Checking in on 2018

January is almost over and I need to reformat my goals for this year.  It is a plan I would like to stick to for every month this year, to evaluate my progress and adjust to meet my needs.

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In my last post, Things That F*ck with My Balance-Vol. 1, I explained how illness has gotten me off course so far this year.  This has resulted in no progress for my weight loss and fitness goals.  I have also stopped any and all work to keep up with my 2018 planner.
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My specific goals for January were to increase my water intake and stick to my daily calorie goal.  I definitely did not keep up with these goals, and I should have been more specific about my water goal.  My daily calorie goal has also been too broad of a range.

For February, I am going to focus on the following goals:

  1. Stick to my calorie goal and macros breakdown that I had calculated. I had my macros calculated by Poppy Locks.
  2. Start the Jessie’s Girls Home Edition workout program that I bought a LONG time ago and never used.
  3. STOP eating leftover food from my son’s plate.  I have to stop this the rest of my life!
  4. Keep track of my goals by using my planner.

I am putting this out there for accountability, but I think this is a good strategy for everyone to reevaluate goals on a monthly or on regular basis.  New Year’s Resolutions are out, monthly goals are it!

Things That F*ck with My Balance-Vol. 1

I’ve been out of commission for the last couple weeks, but I’m finally getting back to blogging.  The 2018 flu hit half of the members of my household, and as many mothers know the workload increases ten fold! This brings me to my 1st volume of Things that Fuck with My Balance.

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Before having children I did not realize the impact that illness would have on my life, my work, my money, etc.  When I was single and got sick, for the most part I would just suck it up and continue life.  I rarely called in sick or even got sick for that matter.

Now, I have to leave work at a moments notice if one of my kids spikes a fever or their poop is too runny.  I am a big planner so this really fucks with my balance to drop everything and leave. I obviously want to run to take care of my child, but I don’t like leaving things left undone.  Also, if you’re a teacher you know that getting work ready for a Substitute is more work than just being at school.

Illness also affects my paycheck.  Fortunately as a teacher I have a lot of time off compared to others, but I still end up using more personal days than what I have available.  This occasionally leaves my paycheck several hundred dollars short.

Enough bitching.  So, how do I find balance amongst the recurrent illness? A positive mindset.  I know that the children get sick in waves, so it will return to normal.  My son was sick often the first year he attended daycare, but now is rarely sick.  So, I know that my daughter will soon (hopefully) be in the same boat.  Now, a husband getting sick… there is no good advice for that.  Just grin and bear it!

These times that unexpected illness or other trauma come into your life, just survive! Don’t worry about getting a workout in everyday or cooking the perfect meal.  Just make it through without any damage, and know you can return to normal soon enough.

Me Time

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Once you become a parent, you read often about how you need to take care of yourself in order to take better care of others.  “You can’t fill from an empty cup” and all that.  Here are some ways that I take care of me.

Podcasts

I haven’t been able to find a lot of time to read anymore.  Mainly because I fall asleep if I sit down anytime after 8pm.  I have found my love for podcasts.  There are so many topics available, that I can use them for educational and/or entertainment purposes.  I also have the time to listen to them because I can play them in the car when my son is occupied (by DVD’s…. #momguilt).  Here are some of my favorites:

The Bobby Bones Show– I have listened to this morning radio show since 2004 when they were in Austin, TX.  The past several years they have been in Nashville, TN and are centered around Country music.  I don’t listen to Country music, but I love hearing about the host’s personal lives and experiences.

Half Size Me– Heather is the host that has lost an extreme amount of weight.  She shares her experiences, and has guests that share their weight loss experiences or health/fitness expertise.  I have learned quite a bit about fat loss, weight lifting, and mindset through her podcast.

True Crime Podcasts- Some great binge-worthy true crime stories that you probably have heard of are SerialS-Town, and Dirty John.  If you haven’t listened to these, run do not walk to download!

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Babysitters

I fortunately have a lot of family that live close to me that will take care of my kids for a few hours or occasionally overnight.  I am also a high school teacher, so I have access to several teenagers that I can ask to babysit.  I am a little bit of a control freak about my kids and their routines, so I don’t have other people watch them very often.  I have to remind myself that if I need “me time” or more time with my husband that I need to use the help that I can get.  It gives me a little refresher or time to relax in order to be better when I return to my mom role.

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Plan Ahead

I am a big planner and fan of to-do lists, so I will continually recommend finding ways to plan ahead.  Sundays are my days to meal prep, clean and organize my house, and plan for the week.  I have found that if I plan out my meals for the next week, prepare a grocery list, cook and clean in bulk that I can get more time during the week for my family and for ME.

How do you find ME time? And… please share any podcasts that you love.  I am always looking for new ones!

My Fitness Plan Addiction

Hi, I’m Lauren and I’m addicted to online fitness plans. In less than a month my daughter will be turning 1 year old.  I still have baby weight to lose so I’m trying to close 2017 out strong, so I am doing the Merry Fitness Challenge by Kelsey Byers. This is probably the 11th or 12th fitness plan I have adopted this year.  As soon as I see a link for a fitness plan from an online trainer I can’t help but click it (especially if it’s free, which fortunately for my bank account many have been).

