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Your Spouse is Not the Enemy

Your spouse is not the enemy

 

The other day I was talking to Jay Dee from Sex Within Marriage. We were chatting about our passion behind writing marriage blogs. Both of us have encountered plenty of people that are hurting in their marriages.

One of the biggest problems I think we face in marriage is that we don’t work together as a team. I’m quoting Jay Dee here because he said it perfectly, “Marriage has turned into a battleground, not them against the world, but each against the other spouse.”

Develop a Team Mentality

Team reason the real one

Around here, we have a buzz phrase, “Go Team Reason”. Austin will say that to me when we go from working together to working against each other. Believe me, that happens pretty often.

When you are married, you and your spouse are one. The Bible says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”, Ephesians 5:31. The day you say your vows is the day you join the same team.

Think of your marriage as playing on the same sports team together. What does that look like in a relationship? First, you have a common goal that you are trying to reach, and the only way to get there is together.

Another part of being a team is giving encouragement to other players. There are times when you have to sit on the sidelines and just be an encouragement to your loved one. Just because you aren’t making the play doesn’t mean you aren’t an important part of what is going on.

You can try to reach the goal on your own, but that is not how God created us to be. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”.

He didn’t intend us to go it alone. If you are married, He gave you a solid partner to do life with.

Does This Mean We Can’t Argue?

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever argue with your spouse. In fact, healthy marriages have arguments and heated discussions. A lack of arguing can be a sign that you and your spouse are not addressing issues. Every relationship has issues that needs to be worked through.

What I am saying is that your heated debates and discussions should have a purpose, and that purpose shouldn’t be to win. Teams don’t win against each other. Your conversations should be to help the other person understand where you are coming from.

Sometimes, conversations turn to arguments. Again, nothing wrong with arguing as long as you are not throwing hurtful comments in there. You aren’t trying to take your partner down, but help them understand where you are coming from.

Your Spouse is Not the Enemy

It is really important to remember that your spouse is not the enemy. That doesn’t mean you haven’t turned them into the enemy in your mind or vice versa.

When you identify someone as the enemy, where is the love? Even the best of us have a hard time loving people that we think are against us. Turning your spouse into the enemy is a sure fire way to start hating them and stop loving them.

How Do I Stop Seeing Them as The Enemy?

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If you and your partner are working against each other and not with one another, then you need to change your way of thinking.

Ephesians 4:2 says “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. This verse strikes to the heart of the matter for most.

First of all, we aren’t always nice to our spouse are we? If we feel attacked, then we tend to lash out. Even if our loved one didn’t mean to say something that hurt our feelings, we strike back with unkind words.

Being tenderhearted is another big problem when we see someone as the enemy. Tenderhearted is when you are gentle, kind, or sentimental towards someone.

Probably the hardest thing to do is to forgive our loved one. When your partner hurts you, they really cut deep. These are usually some of the deepest wounds we suffer. Forgiveness seems impossible when we are standing there with a gaping hole.

You must commit to being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving towards your partner.

Agree to Work Together

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It is also important to have a conversation with your loved one about working together as a team. Austin and I have had plenty of conversations about being on the same team. It is something we have agreed to do.

Like I said early on, when we are at odds against each other, we use the buzz word so that we can remind the other person of our agreement. This is one of those intentional conversations you have to have.

In fact, you’ll probably have to have it more than once. I know we have this conversation every few months at least. It seems to take that long before we stop working together and start working against each other.

 

Work on Issues as a Team

We all have issues in our marriages. When you stop fighting against each other on the issues and start working together, real solutions can be found. It will take time and lots of practice.

Think about the sports team idea again. They get together, formulate a game plan and then put it to work. When they get into a real game, they know how to execute the plan because they worked it out ahead of time. That is how you have to do it with your marriage.

What Issues in Your Marriage Do You Need to Work On As a Team?

My Obligatory “How to Spice up the Bedroom” Post

how to spice it up in the bedroom

Seriously, it was about time I wrote this post for my own blog. I’ve read so many posts about spicing it up in the bedroom, and I must be honest, I’ve mostly been disappointed with what I read.

