Hope

My favorite necklace is one that I borrowed from my sister. And when I say borrowed, I mean I took it from her jewelry collection when she was distracted. Then I took it home with me, and I have no intention of giving it back. So I guess really I stole the necklace, but in my defense, I think it was meant to be mine in the first place.

It’s a beaten rectangle charm of copper hung on a leather strap. The charm has the word “hope” in English, Chinese, and Braille. I love it because I’ve come to realize how much of a necessity hope is for me—not only because hope keeps my heart happy, but because without it I don’t seem to be able to maintain the basic functions of a competent human adult. Hope is the difference between driving home from work and feeling like the walls of the world are rapidly folding in on me, pushing the air from my lungs, and being able to drive home believing that good things are on the way. It’s quite the difference. I like to have the word hope hanging around my neck because, like so many of our emotions, we have to choose it, and I appreciate the physical reminder.

Trapped

Sometimes I feel trapped: I want to change, but I don’t believe that I have the power to change, and I’m afraid to even try. It’s easier to retreat when I feel like that. I retreat to mindless television, to the bottomless pit of the internet, to the endless piles of laundry, and oftentimes to an entire box of Extra-Toasty Cheez-Its. It’s hard for me to escape from these places, and I don’t want to hope, because it seems so hard. I’d much rather someone just tell me that everything is okay as is. Tell me it’s fine to keep my head right here in the warm sand until I suffocate. But that’s not what hope is. Hope doesn’t say that everything is okay, but it does propose the risky idea that things could be better.

When I first got married I moved away from my friends, my family, and my beloved California sunshine. In the cloudy, damp winters of the Northwest, the sun hides for weeks, and you start to forget what it looks like. When you’re stuck in a small apartment with nothing to do but clean house and bake muffins, the craziness starts to set in. So I baked. I baked muffins, cookies, pies, and I never even considered using an alternative to butter. So, yeah, I gained weight. I’ve heard the weight-gain associated with marriage referred to as “happy weight,” but that does not describe how I felt about the situation.

Moving Forward

So I started running. I desperately needed something to think about besides my isolation and perceived uselessness.  I started thinking about a half-marathon. I had dreamed of running one in high-school, but it didn’t seem possible for my muffin-loving personality. But I lumbered away. I made excellent use of my baggy t-shirt collection and created new personal long-distance records when I got lost and had to run extra miles to get home. I tried to speed up when I came across pedestrians, and even sometimes cars, because I was embarrassed about how slow I was going. It took me forever to pass even casual walkers. Still, moving slowly felt better than not moving at all. I signed up for my half-marathon and followed my training plan closely—not necessarily because I’m organized or disciplined, but because I was scared that if I didn’t follow the plan I would never be able to cover 13 miles.

The race was in a gorgeous park with miles of trail and big, leafy trees filtering in the morning sunlight. It was November, so everything was soggy and cold. I went back and forth about how many layers to wear and finally went with my trusty basketball shorts and old t-shirt.

The beginning of the race was crowded—a couple of hundred runners vying for space on a single-track hiking trail. The course was made up of three laps of just over four miles each, and I spent the first lap just getting my bearings. Was I going too fast? When is this hill going to end? Please, please may I not have to stop and find a place to pee!

The second lap I got to enjoy the scenery a little more, but it wasn’t until the third lap that I finally realized what was happening. I was running a half-marathon! I wasn’t training, I wasn’t signing up, I wasn’t considering one very seriously. I was doing it, and I knew I would finish. That realization didn’t come when I logged my training miles or when I paid the 60 bucks for the entrance fee, or even when I lined up at the starting line. It was in that moment, about mile 11, when there was no one around me and it was quiet except for my footfalls. Hope that I could complete the race had driven me to that point and had pushed me through the motions, but I don’t think I fully believed it would happen until that moment. Hope had gotten me to try, and then finally, with a couple miles to go, I knew I could do it. Knew I would do it—even if there were alligators and lava rivers to leap over before the finish line. The race was suddenly emotional and overwhelming. I felt my breath get deep in a way that was not from physical exertion, and my chest got tight. I could have cried. But at that point I didn’t have time for emotion. I was an all-conquering speed-demon half-marathon runner, and I had the final leg to finish like a boss.

The finish line of that half-marathon was not as emotional as that moment of mile 11. I’ve run three full marathons since that first half, and none of them were as emotional, or even as rewarding, as that first big race. In all subsequent runs I’ve known that I could make it, but that first one was fueled by hope the first 99% of the way.

Choose Hope

So, to my point: exercise and healthy living can seem hopeless. It takes such effort, feels overwhelming, and everything in life seems set up to make Cheez-Its and couch-conquering so much more doable. Walking into a gym can seem equally as overwhelming as running a marathon. Or maybe the challenge is finding time to cook, giving up sugar for even like, 18 seconds, or carving out some alone time.

Change is hard, but the first step is hope, and that’s doable. Admittedly, it can be hard to be brave enough even to hope that you can change, but if you can manage it, then you’ve begun. Choose hope. Maybe you have no reason to believe that things will change, but hope is not evidence-based, so you don’t have to have a reason. Take a breath and see what you want, face it, name it, and hope for it. Hope is not afraid to gaze off into the distance and see what could be. Hope doesn’t make a plan or sign up for the gym or even make a to-do list—those are for later. Hope is just that first moment when you look bravely at what you want, and acknowledge it, however ridiculous it seems. Hope beats anxiety. Hope lets you dream. Hope is a tiny beacon. Follow it until you find yourself crossing the finish line.

Yes, yes, there is hard work and discipline and perseverance, but let’s not start there. Those things without hope scare us off. Let’s start with hope.

I’m planning to buy my sister a new necklace for her birthday, because this one’s not going anywhere.

Katie is the Fitness Coach for Sweetest Lemonade. She loves giving clients the help they need and encourages them that no matter where they are starting from – there is hope. For more information about her workout videos, click the image below.




The 29th Lemon

Enough already. Never have I wanted 24 hours to end so badly. My day was hilariously horrible right down to the coffee. 😫🍮

I turned 29 on Friday. Honestly, I was looking forward to it. Aging is something I was taught to enjoy. My parents raised me right. I never once heard my parents complain at their birthdays or talk about getting older in a negative connotation. Every year holds more joy and bigger goals to be accomplished. Plus my kids mysteriously get cuter each year, so I always look forward to that.

The day after my birthday means something to me. I don’t know why, but it somehow feels like the first day of a new age is important. I wake up with anticipation, and until now it’s always been a great step forward towards the year.

Today Is The First Official Day Of 29

I had big plans. We had our annual family pictures scheduled with our favorite photographer bright and early. Clothes were set out, even a back up pair in case the kids got dirty. After pictures we were going to brunch and then trying a new coffee shop in town. How could the day go south? (dun-dun-dunnn)

Hopping out of the car the boys were talking about how pretty the park was in the morning. Rori was dressed adorable and being super smiley. The photographer rolled up and we started our pictures. Not one second after the first “cheese”, my 4 year old decided he did not want to smile. Rori began to whine and Josh was only smiling for pictures, but wasn’t happy otherwise.

We tried every single pose and idea to get the kids excited. At the very least I wanted a picture of them looking in the same direction! Attitudes were flying and while my husband kept his cool, I was getting frustrated. I threatened to take away TV for the whole day if they wouldn’t smile or stand next to each other without fighting. Ugh. Not my finest parenting moment.

Luckily we have the nicest photographer ever. He didn’t lose his cool and he kept suggesting new places to sit or stand to keep things moving along as my family begrudgingly trailed behind. Finding a photographer who is patient with kids is priceless.

By the time we were done (longest hour of my life) everyone was hangry and emotionally drained. We went to brunch and experienced the worst waiting for food to get to the table ever. Mostly because our patience was already thin, but for reals the restaurant was not with it. I thought about offering Sam some jelly packets to keep him from eating the booth. If you’re reading this and you work in the restaurant biz, please keep in mind that when you see young children gnawing on the furniture, bring them a freakin’ piece of bread. Common curtesy ya know?

Such Bad Coffee

On to coffee. My husband and I love good coffee and we were totes excited to try a new place. We’ve literally tried them all in our town. The café was cute, atmosphere was great. Kids were now begging us to buy them smoothies. I’d had enough of this entitlement attitude so I said no. That never goes over well. Even when it’s the right answer.

As we grabbed our coffee and loaded the car full of adorable mis-behaved children, we tasted our drinks. Oh my word, never have I had such bad coffee. It was all powdery, watered down and not even the flavor of coffee!

I felt like giving up on the day. Taking a long nap and waking up the next day.

Instead we went home, collected ourselves and proceeded to have a meeting, youth group and take teens home while my glorious mother watched the kids.

It was a 30 minute drive to take one of the kids home and I was trying to reset my mind so as to end the day well. I was remembering that when my joy gets stolen, I need to steel it back. I was trying to think of happy things in my life and why I still had it better than so many others.

