Goals

Eat/Fast/Eat:How Intermittent Fasting Works for ME

In my last post, I mentioned that I started doing this new schedule of eating (if you will), called intermittent fasting (IF).  If you don’t know what intermittent fasting is, please click here first and enlighten yourself.

I’m not here to say that you, your friends, and dog should start intermittent fasting. I’m not here saying that it will be the best thing since sliced bread to help you with your fitness goals.  I will be sharing my thoughts, my dislikes, and my over all opinion on it.

If you have at least got a decent understanding what IF is, then  you understand the ‘feasting window’.  Since I have chosen a 16/8 time frame, I had to first decide what would be the ideal time to break the fast and end it. Since I typically work a random schedule as it is, I can almost guarantee that my first break comes a little after noon most days. Since Sarah does not get home until later in the evening, we usually don’t have dinner until about seven.  So, through a perfect guess, I found that by breaking fast around 1-2 PM and starting the fast a little after 8 seemed to be what works best for me.

I’m not going to lie, the first day was unbearable, considering that I had to wake up a lot earlier than normal and have to work with food all day. I almost pulled a 20/4 window without even trying. I felt more tired, I felt more irritable, and I obviously felt much, much more hungry.  After a couple of days I finally got the hang of it and it’s pretty much been smooth sailing since. Since I’m on a cut (meaning a caloric deficit from what my maintanence caloric intake is), I’m only allowed a set amount of calories a day and doing IF has allowed me to distribute my calories between two larger meals, rather than three or six of them (as some people do). Who wants to eat six small meals with less than 400 calories a piece?

Positives:

By doing IF, it has taught me to have a lot of self control.  Knowing that I’ll be able to have two larger meals later in the day makes me fight my cravings throughout the day. My training at the gym has gotten better because I don’t have something sitting in my stomach weighing me down.  I’ve also have really embraced the idea that food is a gift, a privilege, and a blessing to have readily available.  Time and time again, I’ll vacantly stare at my plate of food. Take it all in. I remind myself that I’m so lucky to have what it is I have in front of me and that each meal acts as a reward for working so hard throughout the day. Eat to live. Not live to eat.  Not only have I noticed weight loss, I’ve also had better looking skin with less breakouts and I also am more focused in the mornings.

Negatives:

The first negative was not having breakfast anymore. I’d say it was the hardest part about starting this for me because I love breakfast. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, etc., I love it all. Skipping that meal was mentally challenging for me because I was so used to having a fluffy omelette or egg sandwich every morning.  Although I’ve learned self-control, it’s so easy to be tempted by anything and everything around our kitchen at work and at home.  While the idea of two larger meals later in the day sounds peachy, it’s not the easiest feat to shove down a large plate of food. I made the mistake my first few days by trying to eat too much in a short window and it immediately turned me off of IF.  It took over a week but I finally figured out how much I could eat without making it so that I was literally forcing food down my throat.

Overall thoughts:

With all of the new ways of eating and dieting that has come up in today’s time, I’ve finally found the one that works best for me. It’s not easy starting out either. It took me a while to finally understand the timing and to finally build up enough mental strength to continue on.  Since I’ve started IF, I’ve lost about ten pounds in three months.  It would be more if I actually ate really healthy, but hey I’m only human.  I also enjoy doing it because it’s allowed me to prove to myself that I can follow through on my fitness goals and stick with a new program/diet.

Do I recommend IF for everyone? Not at all. Do I think people who are struggling with weight loss should give it a try. Yes.  Of course people assume, “so you’re starving yourself to lose weight?”.  To a degree, yes and no. Yes, in the fact that there is a large window of time where there is no food consumption. No, because I’m still getting all of my calories and macro-nutrients in for the day, just at a later time.

With patience and time, I managed to find my stride with my new eating routine. Has there been new trends or diets that seem to click with you and your body? What were the ups and downs of those programs? What helped you refocus and attain your goals?

For The Sake Of Time

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Ever since Sarah and I purchased this house back in May, it seems like our To-Do lists are never completed, or they just keep growing.  The responsibilities of being a homeowner often plays a large role in controlling how we go about our day-to-day tasks, which include eating.  Sometimes, takeout or a drive-thru seem to be a better option than coming home at around nine o clock most Saturdays and firing up the skillet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love using my kitchen tools, making up things as I go, and trying new flavors out, but there just isn’t enough time in the day for me to cook each and every meal.  If I also have to get up earlier the next day, I don’t want my sleep to suffer, and I love me some sleep (who doesn’t). So, for the sake of time, the wife and I often break out our trusty and always reliable crock-pot. It’s pretty common for the misses and I to use our crock pot at least once or twice a week depending on our schedules. Sarah gets home later in the day because not only does she have to work about ten hours a day, she also has to commute 30-45 minutes each way. Since I do the cooking most of the time and my schedule is so random,  this leaves little time for us to make much at home that isn’t a frozen pizza or pasta and red sauce. Here are some reasons why we love our crock-pot:

#1 Convenience:

It’s pretty much common sense, but most people really underestimate how simple it is to make a wonderful meal without having to labor over a stove or keep checking on the oven.  Just throw a bunch of ingredients in there, turn it on, and forget about it. Sarah loves using it because it requires her to think less about making dinner and more about getting our home back to order after a chaotic week.

