I’m Not THAT Girl

IMG_0633

I have been married to my husband for over eight years. We have a wonderful marriage filled with incredible memories of adventure, travel, growth, and new beginnings. We aren’t anywhere near perfect and we have our fair share of struggles. Nonetheless, we are happy. We were married fairly young and we’ve supported one another through much change- education, careers, loss, religion, relocation. One thing I cannot add to that list is parenthood.

Here’s the thing. I’m not that girl. You know the one. The girl who spent her childhood dreaming of her wedding day. The dress. The venue. The flowers. The cake. Even the groom. That just wasn’t me. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I’d get married at some point. It just wasn’t ever my focus. And yet, when I was 22, I met my guy and we were married a year and a half later.

You know what they say:

First comes love.

Then comes marriage.

Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.

Well, I think it is pretty clear that I’m also not THAT girl. Again, you know the one. The girl who cannot wait to be a mom. The one who is the first to ask to hold a new baby. The girl who loves being around lots of children. That just wasn’t ever me. It wasn’t that I decided early on that I didn’t want to be a mom, I just really never thought about it. Again, not my focus.

When I was married, we were part of a religion that emphasized family and to say I felt pressured to have children would be a HUGE understatement. I can’t tell you how big of a deal it was that we didn’t have babies the first half of our marriage. The social norm (even outside of religion) is that everyone should have children, preferably right away, and that those who don’t are odd or even selfish. And I think all of that pressure actually pushed the idea of motherhood out of my mind even more. At some point, people stopped asking. Maybe they felt like we weren’t able to have children. Who knows. But, man, was it peaceful.

We moved to California a couple years ago at the age that most people I know were getting married or having babies. And so, it started all over again. The questions.

     Why don’t you have kids?

     Do you want to have children?

     Don’t you want to be a mom?

     When are you going to get pregnant?

     What are you and Cody doing?

And the questions aren’t all I get. Lately, my social media has been flooded with BOLD comments and private messages about it.

     Gosh, I’d love to be able to get everything done like you do but I have kids.

     You aren’t tired? Let me send you some of my kids. Then you’ll understand tired.

     It’s TIME for you guys to have children. Stop putting it off.

     Travel? You two need to have children instead.

So, why haven’t I opened up about this yet? I know that in an effort to stay transparent about my grief, I’ve opened up my life to the world. That’s fair. And while I openly talk about the grief that comes with losing my parents, I’ve struggled to talk about this. Because it just isn’t something that’s talked about. Because, people can be insensitive and intrusive. Because, it feels like something that is just ours. But, I know it is time.

So, here is our truth.

It was our decision to spend our 20s without children.

It isn’t our decision to spend our 30s without them.

There it is. We spent the first many years of our marriage with no desire to have children. We were young and wanted to live our lives as we saw fit. Here’s the thing. I get that we are the outlier. I understand that my friends who are moms are so in love with their children that they can’t imagine us making the decision NOT to have them. And, I respect that. But, it is truly our decision and I’m genuinely shocked every time we are approached about it. I think it is a very personal decision and no one should be judged for living their lives. We must acknowledge that the decision not to have children (or to wait) might be the right thing for a lot of couples and that we must stop shaming people for making choices that are different from our own. In fact, if I had written this just a few years ago, I would be writing about our decision not to be parents.

Things changed for us about 2 years ago when we decided we wanted to have children. Like most things in life, that didn’t come easy for us and we’ve struggled with infertility ever since. It’s been a crazy couple of years, filled with lots of emotions.

Of course, as more time goes on, it gets harder and harder. Infertility is rough and it is easy to feel like your body is failing and in turn, you are a failure. I feel that. BUT, I want to stress that although these last couple years have been emotionally draining, we are okay with how things are playing out. We are happy. We are patient. We are faithful.

I’m nervous to put this out there because, to be honest, I’m not ready to discuss the specifics of our infertility or where we are at in the process. It feels extremely personal and I want to put all of my energy towards doing what’s best for my family and not fielding questions and dodging pity. That’s just the truth. But, as time goes on, it gets harder and harder to let the questions and comments roll off my back. And I just feel like infertility is one more thing to add to the list of things that need to be talked about more.

Grief. Depression. Anxiety. Divorce. Adultery. Miscarriage. Loss. Infertility. THESE things are part of life and I truly believe that the lack of dialogue makes it all so much harder because everyone is suffering in silence and so everyone feels alone and on many levels, shame. So, I’m hoping that we can all be a little more sensitive and appropriate with our approach and that those who are suffering can lift one another up and feel supported.

So, that’s it. After many, many years of skirting the questions, that’s our story. We chose not to have kids and to spend time getting an education, building careers, and really getting to know ourselves and each other. It was the right choice for us and we are proud of it. There’s never a great time to bring this up because it does make people wonder what they can and cant say. We have so many friends and family who are experiencing the joy of parenthood and we are genuinely excited for them! I’m choosing to be transparent and straightforward about this because this is the experience we are going through. I’m a naturally optimistic person and we’re hopeful that things will work out for the best.

