Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
Why My Masters Degree Means Nothing

DIY Homemade Chapstick!

It’s about to get crazy around here, ya’ll.

Crafting.

We’re making chapstick today!

I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am to share today’s post and recipe.

I got an all-natural chapstick in one of my Ipsy’s a few months ago and absolutely loved it. Ever since, I’ve been looking for the best chapstick recipe to make my own.

I found it, and it’s super easy to make. Plus you can get just about everything you need at the grocery store, with the exception of beeswax and the chapstick tubes.

I posted a video of my efforts below, so you can check it out that way, or simply read these super easy step by step instructions.

Oh- and don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom, because I’m giving some tubes away!

So let’s get moving! If you have about 15-20 minutes (seriously- that’s it), you can whip up a batch in no time.

Here’s what you need:

-Double Boiler (I used a regular pot with water as the bottom part, and then a pie tin I got at the dollar store to place over it and make my chapstick)

-Chapstick tubes (purchased on Amazon)

-Medicine Dropper

-1 oz beeswax (purchased on amazon)

-2 TBSP Coconut Oil

-2 TBSP Olive Oil

-4-5 drops essential oils ( no need to get fancy here, I actually just used regular old peppermint extract because it’s all I had on hand)

-Optional: A smudge of lipstick

-Optional: Labels

Ready?

Here’s what you do:

1. Fill a regular pan halfway with water and place on your stove over medium heat.

2.Using a food processor or regular old cheese grater, grate your beeswax and place in your pie tin (or whatever you’re using for the top of your double boiler)

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the tin.

4. Place the tin over your pot and begin slowly stirring constantly until everything is melted, reduce heat to low.

5. Using your medicine dropper, begin “piping” chapsticks into your tubes. Allow 10 minutes to cool.

6. If desired, add some labels to your tubes!

So the labels.

A total fail.

Since this was my first go, I didn’t want to spend the time or money to buy fancy labels and print them off on the computer.

Because, Duh! That would have made way too much sense.

Instead, I just bought regular old labels at the dollar store and handwrote some fun things in pretty markers.

Except… yeah… I didn’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe, the size I got wouldn’t fit chapstick tubes.

Real life.

Since I went to the trouble to handwrite all of them, I still went ahead and used them.

They look classy, ya’ll, real classy.

Except not.

Now that I know what a success this chapstick making was, I am definitely going to print pretty labels next go around.

So there.  Look at you! You just made beautiful chapstick!

This recipe should make between 22-25 tubes, which should last you a super long time. Give some to friends, and family, and enjoy some for yourself too.

I cannot get over how easy it was, and look forward to making another batch soon.

So here’s the fun part. I am giving away five chapsticks on the blog this week. Just comment below in the “share the love” section with your favorite lip product, and I will send the first five people their very own chapstick!

And if you have five minutes and want to see all the stuff I just wrote about, here’s my how to Chapstick video below. smile

Comment below, and check in tomorrow for more fun! <3

Why Sometimes I Eat Thin Mints

Sooo, I wanted today’s post to be all about my first day.

However, when I stopped to think about how overwhelming Monday probably would be, plus the fact it would be my first day battling life as a commuter (which means getting home late), I thought I better play it safe and write this post on Sunday.

So that’s what happened.

I figure I will share some highlights about my first week on Friday!

With that in mind, I didn’t really have anything else planned for this post.

Which means we are both in trouble.

We could talk about how Will is sabotaging me.

Help!

Yes, there’s two in that pic.

Regular people eat one, and save the other one for later.

I’m not regular.

I eat both pretty much back to back.

I disgust myself.

Or we could talk about my own self-sabotage.

For Will… Minus the row if thin mints I ate

Will loves Girl Scout cookies (who doesn’t!?), so I surprised him with four whole boxes last week.

He was very appreciative.

Only… Will is regular (see Reece’s story above). He can open a row of thin mints, eat a few, and stick them back in the freezer.

(Because everyone knows that’s where they belong)

Surprisingly, even though I love all things sweet, the Girl Scout cookies don’t get to me that much.

In fact, we even have a Sam’s size box of Grandma’s Cookies that don’t tempt me much these days either.

Except…

Last Friday Will was out late at a friend’s for poker night. Which meant I was left to my own devices.

Around 10:30, you know, the perfect time to eat 600 calories in one sitting, I decided I would sneak a few of his thin mints.

