Obsessed – Phase 3

It’s all fun and games until it’s not fun anymore. These last four weeks have been pretty tough to say the least. But I’ve been looking forward to writing this post because I need to tell you that I was wrong. Hey, it happens. I was wrong when I thought I was falling in love with 80 Day Obsession. When I thought it was my new favorite program. Well, after almost 80 days, I can honestly tell you, this one is NOT for me.

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Awesome calorie burn doing Country Heat!

I realized this at the beginning of Phase 3. I wasn’t passionate enough to want to wake up early and get it done. I struggled through every workout, every move. I just wasn’t feelin’ it. So I ended up switching to a combination of SHIFT SHOP, Core de Force, A Little Obsessed and Country Heat. I can dance my heart out – almost 700 calories – and still want more. In fact, I’ve been consistently working out for an hour by doubling up on the above programs. These four get me excited about fitness. They are my obsession.

Why am I telling you I failed?

I’m writing this for the people who feel like they have to push through, so that they can say they finished. It’s okay to give up (if that’s what you want to call it). It’s okay to say “this isn’t for me” and move on. I gave it a fair chance. Most people love 80 Day or say they do. Not me. And you don’t have to either. 22 Minute Hard Corps wasn’t for me, but I have a friend who does it EVERY DAY. To each their own. Country Heat is my #1, but I have a friend who can’t stand country music. To. Each. Their. Own.

So, yeah, I wanted to be better than ever in Phase 3. It didn’t happen with 80 Day, but it happened with workouts in general. I don’t feel like I gave up, because I’m still working out 6-7 days a week. I don’t feel like I gave up because I’m still doing hard things. I don’t feel like I gave up because I still wake up at 5 am and push through when I really don’t want to. Essentially, I am better.

Nutrition

There were two Refeed Days in this phase – that’s an opportunity to pad your diet with a few extra carbs. It’s by no means a cheat day. I really deviated from the eating plan during this phase by cutting out some of the fruits and veggies and including wo new supplements from GHOST . If you want more information on the eating plan, check out my Phase 1 post.

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GHOST supplements are fun and effective.

Weekly Obsession

While I may not be crazy about this program, I still think this show is the highlight of 80 Day. It was fun learning about how the crew pics out their outfits and seeing their progress over the last few weeks. They should definitely do this for each new program that launches. Joel Freeman – I’m talking to you!

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These Weight Watchers approved 2-ingredient bagels are soooo good!

Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat. (Still true.)

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Trail mix is an easy to grab post-workout snack.

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I choose to do without, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass was okay. I loved some of the moves (Bridge Pullovers) and hated others (Camel Bicep Curl). It kept me engaged for the time, but I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. Very different from the previous two phases.

Tuesdays – Cardio Flow

Cardio Flow grew on me a bit. We were back to four reps, which was nice. What wasn’t were the eight rounds of everything at the end. Surprise!

Wednesdays – Legs

I liked this day the best. Some of the moves were a little complicated – I’m not that coordinated during the day, but at 5 am? Forget it. I’m still proud of myself for lifting 20s. I never imagined that I’d be strong enough for that, and counting. I wish all of the Phase 3 workouts had been this good.

Thursdays – Total Body Core

Well, this one wasn’t horrible either. ½ Turkish Get Up to Push-Up – this move was crazy. I was feeling it all over when this routine was finished.

Fridays – Cardio Core

Cardio Core was tough, but I liked it more this phase. It challenged my body and I love that. I love proving to myself just how strong I really am. I still think you feel the burn from this one two days later. Beware.

Saturdays – Booty

I was NOT feeling Booty day this phase, no sir. My balance was off, my bands rolled up, and it just wasn’t fun for me. I was disappointed that this ended up being the Saturday workout because I always have more time to dedicate on the weekends.

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! While I love many of her other programs, I found her a bit too chatty and distracting during Phase 3.

The Results – Phase 3

I see definition and booty gains. On the one hand, I can fit into a skirt that has been sadly hanging in the back of my closet for half a decade now, just waiting for me. On the other, I can’t fit into my everyday jeans. Go figure. I think my body is just re-proportioning.

I gained about 3 lbs of muscle and feel more solid in my thighs and arms. Toned. It’s nice and makes me want to work harder for more muscle gains – something I was always afraid of in the past.

Maybe I didn’t stick with 80 Day, but I’m proud of myself for pushing myself and working out harder than I ever have before. I hope that this inspires others to do what works for them, not get sucked into the current hype or program of the moment.