There are two types of articles out there on this topic….the lame kind….and the one that is mostly immoral. You know what I’m talking about. The lame kind features things like talking and hand holding (all good stuff by the way) and then the immoral one says watch porn and have a threesome….

What Are You Looking For When You Say, “Spice up the Bedroom”?

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I think we all have different expectations when we are looking for ways to get steamy in your sex life. In general, people are in 1 of 3 different kinds of places (at least these are the three I can come up with)…

The first group is a in really amazing relationship where the sex is awesome. They are just looking for a way to enhance the greatness that they are already experiencing.

The second group is not having their needs met in bed, so they think the solution is to find sexier and steamier things to do in the bedroom.

The third group just ran across the article title and wonders if they are doing it right. Or maybe they don’t have any real expectations, just clicking an interesting title.

Switching it up For Those That Have a Great Love Life

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This is the group of people I am in. I have a great love life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. What I’m looking for in posts like this is foreplay ideas or new sex positions.

When it comes to foreplay, something that I have found particularly helpful is to use bedroom games. Now let me put a disclaimer out here, not all bedroom games are created equal. Remember what I was saying about the immoral suggestions I come across?

Many of the couples games I run across where not made with the Christian in mind. That is why I have created several couples bedroom games that has free printables. Some you might find interesting:

Sexy Truth or Dare

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Kiss Me I’m Irish

Another thing that I am looking for when I read these kinds of articles would be new sex positions. I probably don’t even have to say the kind of trash that is going to come up if I search for sex positions.

That is why the website Christian Friendly Sex Positions is so awesome. These guys describe positions without any offensive pictures. Occasionally, they will post a picture of two little wooden figurines doing the move, but that is it.

Yes, I’ll admit that I laughed out loud the first time I saw the figurines spooning. Still, it serves the purpose of teaching you new moves without causing you to lust.

These are a few resources that I have found to meet my needs in this area. I hope that if you are in this boat, these ideas will help you.

Making Things Better When You Aren’t Generally Satisfied in The Bed

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For those that are not being satisfied in the bedroom, you can buy all the Christian sex toys (which by the way, Married Dance is awesome for) you want and try, but chances are, you might need to do something different.

Remember those articles I talked about that focused on hand holding and a list of to-do’s before you get in the bedroom? Those are the exact types of things you need to focus on before you can get to the place where you are thinking about switching up positions.

I suggest that you spend time working on the intimacy in your marriage before going any further.

Here are some things you might want to do spice things up:

Those are some of the things you can do to work toward building intimacy.

If your biggest reason for wanting to spice things up is because you are not orgasmic during your intimate times, then there are things you need to do. I have written two articles HERE and HERE that might help you out.

How to Get Excited in the Bedroom From Around the Web

I follow a lot of other marriage and sex bloggers. Here is a short roundup of some of my favorite blogs and their posts about spicing things up…remember, I said everyone has one?

Jay Dee From Sex Withing Marriage: How to Spice up Your Sex Life

Sheila From to Love Honor and Vacuum: Spice Up Your Marriage

J From Hot Holy and Humorous: Why Try More Than One Sexual Position

Lisa and Stu Grey From Stupendous Marriage: More Variety in the Bedroom and a Tip You Can Use Tonight

Julie From Intimacy in Marriage: Boring Sex? Here are 3 Tips

Switching it Up For Those That Don’t Know What to Expect

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If you just clicked this article to see if you were missing out on anything or to learn something new, I hope you found some valuable resources. Maybe you have read through here and realized there are some things you can do to make your intimate time more fun.

I know that not every sex position, toy, or foreplay move is right for everyone. I put together a list of questions to ask when deciding whether or not you should try a specific idea out in the bedroom. This will help you understand what is right for your marriage and what would be a turn off.

 

 

 

What About You? Do You Have Any Suggestions For Those Wanting to Get Excited With Their Spouse?

*Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.

Who Should Take the Lead in The Bedroom?

who should take the lead in the bedroom

Negotiating physical intimacy in marriage can be a really touchy topic, not only here on the blog but in real life conversations. Both people in the marriage have different physical needs, whether it be frequency, positions, or pursuit.