He had half a row left in the freezer.

Who does that!?

Regular people.

I ate three, and called it good. After all, I had cake for my going away party and also splurged at my mom’s birthday dinner.

Five minutes later I decided, “Oh what the heck, let’s call this a cheat ‘day’,” and ate the rest.

Not regular.

Irregular.

Whatever.

Anyway, as I reflected on the day, I was surprisingly okay with it.

What’s crazy is that a couple of years ago, I would have felt like a total failure.

Like I had to punish myself the following day by eating less and exercising more.

I finally have such a healthy relationship with food and my body, that I’m okay having a “bad” eating day like that every now and then. Mainly because I eat so healthily all the time.

It’s living my life and enjoying the going away parties, birthdays, and even occasional late night snacks that keep me from eating an entire loaf of bread over a weekend (Real life).

Setting my mind on things above instead of earthly things or my past food fixation has helped me immeasurably.

No, I don’t recommend eating two giant Reece’s a day or eating a row of thin mints before bed every night. I’m just saying finding your own balance can go a long way to enjoying your life and still reaching personal goals.

I received two super thoughtful compliments while at the gym this weekend, and it’s not because I spend hours doing cardio or not eating carbs. It’s because I’ve found my healthy balance and no longer obsess over food and exercise. Definitely felt good to realize that this weekend.

Here’s to a healthy recovery week for me, and a healthy week for you! <3

In the Way He Walks (Happy Valentine’s Day)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovelies!

Are you up to your ears in flowers and chocolate?

Or perhaps today is a little more low key, as is such in the B-Love house.

We’ve never been huge Valentine’s Day celebrators. Not to say I don’t enjoy the trinkets the holiday brings, but at the same time, you won’t find us out at dinner tonight with the masses either.

Nonetheless, today is a good reminder of our loved ones. No time like the present to tell them how much they mean to you!

With that in mind, today I want to share a total twist on Valentine’s Day. But hang with me, because I promise (or at least I hope!) we will come back full circle.

Today I want to talk about the green eyed monster, and how it got hold of me recently.

Yes, it’s true.

I even debated sharing today’s post since it’s so raw. And at the mere thought of questioning whether I should share such a soul-baring post, it propelled me all the more to hit “submit.” It’s no use for me to have this blog if I can’t be transparent, yes?

Anyhow, let’s get back that green eyed monster stuff.

The other day I had the opportunity to be around someone (and I apologize in advance for the cliché)on fire for God.

Just being around her was so exciting.

Talk about major girl crush.

Her positivity was electric, her love for others and God even moreso. 

And? And she was humble. 

Her heart is simply beautiful. And let’s not even talk about how super perfect her outfit, hair, and makeup was. No amount of foundation could make a face as flawless as hers.

Does she ever have a bad day?

Insert green eyed monster.

Not that you can really ever justify jealousy (though I’m about to. Ha), but I wasn’t “maliciously jealous” toward her (you know, because now I’m also compartmentalizing types of jealousy).

Rather, I just was more in awe. I totally wanted her heart, her amazing fashion sense, her love for others, her passion, her inner beauty.

As I left my encounter with her, you’d think I’d be feeling all excited and inspired, but the truth was that it left me feeling sort of lousy.

Why can’t my life be perfect like that? Why can’t my relationship with God be that amazing?

Why, why why!?

Sheesh. Talk about attack of the green monster and pity party fairy.

(what’s up with all these silly names to describe negative emotions?… eh, I’m just going to go with it.)

I just felt sort of blah.

I felt like a mess.

All the more I began to stare at the ever deepening lines under my eyes, and the bags to go along with them. My frizzy hair, and ridiculously pale skin.  Ugh, then my messy house. Don’t get me started on that! Then I began to contemplate my heart condition and how I wished to be so bubbly and enthusiastic much like her.

Sigh.

Days passed, when I began to think about the whole thing again.

As I contemplated, I realized instead of looking outward, I really needed to be looking upward.

So much of what I admired about this woman wasn’t necessarily all just her, it was God totally working in her.

You know what’s amazing about that?

He can use all of us.

The people we admire often have characteristics we’re entirely capable of possessing ourselves.

Not only that, but the traits I admired in her were simply extensions of the very traits God himself possess and gives freely to those who seek him.