 

 

Then I ran over a skunk.

And it sprayed the car.

Eyes burning, smell soaking into my skin. Still needing to drive…..

I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. This was the worst first day of 29 I could have imagined. If I was going to have a bad day though, that was definitely the perfect way to end it.

My tired, emotionally drained skunk smelling self on my first day of being 29.
My tired, emotionally drained skunk smelling self on my first day of being 29.

What horrible-funny days have you had to laugh at just to move past it? Any tips for stealing your joy back?

Follow me on Instagram @sweetestlemonade for more funny mom stories and great recipes!




Surviving The Weekend

Do you ever feel like eating right only works Monday-Friday? Once the weekend hits it seems like there’s always an opportunity to take a swim in the indulgence pool. Whether it’s the urge to order something extra sweet when you meet your friend for coffee or you have plans to be out of town and don’t have time to cook 6 whole meals and bring an ice chest of your “approved foods”, I’ve got you covered.

Surviving The Weekend:

eat well on the go

The Coffee Shop

Coffee shops alone have been my downfall in the past. I’ve gone in thinking, it’s just coffee, and somehow walked out with a blended fully-loaded cup of cancer juice plus a muffin on the side. Without meaning too, I’ve started my morning by consuming 3x my needed sugar intake and usually end up craving sweets the rest of the day.

cream-and-coffee-clipart-1-jpg

Instead

Here’s the thing. Nine times out of ten coffee shops will have more options than you realize. If you’re arriving hungry, opt for their oatmeal instead of the muffin. Sometimes there are grain free baked goods, but it’s always a shot in the dark if they’ve loaded that with sugar too.

Order a black coffee with a dairy free milk and choose honey or stevia instead of syrups and powder flavors they add in. If you really feel like you can’t enjoy your coffee without that sweet kick, order or drink “half sweet”. I do this all the time. If I’m really jones-ing for that caramel macchiato, I’ll order it half sweet with coconut milk. While it’s not the healthiest thing on the menu, it doesn’t send me craving sugar for the rest of the day either.

Also, if you really want to eat right and maintain your social life, don’t forget there’s no shame in just ordering water. Tea is a great choice too! No one is here to make you eat something that could derail you or cause you to feel guilty the rest of the day.

The Restaurant

I walk into a restaurant with a plan. I’m confident, my head is held high, and then I see the menu. Suddenly my healthy ideas are out the window and that pasta is calling my name. I’ve been tricked one too many times by hearing the specials or seeing a picture of a meal and then being convinced that’s actually what I want.

Instead

Eating out on the weekend is fun and shouldn’t have to be canceled because you’re trying to change your eating habits. Try to stick to basics like rice, meat and veggies when ordering a meal. Potatoes can be an option too, if you don’t mind asking how they are prepared. Even though most restaurants are cooking the food in oils that aren’t the best for you, if you stick to these items, you’ll walk away full and not bloated or sluggish.

Did you notice I didn’t put salad in there? Salad is sneaky.

salad-clip-art

While you might find an amazing salad that works perfectly for you, I’ve found they usually sneak something in that won’t work for me. Salad dressings are usually dairy or oil based, the candied pecans are baked in sugar, the cheese and croutons hurt my stomach, and the dried cranberries are soaked in high fructose corn syrup. All I’m saying is be careful of the salad. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

The Vacation

It is sooo tempting to throw caution to the wind and eat whatever I feel like on vacation. The thing about vacationing though is I want to feel good and look good on them! When I’ve just eaten my weight in donuts and my husband wants to take a selfie (yes it’s him who owns the selfie-stick in our house), I’m not usually in a picture friendly mood.

vacation-clip-art

Instead

Give yourself something attainable. I try to eat well on vacation and allow for either one meal or one sweet a day that’s away from what I would call healthy. This method has worked really well for me. My mind doesn’t freak out about being deprived of that funnel cake at the fair, but my confidence is still there when my kids want me to squeeze into the roller coater seat with them.

I also place a huge value on exercising while on vacation. My family loves bike riding, hiking, long walks and swimming. We do a lot of that when on vacation. Depending on the type of trip, I’ve even found gyms that will let me drop-in for a small fee. This past spring my husband and I went on a 10-day cruise to the Bahamas and we used the gym on the ship plus tons of walking as we toured islands to help stay on track. We managed to enjoy our whole vacation without the guilt and shame I usually feel after indulging over and over.

The Road Trip

For some beautiful reason our three kids all love long car rides. We have used this to our advantage and traveled all over the states. The way we do it now however is completely different than how we used to travel. Years ago, before we knew anything about healthy living, we packed food our road trip from a list like this.

  • Oreos
  • Granola Bars (not the healthy kind)
  • M&Ms
  • Juice Boxes
  • Donuts
  • Soda
  • Doritos
  • Goldfish Crackers

road-trip1

Instead

Now, we have this list.

This is how we roll. We also plan out places to walk or even do quick hikes along the way to help us and the kids get our energy out! I personally spend a little extra money buying the already shelled pistachios to avoid having shells pile up in the car. Also, I only make 1 batch of the cookies, granola bars and the graham crackers. When we’re out, we’re out. This kind of list gives our family of five enough car snacks for 2 weeks on the road. We restock our fruit and jerky once. When you eat well, you feel well!

 

So don’t let the weekend get you down. You have lots of options! Whatever your plans are for next weekend, live in such a way that your confidence and joy shine through. When you do that, the victory is already yours.

 

 

Do you have tips for surviving the weekend?

Share them in the comments below!

 




This Is Not How Batman Dies

I had a week.

I don’t mean like,

” How was your week?”

“Oh it was fine, just busy.”

No.

No no no.

I signed up for too much.

I volunteered my time in too many directions.

I tried to make too many homemade items for the kids’ party.

I over committed when I said I’d make a Minion cake and a Minecraft cake for their party.

I sweetly said yes when asked to meet with various people to lend a listening ear.

I should have said no thanks. Not this week. How about another time? I wish I could, but this week is already full!

I’ve learned a lot about time management over the last few years-especially when it comes to stay-at-home-momming. Somehow everything I’ve learned kinda just flew out the back of my head though. I forgot to prioritize and make sure my families’ needs were met before others’.

The result was a feeling that can only be understood if you’ve watched The Lego Movie. Have you seen it? It’s one of those movies you need to see regardless if you have kids or not. Trust me.

There’s a scene where the characters build a submarine to escape Bad Cop and his army. The submarine isn’t built well and is about to implode. Everyone is freaking out and Batman shouts, “This is not how Batman dies!”

That’s exactly how I felt last week. I poorly planned and everything was crashing down on me. My kids weren’t feeling good, I was running out of time to finish some of my cute party ideas, I had to make time for some very important meetings, and I kept forgetting to eat because I hadn’t properly meal prepped that Sunday.

By Friday I was actually saying out loud, “This is not how Batman dies,” to help me remember not to give up.

Life gets hard. Sometimes that’s because of other people and sometimes it’s because of our own decisions. Either way, it’s important not to throw in the towel. Fight for a good life. Learn from your mistakes (talking to myself here)!

The ‘lemonade’ that came from one lemon of a week was the kids were all feeling better by the weekend and enjoyed their birthday party. The cakes turned out cute, and no one knew which party decorations were half way done still sitting on my dining room table, so it didn’t really matter! I got everything important done, and this week I remembered to prioritize. I took time to just be with my kids. I said no to a couple things. I even got back to my meal prepping and remembering to eat.

I hope this encourages you whether you’re in the middle of one tough lemony week or thinking of signing up for too much next week.

 




The Breakdown Of A Temper-Tantrum

“No I won’t say sorry!” “You pick it up!” “I don’t even care!” “Not listening!” (with hands over ears, of course) Have any of these choice phrases ever fallen from your little one’s mouth? Temper-Tantrums can be brutal. I’ve had one too many conversations with moms at the park to think I’m the only one who has kids that occasionally thrown down a temper-tantrum like it’s a glove for a duel.

Engage Or Redirect

The first thought after hearing one of these tantrum starters is, do I engage or redirect? This is a tough one. Especially for parents who walk in on an outraged toddler not knowing the full situation. I’m currently staying at home with my kiddos so I usually know exactly what brought on the war, but I remember well those working days. Don’t let anyone lie to you and say working outside the home is a way to escape motherhood. It’s not. I used to have days where I would come home from a 10-hour shift to find the sitter and my little guy totally fine and happy. Then she’d leave. I would try and navigate towards the kitchen to start dinner and he would start to whine, want me to hold him, or be upset that I’m not turning on the tv for him. Then the “fit” would start.

The Game Plan

It’s so hard to figure out your game plan when you don’t know how your child’s day was. Did he sleep? How much did he eat? Maybe he had too much sugar? Did he have to share with a kid at preschool and have trouble with it? Does he just miss me?

