Revisiting Your 2020 Goals in Quarantine

Okay, so obviously 2020 is not going how any of us imagined it would be going at this point. If you’re like me, you decided back in December that 2020 was going to be the best year of your life. Big changes were going to be made. Big goals were going to be achieved. You would enter 2021 your best self having lost a few pounds, become an amazing homemaker, and achieved a few major career goals to boot. (okay, so those might be my personal goals, but you get the point) Yes, everything was all planned out perfectly… then COVID-19 took the world by storm and all of our routines, goals, habits, and motivations seemed to get swept up in the storm right along with it. Suddenly, 2020 was not looking so bright and filled with possibilities. Instead, it is filled with fear, change, uncertainty, and more fear.  I know, I’m right there with you, my friend, but I’m here to let you in on a little secret.

We can STILL make 2020 the best year yet!

I know about 60% of you rolled your eyes just now. “Shut up Brianna..you don’t know what I’m dealing with here!”  No, I don’t, but what I do know is this: our perspective dictates our reality. If you decide that this situation is going to sabotage all of your goals and just leave you a lifeless shell of a miserable person, well then guess what? That is exactly what will happen.

However, if you are able to switch this narrative around and decide that while this is not an ideal situation, you can still use it to continue to have that best year ever you promised yourself, well then guess what will happen?  That’s right! You still can have that best year ever. 

2020 isn’t doomed. It’s just different. I foolishly had myself believing that my goals were tied to everything I was able to do outside of the house. Being a homemaker, we all know that is just a bald-faced lie. Almost everything I do takes place inside the walls of my home, save errand running and going to the gym. I knew this, but I still felt totally blindsided by this quarantine and wanted to use it as an excuse to throw in the towel and take a few months off of making any progress on any of my goals, just like everyone else. 

Then I looked at my goals for a second. I have a card with my goals written on them taped to the desk so I can see them every single time I look up. All 8 of them are right there in my face ALL the time. As I started to consider what my 2020 goals actually were, I realized that no matter how much I wanted to accuse this whole situation of preventing me from being able to achieve my goals, the reality is this: every single goal I have this year can be achieved exclusively at home, while in quarantine. There are zero exceptions.

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Making Lemonade🍋

Our world is very, very strange right now, and that’s putting it way too lightly. The world, not just our country, but literally the entire world is in a situation that hasn’t really been seen before. We’re all in lockdown, self-isolated, self-quarantined, forced quarantine, the works! It feels like breaking the law just to run to the grocery store to buy food, and that’s not even possible in some cased because grocery stores have been picked over and much is out of stock.  Restaurants are takeout only. Schools are shut down. Jobs are work from home or for many have disappeared, causing much financial stress about how families are going to survive in this time of uncertainty. All because of this virus that is so easy to catch and less easy to manage for at-risk individuals.  It’s scary.

I’ll be honest, I seriously debated whether to say anything in my content about COVID-19 at all, but there is no hiding from it. We all are experiencing this craziness together in real-time, so I feel I have to say something, but it’s not going to be negative. There’s too much negative in the world right now. Too much fear, panic, and quite frankly too much of people being horrible people.  Granted, there is also a ton of humanity being great to one another, which is an encouraging thing to see, so don’t think for a second that I’m not acknowledging that as well. 

In the spirit of trying to keep things positive, I want to just take a minute to encourage everyone, not in the “this too shall pass” sort of way, but in the “we all have a crap-ton of lemons, why not make some epic lemonade?” kind of way. 

The truth is, like it or not, employed or not, embracing self-isolation or panicking about it, most of us are stuck in a situation we’d rather not be in. Yes, I am fully aware that there is a gigantic financial impact on many, and I’m not trying to downplay that at all, but if reality isn’t going to change we might as well embrace the situation we’re in and do what we can with what we’re currently given, right?

So, let’s make lemonade!

How can we fully embrace the opportunity we’re being given to slow down a little bit? What ways can we spend our time that will leave us coming out on the other side of this not feeling like we wasted the (maybe) months we were isolated? How can we make the world’s best lemonade out of these crappy lemons?