I hope that I will be able to share more and more of it as time passes and we push forward. And, because I know it take two to tango, I asked my husband to share his thoughts on our infertility journey:

We have really been inseparable ever since we started dating and I have loved the time that we have been able to spend together. I know we have flip-flopped several times about whether or not to become parents up until recently. I have never been in a huge hurry to start a family and I don’t think we would be where we are now if we had decided differently. I’m happy with how things have worked out for us. I think we are in a good place now to become parents, but no matter what happens and whatever is in store for us, I am glad that I get to experience it with you. I love you.

            -Cody

3748_103487338046_7125649_n.jpg

FullSizeR(2)

Cold Overnight Oats

 

Recipes for overnight oats are everywhere these days. The idea that you can throw everything into a jar and you don’t have to cook anything in the morning is a bit like using a crock pot! I’ve been making warm overnight oats for years, but I recently tried cold oats and fell in love. They are delicious, filling, convenient, and healthy!

Enjoy!

Cold Overnight Oats
Serves 2
Wake up to a delicious and healthy breakfast that you allows you to grab and go!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Oats
  1. 1/2 cup (heaped) oats
  2. 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  3. 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  4. 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  5. 2 T collagen
  6. Honey, to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  8. Pinch of salt
Optional Toppings
  1. 1 C fruit (strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mango)
  2. 1 T Flaxseeds
  3. 2 T sliced raw almonds
  4. 1 T coconut shavings
  5. Cinnamon, to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients to make oats. Split into 2 containers. Add optional toppings. Refrigerate overnight.
Notes
  1. Collagen is optional. It is a great way to get in extra protein. Also, top with whatever you'd like!
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Me & God: Part I

IMG_1175.jpg

When I was 20 years old, I was baptized into a very culturally conservative, highly structured, and all-encompassing religion. While I’ll always technically be a member of that church, I don’t actively participate and I won’t ever again. I’m not saying that all of my views and beliefs have or have not changed. This isn’t about that. Because, while I have changed so much, I’ll never put down a religion or a set of beliefs. I have lots of people in my life who don’t understand my decisions when it comes to religion and I get that. This post is not meant to spark a debate but simply to explain where I’m at. And as always, my writing is a catalyst for my personal growth.

Anyway, I’ll write this in a few posts. Here is Me & God: Part One. 

I guess I should start with a statement. A confession, rather. It isn’t one that I take lightly. In fact, I hate it. But here it is.

I do not have a strong relationship with God.

Doesn’t that just feel like a punch in the stomach? It does for me. I don’t want it to be this way. But that is how it is. And I have absolutely no idea how to change it. Now, I am sure that some of you think that this is a typical situation. I mean, I lost both parents. I’m probably mad at God and blame him for all of the injustices in my life. And maybe, on some level, that is true. You’ll want to tell me that God only gives us what we can handle and this is all part of his plan.

Cringe.

So let’s get this out in the open and start there. Let’s pretend like that’s it. I’ve lost my relationship with God because I’m angry about losing both of my parents.

So, the way I see it, I have two options:

  1. I acknowledge that God makes all the decisions for our lives. He chooses who lives and who dies. He decides which prayers to answer, which miracles to grant. But believing this means that I’m saying God CHOSE to let both of my parents die horrific and painful deaths. It means that he chose not to grant me two miracles.

(Side note: I hate it when people tell me that without pain, there is no happiness. I get the concept. But I will not use the death of my parents as the foundation for my happiness. Period.)

  1. I say that God chooses not to have a hand in our lives. He leaves everything up to us and our choices. And to be fair, both of my parents made unhealthy and harmful decisions their entire lives. But if I believe this, then what is the point of prayer? Of asking for God’s grace? What’s the point in needing Him? Of course I believe in the Atonement and I’m incredibly grateful for that and for life after death. But what happened to God walking beside us at all times? (I should also note that this is much easier to answer BEFORE actually experiencing loss. Duh.)

Now, I realize that this is all very black and white. And I’m sure the lack of grey is due to my forever anger that comes from grief. I get that. And I’m sure many of you are incredibly sad at my perspective. I get that, too. Awhile back, one of my former students posted something on Facebook about being an atheist. She left the religion she was raised in and now feels an overwhelming sense of relief. When I read it, I was happy for her that she has found peace. But I also reeeeally wanted to tell her that not believing in that specific religion doesn’t mean she has to quit believing in God all together. I was sad for her. I have another friend who used to be very religious. He actually baptized me! Now he talks about God with such apathy. It makes me incredibly sad. So yeah, I get it.

So again, I’m sure many of you are thinking that my distance from God is simply a tragic result of my tragedies. But the real truth is it has been a slow and steady break-up (yep, that’s the analogy I’m going with) and my mom’s death has just been the final straw. But I want to say, loud and proud, that I love God. I have since I was a little girl. I grew up extremely close to him. I’m not proud of my distance. I want to fix it. But it just isn’t that simple.

