Sunday, January 15, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 8-14

January 8-14

The second week of January is over and I'm here for my second goal update on My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year.  If you missed last week's update, click here to check it out.  Let's see how I did with each of my goals.

1. Make healthier food choices.
I think I did great!  I had oatmeal every day for work, thanks to my breakfast preparation last week.  On the weekend, I had basically the same thing but with farina (Cream of Wheat) instead of oatmeal just to change things up a bit.

Since I started eating oatmeal for breakfast, I haven't been snacking mid morning any more.  Oatmeal really does a great job of keeping you full!

I did really well with lunches too.  I brought grapes, carrots, and peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat Monday through Thursday for lunch at work.  I knew my work crew was going out to lunch together Friday but I got a grilled chicken salad with olive oil and vinegar.  On the weekends, I had grapes, carrots and whole wheat bread with turkey and cheese.

Dinner is usually a weak area for me because hubby cooks dinner and he's more concerned with making an amazing meal than a healthy meal.  Lately, I've been trying to help out more by selecting more fresh veggies at the grocery store and giving him recipes that include those.  We had some chicken with pasta, grape tomatoes, squash, and asparagus one night seasoned with lemon, rosemary, and parsley.  Another night he made steaks with squash, red potatoes, and tomatoes that were flavored with thyme, lemon, and parsley.  A friend gave us several large juicing lemons from a tree in his yard, hence all the lemon, which tastes amazing with chicken or veggies!  Also, we started an herb garden outside so we can have fresh herbs to cook with!  I think once it gets closer to spring, we may also plant some veggies and try our hand at growing more of our own food.

I've mentioned before that dessert has always been a weakness for me.  I just love something cold!  I've got more of these Breyer's ice cream cups to use up and then I think I'm going to try something else.  Maybe frozen yogurt?

2. Exercise five days a week for thirty minutes.
I didn't even realize that I had set my goal to five days a week for thirty minutes until I went back to my original post on this and re-read it.  I'm going to give myself a pass though because 5 X 30 = 150 minutes total or 2.5 hours and I exceeded that, even if it was spread out differently through the week.

Sunday: 50 minutes of "elliptical" (AKA walking in place, not sure why my FitBit can't figure that out!)
Monday: 15 minutes of yoga
Tuesday 17 minutes of yoga
Wednesday: 17 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 34 minutes of "elliptical"
Friday: 18 minutes of walking
Saturday: 33 minutes of "elliptical"

I'm just going to go ahead and say I'm the most proud of Thursday.  I had a dentist appointment in the morning but instead of sleeping in, I got up at my normal time, got ready to go, and then walked in place with the extra time I had.  Go me!

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
I'm pretty proud of this one!  I managed to get to 10,000 steps every single day this week.  I guess I was just feeling extra motivated on Saturday.  I knew I could take the day off if I wanted to but I was feeling up to walking so I did.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
After creating my Google form to track my bedtime, I think I did better than last week.  However, I still have some major room for improvement!  My goal for weeknights was to average a bedtime between 9:00 - 9:30 PM.  I barely scraped in at the latest possible time and only because on the last day I figured out what time I could stay up until based on the data from the rest of the week and I went to bed at that time!  But before, I would have just stayed up later and not cared.  Collecting the data definitely makes me think more about it, even if I did stay up past 9:30 two nights.  My goal for weekends was to average a bedtime between 10:00 - 10:30 PM.  I failed at that goal.  But again, in the past I would have stayed up even later and not cared.  For this week coming though, I really would like to meet both of my goals!

5. Leave some wiggle room.
This week was all about dessert for me.  I went out to eat twice but both times just got a grilled chicken salad so I allowed myself room for two nights of the mini ice cream cups.

6. Progress towards goal?
This week I was down 1.6 pounds from last week and 5.2 pounds total.  I would like to say that all of my hard work paid off on the scale this week but I honestly think it was just water weight!  I fully expect to yoyo around a little on the scale this coming week as I regain some of the water when I have a meal or two with more sodium.  If I maintain about the same weight by the end of next week, I'll be happy.

On a final note, I'm looking into the DASH diet right now.  It's the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet that helps people lower their blood pressure through diet changes.  It's good for me because it's a low sodium diet and it's been voted the number one diet for the last seven years by U.S. News and World Report because it's easy to follow, good for your heart, and also good for diabetics.  I've ordered the book The DASH Diet Action Plan from Amazon so I'm really curious to see if I can find some more low sodium recipes and meal ideas.  Has anyone heard of this diet?  Have you had luck with it?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Healthy Meal Preparation: Lunch

As I mentioned in my Healthy Meal Preparation: Breakfast post, preparing healthy meals in advance helps me to make healthier eating choices so I'm able to lose weight.  Today we're talking lunches!  I like to prep my meals on the weekend but I don't want to spend all day doing it.  I've streamlined this process and I thought today I would share with you how I go about it.

The hardest part for me was planning in advance so that when I go to the grocery store, I buy healthy foods that are quick and easy to prepare for the week.  For me, I've found that some of the easiest things are grapes and carrots.  With the grapes, all you have to do is wash them, cut the stems to separate them into groups.  I have five days of work this week so I separated them into five groups.  I leave them on the vine and just put them in a ziplock bag.  Next, I buy pre-sliced carrots and divvy them out into five groups as well.  Occasionally, the store will be out of pre-sliced.  In that case I just buy whole carrots, wash them, and break them into pieces that will fit in a bag.  No one in my office minds if I chomp on a carrot like Bugs Bunny.

Finally, I make a sandwich.  I do this each night before work.  Bread just don't stay fresh after you've put toppings on it so I don't make one in the evening for the next day.  However, making a peanut butter and sugar free jelly or a turkey and cheese only takes a couple of minutes each night compared to creating an entire lunch when I already had all of the ingredients out anyway.

And that's it!  Just a few minutes ensures I have a healthy lunch ready to go in the morning.  Do you meal plan?  I'd love to hear some other quick and easy fruits and vegetables besides grapes and carrots that I could throw in my lunches so feel free to share what you do!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Healthy Meal Preparation: Breakfast

One of the hardest things about trying to lose weight is making good choices about what you eat.  And yet it's so important in creating the caloric deficit that results in weight loss.  For me, it's way easier to eat less calories than it is to burn off thousands of extra calories!  The best way that I've found to ensure I'm making healthy food choices is through meal preparation.  Lately I've been on an oatmeal breakfast kick and have enjoyed making my own healthy version of instant oatmeal.  Pre-packaged instant oatmeal from the store has loads more sodium, sugar, and added ingredients that I can't pronounce.  I prefer to buy quick oats and make my own flavors.  In just a short amount of time on the weekend, you can prepare a healthy breakfast for every day of the week ahead that's way healthier than the pre-made packets.

1. Gather ingredients.
I'm just now starting to get into oatmeal for breakfast so I've been experimenting a lot, hence the 10,000 ingredients I have pulled out.  If you wanted to keep it simpler, I would suggest selecting one type of oatmeal and focusing on that.  I wanted to try a different flavor every day this week and see what I liked the best.

2. Measure out the dry ingredients.
No matter what flavor of instant oatmeal I'm making, I always start with the same few base ingredients.  I start with 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 heaping tablespoon of flax seed meal (optional), and 1/2 tablespoon of truvia in each container.  I find that these containers are the perfect size.  They're great for storing the prepared instant oats but you can also heat them in these containers, eat them from these containers, and then toss them in the dishwasher.  Then depending on what flavor I'm making I might add in cinnamon, freeze dried fruit, or unsweetened coconut.

3. Write instructions for myself.
Since I make different flavors, I use a sticky note to make a label and write instructions for myself.  They look really simple because I have a system that works for me.  When I go to eat my oatmeal, I always add any wet ingredients that won't last well in the pantry, such as almond milk, vanilla, and in this recipe, grated carrot.  Any ingredients with an asterisk (*) are things that I know get added after the oatmeal is cooked.  I put those ingredients in a separate plastic bag that also gets labeled.

4. Put in the pantry awaiting breakfast time!
Once everything is labeled and packaged, it's ready to wait for you in the pantry!