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The Friday 5 | 2/21/20

Hello and happy Friday! Welcome to the first Friday 5 of the new decade. I have a long list of blog posts planned for the not too distant future (shocker, I know!), but I wanted to start with a Friday 5 because I can just chat for a minute about what’s going on in my mind and what’s I’ve been loving or doing lately.

It’s been a week of me trying desperately to get a grip on all the things, but since I’m holding on to so many things are slipping through my fingers. We all know what that feels like. I’m just unsure how to play catch up at this point in time. It was a rougher week in terms of wanting to eat ALL the things as well, and I’m working on figuring out how to manage the pitfalls of this new year. It’s a process, I know, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be turning the corner soon, which actually leads me to my 5 things.

1.Lent 2020

I made a video just today about my plan for Lent this year and how I will be bringing the community the opportunity to do a book club together that will help guide us through our issues with food and help us grow closer to God in the process. We’ll be looking at the book Made to Crave and doing the study in a private Facebook group. If you want more info on the whole thing, my video is below.

2. The Real Dry Lip Savior

Guys, as of late I have become a believer in the one and only true winter dry lip savior of this world: Aquafor. Yes, I have all of these amazing lip masks and treatments that I still love to pieces, but for whatever reason, they’re still not enough to keep me from having flakey, uncomfortable lips, so I finally caved and bought Aquafor and BAM! All of my lip woes went away. It isn’t fancy and I don’t think it makes any special “clean” or “all-natural” lists, but it works! At this point that is all that matters.

3. Next Steps Establishing Community

Guys, this is HUGE. I have an official audition for the worship team at the church we’ve been attending. I’ve already passed the “send in a video of you singing” test and now I get to sing for them in person on Sunday. If I make this team it means that we will finally officially have a church to call home and we will finally be able to work on establishing ourselves in the church community, which means FRIENDS!!

4. Winter Blues

Is it fair to say I have a pretty rough case of the winter blues even though the sun is currently shining brightly through my window? I will say, what I’ve been told about Minnesota winters being sunnier and cheerier than Chicago is very, very true. Despite the uncharacteristically gloomy January we had, we definitely get more sun here in MN, but that comes at a cost of extreme cold and my body simply can NOT handle it. I keep comparing myself to a fly. Have you ever encountered a fly when it gets cold? It slows way down and eventually can’t fly anymore. This is 100% how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s a CMT thing for sure, so that’s life, but it’s still something I’m learning to struggle with.

5. Love is Blind

New binge-worthy trash TV alert!! I started watching Love is Blind on Netflix while I was meal prepping early this week and it quickly became a show that I just binge-watched straight through. The concept is people meet, talk, fall in love, and get engaged without ever seeing the other person’s face. Then they meet and have to do life together for 4 weeks leading up to their wedding, where they ultimately decide whether or not to stay with the person. Crazy, dramatic, and an ideal trash tv show for me. Loving it!

That’s all for this week! Also, I’m well aware I’m hitting publish on Saturday. Don’t get me started…. 🙄

January’s Life Lesson

2020 is my year for making big goals happen and making big dreams reality, but instead of starting off with a super-productive bang, 2020 sort of did the opposite, and it’s ended up teaching me some pretty stellar lessons about balance. The kicker here is that feeling like I got knocked back a little bit is turning out to be the thing I feel is propelling me forward. Let me explain.

January 1st rolled around, and of course I wasn’t at home to hit the ground running with my 2020 goals and habits that I wanted to achieve simply because of travel. We didn’t get home until the 3rd, then our anniversary was the 4th, and Monday wasn’t until the 6th. Call them nothing more than excuses, that’s fine, but it took me nearly a week into the new year to even consider sitting down, messing with planners, habits, checklists, and all of the ambitious type-a planner girl things that make me me. 

Then, to kick a girl while she’s feeling down, the Minnesota winter hit me… hard! While I’ve lived in Midwestern winters my entire life, there’s something about this one that is proving to be particularly difficult on my body. I’m constantly cold, and my CMT nerves appear to be impacted by this more than normal. The way I’ve been explaining it to people is like a dial on a radio. If my normal, everyday best-self of feeling energized and awesome is usually the dial turned all the way up to 10, then things like lack of sleep, a bad CMT day, or whatever can impact my dial accordingly. This winter feels like it’s taken my dial and jammed it so the absolute max I can feel is a 6 rather than a 10, which is a major impact. THEN take the additional things that might turn the dial down a bit and add those to the equation and you definitely have me functioning at what feels like half of my best-self on any given day.  It was (and still is) terrible. 