There is no doubt in your marriage, there are certain roles you and your spouse take the lead on. Maybe your spouse is the main person in charge of taking out trash. It doesn’t mean you never do, but they do it most often.

Just the same as chores are assumed by each person as being their main responsibility, the same happens with initiating in the bedroom. Most often, this takes place because one partner has a greater need for release then the other. That can cause them to always initiate and develop this pattern in the marriage.

Today, I want to take a look at who should lead in the bedroom.

Is There Anything In Scripture That Says Only The Man Should Initiate?

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For some people, they may point to places in the Bible that talk about men being the spiritual leader of the household. I do not personally interpret any of the scriptures to mean that this applies to sex.

If you feel that it is the man’s responsibility as the spiritual head of the home to make sure all sexual activities take place, then that is what is best for your marriage.

Since I don’t think that is what the scripture is implying, I have no problems with both genders leading equally or one more often than the other. 

Does Your Spouse Want You to Initiate?

This is a question you should ask your spouse. I can’t possibly presume to know what works in your relationship and what doesn’t. If I had to guess, I would say the answer is, yes, we all want the other person to initiate at times.

You can read what JD over at Sex Within Marriage has to say about his personal view of his wife initiating physical intimacy.

It is possible that your partner has already had this conversation with you. They may have shared with you that they would like you to come to them and initiate love making.

To a degree, their perspective may have a lot to do with how open you are when they ask for time together.

If you have a bad habit of telling your partner that you are not in the mood when they ask, they will stop asking as much. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you, it just means they are tired of getting turned down. Can you really blame them?

Why is it Important That Both Take the Lead?

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This is my personal opinion of course, but I think that both people in the marriage should take the lead at times when it comes to sex. If you are having a hard time negotiating sex in the marriage, taking turns leading can solve some problems. 

Taking the Lead Increases Desires

When you pursue your spouse, you are admitting that you have sexual needs. It is very important in finding satisfaction in your love life if you admit that you have these needs. This gives you permission to allow the desires for your spouse to build up inside of you.

 

Show Your Spouse You Love Them Through Initiating

For your spouse, being pursued physically can be a sign of love. Now, I know this gets sticky in marriages. If you have a high sex drive and your spouse has a low sex drive, then being pursued can feel like a bother.

I encourage the low sex drive spouse to work on initiating more often, because that will help with a lot of the tension in the marriage. It will show your high sex drive spouse that you love them. Not only that, it will help you to have a higher libido.

Why I Had a Hard Time Initiating My Husband in Physical Intimacy

I’ve been married for over 12 years to my amazing husband, Austin. For well over half of our marriage, I never initiated sex, even if I was in the mood. 

There were several reasons that I struggled to go to him and admit my needs. For one thing, I was shy in this area. Not shy when he would come to me, but would have a hard time admitting I was in the mood and go to him.

Another reason I struggled to initiate was simply not knowing what to do when I did. I know I’m not alone in this, and I think that there are plenty of other women that feel this way. Without trying to be stereotypical, I think more men have a better handle on what they want in the bedroom than women do.

I felt embarrassed about admitting my needs and I wasn’t confident enough to pursue my sexual desires for my husband. 

What Changed For Me

Over the course of many years, it become apparent to me that my husband needed me to initiate our time together. This was a way he could feel reassured of my love for him. The same reason I would feel loved when he pursued me intimately. 

We were missing the mark with each other when it came to desire. It felt like he would ask me when it wasn’t a good time and that would cause me to say no. In turn, he would feel hesitant about asking me, so our frequency went down.

When I noticed we weren’t together as often as in the beginning, I knew I had to do something about it. That is what caused me to figure out how to initiate. 

Ever since I decided to take the lead sometimes, it has revolutionized our love life. It meets needs for my husband as well as for me.

I can’t decide for you whether or not you will take initiative in this area of your relationship. However, I encourage you to work on it if you never initiate. You might find that it really takes your intimacy to a new level.

Do You Initiate or Wait to Be Pursued?