A temper-tantrum has so much more to do with the back story than how your child is acting out. Figure out what is going on inside that crazy kid’s head!

On Mother’s Day I found myself in a real pickle. My husband and I came home early from our leadership retreat and were so happy to be with our kids. Not only was it Mother’s Day, but it was my son’s 4th birthday. I woke up in a great mood, ready to dote on him and celebrate being a mom to my greats kids.

That’s not how yesterday went down. Not even close.

The day started with us getting ready to go to brunch. Thad told our now 4 year old that it was his birthday AND Mother’s Day. (mistake #1) The kid was not so happy about sharing his special day with me. We went to brunch and Sam wanted to order a red Gatorade to go with his muffin. That’s not something we do, but hey it was a double special day so we agreed (mistake #2). Right away Sam started to pick little fights. He barely touched his food but drank over half the Gatorade.

On the way home he was being mean to his big brother, and when asked to stop he began the list of above mentioned phrases that typically mean he’s throwin’ down the glove. This was especially awesome (sarcasm) as it amounted to me taking the oldest on a store run for fruit while Thad stayed in the car with the younger two. By the time I got back in the car Sam was livid. He was extremely mad he didn’t get to go with me, but was he ready to say sorry to his brother? Nope.

He calmed down by the time we got home thanks to some prayer and talking to him about his birthday plans.

Then the evening came. My wonderful mother-in-law (no sarcasm- she really is wonderful) decided to make Sam his own cake when we went over to her house for a Mother’s Day dinner. He ended up being served 2 huge slices of cake (mistake #3) and having soda (something else we don’t do). By the time we got the kids home and into bedtime routine there was an anger in this kid like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t even know what started it honestly. It took Thad and I 90 minutes to get the kid calmed down and in bed.

Angry to happy in a matter of minutes
Angry to happy in a matter of minutes.

I did some serious reflection last night. I thought about his day and what brought on this “hulk” side of him. Thad and I were able to narrow it down to three main reasons. The red dye in his drink earlier is something his body isn’t familiar with. The extra sugar right before bed would have made anyone a bit hyped up, let alone a four year-old. Plus Sam felt an unfairness in general over the day. Now whether you can relate with these things or not, the process is still the same.

The Breakdown

Here’s a simple way to get to the root of the tantrum.

Identify:

  • what your child’s day was like before the tantrum.
  •  what helped him or her calm down.
  •  how you handled it as a parent.

I am well aware that once I’ve spoken something, it needs to happen. I have to follow through. When I say, “Say sorry to your brother or you will have a timeout,” then that’s exactly what needs to happen. In the same way, if I offer a reward for a specific behavior, then I need to be able to follow through with that reward. Pay attention to your tone as well. While I agree your child needs to know you’re serious, they also need to know you love them and are not ashamed of them. Children need to feel safe, even especially at their worst moments.

Freebies For The Parents

I created these free printable pdf’s to get you, and myself, through this. The first one is for littles who don’t have the verbal skills to tell you what’s going on. I provided a sample to give you a feel for what looks like. If you are a working mom, ask whoever is watching your child to fill this out. You’ll be amazed at how helpful this is at 6:30pm when you just got home from work and need to know how your child is doing.

The third form is for an older child who can tell you how he/she feels. This is especially helpful to start the conversation with your child. As time goes on he or she won’t need the form and will be able to tell you clearly how their day went and even identify for themselves why they are crabby. My almost 8 year old will sometimes say, “Mom, I feel like I didn’t have enough protein today. Can you get me some chicken or something?” He’s starting to pay attention to his body and see what he needs without freaking out and throwin’ down that glove.

For Littles

My Day.pdf

My Day sample

For Older Kids

My Day Older Child Version

The “Whys and Whats”

Breaking down the whys and whats of your child’s situation will dramatically change the tantrum experience.

Remember, most of the time or all the time (depending on the age of your child), they don’t know why they are acting like this. It is our job as parents to help them understand their feelings; what they can do about things not going as planned and aid them through it. Also, remember that it is completely appropriate to discipline a child if they are acting out. I know it’s hard, but it is vital to them that they see what is okay and what is not okay. You are setting the moral standard in your home. Think about that.

Don’t give up when your child wages war over their crust not being cut off the sandwich. Don’t give in to anger yourself when your kindergartner uses a four letter word to tell you what he thinks of you turning off the tv for dinner time. Use words to explain yourself just like you want your child to respond. Giving in to anger is a cop-out. It’s the easy way out. Staying calm and collected is the hard part.

I know you really want to coast through the grocery store with one of those kids who will listen to you. Even one who will walk nicely beside the cart! Know that those kids have worked closely with their parents to understand big concepts like it’s okay to not get your way, or that not every day ends in a reward. Sometimes you’re just expected to be nice and polite (I know, mind blown). Parenthood is a process. You did not receive the worst kids on the planet, even though it feels that way sometimes. You are not the worst parent in the world. No one else thinks that of you either.

Be encouraged. Tackle this tantrum thing head on! I believe in you.❤️




Punching Fear In The Face

Fear sucks. It tells you you’re not good enough; that you are limited. Fear comes in and ruins your party. It steps on your dreams and laughs when you want to have goals in life.

I never really knew fear ruled my life. As a kid I thought fear was just what comes with trying to do something new. I thought fear was normal and should be expected.

In high school fear was a constant voice telling me what others thought of me. I was confident I knew exactly what someone thought of my outfit, my hair, my acne, and my beliefs. Especially my beliefs. I felt like a leper for believing in God.

Fast forward to being married and having kids: I still let fear talk to me. A little less, but still. I had isolated fear to only talking to me about my self-worth and image. I hated how I looked. Before and after having kids took a toll on me. For lots of reasons. I had no clue what eating healthy meant. I thought exercising was for fit people. I didn’t want to be the biggest person at the gym. I hated the sounds of my own breathing when I went on a jog. It was embarrassing. I thought there were no cute clothes made for people my size and shape, so I gave up trying to be stylish.

Almost 4 years ago now, I punched fear in the face. For reals. I decided I was worth the fight it would take to get happy about how I looked again. I joined the hardest and most intimidating gym I’d heard of: crossfit. I began researching what healthy food was and slowly began only putting in what my body would benefit from. I started reclaiming my sense of style. I bought clothes that looked good, felt good and made me smile a little more when I wore them.

Me in 2009 and now in 2016
Me in 2009 and now in 2016

But how did I get there? The punching part. To be honest it was the accumulation of fear ruling me that I got fed up with. I can’t tell you I had this one moment of clarity, because I had tons of moments. Times when I would pray and ask God to help me, to show me what to do. The problem was He would answer every time, and I’d hear Him clear as day tell me that I needed to put work in, and that there was victory in it for me. I just didn’t like the work part. I was thinking more like a magical fat fairy that came over with a vacuum and solved my issue.

So I committed to going to the gym for an entire year and learning how to eat healthy. As you can imagine the hard work paid off. Overall, I’ve lost more than 100 lbs, but with having 3 kids in between my weight has definitely gone up and down. I’m so happy I finally listened to God and put in the work to punch fear in the face. I’m healthy now, inside and out. I love that I am strong, fit and that I know how to fuel my body. The crossfit I joined also became a place of family for me. Whether it was my first day or my 3rd year, they’ve always been kind and welcoming. The coaches helped me modify when I first started and challenged me when I was scared to move up in weight or try a movement rx (as prescribed). It’s a place I can take my kids and they see me putting in the work. I know my oldest especially has learned a lot from this. He has watched me learn to humble myself so I can grow and improve.

Once in a while that snake tries to come back. I’m a lot better at hearing it though and shutting it down.

Right now I’m preparing for knee surgery and while it’s a simple procedure, it has kept me from my gym for 4 weeks. That part sucks. I’ve been programming my own stuff at home, but that fear tries to sneak in and make me worried my old self will come back if I miss a single day at the gym, or heaven forbid eat a doughnut.

You need to recognize where your fear is coming from. Only then can you punch it in the face and have victory in your life. I hope this encourages you to keep fighting, keep working and know that you’re not alone! If you ever need someone to talk to, or have questions for me about where to start, email or message me. I will always respond!

Remember, the most sour situations can be turned into the sweetest lemonade if you let it. Learn to love the life you have!

Find me on Instagram @sweetestlemonade

Find me on Facebook: Sweetest Lemonade

Email me: the.sweetest.lemonade@gmail.com




Pass The Carbs Please

Whenever I am low on carbs, I turn into this crazy, grumpy whiny she-woman who has zero rationale as to what she eats, so long as it has carbs in it. A dozen donuts? Done. An entire loaf of garlic bread? Why not. Those stupid good garlic cheese biscuits? Say no more.

I’ve been a carb lover my whole life, and I know the struggle in and out. Here are some tips I use to help me tame the “carbivore” inside and some well needed honesty to keep you sane.

  1. Identify what you’re craving. Sometimes the brain thinks bread, but what the body really needs is some iron-filled broccoli. Or a nice grilled chicken breast. Part of what makes paleo and clean eating so important is you put yourself in a situation to understand your body, and get to know what you need verses what you’re craving. Read my post on Paleo vs. Clean Eating for more info.
  2. Have “good” carbs readily available. I know what you’re thinking. There are good carbs out there? YES! Your body absolutely needs carbs to function. What kind of carbs you put in your body is key though. Look at sugar content when you look at carb content. While you may think you’re doing great by staying at 10g of carbs for your lunch serving, you may be adding 10g of sugar as well. I try to keep good carbs in my kitchen at all times.

Here are my current top favorites. Some of them are more for meals, and some are more for snack options. I’ve included links so you can try some of these yourself.

  • Brown Rice Pasta: 43g of carb and no sugar for 1 cup cooked rice pasta
  • Sweet Potatoes: 11g of carb and 3g sugar for half a sweet potato
  • Green Apples: 19g of carb and 14g sugar for 1 large apple
  • Oats: 27g of carb and no sugar for 1 cup cooked oats
  • Rice Cakes : 14g of carb and no sugar for 2 lightly salted rice cakes
  • Carrots: 2.34g of carb and 1.35g of sugar for 10 baby carrots
  • Brown Rice Tortillas: 24g of carb and no sugar for 1 tortilla
  • Roasted Almonds: 5g of carb and 1.3g of sugar for 1 oz. almonds
  • Sweet Potato Chips: 17g of carb and 2g of sugar for 9 chips

3. Give yourself a break! Don’t be so hard on yourself when you slip. Everyone has their moments. Just last week I invited some friends over for dinner and totally had some garlic bread with my meal. I enjoyed it, had 2 pieces more than I planned on, and MOVED ON with my life. No point in sulking. Cash in that one way ticket on the shame train!

I did feel blah and a bit like I had a beer gut that night, but I moved on and started fresh the next morning. I have struggled with over eating my entire life. There’s no benefit for me if I judge myself for my one little slip when I’ve been doing so great!

4. Enjoy a “Cheat”. Make sure you identify when you would like to “cheat” once in a while. I am much more likely to binge eat if I don’t plan a time to enjoy something special once in a while. Now, be careful that once in a while doesn’t turn into once a night. I’ve had to cut down to about twice a month for a planned cheat, just to keep from slipping into bad habits. For me, a planned cheat is one donut, one burrito with a regular tortilla, or one serving of pasta with regular noodles. I don’t  allow a cheat to become an entire meal, because that’s what tips me over in the wrong direction.

5. Don’t let your emotions decide what you eat. How many times have we decided that a hard day “deserves” an extra special treat? Or a promotion at work means celebrating with food? I get it. That’s what everyone else does. But you’re different. You know that too much of a good thing can send you down a dark path. So don’t follow the crowd!

Personally, I reward myself with clothes, a pedicure, or if food really is what I want, then a cup of my favorite tea and a handful of really dark chocolate. If I’ve had a rough day, I call on a friend. Or I talk to my mom.

Sometimes I even tell my kids about my day (the g-rated version) and spend some time with them. That always puts me in a better mood, even when they are the ones that started the sour mood in me! I’ve found I can even tell my kids that I had a rough day because they weren’t listening the first time, and that caused me to feel sad and frustrated inside. There’s nothing wrong with teaching your children that their actions cause a reaction in other people, so long as you don’t attach shame and blame to it.

For example, don’t sit on the floor crying to your kids about how they were so naughty that it made you want to eat a dozen donuts-that’s not good for anyone. Instead, sit down at their level, tell them about how their decision not to listen the first time affected you, and then talk about how tomorrow  is going to be a better day! Try asking them how their day was too. Maybe you said some things that made them feel not too good and they’d like to tell you about that.

So there you have it, 5 tips to taming that “carbivore” that so desperately wants to undermine you’re hard work. Have some ideas? I’d love to here them!




The Running Lemon

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this. Not my mom, my husband or my closest friends.

The truth is….

I love running. I just don’t like to tell people because I’ll end up talking with someone who loves to run too and the conversation will go like this:

Me- “Ya, actually I love running. I get so much perspective when I go running.”

Runner Chick-“Hey, you love to run?? Me too!! I need a running buddy. Want to do a little 7 mile run next Tuesday?”

Me-“Ummm, yeah… that sounds fun….”

End of conversation. Beginning of finding new ways to politely avoid nice Runner Chick.

See, I love to run, I’m just not fast. I’m consistent. I can run a 5k no problem, but It’s not going to be under 30 minutes, it’s just not. I’d rather allow myself to be distracted by the beauty of everything around me, even stop to take a picture of the sunrise, then worry about my time or check my heart rate every 3 minutes. So you can imagine how slow my times are when I have workouts at the gym that have runs combined with… well…anything else. My mom once told me I’m slower than a sloth running through nutella, and she meant that in a good way!

il_570xN.581977620_kbud

 

By the way, if you love these quotes like I do, check out Baymoom Studio on Etsy.

All of this is to explain my lemon. I recently found out my knee isn’t healing like I hoped it would. There’s physical therapy in my future and very possibly surgery. All from a bad fall 3 months ago. My doctor said absolutely no running until we can get that knee healed. He also said no squatting below 90° angles and no rowing machine.

I’ll admit it, I’m pretty sad. Those are a few of my favorite things. I use the gym as “me” time. One hour a day when I can focus on my strength, improve on my weaknesses, and make a nice little sweat puddle on the floor. The rest of the day can be all about my kids, youth group, PTO, my house, etc. and I enjoy all of it. Now my challenge will be to replace that time with exercises that are safe for my knee, but generate the same “me” time. I’m going to be working on my core, pull ups, swimming, and bicycling.

The good news is even if I have surgery I’ll recover quickly and be back to my normal self in no time. So while this lemon is definitely trying to get me down, it won’t. It’s all about my state of mind. I cannot allow doubt or fear to enter in. If you’ve ever encountered an injury that kept you from doing something you loved, feel free to share what helped you get through it, I love encouragement! For now, I’ll secretly look forward to the next time I get to run.




#thatsugartho

2016-03-07 11.48.25A few days ago my friend was telling me how she prays for God to take away those sugar cravings. We were joking that considering how much we work out, if sugar wasn’t in our lives we’d look pretty freakin’ amazing. I had to agree. In fact, there are many nights I find myself asking God to take away my cravings for sugar too. I’ve come so far and overcome so many “food hurdles”- yet sugar still tries to get me. It’s there when I’m trying to celebrate birthdays with loved ones. It’s there at every single holiday. It’s there when I go out on a date. It’s there when I’m really proud of myself for going weeks without any sweets and want to treat myself. It’s there when I’m feeling low on energy and need a quick boost.

The thing with sugar is that I can’t completely eliminate it out of my life. I can do my best to keep it out of the house (but then it walks in with the kids when they come home from their grandparent’s or a school event). I can do my best to say no thank you when offered that cake at parties (even though I hate that I look like a snob). I can even try to find healthy alternatives when the holidays roll around -but who really wants a sugar free homemade candy at Halloween time??

My point is that sooner or later I have to decide what my role is with sugar. I have to put some (more)  work into creating a healthy balance of once in a while treats verses eating all the left over frosting by the light of the fridge after the kids have gone to bed. Not that I’d ever do that….

Now that I’ve been working on kicking sugar out of my life for a few years, my moments are farther apart. I can go a month or so without caving in.

Part of my strategy is to teach myself new habits. When I used to reach for M&M’s, I now have a cup of tea with a stevia packet in it. In the evening if I really feel the need for sweets I’ll have a green apple with a few pieces of dark (like 70% or darker) chocolate. I try to have a plan before attending anything social, whether it’s being that weirdo who brings her own food (my friends love me for my weirdness) or just eating before I go so I’m not super hungry. I also try to pay attention to who feels honored when I eat their food. I am surrounded by some great hostesses, and I know it means a lot to them if I eat something they provided.

When God hears us praying to him, nay, pleading with him to take away the thing that burdens us, guilts us and even at times tears us away from a closer walk with Him, He listens. His answer isn’t always the welcome response we are hoping for. We want to wake up magically not craving sugar anymore- even if we lived in a house made of cookie dough with a hot tub of caramel sauce (just being real here). We also want to suddenly never think of that dirty joke again. Never self-hate when we see ourselves in the mirror. Never lose our temper with the kids. Never slip and start
thinking we’re better than someone else.

God hears you, and He has a plan to get you the freedom you are looking for! You need to be committed to the process though. Be ready to put in work with God. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3:9 [NIV]). To put it simply, God is your pal in this.  He has never claimed to be some genie granting you wishes left and right. God is relational. He wants to go through life with you. So whether you are staring down those brownies or trying desperately to forgive someone, God’s with you. Be encouraged, don’t give up, and live life to its fullest! Have some insight to share? Leave a comment and let me know how you battle those sugar cravings!