Now, before you decide to send me a novel of an email about why I need to come back into the light and how exactly to do that, please wait and read all parts to this. Take the time to hear my story. And also, know this. I have a deep love for Jesus. He was my very best friend for my entire childhood. I miss him every day. I want to get to a place where I am literally bursting with the Spirit. I do. But I also know that it doesn’t just happen. Again, there is no black and white. I’ve been through so much in my life and there is one thing I know about myself. I am just me.  While I want a relationship with Him, I wont pretend that something is there when it isn’t. I feel like that’s what religion did to me. It turned my pure and real relationship with Christ into an obligation. And that isn’t what I want. I don’t know what else to say except that I know that for the first time in a long time, I’m ready to work for that relationship. Because I miss Him. I miss who I am when He’s around. Me, with a lot more grace, humility, strength, patience, kindness, empathy, and love.

So, while I still have lots to share, this feels like a good start. One of the things I’ve been doing lately to open up more to God is to listen to worship music. Let me know if you have any favorite bands or songs! <3

 

Love Me Tender

dad-grave

Today marks eight years since my dad died. He battled lung cancer for a little over four months, and in that time, I watched my big, strong, fearless dad slowly lose weight, strength, and independence. On his final morning, I awoke knowing something wasn’t right. He had a rough night the night before and I stayed right next to him through it. In the morning, he apologized to me for needing me. I put on a brave face, smiled, and told him I was happy to help in any way I could. I ran to my mom’s room and crawled into bed with her. She held me as I cried and we talked about how we would handle the day.

A few hours later, he spoke his final words. He was in and out of consciousness the remainder of the day. Hospice had left and it was my job to keep him comfortable. It was one of those out of body experiences. Fortunately, he lived long enough so that my sister could say her goodbyes to him and so that my brother could make it in time to be there with us. There were a few people there, but I mostly remember my brother and I on each side of him. My mom was sitting across the room. Looking back, she was incredibly strong for us. “I Can Only Imagine” was playing, on repeat, and she was rocking back and forth to the beat. I remember studying every facet of this man who had been my entire world so that I wouldn’t forget anything. After he took his final breath, we all sat there for a long time. I held his hand and laid my head on his chest until my brother told me it was time to let him go.

I loved both of my parents very much but I was a daddy’s girl, to the core. He was gone a lot for work when I was a little girl and I’d cry every time he had to leave again. My favorite childhood memories are all attached to him: Riding to the grocery store together in his old Chevy, singing and whistling to songs that he’d sing on a nearly constant basis; football games filled with lots of dancing, yelling at the screen, and pork rinds; and watching him dance in the kitchen as he’d cook his “famous” bean and cheese burritos which he called “white boys” or Texas Enchiladas, which were simply canned chili on top of Fritos. I looked up to him so very much. He was hard working, intelligent, witty, and completely supportive. He was also stubborn and impatient, two traits he definitely passed on to me.

When he died, my entire world stopped. I didn’t know how to live in a world without my daddy. I was married within a year and I spent our first year as a married couple in a fog. I was angry and depressed and I felt stuck. I decided to change things so I jumped into a ridiculous amount of school and worked lots of hours. The busier I was, the less I thought about him. The more tired I was when I went to bed, the less I’d stay away thinking about him. And so, I sort of tabled my grief. Then, about 18 months ago, my mom died and all of my walls came crumbling down. I didn’t have another parent to run to.

There is a lot to say about my mom and what her death did to me. But I think what really happened was that when she died, I had suddenly lost both parents. I tried to do the same thing I did when I worked through losing my dad: push my feelings aside. I did pretty well for about the first 7 months. I was completely crushed, but I was functioning. Then, on this day one year ago, I decided to go visit my dad’s grave. As I was driving to visit his burial site, I looked over at the Pacific Ocean. We spread my mom’s ashes under the Golden Gate Bridge and so the ocean served as her burial site. I realized that I was driving past my mom’s grave to visit my dad’s and something just clicked inside of me. For the next six months, I lived as a shell of a person. I was completely empty and my very life was a daily reminder of all that I’d lost. There was no way that I could physically and emotional survive this. You can read about how I worked through that here.

ocean-pedals

When I realized what today is, so many things came up. Losing my dad. Losing my mom. Losing myself. I remember in those first 7 months after my mom died, people would always tell me what a strong and brave person I was. I kindly thanked them, but inside, I didn’t understand. I was strong because I had to be. And then, I wasn’t. For a long time, I was nothing. I hate looking back on the time I wasted but sometimes I think it is a miracle that I survived.

I wouldn’t say that I’m back to my old self. In fact, that girl is long gone. I’ve become more introverted. Anxiety takes over on many occasions. I’m highly sensitive and irrational at times. My unwavering optimism has…wavered. And I’m pretty sure these changes are permanent. I’ve changed. And although time does ease the pain, there will forever be two holes in my heart that cannot be filled. I mean, a girl needs her parents. At least one. What I wouldn’t do for a hug from just one of them today.