How to Counsel a Friend that Wants a Divorce

how to counsel a friend that wants a divorce

There comes a point in most couples relationships where they consider a divorce. Even if they aren’t ready to make the decision, the thoughts of divorce may come across their minds. When this happens, it is a sobering thought.

If you have been married for a long time, you have likely come across some situations that have caused you to reconsider your marriage choice. A lot of us have committed to our partners for life, so when we have these thoughts, we are devastated.

Considering Divorce as an Option

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Any number of circumstances can come along that will cause us to wonder if a divorce is in our future. You and your spouse may come to a point in your life where you have very different views that is driving a wedge between you.

Maybe you get to a place where you have drifted apart because of unresolved issues or general business. Lack of sex or an unsatisfied sex life plays into the distance. Other times, there are severe life circumstances that come about that cause you to be at odds with one another.

Whatever the reason for considering the divorce, it happens to the best of us. I don’t care how strong your marriage once was, there might come a day when you reconsider your choice to stay married. 

How to Counsel a Friend That Wants a Divorce

Maybe you are not at a place where you are currently considering divorce, but you have a friend that is. This is a difficult place to be in. You have to be careful how you navigate the conversations when you are talking.

One thing to remember when it comes to their marriage, is that they need to make the ultimate decisions. It is your job to be a sounding board and be the one to keep a level head.

They do not need you to swoop in and save the day in their relationship. You can’t do that even if you wanted to. That is the difficult thing about relationships, we are all responsible for making our own happen.

Practical Things You Can Do When Talking With Your Friend

talk to a friend about divorce

You can catch me over at Shape Mind Soul where I talk about how to help a friend on the verge of divorce. These are steps I’ve used when talking my friends that have considered divorce. 

Helping a Friend on the Verge of Divorce

There is no simple answer when it comes to negotiating a relationship. When you or your friend is going through this difficult time, I encourage you to seek God. He is the one that brings healing and reconciliation in relationships.

Whatever decision is made in the end, continue to love your friend and support them. If they weather the storm in their marriage, they will still need encouragement. If they chose to go with divorce, then they are going to need just as much support or more.

What is your advice for a friend that wants a divorce?

Lasagna Soup Recipe

lasagna soup recipeI strive to have a no waste kitchen as much as possible. That means using up all of the leftovers, no matter how little is left. If I only had 4 kernels of corn left, I might not save it, but I might!

There are two types of recipes that I can make that will use up leftovers…casseroles and soups. Yesterday, we came home from church and I needed to make something fast. I remembered I had some ingredients up in the freezer waiting for a day such as this. Here is what I came up with.

Lasagna Soup Recipe Ingredients

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup green beans

1 cup rotini pasta noodles

1 1/2 cups chickpeas

2 16 oz cans tomatoes

1 16 0z can tomato sauce

1 cup cottage cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

10-12 slices pepperoni

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons garlic

1 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons sugar

6 cups of water

How to Make the Soup

The best thing about this soup is that all you have to do is put all of the ingredients in the pot and cook. Nothing needs to be sauteed or cooked ahead of time.

Place all of the ingredients in a soup pot and stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium high heat. Then allow to cook until noodles are tender.

You can make this soup from start to finish in about 30 minutes or less. This is why I always like making soup for a meal. It is fast and full of nutrients.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out some of the other things I have been cooking lately.

Onion Chicken With Cheese Sauce and Sauteed Vegetables 

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This turned out so awesome! I loved the cream sauce that I put over the chicken. I also loved the flavor of the sauteed vegetables.

Black Bean Brownies 

Black Bean Brownie Recipe

These brownies took very little time to make. I wanted to learn to make a gluten free brownie that mom could enjoy. She really liked these.

Mashed Cauliflower Bake 

Mashed Cauliflower Bake

 

This is a great alternative to mashed potatoes. I love making it because Austin and I are counting our calories to lose weight. Last time I did this, I lost 30 pounds, and this recipe was a staple in my house.

Be sure to check out my Keelie’s Kitchen tab for more recipes that I have been making.

