Activated Charcoal

I posted this cute little collage of my son on my facebook page.

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He looks confused because my mouth is black. I am brushing my teeth with activated charcoal to whiten them. I swear it works! It is a natural and healthy alternative that only takes about three minutes of your time. It doesn’t taste and its quick and easy, just a tad bit messy.

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To Use: I wet my tooth brush and set it on a paper towel. I then break open a capsule and sprinkle it on my tooth brush. I set the timer for three minutes and brush away! It is activated so it is attracted (powdered sugar) to anything, that is how it works. It draws out the stains on your teeth by attracting them. Once you have brushed for three minutes just spit it out and rinse. Your tooth brush will be black. Probably for forever in the deep crevices of the bristles. If that grosses you out maybe you should have a tooth brush strictly for this use. After rinsing I brush my teeth with my tooth past and whala! I smile nice and big in the mirror to admire my pearly whites!

I like to do it once a week but don’t always get around to it. I used it about twice a week when I first started because I found it didn’t reach the white I wanted right away.

Disclaimer: I am not telling you how use the product, I am sharing with you how I have used it. Individual results may very. As always I encourage you to do your own research.

I would post my personal before and afters but I just did it a couple days ago so the results wouldn’t be much different. You will have to try and see for yourself but before and afters can easily be found on pinterest.com if you are interested.

Another other perk to this product is that is cheap! You can find it on amazon.com for under nine dollars a bottle. That is where I purchased it.

It has other health benefits as well. Check out Gwen’s Nest and see how she uses it as an upset stomach remedy. I have yet to try it in that setting as we haven’t been sick with the flu since my purchase of the product, but I would be willing to try it out.

Smiles are important and I am personally more willing to share them when my teeth are white. Specially since I have a huge smile and it shows all my teeth! Best of luck!

 

Curly Hair Tips and Tricks!

There is a lot of information out there for those of us with curly hair. I have stumbled upon many a helpful bog or video tutorial that has added me in managing my wild hair. In this post I am going to share with you what I have learned and the products I use to tame the frizz and bring out those beautiful curls.

It can be frustrating when you are the only one out of all your friends with curls, least that is my experience. It always seems like they never have a bad hair day and they have a style that is so cute and fits them so well!


38. “Your hairstyle can never really change that much.”


When you have curly hair, style, is something you try to obtain every single day. You see, each day your hair takes on a different personality. There is no repeat of the same hair due. I constantly have to change to manage the fluff. The more you work against your hair the more frustrating it will be. So hang in there my curly haired friends. I have a few tips of my own to share with you!

Surfing Pinterest I recently I ran across this: Article, 43 Things Only Girls With Curly Hair Understand. Click here to follow link.

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It is so, so accurate! I love reading these because I don’t feel so alone, I am normal in the curly haired community. I will be posting some quotes (like the one above) from this article.

There are days when I truly hate my hair, there are days when I love it, however most days I try to deal with it. It’s like having hair that has a mind of its own. I style it, wash it, apply to same products to it everyday but my hair still comes out different than the day before.

Why don’t I straighten it everyday? Because that takes time. Being a stay at home mama, I don’t have an hour in which I can stand in front of the mirror. Come to think of it, I have never had that kind of time. Besides, straightening curly hair really drys it out. Dry curly hair is a curse you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.


 39. “Straightening your hair requires at least an hour of time, and even when it’s straight, people still compliment you on your “wavy” hair. Well, at least it’s a step in the right direction.”


Growing up I hated my hair. I always wondered why God gave it to me. I found out later why, it helped me catch the amazing husband I have. He said my hair was one of the first things that attracted him to me. He still loves it to this day. Go figure 😉 I feel like if I knew what I know now, the hatred I had for my hair would have diminished, significantly.

Being the only one in my family growing up with curly hair, besides my mother, I tried to style it, treat it, and beat it into submission. I tried to treat it like all my friends with straight hair because I wanted hair like them. Little did I know I was making it worse and harder on myself.

This image has always been near and dear to my heart…

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Makes me laugh every time. You can’t clam to have natural curly hair when the curls start half way down your head. The image below is reality, and my every morning ‘style.’

I don’t loath my hair, it has just taken me a really long time to learn to work with it. I will reiterate, ‘work with it.’

I will now share with you what I have learned over the years. Curly hair is special and needs to be treated as such.

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Another one of my favorites 😉

I am going to tell you some interesting things, don’t think me wrong or disgusting because if you don’t have curly hair, you have no right to judge.

Curly Hair Fact:

Curly hair is dry hair. That is what helps gives it is curl.

I have curly hair and I have dryer skin. My sister has straight hair and she has more of an oily skin. I think the two are linked.

If she doesn’t use a good shampoo with lots of lather she has a hard time getting the oil out. I have never had this problem. If I use the same shampoo she does it drys out my hair resulting in a uncontrollable frizzy mess. You know all the bubbles you get when washing your hair. If you have curly hair you don’t want those bubbles because they are taking the little oil you have in your hair, out. How to fix this?

Well, some curly haired girls use no poo. Meaning they don’t shampoo their hair, ever. They rinse it, put a heavy conditioner in it and that is how they wash it. I, on the other hand, always poo my hair. I workout so I sweat just about every morning, and summer here can reslute in 100 degree weather for days on end. So, I use a sulfate free shampoo. It really is amazing stuff!

It gives you less lather but it doesn’t strip your curls of its natural oils. You NEED and WANT those oils in your hair. This was a huge step for me and being able to love my curls.

Growing up my mom bought in bulk from Costco whatever was cheapest for shampoo and conditioner. Having a family of four girls with long hair, she had to find something cheap! After moving out I started to experiment with different hair products. So. Many. Products! Let me just say, if you don’t wash your curls correctly no amount of product is going to help. If you haven’t tried sulfate free shampoo, try some! Today! It will take a while to get the healthy oils back in your hair so maybe try a coconut oil deep conditioning treatment after purchasing your new poo 😉

My Daily Hair Regime:

I will start with my morning shower. I use the sulfate free shampoo by Redken called Curvaceous. I love the smell and it has done wonders with my hair!

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I buy the huge bottle and it lasts a while. I purchase it from amazon for around $28 dollars. I will go to Ulta only if they are having a buy one get one free sale.

I get my hair wet, use probably a pump and a half and scrub it into my scalp. I do not scrub the rest of my hair, only my scalp. That’s why I can get away with using so few pumps. As I rinse it out it runs through the rest of my hair cleaning off all the product.

I then apply a very liberal amount of Herbal Essence, Hello Hydration Conditioner.

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I don’t like the Redken conditioner as I don’t think its heavy enough. I then rinse out most of the conditioner leaving enough in my hair to still feel a little slick. NEVER rinse out all the conditioner. As I rinse I brush my hair with my fingers. I never use a brush or pick in my hair. Ever. My fingers get all the tangles out. If I am having any problems I will use a brush only during the rinse process but I rarely have a problem.

As I get out of the shower I wrap my hair up in the towel and set it atop my head. Some curly hair girls use T-shirts. You don’t have all those little fiber pieces in a T-shirt that you have in a towel. It really does help with the frizz I have tried it, but it doesn’t get my hair dry enough. It will still be dripping down my back when I take it out, so I go for a towel.

I keep my hair warm. If it gets cold I feel it doesn’t absorb the product I put in. It also seems to stick to my hands pulling on the curls and bringing out the dreaded frizzes.

I put my lotion on, brush my teeth, lotion my face and put some clothes on before taking my towel off. Don’t put lotion on while your hair is down, again it will stick to your body and the more you pull on the curls the more of a mess you are going to have.

Next I take the towel out, and spry my leave in conditioner, Infusium 23 Moisture Replenishment, with a tiny squirt bottle touching my hair as little as possible. This is about $5 dollars at my local store and lasts a while. The squirt bottle I got from the dollar store.

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I then put one pump of Sebastian Potion 9 in the palm of my hand AND a pump or two of coconut milk by Organix. Potion 9 (I purchase from amazon and I have found if for as little as $20 a bottle). This bottle here has lasted about six to seven months. A little goes a long way with this stuff. The Moroccan Oil I get from a hair products store like Sally’s Beauty Supply. It smells good, costs about $35 dollars but lasts for a few months.

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I ONLY apply this to my hair from the neck down. It would be much to heavy for the hair on top of my head. Scrunch to apply.


7. “Argan oil quite literally changed your life, and now you go through bottles like boyfriends.”


Next I shake up some Argan Oil Mousse. Yes, this has changed my life.

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I spray my palm full, transfer it to both hands and start at the bottom of my hair working it up to my scalp. I toss my head from left to right scrunching as I go. Do not run your fingers through your hair, scrunch it! Again, amazon is an amazing place. I have found it for as little as $8.50 a bottle. This is what I go through the quickest, thank goodness its cheap. If it wasn’t, I’d probably buy it anyway.

Next I part it (very carefully using my hands) either down the middle or to the side depending on my mood. I do this with product still on my hands. Next If I want my bangs to stay in a certain position all day long I put them in said position. When it drys it will dry in place. Style it now, not later.


 8. “You don’t own a brush. You only have a comb, which you only use on your hair in the shower during the conditioning process.”

15.  “You need a minimum of six products in your hair at all times. Four of them cost more than your rent and one of them is illegal in nine states.”


When my hair really starts to dry I will turn my head upside down, shake out the curls, scrunch it a bit and whalla!

If it doesn’t cooperate after all that I will put it up. Pony tail or messy bun. The good thing about curly hair is you can most always pull off the messy bun.

Someday’s when I have to go somewhere in the morning I will take a defuser and blow dry my hair. I never defuse it until its completely dry, you still want it a little damp. Again, start at the ends and work our way up. Some days the results are a little more wild than I’d like, and sometimes it makes my hair look amazing.


16. “You often show up to places with wet hair. What are we supposed to do, wait six to eight hours for it to dry before leaving the house? Let me live my life.”


With curly hair you never can tell. You always have to have a back up plan. And by back up I mean bobby pins and hair things with you at all times 😉


 2. “No, you can’t borrow my hair tie. The slightest change in humidity or a strong gust of wind could easily render my hair completely incapable of looking like it belongs on a human.”


So there you have it! The most important lessons to be learned are:

  • Sulfate free shampoo is your friend. Get some!
  • Do not ever, ever brush your hair unless is in the shower while applying conditioner.
  • Leave in conditioner is also your friend.
  • The less you touch your hair the better.
  • Style when wet unless you are putting it up, then style when damp 😉

These are my tips and tricks. Visit to my pinterest page Everything Hair and you will find some amazing tutorials. These women swear by what they do but remember every one’s curls are different. Take some of their tips and try them out. Just remember the tips I posted above. They are listed in just about every tutorial I have seen. They have helped me the most!

How To Cut Your Hair:

The way your hair is cut also makes a huge difference. Long or short curly hair you want layers! Layers are good, layers are your friend. Say it with me… Layers are good, layers are your friend.

This woman does an excellent job explaining why. Again click here to follow the link.

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She swears on short layers but I am currently sporting long layers. I love being able to wear side brads and other hair dues that require longer layers. If you love wearing your hair down I would suggest the shorter layers. If you love styling it in different ways you will find it hard to do with short layers that don’t reach very far. bobby pins are your best friend at that point but it can be tiresome after sticking 50+ of them in your hair. Just my opinion. I would start long and work my way up from there 😉

Remember, work with those curls. Fighting them will get you nowhere. Dare to be different. Dare to let your curls be wild and free! Curls are beautiful! Experiment with them!

It helps me to look at celebrities who sport their natural curls. Look at Shakira, Beyonce, Lorde, and Madonna! They wear them loud and proud!

Hope this helps you! Please look at my pinterest page located here or just go on pinterest and do searches for curly hair tutorials, there are many!

Trim Healthy Mama for Beginners (Pictures and Links Included)

I often get asked about Trim Healthy Mama (THM). What do you need and how do you get started? These are the questions I get asked most. I’ve had a lot of success with this eating plan, losing all my baby weight in under a year all the while loving what I can eat. I talk about how wonderful THM is and get many people interested the plan.

I have gone over this subject many times with several people and though I love talking about it, I feel like I need to have something written out, with pictures and links that I can refer them too.

In this post I will show the so called ‘special ingredients’ I use and where I get them. Some are not special at all and most are extremely easy to get at your local grocery store. But if you don’t know what you are looking for it can seem like treasure hunt that is never ending.

The four stores I shop at are Fred Meyers (Kroger products), Costco, Walmart and the Trim Healthy Mama website. Fred Meyers is the most frequently visited store and where I get most of my thm food items. Through these stores I get all my ingredients. The ingredients I get from the THM website last longest, I make an order about once a month from them. I am all about simple so please don’t let the fact that I order online stop you from trying THM. It really is as simple as you want it to be.

Although I have never been, I know you can find a few of these items at Trader Joe’s as well. So there is another option for you 🙂

One matter that I must address first is budget/money. You do not have to be rich to follow THM. Some think the special ingredients make it more expensive but I really haven’t noticed a change in my budget. I started buying and replacing my grocery list with healthier, better choices. I am a stay at home mother of two and I make this work easily. Also to be noted is you don’t have to start out with all the ingredients I am going to show you. I started purchasing the ingredients a little at a time beginning with the recipes I wanted to try first and branching out from there. What I am going to show you are items that are THM approved and where you can get them. I will put a (*) by the items I suggest you purchase to begin with. That is also a question I am asked a lot.

Now we can continue 😉

I will start with my favorite store: Fred Meyers!

I am a rewards member (that is free) and I constantly get coupons for items I often purchase and money off their gas. A bonus to being a rewards member is the coupons they send you are for items you actually purchase. I also get money back at the end of each quarter so it is a win win win to be part of that program. Love me the Kroger products! This is where I get most of my THM ingredients. Don’t forget to check the nutrition section! That is where you will find the salt, chia seeds, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, stevia etc.

Whole Seed Chia from Bob’s Red Mill. These really are delicious in the THM recipes. If you like Tapioca pudding like I do you will have to try them in THM’s Chia Tapioca Pudding on page 234. They also use them in a jam recipe and again, yummy!

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Bertolli Alfredo Sauce. This is an easy go to sauce that can go over THM noodles or oven baked spaghetti squash.

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Quinoa. I never knew of this before but it is delicious! This will be used with your E meals and it makes them very filling.

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Dreams field Pasta. Used in some recipes. Though I have used these on occasion, THM now sells their own noodles on their webpage! Unlike these noodles where you can only have one cup, the noodles they sell are much healthier and you are not limited to portion. Check them out here!

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Tortillas. These are carb balance with only 6 net carbs. I buy the white wheat only because they are bigger. They suggest you buy the whole wheat carb balance which is 3 net carbs per tortilla but half the size. You can have one of the white or two of the whole wheat with select meals.

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*Egg whites. Used to make their yummy THM pancakes and egg white scramble as well as many other recipes. Eggs in general you are going to need a lot of.

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Apple Cider Vinegar, known as ACV in the THM community. This stuff is amazing! When you make your GGMS (Good Girl Moonshine – non alcoholic) its a must!

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* Stevia. This, in the shaker bottle not the box, is the only on plan stevia Fred Meyers sells. It is delicious! I love this brand!

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Braggs Nutritional Yest Seasoning. This is yummy in their soups and sprinkled over oven baked chicken. Not a need but certainly a must have for later on.

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* Truvia. There is many sweeteners out there but this one is my favorite! THM sells their own. You can also buy Truvia at Walmart and sometimes it can be found in bulk at Costco. You get to decide 😉

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*Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges (light). I would have taken a picture of this but I am out 🙁 These have a cow head on them, they are round and can be found by the cream cheese. They add these to soup for creaminess and noodles for flavor.

*Plain Greek Yogurt non-fat. Makes a yummy snack with berries and a sprinkle of stevia for sweetness. There are different brands out there but it must be Plain Greek Yogurt non-fat.

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*The Silk brand of unsweetened Almond and/or Cashew milk, they also have unsweetened vanilla flavored ones (my favorites). If you like smoothies these are a must! Choose your favorite. Both work.

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Sobe Life Water 0. It has to be sweetened with Erythitol or its not on plan. Makes sure its the o and I think you’ll be ok. I rarely drink these but if I am out and about and want something sweet this is a healthy choice.

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*Cocoa Unsweetened. Not a specialty item but if you like chocolate this is a must! Try their Chocolate Cake in a Mug recipe listed in their book, to die for!

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If you want a bar of chocolate it has to be 80% or more dark chocolate. Doesn’t matter the brand I just like this one best so far.

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Sea Salt. I order this along with many spices from Azure with my mother every other month or so. If you aren’t familiar with them I know Fred Meyers sells it.

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*Wasa Light Rye. Great for a little pick me up snack specially with a laughing cow light cheese wedge spread over the top.

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Costco.

You need a membership to shop Costco but it is well worth the annual fee if you ask me. Costco of course sells in bulk but its cheapest that way. I not only buy food from them but some electronics and household items as well. But we are talking THM so I’ll stick to that 😉

*Coconut Oil. In so many of the THM recipes and a new staple in my families diet.

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*Adams Peanut butter. I have been buying this for years! It is sugar free and so creamy. I am a peanut butter lover though!

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*Oats. They want you to have steel cut oats, not the instant oats that Quaker also sells (it has something to do with the phytic acid). I purchased this about a year ago and I have yet to hit the bottom. This you will use in many E meals. Overnight oats, warm oatmeal cereal, and for the fabulous THM pancakes!