I’ve been on this fitness journey for years now, but I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident in my abilities. I’m strong, and I got this. So do you – no matter what program or exercises you’re doing.

 

 

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see Disclaimer for more information.)

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

Finding the Balance: Recap

It’s Friday! Seriously, where did the time go this week? I blinked, and it was over. Let’s do a quick recap of the last few weeks.

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Self-Care

I can go on and on about this topic because it’s so important to take care of yourself. Whether you like to color, read, exercise, get crafty, take a bath – or countless other things – take some time out of each day to show yourself a little love.

You can still take care of others and do things for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish – it makes you a better YOU.

Work

Let’s face it, most of our waking hours are spent at work. There is no such thing as work-life balance. So, if you don’t have a job you’re crazy about – either find a way to get crazy about it or find a way to get out.

Home

Even if you have a stellar job, your home should be a solace – the place you love coming to every day. Many times we get so overwhelmed by chores and *gasp* adult responsibilities. I’m with you on that one. But with little adjustments, we can balance (or even farm out) some of the tasks. Think meal deliveries or a chore chart.

Relationships

All of our relationships are so important – the ones with ourselves, our family, our spouses, and our friends. We need to make time for them, to show them that we care. No one is promised tomorrow.

Zen

The world as we know it is filled with so much stress. It could be bad or good, but it’s still taxing to the body, and so, so important to find time to relax and be happy. It took me a while to find a morning routine that works, but I’ve finally landed on a good mix of prayer and exercise. With a little experimenting, you can find what works for you.

If you have one key takeaway from this balance series, let it be “make time for the people and things that matter.” If you’re interested in reading more, check out each week via the links above.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Finding the Balance: Zen

It took me a long time to come up with a morning practice that works. One that I would stick to even on the weekends. I tried journaling, reading fiction, rolling out of bed and pushing play on a workout right away, and what feels like a million other things to have a more productive start to the day. Nothing felt right.

Then one day I decided to focus on two of the things that really matter to me – prayer and workouts. It might seem a little silly because both of these activities are radically different. You have prayer, which is solemn and quiet, and then you have workouts, which are vibrant and loud, but both help put me in the zen zone and set good intentions for the day ahead.

It goes like this…

During the week I wake up around 5 am, stagger into the kitchen with one eye open, shake up my pre-workout, and head down to the basement (gym) to begin my morning ritual. (On the weekends the practice starts a little later – Oh, how I love my sleep!)

I chose 5 am because at that time, I’m the only one awake in the house and have a full two hours to get ready for the day in complete peace. I love talking to God when it’s quiet and the only sounds are vibrations from the furnace. It’s also nice to get my workout done before work so I don’t have to worry about fitting it in after.

Prayer

After chugging my pre-workout, I settle in with a blanket and whatever prayer or meditation book I’m currently reading. Right now it’s The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, which I’m reading with my nanny. It takes about half an hour for the supplement to kick in and give me the buzz I need to power through my hour-long routines.

Then I have about 30 minutes to read and run through a series of prayers for my family, friends, myself, and the world. When time permits, I’ll throw in a meditation or repeat a mantra while counting my mala beads or breaths. This is usually the most relaxed I’ll be all day, and I love starting the morning so focused.

Workouts

I work out for about an hour six mornings each week – usually skipping Saturdays. I’ll do a mix of cardio and resistance – dance, MMA, strength training – really, whatever floats my boat that day. Lately, I’ve been on a dancing kick. It’s just so fun and energizing in the morning and helps me burn a ton of calories.

It helps to stick with routines that I like, so I’m motivated enough to get up and workout before the sun comes up. In the past, I’ve fallen off because I’ve settled for programs that weren’t a good fit.

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Post-workout I enjoy a nice stretch or foam roll and then get ready for the day.

This practice leaves me refreshed and feeling great. In fact, if I miss my routine, my ENTIRE day goes down the toilet.

Creating your own practice

The world as we know it is filled with stress. It could be bad (current politics, being laid off from a job, or an illness) or good (new baby, buying a house, or starting a new job). Regardless, it’s still taxing to the body and so, so important to find time to relax and be happy.

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I love this book that shows you how to meditate without going overboard.

Have yourself a little zen

Perhaps you like waking up at 9am and eating a big breakfast every morning. Maybe you’re a night owl and need an 11pm practice. Whatever it is, you can work it out. Here’s a 5-Step practice to help you find a zen routine that works.