How I Mourned My Miscarriage

When you have a miscarriage, it leaves you searching for answers. Believe me, I’ve been there. The doctors told me that this happens very often, and it’s not uncommon. That didn’t really help me feel any better about my situation.

The first thing I did after I lost my first baby, was to try to find other women who had suffered the same kind of loss. That’s hard to do, because many couples don’t share their experiences. The pain can be too big and too scary to share.

The biggest question on my mind was how to deal with the loss. When you lose a baby through miscarriage, there isn’t always a body to bury. Depending on how far along you are when you lose a baby, many people may not know you were pregnant to begin with.

How I mourned my miscarriages

Finding support can be more difficult because of those obstacles. Here are some of the things I did when I miscarried my first and second child-

Acknowledged That I Was In Fact Pregnant

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I wanted so bad for that pregnancy test to be wrong. When I went to the doctor, I wanted him to tell me that I wasn’t actually pregnant. If the test was wrong, then I wouldn’t have to feel the pain.

The first thing I had to do was accept that I had been pregnant, and I no longer was. It had only been a few weeks since I took the test. I was about 8 weeks along.

What amazed me the most is that I felt the absence of my baby. Even though I had only been pregnant for a few months, when the baby was gone, I knew it. At 8 weeks, you hardly feel pregnant. I assure you that after the miscarriage, I knew I was no longer pregnant.

Mourned the Loss With My Husband

Taking time to mourn the death of your child is an important thing. During the days following my miscarriage, I spent time crying with Austin. I don’t remember specifically having any real discussion about what happened, but more just being sad together.

Allowing myself to cry over the loss is what helped me to deal with the emotions. I visualized my unborn child and let the bitterness I felt take hold of me. You know, I think we are made to feel that we should hurry up and get over painful events. But, that never works out well for us. It’s better to embrace the pain and let it take us over.

How to deal with the loss of a baby

I Yelled At God About It

I cried out to God in anger about taking my baby. There were a lot of emotions I had to deal with. It was so hard for me to be ok with the what God had for my family.

In the days that followed and I was crying, I just kept asking God over and over, “Why?”. That is always what we want to know. Why?

In His still small voice, the one He uses with me, He asked me, “Don’t you trust me with this baby?”. I wanted to say yes, but I don’t think I could in those moments. Probably one of the hardest things to swallow was that I did not trust the God of the universe to take care of my child.

What a blow that was to deal with. Losing my first child brought some serious control issues I had in front of my face. Sure, sure, I knew that any child God blessed me with, was not really my possession. My head knew that, but my heart was saying something different.

Mentally Named the Baby

I did not know what gender my child was when I miscarried. In my mind, I named the baby something that could be used for a boy or girl.

Later on, I found that Austin had done the same. He named both of the babies we miscarried. We didn’t even talk about it, but we had both given our children a name to refer to in our minds.

Planted Flowers in Honor of My Children

memorial flowersWhen the summer rolled around, I had had two miscarriages by that point. While I hadn’t been planning on planting an ornamental garden, we had a fertile spot in the ground that needed to be covered up.

I decided to plant flowers in the area and make it look nice. While figuring out the layout, I made sure to plant 2 flowers in honor of my children. I didn’t really share it with the world, but in my mind, I knew what the plants represented.

Hung an Ornament On the Tree in Honor Of the Babies

There was a wonderful family that kept Corbin and Tripp on the day I miscarried the first time. Austin was out of town at school and I was home by myself. It was a very stressful day, and I was struggling to find someone who could take the boys.

Fortunately, a family that we knew in the community were able to take the boys short notice. I told them what happened.

A few days later, the wife brought me a white angel as a memorial for the baby. It was Christmas time, and I hung the angel on the tree that first year. Every year after, I pull it out and Austin and I remember the babies together.

This past year, we told the other boys what the angel stood for. When I miscarried the babies, they were too young to really understand what had happened. This year we took a few minutes to explain it to them.

The Loss Was Painful, But Not Debilitating

It is really important to remember that while a loss is painful, it shouldn’t be debilitating forever. Sure, you are going to be down for a period of time. Give yourself that time. Then, you have to continue living your life.

