Thank you”. So feel free to click on mine and print for yourself.

Indoor ball pit fun:

Buy a cheap inflatable pool and a bag of ball pit balls and turn it into a fun, safe and entertaining ball pit for your baby or toddler. My oldest daughter loved this when she was little and now my other two littles are fans too.

‘You’re Bugging Me’ box:

When you find cheap coloring books, craft sets, or puzzles in the store just set them aside in a container hidden away from your kids. When you really need to get things done like work or dinner and they are demanding too much attention you can pull out something entertaining for them from that box. Because sometimes momma really needs to get things done!

Just make sure it’s age appropriate, something they don’t get very often and something they can do on their own without needing to ask for help every 2 seconds like they usually do.

Food shapes:

Let’s face it, if kid’s food is cut into shapes it somehow tastes better. Keep a look out for good deals on cookie cutters so you can cut their sandwiches, fruit or cheese slices for your pickiest eater.  My oldest is super picky and when she was little she constantly complained about her lunches until I began cutting them into hearts and butterflies. After I started cutting her sandwiches into shapes she always finished her food. Magic right? LOL

DIY Visual toys for infants:

Don’t waste money on store bought visually stimulating toys for your infant, they outgrow them so fast. Instead, recycle clear plastic containers like a creamer container. Clean it out and add things like dried pasta, glitter, pom poms, etc. Seal the lid with glue and you have a cheap DIY beginner toy for your baby.

**This can also be a fun activity for toddlers to make as a craft as well and can even become maracas if they add noisy items inside the container.

Hands free breast pumping:

For hands free pumping don’t waste your money on expensive store bought pumping bras. Try cutting holes for the flanges in a fitted tank top and sit back and relax during your pumping session. 

All purpose heat/cold packs:

These heat/cold packs were designed for postpartum use but I have found them to be excellent all purpose heat/cold packs. They are the perfect shape to mold to injuries on knees, arms, legs, etc. They have come in handy many times for my whole family.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  By clicking on the provided links and purchasing products I would receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

My Story Of Multiple Miscarriages

Miscarriage

This is a story I never thought I’d write. A group I never thought I’d be in. A pain I never thought I’d feel. Here is my experience with multiple miscarriages

I’ve heard it all… “Miscarriage is so common”, “At least you can get pregnant”, “Be grateful for the kids you do have”. All these words of “advice” from people who have never experienced the loss of a child. I know they mean well but those words can do so much more damage and cause feelings of shame for being sad about your loss. I am extremely grateful for the children I have but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want my angel babies.  They were so very wanted.

Shatter The Silence

I refuse to stand for it anymore! I refuse to keep it to myself and suffer in silence! If it’s so common why don’t we talk about it more? Why can’t we be sad without others asking if we need therapy or that we should be “over the grief by now”.  After my most recent, and third, miscarriage I said “NO MORE”! My babies did exist. They deserve to be acknowledged and not brushed under the rug by others. I won’t let anyone dare tell me how long I can grieve my angel babies, I will grieve for them until I meet them in Heaven.

If you’re reading my story because you are going through this too I just want to say you are not alone.  It’s okay to be devastated and angry. I’m so sorry for you and that you have to go through this. I’m always here to listen to anyone who needs it.  It’s hard to go through something like this if you don’t have anyone to talk to that knows how you are feeling. We have an unwanted common bond that now connects us and we can support each other through it.

First Loss

It all started in December 2014. My husband and I had decided to try for baby#2 as our oldest just started kindergarten. We found out I was pregnant on Dec 23. I was so excited to tell my Mom.  I wrapped up the pregnancy test and was going to give it to her on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve came and my mom was rushed to the hospital.  She had stopped breathing and it took them 45 minutes to get her breathing again.  Her Congestive Heart Failure had caused her lungs to fill with fluid. I spent Christmas Eve night in the ER with her. She never woke up.  After 3 days we were told she had massive brain damage from the lack of oxygen and my brother and I were forced to remove her life support as my mom never wanted to be hooked up to machines.  She passed away Dec 28, 2014.

I still had to go to my prenatal appointments regardless of the grief. We could see the baby on ultrasound but no heart beat ever developed. I don’t know if it was the emotional toll that losing my Mom took on me, or the fact I am Rh- blood type, or something else but I miscarried my baby when I was 6 weeks pregnant. It was devastating. I was mourning my Mom and my child at the same time. And the miscarriage process was torture. I bled for 7 weeks, a full week longer than I was even pregnant.  It was so very traumatic.  But I got through it.

Second Loss

A few months later, in July 2015, I found out I was pregnant again.  Instead of being happy I was terrified and afraid of losing this baby too.  Even before I got my first Doctor appointment I started bleeding at 5 weeks pregnant. I knew I was miscarrying again.  It was a Sunday and because of my Rh- blood type I needed a shot called Rhogam so we had to go into urgent care. They drew blood and gave me my shot.  My HCG levels were very low already since the bleeding had already started. It was yet another blow to my emotions. I felt like I was being punished for something.

After one loss my OB office just said it’s normal and didn’t do anything.  Now after two losses I somehow was worth the effort to run tests to see if a problem could be found (but still didn’t rank high enough for genetic testing, that requires 3+ losses – not cool Kaiser!). I had every test ran that I could.  Everything came back normal.  After doing my own research I wanted my progesterone levels checked.  The first couple doctors refused to test for that. I pushed until I finally found one that would.  Sure enough my levels were low, too low to sustain a pregnancy. So I got a prescription for progesterone to take if I got pregnant again. I was excited to have hope that the progesterone might fix it and prevent another loss.