When I watch others able to give so freely, I realize- I can be a giver too. When I see others show mercy, I realize God can give me a merciful heart too.

These are all things God can mold and make us into for his own glory.

With that said, it’s also important to remember our own uniqueness!

I know we’ve heard it our entire lives, but seriously- we’re unique.

And we’ve been placed on this earth for this very moment in time to fulfill opportunities the Lord placed in advance for us to do.  Okay, I know some of you are probably like, “Hmm… is she drinking the Kool-Aid?” If I’m wrong, I’m wrong (but I’m not smile ), but I’m a firm believer of this truth based on scriptures.

What I’m trying to say is, we’re not all going to be the Donna Reeds or Mrs. Billy Grahams.

I’m me.

I have my own unique story and past and present that can be used as inspiration to point others upward just like this girl did for me.

To put a bow on today’s topic, and come full circle to today’s special day, it’s in remembering our first love that we’re able to show love to others.

To be that light and inspiration others are drawn to. It’s simply a matter of walking in the way HE walks, and not looking at others.

Looking upward, my friends.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the man who held my heart before I even knew his name. <3

He walks

Casting My Pearls Before Swine (Rethinking My Pie)

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Source

Do you feel like you just get busier?

I sure do.

Where does all the time go!?

Ooh, I have an answer for that!

Let’s do elementary school math.

Because that’s sort of the only math I can do.

(um, except the really hard elementary school math, of course).

Oh, and I’m sort of using “math” loosely.

Very loosely…

Visual aid time!

Here’s a pie.

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Source

A calorie-free, vegan one I’m sure.

Let’s pretend it’s our day.

A chunk of it goes to getting ready and out the door every morning, the biggest piece goes to my job, then there’s the running errands, driving home, cooking, extra activities, church, family, friends, and sleep, let’s not forget that.

We all have one pie and limited ways to cut it.

(um, and with all this talk about pie, all I want to do is skip the slicing part and take a fork right to the middle. Good thing this is a virtual pie! smile )

It seems like most of it is gone before we really even have time to think about better ways of slicing.

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How are you going to divide up the slices in your pie this year?

I’m changing the way I am, that’s for sure.

Are you going to make time for those resolutions?

I hope so.

Time is precious. Let’s not forget.

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Source

I mentioned wanting to focus on living a life that honors God each and every day, and I am committed to it (not in my own power, but through Christ’s, thank goodness)

That means my pie is going to look different than in year’s past.

It means more time with people I love, and less time with toxic people.

It means more bang for my buck in the gym, and less time wasting time on ineffective workouts.

It means more time eating healthy meals, and less time feeling sick from over indulging.

For me, it means less time doing things that have little value and investing more time in things that do.

It means less judging and more loving.

Less pride, and more humility.

More time listening, less time chattering.

This life is short, and I have limited slices in my pie.

I don’t want to spend it doing things devoted to selfish ambition and vain conceit. I want to spend it loving others and showing grace. I want to spend it doing things that matter.

We don’t have time for negativity, poisonous people, or faith-killers.

Don’t let people bring you down in meeting your goals this year. Be an encouragement and inspiration to them.

Stay the course, stay focused, and make time in that pie for what’s important.

I doubt you’ll look back years from now and wish you hadn’t.

How are you going to manage your pie this year?

Pearls to

Beating the January Blues

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Well my friends, it’s January 2nd.

The vacation days are done, the gatherings are over, and the decorations are put up (um or about to be).

It’s official, I have a case of the January Blues.

I experience this every year, and perhaps you do a little too? The days are short, the anticipation of Christmas and New Years is a whole year away, it’s cold as crap,no OU football, and no major holiday in sight.

Sigh…

Will and I spent a good portion of yesterday totally relaxing and being lazy, and gearing up for the work day ahead. We also talked about the January Blues and the importance of staying focused and having things to look forward to during the morose winter months.

I think that’s key in getting over the January Blues. Having things to look forward to, even if t’s something as small as having a weekly date with yourself, friends, or significant other.

We took a look at our calendars and planned a few days off- even ones way late in the year. We also talked about a vacation this year, which has me upbeat too! We decided to postpone my 30th birthday trip to this year instead of last year, and I really need to buckle down and decide what the heck we’re going to do!

Definitely something to get excited about.

Another way I get through the January Blues is keeping consistent.