Obviously, I had to figure out the solution to this problem, because this is no way to live during a Minnesota winter. I had to take a serious look at what I was actually doing versus all of the things I wanted to do and figure out what had to give because something had to. 

The first thing I decided to do to lighten my load was give myself permission to sleep if sleep was honestly what I felt I needed. This simply meant I didn’t have to get up at 5:30 am with my husband anymore. Instead, I moved my wakeup time back to 6:30, and if necessary I allow myself to sleep until 7:30. Whatever it takes to ensure I get adequate sleep. You see, I realized I had two options here:

1) Be sleep deprived on top of this winter energy drain, struggle to basically accomplish anything and spend literally half of the day sitting because I have zero energy and end up feeling bad about wasting hours in my day. 

Or:

2) Surrender an hour to 90 minutes of my morning sleeping in to ensure maximum energy and productivity.

There’s no competition! The obvious answer is to spend an extra 60-90 minutes resting rather than spending 10+ hours riding the struggle bus, feeling drained, and only accomplishing half of what I want to accomplish in a day. The mathematic answer is clear, and the second I gave myself permission to rest, everything started to change. 

I suddenly have the energy necessary to workout, to run the home, and to run my business. I also find that I have the willpower and discipline to stick to my diet better, and let’s be honest, when I eat better I feel better. It’s all one big cycle that can go very right or very, very wrong. 

A few other changes I made in January that I already feel a huge impact from:

1) I am focused more on my protein goal than my daily Points goal. This was another way I loosened the reigns a bit by giving myself permission to stray outside of my Points for the sake of protein. My goal is 100g protein every day, and while that often sets me over my Points goal (more on this later. There’s still a specific balance I’m following), I’m finding the scale is going down anyway.  I’ve traded a lot of sugary and carb-heavy things for things that will pack more protein into my diet, and not only is the scale going down, but I feel amazing!

2) I added an extra rest day into my week. This means 5 days of working out instead of 6, which feels amazing. My rest days are now Sundays and Wednesdays, and as long as I still reach my movement goal in some way (I’m currently using an under the desk elliptical to keep my legs moving as I type), I don’t have to get to the gym. Not only that, but I’ve also given myself permission to not workout if my body truly needs an extra day of rest. I’ve used this once already to skip a Bodypump workout on a day I was feeling truly terrible (thanks hormones) and let me tell you, it was the right choice. 

The bottom line here is that I’ve learned 2 major life lessons in January, and they’re both game-changers.

1. Rest is just as important as work. People who sacrifice themselves to the end of their ropes and pride themselves on busyness and hard work with zero rest are out of their minds. I mean, if it works for them then that’s great, but for me personally, I find that I am exponentially more productive when I integrate regular periods of rest into my days and into my life. If I don’t rest I will fail, but if I do make the choice to actively rest regularly, I can thrive everywhere else in my life that requires my time, focus, and energy. Rest is essential, and it is OKAY to take the time to rest. 

2. Giving yourself permission is incredibly powerful. Notice how I said several times in this post that I gave myself permission to essentially be less than perfect. I gave myself permission to eat over my points for the sake of eating more protein. I gave myself permission to rest for the sake of being able to do my jobs well. I gave myself permission to take an extra day off of the gym. I gave myself permission to be someone other than the picture-perfect superwoman I’ve always envisioned myself as in my head, and it is as if a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, which coincidentally gives me the power to be the superwoman I wanted to be all along. Being a superwoman doesn’t mean being perfect, but it means being your best self. For me, being my best self is somebody who knows when to work, when to rest, and how to excel at both.

This huge lesson the beginning of 2020 has taught me guarantees that I will thrive for the rest of the year. Now that February is here I am feeling strong, motivated, energized, and ready to kick my goal-getting into high gear. I won’t be perfect, but I guarantee there will be progress. I won’t be killing myself for the sake of the job, but I will share with you how I have learned to rest and balance my life a little bit better. This will allow me to show up as a better content creator, a better wife to my husband, and a better advocate for myself. 

