Health, Uncategorized

My Health and Wellness Journey

It all started about two years ago when I noticed a friend of mine on Facebook was talking about her weight loss journey. I had seen her before and after pictures and like me, she had gained extra weight during her pregnancies. She also stays at home with her children like I do so I wanted to know what her secret was and how she was able to do it with littles running around all of the time. When I contacted her she told me that she was a coach for a company called Beachbody. I had heard about Beachbody before and I was in the market for a new workout program because my trips to the gym were far and few with 3 littles at home, so this seemed like the perfect time to try out an at-home program. I was intrigued by the 21 Day Fix program and after doing my research and talking with my new coach I talked myself and my husband into trying it. After 3 weeks I had not lost a single pound! Drew on the other hand had lost 14 pounds! I do have to mention that I was pregnant at the time so I wasn’t too sad about not losing anything, I was just happy that I hadn’t gained anything. So after the 21 day program was over, Drew and I continued to eat as healthy as we could. But just like hundreds of thousands of others out there, we fell off of the band wagon and went back to our old habits. I used excuses like I was tired because I was pregnant and chasing 2 toddlers, or said I didn’t have the time to meal plan, or we didn’t have the money to eat healthy and organic. I used these excuses for the rest of my pregnancy until about 6 months postpartum. I decided I was going to take control again and repeat the 21 Day Fix. I liked this program specifically because I felt like it taught me tools for successful and healthy weight loss like portion control and the proper foods to eat to fuel my body…more like a true lifestyle change and less like a fad diet. It didn’t feel too restrictive for me. I started the 21 Day Fix but within 2 weeks I started having a Psoriatic Arthritis flare up. I made an appointment to go see my rheumatologist but in the meantime I was not able to workout at all. I again starting making excuses. Since I couldn’t work out there was no reason to keep eating healthy right?! So again, I fell off of the wagon.

Then I went to Texas in June to visit my best friend for my 30th birthday. I had the time of my life, I always do with Kaylee. Although I had an amazing time, this was the first time I had caught myself acting self conscious around her. I was nervous for her to see me in my swimming suit when we went to the spa, I was embarrassed by the way my clothes fit me, and I felt awful when she saw the size of clothes I was now wearing. When I got back home I was showing my husband all of the photos Kaylee and I had taken on my trip. And that’s when it hit me. I needed to change. I couldn’t believe the person staring back at me in those photos was me! I was 35-40 pounds overweight and wasn’t myself. I was tired all the time and had no energy to play with my kids, none of my clothes fit and I no longer cared about my physical appearance, and my physical ailments were spiraling out of control. I knew then and there that this time had to be different. I wanted to reach my goal weight and I wanted to feel healthy again. This time I wanted it more than ever.

I started researching different diets and eating programs: Weight Watchers, Keto, South Beach, Arbonne, and Beachbody were some of the ones I looked in to. I’m not very good at diets that require you to cut out whole food groups or are too restrictive because I can’t maintain them long term and I fall back into my old eating patterns. That right there is why I chose Beachbody. I was allowed to eat from all of the food groups, and I was allowed to treat myself when I needed to. I felt like this was something I could stick to long term so I dove right in. I starting counting my calories (which is basically what Beachbody does with the portion containers) and made sure to be eating 1,250 calories a day (not just any 1,250 calories but calories from whole foods). I also replaced one of my meals with Shakeology. It was one less meal I had to plan for at the beginning of the week while doing my meal prep and it ensured that I was getting all of the nutrients I needed. I used the MyFitnessPal app to track my calories and I entered in my workouts so I could adjust my calories accordingly. The first 4 months I did this I lost 17 pounds. 17 pounds! I would go to MOPS events or hang out with friends and LITERALLY everywhere I would go I would get compliments on the weight that I had lost and how good I was looking. I was beaming.

After I felt like I had my nutrition down I wanted to dive in to the fitness portion of getting my health under control. I was on medication for my arthritis and physically able to workout again so I asked my coach which program she would recommend and she told me about a new program that was coming out called LIIFT4.  I was super excited for this program because there was very little cardio in it, it was all weight lifting. I signed up for the challenge, committed to spending the money I needed for some energize (to help me on those mornings where motivation and energy were low) and Shakeology (to fuel my body and give it what it needed after such an intense workout), and bought all of the equipment that I needed for the program. I took my before pictures, my weight, and my measurements. I was ready. And let me tell you, I kicked LIIFT4s’ butt. I lost serious inches, got down to a much more manageable weight, and became physically stronger as well as mentally stronger. I took my after pictures and sent them to my closest friends and family because I couldn’t believe the difference my body made in just 8 weeks.

It has been about a month and a half since my challenge ended and I have started LIIFT 4 again and hope to get some awesome results this time too. I am also starting and running a challenge group on Monday for a new cardio step workout called Transform 20 featuring the infamous Shaun T and I start a 3-Day Refresh cleanse tomorrow  that goes through to Friday. These are just a few of the things I am doing to take control of my health. I am so happy that I dove in head first and finally became committed to changing my body and my lifestyle. Not only have I achieved these things, I have also gained a really awesome Beachbody family and support system and now have the privilege to coach someone and hopefully change their story like I changed mine.

Taking control of your health and losing weight is hard work ya’ll. But it’s possible.

xo

~Samantha

Health, Uncategorized

Becoming a Beachbody Coach!!

It’s official! After a year of doing Beachbody consistently and seeing some amazing results, I have decided to embark on a new journey to be a Beachbody health and wellness coach! I wanted to let you all know how committed I am to being successful and to helping my clients be successful.

It is the beginning of the year and I know tons of you out there have health and wellness goals that you’re trying to reach in 2019 and I would love to help. Most people fail to carry out their New Year resolutions because they fail to plan. They have these amazing goals and dreams but fail to take the necessary steps to ensure that those dreams become a reality. I can help with that! I can help you set realistic goals, help you stick to them, and hold you accountable to them.

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On Wednesday I will sharing my testimony so stay tuned for that and please let me know if you have any questions or would like to be a part of my new venture!

xo

~Samantha

*If you would like more information about Beachbody and my coaching business, you can click here or contact me using the “Contact” page on this blog*

Faith, Finances, Health, Mom Life, Uncategorized

New Years Resolutions-2019

Happy Friday everyone!! I know I have been MIA for a while but I wanted to share my New Years Resolutions with you guys. I plan on being more present on this blog in the new year and I also have some other really awesome goals for the year that I thought it would be fun to share, so let’s go!

Every year I choose a word to live by for those 365 days. Last year it was present. I wanted to be present and live more in each moment. I didn’t take as many pictures of life’s big events last year because I tried to not have my phone in hand all of the time. At first I was sad that I missed photo ops but then I realized that instead of focusing on those pictures and living through them, I was present in the moment and enjoying the experience right then and there. So with that being said, this year I decided to choose the word: Intentional.

By definition, intentional means “done with intention, or on purpose; intended.” I really want to focus on my goals and dreams this coming year and I think the best was to do that is to be intentional. When I being purposeful with my time and energy, I allow myself to succeed in the areas that are most important to me.

Here are the key areas I want to focus on in 2019 and some of the steps I need to take to make these goals and dreams a reality. I have a more step by step and in-depth guide for myself but I just wanted to share the basics with you today:)

Health and Wellness

  • Hit goal weight of 120 lbs
    • Drink half my weight in water
    • Follow the 85/15 rule
    • Supplements-vitamins, Energize, Shakeology, collagen, Greens Boost etc.
  • Get thyroid levels normal
    • See an endocrinologist
    • Take meds EVERY day
  • Exercise 5 times a week
    • Plan my workouts each Sunday so I can be prepared for the week
    • Set up garage to be functional for working out
    • Join or run challenge groups to help hold me accountable
  • Bedtime at 9:00pm
    • Stick to a day time schedule and limit screen time
    • Create a bedtime routine so my body recognizes that it is getting close to bedtime-see attached routine
  • Wakeup 5:00am and have a morning routine
    • Move phone across the room to help get me out of bed
    • Have workout clothes ready and weights set out and ready
    • See attached morning routine
  • Meal planning and grocery shopping on Saturdays
    • Sign up for the e-meals subscription to help me plan healthy and nutritious meals

Financial

  • Pay off camper
    • Create payment schedule and stick to it
  • Don’t touch savings account (except for emergencies)
  • Take the family on a vacation (this year or next year?)
    • Disneyland!!!!!
  • Budget monthly
    • Use Quicken to help estimate monthly expenses and see where we can trim spending
  • Keep track of expenses in Quicken ALL YEAR so we can see our spending habits and better plan next year
  • Set up savings account for Christmas
    • This is always were we rack up debt at the end of the year so by setting a little money aside monthly, we will have enough at Christmas and won’t have to use a credit card or savings
  • Host craft/sign parties to bring in extra income
  • Work my Beachbody business for extra income

Family Life

  • Create a daily routine for the kiddos and stick with it
    • See attached daily routine
  • Less screen time for EVERYONE
    • If kids are up, phones need to be put away
  • Outside play daily (if weather permits)
  • Monthly date nights with Drew
    • Schedule at the beginning of the month
  • More one on one dates with the kiddos (maybe rotate every month)

Faith

  • Daily worship with the kiddos
    • Bible stories
    • Music
    • Service
  • Bible in a year on Bible App
    • Invite a few friends to do it with me to hold us all accountable
  • Bible study/First 5 every morning
  • Daily prayer time
  • Start attending church every Sunday
  • Get baptized!

Professional 

  • Regular blog posts 3 times a week
    • Write them and schedule them in advance so I’m always ahead and never behind
  • Develop better photography skills for blog
    • Make setting aside time to learn this a priority!!!!
  • Start my Beachbody business and bring in an income!!!
    • Hustle hard
    • Don’t let fear guide me: “Fear, he is a liar.
      He will take your breath
      Stop you in your steps
      Fear he is a liar
      He will rob your rest
      Steal your happiness
      Cast your fear in the fire
      ‘Cause fear he is a liar” – Zach Williams
    • Create a greater presence on social media

ME

  • Read daily
  • Focus on self confidence through my physical appearance, my faith, and in going outside of my comfort zone….that’s how you grow!
  • Take classes or learn a new skill that I’ve always wanted to learn
  • Strengthen those friendships that I would like to grow
  • Host more events at our house
    • Game nights
    • Movie nights

 

So there it is! That’s a lot to do in a year but I am ready for the challenge! I’d love to hear some of your New Year’s resolutions, so comment below!

xo

~Samantha

Health, Uncategorized

Living with an Autoimmune Disease

I have had an autoimmune disease since I was two years old. Back then I was diagnosed with JRA-Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis. I don’t specifically remember that time in my life but my parents remember it well. Lots of doctor’s appointments, lots of testing, and lots of tears from my mom. She tells me that potty training me was hard because I had trouble walking by myself…especially in the early mornings when my joints were particularly stiff so she had to be on top of it and carry me every time I needed to go to the bathroom. After a few months my mom finally got some answers and I was put on a medicine called Naprosyn which is an NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and used to treat arthritis along with other auto-immune diseases. I also had physical therapy that my parents would do with me which included playing with silly putty and my mom says she gave me a lot of baths to help with the muscle stiffness and aches. My flare lasted about 5 months and I went in to remission once the medication kicked into effect.