And I don’t mean consistently keeping the blues. smile

I mean, sticking to your usual routine (assuming it’s a healthy one!). These cold winter days can make it hard to get up in the mornings.

Um, warm bed or frigid cold car on the way to the gym?

See what I mean?

Getting up is the entire battle, but once I do, I’m glad I did.

Keeping consistent with my usual workout regimen goes a long way to keeping me focused on my ongoing goals. Consistency is key!

Finally, I keep my mind on what’s important.

Prayer, positive messages, and scripture, are such valuable tools in helping to beat January blues. Psalms offer praise, and are a great place to start. I find in being positive and counting blessings I have more joy during these January days.

I like to keep short one page devotional and inspirational message books in my desk to keep me grounded throughout the day. Taking 15 seconds to read verses can go a long way in making the next 8 hours easier.

So that’s my plan of action. What do you do to beat the January Blues?

to put up the tree, or not put up the tree? that is YOUR question

Vote!

It’s that time again, the time of year where Will and I debate whether or not to put up the Christmas tree.

Sure other decorations go up, like the easy ones, but the tree is a different story.

We did some quick math, and I think out of the five years we’ve lived here, we’ve only put it up twice.

Disgraceful.

But hey- you remember why we don’t, right?

To spare ourselves World War Three.

(Yeah, yeah, I know you think I’m a total Grinch and don’t believe in Christmas after hearing the above. Get your panties out of a wad and take 5 minutes to read the linked post above. It makes perfect sense, right? smile )

It’s all about knowing trigger points and running in the completely opposite direction.

Exactly.

Only this year?

This year I think we’re going to get a little lofty and bring the tree down.

I mean, we’re going on nearly 10 years of marriage. Surely we can handle Christmas tree take-down, right?

Um…

Mark your calendars on January 1st 2014, because it’s gonna get crazy ya’ll.

I had hoped when I got home this past weekend Will might have surprised me and put the tree up while I was away.

But he didn’t.

He said he thought about it, but worried if he did and hurt his back no one would be there to hear his cries for help, which may leave him rendered helpless.

Although he does have a bad back, I still call this an excuse. smile

But I admire his efforts.

Bless his little heart.

I like the idea of having the tree up (um, because it’s Christmas) but since we don’t really do a lot of celebrating at our own house and are with others, I’ve been okay with leaving it down in the past too.

Plus, I believe Christmas is such a heart thing, too.

Which I suppose is another reason I keep going back to putting the tree up since it’s a good reminder?

Seriously, guys. It’s Christmas! We need a tree, right?

Ugh, but I hate ugly Christmas tree dis-assembly arguments!

But it doesn’t have to be that way, right?

Who am I kidding.

The second we get to that pesky second part of the tree that ALWAYS sticks and is so heavy and hard to manage, we each have a stroke.

But hey, it’s been a couple years and now I’m 30 and waaaay more mature. I can do this.

(ahahahahaha)

So you see the back and forth in my mind, right?

For that reason, I’m placing this matter in YOUR capable hands.

Do you have faith we can put the tree up and take it down peacefully?

I mean, in theory we should be able to, right?

I like to think so.

So this year?

I’m leaving it to a vote.

Yep, this is actually happening.

Vote below to weigh in on whether or not we should put up the tree.

You have until Saturday at 3pm CST to cast your vote, since we’ll be putting it up later that day.

(Depending on how you vote, of course!)

So help me out and weigh in here!

Either way? I think I’m okay.

Do I want the tree up?

Yes (um, don’t let that sway you. My professors would officially call this survey flawed).

Am I fine if it’s not?

Yes.

So there you have it, it’s up to you.

So go vote!

Click here to take survey

Ward off Wiry Brows

I don’t talk about beauty much on this blog, but I thought it might be fun to change it up a bit today.
 
Today’s post seems like a relevant topic to share, as I admittedly underestimated the value of filling in my eyebrows until  a couple years ago.
 
Don’t underestimate the value of filling in your eyebrows.
 
I’m serious.
 
In fact, I will absolutely not leave the house unless my brows are done.

Even if I’m just going to Walmart.
 
Yeah, yeah. I’m sure you think I’m weird.
 
It’s because I am.
 
But seriously- fill in those scraggly things.
 