Get ready, world. I’m coming in hot and ready. But first, I’m going to take a 10-minute break 🙂

I’m a lot of things, but..

Clearly I am NOT a daily blogger…

That just is what it is I guess. I learned a while back that rather than try to change who I am, I need to learn to work with who I’m hardwired to be. This became apparent when I decided to retake Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies quiz. The first time I took it I was designated as an Upholder, and in my mind as the perfectionist firstborn child, that is exactly what I am supposed to be.

We all know just because you feel you’re supposed to be some specific way or have some personality trait doesn’t necessarily mean you do. After spending way too much time in denial about which of the 4 tendencies I really was, I took the quiz again and rather than answering for the person I wanted to be, I answered for who I really was at that moment.

I am an Obliger.

This means that I am great at upholding my commitments made to other people, but when it comes to keeping promises to myself and reaching goals, I still need external accountability even if it’s a personal goal. I decided to accept that about myself and my life changed.

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Day 7-8 of 90

Monday was the first of what will be many snow days. Rather than type it all out for you, I will post my vlogmas vlog here for your viewing pleasure. What you need to know is I ended the day with 32/27 Points, using 5 weeklies due to cookie consumption.

Tuesday I decided to venture out into the below zero temperatures (with many, many layers of clothes on) to go to a Bodypump class. It was a new (to me) instructor who mentioned a Christmas specific workout later in the week. I was curious so I struck up a conversation. Long story short, I bonded with this woman over our shared faith in Jesus, and this class on Thursday would be faith-based. Cool!! Hopefully, the weather cooperates so I can attend.

I got a Bodypump workout in and some steps on the elliptical before heading to Sam’s Club to get meat and reluctantly pump gas. Then it transformed into work day and was pretty business-as-usual.

Breakfast: Healthy Eating OTG Bar (5)

Lunch: Sam’s Club soft pretzel. I know, I know…I caved. Want to know the worst part? Jordan was right and they’re freaking amazing! $0.99 and the best soft pretzel ever. This is not good. Counted as 10 pp

Second lunch: Smoked salmon (3) and Cheetos (4)

Dinner: Velveeta Shells and Cheese 2% cup (5) and broccoli (0)

Treats: Too many cookies (10) and too many Lindt Truffles (6)

Total for the day: 43/27 (used 16 weeklies and have 13 remaining for the week)

It’s A New Day! | Day 3 of 90

Guys, I slept for 8.5 hours last night and I felt like a new woman. My cold symptoms are gone, my period is no longer wreaking havoc on my system, and I actually had the energy required to do this Thursday some justice.

Praise Jesus!

Since I didn’t go to my normally scheduled doubleheader of Pound class followed by Bodypump yesterday, I looked up what classes were available today, and it turned out there was one at 9:30 am at the gym location that’s easier for me to get to. Truth be told, while I enjoy my doubleheaders on Wednesday, I don’t feel like I enjoy them enough to make them worth trecking out the other Y location. Not to mention having my 2 classes at 11 and noon really messes up my day. A lot! I might end up changing my schedule up a bit to try and find what might work a little bit better for me.

Today, this class worked well. It was jam-packed with people, which is less than ideal, but I really enjoy the teacher, so it’s worth it. The other issue was there is a “woo” guy in this class. Some man ends up doing a crazy “WOO!” Every time things get a little harder in class. It’s a weight lifting class…the whole thing is supposed to be hard. During one track this guy “WOO’d!” Six times. SIX! and that was just during 1 track. There are 9 working tracks in Bodypump. I wanted to knock him out with my weight. I couldn’t actually figure out which guy it was, but that’s probably for the best. We’ll see if “Woo guy” is there next week…

Anyway, after Pump I spent about an hour on various elliptical machines (one standing, one seated) and got to 10,000 steps. Only 7.5 more to reach my Power goal on my Step Bet.

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Well…That Sucked… | Day 2 of 90

Well, for as amazing as things went on day 1 of my magical journey to the best shape of my life, day 2 went to the same level in the completely opposite direction. 😫😖

Allow me to elaborate with a bunch of excuses.

