The Decision to Be “Just” a Mom

I started staying home with our children 4 years ago when my daughter was 1 1/2.  We had paid off a great deal of debt and were able to live in a single income.  When I left my job, we also said goodbye to $47k/year, which meant a huge financial adjustment and a lot of fighting about money the first year I stayed home.

So while I wasn’t working a traditional job, I still felt obligated to continue some sort of money making opportunity on the side whether it was through direct sales, subbing in childcare at the Y, occasionally babysitting, doing odd jobs etc.  I struggled with never feeling good enough about myself without bringing in a paycheck.  I felt guilty spending money on myself for clothing and other basics.  I was never made to feel guilty by my husband, but there was a great deal of negativity in my mind that came with spending money on myself when I wasn’t contributing any.  I’m sure there are other stay-at-home-moms whom have had these feelings at one point. I felt uncomfortable being “just” a mom.

In July I was very privileged to take a trip to Nashville for my direct sales company’s big convention.  I had an AMAZING time meeting people I’d only spoken with online, got to enjoy fun local food and a night out, and I was surrounded by fitness fanatics like me.  It was truly an amazing trip and I have no regrets (except for losing my makeup bag, HUGE regret).

Throughout the opening and closing ceremonies I watched as everything I had been chasing for 4 years was right in front of me- the opportunity to earn vacations for our family, or help us pay debt off faster, the ability to be RECOGNIZED on a stage applauded by thousands when there are days are spent not even getting a thank you.  It was my deep longing to feel significance and acknowledged for my talents instead of feeling like I was wasting away changing diapers and wiping noses.  The ability to say I did this.  ME.  I’m more than John’s wife.  I’m more than a mom.  It was all right there like a carrot (okay, a bar of chocolate in my case, carrots are gross) dangling in front of me, just waiting to be grabbed.  It was very tempting.

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Even with all of it handed to me on a silver platter, I left and realized that I didn’t want it.  I didn’t care about being recognized for reaching goal XYZ in the company or having a social media following or retiring my husband and showing the world I was more than just a mom.  The business has real potential, but I was no longer willing to spend my valuable time trying to grow a business or build relationships.  I want to focus on what is right in front of me.  My beautiful children.  My aging parents.  My marriage.  I want to spend more time with my siblings and parents. To me it’s not worth it to chase the American Dream when the cost is high considering the payout- a bigger house? More money? Cooler vacations?  Having a lifestyle?  At what cost?  In the end none of it matters.  My American Dream is different.


So for the first time in 4 years the decision was made to be “just” a mom.  But let’s be honest here- moms are AWESOME.  We do it all whether or not we get thanks or recognized for it.  But now I gotta go- my kids are fighting about something again and I need to heat up the same cup of coffee for the 4th time today.  It’s time to be just a mom.

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A Must-Have Organizational Tool for EVERY Family

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Of all the things I’ve ordered from Amazon, THIS is favorite purchase.  I had purchased these write/wipe pockets for Aubrey for a greener option for handwriting, math problems, misc worksheets, mazes etc.  I have ended up using them all over our house!  I use one on our fridge door to keep track of our cleaning schedule/daily activities, kid’s chores, I put one on top of the deep freezer to keep track of freezer meals and inventory, I use one in the basement to track my workouts- the possibilities are endless and I’m probably going to order another pack because quite frankly I’m addicted but might try this smaller size.

The perks of buying these:
-They are very sturdy, versatile, and durable
Economical- the set comes with 5 pockets and 5 dry-erase markers with eraser tips for approx $2.25 per pocket
-very easy to clean (I’ve had issues with laminated pages as well as the dry erase boards from the bargain sections)
-large pockets can hold a variety of page sizes (Pockets measure 10″L x 14″H)
-super easy for kids to use
-reusable to cut down on paper waste

Do you have these?  I would love to hear more uses!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation if you make a purchase using this link.  Amazon did not sponsor nor provide the product in review in this post and all opinions are my own.  Thank you for your support!

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Why I Quit the 21 Day Fix (and every other diet)

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Well here we go.  Time to create what will probably be my most unpopular blog and will probably tick off a lot of my fellow coaches.

So before I continue I feel the need to throw out the disclaimer- all opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experiences.  These opinions are not affiliated or representative of any company.  I’m not a medical professional, certified PT or dietician.

So what am I and why should you even bother reading this?  I’m a woman, a wife and mom.  I’m also a Team Beachbody coach, so I’m sure this post will come as a shock to a lot of people.  For the last 20ish years I have been at war with my body convinced that if/when I would lose weight the pieces of my life would magically fall into place, my binge/emotional eating issues would be solved my confidence would soar, etc etc.  After all, isn’t that what everyone who has a major transformation on the cover of a magazine says?  I wanted to be a success story and be able to say “I did it!”.  Does any of this sound familiar?

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So I did several programs over my teens/20’s including MyFitness Pal, Eating Clean, Weight Watchers, low-carb, Paleo and from May 2015-June 2016 I used the 21 day fix portion control plan to successfully lose the weight I gained from my 4th miscarriage and 2nd full term pregnancy.  In total I lost over 40 pounds, I was feeling good, getting compliments, and praised for my motivation and discipline.  And then… I began to struggle.  I spent the first half of 2016 losing and gaining the same 10 pounds until June when I was introduced to the concept of Intuitive Eating and realized that what I was doing was flawed.  Like so many Americans I had become obsessed with being healthy but was far from healthy.


I was leading a life divided by good and bad foods, healthy and unhealthy, disciplined and out of control (again, sound familiar?)  and now I was eating out of color coded containers.  Through it all I was very very stressed. I had to open my eyes to the fact I had built a business and following around my weight loss journey and that it was consuming me and I felt trapped with my “healthy lifestyle”. I was stressed if I missed a workout, I felt guilty if I wasn’t getting results, I would beat myself up over having cake at a celebration. I realized it was because I was worried I was a hypocrite if I broke free of my shackles and pursued a life of balance, not obsession.

Now I know what you’re going to say if you’re a fan of the 21DF or a TBB coach. “But it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!!” or maybe “but eating whole foods is what we should be doing, food is fuel!!” or maybe you’ll just defend the program.   Sorry but the 21DF is just another way of counting calories- only you use containers.  Every diet plan works in the sense you will lose weight by cutting back on something but with EVERY DIET PROGRAM the biggest flaw is lack of sustainability.  What do I mean?  It means with ANY diet we stay on it for awhile and eventually we end up wanting things that aren’t part of the plan.  Maybe it starts as a cheat meal, then a cheat day, then turns into a full of week of binging, then we are bloated, guilty and feeling at blame for the flawed concept of dieting.  Then the yo-yo cycle begins- is balance possible?

I quit using the container system, counting calories and the whole shebang because I got sick of meal prepping and counting stuff all the time.  I got sick of running out of containers/carbs/calories when I was hungry or sometimes feeling forced to eat more when I wasn’t hungry to avoid “starvation mode”.  After 20ish years I finally came to accept dieting doesn’t work long term (thank you God) and have truly begun to trust my natural instincts again.  I was already gorgeous and a good person and that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life answering to the parameters of any diet program.  The diet industry has led us all to believe we needs their lists of ‘on plan’ foods, prepackaged astronaut food and meal plans to be healthy.  I wanted to challenge that and find a balance with health by going back to basics and learning to trust my ability to make the best choices for ME.


I’m happy to say I’m on my way to leading a healthier life free of dieting and unhealthy obsession with weight loss.  It has been a hard process but worth it!  I’m healthier mentally and have been embracing moderation which I used to say was a myth.  If you want to learn more about breaking the diet cycle I strongly recommend the book “Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition” by Evelyn Trible which also has a section on teaching kids to be intuitive eaters. 

Feel free to check out my other blogs on IE to read more about my personal experience or email me questions at phenommomfitness@gmail.com.

How I REALLY Feel About Homeschooling

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The forms have been submitted, the curriculum has been ordered, supplies have been purchased and kindergarten is quickly approaching.  And if you haven’t already heard, my husband and I have made the decision to homeschool our daughter this year.  This decision came after over a year of wondering…. Can we really do this?  Have we gone completely crazy? 

Everytime we mention that we’re homeschooling we get mixed reactions.  About 90% have been supportive, positive and understanding of why we are choosing a different path.  They get WHY we are doing this, even though they aren’t sure they could do it themselves.  Most people add “you are crazy” or “what about socialization?”  Yes, we are crazy, and no worries- socialization is covered.  Here’s the other thing though… I’m not going into homeschooling with the same mentality I had with being a stay-home-mom (I thought things would be way easier and had rosy colored glasses) where I didn’t expect a deep personal struggle.  


Homeschooling has not been an easy decision for us- there’s a reason it took over a year to decide YES, let’s do this.  So how do I really feel about homeschooling?  I’m insecure and I’m scared shitless.  Truth.

I’m afraid that my personal issues with consistency, organization, and time management will overflow into homeschooling.  I’m afraid that we will butt heads more than we’ll learn.  How will I teach when Jack is such a handful right now?  I frequently find myself wondering if we made the right decision.  I have our child’s education in my hands- and it’s very scary.

On the more selfish side- I’m also worried about ME.  I always imagined being the mom on PTO, spending her time helping organize activities and coordinating carpool.  I envisioned continuing the friendships I formed in MOMS Club through PTO, conferences, volunteering together for field trips and juts being “that mom”.  Will I find a tribe of homeschool moms who want to join me for a monthly night out for say… Margaritas and mom time?  What about my business? Will I be able to fit in daily time for me admist the daily chaos and 2 hours of teaching?  


So for the people out there that tell me they don’t think I’ll have balance or we’re crazy or they just couldn’t do it because they need time away from their kids…  I get it.  No really I GET IT because I’m the one living it. I get frustrated with my kids and need alone time.  I’m scared and it’s a huge step out of my comfort zone.  But I’m also wiling to take a chance on something scary in the hope it will be something amazing and that we are able to continue.  

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Rediscovering Satisfaction with Food

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“When you allow yourself pleasure and satisfaction from every possible eating experience, your total quantity of food will decrease.”

For the longest time food has been a science for me.  Eating for performance, drilling myself with the idea that “food is really only needed for survival” in an effort stay on plan, counting carbs, calories, containers or mentally making sure I was eating enough protein.  It was never fun.  

God made us to consume food, not to be consumed with it.  This can relate to the dieter who is consumed with eating in a restrictive pattern, counting everything, and also to the person who is addicted to food constantly seeking their next meal.  You’ll notice the bible frequently references feasts (think of the Last Supper), refers to gluttony & drunkeness as a sin, and also gives reference to spiritual thirst and hunger that can only be satisfied by the word of God.  

I feel as though Intuitive Eating has opened a realm to the balance God desires for food in my life.  To not be consumed but to also enjoy food.  I’ve always enjoyed wine pairing, hosting dinner parties, serving others food, and I’ve stopped doing this largely because of dieting.  I just couldn’t figure out how to find enjoyment with these things without simultaneously having feelings of guilt.  

So I’ve been using cookbooks I haven’t in years, experimenting in the kitchen, wine pairing, and taking time to slow down and savor my food.  Eating slowly and distraction free has played a huge role in this (for the record this is practically impossible when you have kids) and plays into one of the first guidelines for intuitive eating: giving yourself permission to eat.  

You know what else I’m savoring? Conversation. Time with people I love.  Not just shoving food in my mouth to fill awkward silences or because I’m starting over tomorrow.  Food for thought- savor the food and the moment and get true life satisfaction. 

Understanding How My Body Reacts to Food

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Biggest misconception of Intuitive Eating: eat everything, anything and a crap load of it.  Wrong wrong wrong.  But I won’t lie this is something that crossed my mind before being Intutive Eating. 

It’s not about losing weight, but rather about retraining your body and practicing a very mindful approach to eating.  Here’s an excellent example to the approach taken with IE: 

One of my downfalls in the past has been nighttime snacking.  Can you think of how you’d evaluate your nutrition during the day as amazing but end up binging on whatever sounds amazing vowing to start over the next day?  Here’s how things have begun to progress:

Pre IE: I’m starting over tomorrow, I’m going to make this count, let’s order pizza, deep dish, stuffed crust, the works- holla!!!

Week 1: I give myself permission to eat whatever I want, honoring my hunger cues 

Week 2: I’m hungry, but I’m learning  certain things at night give me heartburn and indigestion the next morning

Week 3: I’m able to trust my snack choices mostly to those that don’t give me heartburn, make me feel bloated or sick and feel confident stopping trusting internal hunger cues

I thought in the past the reason for the physical discomfort had to do with overeating, but my stomach just doesn’t agree with certain foods before bed.  It’s a process for sure.  

Weigh In Wednesday

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This morning I made the mistake of weighing myself, and I completely regret it. I think no matter what I would have weighed in at it would have diminished the amount of change that’s occurred inside the last 3 weeks.  But, I did it anyway. 

I’m up 5 pounds over the course of the last month. I’m struggling with this because honestly… I don’t think I’m meant to weigh over 200 pounds regardless of what the book says. I have a very petite frame and I’ll straight up admit I don’t feel home in my body the way it is. I SHOULD NOT have weighed myself. I feel like I have undone 3 weeks of mental peace for seeing a number and almost jumping into diet mode again. When my hubby wakes up I’m going to have him hide the scale for awhile or maybe I’ll just take a hammer to it later?  That sounds fun! 

I’ve read in the book, weight gain is common at first when you’re exploring your palette and enjoying food you haven’t in a long time, but it definitely doesn’t make me feel better right now.  

How in the hell do you find peace with your body when you’re still not comfortable In your skin?!  Rough start to the day. 

Feeling Your Fullness & The Clean Plate Club

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Principle 5 goal: Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.

For the last 3 weeks, when I fill my plate I ask myself a few things. 

How hungry am I? 

How much do I think I need to feel satisfied? 

And then while I’m eating I still try to evaluate my natural hunger cues.  Even in doing so I typically still clean my plate and sometimes find myself more full than necessary.  It’s been a hard habit to break, likely because I would typically perfectly measure my food and felt entitled to eat everything regardless of my fullness. I wouldn’t eat more if I was still hungry, and I would continue to eat even if I was full- because I was entitled to those portions, nothing more nothing less.  

Sunday morning was the first morning I actually left food on my plate.  I started with 2 eggs, 2 prices of sausage, 2 halves of sourdough toast… Towards the end all of a sudden I just thought, I think I’m good… I had 2 more bites and was done.  I left an egg and half a peice of toast on my plate.  It was a huge surprise and it was like a switch just flipped… It was surprising and good to be done and walk away. Progress. 

My Fridge Looks Different These Days 

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My fridge looks a little different these days. It’s not jam packed with vegetables, lean proteins, special concoctions that are light/low cal/low fat…. It contains food from my “naughty” list (sausage, ribs, bacon, cheese, whole chicken instead of chicken breast, bread, yogurt, wine, canned fruit, full fat dairy, hot dogs, butter etc) along with those veggies and fruit. My freezer has frozen waffles and homemade ice cream. My cupboards have chips, chocolate, canned veggies/fruit, pasta.  

I didn’t believe intuitive eating would take away the allure of having these things in my house but it has. My mentality has changed from “DON’T EAT IT OR BUY IT OR YOU WILL EAT IT UNCONTROLLABLY AND GET FAT” to “it’s there, I can have it when I want it, if I want it, and I trust my body and mind to stop when I’m done.”  

It’s a hard process, but everyday I’m learning and discovering a part of me that had been lost for awhile.  I’m learning to trust myself again, not rely on numbers for validation. 

  

One Week of Undieting

It’s been a week since I quit dieting!  While there have been a ton of good things happening, there have been some issues as well.  

The good?  I feel free mentally.  I don’t obsess over “forbidden” foods. I haven’t binged in a week.  I have been enjoying workouts simply for fun, rather than because of pressure to lose weight.  I felt very little guilt in eating.  I feel very free not obsessively measuring every portion, calorie in/out, and basing success on numerical results. I’m learning to truly savor and TASTE my food slowly again and pay attention to how my body responds and that part is going really well.  I’ve enjoyed doing some wine pairing which is something I love but haven’t done in forever!  From the book I’m reading “Legalizing food is the critical step in changing your relationship with food. It frees you to respond to inner eating signals that have been smothered by negative thoughts and guilt feelings about eating.” (Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition)

Now here’s the tough stuff (of course this list is longer).  Having people insist I try a new diet that has worked great for them since It appears I’ve given up. If you suggest something else you really don’t get what I’m doing, and while I understand it sounds crazy- stop assuming undieting translate to “wanting to try a new diet”.  It’s frustrating.  Undieting=not willing to try anything that bans anything and has guidelines. Kapeesh?

I’m having trouble not weighing myself, but know it’s nessecary right now.  I want to weigh myself because I feel really good, and content and hopping in the scale could either verify or destroy why I’m feeling so good.  Weigh in Wednesday was my weekly tradition to prove my program was working. But I know if the scale says the wrong thing I’ll backpedal and think this is a huge mistake whereas I’m making process mentally.  The temptation is huge.  While I haven’t felt guilt over eating foods I would normally avoid I’ve also had guilt over not eating large amounts of fruits and veggies.  

The biggest struggle- seeing the excitement of others who are having successes on the scale or in clothing sizes and trying to NOT go back to a restrictive, calculating mindset.  I am happy for those people and understand the feeling of accomplishment, but trying to distance myself from a results driven goal is proving to be extremely hard when a majority of my results will be internal. 

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