Unless of course you are one of the lucky ones with naturally full and beautiful brows,
 
Which I am not.
 
I have darkish blonde eyebrows. They don’t grow very well, they are thin, and even a little patchy.
 
Awesome.
 
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 They really thin out at the ends, even when I haven’t had them waxed in awhile.
 
In short?
 
I have wimpy brows.
 
My sister bought me the Benefit Brow Kit a few years ago, but I never really used it.
 
She was one of the ones who swore it was a necessary makeup staple, never leaving the house without nice brows herself.
 
I just didn’t see the value. I didn’t see how it could make much of a difference.
 
Which is silly talk.
 
Because anyone with eyes can SEE the value.
 
But we will get to that soon enough.
 
Anyway, I went to visit P in Chicago one weekend and brought it along with me. It was for her big 21st birthday extravaganza, so I figured I would dress up more than usual. She talked me into trying the brow kit, and I did.
 
And I felt totally weird.
 
They seemed so dark,

so filled in,

so different.
 
I wasn’t sure I liked it, to be honest.
 
But then we took pictures that night, and I looked so much better in them!

My eyes stood out more and my makeup looked much more polished, with this one small change.
 
And then after I took my makeup off, I was much more aware of just how wiry my brows really where!

 
I’ve been walking around with naked brows for nearly three decades. Ack!

 
So, from that point forward I started filling them in, and now I acknowledge the difference it makes in my overall appearance. Plus it definitely makes my eyes stand out even more.
 
It a small change that makes a big difference!
 
And the best part of all? It’s a super easy thing to add to my regimen each morning.
 
Most of the time these days, I like to do the following:
 
I take a light brown matte eyeshadow (make sure it’s not too dark, and definitely make sure it’s not sparkly or you might look like Tinkerbell, which I suppose is not all bad, but probably not work appropriate),
 
and use my angle brush to gently fill in my brows with the eyeshadow.
 

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It takes a whole 15 seconds, maybe even less!
 
However the results are definitely noticeable.
 
Here are my normal, scraggly eyebrows,
 
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Here I am with my right eyebrow done. Yikes! My left side is noticeably patchier.

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Finally, the finished product.

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Seriously- we have time to do this… so do it!

Give it a shot for a few days and see what you think. You might just be surprised by how much this one step completes your entire look. Not only that, but your eyes, pops with this one simple trick!

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More to come! Friday favorites tomorrow!

making you feel better, one confession at a time

I cannot stay away from the banana bites.

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I find them far too convenient to make.

And eat.

Don’t do it.

Actually, do it.

Just put a lock on the fridge.

And give me the combo. I’ll keep them safe.

Lately I have been over office chit chat.

I realize it can be an important tool and helpful in the workplace- yes, I get that, so please don’t tell me.

However, lately… I’ve just been over it.

In fact, I am ashamed to admit this but I was so busy last week that I used my desk phone to call my cell phone and faked a conversation with “someone” about work stuff so I could keep working on my computer and not deal with someone that wanted to shoot the breeze.

True story.

But, in my defense (a little at least), I saw a study last week that said most water cooler conversations can last as many as 26 minutes per exchange.

Who has time for that!?

Oh, and incase you’re wondering?

Me and my cell phone pal were a hoot. I love that girl, and she is so helpful! wink

The Pumpkin Mask

So remember our last Ipsy review? 

I got a Michael Todd pumpkin rich face mask.

Mask

Well, I just got around to using it last weekend, and yeah.

It’s like smearing mashed Thanksgiving all over your freaking face.

It was amazing.

And weird all at the same time.

I couldn’t decide if I should mosey on into the kitchen and whip up some mashed sweet potatoes and pumpkin muffins,

or just eat the mask.

I disgust myself.

I may or may not have used my husbands face scrub.

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Twice this week.

But probably not.

Because what girl goes that!?

Exactly.

Totally unladylike. And totally un-30.

I mean the stuff even says PRE SHAVE.

Forget that it is cheaper than your girly scrubs,

Or that it smells totally perfect,

Or that the scrubbieness is like an awakening massage each morning, kissing your little cheekies with each stroke.

It’s for boys.

So I totally didn’t use it… Today.

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Okay, that’s enough sharing for today. I think I’ve done an adequate job of making you all feel a little better about yourselves.

So carry on.

But before you do? Share your own confession in the Share The Love box below!

Work it Out Wednesday: Cooking up a Flatter Tummy

Wiow

Today we’re cooking up something wonderful in the kitchen!

Unlike most of the stuff I share on this blog, this recipe take a quite a bit of time and care-

But the end result is so worth it!

Today we’re whipping up a nice set of abdominals.

That’s right!

I know what you may be thinking- why is Brittny in the kitchen “whipping up” abs?

Well, let me tell you!

Nice abdominals are predominately made in the kitchen.

You can add in a heaping spoonful of cardio, and a cup of resistance training, and a good sploshing of rest and stress reduction (which are all SO important too, by the way), but the whole recipe for success comes together in the kitchen.

Obviously there are exceptions to rules (you know, the people that can eat a four donuts each day and still look amazing), and we’re not talking about those because, well, they’re exceptions!

Putting the exceptions aside, we simply can’t have a nice mid-section if we’re not feeding ourselves the right foods.

We can do 500 crunches a day, but it’s not going to do a whole lot if we’re washing that workout down with a huge coke or burger.

Sure, the muscles behind the fat might be there… but you have to swim through that fat to feel them.

We’re not talking about developing the abs by performing core strengthening exercises (we’ll talk about that soon!).

Today we’re talking about how to actually see all that hard work once you’ve got some muscle down there!

As mentioned above, the recipe for rocking a nice flattened stomach you’ve worked hard for has a variety of components like sleep, minimizing stress, and (duh!) working out. However seeing those abs depend on what you’re pounding down your throat.

And it better not be French fries and utter crap!

Each body is different. What works for me, may not work for P or Will.

However, there are a few fundamentals that will help create that an abtastic recipe for success!

-Minimize sugars

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source: Lifeline Skin Care

We already know this, so let’s just do it already.

Besides, you really are sweet. smile <3

If we can’t keep it in the house responsibly, get it out of the house.

Get rid of the sugar!

It is not only linked to a ton of health problems, but is not going to get you the tummy you’re looking for.

Read labels, see what you’re putting in your body, and also look for hidden sugar names like corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, or sucrose (um yeah, it’s hiding everywhere!).

Minimize sodium
Salt
This is another big one. Sodium can easily derail a nice midsection by causing belly bloat. Yuck. 

We could get all science-y about this, but um- I’m pretty we’ve all felt like we’re carrying around kangaroo pouch full of triples after consuming too much sodium.

So yeah, no need to elaborate.

-Minimize processed foods & junk food

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I sound like a broken record.

WE KNOW THIS.

So just freaking do it already.

Eat as much real, whole food as possible.

Processed foods often have hidden sodium and sugar which cause belly bloat. Not only that, but trans fats? We’ve talked about these before. They are bad news.

As for processed foods, I get into trouble with this when I eat fake meat. At the same time, though, these meat substitutes provide excellent protein. Um, not to mention freaking delicious.

Hello!? Gardein?

Obviously we have to live our lives, but cut it out as much as you can.

-Hydrate

Drink water.

Dump that huge 44 oz Styrofoam behemoth of soda- be it diet OR regular- and fill it up with water.

Too boring for you?

Pretty it up with lemon wedges, fresh mint, berries, something, anything- just stop drinking crap!

I would say that also includes juices too. Fresh juice is definitely healthy in moderation (I love my green monsters each morning!), but stop buying junk with sugar in it and drinking a huge glass a day.

Water helps remove toxins from your body and purifies. We like that.

Water. Drink. Good. Yes.

And hey, while you’re at it, also fill up on water packed, high volume-low calorie veggies like celery or cucumbers!

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-Watch carbs
This is an important one. Watch your carbs if you’re looking to lean out.

I am the QUEEN of carbs, especially since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

The nice thing is that I added them in slowly, and my body has adjusted to the percentage of carbs I eat daily. Albeit “healthy” and slow digesting carbs, they are still carbs.

And I love them.

However, if I’m looking to lean out a little, I slowly start eliminating some of those carbs from my diet.

That?

What I just said above?

Is what I need to do now.

It’s hard for me though. I feel happier and like I operate at more of an optimum at a certain carb threshold (which is a high number smile), but at the same time I start looking soft, which I don’t like either.

Ugh… Such a quandary!

So, my plan is to reduce my carbs by 15 grams this week and up my protein by the same amount in hopes that will make a difference. If not? I will reduce a tiny bit more next week.

In the past I would have slashed carbs, but not anymore. I have really focused on being more intuitive to my needs and making small tweaks instead of ridiculous overhauls- which is also so much easier to attain in terms of a long term lifestyle.

So you know, instead of my usual morning banana, I’ll just stick with half, or better yet, substitute berries instead. In fact, that’s what I bought this week!

I will still have oats in the morning. I refuse to give them up for breakfast!

image

Instead of quinoa with my salad at lunch, I’ll just have a big, veggie packed salad with marinated tofu.

image

Our bodies need carbs.  However, also be mindful of how many grams of carbs you are eating in a day and consider slightly lowering the grams, or shifting around when you eat them.

Again, what works for me may not work for P, since I likely eat more carbs than she does right now, so I’m not going to say eat “x” amount of carbs each day. Um, plus I’m not a nutritionist. smile

Bring it all together

Those are some of the biggies when it comes to achieving a flatter tummy. As mentioned earlier, sleep, stress reduction, and exercise are all important too, but I would venture to say a “clean” diet is absolutely a must. 

Bottom line, if you want a flatter tummy, it starts in the kitchen.

So you know the carb part is what kills me, but what is tough for you? Any ideas how to improve?

Here’s to a healthy and blessed day! More to come!

Work it Out Wednesday: Why You’re Not Losing Weight

So you’ve been eating clean and exercising for weeks, or even months , and things seem to be going great.  You are losing weight and getting closer to your goal.

However, all of a sudden you stall.

You just stop losing weight.

The frustration of disappointing weigh-ins can do a number on your momentum and future progress.

It is enough to almost drive you crazy!

For that reason, it’s important to get to the route of possible issues and work to address them and get back on track!

Today I want to take a look at some of the possible causes.

This is not a comprehensive list (and obvs, I’m not a doctor), so don’t get your panties in a wad if there are more out there… because there are.

With that said, let’s take a look!

1. You’re eating too much.

Peanut butter dribble.

Yes, that’s me with peanut butter dribbling down my shirt.

Not my best moment.

I realize the concept of “eating too much” as a weight loss killer may seem like a no brainer to most, but the truth is, it is definitely a possible reason you’ve stalled out.

It can be easy to eat copious amounts of “healthy foods” (um, natural peanut butter) under the guise of trying to do the right thing and lose weight, however a lot of healthy foods can also be full of calories and fat.

While healthy for you in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, if you’re not careful you might just be eating too much and sabotaging your goals.

So I have a great example.

A couple of months ago I was at a meeting in which a cute girl, embarking on her own health and weight loss journey, opened up a huge bag of dried banana chips and began to share them with the group.

She asked if I wanted some, and I passed, joking, “There’s no way I can be responsible with those. I would start out eating a few and before I know it I would have eaten ten bananas without even thinking!”

Her eyes got huge and she looked at me, as if realization hit her and she wanted to say, “holy crap, I’ve totally done that!”

But the truth is, this story is a perfect example of eating too much, even if it is healthy food.

Things like banana chips (among many, MANY others :cough: peanut butter) seem healthy, but it is so easy to eat more than a serving in one sitting and those sugars and calories can add up fast.

You don’t even realize it sometimes, especially if you’re eating something “healthy” right out of the bag.

For that reason, I definitely like to rely on food trackers to help meet my daily nutrition goals.

They may not be for everyone, but they are definitely for me, and they may be a great fit for you too. They can really help highlight areas where you may be eating too much, and can help to easily correct the problem and get you back on track. They also help keep track of macronutrients to make sure you’re getting a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat.

2. You’re not eating enough

On the flip side, sometimes you are just not eating enough.

I realize that may seem totally ridiculous, considering less food should mean less weight, however that is not entirely true.

Obviously ever body is unique, however overall if you are not eating enough, eventually your body lets you know.

Your body begins to have an internal teenage girl freak out session, flailing arms and everything- think bad high school breakup. It then tries to hold onto the energy (i.e. fat) it needs to keep functioning .

So here’s the deal.  When you deny your body what it needs for an extended period, it tends to think it’s in starvation, war, famine mode. As a result, it clings onto everything it can to store it away.

Not eating enough can slow your thyroid- which we can thank for keeping our metabolism in check.

It can also decrease your muscle mass (which helps to burn calories!), and decrease leptin (which regulates hunger) and energy levels.

Bottom line, at some point, weight loss may stall because you’re not eating enough.

Like with overeating, apps such as LoseIt or My Fitness Pal are great tools to help you see where you might be missing the mark, and can help achieve healthy fitness goals.

You may be shocked with how little you are eating once you start tracking your calories.

Do not be afraid to eat!

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3. You’re not getting enough rest

This is an important one that gets overlooked so often in our society.

Rest.

To turn off the technology for awhile and just take care of yourself.

One misconception of working out is that everything happens while you’re at the gym.

And that is not all true.

So much about your body changing also has to do with the rest you are giving it.

If you are trying to burn fat and build muscle- so much of that happens outside of the gym.

Your body repairs itself and gets stronger during periods of rest. Heck that’s why I take two days off from lifting during the week as well as a whole week off from lifting every 12 weeks.

I’ve seen the best results from getting enough sleep and resting. It’s just that important. You can burn out and overdo it (i.e. injure yourself) if you are not resting.

Your body will fight back, and there are so many concerns these days about adrenals being out of whack from doing things just like going full bore without rest (among other things).

Your body cannot properly change if you are not giving it time to rest. Sleep has to be a priority, too.

While we are on the topic of chilling out and getting enough rest-

Stress is a major prohibitor to fat loss

This one isn’t a surprise. There’s lots of research that suggests stress triggers cortisol production, the flight or fight hormone, which can cause excess belly fat.

Boo.

It’s hard enough to keep our tummies trim as it is- but we have to battle stress too!?

Yikes.

Plus let’s not even get into the whole discussion for how it can wreak havoc on your heart and immune system.

Stress is bad news, and by now even health novices know it.

From major events like the death of a loved one, to day to day, “Just freaking get in the car and stop hitting your sister!” madness, stress takes a toll and can definitely weigh heavily on your stalling fat loss (pun intended!).

The key to harnessing that stress and getting back on track is easy: just eliminate the stress.

(HA!)

If only, right? Heck, we’d all be bikini models.

Okay, okay, the lives we lead today make it hard to unwind, it is really important to de-stress as much as possible.

In my own life, I’ve found emphasizing the component above this one (REST) to be one major way I have been able to manage stress better in my own life.

We all also know exercising helps with stress, and I can definitely attest to its benefits.

Smart eating helps too.

When my body is less stressed internally trying to manage crap I eat, I just feel worse. Whereas when I’m giving it good foods it functions as a much better machine, keeping me alert and focused and more equipped to handle the daily challenge.

And prayer.

Let’s not leave out the importance of a spiritual life. “Cast all your cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you.”

So very true. I have found giving my worries over to the Lord to deal with helps so much. I often try to take them back, so it’s important to leave them be and in much more capable hands.

The hectic nature of our lives may never change, and we may have some super huge things going on, however if we can take a few steps to focus on managing that stress, getting on track can be easier.

Your exercise intensity stinks

Sometimes I get complacent with my workouts.

I know I could probably most definitely be pushing myself harder, but I don’t.

If you’re trying to lose weight and have this same mentality, chances are you might have experienced a stall out.

It’s important to change it up and keep things fresh. You wouldn’t wear the same clothes you did 15 years ago, so why would you think doing the exact.same.workout for days and weeks on end would give you different results?

If you’ve do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.

Basically, if you’re doing the same thing over and over and not getting results?

Chances are you need to make a change.

Try something new.

Incorporate some circuit training, add weights into the mix, add high intensity cardio.

Challenge yourself in a new way. Heck, simply add freaking intervals to the workouts you’re doing now and it will make a difference.

Bottom line, you may need to turn up the heat and add some intensity to what you’re doing.

Hormones
It may also be time to talk to a doctor.

There are a multitude of conditions that can cause the onset of weight gain, such as thyroid issues, and it is important to discuss possible concerns with a doctor.

The more I read and do my own research, the more I understand the hugeness our hormones play in the roll of weight loss. They help us to succeed, but they can also be a cause of stall outs.  This could possibly be something to consider for weight loss stalls.

So there you are, my friends. Again, these are just some highlights. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section. If you are on a weight loss journey of your own, I wish you continued success- and most of all, health.

More to come. I share my day with Layla tomorrow!

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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