Saturday, April 28, 2012

My BEFORE & AFTER pics!!!

Not gonna lie. 

I was pretty hesitant to put these up. Nothing like really putting yourself out there, right? I only took them to keep track of my own progress....but a few friends asked if they could see my before/afters, so I decided to go ahead. You already saw the difference in how my clothes are fitting (and YES, those are MY pants!! DUH!!! Somebody actually asked me who's pants I was wearing....???Yea, cuz I always wear other people's pants that are way too big....to work!)

SO....This, my friends, is why I am LOVING ADVOCARE!!!!

BEFORE:
  
AFTER:
{I will post more soon in the same lighting...the second ones aren't quite as good quality and I don't feel like they show the cuts in my back or quads...I really look VERY different in person!)

Here's the deal.

 I have always eaten clean. I have always worked out intensely. There is no way around it. If you want to change your body, you have to make healthy lifestyle changes.

I didn't change either of those things during the challange- I did them like I have always done. So based on my personal experience, pairing Advocare products with a healthy diet and workouts, you WILL see results!! 

Here's what I did....I completed the 24 Day Challenge. I added in Catalyst (originally created for the U.S. Olympic team to help them retain lean muscle while cutting fat) & ThermoPlus (thermogenic to hear up core temperature and speed up metabolism. I loved the shakes, fish oil, and vitamins so much that I have stayed on all of those after the challenge. That is optional, but I loved the way the made me feel and FINALLY helped me curb my sweet tooth (seriously, how many posts have I written about my sugar addiction?!?), so I am SOLD. 

I also drink Spark & Rehyrdate (a MUCH better option than Gatorade or Powerade!!) every day, and have recently added in O2 Gold to get more oxygen to my muscles as well as Night Time Reocvery to help me recover faster. My hubby is taking the whole Performance Elite line too and LOVING it. Yes, we re Advocare junkies over here!! Haha, you should see our pantry.

But hey, if I can put something into my body to help me get results and I know it is 100% natural, safe, and effective (trust me, I've researched the SNOT out of it! or heck, don't trust me and do the research yourself- the science behind it all is incredible!), then why not?!?  And I can't complain about our 40% discount too!! We were already spending tons each month on vitamins, supplements, etc., why not do it with some phenomenal products and get a discount??

Besides, the last "pre-workout" my hubby was taking was called Hemo-Rage, and who the heck knows what that crap has in it! I'm so thankful to have him taking something GOOD for him that I can trust!!
Like I've said, I know it's not for everybody, but I'm thankful Jonathan & I have discovered it!! WE LOVE it!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Health Inspiration–This is a MUST READ!!

DRINK YOUR WATER!!!!

Do what you gotta do to get it in. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to your health, well being, body functioning properly, weight loss, etc.

And a little more scientific:

I also love this visual about muscle vs. fat!! (This is why so many people are surprised to hear how much I weigh!! Jonathan too.) This exact visual is why I am not overly concerned about my weight, but more about how my clothes fit, my physical fitness, and how I look/feel.  I have a lot of muscle, so I might look “skinnier” than someone who weighs the exact same as me (or even less) but does not have as much muscle.

This is also why BMI is not always an accurate indicator of health. Jonathan & I are both on the line for “overweight” range for our height, but our body fat percentages are very low, and all of our health numbers are excellent.

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{If you were to go on BMI alone, we are both considered overweight. Do we look “overweight” to you??}

Muscle weighs more than fat, but takes up less space!This is also why it’s important to lift weights and not do just cardio alone. Cardio is great for you, & it’s awesome for getting your heart rate up, burning some calories, and keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. However, when you finish with your cardio workout, that’s it. Your body ONLY burns during the actual cardio workout, which is why strength training is so important!

Weight bearing exercises (lifting weights) increase your bone density and helps speed up your metabolism!! When you lift weights, you’ll develop more muscle, which in turn torches mega calories throughout the rest of the day! Your body continues to burn calories long after you finish your weight lifting session, so you’ll be burning more fat and toning up for a more lean look. Although you want to incorporate both weight lifting AND cardio into your fitness routine, I STRONGLY encourage strength training 3-5 times a week.

Check out what Mayo Clinic has to say about it:

“Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.”

If you still wanna know more, Dr. Oz explains in this video that muscle burns 50x more calories than fat!! And this, my friends, is the true key to weight loss and overall fitness!

And check out these two fun links of the day!!

QUIZ: Are you in SHAPE??

7 Fat-Fighting Breakfast Recipes

P.S. If you’re rushed for time in the mornings, I STRONGLY recommend the meal replacement shakes!!

Meal Replacement Shake

  • They are DELICIOUS!!! (chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla) I look forward to mine every morning!
  • You can add berries, bananas, natural peanut butter, etc. Put it in the blender and it tastes like a MILKSHAKE!
  • They are the perfect 1:1 combo of protein & carbs, which means it is the PEFRECT meal to start your day! It’ll keep you feeling full.
  • It will JUMP START your metabolism!
  • It’s quick & easy! No more excuses…(you can get a shaker cup from Wal-Mart for $6 and drink it on the go with ice and cold water!)
  • If you break down how much you’re spending on your breakfast and morning snack, it ends up being about the same cost!!

Let me know if you want me to hook you up- Here is a link if you want to know more! (And you can always e-mail me so I can help you get a 20% discount!)

Learn more HERE!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"It you wanna see the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." (House Flood 2012)

Do you think God has been preparing me for a trial or what?!?! We are in the middle of an incredible Bible study on the book of James….all about trials. I even wrote a post about it a week or two ago….Check it out HERE!

Then, Brian preached about trials on Wednesday AND Sunday night. Brian & Chelsea are our good friends whose son was recently really, really sick with a rare disease…..remember me asking for prayer for him awhile back? By the way, our God is still in the miracle business in case you were wondering. Chels (who doesn’t know it yet) is actually working on a guest post so she can share her great testimony.

Anyway, as Brian closed out the message on Sunday night, he reminded us that we are either just coming out of a trial, going through one now, or about to be in one. He encouraged us to either ask God what He was/is trying to teach and show us through our trials, or ask Him to prepare our hearts for the ones we’re about to face. I was praying, thanking God for the many, many blessings in our life. We haven’t been through many trials…..so you know what that means- One was coming. I had that feeling…so I was praying that I would respond to it in a way that demonstrates my faith and allows God to be glorified. Not trying to sound “super spiritual” or anything, but that was my prayer and my heart on Sunday night. I told God that I was going to trust HIM when it comes and not let it rock my whole world.

Speaking of trials, they also told us at the end of service that one of the families in our church had just lost their home in a fire. They have three sons, and the dad was in Japan on a business trip. How awful!! I can’t even imagine. We stayed late to pray for them…

After service we went to dinner with several of our friends. We enjoyed some fun fellowship & laughed and talked for awhile. We pulled in the driveway around 10:15 p.m. We opened the garage door, walked in the house, and I saw a puddle of water. I had a moment of panic!! I immediately assumed I had left the faucet running in the kitchen sink while rinsing out the blender or something. We turned on the lights and found our entire floor was COVERED in standing water, and we could hear water rushing out from somewhere. Jonathan walked to the basement and it was the same way. He turned the water source off and I got as many towels as I could find to start soaking it up….We started moving furniture and picking things up, and called the insurance company immediately. I honestly wouldn't have even known how to turn the water off...so I'm SUPER thankful Big Jon was there! AND he can handle all the insurance claims stuff because he's in the construction field and deals with this type of stuff all the time.
This is going to be an absolute NIGHTMARE. We are going to have to pack everything up and move out for a while. We are going to have to pull up all the hardwood and completely redo the floors (lay new floors, sand, seal, etc.), take out the cabinets and granite countertops, redo some sheetrock, baseboards, door frames, etc., redo some framing and insulation in the basement, have the HVAC system redone as well as the duct work, redo some tile in the laundry room and carpet in the master, replace the furnace and alarm system, and be treated for mold and mildew. It flooded our entire downstairs and our whole basement!!

It makes me a little nauseas to have to think about all the work we’re about to have to do….how torn up our house will be…..and that we are going to have to stay somewhere else for a while because our house will not be liveable.  Not exactly what I was hoping for over my summer break....

{Thankful we had all these RANDOM towels packed away in a closet upstairs!}
{And that my hubby has a shop vac!}
BUT….

I can say this.

I am thankful for our home. For insurance. That our house is still standing. I’m thankful we didn’t lose everything in a fire like the sweet family at church is dealing with right now. I’m thankful we are both safe and healthy and okay. I’m thankful it’s not anything more serious. And while this will be a headache, it could have been so much worse. I almost feel “guilty” even calling this a trial, because in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. Even though we love our home, a house is still just a material possession.

I’m also thankful for a husband who has REALLY stepped up and handled every bit of this like a champ. Who has kept me calm. Who is handy enough to do almost every bit of this work himself. He really has been such a blessing and I respect him at a whole new level already. Y’all already know I think my husband is THE MAN (I actually just wrote about that last week too…check it out HERE!), but now I see that when a problem arises, I can totally count on him and trust him to be my rock through it. I’m thankful to be holding his hand through our journey together…through the good and the bad. Through the mountaintops….and the floods.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fat Loss Motivation!!! (And more info about BREAKFAST!)

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And check this video from Dr. Oz….
I had a KICK BUTT workout last night and I’m feeling awesome today!! I know it’s no secret I tried and LOVED the 24 day challenge, and now I’m branching out and trying some of the other products. Last night I had O2 Gold + Catalyst +Spark… and my endurance and strength were AWESOME!! If you’re into working out, I would definitely recommend looking into those. Several of my friends have been raving about that combo, and now I get why!
{I haven’t been running since my last MARATHON at the end of January- just lifting 5 days a week and doing high intensity interval training 2-3 times. I took this same combination before my 5K Color Run last week, and I felt phenomenal then too….This will DEFINITELY now be a staple in my daily workout routine.}
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I’ve also had several people ask me about breakfast lately. I know that some people don’t eat breakfast- either they don’t feel hungry in the mornings or they don’t have time. I can’t say I relate, because eating is the first thing I think about and want to do in the am- Ha! I cannot encourage breakfast enough though!!!! If there is ONE thing I can recommend to help you live a healthier lifestyle, burn more fat, lose weight, speed up your metabolism, etc….. It’s to EAT BREAKFAST!!!!
Here’s the deal…
After your body has been sleeping and shut down for 7-8 hours, you need to give it some fuel to get it going again. You have a 30 minute window from the time you wake up to put something in your body and jump start your metabolism!! It’s important to make a healthy choice too because it determines the rest of your day. You can either kick your metabolism into HIGH GEAR by choosing a healthy option, a combo of complex carbs and lean protein…..OR you can slow it down and drudge through your day by eating something like a doughnut or pasty, sugary cereal, or white bagel with cream cheese.  I know those foods are yummy, but they are NOT going to help you burn fat or get your body functioning the way it needs to.
For the last 4 years I have eaten 4 egg whites and a 1/2 cup of steel cut oats (with cinnamon) EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING!!! While I love that breakfast and highly recommend it, I have a NEW LOVE.
These strawberry meal replacement shakes are DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! I feel like I’m getting a milkshake for breakfast, and I look forward to them every morning. I make mine in the blender with ice and water, and you can also add fun stuff. They have chocolate and vanilla as well, so you can add strawberries or blueberries, bananas, natural peanut butter, whatever. It totally fills me up, is the perfect 1:1 combo of carbs and protein, and actually has LESS calories than my egg whites and steel cut oats I was eating. Sounds like a winner!!
I want to suggest this to my girls who “don’t have time” to eat breakfast. Get a shaker cup from Wal-Mart, throw this in there with some ice & water, and BAM! Healthy breakfast in less than a minute! No more excuses ladies, EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!!
{I FINALLY got my sister on them….She never eats breakfast because she has a 4 & 5 year old and doesn’t have time in the mornings….Steph (pictured on R) is now drinking these shakes instead, is down 7 lbs, and is in the process of QUITTING SMOKING!! Do it, girl!! I’m SO PROUD OF YOU!}

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Want Flat Abs?? Try these moves!! (And EAT clean!)

People ask me all the time what they can do to get rid of belly fat and have a flatter tummy.  Let me just tell ya, friends….The ONLY way to get a flatter stomach is through your diet. So if you want to change your body, you have to change what you’re putting into it. No amount of crunches are ever going to get you flat abs if you’re eating JUNK. 

Abs are made in the kitchen!

If you are making an attempt to eat clean, you will see the inches start melting away….and THAT is when all the hard work from doing abs will start paying off (because you’ll actually be able to see them!). I still recommend doing abs anyway because it is super important to have good core strength. It will help with balance and endurance…and having a strong core even helps hold some of your internal organs in place.

Ab exercises have always been a part of my routine, but my diet is what determines how tight (or not tight…ha!) my stomach looks. Keep that in mind!!! I know nobody wants to hear that. For most of us, it’s a lot easier to eat whatever we want and do 1,000 crunches….it’s way tougher to have  the discipline to have a clean diet. But that’s just the reality of how to have flat abs.

I would go ahead and start incorporating some of these KILLER moves into your workout routine ASAP- from this article!

TARGET-ABS-WORKOUT_INS2

Stability Ball Crunches: Lie on the ball, positioning it under the lower back. Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head. Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips. As you curl up, keep the ball stable (i.e., the ball shouldn't roll). Lower back down, getting a stretch in the abs, and repeat.

Stability Ball Reverse Crunches: Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head. Place both of your legs over the stability ball. Bring the knees in toward the chest, rolling the ball up toward your chest until they're bent to 90 degrees. Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs/ball up toward the ceiling.

Captain’s Chair Knee Raises: Using a vertical knee raise chair, start with your legs hanging straight down and slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate, as you bring your knees up and return them back to the starting position.

Hanging Leg Raises: This exercise is similar to the captain’s chair, except you will hang from a bar or use straps if they are available. You will start with your legs hanging straight down and slowly lift your knees in toward your chest. The motion should be controlled and deliberate as you bring your knees up and return them back to the starting position. Try not to swing as you perform the movement.

Scissor Kicks: Lay flat on your back with your legs straight on the floor. Lift your legs together six inches off the ground. Cross your feet (right foot over left foot); make sure to keep toes pointed up. Return your legs to the original starting position. Cross your feet again, this time left foot over right foot

Seated Knee Raises: Sit in the middle of a bench with your knees and feet together. Grasp the back of the bench and lean backward, making sure your shoulders are pulled back. Lift your knees toward your chest and then extend them back out. Make sure to use your arms to support your body and maintain balance.

30-Second Plank Holds with feet on a Bosu Ball: Lie facedown on mat, resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor, and place your feet on a bosu ball. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your buttocks from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.

And remember…..

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

5 Reasons to Speak HIGHLY of Your Spouse!!

A friend recently sent an article to some of our friends by Michael Hyatt about speaking highly of your spouse in public. I absolutely agree 100% that this is super essential.

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Sometimes I playfully joke about Jonathan, and I think I need to stop that. Although I assume everyone knows how I feel so incredibly blessed to be married to him, some people may not know that. I need to be careful with my “harmless jokes.”

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I hear other women talk about their husbands and it makes me even more thankful for Big Jon. I know I need to be more appreciative of him and LET HIM KNOW too, that I think he is THE MAN.  I try not to brag on him too much because I don’t want to make others feel bad, but ya know what I’m realizing- WHO CARES?? He is my husband and he deserves that praise and affirmation from me, both publicly and privately. I can do it tastefully without making other people want to throw up in their mouths! (Like they probably feel like doing after this post!) If nothing else, I need to at least show the girls I teach the qualities in a spouse that are important. And encourage the young men he teaches to continue to follow his example.

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I could seriously brag on him ALL DAY LONG. (And sometimes I do.) I’m sure other people get tired of hearing about how HARD WORKING, hilarious, handsome, helpful, smart, and thoughtful my husband is. He has a total servant’s heart. He serves in the youth, teaches a SS class, and all the kids absolutely ADORE him. (He is going to be the best daddy!) He is definitely the spiritual leaders in our home and makes sure we’re at church every week, He helps around the house more than any other man I have seen. He BUSTS HIS TAIL working a physical labor job full-time; has side businesses and side jobs going all the time, and his goal is to get me to stay home with our kiddos. I have no doubt he will accomplish that, and I appreciate his desire for that. He also works out hard and helps me make healthy choices for us. Not only that….but he also comes home and helps me around the house- putting away laundry, the dishes, sweeping vacuuming, etc. He prays for me daily and he lets me know that he does. He tells me I’m beautiful, his best friend, and that he’s lucky to have me AT least 3 times every day.

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Anyway, now on to what I wanted to share with you all. Here is the meat of the article that share five important reasons for affirming your spouse in public:

1. You get more of what you affirm. Have you ever noticed that when someone praises you, you want to repeat the behavior that caused it? This is just human nature. It can be a form of manipulation if it isn’t genuine. But it can be a powerful way to motivate others when it is authentic.

2. Affirmation shifts your attitude toward your spouse. Words are powerful tools. They can create, or they can destroy. They can build up, or they can tear down. I believe most people have a drive to align their actions—and their attitudes—with their words. If you start speaking well of someone, you start believing what you say.

3. Affirmation helps strengthen your spouse’s best qualities. Encouragement is also a powerful force for good. All of us need positive reinforcement. This is why when we are losing weight and people notice, it gives us the strength to stick with the program. This is true in every area of life.

4. Affirmation wards off the temptation of adultery. When others see you are happily married, they are less likely to proposition you. It’s like a hedge that protects your marriage from would-be predators. You simply stop being a target.

5. Affirmation provides a model to those you lead. To be a truly effective leader, you must lead yourself, and then you must lead your family. Your marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value the most. When you speak highly of your spouse, your followers are more likely to trust you. It takes your leadership to another level.

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Affirming your spouse in public is an investment that pays big leadership dividends. In a world where fewer and fewer marriages last, it can be a difference-maker.

Ladies, go BRAG about your hubby the way he deserves!!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Devotions: TRUSTING in the Lord!!

I was catching up on a few Jesus Calling devotions this morning….and these to both cut to my core today. They resonated so strongly with me that I knew I needed to share. I SO needed these encouraging words about trusting the Lord and hope they bless and encourage you too!

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Trust me and do not be afraid. Many things feel out of control. Your routines are not running smoothly. You tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable. Let me lead you to the Rock that is higher than you and your circumstances. Take refuge in the shelter of my wings, where you are absolutely secure.

When you are shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip my hads tightly and look for growth opportunities. Instead of moaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new. I lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit for my kingdom. Say yes to the ways I work in your life. Trust me, and don’t be afraid.

Isaiah 12:2, Psalm 61:2-4, 2 Corinthians 3:18

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Trust me in every detail of your life. Nothing is random in my kingdom. Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good for those who love me. Instead of trying to analyze the intricacies of the pattern, focus your energy on trusting me and thanking me at all times. Nothing is wasted when you walk close to me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good through my transforming grace.

While you were still living in darkness, I began to shine the light of of my Presence into your sin stained life. Finally, I lifted you up out of mire into my marvelous light. Having sacrificed my very life for you, I can be trusted in every facet of your life.

Jeremiah 17:7, Romans 8:28, Psalm 40:2 1 Peter 2:9

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Monday, April 16, 2012

OH Summer, WHERE ART THOU??

I LOVE teaching.
I love my job. I love my sweet middle schoolers. I love their funny comments and smiles and sweet hearts.
  
But I am SOOOOO ready for summer!!!! I mean, READY!!!!
I'm ready for VACATION! For the beach....and cookouts....and Braves games.....and laying out by the pool!
I'm ready to sleep in. To rest. To have time for normal people errands. And to take a break from my go-go-go!!!
 
Oh summer, WHERE ART THOU?!?!
{Only 23 more days...but who's counting??}

Are YOU ready for summer????