Step 1: Pick a time that will consistently work for you (morning, noon, or evening)

Step 2: Think of all the things you love or find relaxing. (Listening to classical music, reading, weeding the garden)

Step 3: Put a few things together and keep it SIMPLE (You can listen to music while doing another activity or mesh your love of reading and the outdoors by taking a book outside)

Step 4: Test it out. (Listening to classical music as you garden just before sunset each night OR reading a book while swinging in your hammock at lunchtime OR taking a stroll every morning after you wake)

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 until you find a good fit. (Listening to classical music while taking a stroll at lunchtime)

Whatever you land on, make sure it’s something that makes you happy!

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week for our Finding the Balance Wrap Up!

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Go GHOST

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored in part by GHOST. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker Successful. All opinions are my own. Links are not affiliate links, just links to specific pages on ghostlifestyle.com.

This year I began a search for the perfect workout supplements to complement my new intense workout schedule. I’ve been putting my body through the ringer with hours of cardio and resistance training each week, and there have been days when I feel as stiff as the Tin Man. I knew it was time to fuel my body with some good-for-you supplements.20180326_1609461346354529271089403.png

While there are many, many types to choose from, I decided to stick with pre- and post-workout energy and recovery. And so the search commenced for the best-tasting drinks that would also oil my joints.

Enter GHOST

GHOST supplements stand out on the shelves, and for good reason. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, judge away because the products taste as awesome and intriguing as the containers look.

Full Disclosure

GHOST prides themselves on their Full Disclosure label, which provides the dose and detail of each ingredient. You know what you’re getting every time, without the B.S. That’s something I can get behind.

Pre-Workout

My first sip of the GHOST LEGEND x WARHEADS Watermelon pre-workout was a blast from the past. When I say that this tastes exactly like the sour candy, I mean it. And, there’s nothing like shocking your tastebuds (and body) into a 5 am workout. Pucker Up!20180326_1609222881165771260261167.png

The first time I tried it I was AWAKE for hours. I felt like what I can only imagine my 18-month-old Jack Russel feels when she’s excited. Burned over 700 calories dancing around my gym and could have worked out longer if I had time. Yes, it really was that good AND effective.20180321_063456469741297519503781.jpg

My stamina and energy levels soar after using this pre-workout, which is my new go-to liquid (rose) gold. I love that the flavor is so far out of the box than the typical lemon. You can mix a scoop into 6 or 8 oz of water, or 4 oz if you want more of a sour taste. I’ll let you guess how I roll.

Each serving has only five calories, and contains 4g L-Citrulline (for heart and blood vessel health), 2g Beta Alanine (for increased performance), and 202mg Caffeine (for an energy boost), among other good things.

Other flavors include fruit punch, blue raspberry, and WARHEADS Black Cherry, which will be next on my list.

Post-Workout

Post-workout recovery has become increasingly important to me. I’ve always shied away from whey protein because I’m lactose intolerant, but recently learned that whey is one of the best proteins for muscle recovery. So I did a little digging and realized that whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose, and can usually be tolerated by individuals with an intolerance.

Enter GHOST Whey

The product gets all 25+G of its protein from Whey Protein Isolate, Concentrate, and Hydrolysate. It also contains lactase, which is an enzyme that helps to break down lactose. I’ve been able to tolerate this blend and find it a lot easier to digest than pea or other plant-based proteins. It also tastes a hell of a lot better. One serving of the Cereal Milk flavor contains 130 calories, and only 4g carbs and 2g sugars. It’s also soy and gluten free.

The powder easily mixes with water or almond milk with just a few shakes. No ball needed. No clumps or residue. No B.S.

Whoever thought of putting the scoop on a little shelf at the top of the container was a genius! I hate digging for the scoop before that first use. And, somehow, it is ALWAYS at the bottom. This right here would give even a bad-tasting protein at least two stars. (This goes for the pre-workout as well.)

Cereal Milk

Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about because I can honestly say I love the taste. Cereal Milk is vanilla ice cream meets Cap’n Crunch Cereal. I would know because I spent many a Saturday morning slurping the leftover milk from a big bowl of this golden deliciousness. Cap’n Crunch FTW – minus all the sugary crap, for sure.

It’s sweet, but after drinking in the morning, keeps any cravings at bay. The rich and creamy texture is perfect for sipping (or chugging) post workout. And it doesn’t get super frothy after shaking. Win, win, win.20180326_1609036110824171415482097.png

Fruity Cereal Milk

I went ahead and purchased Fruity Cereal Milk too because Fruity Pebbles just happens to be my one of my favorites. And, while I still use them as an occasional topping for donuts, I don’t usually indulge in a whole bowl. I have yet to try this one, but I have high hopes!