The good news is that as time goes on, I start to get back the positive traits my parents GAVE me, that made me, me. Perseverance. Dedication. Love. Kindness. Strength. Self-confidence. I’m in grad school, something my dad would have been so proud of. I’m in a loving marriage, which is all my mom wanted for me. I seem to spend less time crying and aching and more time laughing and loving. I am less paralyzed with fear of losing another loved one and more excited about my future. For a long time, I felt like I was simply existing. I was ashamed at how much I had changed. But now I see that I am who I choose to be and I just take each day as a new day. I love harder. I live better.

And that’s what they would want.

It’s interesting to see what I’ve shared with you all on this day each year since I lost him. Grief isn’t linear and it is a strange thing to see how my feelings changed each year. And although I’m not proud of how I changed after this day last year, the words I wrote make me smile, just a bit.

Today, I went to see him. I haven’t been there since the burial. I figured this is the closest thing to a hug that I can get. I’ll take it. 💚

Now I’m back on the road, listening to all of his favorites. I’m sure he’s somewhere up there, singing along with me. Maybe my mom is dancing.

Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.
💜💛💚

meanddad.jpg

Back to School, Back to School

459524_10151897451763047_1349793870_o

Well, it is that time of the year. Back to school! All of my teacher friends are posting pictures of their remodeled classrooms and cute little printouts. Parents are writing about how sad they are that their babies are growing up. My students are posting first day pics with their best friends. The excitement is in the air! Of course, Facebook sends me reminders of what I was doing “on this day” for the past many years. It is fun to see the posts I shared about my new classroom, new students, and new courses. It definitely tugs at my heartstrings to know that that part of my life has passed. How strange it is to think that I finished school, started and thrived in a career, and left that field all before 30. And although I loved teaching so very much, I also know that it isn’t what is right for me. That was a hard truth to come to.

—Cue cheesy analogy!—

It is like breaking up with someone who, on paper, seems perfect for you. You share all of the same interests. You love spending time together. But, deep down in your soul, you know that person isn’t the one. You’re missing something vital. And when you end things, your heart breaks. You might enter another relationship but you’ll probably always think back on that heartache. The good times and the bad. So, while I often think about all of the incredible memories I made with my students AND the times parents ripped my head off, I know that that chapter was closed for a reason.

—Mmmmk. I’m done there. So sorry.—

So, while I feel confident in my decision to leave education, I really have no idea what I am SUPPOSED to do next. If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I have been recovering (is that a thing?) from the loss of both of my parents. I was hit really hard after losing my mom last February and my entire world flipped over. My husband and I left our lives in Utah and moved back to my home state, where we have sort of bounced around while he could secure the job he wanted. Now that we are somewhat settled (for now!) I am ready to make my next move. I feel like I’ve really learned how to manage my grief and keep my apathy, for the most part, pinned to the ground. So, what to do next?

One of my passions is healthy living. Both of my parents died before they turned 60. They made poor choices when it came to their health and those choices lead to a whole lotta pain. In a world where we control pretty much nothing, it is nice to know that we DO control what we do with our bodies. And while I have so much to learn and there are many changes to be made, I feel good about what I’ve learned so far and what I’ve been able to pass on to others as an online fitness coach. But for right now, I need more.

More what? The truth is, I’m not sure. I look around and see that things are nothing close to where I imagined they would be, even a year ago. My closest friends are accomplishing so much. Law school. Opening a gym. Babies. And while all of those things are incredible, they aren’t for me. If I’ve learned anything from losing my parents, it is that all I can be is my best self. It is the reason I work, every day, on my relationship with my husband. It’s why I try to eat well and workout. It is why kindness and faith and humility and authenticity are everything to me. It is my motivation to be a better friend and sister and human being, even when I fail at all of that. Because I know that where I’m supposed to be doesn’t matter. It is who I am, deep down, that truly makes a difference. To myself and to everyone else. So that’s it. Just be better. Do better.

So, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to go to grad school to pursue a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. Grad school has always been something that is important to me and it feels like now is the time to do this thing. And while I went back and forth on which route to take, I decided that online school is the perfect fit for our lives right now. I’m not sure what I’ll do once I’m finished with my degree. But I’ll just have to figure that out as I go. Because things change. life happens. New opportunities come every day. I’m both excited and overwhelmed by the challenge and at the opportunities that will come my way.

So, in the spirit of first days, here you go!

 

(Uh, is it a sign that the ad on this video is FOR grad school??)

