My Minimalist Movement 


For the past year and half I’ve been slowly going through our unwanted stuff, and what’s still valuable, selling on eBay or donating it.  Deciding to become a stay at home mom, I knew I wanted and needed to still find ways to earn and create so this seemed like a good way to achieve part of that. Surprisingly I was able to earn several thousand dollars in a year selling mostly my old work clothes. Mind you, it was tedious and time consuming but it felt good seeing some of the money spent on so many clothes come back to us. While working through minimizing my wardrobe, I was also looking at reducing our costs by implementing a budget and eliminating frivolous expenses and spending. For example, we discontinued our satellite radio, reduced our cable plan, and changed our insurance just to name a few. Reading blogs like Mr Money Mustache and Early Retirement Extreme really opened my eyes to a totally new concept regarding money, savings, and spending habits. There are so many ideas out there for living a financial life that feels right for you. I just wished we’d have stumbled upon some of these sooner. Like, saving as much as possible in our 20’s and learning to live on a modest income that could have since been generated with investing in the market… ergo setting us up for early retirement! 

As I worked through things, it became more and more clear how careless we’d been with our money. Spending was out of control and our credit card debt was embarrassing. We used our savings to pay down most of it and started keeping track of all our expenses. I was nervous as first and worried about feeling restricted but actually found the opposite to be true! Living on a budget was freeing. I no longer worried if we could afford something. I knew exactly how much money we had and what we’d been spending. It took all the guess work out of making larger purchases. We started using one credit card for all our purchases which we pay off at the end of the month and earn cash back rewards that we started using for dining out and clothing purchases! At the time, I didn’t know we were embarking on a minimalist journey but after a couple weeks of reading up on the concept that’s exactly where we’ve been heading. 

Reading and studying about minimalism has given me new inspiration to pare down even more and permission to let go of old ways of thinking that no longer serve me. I’ve become completely obsessed with the concept. Just this week I’ve been able to tackle our over flow room in a major way, selling an old floor lamp, donating old clothes, and moving no longer used decor out into the garage for an up coming garage sale. With each bag, lamp shade, candle holder, and broken toy I carried out the door my elation grew! I feel lighter each day I work on decluttering. You know that ahh ha feeling? When something clicks? It’s the best! So excited to continue this journey of simplifying our life and learning about how others have done the same! I’m currently reading the minimalist’s blog and just finished an ebook by Miss Minimalist. These writings are fascinating and inspiring, helping me to continue working through recognizing my attachment to stuff and realizing that is not the real source of my happiness and joy. Has anyone else stumbled across this concept? Are you implementing any of these ideas currently in your life? I’d love to hear about it! 

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Go to Lunch

Having my favorite go to meal! 1 slice of organic bread, some djion mustard, arugula, and healthy chicken Gouda sausage. Seriously I eat this all the time! Especially when I’m super busy working on something and don’t want to put a ton of thought into my meal. It’s 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1/2 green container. 

It’s been hard getting back into the groove since the holidays and all the splurging. Not to mention I got a cold, hurt my back, and haven’t been able to exercise. However, during my recovery I discovered minimalist living and have been super obsessed with clearing out our clutter and re-thinking my definition of happiness. 

As I head into the weekend, I’m planning my return to the 21 Day Fix principles and workouts as well as my strategy for more de-cluttering! As rough as the past couple weeks have been health wise, it feels really good making room for more important things in my life. 

Hoping everyone has a great weekend and be sure to reach out if you want to join me Monday with healthy habits and more decluttering! 

Holiday fit


This is a tough week trying to stick to my health goals. We had a few splurges for our girls birthday and a few more the day after. Now it’s the Monday blahs but know it’s important to get it together because Thursday is Thanksgiving!!! I’m happy to say my workout is done and my super food Shake is in! Now planning a healthy fish dish for diner and making my plan for tomorrow. Anyone else struggling this keep it somewhat healthy this holiday season??

My Health Journey – The Low Carb Years

When I got to collage, things got REAL. I didn’t have parental support and knew that if I was going to make it there, it was all on me. I had no concept of money and the cost of living plus my education expenses took every dime I had. We joke about the crap food we ate, but thats all we either made time for or could afford. Forget fitness or diets, I had no time or interest for either anymore. All my efforts were focused on work, studies, and making ends meet.

After my first year, I landed a pretty sweet job as a cell phone sales associate and my money situation drastically improved. That was when we starting eating out a great deal and drinking a fair amount of beer.

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Now we had extra money to spend on eating out and buying beer. Let the good times roll!

Often we reminisce about hangovers at Ryan’s buffet and how we would smuggle cookies out with us for a late night dessert after we were already so stuffed from pigging out while we were there. Me and my roommate would have an evening out at Red Lobster, each ordering the Captains Platter. We were out of control and by spring of my second year at college it showed!

In 2 years I was very unhappy with my weight gain and tried hiding it chunky knit sweaters and layers.

My wake up call came after a cruise with some friends. After we got the pictures developed, I was horrified. I couldn’t believe how fluffy I looked in them. How did I let it go this far again? If it’s the freshman 15, then it must be the sophomore 20.

 

Wake up call cruise

I knew I had to make some changes and luckily an episode of the View helped me do just that. I saw Susan Somers on the View and decided what she had was for me. She talked about being able to eat all the fat and cheese she wanted. After the episode, I made a trip over to books a million and bought the latest copy of her book. I will never forget one of the headlines “Fat- Eat To Your Heart’s Content”. I was thrilled! Oh and no working out necessary? Sign me up.

 

Introduction to Low-carb eating

Then I went on to read that sugar and alcohol was off limits. What!? I lived on sugar. I agreed with Buddy Elf, I tried to stick to the four main food groups: Candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. Well, not that bad, but I did have a problem. Oh and a decent amount of beer. I loved sugar! I ate it all the time when the low-fat craze was popular. This was totally different, scary, and yet a little exciting. I had been fat deprived for years and the idea of eating as much as I wanted of it sounded delicious! No more low-fat dressings and cheese!  And so began my decent into the low carb canyon.

 

I was eating a lot more veggies and 
I was proud of that.

 

Additions to my Low-carb Library 

Ironically, I found artificial sweeteners, full fat,  and veggies at the same time! What an adventurous season. My stomach was in minor distress, but who cares, I was going to get skinny and everything tastes amazing! Or it did at first. I lost a good deal, plateaued and then I noticed I was putting weight back on. You see, I was living on mostly meat and cheese and it felt kind of gross . Mrs. Somers failed to mention in her best seller how awful cravings would become. That the simple act of a friend eating her salad cracker would send me into a spiral of benging on white bread and cereal for days.

 

Eating low carb did teach me some healthier habits. For example, I started to really enjoy salads and all my meals now contained some kind of green veggie. Quitting sugar was a good thing right? Well yeah, but not when you replace it with artificial sweeteners. I was putting it in and on everything I wanted or needed sweet. This is turn, made my body crave the real thing. There is a ton of research now linking artificial sweeteners to increased weight gain and myriad of other scary health risks. Since I stopped eating artificial sweeteners I no longer have those intense sugar cravings. I can actually enjoy a sweet treat occasionally and not loose complete control.

When I started gaining weight again, I ramped up my research and looked beyond the low-carb, no exercise advice I was following. It was then That I came across “Body For Life” by Bill Phillips. His plan was much more balanced.  He didn’t eliminate entire food groups and he also explained why exercise was important.

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Oscar and I were on board together!

Stay tuned! In my next post, I’ll detail our experience with Bill and our love-hate relationship with exercise.

As so my library of diet and nutrition books starts to grow.

My Health Journey Part II

My relationship with food evolved over the years. As a young girl, I found a great deal of comfort in food. After the death of my mom in 1994, and then again in 98 with Grandmas loss, I took in food as a friend and consoler. It was comforting and always there. While grieving all the loss and change in my life, it was my one constant. After all, it is the center of so many activities. When with family, friends, or just by myself food was always a familiar presence. Others around me seemed to feel the same way. It was normal, right? When you are happy, EAT! Grieving, EAT more! Celebrating a special occasion, eat all your favorite foods in one day!

The 2 years following my mother’s death I gained about 30 pounds. Here I was, headed into high school finding comfort in food but shame with how my body looked. I can remember coming down with a cold, going to the doctor where I had to be weighed and feeling shocked and numb by the number I saw on the scale. Mortified and embarrassed, I decided my relationship with food had to change. I made it my mission to get educated and take action.

I know, I know this hair is wild. It took years to get it right! This was taken the Fall following my Mom’s death.

Even with my new found determination and recently acquired knowledge, it was a constant battle. I remember trying to cut calories by skipping lunch but then pigging out after school. I tried dexatrim diet pills sold at my local K-Mart retailer. Oh and lets not forget the tasty shakes from slim-fast that made me just want fries and a burger to go with it. I continued a low-fat, high carb diet for the most part. It was the way of the time. All the health magazines and dieting groups were advocating it. I ate fruit loops and skim milk for Breakfast. A can of regular soda for lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich with rice crispy treat as a snack and maybe a small plate of whatever we were having for dinner. That, for me, usually contained meat and some other form of starch. I felt famished or sluggish often but thought that was the price I had to pay in order to achieve my goals.

Picture on the left was about the time I realized I wanted to make a change.  A couple years later on the right, I had made some progress in my new mission.

Eventually, I found the gym and some minor success with weight management but more importantly community and stress relief. I picked up some good habits and advice at the gym. I learned about the importance of veggies as well as how regular exercise was key to maintaining a healthy fit body.

Finishing up high school I was in good place overall , exercising and avoiding most junk food but then college and all was lost for a while….

On my Senior trip I felt good about my body.


In my next post I’ll take you back to my “freshmen 15” experience and introduction to low-carb dieting.