Wow… it has been over a YEAR since I last posted on this little blog! 😬 Today feels like a great day to post something special:
In case you missed it, I am now 1 exam away from having 4 different nutrition certifications. I’ve spent the last year learning all about calories, nutrition, macros, and the healthy, sustainable way to lose fat and keep it off!
I tried the new WW Personal Points plan just as an experiment. I wanted to see if, using the knowledge I have now, could I stay on track on this new WW plan and still hit what would be healthy sustainable fat loss macros.
The experiment was technically a success, but going back to a WW plan after all of this time definitely brought up some feelings as well. I filmed a whole video of my experiment.
Since this blog was a place of WW content for so long, it felt right to share it here.
If you somehow still manage to find this little place on the internet, thank you so much for being here. Spoiler alert: I want to resurrect this blog in the new year, so hang tight.
It is the final quarter of 2020! Can I get a HALLELUJAH??
Anyway, welcome to October! A new month means new goals, but a new quarter in my Cultivate What Matters Powersheets means it’s also time to refresh my big picture goals for the year. So here’s the thing, I didn’t so much as refresh them as I did scrap them and start fresh.
Don’t judge me. It’s 2020…
Here are my 8 refreshed goals for the last quarter:
Complete my nutrition certification course
Marriage goals: Have 2 outings for dates (apple picking, etc) as 2020 turned most of our date nights into ordering in and doing things at home. This is fine and dandy, but a little bit of change would be nice.
Health goals: Complete a cut (period of being in a calorie defict for fat loss) and reverse diet into maintenance mode. End 2020 in maintenance.
Diva and the Divine: Upload 2 videos & 1 blog post each week from now until the end of the year. Set up my 2021 content planner. Learn how to implement a Batch Week for content creation.
Home: Declutter my office and do a kitchen/pantry audit.
Music: Become proficient at 2 songs on the piano and actually read through 2 theater books on my theater shelf
Personal Development: Reading, become a “finisher” (use up my skincare, things in the pantry, etc)
Spirituality: Daily devotionals and prayer time.
I’ve simplified, but accomplishing these goals would be huge for ending 2020 on a high note. Now let’s take a look at my action items for the month of October specifically.
Monthly Action Items
Complete chapters 9-13 of my nutrition course
Deep clean the office
Create my Powersheets content for the 2021 release (coming 10/14! Stay tuned!)
Read half of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix
Weekly Action Items
Meal plan/meal prep
Upload 2 videos
Publish 1 blog post
Spend time at the piano
Daily Action Items
Meet my macro target daily
Get up early and don’t hit snooze
Check of at least 80% of my habits on my tracker
She Reads Truth Bible study and 100 Days to Brave devotional
I’ve kept things super straightforward and simple, and I even left some lines blank. I’m tired of having wild ambitions for my tending sheets and then getting so overwhelmed I don’t do any of it (which happens to me a lot). Instead, I decided to leave a few spaces blank in an effort to cut out overwhelm. I’m doing enough, and I will feel incredible if I can get all of these things accomplished this month.
I’m looking forward to working hard and actually leaving 2020 better than I came into it, despite all of the madness that 2020 brought.
*Links in this post are affiliate links. Thanks for your support*
Did I really say “2021?” Why yes, yes I did.
I got my hands on some of the latest and greatest from EC and just in time for me to start my #Last90Days challenge. I am a big fan of having a clean slate when a new challenge or start date for something happens, so this launch is perfect.
Well hello there, blog. Give me a minute to pick you up and dust you off, why don’t you?
Today I’m here to discuss my goals for the month of August. As you probably know by now, I use the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal planner which helps me come up with monthly goals that are divided into 3 categories: monthly action items, weekly action items, and daily action items.
August always makes me think of back to school season and that fresh start feeling I always had with the new school year. While school looks very different for a lot of people this year, I’m trying to keep the momentum that I usually get from back to school flowing, even if I haven’t been in school since 2009. With that said, here are the goals I plan to schedule and achieve this month.
Monthly Action Items
• Use the Clean Mama Planner
I purchased the Clean Mamma Homekeeping planner at the end of last month because it was the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things: planners & homemaking. I am making it a goal to actively use it because it is very easy for me to set up planners and then not use them. Call it planner overwhelm or just my rebel-obliger tendency, but that’s how it is, so my goal is simply to use the thing. If you want to see a walkthrough of the planner, here’s the video I put out when I first got it.
• Complete Unit 1 of My Nutrition Course
Surprise! In case you missed the announcement, I’m in the beginning stages of getting a nutrition certification! The course is divided up into several units, and my goal is to complete the entire first book (unit 1) this month. I’m already 40% of the way done, so I’m optimistic.
As you may or may not know, I am a firm believer in all things planning. The more you plan (and actually stick to the said plan) the more likely you are to succeed. That being said, I want to try something new and start planning my workouts to help me stick to it even more. I won’t lie, I’m actually doing a pretty stellar job of sticking to my workout routine as long as it’s already planned, but on the days I have no plan I find it is too easy for me to either half-heartedly sneak my movement in or make an excuse to not do it at all. Thus, “my week of workouts” was born.
Will I share it every week? No, probably not. That’s not because I’m not planning them out, but simply because if it’s the exact same week to week, do you really want to read about it again?
I’m realizing lately that I am starting to feel a bit..what’s the word? Anxious? Uneasy? Unsettled? Maybe unsettled! I’m feeling a bit unsettled about my movement as of late. It’s not that I don’t love my current workout plan, because I do! I just feel like quarantine has taken away a lot of the unintentional movement that I am used to. After Bodypump (or really during any visit to the gym) I get on an elliptical and just go for 30-45 minutes. It’s a great way for me to burn off that extra energy, break a sweat, and even burn some extra calories. I just don’t feel like my legs have bee doing everything they should be doing and it’s giving me a very dissatisfied feeling, despite reaching step goals and such. As I mentioned in my goals for this month, the theme of May is “Level Up” and I want that to include my movement.
This Week’s Workouts
Liift 4: Week 3 Day 1- Chest and triceps. This was half weight training, half HIIT training.
May is here and I am pretty pumped about it. This month the theme of my goals this month is “level up,” which means I really want to hit the ground running and make some serious progress towards my big picture goals. Last month’s theme of “refresh and renew was nice and necessary, but now it’s time to shake off this quarantine (even though we’re still in it) and really take big steps forward in achieving my goals.
Monthly Action Items
Single tasks that I need to accomplish only once this month.
Bust out of my current weight decade
I have been here for far too long, and it is time to see a new middle number in my weight. Now, I am well aware that this actual goal is centered around something I can’t control (the number on the scale) but the thing I am working on is my effort towards getting there. If I achieve nothing else this month but I see a new decade on that scale, the month will be deemed a success.
Get this blog up and running again
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve actually posted a few things on here as of late! My goal is to take the deep dive into resurrecting this poor little blog of mine.
Stick to my content schedule
I have a super fun content planner and in the said planner, I put up the blank slate for a rather ambitious content posting schedule this month. My goal is to stick to it. Plain and (not so) simple.
Music is a powerful thing. This is a fact I’ve known my entire life and a tool that I don’t use to my advantage nearly as often as I used to. It has the power to make me feel every single emotion, and there are days that if I start down the rabbit hole of listening to specific songs, you can consider me gone the rest of the day because I get wrapped up in all of the joy and wonder that music brings me.
Remind me again why it is so hard for me to sit down to find time to sing?… 🤔
Anyway, one of my favorite ways to use music is as a tool for energy and productivity. The way I do this is with my “get pumped” song or playlist. This list is songs that psych me up and give me the energy I need to conquer the day. Today I wanted to share that with you. These songs bring me joy and a motivational kick in the rear that I need. I use this in the morning to jazz myself up or as a mid-afternoon pickup to dance around for a few minutes to bring the energy back. Either way, it works.
What songs would go on your “get pumped” playlist?
In my home, we are coming up to day number 50 in quarantine. 5-0! I can’t even comprehend how this whole ordeal has been going on for that long. That’s a significant period of time, so much so that what used to be the weird, new routine with my husband working from home, no gym, church, or regular shopping has now become our new normal. This feels like it just simply is how life is now. The end. I’m not saying that I like it, but that’s what it feels like.
Anyway, this means that my husband and I have not had much more than a few hours of one of us running errands to being in different places, and I am proud to say we have not killed each other yet. As a matter of fact, quarantine has not impacted our relationship in any negative way whatsoever, and I feel like that is a massive accomplishment. We have figured out how to have him work from home and have me being able to do my own thing, whether it’s work in my office or do the cleaning or other homemaking, all in the same house at the same time. It’s a miracle.
Seeing other people complain about their spouses during this time got me thinking about how the heck we actually managed to make this work, and I think it came down to a few things, which is what I want to share with you today. Here are 5 things that my husband and I are doing that are making being quarantined together a piece of cake.
Spoiler alert: Constantly having an open line of honest communication is KEY here. That has to go without saying.
1. Set Boundaries and Expectations
As soon as we knew my husband would be working from home we sat down and talked logistics. It was important for us to make sure we understood our needs throughout the day so we both could get things done. He has a desk and office set up in our guest bedroom and I have my own office. General rules we live by include:
If one of our office doors are closed we can’t be interrupted. This typically happens when he’s on a call or when I am filming content. This is also a signal that being a little quieter would be appreciated.
I set a rule for dinner time. My husband eats on a weird schedule and sometimes doesn’t come down for dinner until 7:30 or 8. I can’t wait that long, so I set the expectation that if I was doing to the cooking (which I happily will do daily), it needs to be at a time that works for me. So to compromise, I told him dinner will be around 6:30. Not as early as I prefer, but not as late as he prefers. A happy medium that allows me to schedule my day and allows him to know when to expect dinner to be on the table.
Who does what chores. I do most of the chores around here, but my husband is willing and able to tackle a list on the weekends, or maybe even a few weeknight chores like cleaning up the kitchen after I cook, taking out the trash, or tidying up whatever whirlwind of a mess he might have made during the day. Don’t start to get bitter towards your spouse because you didn’t set clear expectations of who is in charge of what around the house.
Work hours: I know that as a general rule my husband is unavailable for roughly an 11-12 hour window daily. My husband knows that I have a filming day and two one-hour live streams I’m committed to during the week. These are times when we are 100% not available unless we communicate otherwise. Do not expect your spouse to be available if you predetermined what times they’re unavailable
Once you set your boundaries and expectations, you need to stick to them.
2. Get Some Alone Time
I know, you’re quarantined at home so it’s hard to technically be alone, but this needs to be one of your boundaries. Making sure you’re taking the time to do things alone and just for you is super important. Go for a walk or a run, read, spend an hour watching your favorite TV show. I journal first thing in the morning and it’s just me and my coffee and it is glorious. Making sure to take time out for a little bit of self care is essential. Plan it!
3. Intentional Date Nights
Just because we can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean date night isn’t still an essential part of our lives. It is very important to schedule time to be intentional about spending time together. Get creative with your at-home date night ideas. Whatever the case may be, just make sure you’re making the intentional choice to spend time together just the two of you.
4. Have Fun
Take the time to goof off. Laugh. Be goofy. Have a 2-second dance party. Take an hour to turn on your favorite show to watch together or enjoy a quick coffee break. Remember that just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play.
5. Have Plenty of Grace & Patience
At the end of the day, there will always be challenges and frustrations. It’s really important to have a littleton of extra grace and patience for both your spouse and yourself. It’s a weird time we’re living in right now. A lot is uncertain, many people are on edge, and whether you realize it or not, this is taking a toll on you. Be patient with one another. Treat your spouse the way you hope they’d treat you if you have a bad day, get grumpy, or leave the extra dishes out instead of putting them away. This is important always, but especially important now.
Now, just because I’m saying that we’re doing pretty darned well in quarantine doesn’t mean it’s not difficult at times, because it is. We do things that gets on the other’s nerves, work stress causes tensions to be high, and not 5 minutes ago did a change in how my husband’s day is going effect something for me that was frustrating. This time is trying and hard and sad and many other things, but I firmly believe as long as we have that list above and a whole lot of love, we will come out of this the strongest our marriage has ever been.
This week in the Next 90 Days challenge with Rachel Hollis the theme is joy. Joy is something I work to cultivate in my life daily, so I love this topic. One of the homework assignments we had this week was to create a “Joy List.” Simply put, this is just a list of things that bring us joy. True, honest to goodness joy. The second part of the homework is after making your list, schedule time into your day for joy every single day. Yes, schedule it. Every 👏🏻Single👏🏻Day👏🏻
Now, your joy list will look different from mine, which is great because each of us has our own set of things that bring us true happiness. For a little bit of inspiration, I wanted to share mine.
Brianna’s Joy List
The first sip of a really good cup of coffee.
A fresh manicure
Listening to my perfect playlist for whatever mood I’m in at the moment.
Getting into bed and under the weight of my weighted blanket at the end of a productive day.
A facial or a massage
Makeout sessions with my husband 😉
When the morning sun shines through the window
Eating a really good dessert
Reading a good book
When Gracie (my dog) cuddles up on my lap
Fresh and hot roasted broccoli or brussels sprouts (seriously!)
When I finish a big task (think “monthly action item” level in my goals planner)
The smells of the different seasons
Hitting my step goal for the day
Laying out in the sun
An emotionally satisfying ending to a show or movie
Feeling confident in my makeup 💄 and clothes
A good hair day
Good, full-fat cheese
A little bit sparkle
A completed to-do list
The smell of fresh laundry
The feel of the foot warmer when I slide into bed
Putting on PJs or a sweatshirt just out of the dryer
My evening skincare routine
Lighting a scented candle
Workout clothes that make me feel like I look amazing
I will not lie to you. I am definitely starting to feel the quarantine blues or whatever it is you want to call this feeling. I’m sure you’ve had this feeling too. I’m on day 19 of self-quarantine. I’ve generally been super positive, productive, and motivated throughout this new normal…up until 2 days ago. That’s when the total lack of energy to accomplish things accompanied a complete lack of desire to do anything, and it’s a feeling I have not been able to shake yet. The quarantine blues also came with an insatiable appetite. If all of this had come a week earlier I could have blamed PMS, but alas, the timing is wrong so there is no good reason as to why I feel this way.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, to put it simply, I believe the way to overcome this is to do what I can anyway. I’m finding that there is definitely a balance that needs to be achieved between total normalcy and quarantine specific changes. Examples of changes I’m making to adapt to the what quarantine is making me feel are things like sleeping in a little bit (7:30 instead of 6:30), allowing myself more time to sit and read or take more breaks to just hang out, and making my step goal a weekly goal instead of a daily one to accommodate for days I just don’t have the energy or desire to get up and go.
There are also things that I am still doing every day, no exceptions. This is primarily to keep me on track with my weight loss during this time when everyone is joking about gaining the “quarantine 15.” My first goal of quarantine will be to NOT gain the q15, but maybe lose a little bit in the process.
That being said, among the weirdness that is life right now, here are 5 things I still do daily to make sure I am on track even while in quarantine.
This is the most fundamental component of any weight loss plan (that works) pretty much anywhere. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I will likely be tracking my food in some way, shape, or form for life. When I keep track of what goes into my body, I lose or maintain. It’s only when I stop tracking my food that the scale starts to creep up and I lose control. Tracking (and staying within my calorie/Points/Bites budgets, obviously) is the number one key to keeping myself on track and headed in the direction of success. I will continue to track what I eat each and every day. Good days or bad days. Whatever comes my way. Track all the things!
This list is back to the bare basics, my friends. Like it or not, drinking enough water is a major part of your body’s health. When you’re dehydrated, the list of problems goes on and on. Drinking water is easy (yes..you CAN do it, you people who claim you can’t) and it’s so, so, SO good for you. Keeping my hydration up is one thing I’m doing with a daily goal of drinking a gallon of water (128oz) a day. Yes, it’s a lot, but my body feels great when I do it. Bonus: I’m running to the bathroom all the time to pee which means lots of handwashing. Take that, COVID-19!
3. Pre-Track My Food
If you’re having an issue staying away from the kitchen, this is gold. I’ve been starting the day figuring out what all of my meals will be for the day and tracking them in the morning. After my meals are tracked I can figure out what I want to do with the remainder of my daily budget. Then, I stick to the plan! It’s such a simple little thing, but it makes it so much easier to stay on track,
You had to know this was coming. I am committed to working out each and every day that I’m stuck in quarantine. I’m test-driving this idea for the month of April with the goal of moving my body for at least half an hour every day. This could be an “official” workout from the Beachbody app (currently my method for working out) or simply going for a walk for 30 minutes. Whatever the case may be, the goal is an intentional time of movement and not just movement related to cleaning the house. Even if you don’t have access to any streaming workouts or even all that much space, there is still something you can do to move your body. Get creative, but don’t tell me you can’t. You absolutely can!
5. Use My Intermittent Fasting Timer
The reason this post is getting written now and not later today is honestly that I needed something to pass the time while I wait for my IF timer to complete its 14-hour run. I use the app “Zero,” which is a free intermittent fasting timer, and I love it. Last night was the first time I turned it on in 16 days, and I can’t even tell you how empowered I felt last night clicking that “start fast” button once I finished my ice cream. I’m not a hardcore intermittent faster, but I like to do a 14 hour fast to give my body a break from food. If I can get to 16 hours (the standard fast is 16 hours fasted with an 8-hour eating window), I do it, but if not it’s no big deal. The purpose of using this timer is just to keep me from evening snacking and to encourage me to wait until I’m actually hungry to eat my breakfast rather than simply eating because it’s morning. Having a shorter eating window rather than the freedom to eat any hour of the day really helps me stay on track. This will be a key tool in my staying on track during quarantine.
All 5 of these are so basic but they truly are game changers and are going to be essential components to my staying on track during this weirdness that is life right now. Having a plan, whatever that plan may be, puts you back in control of the things you can control, so why not do just that? Take control and find success!