5. Add the remaining ingredients, heat it, and nom it!
The one you see pictured here is carrot cake, which has so far been one of my favorite flavors and even sneaks in a full carrot for breakfast!  If carrot cake isn't your thing, there are so many other combinations to try, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.  And if your imagination needs some help, here are some ideas:

  • almond joy
  • raspberry coconut
  • banana nut
  • cinnamon apple
  • pumpkin pie
  • raisin nut
  • chocolate banana
  • blueberry crunch
  • mixed berry
  • strawberry pecan
  • raspberry vanilla
  • German chocolate cake
Or just try your favorite fruit (fresh, freeze dried, or frozen), some calorie free sweetener, and maybe some nuts for a nice crunch.  Overnight oats are really popular right now too but as the weather gets colder, I'm enjoying a hot breakfast.  However, most overnight oat recipes can be made to work with hot oatmeal too.  Oatmeal has been an easy way for me to start the day with a healthy meal that keeps me full for a really long time.  Have you gotten on the oatmeal bandwagon yet?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weekly Goal Update: Jan 1-7

January 1-7

Last week I wrote about my plan to get back on track for the new year with my diet and exercise plan.  The first week of January has come and gone already so I thought I would check in and discuss how each one of my goals has gone.  I'm a big fan of Fran from the blog FranishTheBlog and she had written about doing a weekly check in of her health and fitness goals on her blog to hold herself accountable and invited others to find a way to hold themselves accountable as well.  I thought that was a great idea so I'm here to do the same!  I might not be able to maintain posting every single week but I'm going to do my best.  So let's see how week one went!

1. Make healthier food choices.
I'm pretty proud of how well I did this week with breakfast!  Normally I just eat a bowl of cereal because it's quick, easy, and takes no preparation.  However, I find that cereal just doesn't keep me full for very long and then I end up hungry again by mid morning.  Usually I just pack a banana and eat that and everything is fine.  Sometimes someone will bring breakfast in (fresh Panera bagels slathered in cream cheese) or I'll be tempted by the shared box of Chips Ahoy snack bags someone brought in.  So I decided to give oatmeal a try this week.  It kept me full much longer so I didn't even need a snack.  I'm planning on posting later this week on how I spend a few minutes on the weekend prepping oatmeal for every day the rest of the week.  My favorite flavor this week was carrot cake, complete with real carrot!  Prepping oatmeal for the week takes very little time and I can have a healthy, quick, hot breakfast that keeps me full all the way until lunch.

Thanks to the oatmeal, I didn't snack at all this week!

I did really well with lunches as well.  For the workweek, I had grapes, carrots, and peanut butter and sugar free strawberry jelly on whole wheat bread.  On the weekends, I shook it up with the occasional 1/2 an orange, sugar snap peas, or other variations of fruits and veggies along with some sort of sandwich.  If I didn't feel like PB&J, I had turkey and cheese with spinach leaves instead.

Dinners were probably the hardest for me because my husband cooks and he is not anywhere near as interested in eating healthy as I am.  But if he cooks it, I'm not complaining!  We still did pretty well, as I helped out by selecting some healthy recipes from Pinterest to try and adding the ingredients to our shopping list.  My favorite meal was this lemon-thyme chicken & zucchini.  It was absolutely amazing.  I'm still thinking about it three days later.  I've since ordered a zester on Amazon because I'm pretty sure I now need to have lemon in all of my food and our grater doesn't have the most efficient zester on it.

I only had dessert one day this week: a chocolate ice cream snack cup from Breyer's topped with a bit of whipped cream.  As a person who loves dessert, that's pretty good for me!  Instead of ice cream, most days I made myself a cup of hot tea.  Way less calories but satisfying in a different way.

2. Exercise five days a week.
Check!  While I didn't do yoga as I originally planned, I did exercise six days out of this week.  Mostly, I walked in place while watching TV!  Although for some reason, my FitBit is really struggling to track that activity and either can't pick it up accurately for the correct amount of time (I definitely walked for a full hour yesterday while watching an episode of Man in the High Castle) or it's convinced I'm doing the elliptical.  Either way, I basically do this sort of a thing, varying the type of steps I take.  But I do all of the walking while watching TV for about twenty or thirty minutes at a time.  Then I can take a break and sit for awhile and I still have the energy to come back for another twenty or thirty minute walk.  This is how I've been getting my steps in this week.  And on Tuesday I burnt 241 calories just walking in place while watching TV!  I know that's not a ton or a super intense workout but I thought it was a good start for my first week back to work after basically being off for a week.  It made me wish I had a treadmill.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
Another check!  This week I had to work Tuesday through Friday so I chose Monday (my last day off) as my "lazy" day.  It was nice to soak up every last minute of my time off for myself and not worry about walking in place to get steps.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
Oh, fail.  After being off of work for a week, I had definitely gotten out of my routine of going to bed around nine and getting up around five.  And it didn't help that my first day back to work, I completely forgot to turn my alarm back on and I woke up two hours late!  Don't worry, it was actually an optional work day for me.  But for the next two nights after that, I kept waking up randomly every hour, paranoid about what time it was and thinking I had over slept.  Finally by Thursday night, I had gotten back into my routine just in time for the weekend.  So getting more sleep is something I'll definitely have to put more effort into next week.  And I've decided I should make this goal more specific too so I can actually assess my success.  I've created a Google Form for myself where I can just open the form right before I go to bed and tell it whether it's a weekday or weekend.  It auto collects the date and time and I can have the data collected for me to see what time I'm calling it a night.  My goal is to have my average bedtime for weeknights be between 9:00 and 9:30 and weekends 10:00 - 10:30.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Friday night we had a well deserved dinner out.  Hubby received an Outback Steakhouse gift card for Christmas so we celebrated the weekend with an appetizer of cheesy French Fries and an entree of salads.  I feel like splitting a small fry was just enough of a cheat to satisfy my craving for junk without consuming a thousand calories.

6. Progress toward goal?
My long term goal was to lose ten pounds total.  This week I've lost 0.6 pounds  and total I've lost 3.6 since the start of August.  That means I have 6.4 pounds to go!  My weekly goal is to lose 0.5 pounds per week.

That's it for this week's update!  I'm hoping that now that I have some more specific goals laid out, I can really monitor them and keep track of my progress.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Empties: November - December 2016

My empties bin was piling up and I didn't want to start the new year with a bucket full of trash so it seemed like a great time to document my final empties from 2016!  Let's take a look at what I've used up over the last two months.

1. garnier fructis root amp mousse - I've been using this for awhile now to add volume to my roots.  It's affordable and works really well and I've already repurchased it.
2. salon grafix invisible dry spray shampoo - This was my dry shampoo of choice for ages but they've recently redone the formula and I just can't stand the new version.  It doesn't leave my hair feeling clean at all.  I couldn't even finish off this bottle.  It's just so bad.
3. not your mother's clean freak refreshing dry shampoo - Luckily, while traveling this summer I tried out a sample of the not your mother's dry shampoo and I loved it!  I've been using this one now and I really feel like it works even better than the old version of the invisible dry shampoo.  I see how people can get away with not washing their hair for several days with a good dry shampoo!
4. garnier fructis beach chic sea salt spray - I've had this sea salt spray for ages.  I like to use it if I French braid my hair at night to hold in the waves and I also sometimes use it when I curl or wave my hair with hot tools.  It does a great job of adding texture to my fine, straight hair.  The only drawback is that I just don't love the scent of it.  It just smells like salty play dough to me.  Not a bad scent but I really like the not your mother's sea salt spray better so I've switched to that for now.
5. batiste tropical dry shampoo (trial size) - I have a trip coming up in late January so I picked up this because I couldn't find a trial size of the not your mother's dry shampoo.  Then I finally found the NYM so I decided to just use this batiste to try out a different dry shampoo.  I'm not a fan.  It worked just as well as the NYM but I hated the tropical scent.  The tropical just smelled to me like coconut sunblock.  I also felt like it left more of an undesirable residue than the NYM.

1. olay daily facials - This is a staple in my life.  These dry cloths are perfect for removing makeup.  Just get them wet and they suds up and take off your makeup - including waterproof mascara!  I always have these in stock.
2. up & up baby hair + body wash - I use this gentle soap to as a body wash.  It works great on my sensitive skin.
3. clean & clear essentials foaming facial cleanser sensitive skin - I've gone back and forth on face wash a few times but right now I'm using this foaming cleanser.  It's inexpensive, lasts for a long time, and keeps my skin in check.
4. top care makeup remover wipes - These wipes are the store brand that are available at Winn Dixie.  They are my absolute favorite makeup wipes.  They are really affordable and do a great job of removing any leftover eyeliner or mascara without irritating my eyes.
5. up & wet makeup remover wipes - If I haven't been to Winn Dixie for awhile, I pick these up at Target.  They work just as well as the top care but I feel like they are a little more expensive for the same product.

Some of these makeup items are things that I used up ages ago but I had been saving them for my Products I Want to Use Up video series.  [Video #1,  Video #2]  But honestly I just sort of forgot about most of them when I used them up and also forgot about updating.  Oops!  So I'm including them now and I thought I would try to find the date that I used them up from past empties or update videos.  All items denoted with an asterisk (*) are from my Products I Want to Use Up series.

1. l'oreal true match powder in n2: classic ivory (finished May 2016) * - I love this powder!  I've tried so many others, trying to find something a bit less expensive that works as well as this one and the others all just fall short.  This one is really great at setting your makeup without looking dry or cakey like other powders can.  I've since repurchased it but I need to use up a few other ones I have hanging around before I go back to this beauty.
2. physician's formula healthy wear bronzer in fair (finished June 2016) * - I'm pretty sure this bronzer was discontinued ages ago.  It was a great bronzer and I went back and found that I had purchased it back in 2011.  It served me well!
3. rimmel lasting finish foundation in light ivory (finished June 2016) * - I mentioned in video #2 that this foundation was just sort of meh for me.  If you want more details, watch the video but I won't be repurchasing this one.
4. sonia kashuk shine luxe sheer in sheer pink lust (finished April 2016) * - This was a great lip product!  It was simple but added something back to your face.  I miss it sometimes but I always forget that I have the same product in a different shade that I still need to use.
5. revlon lip butter in berry smoothie (finished May 2016) * - This was a great item!  I'm sad that they discontinued the lip butters but I've since found other products that are similar, such as the essence sheer and shine lipsticks.
6. elf lip exfoliator (finished November 2016) * - This is a great product!  I have another one that I'm using now but I go through them pretty slowly.  I recommend it to anyone looking for a great lip exfoliator.  It now also comes in many different flavors!
7. essence gel eyeliner in midnight in paris - I bought this item not too long ago but it dried up really quickly, as these potted gel liners tend to do.  It was good while it lasted but this time around I'm trying the wet n wild gel liner instead.  We'll see if it lasts any longer.
8. carmex classic lip balm X2 - Have I talked about this product enough in my life?  It's completely basic but I go through them like crazy.  They do a great job of keeping my horribly dry lips moisturized.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Top 10 Makeup Products of 2016

Well there are only a few hours left in 2016 and it seemed like a good time to reflect on the makeup products that I relied on the most during this past year.  I have my top ten, in no particular order, to share with you today.  (And a little bonus of a few other great products, because more recommendations never hurt, right?)

1. elf makeup mist and set, $3.00 - I love this setting spray for taking away the powdery look after my face makeup is done.  I also like that it doesn't make my makeup look dewy, but just blends everything together and makes it look more natural.
2. covergirl clean matte bb cream in fair, $7.99 - Over the summer I felt like everyone was raving about this bb cream.  I gave it a try to see what all the hype was about and I have used it almost every day since.  I don't usually want a lot of coverage but this just makes my complexion look really even without looking like I'm wearing a ton of makeup.  This bottle is actually almost empty and you can assure I already have a backup ready to go!
3. maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black, $7.77 - If you've been with me for a long time, you know I've loved this mascara for ages.  However, lately I've noticed some flaking off in the inner corner.  I love how it holds a curl though so I use it as my first layer of mascara.
4. covergirl clump crusher water resistant in very black, $7.99 - After applying colossal, I layer this on top and it still holds a curl but this mascara does a great job of not flaking and keep anything under it from flaking as well.  It adds great length and some volume and I also love how it's water resistant but at the end of the day, it comes off really easily.  These two mascaras paired together are a perfect match!
5. milani eyeshadow primer, $7.00 - I've tried other eyeshadow primers but I just always come back to this one.  It does a great job of making my shadow last without creasing.
6. benefit erase paste in fair, $26.00 - I first tried this product back in December of 2015 and I've basically used it almost every day since then.  I have extremely dark under eye circles and this is hands down the best item I've found to cover them.  I love how emollient it is so it adds moisture to the dry under eye area yet is still incredibly opaque.
7. elf instant lift brow pencil in neutral brown, $2.00 - I love the ease of eyebrow pencils but they are usually too warm toned for me but this one is perfect!  I've almost used the whole thing up and this is another item I already have a backup for.  You can see how well loved this product is by how haggard the packaging is.  For the two dollar price tag, I think you get an amazing product that comes in cheap packaging.  As you can see, my spoolie end has broken and I've taped it back up.  But I like it so much I could still use the pencil side and just a different spoolie.
8. rimmel scandaleyes waterproof kohl eyeliner in nude, $3.97 - This liner is great at making you look less tired when applied to the waterline.  I use it almost every day.  You can see I've used a lot of it up but it lasts a really long time.  It's good stuff!
9. carmex classic lip balm, $0.98 - While this might not be considered a makeup item, seeing as how it's colorless, it would definitely be my absolute number one top makeup item.  I have tubes of this in so many different places in my life.  I use it absolutely every single day, many times a day.  Even if I do nothing more than wash my face, I will always have this on.  It's a dry lipped girl's dream come true!
10. essence matt touch blush in berry me up! - I'm not sure what the price of this item is or even if it is available in the USA yet but for my European friends, you need to get this!  I bought mine while I was in Berlin this summer and I have been loving it every moment since then!  It's just the easiest, quickest and most easy to blend blush.  I've had to force myself to branch out to other ones ever since I bought this one.

Bonus Items!  
11. manic panic dreamtone color corrector in virgin, $8.73 - This product has been amazing for me.  I'm so fair that a lot of concealers and foundations are too dark for me, even in the lightest shade.  I add just a bit of this to a product that is too dark and then I can make it work for me!  I've used it most often mixed with the elf hd lifting concealer.  However, beware that if you add a lot of it to say, a foundation, it can change the consistency of the foundation.  I don't find it to be too big of an issue but it can make the foundation or concealer set faster than it normally would.  But it's not a deal breaker by any means.
12. elf hd lifting concealer in fair, $3.00 - This concealer is fantastic!  I love it for blemishes because (when combined with the color corrector) it blends out amazingly, lasts really well throughout the day, and is easy to work with.  I've already gone through one or two other tubes of this and I have a backup too.  For three bucks, I can keep one in my bag for touchups too.
13. milani color statement lipstick in pretty natural, $6.00 - This is the perfect professional lipstick.  There've been several times that I've had an impromptu meeting on days where I hadn't done my hair or makeup as nicely as I'd like and I just throw this on and immediately feel more put together.  I even have two tubes of it, one for my makeup desk and one in my purse.
14. essence sheer and shine lipstick in bff, $2.99 - This is a lipstick that just makes your face immediately look brighter and healthier.  It gives just enough color and shine to really give something back to your face without looking unnatural.
15. maybelline baby lips in cherry me, $4.49 - This product is quite similar to the sheer and shine lipstick but it's more moisturizing.  I don't feel like I need a mirror to apply it and it works with any other makeup you're wearing.  Just like the milani lipstick, I have two of these so I can have one in my purse and one in my makeup desk.
16. elf mad for matte eyeshadow palette, $10.00 - I switch around with eyeshadow a ton and rarely use the same thing more than once a week but I find myself going back to this palette a lot.  Every shadow in it is fantastic and the palette is great on its own but also works really well with other shimmery shadows.  It's got all of the basic matte shadows a girl could want and I really love it.  If you like matte shadows and don't have it yet, go to Target and get one!  You won't regret it.
17. essence gel eye pencil waterproof in black blaze, $2.99 - This liner is amazing for tightlining!  It's really black and goes on smoothly but lasts fantastically on the upper waterline.  I haven't really tried it elsewhere on my eyes, but for that purpose, it's wonderful.
18. wet n wild color icon eyeshadow single in brulee, $0.99 - This little eyeshadow is a total workhorse and I use it almost every day.  It makes a great brow highlight shade because it's matte.  I also like to use it a lot all over the lid with just a medium matte shadow in the crease.  It's a basic that gets a ton of use from me and I've been through multiples of this little shadow.

What makeup products were a staple for you in 2016?  I'd love to hear any product recommendations you have!  What's your favorite drugstore makeup item?

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year

Let me just say, I am not a New Year's Resolution person.  For me, most of them just don't stick past the first three weeks of the new year.  What I'm really preferring to call this is: My Plan to Get Back on Track for the New Year.  Allow me to explain.

Back in August, I had written about how I was having some minor health issues due to my poor lifestyle choices.  After talking with my doctor, we agreed that the best plan to fix my problem was for me to eat healthier and exercise more often so that I could lose the ten pounds that I had gained in the last year.  I took this very seriously and for all of August and September, I ate really healthy and worked out like a beast seven days a week.  I did really well with losing weight, steadily shedding half a pound a week every week.  However, it became exhausting working out like that.  My entire life was revolving around exercising and it was taking up all of my free time during the week.  Constantly denying myself fries and sweets and the things I loved was creating a constant mental battle between my cravings and my willpower.

When October rolled around, I started to slow down on the exercise.  I switched from cardio and strength training to doing yoga seven days a week but I was still eating a very restricted diet.  Then November came and the week of Thanksgiving I had a really bad cold.  With the combination of the holidays and not feeling well, I basically slouched around on the couch for the twelve day duration of my cold.  I didn't exercise at all and I ate whatever made me feel better - ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, leftover pie... you get the picture, right?

When I finally started feeling better, I got back on track with eating a little bit better but I made no effort any more to exercise.  I still was getting 10,000 steps a day every day but a lot of the time that was achieved by walking in place while watching YouTube.  Needless to say, after Christmas feasting, I've gained back quite a bit of the weight that I had lost.  Some of it is water that I'm retaining from all the excess salt but a good bit of it is also just extra fat that I've gained back from all those extra holiday calories.  I definitely don't want to continue in this pattern, so I've formulated a plan to get back on track for the new year so I can eventually meet my goal of losing that ten pounds.

1. Make healthier food choices.
Losing weight is a numbers game.  You have to burn more calories than you're taking in.  What I've found is that it is easier for me to just eat healthier than try to burn a ton of calories through exercise.  My problem is that I love to eat!  But cleaning your plate when it's full of spinach and vegetables is still a lot less calories than cleaning a plate of chicken fingers and French fries.  I know how to eat healthy, I just need to make an effort to do it.  For me, that starts with having lots of fresh produce and healthy snacks in the house and not having a bunch of junk food around to tempt me.

2. Exercise routinely... only five days a week.
Next, I know I need to get back to exercising routinely.  However, when I was doing thirty to ninety minutes of cardio and strength training and exercising seven days a week, I burnt myself out.  I plan on doing yoga, which I really enjoy both physically and mentally, but only five days a week and for thirty minutes.  Giving myself a couple days off leaves me permission to work around my schedule more.  If I have a particularly busy weekday, I can take a day off and workout on the weekend instead.  Or I can do sixty minutes the next day instead of thirty twice.  Also, I feel like yoga is exercise that I can sustain much better.  Cardio and strength training were making my blood sugars plummet - which caused me to consume more calories to raise it - which caused me to want to do more cardio to burn the calories - horrible cycle.  For me as a diabetic, yoga is much more gentle on the body while still building stronger muscles, increasing flexibility, and calming my overly active mind.

3. Get 10,000 steps six days a week.
Another way I burnt myself out was setting the expectation that I should get 10,000 steps a day, every day.  Even on weekends.  This time, I'm giving myself permission to spend one day out of the weekend just relaxing and recharging for the week to come.  Just that little thing gives me a lot more energy to accomplish my other goals throughout the rest of the week without feeling so exhausted and stressed out about getting steps in.

4. Go to sleep earlier.
Sleep!  It's the missing piece for a lot of people who are trying to lose weight.  Your body needs sleep to power your workouts but also some people who are sleep deprived have an increase in cravings for excess calories.  Plus being sleep deprived makes you age prematurely!  I'm pretty good about getting into bed early but those darn electronics keep me distracted and awake way longer than I need to be.  I need to work on putting the phone down and actually going to sleep.

5. Leave some wiggle room.
Finally, I need to give myself some wiggle room.  Having a piece of chocolate or some ice cream every now and then will not ruin me but depriving myself completely until I have a mental food breakdown may.  I feel like that's sort of what happened around Thanksgiving and Christmas when I definitely had some Cookie Monster moments.  And if I only get in four workouts in a week, that's okay!  I need to learn to not be so hard on myself when no one else has crazy unrealistic expectations for me.

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?  How do you maintain a lifestyle of eating healthy and exercising?  I'd love to hear from you!  I hope you all have a wonderful, safe New Year's Eve!  Here's to a great 2017!  🍾 🥂 🎉 🎆 🎇