Rainbow After the Storm

By September I found out I was pregnant again and immediately started the progesterone.  I could tell it made my morning sickness worse but I was so excited to feel symptoms I didn’t care.  Every appointment went great. We found out it was a little girl.  My husband was seriously outnumbered now.  She was born in May 2016 and was perfect, my miracle rainbow baby.

Third  loss

Fast forward to Summer 2017.  My husband and I decided to try for 1 more. We got a positive pregnancy test in July.  I immediately started back on the Progesterone medication.  Everything was going great. We heard the beautiful heartbeat and I spend the summer sick with morning sickness all day. I got blood work done because I was now 35 and at risk for more problems, and it would also tell us the gender. We were excited but hadn’t told anyone yet because of our history. However, as I approached 12 weeks I began planning the ways we would tell everyone.

But one morning I couldn’t find the heartbeat on my home Doppler.  That’s not unheard of at 11 weeks but it still made me nervous.  I tried all day, and the next day and still didn’t hear it.  We had heard it just a couple days prior but thought maybe I was just pointing the Doppler in the wrong places.  We went it for an ultrasound and that’s when we heard the worst sound imaginable… silence. There was nothing. No sound and no movement. Baby measured 11 weeks (I was 11-1/2 weeks).

The doctor said I would need a D&C since the baby was so big but it was a holiday weekend.  I was sent home and told they’d schedule me surgery next week.  That was pure torture.  I was still sick and now devastated. We had to tell our oldest what happened because I would have to have the D&C surgery. She was so sweet and told me everything would be OK.

I had the Surgery on a Thursday.  I woke up crying because I knew my baby was really gone now.  The anesthesia wore off quickly and I headed home. Within 2 hours of being home I received my blood test results that had been processed before we knew the baby died.  And with that was the gender.  It showed that it was a genetically perfect baby boy.  We were praying so hard for a boy that I just broke down knowing that I’d lost him.  We named him Colton.

Recovery

Recovery from the D&C took a few weeks as I developed an infection in my uterus and then broke out in a rash from the antibiotics.   It was impossible to recover emotionally when I still hadn’t recovered physically. It took 4 months before I went a single day without crying.  Add that to the fact that there were many women around me that were pregnant and everyday was (and still is) a struggle. There is a certain kind of devastation you feel when your child was the one taken to heaven and everyone around you gets to keep there’s. It’s not a jealousy of their happiness; it’s a profound and deep sadness for your lost child.

As my due date approaches (March 20, 2018) I am finding it getting harder instead of easier.  When we lose someone we love we start the grieving process immediately. It takes time but we start to learn to laugh again.  However, with the loss of a pregnancy there is almost 2 separate points of grieving.  Grieving when told there is no longer a heartbeat and grieving again as the due date approaches.  The date that should be joyous, that should be filled with a newborn’s cries, that should be spent wondering who he looks like and what color eyes he’ll have. Instead you’re left with a day of mourning, of planting a memorial tree or releasing balloons, of processing the loss all over again.

Losing my babies is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.  In less than 3 years I’ve lost my Mom and 3 babies. That’s a lot in a short period of time. Some days I do okay and others I just break down in the silence of a bathroom break. I know with time it will get better but my heart is forever broke. There is no time limit on grief. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be feeling if they’ve never been through this.

If you’re reading this because you know someone who is going through this don’t offer any advice.  Just offer a hug, a shoulder to cry on, and just let them know you’re there for them. It can make all the difference in the world.

It’s okay to talk about it. Don’t feel like people won’t want to hear it. We need to ‘Shatter the Silence’ of Miscarriage.  I find that the more people I tell the more I find other women who have been through it but suffers in silence. We need to support each other and we can all get through this together.

Contact Me

13 + 6 =

DIY Dress Up Station for Under $35

DIY Dress Up Station for Under $35

We searched for so long for a DIY dress up station idea for our daughter’s costumes.  I looked all over Pinterest and google for cheap ideas for storing her dresses and accessories. Everything was either too expensive, attached permanently to the wall, or was a wood working project. We know nothing about wood working so those were not an option for us and I didn’t want anything permanent. One day we were at IKEA for other things and I came across their Rigga clothing rack.  This rack’s height is adjustable and lowered down to a height my daughter could reach. It was perfect for her outfits (and only cost $13) but had nowhere to store accessories. Then in the same area we found their Skubb boxes with compartments and two fit perfectly across the bottom of the rack so we bought them (those were $8 each).

When we got it all home we put the rack together and put the two Skubb boxes across the bottom of the Rigga rack and secured them with Velcro. I also had a spare closet hanging organizer (IKEA’s Skubb hanging organizer) that I hung on the rack and cut off the excess. The added storage offered places for accessories like wigs, shoes, necklaces, bracelets, glasses, etc.

This DIY dress up station has really worked out perfectly.  It’s not too big or too small. And it holds ALL of our daughters dress up apparel. Another bonus is that it’s on wheels and portable so if we need to host guests in the play room it can easily be rolled out to make room and rolled back in when done. So many of the options I saw online were converted dressers or bookcases.  They are super cute but not easily moved and tend to have small areas for toddler dresses with no room to expand as the costumes get larger. That’s the beauty of this rack, it can grow with your child even until they are teens and want extra hanging space.

This whole thing cost us only $29 (I already had the hanging organizer but if I had to buy it again they are only $5 so the total would be $34 not including taxes).   I know not everyone has an IKEA near them so I will link other Amazon alternatives below.  You can get creative with the accessory storage too.  Maybe check out thrift shops or use a coupon at a craft store.  You could even cut down diaper boxes and cover in pretty paper or fabric. There really is no limit to this project.  Maybe paint the rack to match the room’s decor or add hooks for belts. Have fun with it.

Let me know in the comments below if you try this DIY dress up station project and how it’s working out for your little ones.

Here are the alternative Amazon products I found:


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites