This Week’s Struggle Bus | The Diva Diaries

You know, before I went the “professional” blogger route and started curating totally informational content and worrying about how much reach and engagement my posts had, Diva and the Divine was a place for me to journal about life. It started as a place to do some professional stuff, sure, but it also acted as a place for me to talk about life updates and experiences so my friends and family could read it during my season away while my husband and I lived in North Carolina.  Today, I’d like to get back to those roots, because the struggle has been oh so real this week, and I feel the need to talk about it. 

All week long (it’s currently Thursday morning) I have been feeling terrible.  Terrible about myself, terrible about how little I’ve been getting done, moody, crave-y, and completely unmotivated to do anything other than sit on my butt and binge watch Will & Grace (I mean, the reboot starts tonight, so at least there is a legit reason behind that desire). Meanwhile, everything that I want to be in this ideal dream life I have for myself is the complete opposite of everything I’m currently being, feeling, and doing, and it’s really taking its toll. 

While all week has been a mess of these emotions, yesterday is when a light bulb sort of went off.  My vice amid all stressors is food.  Always has been.  After a solid 4 weeks of awesome weigh-ins (which I’ve been talking about over on Youtube), this week I went off the handle.  It wasn’t even a “just make a bunch of bad decisions every meal” type of situation, but it was almost worse than that.  I would eat really well planned and thought out meals, low in Smart Points and packed full of protein and nutrition.  If I would have stopped where I know I should have, I’d be on point for another week and likely seeing a loss on the scale.  Instead, I have been making horrible choices, typically right after one of my gloriously healthy meals.  For example, I have a bunch of awesome Trader Joe’s pumpkin goodies that I bought for a TJ’s Haul video, and I have a lot of the higher Smart Point items pre-portioned out so it’s easy to grab one portion, track it, and enjoy it…but have I been using my system the way it was intended?  Of course not! Instead, I have been taking several of those pre-portioned treats and indulging in them in one sitting,

The worst part of it all is that it’s a very conscious choice.  The few times I’ve done it I’ve actually stopped, acknowledged the fact that I was about to make a very deliberate choice to self-sabotage myself (which is something I do a lot…) and that I have the option to put the stuff down and walk away.  Instead of doing that, I found myself saying ” oh that’s nice… but F@!% it” and making the choice anyway. I think the fact that I completely made the mindful choice to self-sabotage myself is the part that I’ve been spending my time beating myself up over.  I’ve been doing so well for an entire month, praising the Weight Watchers plan’s flexibility and how I can make it work, and then completely going off the handle.   Of course, beating myself up over the one thing creates this downward spiral into a week that has just made me feel terrible. 

Last night, at my wit’s end over the fact I haven’t been motivated to do anything and then topping it off with that whole self-sabotage situation, I did something I hadn’t really done before. I decided to take the time and think about the why behind all of this misery I’m subjecting myself to.  Why was I doing this? What was the real reason behind these feelings?  

Then something totally unrelated and yet seemingly 100% related happened.  As I was sitting there watching WIll & Grace and trying to figure out what was going on with me mentally, I got a horrible, double over in pain cramp in my lady parts.  I call these “lighting cramps” because they show up full force, out of nowhere, and feel like painful electricity racing through my lower abdomen.  Since my IUD insertion, I’ve been using an app to track my time of the month, since I no longer had the pills to tell me exactly when my period was coming, so I immediately opened the app to see just how wrong the timing of this cramp was (I frequently end up with random cramps nowhere around the time of my period… my IUD experience has not been a positive one).  It said “next period in 5 days.” With a few exceptions in the 2 years I’ve had the IUD, the tracker has been pretty spot on with my timing.  How is this relevant to my rant?  

I know that since getting the IUD my PMS has gotten much worse than it has in the past. I like to believe that I experience most of my PMS symptoms a day or two before my period.  For some reason, since I was analyzing my emotions anyway, I decided to do a little research about women’s favorite thing (said with the most sarcasm ever): PMS. 

After a bit of Googling, I learned several things.  First of all, the onset of PMS symptoms isn’t just 2 days before but can start as early as 1-2 weeks before your period.  This puts me right in PMS prime time.  Lovely..

The second thing I discovered is PMS apparently gets worse with age.  I’m 30 now, so maybe I’m falling into that category of people. Perfect!

The last (and perhaps most relevant) thing I learned is that there is not only PMS, but a more extreme version of PMS called Premenstrual Dysporphic Disorder (PMDD), that has a larger emotional impact on women, and starts about a week before your period.  Symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression or feelings of hopelessness
  • Intense anger and conflict with other people
  • Tension, anxiety, and irritability
  • Decreased interest in usual activities (I don’t want to blog, work, workout, or basically do anything I normally do)
  • Difficulty concentrating (!!!!!)
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling out of control
  • Sleep problems (I often have sleep problems)
  • Cramps and bloating 
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Hot flashes

Everything bolded is what I’ve been dealing with emotionally this week…

Now, I’m not one to self-diagnose, but I’m also not one to want to add another medical problem to my plate, but this just seems to fit, right? I might be someone who has PMDD rather than PMS, which would explain all of the emotional battles I’ve been dealing with this week.

On the one hand, I can’t decide if the answer is to go to a doctor and get an official diagnosis (and then a legitimate treatment) or if I should try and figure out how to manage it on my own, fully understanding that there might actually be a reason behind my utter lack of motivation, self-control and general feeling of the blahs. Either way, I actually feel better knowing there is the potential to have an actual issue rather than it all being in my head and I’m just a general failure at life. 

All of that being said, today is a new day.  I’m feeling pretty positive about my ability to make good choices and resist the urge to give in to my bad ones.  Granted, 99% of the time mornings are never an issue. It’s lunchtime and beyond that, I need to worry about, but I’ll take that one moment at a time today, and while tomorrow’s weigh-in is likely to be dreadful, it will be time for some real talk over on my channel as well.  

Thanks for listening to my rant.  Do you have any thoughts, suggestions, or experience with anything I talked about today?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

45 Ways To Reward Yourself Without Food

I’m not going to lie to you.  I love earning rewards. I am most definitely motivated to get things done by the fact I know there is a special treat waiting for me at the finish line.  It doesn’t matter if the task is getting a blog post up, getting the house cleaning done, or hitting another 5 lbs lost, I will always do a better and more efficient job with my tasks if I know there is something I’m working toward.  I know, getting the thing done should be reward enough, but I’m a huge sucker for positive reinforcement, and lately, I’ll do anything to help me avoid procrastination and get things done.  
 
If you know me, you know that weight loss is one of my long-term, big deal goals.  For many people (myself included) it isn’t uncommon to have the reward for a job well done be a food related treat.  While this is great in theory (and some days it’s totally worth it), when one of your major goals is weight loss and healthy living, rewarding yourself with food is as counterproductive as it gets.  If you reward yourself with a big old piece of cake and ice cream for seeing a loss on the scale this week… it just doesn’t make sense!  That being said, I want to have plenty of options for how to reward myself without adding to my calorie intake, so I came up with a whole list of ways to treat yourself without food.  
 

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Why I Picked Weight Watchers As My Weight Loss Plan

I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers since 2009.  Almost 9 years!  While I have definitely been on again/off again with actually following the Weight Watchers plan, I’ve been a subscriber the whole time. In this day and age, it seems like there are a million different kinds of fitness and diet plans out there.
Just to name a few:
  • Weight Watchers
  • Good old calorie counting
  • Whole 30
  • Jenny Craig
  • Paleo
  • Vegan
  • Raw
  • Vegetarian
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Carb
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • The HCG Diet
  • Zone Diet
  • South Beach Diet
  • Grapefruit Diet
  • Blood Type Diet (I’m totally serious)
  • Cabbage Soup Diet
 
Guys, this is me naming a few of the diets that are out there.  Every day we are being told that something is good for us, and the next day that very same thing causes cancer.  It’s never been so difficult to figure out what the “best” diet is because we’re getting fed so much information every single day.   
 
The reason I bring this up is because on my YouTube channel I’ve started doing Weekly Weigh In videos, and I try to get a conversation started in the comments section including what topics I should cover in future videos.  Recently, someone asked me why, out of all the diets out there, did I choose and stick to Weight Watchers?  I think that’s an excellent question. so here’s my answer. 

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Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box | Fall2017 Unboxing & Giveaway

I’ll keep this short and sweet.  I just posted an unboxing of the Erin Condren Fall Seasonal Surprise box on my channel. I also bought a second box so I could give one away to one of my subscribers.  Rather than type everything out here, I decided it would be easier to just show you the video.  So, without further ado, here’s my #ECSurpriseBox unboxing.  Head over to my channel to enter the giveaway!

XOXO,

Brianna

 

 

September 2017 Goals

 
Happy September! I’m so excited September is here, as it means the start of all of my favorite things.  Kids are back in school (I don’t have kids, but when I run errands it means there will be less of them running around the shops!), it’s the start of sweater weather, Leaves candles are easily available at Bath and Body Works, and pumpkin spice is popping up everywhere.  It’s basically my little slice of heaven. 
 
Even though I am no longer affected by back to school season, I still really enjoy the fresh start behind it, and I feel the need to take full advantage of the spirit of the season.  I really want to get better at setting (and publicly declaring) monthly goals for accountability purposes.  Here’s what I’m working on this month. 
 
Break my weight loss wall:  As you well know, I have been stuck going up and down the same 4 lbs for what seems like ages now, and I haven’t been able to get lower than 166lbs.  This month is it. It’s the time that I bust through the wall and start showing the scale who’s boss. Bonus, as of this morning I am only 2lbs away from succeeding. Bring it ON!

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Sephora Play! | August 2017

 

This month’s Sephora Play! box is themed “The Innovators.” I love the word innovation because it means there are new and exciting things on the horizon, and hopefully, they make things easier and better.    The first thing I pulled out of the box is the paper that talks all about the different products I will find inside, which is nothing new.  On the other side is an “Elements of Beauty” periodic table (so appropriate for the back to school season) which briefly explains many ingredients found in various beauty products, what they’re for, and what they’re found in.  What a cool little educational tool to add to a beauty box.  I will actually read this before tossing it in the recycling bin!  

The drawstring bag is labeled “Makeup Geek,” still sticking with the back to school theme.  As per usual, there is a play pass that will get you 50 extra points when you take it into Sephora stores.  

Okay, moving on to the products. I’m actually pretty pleased with everything in my box this month. All of the products are practical, basic, and things I will actually use.   Scroll down to see what I got in my box, then comment and let me know what you got in yours.  

 

 

An Online Dermatologist Changed My Skin! | Dermacare Review

 

If you’ve been following me for awhile, then you are well aware of many of my life struggles.  One major struggle I’ve been having in my late 20’s is adult acne.  Quite frankly, I find this to be incredibly unfair, as I didn’t struggle with acne anywhere near as bad in my teenage years (you know, when we’re supposed to be having acne issues) as I do as a grown woman.  By the time my 30th birthday rolled around and I was still having major acne issues (especially along my jaw line), I’d had enough.  No 30 year old should have to worry about having the skin problems of a 15-year-old. While I’m a huge fan of makeup, I was truly tired of not being comfortable enough in my own skin to leave my home without foundation and concealer on.  

With my husband’s blessing, I decided to start researching dermatologists in my area, because clearly everything I had tried in the past wasn’t enough.  The list of products I’ve tried could probably fill an entire short novel, and while some products helped (most didn’t), there was nothing that made me feel like my problem was actually being solved. So, the hunt for local dermatologists began.  

Well, as I was doing the “good blogger” thing of making an effort to read and support other bloggers, a post by Jess from The Golden Girl blog came up on my feed about an online dermatologist. Online dermatology?!  That can’t possibly be legit…can it?  I decided to reach out to the company, Dermacare, and see if we could work a little something out, because basically, I was the perfect candidate to prove whether or not this service of theirs actually worked. Thankfully, they agreed to work with me (and yes, they’re sponsoring this post, but before you leave thinking “oh great, she was paid to talk about this,” just hear me out. Seriously.) 

Back in January (yes, 8 months ago!) I got hooked up with an account and my journey to see if Dermacare would actually work began.  The first thing you do is create a skin care profile talking about your skin care goals, and then (are you ready for this?) you upload selfies to the site for the doctor to look at.  Using the photos and the information they’re given, the dermatologists at Dermacare create a custom prescription product mixed just for you with your goals in mind. Ready for some crazy honesty?  Here are my “before” photos.  These are what I sent in when I created my account.

Ick. I can’t stand looking at them.  No 30 year old should have to deal with that kind of acne situation.  

After a few days, I got a package with my custom acne treatment inside.  I couldn’t contain my excitement.  If getting quality dermatology is as time-saving saving as snapping a few selfies, this is the greatest idea ever!   Read more

10 Ways To Get 10,000 Steps

Nowadays I feel like everyone has an activity tracker hanging out on their wrist.  It is a well-known fact that movement is super important, and not only to those of us trying to lose weight. It is recommended that everyone get 10,000 steps in every single day.  While for some this might seem like nothing, to others this could very well be a lofty, seemingly unattainable goal.  In a world of Fitbits and other activity trackers being the norm, I wanted to offer up 10 ways you can get a little bit closer to hitting that 10k step goal.  Now, any one of these tips is not going to get you all the way there on its own, but if you combine a few of these suggestions, I’m willing to bet you’ll be at that magical 10k before you know it.  Ready to get moving?  Here we go!

10 Ways to Get 10,000 Steps

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Sephora Play! Unboxing | July 2017

It’s the middle of summer and Sephora knows that we have vacation on our minds, so they decided to help us out with a little beauty R & R by theming this month’s box as “Beauty Staycation.”  Everything in my July box focuses on quick summer beauty fixes that will have me ready to travel or ready to sip iced tea in my recliner at home.  My July box makes summer beauty effortless, natural, and oh so glorious.  Let’s see what was inside. 

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How To Make The Most Of A Rainy Day

I went to bed last night to an awesome summer thunderstorm that I figured would blow over by morning, but when I woke up this morning, thunder was still rumbling and it was so dark I needed to turn on all of the lights like it was 8pm.  Not an ideal way to start the day, but at least it inspired a blog post. I’m all about taking the little wins lately, so let’s roll with it. 

It’s dark and gross outside, which completely destroys my motivation to do much of anything except sit on my couch and binge watch Netflix.  I have to leave home to go to the gym (and I hate driving in rain..that’s a story for another day), and I truly believe that I run on sunshine and coffee, and there is zero sunshine to speak of, which means my battery is flashing on low.  So, what’s a gal (or guy) to do?  Now, I have the rare lifestyle where I don’t actually have to get up and go to work since my occupation is “housewife” followed closely by “blogger,” which means I have the option of not leaving the house.  While I know many of you don’t have that lifestyle, that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself with a gloom and doom day at home at some point this summer.  Here are a few ways you can make the most of it. 

Spa Day

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