Before I go any further, I wanted to share a link where you can read a little bit more about autoimmune diseases so that you can better understand them. Examples of autoimmune diseases that you have probably heard of include:

  • arthritis
  • lupus
  • multiple sclerosis
  • psoriasis
  • type 1 diabetes
  • Hashimoto’s thyroid disease

Hopefully that link was helpful and gave you a little bit of insight as to what autoimmune diseases entail and the pain they can cause.

Throughout my adolescent years I experienced infrequent mild pain. Mostly when the weather changed or when I was involved in vigorous activity like a weekend long softball tournament. My parents warned against certain activities like soccer since running is such a high impact activity so I tried to stay away from things like that. Other than that, I was able to me a normal kid and a normal teenager.

Fast forward to when I was about 23 years old. I don’t really remember how the flare started but I remember everything else pretty vividly. You know when you jam a finger and you get that tinge of pain when you try to bend it at all? Yeah, that’s what my knees felt like anytime I tried to move them. I remember trying to use crutches to help me walk better and on a particularly bad day I even had to call my mom to come over and help me get dressed for the day. On the Western Slope of Colorado there aren’t very many specialty doctors and my options were limited as far as rheumatologists. I decided on a doctor that was in my home town and went to visit to get some answers. After a few blood draws and appointments, the rheumatologist diagnosed me with lupus. I didn’t have all of the symptoms but she was confident that I had enough of them to diagnose me. She put me on a prescription for prednisone and methotrexate and I took those daily for 6 months. Although these medications helped my joint issues, they caused a heap of other problems. The side effects I experienced included swelling, weight gain, hair loss, mood swings, and pretty major depression. I cried every day for the entire time I was on the meds and one day I just decided that it wasn’t worth it anymore. I wanted to feel like my old self again, even if it meant having joint pain. When I finally had weaned myself off of the meds, I was so relieved to find out that I was no longer in a flare but was in remission.

I began to exercise and workout regularly to try to lose the weight and get back to my normal self and I succeeded. I got married, switched jobs a few times and had 3 kids all without any flares or joint problems. In the meantime I wasn’t happy with my original rheumatologist because I didn’t feel like she had given me very many options for medications nor discussed the side effects of the medications she prescribed me. She gave me a very scary diagnosis and I felt like she had left me hanging with no support. I had heard that a new rheumatologist had moved to the town that I currently live in so I set up an appointment to establish her as my new rheumatologist. I made yearly visits to her to build a relationship should anything go wrong in the future. At those visits we went over my previous doctors notes and drew more blood to run some more tests. My new doctor decided that she was going to re-diagnose me with rheumatoid arthritis. I had a few factors that made me appear that I had lupus but one big factor, my ANA, came back negative. I also didn’t have the face rashes, mouth sores, or nose sores that accompany most people with lupus. So with my new diagnosis I tried to stay healthy and active and continue to live my life!

I was in remission for 7 years and then the disease hit me again. I was about to turn 30 and life was going perfectly. I had started a new workout program to help lose the last of my baby weight and I remember one day telling my husband that I was sore. And not in a typical after workout sore but I told him I could feel a flare coming on. I was scared for what would happen and I knew that my mental attitude could not be where it was last time because I had kids now and they needed their mom to be happy and healthy. So sure enough, the flare progressed. I wasn’t able to play on a volleyball league that I finally had got invited to, I wasn’t able to participate in several activities with my MOPS friends like our annual night hike, and I couldn’t go to the gym or do any sort of physical activity, including running around with my kids. I also had a hard time carrying my newborn around and taking Cason to and from school. A few times I had to call my parents and ask them to come over and get Cason and take him to school because I just couldn’t do it. When I did take Cason to school I left Kinsley and Kellan in the car because lifting them out and carrying the carseat was impossible…and the other moms gave me dirty looks and judged me for leaving my kids in the car.

I was scared of medication so when I went to my rheumatologist to get help I decided against the Plaquenil that she recommended. I tried using CBD oil, cannabis salves, essential oils, ibuprofen, and changing my eating habits. It has now been about 6 months in this flare and last week I decided to visit my rheumy again. After discussing my current issues with my rheumatologist, she felt like she needed to change my diagnosis again and has changed it to Psoriatic Arthritis. I have a few specific joints that flare up and swell that she said is symptomatic of Psoriatic Arthritis. Usually those with PA also have Psoriasis, which I don’t have, but my doctor warned me that future flares could bring that on. I told her I was ready to take the medication but that I wanted to know all of the potential side effects that I could be facing. Loss of vision, hair loss, weight gain/loss, mood swings, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, and skin rashes were among those side effects. Everyday that I am not in remission, is another day that my body is fighting itself and eating away at my joints. I have done my due diligence and now I just have to pray that I will have little to no side effects.

I have been on the medication for about a week and so far I’ve had a few headaches but thankfully nothing else. I have also joined several support groups on Facebook for people living with RA and those taking Plaquenil. I am hoping that the Plaquenil kicks in soon so I can be the mom I was before my flare. The mom who could run around and play football with Cason, play in Kinsley’s princess castle, and crawl on the floor with Kellan. I have a much better mindset this time and I am determined to not let this disease dictate what I can do. I will not let it limit my activities. I will not let it control my moods or emotions. I can only hope that my flare ups continue to be few and far between because these gaps in my life are tough. They are physically, mentally, and emotionally tough.

Those with chronic illnesses aren't faking being sick. They are actually faking being well..png

Thank you for listening to this post and learning more about autoimmune diseases. It’s important to spread awareness so no one feels like they have to suffer in silence. I will keep you updated on my journey:)

xo

~Samantha

Health, Uncategorized

A Relaxing Weekend in Small Town USA

Isn’t it nice to get out of town and enjoy a weekend doing nothing!? It’s rare when we have an entire weekend with no plans. And especially when that weekend is a 3 day weekend for us. Since Cason didn’t have school on Friday, we decided to pack our bags and head out of town to one of our favorite places in the world…granny and grandpa’s house! Drew’s grandparents live back in his hometown which is about 3 hours from where we live and we try to visit as often as possible but it’s been a few months since we have been able to go visit. Drew’s dad and some of his other family members live there too so it’s nice to catch up and let the cousins play together.

We pulled into town about 9:00 PM on Thursday night after quite possibly the worst road trip ever. The kiddos weren’t content with anything that was going on and refused to get along with each other and I got car sick so we had to pull over a few times. I also think part of the nausea was from my new meds but whatever. I was just happy when we finally made it there! We put the kiddos to bed and got to have some one on one time with granny grandpa. At little too much time actually because we didn’t go to bed until 1:00 AM…and it’s been a loooong time since I have stayed up that late!

My favorite thing about going to visit the grandparents is the way I feel when I am at their home. It feels like I am at my own home. Everything is so comfortable and cozy and the conversations and moments we share with everyone make you realize why life is so precious and why family is so important. It also reminds me to slow down. I am such a planner by nature but having weekends were there is no agenda or time frame for anything is so relaxing and refreshing. It’s definitely a needed break from all of the normal hustle and bustle during the week. I got to wake up at my leisure (granny watched the kiddos so we got to sleep in a bit), do a nice little workout, shower, and then relax. The kids got to play with their cousins, Drew got to help his grandpa with a project, and I got to visit with granny and talk about life and do some crocheting.

I think Drew and I will be able to get back in the grind and hit the floor running Monday morning after the weekend we had. We both decided we needed to do these weekends more often so we are going to be better about writing them down so we don’t over plan and overstretch ourselves. We need a break every once in a while and we definitely deserve one!

I hope this short post can serve as a little reminder to slow down sometimes. We all live busy lives and have lists of things to do but we can’t forget to slow down and take time for these precious moments too. Do you get to go out of town and take a break from life? Where are some of your favorite places to go and favorite things to do?!

xo

~Samantha