Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Glorify: Tracking Meals

This is a topic I haven't really approached on my blog before - I've kept to myself and quiet because sometimes it seems like when I share something, my commitment to it is challenged in a way that is hard and unexpected.

But with my word of the year and really wanting to be real and honest, I've decided to open the door on it and share what has worked for me. I also want to acknowledge that our health and body is something very personal and very unique and individual. No two of us will likely have the exact same experience and our needs are very different as well.

Almost four years ago {I can still remember the day, I was taking photos for this post} I was feeling really disgusted with myself - I had let myself get pretty lazy and was eating anything I wanted anytime. I'm a comfort eater and stressful days are common. Really my biggest issue was that I wasn't feeling comfortable in my own clothes - they were tight and not fitting right and I was feeling icky about that and wanting to make a change.

I don't remember a lot of the details that got me started, but I knew I didn't want it to be about my weight necessarily. Not a number anyway, I wanted this to be about me feeling better about myself because it was affecting my outlook in many areas of my life. I got serious about logging my meals using My Fitness Pal and trying to add a little more activities to my days.

My Fitness Pal is great because it is FREE and is easy to use either on your laptop or device through the app. It really doesn't take long once you get into the habit of typing in your meals and keeping it up to date. I also like it that I can eat whatever I want really and am making my own choices about what to eat just in manageable portions. A thrifted food scale has been a help in this as well.

The most successful way for me is to plan out my meals the night before - it only takes me 2-3 minutes to type everything in and once I see it in front of me, I can make changes or adjustments and then just eat that plan for the next day. I love it. When I leave it for the day of, I'm not nearly as successful as I'm more likely to eat what I want and hope it works out {usually doesn't!} and it reminds me of something as simple as a grocery budget. When I plan my meals and shop from a list, I'm much more likely to stay on budget than if I go randomly through the store. Same is true with planning out my meals and portions and counting my calories. 

Within a few months, we had this family photo shoot at Christmas time and I remember feeling so good that day. I was so happy! It was cold and I felt so much better about myself and enjoying this time we were having together. And I kept this up for a while and then slowly got lazy again. One year ago, I was in the same place - really wanting to re-start this area of my life.

Last year was really hard and stretching in many ways especially through the Fall - and when I got to my parents house for Christmas, I was exhausted, weepy and just generally depleted in many ways. It was really on my heart to not only re-start logging my meals but also to look into adding vitamins into my life.

Jumping back in was great and in a couple of months I was feeling so much better and by summer - I felt even better and enjoyed the healthy glow that had returned to my heart and life. Like everything, it is not a one-size-fits-all fix it plan and it isn't even easy. But I have found that it has worked for me and it has been a blessing, why do I keep getting lazy and falling off the wagon only to have to start again?!

Here we are in January again and my pants are snug and I'm back to it, it gets easier to start again each time because I've developed some habits that are fairly easy to pick back up again even when I let them fall by the wayside.

Losing a few pounds is great and even better is how it affects my attitude and outlook. When I feel better about myself that shows and gives me confidence and joy. Next time we'll talk about vitamins!

May God be glorified in the sharing of these words and in how we take care of ourselves!

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage: Review and Giveaway!

It's time again for another book review and giveaway courtesy of Bethany House Publishers! Here is the first finished book of the new year and a fun read.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage is the second book in the Tales from Ivy Hill series by Julie Klassen. I read the first book early last year.

First of all, Julie Klassen is already one of my favorite authors - the first book I ever read of hers was The Tutor's Daughter and I was hooked. I went back and read all of her previous books and have kept up with all of her new releases through the last few years.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage picks up right where The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill left off. I actually wish I'd read the books closer together because it took me quite some time in this second book to remember details from the first one. I felt sort of lost for a while because I couldn't mentally place each character and their back story until I got farther along into the book.

Ivy Hill is a small and charming English village. This book explores the lives of several ladies living at Ivy Cottage and nearby. There are several story lines going on which keeps it interesting. I especially enjoyed one of the main characters, Rachel, and her idea to make the most of what she has available. In book one, her father left her his book collection and now she isn't sure what to do with it. When friends suggest opening a circulating library - she is at first quite uncertain about the task before her - but she rises to the occasion and discovers a number of things along the way.

This book was an enjoyable read, there are a couple of things left unresolved which makes a good intro to the next book. And we were not left dangling uncomfortably between books!

This book was a lot about friendships and the characters helping one another. I liked that and it felt friendly to read about it. This was a great just-before-bed cozy read!

The author has a website set up just for this series which includes a video tour of an English village that she used as a model for these books. You can see a map of the town, read about characters and read excerpts from both books one and two.

I'd like to send this book to one of you! Please leave a comment on this post by Friday January 19 and I will draw a winner. There must be a way to contact you and US addresses only please.

* Amazon affiliate links above.
* I received this book as part of the Bethany House blog review program in exchange for sharing my opinion with you.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Simple Weekend Beauty

Make a little tray of breakfast for yourself and take it back to bed! Serve yourself breakfast-in-bed! Enjoy a little longer reading your Bible or just sitting quietly to start the day - even a few minutes feels like a treat!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

January Goals

In addition to my word for the year, one day I made a list of things I hoped to accomplish in January. Typically I don't really do monthly goals - but this year it is just sort of working out that way and I see wisdom in it for setting reachable goals during a specific period of time.

Not listed are regular things like homeschool, manage home, meal plan and read books! These goals are sort of my over and above ideas that should contribute benefits to our home and family.

My January goals are:
- have pizza and sparkling grape juice for New Year's Eve; talk about 2017 and what we hope for 2018; play games together as a family
- clean out closets in girls room to allow each to have her own, rearrange bookshelves in both their room and laundry room to accommodate each girl having her own bookshelf and opening up space in their room; make fabric curtains for their shelves to hide clutter
-  institute Friday night dates
- resume logging my meals on My Fitness Pal, health journal, vitamins and walking
- try a batch salad every week for the month
- purge Christmas bins
- try one new Crock Pot recipe
- have tea time at least once and make gingerbread whoopie pies from the December Magnolia Journal while discussing the theme wonder
- host a mom's night and plan a movie night with a friend
- follow up on an idea to do something for someone God places on my heart

What are your goals for this month?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Slow Day

An unexpected coastal snow day!