#2 It makes meal prep easier:

Since I’ve started intermittent fasting and plan on dropping a lot of weight this year, I have to keep my calories in check (a caloric deficit). This means that I will be bringing all of my meals to work instead of having what is on hand. Using the crockpot allows me make a rather large amount of chicken breasts (that are fall apart tender) that I can’t do in an oven. Sure, I have to wait longer for them to be completely cooked, but while they are in there, I am free to clean up the house, shovel some snow, or even run a bunch of errands.  Once they are finished,  I weigh out the correct portion sizes and put them in microwave-safe containers to take to work with me.  By doing this method, I am able to make lunch for myself and Sarah for 4-5 days, which is about 8-10 meals! Talk about efficiency!

#3 Clean up is a breeze:

Self-explanatory. Just throw a liner in that bad boy and your set. Don’t forget that most crock-pots have removable stoneware so you can store the left overs (if any) in the fridge.

#4 It’s great for entertaining:

Love pulled pork? Love spinach dip? Then a crock-pot will become your best buddy. Once you’ve finished making either dish, you can keep it on warm for as long as your guests are there for, just make sure to check the crock from time to time (to prevent burning or scorching).  Sarah and I love making hot dips and keeping them nice and warm for our friends when they come over. If you don’t have a chaffing dish for keeping foods hot and delicious, the crock is the next best option.

So that wraps up the biggest and probably most obvious reasons why Sarah and I (or probably most people) love using a  crock pot.  We love being able to come home to a wonderful smelling home cooked meal after a long day of working. Why is a crock pot a useful tool for you? Do you have any favorite recipes that are always being used?

 

The House Made of Really Long Lists

I have been an avid decorating/DIY blog reader since I was a sophomore in college, about six years ago. I’ve dreamed of owning a home my whole life and have “designed” my dream house over and over again growing up, both in my mind and on paper. However, I never realized how much anxiety was tied to the excitement of home ownership. My dream decorating never took into account funds, or lack thereof, experience, or time. Now that I’m 24 years old, married for two years, with a full-time job and a business on the side (plus a dog and a social life), I’m realizing that a beautiful home of my dreams is not easy (and not always fun) to achieve. After finally finishing our major renovation, I can’t help but look around the house and see all of the millions of little things we still want to do. I’m extremely excited about these things and in love with our home even the way it is, but I’m a forward thinker and have trouble not thinking about all of the stuff I want to do.

Since I’m a list-maker by nature (just look in any drawer, notebook, or purse in our house and you will find proof of this), I thought I would share a list of all the things we have planned for our home. This makes me feel much better just knowing it’s all written down and helps me stay motivated. I have no idea how many of these things will actually happen or how long we will live here, but we adore our house and want to keep loving on it as long as possible!

This list contains more than just major decorating, it also contains things we want to buy and organizing projects as well. I also included the rooms that are not created yet (the basement family room and basement bathroom) or used as such yet (the two basement bedrooms that are sheet rocked but are being used as storage).

I’ll make sure to update as we go along!

Front Yard

 

Marital Glue House at Closing

Exterior

Garage

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Entryway

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Living Room

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Dining Room

 

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Kitchen

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Main Floor Bathroom

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Main Floor Hallway

 

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Master Bedroom

Second Bedroom on Main Floor

Basement Family Room (not yet created)

Basement Bath Room (not yet created)

Basement Front Bedroom  (not yet used)

Basement Back Bedroom (not yet used)

Basement Laundry/Utility/Storage Room

Back Yard

Whew!  Like I said, a lot to do!  I’m excited to see which we actually do and how this list changes over the years.  What are your favorite things you’ve tackled on your home’s to do list?  What is something you never anticipated doing?

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A Refreshing Start: Sarah’s Goals for 2014

SARAHSGOALS

Happy New Year!  Okay, it’s a little late at this point, but this week is the first full week of January and a big week for me!  I’m beginning some huge changes that will impact so many parts of my life.  I’ve spent the first days of January reflecting on last year and what I learned.  If you haven’t followed her or even heard of her, make sure you head over to the fabulous redhead motivator, Lara Casey’s blog.  She is the creator of Southern Weddings magazine and also is one of the faces behind Making Things Happen, a workshop designed to set people on fire (motivationally-speaking) and put people on the path to make things happen in their life.  She hosts a wonderful goal-setting series on her blog at the start of the year that asks just the right questions to help people reflect on their past year, on what they want for their life, and what goals will help them get there.  I’ve filled up many pages in a notebook reflecting and goal setting.  I want to share these goals on our blog as something that will help me look back at where I started.  I also want to help encourage anyone reading this to really focus on what their vision for their life is and to start now at working to achieve that vision.  It’s never too late to start!

I’m definitely not going to share everything I wrote down when reflecting on 2013, but I feel some information is important so you have an idea of where my new goals are coming from.  2013 was a change-filled year.  So many things happened, such as:

On paper, it was a great year!  Lots of things happened.  However, when I was really reflecting on the year, I was left feeling down.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for our home, our dog, and the help of my parents to get our home to a modern, open point.  I am proud of the year overall.  But, I feel like I lost a lot of momentum in the areas I had started working on at the beginning of 2013 because of the progress we made in other areas.

Renovating a house is not for the faint of heart.  That’s the honest truth.  Our weekends were filled with chaos.  Think plaster dust everywhere, tools on the floors, rooms full of furniture placed in other rooms.  Not knowing where things are.  We got a lot done on the weekends, but I also had business stuff going on which I started to resent because it was just another thing added to my plate.  Instead of my business feeling like a blessing, I started wishing people wouldn’t want to book me.  That’s horrible, but true.  However, when I would actually get to sessions or weddings, I felt rejuvenated and I remembered why I was doing this.  I just didn’t have any rest time to refocus and remember why I was doing all of these things.  The weekdays were always full of catching up on things we couldn’t get done on the weekend.

After reflecting on the year, I realized that at the heart of why I still felt down about the year even though so much happened, was that a lot of things happened that we didn’t spend time planning for.  When we put in an offer on our house, we never realized the amount of renovating we would do.  It makes so much sense now and we are glad we did it, but had I known that we would have been renovating for seven months, I would have setup systems in advance for my business, incoming papers, bill-paying, etc. so I wouldn’t have to be stressed out about those things.  I would have planned time to stay dedicated to my business blog, to friends, etc. beforehand instead of scrambling to make these things work in the midst of chaos.  A renovation is chaotic no matter how organized a person is, but setting up some systems beforehand and knowing it would be so chaotic, would have allowed me to find some peace during that time.  I’m glad I know these things now because they will help me later on.  It definitely was not a wasted year, and it gave me the motivation I needed to make this year insanely awesome!

With all of this in mind, I decided on the word “REFRESH” as my word of the year.  I learned a lot in 2013.  We made some great progress.  However, in my heart, I didn’t feel like myself a lot of the time.  Just like a webpage gets frozen and wonky from time to time and needs to be refreshed, I feel as though parts of my life were frozen with no progress (or I went backwards).  My health definitely suffered, my stress level were high, and I wasn’t resting enough or reflecting on my goals.  I want to refresh this year and take from it only the progress I made and leave behind any backwards-action away from my goals.  I want to start fresh, clean, and happy.  I am ready to move on and mentally get to a place I was in 2012 when my life was very focused an orderly and I want to start this year with that mindset.

Whew!  Now that I got that off my chest, I want to share some of the goals I set for this year.  I set 18 goals total, but a lot of them have to do with the same things.  I’m going to share the shortened version of them:

This seems like a lot, but I have a whole year!  This won’t all happen in a day, and many of them are things I’ve already made progress on but just need to continue doing.

The main goal I am working on right now is becoming healthier.  I have read The Daniel Plan and have become super motivated to clean up the food I put into my body.  Already, San and I went through our fridge, freezer, and pantry and got rid of anything with high fructose corn syrup, MSG, anything hydrogenated, and other processed ingredients.  It felt so good!  Here is a look at just some of the stuff we got rid of via my Instagram photo:

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And here is how much awesome food we got to keep:

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I also started (yesterday) a 30-day detox where in addition to not eating foods with the aforementioned ingredients, I will also be omitting gluten and dairy from my diet.  I’m doing this to see if I feel any changes without these things because so many people have sensitivities to them.  I’ve eaten them both my whole life and may not even notice any damage they are causing, but I might once I omit them.  Either way, my diet is going to be so much better now and I can feel proud knowing exactly what I am eating (and being able to pronounce it all).  I will definitely be updating throughout this process.

I am so excited for an amazing year to shine and inspire others!  I hope these goals inspired you and I would love to read about your goals for 2014, reflections on 2013, or advice for anything I posted!  San will be back this week to share his goals as well.

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