Adjusting My Diet

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

PSA: YOU CAN STILL GET $15 OFF ANY CLEAN SIMPLE EATS MEAL PLANS (DIGITAL OR HARDCOPY) WITH CODE JEN! JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER! I use this for about 90-95% of my daily meals!

Sorry guys, I’ve seriously been meaning to write this post for weeks but you know how it goes with three kids! And let’s just be honest, by the time they’re in bed all I want to do is watch tv. So just like my workout post I want to say that this is what has worked for me. Take little bits from different plans, take what works for you + your lifestyle from different people and adjust to fit what YOU need. I’m so grateful for those of you that are cheering me on with these posts + progress shots on instagram. I can’t tell you how much it helps in continuing!

It’s funny because when I first started working out I was totally like, “I workout so I can eat whatever I want. I will NEVER be a person who counts calories or knows how many calories are in different foods. Nope, that’ll never be me.” And just like all of the ways I said I’d parent before I had kids, I’m eating my words on this one too. I was SO frustrated though working out for months and not seeing very much progress. It’s not like I was going to the gym as much or as consistently as I do now but still, I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere!

I had looked into healthy meal planning and it was overwhelming and the food just didn’t look that great. Grilled chicken and spinach/sweet potatoes/asparagus for lunch multiple times a week was not something I could maintain. I love food. I love good tasting food. I found Clean Simple Eats (CSE) at the end of December and drooled over her pictures for a week before ordering her Winter Meal Plan. I knew this was something I could do. The first month I definitely calculated how many calories to eat incorrectly. I was NOT eating enough. I knew I was hungry but I thought it was mental! In February I started eating a little more intuitively and in March I recalculated my calories and figured out the right number. Thank goodness I adjusted pretty quickly because you have to fuel your body! In the front of each CSE meal plan she has all of the calculations to figure out how many calories to eat per day to align with your goals. It’s so helpful!

Do my kids eat CSE recipes? For the most part YES! Sometimes I’ll adjust things a little because I know their preferences (i.e. they don’t like BBQ sauce so if something calls for BBQ sauce I’ll take a portion of chicken out before I add it). They don’t love bell peppers and onions so on a kabob recipe, I’ll leave those off and do just chicken then steam a bag of a veggie I know they do like. If I know they’re really not going to be feeling a recipe I’ll do eggs & toast for them but that’s really pretty rare.

I’m pretty type A so calorie counting does help me. I try to eat about 1900 calories a day so I’m in a little bit of a calorie defecit. I also like treats so counting calories helps me know when I have extra calories to spare. This is not for everyone but it does help me. I use My Fitness Pal and just FYI…all CSE recipes are preloaded on the app! I was manually entering them for a few months before I found that out. Do I still treat myself? YES! Friday night I had a burger, fries, and a milkshake. Saturday I had two donuts. If I’m really craving something, I eat it. It’s all about balance and it’s good for your mental well-being to not fully deprive yourself.

CSE meal plans have literally every meal and every snack planned out for you. Grocery lists and everything. If you want to just follow that, it’s super easy. I sit down every Sunday and pick recipes we love or want to try, write them down and write out my own grocery list. It’s a little bit more work but it’s what works for us! I also want to say that meal planning and saving leftover CSE meals has been a life saver when it comes to lunches! Anyone else there just eat leftover mac and cheese/quesadilla/whatever your toddler didn’t eat for lunch? That was me! Having healthy (and actually tasty) meals that I can grab and heat up in two minutes has saved me from eating 1/2 a box of kraft mac and cheese too many times to count. Sometimes I’ll double recipes if I know I really like them to save some for lunches. I linked to my favorite meal prep containers below and they are dishwasher and microwave safe!

Other adjustments I made:

  • I used to drink A LOT of whole milk. Like maybe a gallon a week? Maybe not that much but a lot. I’ve mostly cut out drinking milk and go for water instead.
  • I swap out for healthy choices when possible. For example, I make regular spaghetti noodles for the rest of my family and I’ll spiralize a couple of zucchinis for me! Not a ton of extra work but saves a ton of calories.
  • I found Halo Top ice cream! Not all flavors have been winners for me but my favorites so far are chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, and waffles & syrup. When I want something sweet I’ll grab that a lot of the time.
  • I cut out soda for the most part. I have a little here and there but I used to drink a lot of coke.
  • If I’m itching for a cookie or something I’ll try to grab a protein ball to see if that curbs the craving (CSE’s recipes are so good! The almond joy ones are my current favs).

Favorite products to help with meal planning:

I hope this helps and answers any questions you may have! Feel free to ask questions in the comments or leave comments on my instagram (@littlewifepowerhouse)!

-LWPH

This post contains affiliate links but only to things I use and love!

My Workout Routine

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

I also want to note that there is not ONE exercise path you have to take. Just because this works for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will be what works for you. Everybody is different and every BODY is different so I encourage you to not be afraid to try new things! Try classes you never thought you would. Try workout videos you never thought you would. One day I couldn’t get to the gym so I did a hip hop Tabata video and it ended up being really fun and an awesome workout! You never know what you’ll respond to until you try!

THE BEGINNING

As I’ve said before, this has been a slow + steady sort of a “journey.” The first time I went to the gym was August 21, 2017 and I hated every.single.minute of the BBG workout we did. I’m not kidding, I hated it. I decided to try some group fitness classes because it was easier to blend in and I needed someone telling me what to do and pushing me. I started with a step class and quickly grew to love it! It challenged me (but not too much) and was fun. I continued to go to the gym about once a week, maybe twice on a good week. I didn’t try very many other classes until December.

THE CHANGE

The gym was putting on a “12 days” kind of a challenge in December. I hadn’t hardly been to the gym 12 times in months let alone in 4 weeks but I decided I wanted to see if I could do it. Sometimes my competitive, driven side isn’t so bad ;). I worked out through the Christmas break and even went with my sister-in-law a few times and guess what…I DID IT! It felt so good to reach a goal I had set for myself and even better to reach a goal that was so out of my comfort zone. The whole month of December my friends could see how dedicated I was to going and I kept saying, “Oh trust me. This won’t stick! It’s such a commitment. Once December is over I’ll go back to going once or twice a week, I promise.” Well guess what? I have stuck with going to the gym 4-6x a week every single week (except spring break) since mid-December because I just felt better! I wanted to keep it going. I had more energy, was more productive, was proud of myself. I wanted to keep reaching goals and keep challenging myself.

MAINTAINING

Now I will still stick by the fact that this sort of a schedule is a commitment. On days I’m feeling like I’m not going to want to go to the gym the next morning, I sleep in my workout clothes. Might seem a little excessive but the decision is already made for me in my head if I wake up in them. I go even when I’m not 100% feeling it because I know how much better I’ll feel after. I’ve had friends call me “crazy” or “addicted” but I just smile and flip those negative words to a positive “committed” in my head. Because I started out being a total newbie to the gym and working out in general, I really think if I had started out going this much I would have burned out so quickly. I needed to develop a love for it to maintain. I truly believe that everyone should go at their own pace and listen to their bodies. Don’t compare your progress to someone else’s…that usually only ends up in one place and it’s hardly ever a positive one!

CHILD CARE

A lot of you guys wanted to know what I do for child care but first I want to start out by saying there is a season for everything. For the last eight years, I’ve been pregnant, in a newborn haze, or nursing almost the entire time. I know lots and lots of mamas who work out right after they have babies but that was never me. It wasn’t a priority and honestly, I wasn’t a priority to myself. I was so wrapped up in taking care of my babies I couldn’t hardly carve out the time to shower. Now that Sawyer (our youngest) is almost 2.5, I feel like I can breathe and focus on myself a little more. Our older two are in school full day and Sawyer just tags along to the gym with me and plays in the daycare. He didn’t start out loving the daycare but we kept going and now he LOOOVES it! He begs to go and I happily oblige. With all of that being said, I do wish I had taken time for myself sooner because I really believe it makes me a better mom. Finding time to work out when you have little kids is hard but you can do it! Even if it’s a 30 minute walk in the evening, just get moving!

MY FAVORITE CLASSES

— I started out loving step and it was a good launching point but I now prefer other cardio classes (that are a little more challenging) or a HIIT class that includes weights
— Tabata is great! Hard but feels so good when you’re done. Cardio + weights.
— Vinyasa yoga is one of my favorite classes. It’s so relaxing, you get a good stretch, but still feels like a workout for sure. Get ready to sweat!
— High Fitness. I just recently discovered High Fitness! It’s cardio turned up to 100 but like all group fitness, it can be as hard or as easy as you want. Just go at your own pace. There are always modifications! Don’t be intimidated going to classes and feeling like you’re not keeping up. Those people probably work out a lot and you’ll be there soon (if you want to be!)
—TCX + FIT are great, harder classes. They include weights but guys, DON’T BE SCARED OF WEIGHTS! They have been SO important in my goal of getting strong and not just losing fat. I started with 5 pound weights and now alternate between 8 and 10 for classes. One day I’ll be brave and learn how to use the equipment at the gym. See! There are always more goals to accomplish.
-I also do a few of Kristin Andrus’ workout videos when I just want to do my own thing. After taking lots of classes I feel much more confident doing things on my own! She has videos for all levels!

MY GYM ROUTINE

I go to the gym right after school drop off so I’m there by 8. Most of the classes I go to don’t start until 8:45 but I love having that time to stretch and warm up on the treadmill. I usually drop Sawyer off, stretch and use the roller for about 15 minutes, walk 1-1.5 miles then go to my class. One of my new goals is to hold a two minute plank every day so lately I’ve been stopping back off at the stretch area to do that before I leave. Working out in the morning is absolutely what works best for me. I like to get it done then have so much more energy and motivation for the day. I’ve worked out in the evenings when I’ve had to (sick kids I can’t take to daycare) and I always am feeling kind of blah because my stomach is so full of food from the day. One might work better for your schedule though so just do what you gotta do!

This is turning out to be a lot longer than I expected so I’m going to end here. I hope I answered everyone’s questions you sent in on instagram and if I didn’t, please feel free to drop a comment here or a DM on instagram! I’ve loved getting messages from you guys about where you are in your fitness goals so please keep sending them! Next up will be all about my diet!

-LWPH

Why did I start?

I want to preface this whole series with the disclaimer that I’m just a regular ole mom of three who wasn’t super comfortable in her own skin after growing and birthing and nursing said three humans. I’m not a professional, I’ve had no training in this. In fact, I’ve never worked out consistently in my WHOLE LIFE until August 2017. But with that, I hope it encourages you because if I can do this, you can do it too.

Now the first thing I want to write about in this series is the WHY. What was my motivation to get started and what was I hoping to get out of it? Well, to say I wasn’t confident I would even continue working out is the understatement of the year. In fact, I called my husband wondering if we should do a contract or month-to-month at the gym and we both laughed and said MONTH-TO-MONTH. If you would have asked me even last summer to work out with you, I would have very quickly declined because “that’s just not my thing.” I was actually pretty anti-working out. I’m the type of person who typically only likes to do things if I know I’ll be successful and I just couldn’t picture myself being successful at being fit or eating healthy.

Fast forward to August 2017 and my friend Courtney of Tnees Tpees had moved to Texas. She joined Lifetime (the gym we still go to) a few weeks before and she even came with me to sign up. I definitely have her to thank for starting all of this for me. I wouldn’t have signed up for a gym if I didn’t have someone to go with. I was intimidated by them. I wanted to do something though because after having three kids, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I was constantly sucking in, trying to tuck my “mom pooch” into my jeans to hide it from popping out when I sat down. I wasn’t crazy hard on myself but I knew I didn’t love how I felt inside or looked on the outside.

My number one goal was to feel confident in a swim suit. I figured if I could get to where I felt confident and comfortable in a swim suit, I would absolutely feel comfortable wearing jeans and a t-shirt. My second goal was to get strong and not skinny. I’ve always been on the thin side but never in shape. I wanted to get in shape for my kids, too. I didn’t want to be the mom who sat on the bench at the park anymore…I wanted to chase them and play with them and not be tired after three minutes! That has been one of the best benefits of this whole thing — having the energy to keep up with my kids. I feel like (and they probably do as well) they have a new mom — Mom 2.0 — and it feels so good.

My goals have shifted a little. I feel like I could totally wear a swim suit now and not be self-conscious or trying to get in the water as fast as humanly possible. I feel like I am strong. Could I be stronger? Absolutely. I’ll continue to work on that one but now I’m at the point where I’d like to target certain areas. My triceps (back of my arms) are one and my booty is another. It’s not about having the perfect body for me. I’m all about progress over perfection and even if the progress is only on the inside at times, that’s amazing and is so important. This whole thing has helped me to be a better version of myself and not just because I’ve lost weight. It has given me confidence, pride, energy, happiness, better sleep, better diet, and the knowledge that I can do hard things.

I can’t wait to share more of this process with you guys. Next up will be all about my exercise routine so I hope you guys will stick around!

-LWPH