Denial

Throughout my teens and 20’s I only went to a gym to workout.  I occasionally did some sit-ups and push-ups at home, but never considered actually doing a full workout at home.  During my 1st pregnancy and after my son was born, I also denied that at-home workouts were for me.  But I also wasn’t going to the gym either. I didn’t have much extra time for the gym, and I was weary about leaving my son in the babysitting room.  Something needed to change if I wanted to lose the weight.

Acceptance

Knowing that I was going to have to accept some form of at-home workouts I started looking on social media for inspiration.  Kelsey Byers’ Programs were my first go-to.  I had already read her book (See My Most Influential Books blog post), and I knew her weight loss journey was relatable to mine.  They were simple, straight-forward weight lifting and cardio plans that I was able to follow.  I could feel and see the fat loss as well as some muscle definition.  I never thought that I might see a tricep showing through.

I followed many of Kelsey’s plans, but I also knew that I needed to change it up to keep my interest.  Since then I have tried Jessie’s Girls Training ProgramsPoppy Locks-At Home with Poppy workouts (she calculated macros first, and then workout sign ups were available through her private Facebook group), Anna Victoria’s Free FBG ChallengeJill K Fitness Fit Blast workoutsBeachbody on Demand, as well as searching Pinterest for workout ideas.

Action

This was it, I have found my action plan to workout while also balancing my roles as a mother and teacher.  Occasionally I find the time to get to the gym, but home workouts are now my jam.  In addition to finding the variety of programs that work for me, I also have had to find the right equipment.

I have a variety of dumbbells, as I have increased the weight incrementally over time.  I prefer the dumbbells with the neoprene coating, but it’s really just about finding the right weight for your fitness level and increasing from there.

Exercise bands are another necessity.  I have some loop bands as well as tube bands with handles.  The loop bands are helpful in adding resistance to exercises that I was already doing, and getting a variety pack with varying resistance levels is a great idea.  The tube bands with handles are great for putting around a door for some back and arm exercises.

Kettlebells have added another dimension to my workouts, and it is important to research kettlebell exercises with the correct form.  I also prefer the coating on kettlebells, I think it just makes them easier to handle.  I started with 15 lbs and I am working the weight up over time.  I don’t necessarily think kettlebells are needed as a beginner, but I think they are a great addition.

*Note:  This post contains affiliate links, please see disclosure at the bottom of this post.

I will probably continue to feed my fitness plan addiction, and am always looking for new and exciting programs (especially if they are free or inexpensive).  Please comment below if you use any yourself!

My Energy Balancing Act is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. If you should make a purchase through the affiliate links it may provide me with a small commission, however, there will be no additional charges to you.

About My Energy Balancing Act

Hello! My name is Lauren and this is my first blog post.  Currently I am a 30-something year old mother of a toddler and baby, a wife, a high school teacher, working on getting rid of the 2nd pregnancy weight, and improving my fitness.  These are all of the things I am working on balancing in my life.  I love all parts of my life, but I feel like I do not have enough time to spend on each of them.  This is a problem I’m sure many mothers deal with.  This blog and this time in my life is now dedicated to improving all of these areas.

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I have chosen the name “My Energy Balancing Act” because of my constant search for balance, and because tracking my food and exercise (energy balance) is how I have and continue to lose weight.

I have struggled with my weight off and on my whole life.  You can see in my childhood pictures that around 9 or 10 years old I start to gain weight.  In 8th grade my mother made my older sister and I count Weight Watchers points with her.  I lost about 19 pounds (I always said it was 20 but was corrected that it was only 19) during 8th grade, and the compliments flowed because of it.  In high school my weight fluctuated some as well, which was in part due to being on 2 soccer teams and many fad diets that my mother was trying out.  But, getting my driver’s license and having the freedom to buy fast food whenever I wanted helped the number on the scale go up.

Freshman year of college I gained the well known “freshman 15” and more, and throughout the rest of college I discovered bulimia, changed my major to Health Education, changed my habits to healthy eating and exercise, and got to the size 8 I wanted.  After college I maintained my size 8 (sometimes tighter and sometimes looser) for over 6 or 7 years.  It wasn’t until my post-pregnancy body that I had weight issues again. During my pregnancy with my first child I gained over 55 pounds.  It took my over a year to lose that weight, and then I lost 20 more pounds.  I was back in a size 8, and it was loose enough that I was about to get into a size 6 when I started my 2nd pregnancy.  Once again, I gained over 55 pounds.  This is me now.

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My daughter is now almost 10 months old and I have 15 pounds to go until I am back at my last pre-pregnancy weight.  This blog is to document the rest of this weight loss journey, improving my fitness, spending more time with my husband and children, and to accomplishing my next career goal of becoming a certified personal trainer and health coach.  I want to connect with the many women that I know are going through the same or similar struggles and trying to balance it all.