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Don’t they look delish?!

Other flavors include Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Toaster Pastry, and Peanut Butter Cereal Milk, which will be next on my list.

Rewards

I love loyalty programs because nothing shows customer appreciation more than free stuff!

Create a free account on GHOST’s site and earn points by sharing on social media, making purchases, referring friends, and more. Then choose between points or cash when making a purchase online.20180326_1612559191923736815319164.png

Super shoppers (Gold members) are rewarded with perks like free shipping on all purchases, birthday coupons, and VIP access to exclusive events.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today.

Buy in Store

Not into buying online? That’s okay. You can also purchase products at a GNC near you. Each item also comes with a unique code to enter on GHOST’s site and redeem loyalty point. I like this option because you can forgo shipping charges and leave the store with product in hand.

The Bottom Line: I recommend these supplements to everyone, especially the pre-workout. If you want results, GHOST will give you the boost you need. If you’re looking for a yummy shake that will hold you over for a few hours, here it is. Great tasting and effective. It doesn’t get more real than that.20180326_1608041424233641042396359.png

To purchase one of the above supplements or to check out GHOST’s entire line of supplements and gear, visit them online.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before trying any new supplement.

**GHOST’s warning label states that their products are only intended for healthy adults. Please take caution and I encourage you to research the company (like I did) prior to purchasing.

Thanks!

Finding the Balance: Relationships

When I was a young uniform-clad catholic school girl, I learned about a few different types of love. Before that, I always thought love was love. Either you felt it or you didn’t. It seemed pretty black and white, cut and dry.

You can feel love for a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, a pet, and even yourself. All of those are naturally different feelings. You can even feel love for someone you don’t even know.

This morning I read a story about a woman who had to bury her eight-year-old son. About a week ago, a drunk driver who was going over 60 MPH in a 30 zone, slammed into and completely demolished the boy’s car. His father was driving him to daycare. My heart literally sank.

I feel for the father, who has to carry the burden of surviving the crash, while he couldn’t do anything to protect his son. I feel for the mother, who will never see her baby again. I feel for the child, who never got a chance to really live. I also feel for the other driver, whose life will be forever ruined by his terrible decisions. So much sadness.

The Lesson

It is so important to make time for family, friends, and all the people we love. Whether it’s a text to say I love you or a surprise visit, hold on tight because no one is promised tomorrow.

Four Types of Love

There are eight types of love, but for our purposes today, I’m going to stick to four – the ones that resonate most with me (and, I’m sure, you too).

Agape – Selfless Love

I don’t know of a stronger love than that shared between a parent and child – except maybe that of a grandparent.

My mom

My mom and I have had a lot of rough patches, but it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. She’s my emotional support system, and I know she’d do anything for me, even if it caused her pain, unhappiness, or sadness.

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See the resemblance?

My mom and I look similar- same body type, frame, etc. We share a lot of the same habits and love to switch places on my grandma!

She always sends me a good morning text, and we talk on the phone after work. She’s the one I go to for advice, support, and encouragement, and she’s always the first one to tell me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

My Nanny

My grandma (nanny) bestows unconditional and selfless love upon both her children and grandchildren. She always calls me her third child.

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Fun in Macy’s years ago.

We talk on the phone every morning and sometimes at lunch, share a love for pretzels, Cheez-Its, and Peanut M&Ms, and love all things French.

During Lent, we’ve been doing a prayer challenge. And while that book wraps up this Sunday, we’ve decided to read another book right after. It was a great chance for us to bond and I’m so grateful to have her in my life.

Pragma – Love in a Marriage

This love is harmonic. It doesn’t happen right away, but it develops over time with a person similar to what you would call a soul mate.

While I don’t think we’ve achieved full pragma, I know my husband and I are on our way. We’ve been married for 5 months. Before that, we dated for over four years. And if you want to go back further, we went to high school together, meeting on the Track team, and graduating a year apart. We weren’t high school sweethearts, but what’s meant to be will always find a way.

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My person.

Tony and I enjoy the same shows – The Walking Dead, Fear Factor, Impractical Jokers, American Horror Story. We like similar foods – Taco Bell, ceviche, pizza! And we love to travel every chance we get.

We don’t have much time together during the week – something we’re working on. We wake up, go to work, and are usually exhausted after. A lot of our quality time is well spent on the weekends.

Philia – Love between Friends

Friendship love is so special and not to be ignored or forgotten.

