Is Butter a Carb?

Our vacation has come to an end. I’ve blasted your Instagram and Facebook feeds with pictures, making up for all of the years that I forbid to have my picture taken. img_2988I’ve beaten Wes at putt-putt (he beat me in the rematch), and I’ve tasted all of the delights that Myrtle Beach has to offer. All in all, I would call that a success.

It was made abundantly clear to me that our vacation was over, when about an hour into our ride home, Tyson puked a whole sippy cup of milk up all over his carseat. It was made clear again, when he did the same thing a couple of hours later. Just in case I didn’t get the messaged, we drove straight from the beach to a baseball game, after which I picked Levi up at his Dad’s house, and he too puked in the driveway before we could leave. My vacation is officially over! It’s back to the real world of puking children, birthday parties, and baseball games.

It’s great to be able to get out of town for a while and have some fun, but when you’re trying to lose weight, it can also be a stressful time of trying to stay on track. I wanted to share my vacation strategy while it’s still fresh in my mind, so that hopefully the next time you go on vacation, you don’t have to beat yourself up.

Wait For It…

So here’s my big earth-shattering advice for sticking with a diet while on vacation. My advice is, don’t.

First, I guess I should mention, that we normally take a vacation once a year. For me, this is time spent with my family, resting, having fun, and being carefree. img_2566This is the one week of the year, that I allow myself a free pass to not measure, plan, or calculate my meals. During this week, I just listened to my body and ate what I was craving. Eventually that meant switching from a two piece bathing suit, to a one piece, but that’s okay.

Most mornings, I stuck to my normal breakfast of overnight oats and iced coffee. But I also allowed myself to enjoy a breakfast at Paula Deen’s

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Breakfast at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

one morning, stuffing myself with some delicious Apple Cinnamon French Toast and Hash Brown Casserole, that I’m certain contained actual potato chips.

Most days for lunch we had bologna sandwiches on the balcony, after a morning on the beach. Other days we had hamburgers and fries at River City Grill, while Tyson had crayons and cheetos.

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Eating the crayons at River City Grill

 

My strategy on vacation is to not worry about how many calories, carbs, fats, or proteins I’m eating, while trying  my best to not make myself sick. It’s amazing to me, how my body responds now to the way I used to eat all of the time. It’s hard to tell if my body just can’t handle eating that way anymore, or if I just got used to feeling bad when I ate that way regularly. Either way, the meal that really hit that message home to me this week was my delicious breakfast at Paula Deen’s.

It was amazing, and I would totally eat it again, just to be able to say I had sampled Paula’s breakfast, but man did I feel that meal for the entire day after, which was why I chose to eat a salad for dinner that night. img_2887

What About Exercise?

My “go with the flow” attitude for food on vacation, also goes for working out. I would love to tell you that I was up at the crack of dawn, doing boot camp classes on the beach at sunrise, but that definitely wasn’t the case. I basically just did what I felt like doing. Some mornings I got up before Tyson and did some gentle yoga, and one morning I snuck away and walked a couple miles of the beach.img_2925 I did have a little activity, but there was no structure or reason to any of it. I just did what felt good and relaxing. On vacation, I don’t have any plans for crushing workouts, or staying on track with my food, I just remember that this is a lifestyle, and not a diet with a deadline.

Damage Control

So what happens now? This morning I stepped on the scale, to assess the damage. Before we left for vacation, my weight was already up a couple pounds because I was getting ready to start my period. The morning we left, I was 135 lbs, and this morning, the day after we got home, I was at 140.4 lbs. It’s important for my sanity, to remember that these pounds are not pounds of fat. It would be pretty crazy to gain 5 pounds of pure body fat in 6 days.

To gain 1 pound of fat, it would mean eating 3,500 calories above my maintenance calories. Meaning, I would have to eat close to 6,000 calories a day to gain that much body fat. These pounds are mostly water weight, and can be lost again just as easily as they were gained.

To get these extra few pounds off, I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to be going into a crazy, restrictive diet. I’m not going to be doing any detoxes, or flushes, or fasts. What I’m going to do is just pick back up where I left off. Making this a lifestyle isn’t about what you do one week on vacation. You aren’t going to undo all of your hard work in one week. The key is, jumping right back into your routine when you get back. Shortening the amount of time it takes you to get back to business is the key. img_3163Just like I had to immediately leave the beach and jump right back into puking children and baseball games, this morning I got up like I normally would, and hit the gym before I had time to talk myself out of it. I had one more “splurge” meal, at Tyson’s 2nd birthday party today. Because…cookie cake. Then I went to the grocery store and bought all of my food for meal prep tomorrow.

Everyone loves to enjoy themselves and loosen the reigns on vacation, and I’m no different. I hope by me sharing my thoughts on vacation, it will help you see that losing weight long term, and changing your lifestyle, doesn’t mean depriving yourself for the rest of your life. You can go on vacation, relax, and enjoy time with your family, without worrying about sticking to a “diet” or fitting in structured exercise. Reducing the amount of time it takes you to get back into the swing of things is the key to continuing to make progress toward your weight loss goals.

It’s all about finding the balance that helps you sustain your weight loss long term, without making you feel deprived.

When Self-Care Feels Selfish

If you’ve ever watched any amount of Oprah or Dr. Phil, and come on, we all have at some point, you’re familiar with the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I get it. It totally makes sense, that it’s going to be really hard to do all of the things I need to do to take care of everyone else, if I’m run down and exhausted. Nevertheless, there are still days, almost two years into my weight loss journey, when taking care of myself feels selfish.

This has been on my mind a lot more lately with the arrival of summer break. During the school year, life falls into a routine. The older boys go to school during the day, and Tyson is fine doing whatever, as long as he’s with Mommy, or Grandma, or Nana.img_1911 He’s just happy to be around one of his favorite ladies. Everyone knows we get up, we go to school, and then we go to the gym.

However, now the carefree, unscheduled days of summer have arrived, and everybody is making adjustments. One adjustment Levi is making this summer, is trudging his way to the gym with Mom in the morning. If I don’t go to the gym first thing, the day always seems to get away from me. I get tired, and I’m afraid I’ll talk myself out of going. This shouldn’t be an issue, because my boys have been early risers from the moments they entered this world. A startling adjustment that I had to make, I might add. I don’t think either one of them has ever slept past 9 a.m. However, this summer, I’ve quickly realized that just because Levi is awake, it doesn’t mean he’s ready to do things.

The Struggle

So every morning that he’s at my house and not with his Dad, we have the same conversation:

Levi: “I hate going there, the three year olds jump on me!

Me: “It’s only for an hour, you’ll be fine.”

Levi: “Why can’t I just go to Grandma’s house while you go!”

Me: “I don’t know what Grandma is doing right now and it’s only for an hour. You’ll be fine.”

Levi: “I’m tired! It’s boring!”

On and on, until even though he’s the one complaining and being a turd, I start to feel bad, like I’m being selfish making him go. I start saying things in my head like, “It is his summer break, maybe I should just let him lay around and watch TV for a few hours instead of dragging him out of the house. Maybe he could just go to my mom’s house for an hour while I workout.” I start convincing myself he’s right, and that I’m the one being selfish.

Let Me Explain

I finally had to decide to stop arguing with him about it and explain why I do what I do. I had to remind us both why it’s so important that I spend a little bit of time taking care of me too. The last time this came up, I explained to him, that going to the gym is a very big priority of mine. Exercising keeps me healthy, so that I’m better able to take care of him.img_0822 I had to explain, that adults don’t usually get to go outside and play and run around, so going to places like the gym help us move our bodies and keep us healthy. And I had to point out, that the whole rest of my day revolves around what he and Tyson need or want to do, but that going to the gym is one hour out of the day, when I get to do something by myself that’s good for me and fun.

Does he get it at eight years old? Absolutely not. He doesn’t understand why it’s so important to me. He just wants to watch kids open toys on YouTube or some crap, swim, and jump on the trampoline. He doesn’t get how hard I’ve worked to change my lifestyle, so that I can be the kind of mom that I want him to have. He can’t comprehend how much time I’ve invested to make this stick, and how I’m sometimes still afraid to loosen the reigns for fear that I’ll fall back into my old habits. He doesn’t get it now, but I hope one day he will appreciate how much I’ve worked to be the happy, healthy, active mom that I want him to have. I don’t want him to look back and remember that his mom was always too tired to take him to do fun things or participate in activities.

Squeezing In Me Time

As moms, so much of our lives center around other people. Even the most minute decisions revolve around our children and family. We schedule almost everything we do around nap times, meal times, cranky times, baseball practice, music lessons, you name it. We do it without question, because of course we love them so much, and they are our number one priority. I know someday it will happen, but right now I can’t imagine a time, when my life won’t revolve around my children’s day to day activities. But as I get further into my weight loss journey, img_2089I’m also realizing that squeezing little bits of time out of the day to do things by myself, that make me happy, are vital to my health and my mood. It’s important to me mentally, physically, and emotionally, to have that time to recharge so that I can be more present for them, for the rest of the day. It’s not only important to me that I find those moments, it’s also important to me that my boys know about them.

I want them to know that I value my personal time. I want them to know me as their mom, but also know that I’m a real person, with interests and hobbies. I don’t want to just tell them it’s important to take care of their bodies, I want to show them, by taking care of mine. I want to show them what a strong, happy woman is, so that they will hopefully one day, a super long time from now, they’ll be able to spot one for themselves!

Putting It Into Practice

So far this summer, I’m making a conscious effort to get out and do fun things with my boys, instead of just getting stuck in another routine. I tend to be a creature of habit if I’m not actively planning different activities. This summer, I’ve decided that we’re going to have a blast, and we can get back to routines in August. Right now we have memories to make!

So far, we’ve gone rock-climbing, trampoline jumping, hiking, swimming, we’ve gone to the zoo, and strawberry-picking, and mom has a whole list of other ideas to fill our time together. I want to help my boys experience life and do fun things that they’ll always remember, even if it’s just in pictures. I want to give them the green light to try new things, and to find places and hobbies they love, and it starts with giving myself permission to do the same.

A Love Letter to My Sons

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not an extremely emotional person. After years of working in Labor and Delivery, I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to pushing my feelings to the side, so that I can focus on the task at hand. But I think when a young person tragically loses their life, especially a young mother, you can’t help but feel the weight of it. It’s only been a few short days since this tragedy hit my community again. We were only acquaintances in high school, but I know she was very loved by those that knew her best. I think when something so devastating happens to someone your age, with children the same age as your children, it’s only a matter of time until you think about how easily it could’ve been you.

Becoming a mother is scary. I think from the moment you see those two pink lines, along with the joy and excitement, comes this terrifying fear about every minuscule thing that could go wrong. From ultrasounds, to the fear of birth defects, to obliterating your most tender areas during childbirth, the list goes on and on. You make it through pregnancy and BAM! A whole new list! What if they see something on TV that scars them for life? What if he grows up and blames me for every one of his shortcomings and neurosis? What if I’m remembered as the tyrant mother, who never let them do anything fun?

For some reason when I became a mom, from time to time (usually when I would hear of the passing of another young mom), another fear would pop in my head. What if something happens to me, and they’re too young to really remember me? What if they don’t remember how it feels for me to cuddle with them before bed? What if they don’t remember how I sing in the car, or how I smell when I first wake up in the morning? I’m so sorry this isn’t my typical post about weight loss or diet mindset, I just really felt like I needed to express to my beautiful sons what they mean to me. And I didn’t want it to get lost in a notebook, or tucked away in a drawer where they may never find it.

Tonight as I was driving home from baseball practice, I looked in my rearview mirror that is permanently positioned on my son’s face instead of the road.img_7582 I saw his big blue eyes staring back at me. Even though we’ve looked at each other like this a million times, tonight when I saw those long eyelashes, and those two middle fingers glued in his mouth, I immediately thought, “The hope of you changed my life.”

Like I said before, I’m not a very emotional person, so this really came out of nowhere and smacked me right in the face. I thought about how blessed I am to have two healthy little boys that call me Mommy, and felt that I needed to find a way to tell them how special they are to me, because I may not always be here to tell them.

Phew, get the tissues ready.

To Levi

You changed my whole world from the moment I even realized I needed you. I ached for you to be mine. img_6221Before you were ever conceived, you were the only thing my mind could focus on for months. You came into my life and completely changed it forever. You turned me into a completely new creature, you made me a mother.

I love your fearlessness, your strongwill, and your huge imagination. I love how you’re growing into a big boy, but still sometimes want to be my baby. I love how you know all the words to every Michael Jackson song ever written, and I love when you still want me to snuggle you before bed. I love my life because you’re in it. You impact every day, every thought, and every decision of my life.img_6704 There will be times when you’re mad at me, and I’m frustrated with you, but I want you to know that I love you with every part of me. I’m so proud to be your mom, and I can’t wait to see what you become.

To Tyson

I haven’t known you for as long, but you’re revealing more of your wonderful personality to me everyday. img_6742You were the baby I wasn’t sure I would ever have, but the dream of you changed my whole life. I ached for you, just like I did for Levi. When I was told I couldn’t have you, it flipped my whole world upside down. I became a single mom, and the possibility of you seemed like it was getting dimmer everyday. And then like magic, I met your Daddy. We fell in love, and he wanted you just as much as I did.

I love your big blue eyes, and your sweet little toes. I love the sound of you running through the house yelling, “SHOOT!” I love the way you can’t fall asleep without holding your belly button, and I love how you say, “Ah Boo,” (“Love You”) when I lay you down at night. img_6041I love how you make silly faces and how you whisper to make people laugh. Even when you’re screaming in the car like a lunatic, I want you to know that I still see an angel looking at me in the rearview mirror. I’m blessed to be your Mommy, and I’m so happy you’re finally here.

My love for these little boys is beyond description. I grew them inside of me, and I’m forever connected to them. And then God blessed me with a bonus, Carson.

To Carson

You came into my life as a five year old, well beyond your years. You have your own Mom, that is forever bonded to you and loves you like I love Levi and Tyson. But God saw fit to let me create a life with your Dad and with you and now your little brother. I love that I’m able to be a witness to your life, your Mom and Dad are doing a remarkable job with you.img_5318-e1520996614630.jpg I love how smart and curious you are. I love how you can name every player, in every position, on every NBA team, that ever graced the court. I love how you talk in your sleep and hum in the shower. I love how you always try to do your absolute best at everything you do. And I love how much you love your Dad and your baby brother. I love that I get to be a part of your life, and I know you’re going to do great things.

I know this post had nothing really to do with weight loss, but these little boys are why I get up in the morning. They’re why i’m always striving to do better, and to be better. Everything I am is because of them, including being a swollen faced, sobbing mess right now. I just want them to not have to rely on their memories to know how I feel about each one of them, but to read my words, from my heart, and know how much they are loved.