A Letter To My Mom On Her 60th Birthday

10991582_10153638356468047_3978180208036349105_o

I was just thinking about a moment I shared with my mom in my kitchen a few months before she died. My birthday was coming up and she realized it was going to be my 30th. Her jaw dropped and her eyes welled up. “I can’t believe my baby is going to be 30!” she exclaimed with a hint of sadness. I laughed at her and said, “Oh, Mom!” I remember carrying on with whatever I was doing and she just sort of stood there in shock. I didn’t stop to consider what she was thinking about. But, now I do. All the time. I assume she was thinking about me as a baby. How strange it must have been for her little girl to be nearly 30. Well, that’s sort of how I’m feeling today, on her 60th birthday. How strange it is that my adorably little mom is turning 60. Except, she’s not.

Isn’t it strange how the idea of celebrating birthdays after someone dies is tough? I mean, just because that person has passed doesn’t mean their birth isn’t something to celebrate. The problem is, you can’t celebrate together. So instead of a happy day, it is yet another reminder that they are gone. I’d like to think that if she were here, I’d tell her how much she means to me and I’d spoil her all day in celebration. I think about the lines on her face as she’d laugh, the widening of her eyes when she opens her present, and the warmth of her body as she’d hug me. All day. And while I know I think about all of that stuff for ME and how I’d feel, it is also really nice to think about making her happy. I have so much guilt and regret when it comes to our relationship so I’d rather just think about the perfect birthday for her.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write her a letter, for her 60th birthday, as if she were here to actually read it. And although the tears are streaming down my cheeks as I type, I’m going to imagine those laugh lines, huge eyes, and sweet hugs.

Mommy,

Happy birthday! I can’t believe today is your 60th! How crazy is that? I know you are probably freaking out about that number. But I just want to remind you of a few things. First, I don’t care how old you get. You’ll always be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. It cracks me up when I see you looking at your wrinkles in the mirror because when I look at you, I see the same woman I saw when I was a little girl. I love that your eyes give away how you’re feeling, even when you try incredibly hard to filter yourself. I love that you still wear purple lip liner, even though I make fun of you for it. I love that your hair is always incredibly soft. I love that sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I see you looking back at me.

167265_160647890649055_4484259_n

I’m sure you’re also thinking about the last 60 years of your life. I know that you have many struggles behind you and it still pains you to think about most of them. You’ve felt like a failure more times than you’ve been proud of yourself. If I could gift you anything, it would be to change that. I know we had some really hard times together and I know you feel a lot of shame for that. I wish you could know how little I care about those struggles anymore. As an adult, I’ve truly forgiven you for those tough times and I don’t see you as a failure. I see you as a survivor. You really are the strongest person I’ve ever known and I hope that that strength will live in me for my entire life. Our relationship has really had some ups and downs and I know that a lot of the situations we were in were attributed to the tough past you had. I’ve never met anyone who had such a hard life and went through the things you did. Again, you feel shame for going through those times but I see them as badges of courage. I wish you could be as proud of yourself as I am of you.

460086_323703274343515_1732087238_o

Lastly, I think you are probably thinking about what your life SHOULD look like at 60. I know you sometimes feel ashamed for living with me. You want to be independent and free. Even though you don’t say it, I know you daydream about what life would be like if dad were alive and if things had been different. If the two of you were different. If you could have been happy together at this point of your lives. I want you to know that although I also daydream about that life, because every kid wants their parents to be happy together, I’m so grateful that life has brought us together in MY adult life. I am so lucky that you live here and that I get to run downstairs and see you whenever I want. That my mommy is always here for me. To laugh with, to hug me when I’m sad, and to just talk to. You’ve always said that all you want is for me to see you as my best friend and I want you to know that I do. If something ever happened to you, if I lost you, I’d lose the person I tell absolutely everything to. I don’t know what I would do without you. I’d probably fall apart.

960274_10153554927573047_9114092969334096950_n

So, those are the things I want you to think about today as you go over the last 60 years. I want you to remember that you are beautiful, incredibly strong, and so very loved. I know life didn’t turn out the way you thought it would, but here’s the thing. You always say that your biggest accomplishment, the thing you are the most proud of, is your children. And James and I could not possibly love you any more. So, let’s spend the day together, watching Lifetime movies and eating all the treats. I want you to feel so special because I know how incredibly grateful I am that I get to see those laugh lines and GIANT eyes and that I get to hug you as much as I want.

10462993_10152966419158047_4510039310910583961_n

Happy birthday, Mommy. I love you deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky.

Love,

Sissy Missy

205494_10151534400778047_1981014844_n

 

 

My Results From The Ultimate Reset

I woke up Monday morning feeling a little scared. I had just completed the 21 day Ultimate Reset the night before. For the previous 3 weeks, everything (supplements, meals, water intake) was scheduled. This morning, I was free! I remember sitting up in bed and thinking about my results. I was about to go weigh and measure myself and I was nervous. But mostly, I was just so proud of myself for actually finishing the damn thing. I’ve posted before about the apathy I feel on a daily basis since losing my mom. I used to be such a driven, consistent, passionate, go-getter. That version of me seemed to get lost in grief and every day is a constant battle to fight this feeling of apathy. I have to remind myself that I DO care about things and force myself to take action. To not allow myself to drown in my overwhelming despair. To remember that life is still going on around me. To give a damn. To start and finish something. I’d lost sight of a lot of things over the past year and I became this shell of a person. I’d done well to start to move on but my appearance had plummeted. I gained weight, my face broke out, and my eyes were sunken in. I just felt insecure and completely beside myself. I knew that I needed to regain my confidence by doing something drastic and challenging myself to beat my apathy by finishing something.

