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.

5 Ways to become a stay at home Mom

5 Ways to become a stay at home Mom

Survive on one income?

Having kids is a beautiful journey many choose to have. Life with children is not easy but it is well worth the struggles.  However, in this day and age it is extremely difficult for moms (or dads) to be a stay at home mom with their little ones and survive on just one income. My husband and I are no different. We required two incomes from the moment we got married.

When my husband and I decided to try for baby #2 we assumed my mom would watch the baby during the day while we worked (as she had done with our oldest until starting school).  Sadly and suddenly my mom passed away shortly after we started trying (I was actually pregnant when she passed but I lost the baby two weeks later – my first of 3 miscarriages).

Even though my mom was no longer here we pursued trying for another baby but with the realization that we no longer had anyone to stay home during the day with it (hiring a nanny was not an option as that would engulf my entire paycheck). We knew I would need to become a stay at home mom (my new dream). It took 1.5 years before our beautiful second daughter was born and in that time we used these steps to ensure we could afford for me to stay home with her.

1. Pay off debt

I know that’s vague and not easy but it will be almost impossible to be a stay at home mom if you have a mountain of debt (this is not including a mortgage). We started with the credit card that had the lowest balance (I know financial advisors tend to advise paying off the highest interest cards first but in our situation paying off the lowest balance worked better). Any extra funds were put towards that card. Once that card was paid off we added that $30/month payment to the next lowest balance debt which was my husband’s car making the monthly payment $330/month instead of $300/mo. A few months later that car was paid off. That freed up $330/month to put on the next debt. Now a credit card that was getting $40/month was now getting $370/month. ($330+$40). We just kept this system going. Once something was paid off we added that to the next. Using this method we paid off $12k worth of debt in under 2 years.

2. Put 6 months worth of bills into savings

When debt is paid off the next most important thing in my opinion is savings. Once on one income a car repair or broken hot water heater is more devastating. We made sure to set aside a minimum of 6 months’ worth of funds for all bills including mortgage, utilities, gas, etc, just in case of a lay off, strike or our income drops to $0 for whatever reason.

How did we set that much aside? While I was still working we pretended to live on my husband’s income only (as we would soon be doing anyway) and put my pay into savings. We also set aside 2 years worth of tax returns. With those choices we saved more than our goal which has come in handy (example: an urgent shower repair, our refrigerator died and my car needed new tires – all in the same week. That was a rough week!). As we dip into savings for those unexpected expenses the balance does drop but when we get our tax return we put that right back into savings.

3. Cut expenses like cable and eating out

I knew we needed to cut cable as the price was honestly ridiculous for the services we got but I was reluctant to take away channels like Disney Jr and Nick Jr from my kids.  None of the ‘stream’ services provide both in the same service. I was also worried about getting rid of our phone in case of emergency.  Ultimately I caved and dropped the cable and phone and just kept the internet service. Our bill went from $150/month to $65/month. Honestly, we don’t even miss the cable.  We already had a Netflix subscription and we just utilize that more, along with Amazon Prime Video (free with our prime membership), YouTube, and our own DVD collection. Oh, and a bonus to cutting the phone service… no more telemarketer calls 20 times per day to wake up the baby! Yesss!

We also eat at home most nights to eliminate the cost of eating out. If we do want something we order it to go.  The same meal is so much cheaper if you don’t get appetizers, drinks, or have to pay someone a tip. Anything that could be cut out of the monthly expenses was cut. Now we only have mortgage, utilities, groceries, toiletries.

4. Shop discount, sales, and coupons for everything

When it comes to buying anything I try to never pay full price.  I shop for sales, go to discount stores and use coupons. Taking your time to research the items you need will also save you a ton. When we need anything I research it online and in stores to see who has the best price. I also use Walmart’s Savings catcher app to scan my receipt and it will find any lower price on my items and give me the difference back as store credit. Usually that results in about $100 back each year that I use towards Christmas gifts or birthdays or baby gear.

I also use the Ibotta app to get money back on things I already bought.  It’s a little at a time but that has also netted me about $100/year that I can put onto a gift card.  That’s not bad for just scanning my receipt. Amazon has become a major shopping source also. I’m kind of a hermit already but if I can get a cheaper price without having to go anywhere I’M IN. Even if the Amazon price is the same as the store price I will still use Amazon to save on the gas usage.

5. Set up a side income if possible (or part-time/weekend job)

I am just now starting with this, hence this blog ;). Obviously being home with a baby prevents me from a 9-5 home job like phone customer service (I’m assuming a kid screaming or crying in the background isn’t a good thing) but I’m hoping this blog venture can provide just a little extra income. Fingers crossed! Even if it doesn’t I’m still enjoying it as my new hobby. Another option is an evening or weekend job. I haven’t found one that would work for me and my family but there might be options that work for others depending on their area and skill set.

Your dream is possible

So that’s my list of 5 things we did to help me accomplish my dream of being a stay at home mom. I know what you’re saying… ‘Lady, this list is “easier said than done”’, Trust me I know.  But with hard work it is doable and in some cases necessary to accomplish your goal of staying at home with your kids. Everyone’s situations are different and these might not work for you but these are the steps me and my husband took with success.  Going down to one income does kind of suck when it comes to giving things up, I can’t lie. But being home with my kids is 100% worth it. I have happily been at home with my toddler since she was born and she’s 20 months old now.

Staying at home isn’t forever. Our kids will be off to school before we know it (one of mine already is) and we’ll be back to the traditional work force again one day.  But for now let’s hold on to these memories if we can and truly cherish them.

Good luck and I hope these tips help you in any way reach your dream to become a stay at home mom.  If you are a stay at home mom (or were in the past) feel free to share any thing that is helping (or helped) you accomplish that goal so that we can all support each other in our similar dream (positivity only please).

These tips are my own opinion and what worked for me and my family.  I am not a financial advisor.

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. If you purchase something through any of my links I will receive a commission at no cost to you.