Regardless if it is a miscarriage or a loss of someone else that you love, you must take the time to mourn. Then, you find ways to remember the person that you have lost.

However, you don’t ever stop living. Will life be different? Sure, but it isn’t over.

There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone in times like this. If you have had the loss of a baby, find support in others. Try to reach out to women that have dealt with the loss or find an online community.

Above all else, live your life, but take time to stop and remember the precious life that has gone on.

Have You Had a Miscarriage? What Would You Tell Others Going Through This?

Kiss Me I’m Irish Bedroom Game

kiss me I'm irish bedroom game picture

I decided it was time I put out another couples bedroom game. This one is themed for St. Patrick’s Day, but you can certainly play it year round. There is little setup needed for this game.

Kiss Me I’m Irish Bedroom Game

kiss me I'm irish free printable

My husband, Austin, made up some cute printables for you. All you need to do is click the link below to purchase the PDF. Then, print and cut out the cards and put them in order. After that, you will be ready to play the game.

If you would like to get this game, follow the link below.

St. Patrick’s Day Bedroom Game

Supplies For the Game

This is a fun foreplay game that will get you and your spouse in the mood. You only need a few items to play.

  • Printable bedroom game cards
  • Write your choice move on the blank joker card
  • Envelope for cards (I stapled a piece of foam together at the sides to make an envelope)
  • Chapstick
  • A way to freshen your breath before you start
  • A timer

How to Play Kiss Me I’m Irish

free printable couples bedroom game

One of the cards that you print out has the full instructions for the game. You will need to put the cards in order so that the number 2 card is on top. Then it will be in descending order from there.

We have included two joker wild cards. One is left blank so you can write your own action on the card. Then you can slide those jokers in to the pile at random.

You can play one of two ways depending on your time.

One draws the card and the other performs the action. If you would like, you can take turns on the same card. Otherwise, one takes a turn and the other draws a new card.

Each of the foreplay cards has a move that is designed to warm you up slowly. If you are already in the mood, shuffle the cards up for variety.

Setting the Mood

Since this is a foreplay game, I suggest you set the mood right. Soft lighting casts a gentle glow in the room, versus overhead light.

Burning candles is a great way to add a fragrance to the room. The candles can also serve to provide the romantic glow.

Personally, I think playing romantic music is an important part of playing a bedroom game. Not everyone will agree with me here. However, when you are making out or engaging in foreplay, soft mood music can enhance the experience.

I think of mood music as filling up the white space in my head. I’m a woman, so I tend to have thoughts jump in my mind, even when I’m being intimate. Playing instrumental jazz music or another sensual genre can keep me focusing. When we are spending a lot of time on foreplay, it is essential I keep my head in the game.

What Do You Do to Set The Mood For Sex?

 

What My Husband and I Are Doing to Lose Weight

how to lose weight by counting caloriesAre you one of those women that look back at your high school photographs and say, “I wish I looked like that again”? Many people want to be the same size they were when they were a teenager. A few kids later, who can have that body again?

For me, I have always been a bigger than others. As a teenager, I was a size 12, which I know is not a huge size for a full grown woman. As a teenager, being a size 12 can make you feel really fat.

My weight is something I have always worried about. Obesity runs in my family and I have always made sure that I eat healthy. No matter how healthy I ate or how much I worked out, I did not ever dip below a size 12.

Shortly after I was married, I ended up moving into a size 14. I told myself that I wouldn’t get larger than that. Eight years and three kids later, I was on my way to a size 16.

Baby number three seemed to pack the weight on my body in a way the other two hadn’t. I was getting bigger and felt really helpless about losing weight. I’ve never been able to lose weight successfully before, even though I had been trying since I was a teenager.

Counting Calories is Key

Here I talk about counting calories and how that has been the main thing I have done to lose weight. Both my husband and I have done this in the past and seen success. Right now, we are counting our calories again to drop a few pounds.

 

I don’t really have before and after pictures, but I do have a picture of myself in my sister’s wedding. Then another picture of me in Austin’s sister’s wedding two years later.

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In the picture where I am in the blue dress, I weighed around 175. That was a few months after I had my third son. The other picture is of me 2 years later. I was weighing about 147 in that picture.

A Look at a 1435 Calorie Day

One day I decided to take pictures of everything I ate. It just so happened that I had to eat out for dinner, which can really kill a day for calories. With what I ate this particular day, I stayed within my limits.

For breakfast, I had 1 banana, 1 clementine, and 1/4 cup of nuts. This breakfast bowl of food totaled 330 calories.

I had two cups of coffee that morning which totaled 160. So before lunch I had a total of 490 calories.

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For lunch, I had a hard boiled egg, vegetables and hummus. This lunch came in at 185 calories. That is a pretty low calories meal, but since I had eaten so much at breakfast, I needed to keep it minimal.

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For dinner, we met my parents out to eat while dropping off the kids. Cracker Barrel is not my favorite place to eat out, but it is where we can meet up with my parents. They actually serve some low calorie meals that are quite filling.

I ordered a oven baked chicken breast, sweet potato, steamed broccoli and coffee. The meal was around 500 calories. I did not put the sugar that comes with the sweet potato on it. I used a small amount of the butter, so that might have added 20 calories to the meal.

I drank three cups of coffee and the amount of creamer I used made those cups of coffee put me at 120 calories. All total for dinner was 640.

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Since we were able to drop of my kids and have a little date before heading home, we decided to stop by Starbucks. If you don’t order right, you can consume an entire meal’s worth of calories in one of those drinks. I opted for a the skinny vanilla latte. It comes in at 120 calories for the smallest size.

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By the end of the day, I had eaten 1435 in calories. That is more than my targeted 1380, but I went out to eat that day. If I had skipped out on the last coffee, then I would have been good. It doesn’t bother me that I went over a bit, especially since Austin, and I were able to go out.

Exercise is Important to Gain Muscle Tone

While I didn’t originally focus on exercise and working out, this go round I have been. When Austin came home and told me he had bought into a biggest loser challenge, I was less then thrilled. I did not buy into the challenge with him, but I told him I would be more diligent with my calorie intake and drop the few pounds I have picked back up.

Since I have gotten a lot closer to my ideal weight, exercising has become an important part of my day. If I didn’t lose another pound, I would be ok. However, I have really enjoyed the muscle tone I have gained from working out.

Someone gave us an exercise bike that they no longer needed. Every day, I aim to ride a bicycle for 20-30 minutes. I do not have a lot of time to invest in riding it, but I feel that every little bit helps.

Also, I have incorporated a few muscle toning exercising that are firming up my legs, arms, stomach, and rear. Each day I try to do toning exercises for my rear end. I do have a lot of junk in my trunk that is for sure.

I do 20-30 reps of stomach crunches focusing on my lower stomach.

I have a set of exercises I do for my arms that was given to me by the orthopedist after my shoulder surgery. I only stick to those few moves for the sake of my joints.

Increase Water Intake

Statistically, most of us are not drinking enough water in a day. I have an added disadvantage to the statistic, because I do not drink very much in general. I have to force myself to drink anything most days.

Sure, I drink coffee in the morning and sometimes throughout the day. Usually I drink 2 cups a day and occasionally one in the afternoon. When it comes to other liquids, I drink 1 glass of water at lunch and 1 glass of tea at dinner. That would be enough for me if I didn’t make myself drink water. 

There is a challenge about drinking 1 gallon of water a day. I can’t meet that challenge, even though I have tried really hard. I can get down about 3 quarts, but that has been it.

However, it is really important to drink excess water when losing weight. On days I do not drink as much, I am hungrier than on days I have had at least 10 glasses of water.

Seeing Progress After 2 Months

These are the three main things Austin and I are doing to lose weight. To date, he is down 10 pounds and has been on this track for 2 months. I am down 8 pounds and have been going at it the same number of months as he is.

What is important to remember about loosing weight is that it is hard work. There is no easy way to drop the pounds, and anyone that tells you they have the key to make fat melt off your body, is selling you a bunch of junk.

You need to commit to really tracking your food, increasing exercise and drinking more water. There are other things you can do, but these three main things are what is working for us.

What have you done to be successful in losing weight?