Stick to your journey (health and fitness results edition)

Last week, I hopped on the scale confident that I would see the results of the other people I am in this program with.  In general, things have always come easily to me, and I expected the results from this program to be the same way.  I knew I hadn’t been perfect with my nutrition or 100% “on” in my workouts, but surely my results would be as jaw dropping as so many I had seen online already. We’ve all been there, right?  We put in some of the work, but expect all of the results.

You see, I’ve been doing a program called “80 Day Obsession” that challenges me physically, mentally, and in my nutrition. The program is split into three phases and we just wrapped up the first phase.  I watched all weekend as people posted some pretty dramatic changes in weight, inches, and other non-scale victories as well.  It’s been a TOUGH program, but I’ve loved how it has challenged me in every area of my life.

Results from Phase One of 80 Day ObsessionI took my measurements and photos and wasn’t that impressed.  There were  changes, but not a ton. I felt defeated.  Thoughts ran through my head like “It’s your own fault.  You are terrible at staying on track with your nutrition,” and “You didn’t give every single workout 100%. You could have pushed more some days.”  Basically my brain was telling me I wasn’t enough and couldn’t be enough.


Mindset Shift

I knew I need a swift kick in the mindset. For the first time, I pulled out my photos from May 2016, In May 2016, I knew I needed a change. Today, I'm so much further along!when I first realized that I NEEDED a change in my life.  The differences between then and now SHOCKED me.   I’m down roughly 15 lbs and 17 inches (not to mention, fewer anxiety and depression symptoms, better sleep, and less sickness).  It took a year and a half to get to where I am now, and I am PROUD of that fact.  For some people, those results can happen in a much shorter time, but I keep reminding myself to stay in my lane and focus on MY journey.

My Journey, My Results

I didn’t end up at my heaviest, most anxious, most depressed state overnight.  Or even over a year and a half.  I got there from 22 years of not being active enough and growing up on almost 100% processed foods.  It was a result of emotional eating and negative self-talk.  It was my own fault, but it didn’t help growing up being told that I wasn’t “the active type” and by being told that I was young and could eat whatever I wanted. I got there because I didn’t treat my body the way God intends and expects me to.

Twenty two years of damage is not going to be undone overnight.  This journey is not dropping pounds with magic shakes, pills, or bars.  On this journey, I am training myself to make better decisions for better reasons.  I’m learning that this isn’t about deprivation or punishing your body. This is about creating a sustainable lifestyle where I train my body to crave healthy foods, where I put in the work to get the results I want, and where I learn to put God’s intentions for me before anything else. I’m staying in my own lane and not comparing my journey to anyone else’s!

To read more about my health journey click here!

Take Action – James 2:17 “Faith Without Action is Dead”

Right now, nothing I have been working on for the blog feels right to post.  My heart is shattered as I hear YET AGAIN of another school shooting.  I want to take action, and I want my country to take action. Not only that, but I know that I am obligated to take action, because as the Bible says in James 2:17, faith without action is dead.

As someone who has been to far too many children’s funerals because of cancer, I am angry that we aren’t doing more to stop the actual MURDER of children.

As a preschool teacher, I am terrified.  We’ve had lockdowns, but will my three year olds actually be able to hide and be quiet enough to not draw attention to our room if this happens here?   I feel sick every time we have a lockdown drill.

As a someday parent, it makes me research homeschooling every time it happens.  I love schools, I loved school as a student and as a teacher, but can I really stomach the idea of sending my own children out the door each day?

Then it hits me that this could happen ANYWHERE. Yes, schools seem to be the biggest target, but it could happen anywhere.  Do I just stay in my house and never leave?

As an employee of a school, it is so frustrating to see blame being placed on us for this because we are either OVER protecting students or UNDER protecting students.  We would literally die to protect your child, and that’s something we are forced to think about EVERY SINGLE time this happens and EVERY SINGLE drill.

What now?

Do I have opinions on how to cut down on these horrible tragedies? You bet.  Do I claim to know all the answers? Absolutely not. But SOMETHING must be done.  I’m not sure yet what the best way for me to take action is.  With my thoughts and prayers, absolutely, but also with my vote.  I need to be better informed so that I can take action.  But how do we as individuals take action?  All I know is something must be done.

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:17


Dear Valentine’s Day

Dear Valentine’s Day,

Our relationship was rocky from the start, Valentine’s Day.  While I found joy in your candy and school parties, I also felt a bit sad when you rolled around.  I have a summer birthday, meaning that I could bring treats to school to celebrate on my half birthday.  Well my half-birthday is you, February 14th, and I never actually got to celebrate my birthday at school. What a bummer for an elementary student!

As I grew older, Valentine’s day got weirder.  In middle school, it was the day that the few “couples” the school had would make out by the lockers.  I still thought boys had cooties, so it was pretty disturbing and gross.  Add the fact that we didn’t have Valentine’s Parties at school anymore, and it all equals a pretty lame day.
In high school, I finally had my first boyfriend, and I figured that I would figure out what the big hype about Valentine’s day was.   We were together for all of high school and some of college, and I still never figured it out.  Sure, we exchanged nice gifts and went on dates, but it still felt weird.  Why was there a certain day set aside for everyone to be in love?  Couldn’t that be every day?
I started dating another guy in college. We didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Neither of us felt that heart-shaped chocolates, expensive meals, and fancy gifts on a certain day was the way to show love to each other.  We just went on dates when we wanted to, not when Hallmark and ‘tradition’ said we had to.  Neither of us were needy or would get upset.  In fact, we would rather go out when there aren’t a bunch of couples pretending everything is great and trying to out-spend each other for the sake of appearances. It was refreshing to not feel obligated to celebrate.
Well that man turned out to be my husband.  He had the same distaste for Valentine’s Day as I did.  We have yet to exchange gifts or go on a real Valentine’s date.  For many years now, we have ‘celebrated’ the day by cooking a yummy meal for another couple who might be too busy to go out and enjoy the day. It’s more fun for us to do something for others on Valentine’s Day, and it is a tradition we hope to continue in the future.

Our 1st Valentine’s meal-making, Valentine’s get together!

We aren’t falling for your tricks, February 14th.  We don’t need your overpriced “Valentine’s Day Deals” to express our love.  That happens every single day in the small gestures that mean a lot more than a required expression of our love.  We know we love each other with or without you.  We’ve decided to stick with doing fun things for others on February 14th.
Although we have stopped buying into your hokey, pink-and-red, flowery scam, some people truly love every part of you, and that’s okay too! And if Valentine’s Day can be a day where we get to serve others, well then I guess you aren’t so bad after all.
Best wishes to you, Valentine’s Day,

New Years Resolution to Lifestyle Change

I am the kind of person who loves to write new years resolutions. I like to think I stick with them longer than most, but still never for the full year.  A few goals and resolutions seem to be a theme nearly ever year for me:

1) Spending time with God
2) Eating better
3) Exercising

Basically – every year I try to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit.  I create elaborate schedules and routines that I stick with for months at a time. But then I miss a day or two, and I feel defeated, so I quit.  Is anyone else out there like that?  Tell me I’m not alone in failed resolutions!

What’s Different Now?

This year is different though, and I’ve been trying to understand why. I believe it is because I have seen how life is different than it was before now that I’ve stuck to my resolutions and goals.

Until now, life had been passing by, and I’d just been accepting that mediocre is good enough for me. Stress and anxiety had been ruling my life for too long, and now is the time for my resolutions to win out. 2018 will be the year that I trust God to lessen these invisible weights I feel on myself that I have for too long assumed were just part of being an adult.

I kicked off the year joining a bootcamp for a new workout program (keep reading, I promise this

Prepping healthy meals ahead of time keeps us on track with our nutrition AND gives us time throughout the week to focus on our other goals!

isn’t an ad! ha!).  This program requires 6 workouts a week, 8 hours of sleep a night, self-care, and healthy meals every 2-3 hours.  I was excited for the program, but also pretty darn sure that I was setting myself up yet again with an elaborate routine that wasn’t sustainable.

The opposite has proved to be true. Everything that usually drops from my goals and resolution lists has actually gotten better!  The first thing to disappear is normally my workouts, but I am in a community of women and men that encourage me daily to get it done.  The next to get lost is my time with God, but since I have to get up to eat before my workout, I have no excuse but to do my devotions!

The Benefits

These things have residual good effects too. My workouts are intense, and so I have been eating healthier because my body craves to be properly fueled.  My time with God is forcing me to really

I feel better mentally, spiritually, physically. Losing a little weight is just a side bonus to me!

examine parts of my life I’ve ignored, and I’m starting to see God’s direction in my life.  The community of men and women started off as just names on a screen to me, but I am slowly starting to develop friendships with them.  The organization of the program forces me to take time to relax (literally, I couldn’t function without extra soaking, stretching, and foam rolling) which calms my anxiety.

I never want to go back to living life at just “acceptable”.  I’m learning what God wants for me in life and how a healthy body, mind, and spirit are so intertwined.  I know that 2018 will be the year my goals not only stick, but become a true lifestyle change!

Lessons learned from a four-year-old’s tantrum

This morning one my favorite little four-year olds was laying on the couch making up a song about God. Some of the best lyrics being “God is the one we trust. I love Him! He loves my momma! God is in our hearts!  He died for our sins and God made us and he made our friends”   She literally sang for five or ten minutes and was just SO JOYFUL as she sang about God’s goodness!

Not twenty minutes and the iPad she wanted to use died.  INSTANT tantrum.  I’m talking 30 minutes of top of the lungs screaming and telling me that I needed to fix it RIGHT NOW.  Poor girl knows by now that Alyssa doesn’t put up with whining.  You whine – you don’t get what you want – PERIOD. (#preschoolteacherdoesnthavetimeforyourcrap)

My heart rate was rising and my anxiety climbed. I knew it would be way better for her to learn to calm down and learn to be patient, and to get some screen-free time. But man oh man did I want to give her that iPad.  It felt SO ridiculous.  I kept thinking “She was so full of joy just a few minutes ago, what happened? Why is she letting this ruin her whole day?”

And then it hit me

And then it hit me, how often do WE act like that?  We diligently do our quiet time in the morning and meditate on God’s goodness in our lives. We feel full of His love and goodness.

Then we drive to work and traffic is terrible – GOD, fix it RIGHT NOW.

We get to work and the WiFi is down when there is a big presentation starting at 9 – GOD, fix it RIGHT NOW.

We forget our lunch at home and don’t have time to buy anything. GOD, fix it RIGHT NOW.

We grumble about the little inconveniences to our coworkers, then turn around and tell our spouse what a horrible day we had.  We let the tiny little things of life dictate other moments in our day. Maybe we don’t let it ruin our WHOLE day, but we definitely don’t just let it go either!

It’s just a silly as a preschooler’s tantrum

God’s goodness and love are so much greater than the things we let ruin our day, even as adults.  God’s always got our backs.  Maybe traffic was bad because God knew you needed to grow your patience (in preparation for the giant tantrum awaiting you from a four-year old, for example . . . ). The WiFi being down would have been a great time for you to pray for the presentation, but you used it only to complain.  You forgot your lunch, but God placed a coworker in your life who helped you out, and now a new friendship is forming! Or maybe none of that happened for a reason. Guess what? God is still good. (Read those four words again, and out loud). GOD. IS. STILL. GOOD.

So next time you feel a grown-up tantrum coming on, take a deep breath and remember that the God who made the universe holds you in the palm of his hand, and that is worth so much more than a tiny inconveniences.

Christmas Shopping on a Budget (A Debt-Free Holiday)

Christmas shopping can be a stressful thing for a lot of people. What is meant to be a joyous and happy time of year can cause lots of financial stress for many. Being people who often take time to discuss even a $25 dollar purchase, we get it!! That’s why Cody and I have two big strategies that we utilize to keep us on-budget and stress-free.

Method 1 – A sinking fund

We save up all year for Christmas. According to Statista, the average family will spend $906 on Christmas gifts alone this year. We don’t spend quite that amount, but coming up with roughly $1000 every December (or more likely, having to put in on credit cards that will have to be paid off later) is a lot more stressful than saving roughly $75 each month throughout the year. We have online banking, so we set up an account and each month we set aside money to go into the Christmas account. That way when we get to December, the money is already there!

Method 2 – Set a budget

Set a plan before you shop. Make a list of all the people and occasions you will need gifts for. I often do this right around Thanksgiving. I always pull up my calendar during this time as well to remind me of other gatherings that may require a gift.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Family members you buy gifts for
  • Friends you exchange gifts with
  • Miscellaneous Holiday Giving – do you have a tradition of buying food for the food shelter each year? Consider adding this to your list.
  • Hostess gifts. Does your neighbor host a holiday party for the neighborhood each year? Don’t forget to include a gift for the host!
  • Other gift exchanges/secret santas
  • Other annual holiday giving. Many schools and workplaces have a giving tree or annual fundraiser around this time. If this is something you participate in, put it on the list.

Now, you know my love for spreadsheets, so of course our list in a spreadsheet! In the next column I go through and estimate how much to spend on each person. Perhaps closer family members get a few more gifts than Great Aunt Matilida who you only see once a year. I assign target dollar amounts here; it felt weird the first time, almost as if I were assigning some family members and friends to be worth more to me than others. But hey, it’s not like they will ever see your budget!

Total up your list.  If it’s within your saved amount – AMAZING. If not, you need to decide to either cut back on gifts here or there or see if you can pull money from elsewhere in your budget. It can be tempting to keep spending, because giving can be so fun, but the goal is to have a debt free holiday!

Combining Methods

Here in the Osegard house, we use both methods. We save up throughout the year and never go shopping without a solid game plan. The goal is to never go into debt for Christmas, and these methods make sure we are free to gift and give for the holidays guilt-free and debt-free!

Finding ME again

Fatigued. Anxious. Depressed. In 2016, these were the words I described myself with more often than not. Medications and other substances were not my friend. Not in an abuse sort of way, but in a “they make me feel off” way. I wanted to try anything natural to get out of my rut. Anything to finally feel like ME.  But finding me again seemed impossible.

Try 1: A personal trainer

Everyone said the best natural remedies were sleep, water, a healthy diet and exercise.  So, I tried working out with a personal trainer for almost a year. I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted, hated the drive to the gym, and didn’t have the accountability I needed nutrition-wise, so not much changed.

Then one day, a parent of one of my students mentioned her community of women overcoming anxiety and emotional eating and working together to build each other up. It was a group of women who were working out at home and eating better as well. It sounded too good to be true, especially when I realized I could do all of that for an entire year for the cost of two weeks with my personal trainer.

Try 2: At home workouts

It was tempting, but I had my doubts. I’d done Pinterest “at home workouts” before and either lost my motivation after a few days or seen zero results. I didn’t have much hope that these workouts would be any different, but I felt it was really my last chance to find me.

So I made the leap.  I decided I’d give it one month.  One month to follow the meals plans, the workouts, and be a part of the community.  I even decided to try the shakes they were obsessed with.  I was so sure it WOULDN’T change anything, but I had to give it my all for a little while.

May 30, 2017: I was in better shape than I had been before hiring a personal trainer, but felt at my lowest.

The Results

One month later, I had lost inches, cravings, and some of my depression symptoms. I gained community, energy, and the feeling of accomplishment that had been mostly missing in my life. My “I guess I’ll try this for a month” is turning into a sustainable lifestyle one day at a time!

I never thought that I would work out consistently or make healthy food choices. I didn’t have good role models in that area. It had been pretty ingrained in me that I was lazy, un-athletic, and had a sweet tooth that was stronger than my willpower. When my depression was factored in to all that, finding me again seemed impossible.

One month later and I felt more like myself than I had in years!

Finding Me Again

I’m not perfect now, but I am happier. I have more energy. Food choices are easier than they were. I have a community that keeps me accountable.  The workouts make me feel stronger and fill me with confidence that tells me I can conquer anything. I’m finding me again, and I love who I am becoming along the way.

What helps you feel like yourself?  I’d love to learn from you or to encourage you! Contact Cody and me here or on Facebook!

How a little Shake actually did change my life

“Try this shake and these at-home workouts! They’ll change your life!” I’d heard the spiel before, but I finally caved and decided to give it a try. Now, before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out.

“You’re just trying to make money off of me”

The whole business seemed a little sketchy to me. I was skeptical, just as I know many others are. I always understood that Shakeology would be good for my body. That part wasn’t confusing. What pushed me away was that for years, people tried to convince me to buy their shakes or purchase a program. I hated it. It was always a “cold message” from people I rarely talked to.

That’s why I didn’t do it. I wasn’t seeing the value, nor was I feeling valued by the people cold messaging me.

This time felt different

When Amber’s team came into my life, it was different. There were no cold messages. I had to come to THEM.

I tried Amber’s group once from a fitness side, because I was sick of my gym. I was paying for a monthly membership to a gym that I wasn’t getting results from. I even had a personal trainer, but once a week check-ins just weren’t enough to help me.

I had NO intention of sticking with it. It just so happened that there was a special deal that month where I could get BOD and Shakeology for cheaper than a month with my trainer and with his shakes that I didn’t like, so I figured I would do BOD for a month or two while we moved and I could find a new gym then.

But then I started noticing changes. I wasn’t snacking emotionally from my anxiety. I was hardly snacking at all. I was working out every day, and I had a community of women who stood by my side and every day pushed me to “press play” on a workout.

For the first time, I was consistently working out, eating healthy, and I felt better then I had in years.   

What happened when I stopped the shakes?

After the challenge group, I stopped drinking Shakeo, because, like many of you, I didn’t think it was worth the cost. Cody and I are hard core budgeters who spend very little on anything (except paying off student loans, woof).

I also started noticing changes this time too. Snacking was sneaking back into my life, even though I was still drinking shakes from my old gym. But there was NO WAY I was going to spend more on groceries each month by buying these shakes.

Another month passed, and I realized that I just didn’t have the same energy that I had in previous months. I felt SO discouraged. What was wrong with me? My husband (FYI, Beachbody’s biggest skeptic at the time), pointed out that I didn’t have my Shakeology and was instead snacking on other things.

I still didn’t want to give in completely

I decided that FINE, I’d buy the shakes once ever 3-4 months and only have them on days I was feeling tired. This happened to be the month that Take Back the Kitchen Launched.

The combination of all these things finally seemed to line up. Shakeology kept my snacking from going out of control. The meal plans kept us full of healthy foods and stopped us from eating out as much. We realized that even if we bought Shakeology every month and did the meal plans provided, we were only spending $80 a week including all food and shakes. It wasn’t a budget-buster like we assumed it would be.

Now we drink a shake everyday

Both of us have more energy to do all our day-to-day things AND workout. We love saving time on meal planning. But the best part by far is the community. Cody and I are

My daily snack is packed with superfoods and has totally saved me from my emotional eating!

each in a fitness accountability group and a nutrition accountability group. These groups encourage us and push us to be our best.

Now, it still feels crazy to say that I’m one of those crazy Beachbody people that love drinking Shakeology, but it’s true. The difference between NOW and years past when people asked me is that I get so much added value in the form of meal plans, time savings, and community.

If you have questions about our health and fitness journey or want to know how you can get involved with Take Back the Kitchen, you can contact us here.

Disclosure: I am an independent Beachbody Coach. The postings on my site are my own and do not necessarily represent the position, strategy or opinions of Beachbody and its brands

Breaking up with junk food

It’s been said over and over that weight loss and overall fitness are 10% exercise and 90% diet. It sounds simple enough, but I have one major downfall when it comes to a healthy diet – snacking. I have a deep love for sweets and other junk food. In fact, I even worked in our college’s bakery for a few years. Sweets are my love language.

Junk Food Experts

Cody and I have been known to constantly have candy corn in the house during the fall. People also have commented on our wine bottle full of M&Ms. We even have been known to indulge in ice cream every single night.

Ice Cream every night!

For a long time I justified it, saying that it was “just” one snack a day. No big deal. I even was careful to snack within my calorie allotment for the day. Even with the calorie limits and working with a personal trainer, I still wasn’t seeing results. People kept telling me to cut out the junk food, but . . . I just couldn’t for longer than a few days. But it was time to see if a diet change would really help me see results.

Why moving was good for our snacking

May 2017 was a crazy month for us. We moved out of our fairly comfortable apartment and into our ideal location townhouse. Notice I said ideal LOCATION and not ideal sight, smell, color, etc (but more on that another time). At the same time, I quit my personal trainer, because even though I liked my trainer, I wasn’t seeing results nor staying motivated to actually go to the gym every day.

Before we moved, we tossed out ALL of our junk food. Leftover candy from post-Easter sales, marshmallows, chips, cookies . . . you name it, it was gone! It sounds like I probably just lost my mind, but really there were a few things that led to this pre-move junk food purge.

The things that helped

I wasn’t seeing results with my trainer, and a friend showed me how to sign up for an at-home workout program that uses portion control containers and helps you refocus your diet, so I already had a little bit of pressure to step up with the other people in my accountability group.

I was FED UP with feeling down. My anxiety and depression symptoms were reappearing with more frequency leaving me feeling tired and just “bleh”. I read that what we fuel our bodies with can make a big difference to not only our physical health, but our mental health.

I was so sick of packing. So the idea that I could toss an entire moving box or two’s worth of stuff made getting rid of the junk food that much easier.

But, Osegards, I’m not moving. . .

We hear you. You don’t have to move to do a junk food purge; that’s just what made it easier for us! In the four months since “the purge”, we have been doing a lot better. We still have some bad foods that sneak in – some pop, chips (we make homemade salsa, so we can’t help it . . . or at least that’s our excuse), and of course the occasional ice cream. However, after going an entire month without any junk in the house, we are now a lot more conscious of what we allow in the house and how frequently we are eating it.

What are your tricks to keeping the junk food to a minimum at your house? We’d love for you to share your tips in the comments below or on our Facebook page!  We love hearing from you no matter how you contact us!


A party so good, I forgot the pictures

Today, we had roughly 15-20 people over at our place.  If you know me, you know I’m a planner to the MAX. Heck, I made spreadsheets (Yup, PLURAL) for our trip to DISNEYLAND for Pete’s sake. Planning and organizing is in my blood. Naturally this means that I had every detail for this birthday bash planned months in advance, right?

False. We decided to throw this shindig six days ago, and didn’t even have everything purchased for the party until just a couple hours before. I’m pretty proud though – because I didn’t even freak out once. In fact, I’d say it was one of the most special times we’ve had.

What made this party different?

  1. Like I said, I didn’t panic. Not even once.
  2. It was the first time we’ve had a party with different groups of people – friends from life, bible study, high school pals, family, etc
  3. I’m a introvert, but I didn’t feel drained after hours of people time.
  4. It was so fun I forgot to take a single picture to prove it happened.

Error: Party Pictures not found

I think I know why today was so unlike any other gathering we’ve had as a married couple. It’s because these are our people. For the three years we’ve lived here, I’ve never really felt like we had found our people. I had this picture in my head that we would have the elusive “tribe” of people just like us who we just happened to befriend. People who were exactly our age and loved everything we loved and were married and childless just like us.

I realized today that our tribe isn’t just one group. Our tribe is all the people who make us the people we are. The people we love like crazy and who love us back. Family, friends with kids, single friends, friends from bible study, high school friends, kiddos we love like they’re our own. . .

None of these people had met, and I doubt that we could make one regular “tribe” out of them, but that didn’t matter today. Today they were all my people, and I love them dearly.

(ps. Happy birthday, Cody.  I’m sorry there is no proof of today. Hopefully you’ll remember it, even in your old age of 26.)