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*Almond flour! How I love this stuff for baking and desserts! They didn’t use to sell this at Costco but due to its demand they are beginning to sell a lot more organic and specialty items like this. Yay!

Other items I by at Costco: Bacon, frozen chicken breasts, large bags of frozen organic strawberries and veggies, whole chicken, canned chicken and canned green beans. Cream, we are talking whole whipping cream for morning coffee and other recipes and Half & Half, can be used like the cream.

Walmart. I don’t stop here every shopping trip because I can purchase enough to last for a while.

Skinny Girl Liquid Stevia! LOVE this stuff! No bitter after taste at all! You can use it in hot and cold beverages and I use it for both. Be careful. Only the non-flavored one is on plan. I use this often in my GGMS and the 12 oz non flavored breve’s I sometimes get from Starbucks 😉 I always have one in my purse.

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*Watkins Extracts can be found in just about every flavor at my local Walmart. I use the vanilla extract in many of the THM recipes and the caramel and cherry are great in my GGMS.

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Trimhealthymama.com.

If you order from Trim Healthy Mama I would ask you to use my affiliate link posted below. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, it just helps me to earn a little on the side for me and my blog 🙂 Thanks!

Affilite Link!

*Whey Protein Powder, this smells and tastes so stinkin good, read my review here! It is used in so many recipes and again if you like smoothies, its a must! When I first started THM I had about one smoothie a day. They are quick, easy and very filling. And when you are first starting out it is wonderful for a go to meal.

Peanut Butter Flour (defatted). Used in smoothies to make them snickers flavored and in many other THM recipes. I didn’t purchase this right away but I would say it is a must have for later on.

*Sweeteners. You don’t have to have theirs but you do need some kind of sweetener to take the place of sugar and the sweet treats you are use to having. A sweetener is a must.

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*The Book. If you want to start THM you NEED the book. It is the only way to fully understand the principles and how they work. Don’t be fooled by how large it is, half of it is recipes to help you get started and keep you on track. They are amazing! I still use it on a weekly to daily basis.

Disclaimer: As a THM book owner you might get asked often by friends and family if they can ‘borrow’ your book. Umm… As much as we would like to help you, no! We will gladly have you over for coffee so you can look over the contents but us THM’s use this book on a daily basis do to all the recipes it contains! Its not really a book we are willing to live without for even a few weeks. You can rent it from your local libraries but I will warn you the waiting list is long. Its much easier to grasp the THM plan when you are taught by a fellow THMer. So grab a notebook, get your coffee and head over to a THM friends house to have a look at their book, so we friends, can remain friends… Muhahaha 😉

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This is getting easier and easier to do. The two sisters who created THM use to not sell their own products. All us THM’s purchased most items from amazon hoping it was the correct brand with the purest ingredients. Now their store is growing and the most difficult items to find are now easily located on their webpage. No more worrying if they are right or wrong and the prices are very reasonable. No telling what else they may end up selling 😉

 Resources.

My Facebook Page! I chat and share a lot on Trim Healthy Mama.

Pinterest! Here is their official pinterest page.

Here is my THM pinterest page. Feel free to follow though it is not as organized as the official THM page 😉

Gwens-Nest.com is an amazing resource! If you go on pinterest to search THM recipes you will most likely run into her page. Here are two links from her website I found to be very helpful for travel and online shopping.

Below are THM approved on the run snack items that Gwen as found and put together! I am so excited find this as I will be referring to it whenever me and my husband go on vacation.

http://www.gwens-nest.com/thm-on-the-run-snack-bag/

Below is a calibration by Gwen of more specialty items you can purchase from amazon.

 http://www.gwens-nest.com/trim-healthy-store/trim-healthy-store-treats-beverage/

 

How to get started.

Simply start. Separate your carbs and fats and begin pinning THM recipes. Leave out the wheat and sugar, purchase the book and start shopping. Start a little at a time. Maybe just THM breakfast for a week, or maybe it would be easier to do lunch then slowly start making your other meals THM friendly. Its a learning process, it is a little hard to understand at first but once you’ve been doing it for a month or two while having read the book it will become second nature. Be easy on yourself. Learning anything new takes time. But it is always worth it!

Here is their FB page. They have many but this is the link to their main page. You simply request to be a part and within a few days they will except your request. You will learn so much from what others post and questions others ask. Many recipes get shared back and forth and you are always free to ask questions of your own! That is how I learned. These women are so happy to help. Once you are part of this group go explore the files which are located under the THM logo. Yet more information that is free and so beneficial.

THM Tips

E meals consist of 5 grams or less of fats and up to 45 grams of carbs.

S meals consist of 10 grams or less of Carbs

Fuel Pull meals consist of 10 grams or less of carbs and 5 grams or less of fats.

Here are the building blocks to S, E and FP meals which is extremely helpful! If you cant open it its because it is linked to the closed Trim Healthy Mama facebook page. Once you are on their page this will open.

Also…

Carbs are not counted in your non starchy veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery etc.

Carbs are not counted in you main protein source: Chicken, steak, Greek yogurt (which is considered an excellent protein source) etc.

Starchy veggies are considered carbs: carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, bananas etc. and are limited.

Limit your tomatoes and onions in your S meals as they contain carbs. A few are fine.

Best of luck dear friends! Hope all this helps? Don’t get to caught up in the numbers, just start. Things will start falling into place as you learn, cook and practice THM. I promise that is not hard, it takes practice but it is well worth it!

Again, if you order from Trim Healthy Mama I would ask you to use my affiliate link below. It would mean so much to me. Thanks!

Affilite Link!

New Years Resolution – 2015

I usually don’t make a new years resolutions. Feeling like a failure after the first couple months when things don’t turn out is a horrible feeling. What makes it so hard is the first two months are still the dead of winter. Energy is low and I am still recovering from the holidays.

Typically when I want to do something I will start it at a time in life when it feels right. When I know its necessary or its something that I need to begin right now, whenever now might be.

But this time I am starting and sharing my resolution to hold myself accountable.

Church. My new years resolution is to simply get my family to Church each and every Sunday. No more excuses, no more staying up late Saturday night watching movies and waking up Sunday to tired to attend. I grew up in church and am so thankful to my mother for pushing me to be there along with everyone else in my family.

No more excuses! We belong in Church!

This isn’t only for the benefit of my husband and I, but for our sons as well. They need to know that Church is where you go to learn about Christ, to gather biblical wisdom and hopefully find and make good friends.

When we are at church I feel the Holy Spirit telling me, “This is where you need to be. This is a safe place to learn about me.” I feel like He is telling me this is where I will learn and grow in Him along with my family. Who am I to argue with Him? I love that peaceful feeling I get walking in the doors and the feeling of accomplishment while walking out.

Our sons need to hear bible stories from people other than me. They need to be taught in different ways so they can learn and grow. They also need to learn to respect and be kind to teachers and other children. So much for them to glean from a simple Sunday school class.

I hope all this leads to more church activities and family fictions. Volunteering and helping others through the church is always a blessing. I want our children to bless others through the work of Christ.

I pray so often for their futures. For their future wives and families. I pray that God would impact them in such a way, at a young age, that they would never turn from Him. That they would always know to search and seek God and His will for their precious futures. It brings tears to my eyes knowing my children will suffer. But I also know without struggle there is no learning. I just pray our children will be guided and protected by Christ. That He will speak to them and they would hear Him. I pray that their names would be written in Gods book of eternal life.

I will do everything in my power to demonstrate to our sons who God is. I will try my hardest to live the way God asks so our sons will see Christ through me and my husband and they would want that relationship with God as well.

I pray this so often. It is the cry of my heart for my children to follow Christ. I will forever pray these things until the day I die.

I have never loved the way I love my children. It is a special unconditional love. Their futures and how they learn and grow is partially in my hands. I pray for them, but for my husband and I as well. I always want to be wrapped in prayer. Protected and at peace with our Creator above.

I told my husband this the other day and I have his full support. I told him he needs to help me, help me, get to church. In other words, if I say I’m to tired, kick my butt out of bed!

Church. Its where we are going to be ever Sunday morning in 2015!

My Workout Journey

Workouts have been such an important part of my life since the beginning of my teen years. I thank my mother for that. She paved the way for my healthy and active lifestyle.

I look forward to teaching my sons the importance of health and fitness as they grow and mature.

A brief history:

My journey begain when my mother woke me and my sisters up at six o’clock every week day morning. She made it a school activity so getting it in was a must. I hated getting up that early but once we were done it always felt like an amazing accomplishment. At that time we worked out to Leslie Sansone’s, Walk Away the Pounds.

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Looking back, these workouts were very simple and low impact but it started a healthy habit. Working out with my mom and sisters is a memory I will forever cherish. It was a special time each morning we got together and shared before the beginning of our busy days.

After a couple years we decided it was time to switch it up and try something new. Our neighbor at the time told us about a new workout that was played on a home network show. He was only kidding but my mom ended up buying it. The new workout was called Turbo Jam. This is where my love for Chalene Johnson developed.

TurboJam

After the low impact workouts, this kicked our butts! It was quicker paced and I loved how there was more variety in her workouts. Instead of walking in place and using arm bands we were kicking, punching and shaking our hips! I was starting to see my abs for the first time in my life!

Pushing play was easier because of Chalene’s positive attitude. I loved how she inspired you to push yourself and you always felt better for it.

I got married and continued my workouts with this DVD set for a few more years. Then Chalene came out with Turbo Fire. I knew I had to have it! I needed to again step up my workouts, specially after having our first baby.

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This workout also kicked my butt! I was back in shape within a few months and loved my body. My abs came back and I was getting back down to the weight I wanted to be at.

Again, Chalene’s positive attitude won me over. While you’re working out and pushing yourself, she has wonderful ways of reminding you how its worth it. She tells that you can do it and in doing so she puts a smile on your face. Sometimes she got a laugh or two out of me. She is truly talented in this way.

After a few years of this program I got pregnant with our second baby boy. During this pregnancy I had to take a progesterone pill because my body was deficient in it. Without a sufficient amount of progesterone a woman’s body will flush out the fertilized egg causing a miscarried. It was through God’s perfect timing that my doctor was able to get me on the progesterone as fast as he did. It still scares me to think I almost lost our baby boy.

Besides the blessing being that this pill saved my baby’s life, it drained me of all my energy and magnified my morning sickness. I have never felt so tired, or withdrawn from life, in my life! It was a bit frightening. Thank goodness my body only needed the help of this pill for the first trimester. After I was able to stop taking it, I came back to life! In the words of my husband “There you are!” He said this to me after a few short days off the pill. I felt much the same way.

Although I would take this pill again in a heartbeat, it really had my pregnancy off to a rough start. I literally had no energy so my workouts stopped over night. This was the longest break I had taken since I started my workouts. I was able to keep them up with my first pregnancy and said that was the best thing I ever did. It was hard on me mentally and physically but with the rough start I just couldn’t seem to get them in. I tried, but soon gave up.

Once I delivered our a healthy baby boy, I waited about a month to begin my workout routine. I felt pinching in my stomach when I  started and then decided my body needed longer to heal.

The first of January I started working out with turbo fire again. It was hard at first. I was horribly out of shape not to mention I had a new life with a brand new baby and a toddler who was always curious about him.

No more excuses I told myself! I have to get back in shape! My workouts would happen at anytime of day. I wasn’t getting them in five days a week like I wanted but I was doing it again. Whatever time I could squeeze them in I did and soon began to feel myself gaining strength.

I am a follower of Chalene Johnson on Facebook and I sometimes visit her webpage www.chalenejohnson.com. I loved her daily motivational posts and they helped inspire me in more ways than fitness.

One of my favorite quotes of hers is hanging in my closet.

Breath in deep. Let your day flow as freely as the air filling your lungs. We don’t have to control every aspect of our lives. Some days all we can do is say our prayers, set our intention, and do the work. If things don’t go exactly as planned today, don’t begrudge the day. Be patient, have faith and just go with it. You never know what lessons you can learn by being ten minutes behind schedule, unless every once in a while, you are ten minutes behind schedule.

Such a beautiful reminder!

From following her on facebook I learned of a new workout program she was working on. I was so excited! I knew I had to have this workout too! It looked like the push I needed to get back in shape.

She announced it as PiYo. (Click on the image to see where to purchase)

PiYo-define-yourself

A workout that is a mix of Palates and Yoga but had a healthy mix of cardio as well.

Cardio was all I’d done in the past. Doing something completely different spiked my interest and that it still contained cardio, I was hooked!

I watched all the previews that came out and even got my sister excited for its release.

They kept saying its release was “coming soon” and that tantalizing detail went on for weeks! Finally a release was made but it was only for beachbody coaches and their teams.

I was heart broken! That is until a coach posted a link making it available for purchase through her. I bought it!

My coach’s name was Meg Walton. Its been a very long time since I have contacted her and I am unsure if she is still doing coaching.  My sister however has become a BeachBody coach and she hosts challenges for people who purchase workouts through her. She is honest, spirited, real and dedicated to encouraging and helping people who want to improve their health and fitness. If you are interested in purchasing any of the workout programs I have mentioned (aside from the Leslie Sansone DVDs), I would encourage you to contact her here.

Anyway, after my purchase of PiYo from Meg, she contacted me via email and had me added to a facebook page called PiYo Strength Super Group (which she created). This was an added bonus that I didn’t see coming. I was all set once I got my package in the mail. I hung up my PiYo calendar and got pumped for the sixty day challenge ahead.

Once we started we took before pictures… Brace yourself!

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I had about 10 more pounds I wanted to lose and I knew I wanted to be much, much more defined. Not bad for nine months after the birth of our second baby boy. I attribute most of this to THM. Follow that link to see the eating plan I follow, its amazing!

In this facebook group we followed the calendar that came with the program. This was the first time I followed a calender. Usually I jump right in and try and figure it out along the way but with this time, I was really glad to have guidelines.

I’m impatient so when the calendar started out rather slowly I began to question it. I shared my concern with Meg and she told me the program was helping me to build strength and get me familiar with the moves. She said stay the course because the pace would pick up soon.

And boy did it!

I began to be thankful for the simplicity of that first week! Not to say that it got to difficult but I really began to push me. The moves require strength and when you don’t have that much to start, it can be a little frustrating.

I found out just how weak I really was. My wrists weren’t that strong (Chalene addresses this in the DVDs) and some of the moves I just couldn’t do! I was frustrated until I heard others sharing a bit of the same in our group. That was comforting and made me feel, well, normal.

After a few short weeks I began to see a huge difference in my arm and back muscle.

Week 4 of PiYO Week 4 of PiYO 2

It was incredible! I still wasn’t able to do all the moves yet but was seeing results. I was ecstatic! Others in the group began posting changes in their bodies as well. I was so excited to be a part of this!

Within a couple more weeks began to see change in my stomach!

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Seeing these results made me push and work even harder! I went and bought some new workout clothes…

clothes!

Because my before pictures are in jammy shorts and a workout bra, I wanted my afters to be a bit nicer 😉

The group posted pictures and videos on their favorite moves and the ones that challenged them the most.

If it weren’t for Meg and this group of amazing people the journey would have been difficult.

As I said it took a really long time to be able to do some of the moves but after listening to the what the others said, I knew I wasn’t a wimp, it was truly challenging.

Here are my 60 day after photos!

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Such a huge difference! And in only 60 days! I didn’t lose much weight but I was honestly working more toward fitness rather than weight loss. I built a lot of muscle and lost fat. I was so happy and proud of myself!

Fast forward to now (a few months later) and I am still loving my PiYo workouts. My stomach has smoothed out even more and I have abs I never dreamed of having after two babies!

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After the 60 days were over I knew I wanted to continuing practicing with PiYo. Slowly but surely I began to do the moves I once couldn’t. It felt amazing! I knew I would continue to gain strength and become more defined as I worked with these new and challenging moves.

I have lost about five more pounds since the 60 day photos where taken but I never have had such a flat stomach. Even before I had babies. I am in love with my PiYo workouts!

I want to add some Turbo Fire workouts back in but I am waiting until after the new year to incorporate those.

Life is busy and a bit stressful right now and getting my PiYo workouts in lately has been a struggle. It is December and the cold weather and lack of sun has left me with little energy. I know I will pick up the pace come January or February.

For right now I am not pressing play on the PiYo DVD’s. Instead, to switch things up, I plug in my Ipod and play music that inspires me and makes me want to workout. I am doing PiYo but I’m taking the different moves out of Chalene’s workouts and applying and challenging myself that way for now. As long as I still break a sweat, raise my heart rate and feel a little sore the day after, I am comfortable with that for now.

The music that is inspiring me these days is by Kari Jobes, you can find her on Itunes. She is a Christian singer who has such a beautiful voice! The songs she sings are beautiful, powerful, and so uplifting. My husband and I are unsure were the path laid before us is going and anything that reassures me of His promises for protection, unconditional love and guidance, I soak up!

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Along with following Chalene Johnson I follow Proverbs 31 Ministries on facebook. The verse and the picture below are off their page…

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

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I find strength to push on through Christ Jesus. Songs singing His praise are what give me strength. From that strength I find the will to carry on and get my workouts in thus making me strong physically, mentally and emotionally. That is how I live a fit and healthy life.