I’m sure you hear me talk a lot about my “21 Days to Fit” boot camps on social media. In those groups, I join my challengers in 3 weeks of fitness. I provide them with a 30-minute at-home workout, healthy recipes and tips, and a 30 day supply of Shakeology. Over those 21 days, my challengers develop better habits with eating, cooking, moving, sleeping, drinking water, self-confidence, and so much more. It isn’t an easy 21 days. But, I also help my challengers understand that this isn’t a diet. It is a lifestyle. So there are days when they skip their workout, make poor eating choices, and slack on their water intake. That’s life. But, the goal is to show them to get right back up and start again. While I wholeheartedly believe in this system, it does allow for “life” to happen.

The Ultimate Reset is completely different. It comes with an exact meal plan, recipes, and even a guide on WHEN to take supplements and when to eat. There is no working out, with the exception of brisk walking. You don’t starve. The food is plentiful and pretty delicious. But, it is probably different than you’d expect. After the first week, you will be eating a completely vegan diet. You will drink 100+ oz of water each day and nothing else. No coffee, tea, juice, alcohol, or milk. JUST water. Because the meals are so laid out for you, there is no eating out. You cannot have a cheat meal. You can’t eat at a birthday party. You can’t go out for coffee or drinks. You just eat what the guide tells you. This was the type of challenge I needed.

So, what does The Reset look like? Breakfast consists mostly of fruit. The first week, you’ll have some eggs, Greek yogurt, and oats. After that, you eat a fruit plate (or drink Shakeology) EVERY day. Tons of berries. Melon. Peaches. Kiwi. Apples. Lunch is always a HUGE salad. We are taking ridiculously large. Like, 3 cups of greens PLUS toppings like bells, cucs, carrots, and jicama. You’ll learn to make your own dressing. Sometimes, you’ll have miso soup with your salad. But that damn salad will take you 30+ minutes to eat. Dinner varies. The first week, you get salmon and rice and beans. No meat after week 2 and no beans and grains during week 3. You basically eat veggies. Spinach, kale, zucchini, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, veggie stir fry, lentil salad, roasted beets or fennel, and lots of other choices. You’ll usually pair it with miso soup. There are a few occasions when you’ll make a bisque. We love those and it was fun learning to make them.

So, there is a TON of food. There were only a few occasions, at night, when I was hungry. But, for the most part, I always felt full. The best part was, I never felt TOO full. After surviving through a massive headache on day one and blurry vision throughout the first couple days, I noticed an immediate change. I was incredibly alert and energized. I felt focused and generally upbeat. The best part was that I would fall right to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I’d sleep great all night. This was a change for me because since losing my mom, I suffer from major insomnia and nightmares. This was a wonderful change.

Another great part about The Reset is the online community. Beachbody has groups set up for each phase, or week, of the cleanse. Lots of people start each day so you sort of go through the program with the same group of strangers. You share how you’re feeling, tips on how to cook the meals, and excitement at progress. The cool part was the reassurance you’d get. Like, I posted on day one that I had an awful headache and 9 others responded with the same complaint. I started having really vivid and bizarre dreams and someone else posted that they did, too. Plus, it was really cool to see people comment on their progress as they moved on to the next phase.

That part was sort of a double-edged sword. I usually avoid weighing myself because I don’t want to obsess over the number. But with the cleanse, people are posting EVERY day about how much weight they are losing. Most people see the most results during week 1. I only lost 2 pounds after 7 days and I was completely defeated. I didn’t understand why other people were posting bigger numbers. I couldn’t help but compare myself to others. (Don’t worry. I had more success in the following two phases.)

I wouldn’t say that The Reset was hard. I’d say it was… time consuming? Kind of annoying? I like the freedom of eating out when I want. I missed weekend coffee with my husband. I became quite sick of cooking for 30+ minutes EVERY night and sometimes during lunch. Chopping veggies became monotonous. Drinking 100+ ounces of water was boring. BUT, I didn’t ever feel like I was starved or deprived. I felt great.

The best part about finishing The Reset was knowing that I went all in. I can honestly say that I followed that plan carefully and I never once cheated! People posted often about cheating and I am so proud of myself for following through. I will say that the final week was hectic because we were moving and didn’t have a refrigerator. The Reset has something called “In a Crunch” meals, meaning that you can sub them for the planned meal. I admit that we had sweet potatoes and miso soup like 4 days in a row for dinner because we were too tired to cook after all the moving! And I did drink Shakeology for breakfast more than a few times when I started to tire of fruit. But that is all sanctioned. 3 weeks without eating out, ordering pizza, drinking coffee, or snacking. And the fact that I cared enough to actually stick with something is HUGE. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the way I eat and I’m excited to carry that forward.