While I have many acquaintances, I have a handful of quality friendships – some are very new and others have lasted over 20 years. I’m grateful for the people in my life who build me up, support me, and allow me to do the same for them. When we’re young, a lot of time is wasted competing with “friends.” At this age, it’s nice to feel secure and confident when sharing ideas, opinions, and goals.

I speak with one of my best friends daily. I talk to another every few weeks. But in both cases, we always pick up right where we left off and have a ton of laughs when we see each other. I don’t know what I’d do without my girls!

Philautia – Self Love

This is, perhaps, the most important love. It’s about having a sense of worth and pride, but is not narcissistic. I don’t believe you can truly love another person unless you can love yourself first.

Now that I’m 28, I feel a lot more confident and happier with myself. I spend a good chunk of time on myself in the morning – praying, meditating, and working out. But I know I could do more in the lines of reading, writing, and just enjoying alone time.

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The book my nanny and I are reading.

There’s always more to be learned or more things to love (I still can’t stand my freckles!). There will always be challenges and struggles. I’m still my worst critic, but I accept who I am and I love me!

 
Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding your ZEN. I’m excited about this one because I’ve finally found a routine that works. I’ll walk you through it next week!

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Motivation 2.0

When you’re little, no one tells you how hard adulting really is. You think it will be about having money, staying up late, and eating ice cream for breakfast. They don’t say that your paycheck will be laughable, that you’ll live for naps, and that ice cream for breakfast is out of necessity, not pleasure.I always thought adults were super motivated to go to work and come home to raise their families. Then I became one. And most days I have as much motivation as a high school senior in June. None. Whatsoever.20180319_1750081693936423.pngEvery night I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. with high hopes that one day I’ll be able to stick with it. Still, 95% of the time I hit snooze or shut the alarm off, and before I know it, it’s practically time to leave for work. Whoops!

So, how do you find motivation?

The 5 Second Rule

If you haven’t heard of the book The 5 Second Rule, here’s the one-liner rule that author Mel Robins gives:

“If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds, or your brain will kill the idea.”

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A nice Audible pick!

While it may not be a life-shattering revelation, the 5-4-3-2-1 approach has gotten me up and out of bed on many occasions. It’s even gotten me to speak up in meetings, tell friends how much they mean to me, and work through a few of my other struggles.

It’s something to consider if you need an extra push to make things happen.

The will to work out

I usually lack motivation when it comes to working out. Yes. Seriously. It’s a constant struggle to leave my warm bed, change into my workout clothes, and tiptoe down into my basement gym which is a solid 57 degrees.

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This morning’s badass-ness 😉

Motivation is fluid, which means that it can be hard to keep the momentum because different things drive us all at different times. I know, personally, that some days my motivation is abundant and I can accomplish my entire task list and then some. Today – for instance, I woke up ON TIME, worked out for about an hour, burned over 500 calories, and got in over 4,000 steps before 7 am. Other days, just getting out of bed or washing my hair feels like an accomplishment.

Where does motivation come from?

For me, it comes from a desire to be my healthiest self AND to look great for my upcoming trips to California and Miami. That last reason might be a little superficial, but it’s a strong one.

In order to stick with a goal, you have to find something that – even on your darkest of days – will keep you moving.

Here’ are a few ideas. If you’re motivated by:

Challenge – play a game to be better than you were the day before.

Food – treat yourself to your favorite meal after you complete a big task (like purging your garage of junk).

Money – set aside some dough after every workout and buy yourself something fun when you’ve finished a program or month’s work of workouts.

Likes – if you’re into social media (like really, really into it), post about your progress and rack up those likes!

Just do it

In the end, take a lesson from Nike and just get it done. On the days when you don’t want to get out of bed – and there will be plenty – 5-4-3-2-1 it and move! Especially when you really don’t want to.

Cheers!

 

Finding the Balance: Home

When I was 16, I had this great idea to maximize my day. Back then I was running on the track team, lawyering up in Mock Trial club, studying for the SATs, taking three college-level courses, and tutoring or babysitting in my “spare time.” I thought that if I could just sleep for 6 hours, I’d have 18 left to FIT IT ALL IN. What a dreamer I was.

It was hard to juggle school and extracurricular activities with work and still manage to have a social life. But I was 16. I always came home to a hot meal on the table, folded laundry in my room, and had someone to schlep me around to every activity before I got my license and a car.

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This book is everything I’m feeling.

Twelve years later I’m still trying to find the time to fit it all in. And the thing I hate to admit is that there will never be enough time.