First, I had to get up early to take my husband to the bus for work so he wouldn’t have to bring his car since he was headed straight from the office to the airport. Usually, getting up at 5:20 am isn’t a problem and is close to my new normal wakeup time, however, since we got back from Thanksgiving vacation I’ve been trying to get my body to feel normal, and usually, that means more sleep. Well, I don’t know how it got to be so late, but it turns out I ended up getting 4 and a half hours of sleep. This girl needs at least 6.5 to even consider functioning. Awesome.

Then, to top it all off, the day I have been anxiously awaiting finally came and I got my period. 🩸(why yes, I did just use the blood drop emoji). My natural cycle always, without fail, comes a day or two after my app actually says it will. Well, this month was an extra special month and while PMS and all of its glorious symptoms came right on schedule, the event that comes to relieve me of said symptoms came especially late and hit me like a brick wall.

I was beyond exhausted. A trip to Target and to my PO box took literally all of the energy I had in me. I managed to get to my step goal by discovering a new season of Younger on Hulu and told myself I could watch it only if I was stepping. I ended up binge-watching the entire season!! Yes, I got to my 14.5k steps, by I also sat on my butt a lot. I didn’t vlog, I didn’t write up this blog post, heck I didn’t even go upstairs more than twice the entire day because my legs were so tired. UGH!

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iTrackBites Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

The holiday season is here! It’s time for joy, merriment, and food. Lots and LOTS of food. While this time of year is in fact (in my opinion) the most wonderful time of the year, the reality is the holiday season can strike fear into the hearts of anyone trying to lose weight. I am here to tell you that all it takes to make it through our holiday meals is a little bit of planning ahead. My friends, just because you’re on a diet does not mean you can’t have your favorite holiday dishes. I firmly believe in “everything in moderation.” The first major day of eating is right around the corner, and we need to get our hearts, minds, and plans ready to embrace the day feeling empowered to stay on track.

One of the most important things you can do is to have an idea of the Bites values of what you’re eating. Today I have a Thanksgiving cheat sheet for you which gives you the general Bites values for some Thanksgiving dinner table staples.

This next part is important: The values presented below are general guidelines and might not be completely accurate to the specific recipe that you are consuming. Obviously, if you want the most accurate representation of your Thanksgiving feast it is your job to plug in the recipes to the iTrackBites recipe builder, use the nutrition information from your specific ingredients, and measure your servings. If that’s what you want to do, that’s wonderful. Go for it! I do know for many people, the thought of putting so much work into tracking their Thanksgiving meal is pretty much the last thing they want to do. That’s where my cheat sheet comes in handy. While it might not be accurate down to the Bite for your dishes, having a generalized idea about the Bites values of your food gives you a much larger advantage than having no idea at all.

Using the list below you can roughly plan out your plate, add things to your tracker, and at least put a solid effort into staying on track this Thanksgiving. I firmly truly that some effort will always be better than no effort at all, so take a look, track accordingly, and have a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable Thanksgiving meal.

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2019 Christmas Card Exchange

Oh hey there! Don’t mind me while I take a few seconds and wipe the dust off of this old blog here. It hasn’t been used in awhile…

There, that’s a little better, isn’t it? Now, let’s start this blog resurrection off with something fun.

It’s time for my Christmas Card Exchange!

Yes, it might be the beginning of November, but Christmas music launched on the radio and we’ve got below freezing temperatures, so it just feels right, don’t you think?

Why a Christmas card exchange? With 98% of all our snail mail being bills, advertisements, and people trying to scam us, I wanted to bring a little bit of joy back to our mailboxes. You know that feeling you get when you see an envelope with a handwritten address on it? I want to fill as many mailboxes with that joy as possible. I did this exchange on a whim last year, and it was wildly successful, so I want to do it again.

I have all I need to get started and I can’t wait to start filling mailboxes with my beautiful cards with personalized notes for everyone. The Diva and the Divine community has grown so much this past year that I feel I know you all better than ever. I know names, I know stories, and it makes me feel so good to know we have such an incredible community.

So, here’s how it goes. Anyone who sends a holiday card my way gets one back. It’s that simple. You can be from anywhere in the world. I have international stamps at the ready! I only ask that you make sure there is a return address on your card somewhere so I know where to send my response. That’s it! It’s that easy!

And with that, consider the Christmas mailbox OPEN!!