First of all, I learned that veggies and grains are not just sides. They can be a complete meal! I learned how to use new spices, fresh herbs, and new ingredients in every day food. I trained myself to drink more water and to go to sleep without electronics. I am more aware when I eat about what I’m putting into my body. The mindset has now shifted from “What do I want to eat?” to “What does my body need?” and I think that is pretty cool. But most of all, I beat apathy, at least for a few weeks and I’ll take that victory!

So, what were my results? After 3 weeks of this crazy cleanse, I’m happy to announce that I lost 9 ½ pounds and 4 inches! How crazy is THAT! And it isn’t like I’ve been drinking cayenne pepper and lemon juice. I did this eating REAL food so it isn’t like I just dropped water weight. It has been 4 days since The Reset ended and I haven’t gained any weight back. I did eat pizza a couple days ago and did NOT enjoy it. I hated the way I felt after. I’m not saying I’ll never eat it again but for now, I am still excited to eat well and we’re still cooking from the guidebook! I feel healthy and my clothes fit so much better. I still have weight to lose but I’m excited for the start this gave me! I feel like finishing this has given me the push to commit to a fitness program. This is just the beginning!

Mostly I’m just proud of myself for committing to something and seeing it through. I know grief is something that will always be with me and living through it will be a constant battle. But I feel like this is such a huge step for me. I feel better about myself. My confidence is growing and I’m ready to keep committing. I want to find my passion again and get back to being me.

Note: I’ve already had so many people approach me about trying The Reset. I wanted to blog as I went but life got too crazy. I’ll definitely go back and blog in more detail about the different phases, supplements, and hurdles. I’ll also post lots of the recipes. Contact me if you’d like more info or if you’re ready to join a general accountability group!

 

The Ultimate Reset

beachbody-ultimate-reset-reviews

Do you ever wish you could just hit the “Reset” button on anything in your life and get an instant do over? I sure do! We all do and say things all the time that we can’t take back. They have been released into the universe! The thing is, I don’t really live a life of regret. Sure, there are things I’ve done and said that I wish I hadn’t. I have TONS of regrets about the time I spent or didn’t spend with my parents. But the thing is, we can’t change the past. So as much as we regret something, it still happened. We don’t have any control over it. To avoid living a life of regret, we have to release ourselves from the guilt and pain of the consequences of our actions and move forward, hopefully making better choices the next time around. 

One thing we do have control over is our health and wellness. My health has become my focal point since losing both of my parents. In a chaotic world with thousands of choices and detours and one way streets, the ONLY thing we have control over is our body. WE control what we put into it, on it, and where we take it! And while that might not seem like a big deal, it really is! In the past year of grief and darkness, I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions and my health and wellness has fluctuated a ton. Weight gain, muscle loss, acne, wrinkles, and a million other physical consequences have graced me with their annoying presence.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I watched cancer eat away at my big, strong dad until he literally took his last breath. And while I’m sure there are tons of factors that go into it, I have no doubt that the choices he made HIS ENTIRE LIFE led to his painful death. The same is true for my mom. She died from complications to a routine surgery to remove a blockage from her stomach but she didn’t survive because her body wasn’t strong enough to bounce back. She had been weak since surviving cancer over a year before the surgery and her health continued to decline. Again, these issues were a direct reflection of the choices she made HER ENTIRE LIFE.

Life isn’t easy and sometimes, many times, we start down a path with the best of intentions and we fall short. That is probably the biggest issue with diet and exercise- consistency! It is easy to give up and it is harder to stay strong. Once of the things I’ve noticed is that my mood is a direct reflection of how healthy I am. 

While I eat fairly healthy most of the time and try to stay active, I’ve developed some pretty poor habits. I drink way too much caffeine, I eat processed foods, I eat a lot of sugar and way too much sodium. I don’t drink enough water or get enough sleep. I have lost focus, drive, motivation, endurance, and strength. 

So, while I knew that I could simply start eating healthier and working out more, I knew that I needed a BIG change. I decided to do Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset. 

“We’re breathing air that’s far from pristine, drinking water that’s not even close to being pure, eating foods laced with things we can’t even pronounce- chemical additives, preservatives, and pesticides- absorbing toxins contained in everything…” 

“You might not be able to chance the environment… but you can change yourself. With a little assistance, you can help your body do again what it once did naturally- receiving more to the things that are good for you and getting rid of the things that are bad.”

The Reset is a 21 day program that truly cleanses your body, without starvation. There is a very specific meal plan, a schedule for supplements, and tons of tips and tricks to become our BEST selves.

This is just an overview of the Reset. Over the next 3 weeks, I’ll share my experiences with you. While I’m excited to hit that “Reset” button, I know it isn’t a quick fix. It is going to be challenging but I am SO excited for the end result- to TRULY change the way I eat and feel.

Can’t wait!

ultimate-reset-team-beachbody-food

Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast TacosLet’s be honest. Cody and I eat out for breakfast almost every weekend. Both days. There is something about going out for breakfast that is just sort of relaxing. Never-ending, steaming coffee. Lots of delicious options (even though I always order the same thing.) And the best part? No cleanup! 

Well, sadly, no clean up comes with a catch- money, money, mo-neeeey! It is rare to eat breakfast for under $40, which definitely adds up. (Please don’t do the math.)

This morning, we were about to go to our fave little diner when I decided to make breakfast. To my dismay, we didn’t have any meat. Uh, how can you make breakfast with out bacon or ham or sausage? But, I kept going and what I came up with was damn delicious! 

Taco Saturdays can be a thing, right?

Enjoy!

Breakfast Tacos
Serves 2
Tacos...for breakfast!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 corn tortillas, heated
  2. 5 eggs, beaten
  3. 1/2 C shredded cheese
  4. 1/2 can black beans
Pico
  1. 1 C cherry tomatoes
  2. Chopped red onion, to taste
  3. Fresh herbs (basil or cilantro)
  4. Lime juice
Crema
  1. Sour cream
  2. Guacamole or Avocado
Instructions
  1. Heat tortillas in pan.
  2. Scramble eggs and add cheese.
  3. Heat black beans in microwave.
  4. Prepare pico by chopping tomatoes and onions and combining with lime juice, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Mix sour cream and guacamole together.
  6. Layer your tacos! Add cheesy eggs. Cover with black beans. Top with pico and crema. Squeeze lime juice over everything and enjoy!
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Beating the Morning Blues

FB_IMG_1464799168592-1

Let’s face it. We are not ALL morning people. Some might argue that there is no such thing. Is it REALLY possible to just pop out of bed in the morning with a huge grin and instant pep in your step? Do people actually enjoy waking up early? I mean, who doesn’t LOVE sleep?

FB_IMG_1464799175849-1

Okay, so maybe you aren’t afraid to admit that you are NOT a morning person. You loathe your alarm clock, despise that first inkling of light that peaks in through your curtains, and even cringe when you hear, “good morning” or any form of communication before you lift both lids. But what if I told you that your disdain of mornings just might be setting you up to have a miserable day?

FB_IMG_1464799126598-1

Here’s the thing. Like it or not, we’ve all gotta get up. Every day. And if we wake up miserable, we are likely to carry that with us all day. So, we have to figure out a way to ENJOY mornings. My solution to this is to use the very first 5 minutes out of bed to get things rolling. Here is my system.

  1. The very first thing I do is freshen up. I brush my teeth and wash my face. Seriously, BEFORE I do anything else. My first stop is ALWAYS my sink. This tells my mind and my body that I AM UP.

FB_IMG_1464799243026-1.jpg

  1. I open up all the windows in my house. Blinds, curtains, windows. I let the light and cool breeze flow into my home.

20160601094251

  1. Next, I light a candle. (Or 7.) Something subtle. A burning candle always puts me at ease.

20160601_090216.jpeg

  1. I turn on some tunes. I choose a record that isn’t too crazy but won’t put me back to sleep! Lately, it has been The Eagles.

20160601_090303

  1. Lastly, I take a DEEP breath and enjoy the atmosphere I just created. By now, all of my senses are awake. Oh, not all! COFFEE!

FB_IMG_1464799098085-1

Okay, so like I said, I do these things in the first 5 minutes after I get out of bed. I have instantly created an atmosphere in my home that is relaxing and refreshing. My spirits are high and I’m ready to get stuff done. Now, here’s the thing. We all live different lives. Maybe you have to go to work really early. Maybe you have kids to attend to first thing. Maybe you need to wake up early to get a workout in. Maybe you don’t have any obligations in the morning! Regardless of your situation, THIS is my biggest tip.

Wake up early enough to RELAX.

Of course you’ll hate waking up in the morning if you are immediately stressed. Force yourself to get up 10 minutes earlier than usual so you can enjoy the morning. I promise, it will be worth it!

One more thing. None of these tips will work if you wake up to a messy house. I’ll share some tips on home organization and a simple cleaning schedule in a later post. But for now, spend 15 minutes before bed picking up your house. Put shoes, laundry, books, toys, make up, away. Load the dishwasher. Take out the trash. Waking up to a dirty house is no fun.

FB_IMG_1464799230316-1

So it seems that we have a theme going on here. Spend a FEW minutes doing some stuff and you can set yourself up for success. 15 minutes at night straightening up. 10 minutes in the morning relaxing. I’ll keep adding ways to fill your spare minutes once you master these 2 things.

Now, I CHALLENGE you to try the morning routine for the rest of the week. Let me know how it goes! <3