Most days I’m overwhelmed by the piles of dirty dishes and clothes – and don’t even get me started on dog hair. How is it possible to sweep up a full-length fur coat every other day?

It’s the little things

While this topic could go on for pages, I decided to stick two of the things that I struggle with daily: household chores and cooking.

Bring on those chores

Divvy em’ up

I don’t have kids, but if I did, this post wouldn’t even exist – I’d have a wheel of doom…I mean chores…to take care of that. Boom!

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Hard at work. Look at those muscles!

My husband and I do a good enough job of dividing up the chores. He does maintenance on the cars, outside work, takes out the trash, and is the main caregiver to the two pups. I prefer all things related to the kitchen, laundry, and being inside. If I had to write up instructions on what items get cold washed, ironed, no dryer, etc., I’d have a full-color manual in a 2″ binder.

It’s definitely important to find a healthy balance if you don’t already have one. When one person does more or feels like they do more, the resentment can be HIGH.

Make em’ fun

I don’t usually mind cleaning. But I’m often tired after work and doing something as trivial as the dishes, let’s say, feels daunting. There could be only ten things to wash, but it always feels like hundreds.

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Some of my current listens.

I usually put my headphones on and listen to an audio book, Netflix, or Spotify while I’m working. Anything to take my mind off the task at hand. It takes about 15 minutes to wash a sink full of dishes, and when you think about it, that’s really no time at all. I actually find it mindless and relaxing.

There’s always the dishwasher, but I try to save that for meal prep days.

Break em’ up

I like to get all of my grocery shopping done on Saturday. I also clean out the fridge and cabinets, then meal prep for the following week. If I have a lot going on, I’ll split this between two days. After all, it does take a few hours.

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One of the hairy fur children.

Little things like sweeping, picking up, dusting, etc. can be done with ease during the week. 15-30 minutes here and there can make a BIG difference. Sometimes I’ll run the dishwasher (if I have a lot) or throw a load of laundry in while watching a movie. Chores that can be done in the background are the best ones.

It’s not gonna cook itself

Some people love to cook. I am not one of them, believe it or not. I find cooking to be annoying, which is why I always look for shortcuts. And let me tell you, there are some pretty good ones.

Meal Prep

Setting aside a few hours to make a slew of meals for the week helps immensely. It also makes me feel like I have my shit together. I usually throw together one or two  breakfasts, alternate lunches, and portion out some snacks so I’m set for the week. Doing this has saved me a lot of time and tears. If you’re interested in a deeper dive of this topic, check out my #mealprep blog post.

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I can get a little prep crazy. This is like 1/4 of what I do each weekend.

Meal Delivery

I love subscription boxes, and one of my favorites is Plated, a meal delivery that has so much variety and many great-tasting dinners. You do have to cook the food, but all of the ingredients are pre-portioned and the recipes are very easy to follow. And, I mean so easy that [insert the friend you know can’t cook a can of soup] can do it!

I recommend Plated to everyone I know, but it happens to be one of the pricier companies. The box I get is $72 and includes 3 days of meals for two people. It’s worth it because it’s more cost-effective than eating out, there is no waste, you can add more meals or servings, there are always two dessert options (for an extra fee), and their customer service is STELLAR.

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One of the dinners from this week’s Plated box. Delicious.

There are many other services that offer meals from around $9-15 a dish. Some are even catered to vegetarian, gluten free, or Paleo lifestyles. They make dinners after work a breeze and take the guesswork out of what to have. Plus, the whole family can easily get involved. Win, win, and win.

Pre-Made Meals

Now, I’m not one for “TV dinners” or anything that’s frozen in a plastic black tray. In all honesty, it would probably be healthier to eat the packaging. But I can attest that having some pre-packaged food hanging around can help in a pinch.

I accidentally found a few frozen meals from beetnik and Tastefully Plated Paleo Meals while I was perusing the aisles in Walmart. When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, and could barely leave the couch, it helped to just pop one of these babies in the microwave.

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This chicken chimichurri dish from Tastefully Plated was to die for.

There will be times when you just don’t have the energy. There will be days when all you have in the fridge are ice cubes and something green and wrinkled in the produce bin. There will be moments when the only other option is digging a spoon into a jar of chunky PB for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or ordering everything on the dollar menu.

Do yourself a favor and get some emergency food in that fridge of yours.

I don’t know about you…

…but I’m absolutely loving this series of posts. While we might not ever find a good balance between anything, there are many things we can do to make the best of EVERYTHING.

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance with relationships.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS