Lets Start Gardening #3

“There are no gardening mistakes only experiments” – Janet Kilburn Phillips

Last week I realize I sent you out to buy seeds and told you to start planting. What we didn’t talk about is where you plan to plant your garden. Ironically gardening is just like real estate. The key to a successful garden is location location location.

When I first started my garden I had big plans and big dreams. I dug up some old rose bushes and carved out a great 16ft x 8ft space. I was going to grow everything and be a master gardener. Every day I was able to look over at my neighbors yard and marvel at what he was doing. On the first day we met our neighbors my husband told him “Oh Lord, she’s going to want a garden”. He was absolutely right and the first summer in our new home I finally got to play in the dirt.

First let me say that digging up rose bushes is insane. We got stuck and poked, and there was blood and tears. That was on the first day. After I got beat up the first day I decided to call in my sons friends. These were seniors in high school and I figured they had energy and strength. Yea, they had neither. My oldest son was more strength than accuracy and had rose thorns all over the yard. His best friend showed up to help and actually guided us on the proper way to dig up a yard and what tools we needed. What we didn’t know was the bushes had been there for years and the roots were insane. Digging them up required a pick ax and various tools that I didn’t have in my arsenal . Home Depot and Lowes began to know me by name. They got all my money the first year.

After some hard work we got the garden dug out and framed. I wish I could tell you it looked fantastic and was some of the best craftsmanship on earth. It was not. Far from it. But it was the start of me figuring out how not to garden. Yes I said it. My first year was a disaster which is why I’m going to try and stop you from going through what I went through.

First mistake: placing my garden about 50 feet from my house. That doesn’t sound like a lot but hauling water back and forth in the heat of August made me realize that was a horrible idea. My advice to you is to first figure out where you plan to place your garden. Don’t figure it out by imagining how fantastic it will be to grow veggies. Figure it out thinking about the sun beaming down on your back. Think about how far you are willing to walk hauling jugs of water, or dragging the water hose back and forth.

Second mistake: not thinking about how I planned to water this garden. After I framed it out I realized running a sprinkler system was not going to work. I had enclosed the garden eliminating this option. I thought the water hose we had would work and then realized it was not long enough. Back to the store I went. After the hose came a watering wand. My husband actually purchased this because I looked pathetic trying to water my sad garden. I also noticed that I had picked a location that was uphill so each time I watered the garden I created a small pond in our yard. My garden was now ruining our grass and since my husband mowed the yard he was not happy. This was not looking too good.

Third mistake: I didn’t test the soil. Our soil was basically clay and rock. Why I thought I could simply grow in this I will never know, but I planted green beans and lettuce anyway. The lettuce didn’t stand a chance. There was no way they could root through rock. They tried, but didn’t amount to much of anything. The green beans thrived though and I was elated. Green beans were the only thing I grew that year and because I was so excited I grew a lot. Those green beans became the best thing I had ever tasted. Had I not got those beans that first year I would have never have tried gardening again. I caught the bug and was just excited that I had accomplished something. I had grown something out of nothing. You can avoid my mistakes but yet still feel my joy.

Pick the place that you plan to garden. I would advice you to pick a back up place as well. Don’t pick a spot near trees or anything covered with shade. You need full sun. Remember dirt, sun, and water are key for this to be successful. As soon as ground is soft enough to be worked you need to head out to the yard and dig up a good chunk of dirt. You don’t need to dig up the entire yard but I would advice you to dig up a 1ft x 1ft sections. I would also dig one foot deep as well. If you plan to grow carrots, onions, or potatoes you will need to know how soft your soil is, and if those plants will make it. If you are super fancy you can have your soil tested. You can send samples of your soil away and scientist can tell you the exact PH which will help you figure out what to grow. I did none of this, I just planted stuff and saw what worked. Honestly that is part of the fun, the experiments. Not much worked that first year so coming up with a Plan B was how I fixed the problem.

If you have hard soil one option is to bring in top soil. My neighbor does this every year. He has a company bring in enough top soil to fill all of his beds. Another option would be to use raised beds. These too have to be filled with top soil but are easier to manage after the first year. My neighbor installed four of these last year. The option I prefer is container gardening. This is a little more expensive up front but well worth it. I had to bring in soil like my neighbor but I use a mix called Mel’s Mix. This is 1/3 compost, 1/3 soil, 1/3 vermiculite. Again this cost more to start but you don’t have to replace this mix for a years. You just top it off with compost each year. Two books I think you need to read if you don’t do traditional gardening are Square Foot Gardening and The Container Garden Bible. All the information in these books can be found online, but I liked having it in one location. These books helped me look like a master gardener in year two. A good friend of mine called my garden Eden. Unicorn Crossing was born.

Gardening is about controlling what you can control. In containers I could control water, soil, sun (you can move the container), and pest (row covers). Container gardening and Square Foot Gardening are what I will talk about most but please know that many of these rules will apply to traditional gardening as well. If your soil is loose and pliable you have just saved yourself hundreds of dollars and I’m jealous. If you don’t have a lot of space or rough soil raised beds or containers are really your best bet.

If your yard is not covered in snow go for a stroll and pick a location. Stand in the space and begin to imagine what you want it to look like. Take some pictures and really get a feel of your space. If you catch the gardening bug this will be your new home for the next few months. I lived in my garden from March-October. The goal is to make this a space you want to be in, a space you enjoy. For me its a space to not think. A space where I just do. A space where my mind finally gets to stop working and I simply get to enjoy nature. Tell me about your space. Send me some pictures. Get excited. Let’s grow some stuff together.

Here are some pictures of the process:

In the back you can see the bushes we dug up. Both plots were identical. The goal was to dig up both. Yea that did not happen.
This is after we put the post up. Pay close attention to how we didn’t level the ground. This is how I created the pond in my yard each time I watered.
More framing, no leveling
I put in chicken wire to prevent creatures from getting in.
I also added board in the inside to “frame” the garden. More animal prevention is what I thought.
I dug up a walkway and put these boards on the front to continue the frame work.
I put trellis along the outside to cover up how bad it looked from the street. I know my neighbors were judging. Notice those $1000 green beans growing.
This was year two. We stained the wood and had someone come in and frame out the inside and create a real pathway. The plants you see hanging over the edge are fingerling potatoes grown in 5 gallon buckets. They were planted using the directions I gave you in the last gardening blog.
Well worth everything we paid to have the inside framed out correctly. They dirt was leveled and pavers were put in. There are beams that go from the front to the back of the garden to hold everything in place.
The final stage was a new door and the famous Unicorn Crossing sign. Again this is the second year. I grew everything this year.

Month 3 Week 3- Parenting While Still

“Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them”- Lady Bird Johnson

I have two sons. My oldest son is twenty and my youngest is twelve. These two boys control my world. I would also lay down and die for either one of them without a second thought. I believe in every parents heart we believe everyone would do the same thing for their children. Yes I know there are some shitty parents out there, but I’m not talking to those people. I’m talking to you. I talking to you and praying, not assuming but praying you are a fantastic parent. Here is the thing, if you are a fantastic parent you are wondering how can I Be Still if I’m supposed to be taking care of these kids. Here is my story.

My oldest son is going to change the world. There is no belief in that statement. His goals and aspirations are things I never thought of at his age. Hell I didn’t think of most of them at my current age. Financially he is light years ahead of me. He wants to know stuff and wants to talk about everything. My oldest son will get a thought in his head and want to talk to you about it right then and there. There is no waiting, there is no later. He has to get all these thoughts out and doesn’t care how long it takes. The issue is I never know if this conversation will be five minutes or five hours. One day we were at the dinner table for two or three hours as he discussed his financial life plan. I believe he was seventeen at the time.

My youngest son is reserved. He’s quiet around the family but loud with friends. He never asks for anything, but when he wants something he wants it now. He gets that from me, 100% me. Because he doesn’t talk that often when he does speak, we listen. We stop what we are doing and we listen. Phones get put down, unless he wants something from Amazon. Everyone in the family unwittingly stops and listens to this kid. My youngest son is also athletically gifted with natural talent yet doesn’t want to do anything athletic. I say this because anytime playing a sport or doing anything sports related is mentioned we all get really excited. My family loves sports, all sports.

Now that you know about both my children and their impatience you are wondering how am I still. I’m still when I know they don’t want to talk to me. My kids are not talking to be before 10am. They are not talking to me when they are at school, playing video games, or with their friends. My kids like talking to me on their time. Their time is usually at 2:30 the exact time that I have a meeting for work. I still believe my oldest does this on purpose. My youngest is also arriving home from school at 2:30 so he always comes to tell me about his day. After I figured this out I just moved my meeting to start fifteen minutes later.

Everyone does not have that option. Your kids may not talk to you on a schedule and your kids may not even know how to talk. You may have family you need to take care of, or you might have other obligations. What I’m saying is you need to find five minutes to simply Be Still. If you have time to watch tv, eat snacks, shop, or browse social media you have time to Be Still.

What I’ve learned over time is we are good at finding excuses not to do stuff. It’s about time we start finding excuses to do stuff. Make yourself a priority. Take care of yourself. That 5+ minutes that you spend taking care of yourself will just make you a better able to take care of others.

I did lose weight during this time because I discovered walking was a great way for me to Be Still. When I walked I didn’t think. Also my family wasn’t with me so that alone time was what I needed. Five small minutes was also the goal, but I went where the walk took me. For me this provided peace and movement. Again find out what works for you. Remember we are only trying to lose one pound. One pound at a time.

Gardening On A Budget

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsey

When I decided to garden it was because I was told it would be a cheap way to relieve stress. I’m sure in some realm of the world that is true, but as with all things I went above and beyond. I didn’t start small and I didn’t start with a few items. I headed to Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and Menards and purchased everything I could get my hands on. I watched videos that told me I needed something and headed to the store to buy it. I was going to grow the best veggies and I didn’t care how much it cost, until I did. Something told me to calculate how much I had spent to create the garden and when I saw that number I was done. The first year I had spent $1000. That number only included what I could remember spending.

To make myself feel better I included tools and supplies. Let me explain tools. We had to purchase pick axes and shovels so guess what, I dropped that into the number. My husband needed knee pads since we were on the ground digging out rose bushes. That got included in the total. The list goes on and on as to what got included but truth is I would have included everything known to man to justify that number. That was an insane amount of money for a first year gardener. Want to hear the funny part. The first year all I grew was green beans. My soil was essentially clay so nothing was strong enough to make it.

The second year I vowed that I would not spend that much money. That $1000 green bean was madness. Guess what I spent the second year? I spent $2500. Let me say I’m being real liberal with this number. Liberally low. The second year I decided to try straw bale and container gardening. That meant I needed to buy bales and containers and have them delivered. I also had to frame out the garden to hold these bales. Bales required fertilization, watering, and plastic sheeting to heat the bale. This was all before I dropped in one seed. I had to purchase potting mix, manure, and vermiculite to mix in the containers and I needed greenhouses to start all my seeds. I also needed more seeds. Notice I keep saying “need”. I didn’t need this stuff but the bug had already bit me so the money was spent.

The second year was successful. I grew turnips, mustard greens, collard greens, watermelon, two varieties of potatoes, strawberries, four varieties of cucumbers, three varieties of tomatoes, three kinds of peppers, onion, scallions, garlic, four varieties of carrots, peas, six varieties of lettuce, sweet potatoes, mint, thyme, sage, and the coveted green bean. I grew so many veggies I was sending bags to people. I could not keep up and soon Unicorn Crossing became Unicorn Jungle. So now here we are at year number three.

Let me state I am not a gardening expert and I have used my friend Google as well as my new friend YouTube to guide me. You would be amazed at what you can learn if you just phrase your question the right way. I actually started getting so much information I went into overload and had to calm my ass down. I got out my trusty journal from last year and started making some corrections. This is where I can help you. This is where I hope I can save you some money so you don’t fall into the traps I fell into. This is where I hope I can save you some money.

First Tip- make a friend. You need to make a gardening friend. This friend will tell you about what works and doesn’t work. This friend will be a sounding board so you can bounce ideas off them. I’m basically saying talk to them before you start buying random shit. This friend can also share seeds with you. Each seed pack has at least fifty seeds depending on what you buy. You don’t need fifty cucumber plants. You and several friends can split up the seed packs thus saving money.

Second Tip- Decide ahead of time what you want to grow. You don’t need ten varieties of cucumbers. Im talking to myself more than I’m talking to you. Your first year start with one variety of each veggie you want to grow. Master that variety and then move on to others.

Third Tip- Start with the basics. Dirt, location, seeds. That’s all you need to get started. If you want to start with containers get 10 containers. NO MORE. If you want to try straw bale gardening start with five bales. NOT 20. If you want to start with grow bags order one set. NOT THREE. Buckets are another option. Please follow the same rules as you would with containers. Listen you will eventually end up with more stuff. Start small and let you garden grow with your skills. Farmers didn’t need grow lights, heat mats, or fancy gadgets. They planted stuff and watched it grow. Garden burnout is real. Don’t get yourself all worked up before you drop a seed.

Fourth Tip- Don’t buy cheap soil. I got cheap soil thinking this is where I would cut cost. Stop laughing. This sounds stupid even as I type it. Spending $2500 and getting cheap soil. My new go to soil is Miracle Grow. If you don’t use Miracle Grow pick another brand you recognize or have researched. Cheap soil grows nothing. I ended up putting ten bags of garbage soil into my compost heap which couldn’t be used until the following year. I then had to turn around and buy what I should have started with.

Fifth Tip- Raised beds are a good option. They do have an added up front cost but if you have bad soil or a bad back this is a great option. All you need for a good raised bed are four pieces of wood and cinder blocks that have slats to hold the wood. They sell these at all home improvement stores.

Gardening does not have to be expensive if you start slow and are mindful. Resist the urge to go all. For millions of years people have grown food with just the basics. While fancy techniques may be handy later, build your way up to that. The easiest thing would be for me to tell you to create a budget. I will admit that is hard when you don’t fully know what you need. What I will say is have a max budget of what you can spend. There are dozens of ways to make gardening even cheaper than what I will advice you. Remember our friends Google and YouTube.

As I get more tips throughout the growing season I will be sure to drop those tips here. As for now, Let’s Grow Some Stuff!!

Month 3 Week 2

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Ram Dass

My first week of being still was a struggle. I had no idea how I planned to pull off a month of “Being Still”. Either I was going to go crazy or drive those around me crazy. I decided to explore other avenues of being still and here are a few I came up with going into the second week:

Meditation

Reading

Yoga

Walking

Bike Riding

Hiking

Sewing

Scrapbooking

Yardwork

Puzzles

Taking a bath

Knitting or crocheting

Writing

The list is endless if I just began to look at stillness differently. The only requirement for Being Still is you have to do it alone, and you have to do it in silence. That means no tv, no music, and no noise other than nature or white noise. I bet you were thinking I do this all the time, but do you really? Do you stop your mind from wondering and just focus on the right now? Some of you are saying if you are reading or scrapbooking you are thinking. Yes and no. For some people it requires no thought to scrapbook. It’s like muscle memory and you just do it and enjoy it. You are able to be free and relieve your mind from the day to day.

My current job requires me to think all day and make what some call life decisions. No I’m not a doctor. I work in the corporate sector and it seems like everyone needs something right now or the world will come to an end. When you work in a highly stressful job such as this, doing a puzzle is heaven. To be able to not decide some major issue and simply ask if this piece fits is my joy. Over the the course of a day I make hundreds of decisions. When my brain can finally shut down I am at peace.

Being Still will be a challenge and everything will attempt to get in your way. There are days where you will not be able to accomplish this task. Don’t double up because yesterday is gone and you cannot fix it. Make a plan to focus on today and make Being Still a priority in your life. In my house I have a quiet room. Not a panic room, but a quiet room. It’s the only room in my house that does not have a tv. My husband loves electronics so there are tv’s in every room in my house except the bathrooms. In this room I have comfortable furniture, lots of blankets and throws, plants, a fireplace, books, and a lot of pictures of my family. There are two large windows that let me see the front of the house but most importantly they let in natural light. In the morning I sit in this room with a cup of coffee. Sometimes I read the Bible, sometimes I read my devotions, other times I just sit. I’m just still.

My favorite spot is at the end of the couch. It faces into a little space behind my front door and next to our coat closet. That space use to contain the families to do list so every time you walked out the door you knew what was happening in our family. Let’s just say I wasn’t the best in filling this out, but the concept was amazing. This was Pinterest at work again. I removed the calendar one day and put a large sign up that says Thankful. That’s all, just Thankful. It’s hard to sit and stare at a sign that says Thankful and not be Thankful. In those moments when I stop and look at the sign a wave of bliss comes over me and I’ve accomplished my only task for that day. I was still.

I’m challenging you to Be Still. I’m challenging you to find five minutes in your day where you are in silence. If you can’t find five minutes you are not even trying. I’m not asking for thirty because let’s be honest, you can’t find thirty minutes at first. This is something you have never done and our rule for this book is to go small. Small is five minutes, if your small is one minute then find one minute. You will need to work yourself up over time to accomplish whatever you would like to accomplish. I need at least fifteen to remain sane. I found this out by trial and error. Five minutes made me feel good and my mornings were great then the afternoon was a mess. Ten minutes got me through the afternoon but then I was jittery by night fall. Fifteen for me was the perfect amount.

Here is another great tip. I never said you have to do all your time at the same time. You can split it up. If you need several five minute breaks throughout the day take them. While I envy people who can meditate for an hour I know right now I am not that person. I can Be Still for fifteen minutes a day and thank God I can pull that off. This is my mantra before I am still:

“Hey brain. I need you to slow down for just five minutes. Thank you for all the great thoughts you have provided me with today, and thank you for all the great thoughts to come. I need just a few minutes to pause so we can have a super fantastic day.”

I know my brain needs to be thanked for all its hard work. I’m essentially talking to myself remember. If I want to go go go its because my brain is telling me to go go go. I just have to assure my brain that we will be going again, but I need five minutes. It’s similar to you telling your children to give you five minutes and then you will do what they are asking.

I want to tell you I am still not perfect with this. I am no where near perfect which is hard for me to admit. I struggle daily with making this work and being ok with it. With all the positive that has come from it I should have this down. I don’t. What I do is continue daily to try and get better, I continue to work on it. I continue to get better and perhaps one day I will be in some zen space zoning out for an hour. Until then I will take my fifteen minutes and graciously accept the bliss that comes with it. Find your bliss this week. Let me know how it goes. Remember start small. Every silent minute means you’ve made progress. Every silent minute is a win.

Potatoes- Easiest Veggie I’ve Ever Grown

“Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy or some sort” – Dolly Parton

What You Need: Five gallon bucket, Drill and 1″ drill bit, Seed potatoes, Potting soil, Fertilizer. Optional Items: Vermiculite, Coco Coir, or Peat Moss

Of all the vegetable I grew last year the easiest by far was potatoes. This is that one item you can plant and just walk away from and it will still grow. A few people have asked how I grew my potatoes last year so I figured I would throw this together as a guide.

The trick for easy potatoes is to grow them in a container. I prefer a five gallon bucket. You can get these from Walmart for around $3. I haven’t found them any cheaper but I’ve been told if you go to some restaurants and they give them away for free. Make sure you select a food grade bucket since you will be growing something you plan to eat. Other varieties that are used to hold paint might leak toxins. The one’s at Walmart contain the sticker below.

The next tip is the most important. You need drill holes in the bottom of the bucket. If you have a 1″ drill bit the diagram below is a great guide. These will act as drainage holes so you don’t overwater your potatoes. You don’t want your seed potatoes to rot from sitting in water.

The hard part of this process is now done.

Next fill the bucket with 1/3 mixture of potting soil. If you decided to use one of the optional items you would mix equal parts soil and optional item. For example I place vermiculite in my buckets. This keeps the soil nice and airy. I mix half soil and half vermiculite in another bucket to make sure its mixed well. Any of the above items I mentioned will do the same thing. Vermiculite is expensive so if this is your first time you may want to select a cheaper option. The only thing you cannot use is soil from your yard or top soil. You must use potting soil because it’s lighter and will give the potatoes room to grow.

After your bucket is filled with 1/3 soil you are going to want to place your seed potatoes in the bucket. You need to place your potatoes with the tiny sprouts called “eyes” facing up. If you have multiple “eyes” on your potatoes I always select the largest one to face up. Some people will tell you to cut the potato. Again if this is your first time, don’t do this. Let’s keep it simple. Plus seed potatoes are cheap, drop the whole thing in there and splurge a little.

Next fill the bucket with another 1/3 of soil. Top the soil with fertilizer. I use a pelleted fertilizer for potatoes. They are heavy feeders and will require fertilization every two weeks. You can also use a liquid fertilizer. If you want to grow organic potatoes you can use bone meal or fish emulsion. Please read the directions on your fertilizer before use. All fertilizers are different so I can’t give you a general rule. I use Miracle Grow because it’s easy to find and works well on all my plants.

Finally water thoroughly. You want to see the water come out the bottom of the bucket. YOU ARE DONE!!! Yes you are really done. That was the whole process. As you begin to see the potatoes grow you will add more soil until you have added enough soil to reach the bottom lip of the bucket. There should be about an inch between the soil and the top of the bucket. Water your potatoes as needed and add fertilizer every two weeks.

Your plants will begin to flower. The flowers are actually really nice considering they come from potatoes. When the stem begins to fall over and look dead your potatoes are done. I pull the potatoes from the buckets right before I cook them. There is nothing better than a soft skinned potato you have grown yourself. I will post a recipe the closer we get to harvest if you are interested.

I will be planting my potatoes in a few weeks. Make sure there is no risk of frost before planting your potatoes. Yes I know, this is the hardest part. Send me a message if you plan to plant potatoes this year. Let’s grow some stuff together :).

Be Still – Month 3 Week 1

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” – Matthew 6:34

I fear someone will find this blog and say “she’s still big as hell”. I fear that I will fall off the wagon again, but now I have a paper trail. I fear that I will start something I can’t finish. I fear I won’t close my Apple rings. That is a list of my superficial fears. I fear for my boys in todays racial climate. I fear for my family during this pandemic. I fear my husbands health will create irreversible issues. I fear for people are are not surviving as well as we are. I fear one day someone will recognize all my fears. Those are my fears that keep me up at night. My biggest fear of all is that I won’t be able to get past my fears. That I will let fear consume me, and fear is kissing cousins with failure.

I can’t slow down. I have to be doing something, thinking about something or planning something. You would think with all this energy I have I would be smaller but a lot of what I do is plan to eat. I still say Pinterest was created by the devil. That site has the ability to make everything look easy and quick. If I’m not looking for new recipes I’m looking for decorations. I’m looking for new workouts, new crafts, or new gifts I can buy. I usually go on the site with a purpose and end up getting side tracked into a worm hole that takes hours to get out of. When I’m done I have a list of things to do a mile long and another list of things I need to buy to accomplish said first list.

For you the worm hole might be Facebook, Instagram, Tic Tok, Twitter, Google, YouTube or Etsy. All of these sites have a way of letting you get lost in the possibilities. What they are for me is a rush of what I can do. What I can accomplish if I just focus. If you search a little I’m sure you will find lots of articles about how these sites are set up to do exactly what they do, trap you. They will provide you will lots of scientific data to reinforce the concept that it’s not your fault. Google will always reinforce your opinion if you dig hard enough for the answers you are trying to find. This blog post is not about blaming those sites, it’s not even about not going to those sites. This post is about Being Still. This post is about you deciding how and when you will begin to control your own actions.

If you have followed the plan so far you should have lost at least eight pounds. While you are not turning any heads that is exactly where you need to be on this journey. We are three months in and at this point I haven’t even told you to do the things you know you should. I haven’t told you to eat right or workout. I haven’t sold you a magic pill and as I stated in the beginning I have no intentions on doing that. Right now you are ready to go full speed onto the next thing and that is exactly why I’m going to tell you to slow down. Yes I hear you screaming you are already going at a turtle pace but remember the turtle beat the hare. The hare thought he had time to rest because he had done so much yet slow and steady won the race. This post is about slow and steady and if your mind is not slowing down you are headed in the wrong direction.

Sometimes when we pick up speed we trip and fall, or in my case get run over by buses and wagons. How many times have you been in a weight loss journey and “fallen off the wagon”. You either dust your self off and keep going or you stop your journey and stay under the wagon for awhile. While you’re under the wagon you figure you might as well have some cake (insert food of your choice). I think the problem is sometimes we stay under the wagon so long it gets comfortable. We enjoy that space until we see the next shiny thing to run after. The next pill to make us skinny or the next piece of workout equipment to get us back on track. In this plan we are not falling off any wagons because we are moving too slow to fall. We might trip a little but the fall will never be hard enough to cause you to stop. Remember you are only being asked to lose one pound.

Why Be Still? I called this month Be Still and I actually have that tattooed on my arm. It is to remind me that in times where I’m in go go go mode I need to stop and just be. The saying for all the fellow believers out there is “Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10. I am fully aware that God strengthens me on a daily basis, but like everything else in my life I need a little reminder. I have several tattoos but only this one is visible and that was very intentional. It’s visible because again I need to be reminded. I need to tell myself at all times that its ok for me to just stop moving. This is going to be the hardest chapter for a lot of people to get through. This will be the hardest 30 days because you will feel like you are not doing anything, but this is the chapter that saved my life. This was the month that taught me gratitude. This was the month that taught me to love myself. This was the mont that told me I am enough.

The way I selected what I wanted to do for the next chapter was to see what God put on my heart. When I started the journey I said I would do it different. Instead of picking twelve things for twelve months that I wanted to work on I would pick one at a time. I also would not think about the next month. I would focus on what I was supposed to be doing in that month. By the last day if the month if something didn’t pop in my head I figured I would then decide what I wanted to do. That never happened by the way. Remember my brain never stops running so I always had a million thoughts. The challenge was narrowing down what I wanted to work on.

This particular month I was feeling a lot of anxiety. Perhaps it was due to the Covid situation or perhaps it was just the uncertainty of everything. I was more anxious and jittery than I had been in previous months. At the end of the day I would feel as though I had accomplished nothing and have idea after idea running through my head. I was in a perpetual state of wonder as my good friend would say. I wondered what I was supposed to be doing, supposed to be working on, supposed to be cooking, supposed to be cleaning, whom I was supposed to call back. I simply felt off and from a person who suffers from depression and anxiety that is a scary place for us to be. What begins to happen as anxiety sets in is its friend doubt comes to visit. Again this is a deadly combination if left untreated. On the last day of the month at 10:34pm I was told to Be Still.

I will fully admit to you I had no idea what that meant. I had no idea how that would help with my weight loss, but I will tell you what I did know. You don’t question when God speaks to you. I went in with eyes and heart open to what was due to follow. What happened was I knew I just needed to spend some time in silence. Some time with my mind not running frantically. I started meditation. I began by using an app. I know I know I know, me and my apps. The apps helped me because they were guided meditation. My brain wasn’t asked to stop, it was just asked to slow down. This was my baby step. My baby step in letting in a little more God and pushing out a little more doubt.

I challenge you to try meditation this week. Start with one minute then work your way up. No amount of time is too short, there are no rules. Please feel free to make it up as you go along. Let me know how meditation works for you. Let me know if you learn to turn your brain off, just for a little while.

I lost my one pound this week. I spent this time not worrying about tomorrow. I spend this time finally living in the moment and embracing what was to come.

Let’s Start Gardening- Bonus #2

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Andrey Hapburn

When I started this blog about weight I didn’t think I would veer off to gardening. Truth is there are so many things I can talk about and want to talk about but I don’t want to go crazy. I don’t want to take away from the direction or the focus. I struggled with including gardening or creating another blog and then something occurred to me. The concept of this blog is one step at a time. One action at a time. That’s gardening in a nutshell. Gardening is about one seed at a time.

In my garden I grow a lot of things, most of those things I don’t eat. I like the act of growing vegetables , not the act of eating vegetables. I give away 75% of everything I grow. My first year gardening I went crazy and tried to grow everything under the sun in the middle of the summer. That was a major fail. Last year I grew a forest worth of veggies and ended up with garden burnout around August. It didn’t matter if I was growing cucumbers or tomatoes one thing was clear. Everything I grew started with one seed and that one seed needed to be nourished and cared for in its own way. The general concept is put some seeds in dirt, add water and sun then BAM. What I learned was it was not that easy. Certain veggies needed special nutrients. There needed to be fertilizers or bees to pollinate. What I thought would be easy turned into a massive project, but I loved every minute of it. Gardening was my therapy

This blog is about slowing down to lose weight. Same theory in gardening. Slow down to learn about your plants. You should have decided what you want to grow. I’m hoping you ran out and got your seeds and all your growing supplies. It’s time to actually get dirty. Let’s again go over what you need. Seeds, potting soil and a seed starting kit. I’m serious that’s all you need. I want you to start small if this is your first time. You can add more items as we go through this journey. DO NOT use dirt from your yard. Seedlings need a special kind of soil that is not heavy. Potting soil or seed starting mix I formulated to grow seedlings.

Let me first apologize because I’m going to give you advice to follow ME as I garden. I live in Ohio in zone 6A. If you don’t know what zone you live in please use our friend Google. The zone you live in will tell you when to start planting. This is all dependent on your last frost date. In Ohio our last frost isn’t until May. I know that sounds crazy but believe me no matter how hot it gets outside, don’t slip up and think you can plant early. I made that mistake last year and lost my plants twice. They called it a freak storms. I called it Ohio.

I am going to advice you to start seeds indoors for some of the plants you plan to grow in your garden. This will give you a leg up on the season. This might also let you grow continuously through the growing season. For me it gave me the ability to play in dirt without rushing outside like I did last year. I got my brief moments of therapy.

Here are a list of items I’ve planted living in Ohio thus far: collards, onions, leeks, dill, basil, cabbage, and cauliflower. You can also start thyme, parsley, broccoli, Mung beans, alfalfa, oregano, chives, cilantro, celery, kale, and kohlrabi. I don’t eat the latter so I didn’t grow them. I decided this year to try a few varieties of each veggie I selected and see which ones I preferred. Here is my tip- only plant a few cells of each. If you can’t eat or give away fifty heads of cabbage don’t plant fifty heads of cabbage. I know you are looking at the tiny seedling thinking “aww how cute”. Realize that seedling will grow into a full head of cabbage in less than 100 days. I don’t care how much you love cabbage, you are not eating fifty head. Please be realistic. You will probably eat 2-3 and give away another 2-3. I am being generous. That is six heads of cabbage. Plant six seedlings of cabbage.

You also need to plant in accordance to how large the plant will be, not the seedling size. Cabbage can get huge. I’m not sure how much space you have set aside for your garden but do you only want to grow cabbage. I’m thinking the answer is no. You really need to think about spacing before you start putting stuff in the ground or containers willy nilly.

My garden is 16ft x 8ft which is actually pretty large. I have an enclosed area that contains raised beds and containers. My garden is called Unicorn Crossing. For me its a magical place which is how it got its name. My soil has a lot of clay so growing using this method worked out for me. I also have a back injury so raised beds were perfect. Now that I mention this I realize I’ve left out a lot of information that you probably need. Next week I will discuss your outside space. You don’t need to have that nailed down right this minute, but it does help to figure out your spacing. Let’s get back to your seedlings.

This is where you get to make some life decisions. Some gardeners will tell you to plant 2-3 seeds per hole in your seedling pots. You will then thin the seedlings (cut the weak ones) leaving room for the strongest seedling to survive. I start planting early enough that I just plant one seed per hole. If the seed doesn’t grow I just replant in that hole. Yes they give you a lot of seeds, but why waste them. Any seeds I don’t use I leave in the packet and place in an airtight container until next year. I also share seeds with my friends. You can get up to two years out of any seed pack.

As I mentioned before I follow the Square Foot Gardening Method created by Mel Bartholomew. I grew to love this method because it focuses on gardening in small spaces. I think its perfect for a beginner but if you want to garden the traditional way please do. The goal is to do what works for you and what you will enjoy.

Machon Tip- I fill my seed trays to the top with potting soil or seed starting mix. I then push the dirt down in the cell getting out any air. I then top off the cell with more dirt and push it down again. I water the cells making sure every inch of the soil is saturated. I then poke a hole in the center of each cell and drop my seed in. Next I gently cover the hole with dirt from that cell. Whip out your garden journal and write down what you planted and the date you planted it. If you didn’t think I would mention a journal you have not been paying attention. Remember I journal everything.

After your cells are all full make sure you label the cells. The worst thing is to grow stuff and not know what it is. After everything is planted and labeled I throw on my humidity dome and place my seedlings in a sunny window. Again you will hear about heat trays, grow light, and a host of other things you can buy. I would urge you to not do any of this your first year. Since you don’t know what you don’t know, don’t buy stuff you may not need or may not use. Gardening is said to be cheap, but I can assure you it is not. If you start tacking on all these extra’s that price tag continues to rise. I actually had to put myself on a budget this year. You might want to also do that.

Now that you have some seedlings started make sure the cells never get dry. I can’t tell you how much water to use because that would depend on your climate in your home. Just make sure you cells are not in standing water and make sure they don’t get dry. With that tip you should be fine. Check on them daily and as soon as you see some sprouts take off your humidity dome if you have one. Nature will basically do the rest.

Next week I will tell you about sprouting seeds, what you can plant next, and we will touch on your garden space. This week begin thinking about where you want to place your garden. The only rule is to make sure the area gets a lot of sun and that its close to your home. You might think you are walking across the yard to garden but when the heat of August kicks in I assure you your mind will change. If the garden must be further from the home I will give you some tips.

In the meantime read your seed packets to learn about what you just planted. Also swarm the internet to learn about your particular varieties. If you ordered seed catalogs start reviewing them to see what they say about your seeds. These catalogues hold a wealth of information. Sipping coffee in the morning I usually grab a few and get giddy about the seeds I have. If you are as excited about gardening as I am send me a message. If you have some questions please send them my way. It doesn’t matter how small your space is you can still garden. Together we can do this. I promise you if you follow my directions you will at least grow something. I cried when I picked my first cucumber. Yea I know, it should not have been that serious. You can judge me, because I will be judging you.

Love Yourself – Month Two Recap

“Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see” – Unknown

As you end month two the total weight that should be lost is only eight pounds. If you are stressing about how you should have lost more, this is not the place for you. If you haven’t lost eight pounds, spend a little more time in the reflection area.

What have you done well this month?

What have you not done well?

What do you want to stop doing?

What do you want to start doing?

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself this month?

By the end of month two I had lost eight pounds. I was following the plan I had set out to follow and it was working. I don’t exactly know why everything was seeming to click but I am 100% sure it was because I took pressure off myself. I began to look at what I liked about myself instead of what I didn’t.

As women I believe we are always looking for someone to love us. For me I can say I was always and have always been chasing the love of my mother. You would think it would have been my father love since he wasn’t in my life, but no. I’ve never had that desire or need to be a daddy’s girl. Growing up had I just heard my mother once say “I love you” in my mind that would have made all the difference. Please note that I say in my mind. I will keep using this phrase all throughout this blog. Throughout this blog I might talk about my mother and my relationship with my mother, but let me say this. Mothers do what they can with what they have. As I got older I had to realize I can’t claim the glory of my life today without realizing my mother had a hand in it. I can’t blame her for what’s wrong with my life without giving her the credit for what’s amazing. All those experiences made me the person I am today. I am self sufficient, reliable, driven, a team player, and so many more adjectives describe me. The one I want to stick in peoples minds is LOVED.

I am loved by Jesus first and foremost and also loved by family and friends. The person who’s loving me the most right now, is ME. See I didn’t always love myself. I didn’t think I was thin enough, smart enough, Black enough, women enough, strong enough, silent enough, aggressive enough, and worthy enough to be loved. I allowed people to tell me who I was and tell their narrative of my story. I allowed people to lie to me, cheat on me, and make me feel less than. This went on for years and caused damage in my life that could not be repaired with all the therapy in the world. What happened was one day I woke up and decided enough was enough. I was in the mall of all places and saw a sign that said “I Love Myself”. What!!!!! Can I say that? Am I conceited and crazy by saying this? I purchased that sign and placed it in my bathroom. I was going to look at this sign everyday I was going to say this out loud everyday. Maybe I would scream this. I lived alone so this was ok.

Side Note-Don’t be screaming stuff if you live with other people. They will think you are crazy.

What happened is the more I said I love myself the more I believed it. The more I believed it the more I exuded it. I began to love myself by first saying “I Love Myself”. The irony of that is crazy but it worked. I heard a saying a long time ago “Others can never love you if you don’t first love yourself”. I had to begin to love myself before I could ever except love from others.

Daily I tell my kids I love them. I think I get on their nerves the amount of times I say I love you to my youngest son. I tell my kids they are my favorite kids. I spoil them and they both know I will lay down and die for them. As a mother I can name a million moments that I am proud of my kids for. The one that stands out right now is simply my oldest son telling me how amazing he is and how he’s destined for great things. In his soul he believes that. I love that he believes that. His self love is apparent to everyone around him. His confidence is on another level. Looking at him I know I’ve done my job. I’ve raised a child who loves himself and once you love yourself no one can ever take that away from you.

Spend some time this week owning your love for yourself. Stop trying to get others to fill a void in your life. Only you can fill that void. Katt Williams said it best “It the esteem of the self”. As simple as that, the esteem of the self.

Balancing Act – Month 2 Week 4

“I’ve learned you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time” – Oprah Winfrey

Weight loss is about balancing. Balancing what you can eat versus what you can’t. Balancing what you should do versus what you shouldn’t. As time went on for me this balancing act became more of a struggle. It’s easy to sit here and type like everything was peachy, but it wasn’t. This month was a struggle for me because this concept was so simple. Sit in the kitchen and eat. What followed from that simple proclamation was a host of issues I never expected to have to deal with. The first one hit me hard, but they kept coming and coming and that’s when I ran into issues.

The first issue that came was I got tired of cooking. I was working at home then helping my son with his homework. I was trying to make more mindful choices and realized my mind no longer wanted to make choices. Add to this every commercial on tv seemed to focus on weight loss. I could try Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, or Jenny Craig. Why were people using these plans, because they didn’t have to think. Outside of Weight Watchers they pretty much told you what to eat. Slim Fast instructed you to drink your two fabulous shakes and even eat their snacks if you needed something extra. All you had to do was “eat a sensible dinner” and you would lose weight. Lean Cuisine didn’t need you to do anything but buy their breakfast, lunch, and dinner frozen meals and you would shed pounds with little to no thought. Jenny Craig was even better. She would just ship the stuff to your house. She took all the guess work out of eating.

I know it sounds crazy but my number one goal with losing weight was and still is to simply never have to think about losing weight. That’s where the motivation of one pound came from, but here I was thinking about what to eat to lose weight. Earlier I told you this was a struggle and as you can see it is still a struggle. You can plan for a lot, but you can’t plan for a lack of energy to cook. Most of the time when I had given up on cooking my husband would cook something. My kids were good with this for a day or two, but after that they would begin looking at me crazy. During another bout of non cooking I decided we could order food daily to support local businesses. This was a great idea for two or three days, but then again my kids looked at me like I was crazy. My oldest son one day looked at me and said “are you going to cook any time soon?” These were definitely my kids, they didn’t hold their tongues. Reviewing this now I realize this was part of the depression, but people with depression never catch the signs that fast. I wish I would have.

The lack of energy to cook and the eating random foods did nothing but make the situation mentally worse for me. I became lethargic and really just wanted to lay around from day to day. The concept of doing anything stressed me. Around this time a friend of mine told me I needed to start writing. I loved to write and thought this was a great idea. Really I was using it as something to keep me occupied, something to keep my mind off food. I tossed around a few ideas of what I would write about and actually began putting some stuff together. One day while sitting around doing nothing I decided, I needed to tell my story. I needed to tell this story. The story of one pound at a time. Making a long story short, this is how you are reading this blog. This is one big journal on my journey to lose weight and stop talking about losing weight. Very ironic I know.

I’ve told you all this to tell you again that you need to journal and of course keep reading this blog. You need to keep a record to hold yourself accountable. I keep a journal/planner for work. I keep a journal for gardening. I’ve kept journals all my life but they always focus on madness. No journal was ever uplifting and always started off the same way. I weigh this and I want to weight this. I needed this time to be different and blasting my life to the world was how I planned to do that.

Your journal doesn’t have to be public, but you do need to write stuff down. You need to find patterns that you find yourself so you can figure out how to overcome the negative patterns in your life. I had to realize that I couldn’t do everything. I couldn’t be a great mom, a great wife, a great boss, a great cook, and a weight loss guru at the same time. I had to just be ok at some stuff. Hell some stuff I wasn’t even ok at. I’ve been married for ten years and I still struggle daily on how to be better or how to just be ok. How to live daily without doubt or insecurities.

I remember that I use to think that stuff should be 50/50. Marriage, food, work, everything. Overtime I’ve learned that is not possible. Nothing is ever 50/50. Nothing is ever that perfectly balanced. You simply have to figure out what you are going to place importance on at that moment. I needed to place importance on self care during that moment. I had to focus on my mental and physical health. My family would understand, but I needed to tell them. That’s the first step really. Just open your mouth and tell someone. Once I was able to do that the pressure of not cooking was gone, someone else would do that. The pressure of being a good teacher for my son was gone, I got help with that. Things I was stressing over went away because people helped me when I asked. My husband was my number one supporter when I simply asked him to step in and help.

This week reach out and see who can help you. Figure out where you can take some things off your plate so you can focus on yourself for one week. I know you are thinking there is nothing you can release, but you can. This is where you need to balance. You need to place a higher importance on yourself for just a little while, just for seven days. With all of this going on I did manage to lose my one pound this week. I actually lost two pounds and got myself back on track. I don’t know if it was not eating from stress of what to eat, or realizing I wasn’t hungry. It may have been spending time with myself and changing my focus, who knows. What did happen was I was again focused on the end result. That end result of only trying to lose one pound and not turning this into some big production. To calm down and stay focused on this small thing I needed to do for myself. Remember you are the most important person in this journey. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself.

I would again like to say this journey is full of ups and down and daily I’m learning to not beat myself up. Some days I have great days and other days I don’t want to do anything. If I could have wrote a blog with just unicorns and rainbows (my husbands expression) I would have. I feel its much better to tell you what’s really happening. Week two I wrote about depression and by week three I was writing about mindful eating. I thought the depression was taken care of, but clearly I was wrong. I’ve included this again to let people know depression doesn’t work on your time schedule. It shows up when it wants to. It shows up when things are going great, and there should be no need for it to drop by. I don’t know when it will come or how long the unwanted house guest will stay. What I do know is journalling and realizing when I’m in a battle helps. I am not always strong. I say this for you as much as I say it for me. Scream it if you want to. I AM NOT ALWAYS STRONG. Guess what though, its ok. Karyn White had a song called “Superwoman”. She was talking about a relationship superwoman but I’ve taken it to a much broader context. I’ve changed the lyrics. Originally they say “I’m not your superwoman”. Ive changed them to say “I’m not a superwoman”. Remember, no one asked you to put the cape on. You took it out the closet all on your own.

Put the damn cape back and do some self love this week. Enjoy the fact that you are two months into this journey and ready to leap into next month. Pause and reflect on your success and failures. Don’t worry, you will get a bonus reflection post. The last thing I want you to do is smile. Just simply smile.

Mindless Eating – Month 2 Week 3

“The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on” – Brian Wansink

There is an entire selection of books on mindful eating. My personal favorite is Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. There is a book and workbook that will guide you through the principles of intuitive or mindful eating. Since I am not promoting any diet or any particular way of life, if you think this is something you would enjoy you should read it. What this book helped me figure out was what triggered me to eat. What cues played in my brain that would just set me off towards the fridge to grab something, anything. I will say the workbook is not for the faint of heart. I started and stopped the workbook several times because I honestly wasn’t ready to deal with my own shit. What happened is I somehow kept getting drawn back to it and realized there was a lesson I needed to learn.

If you thought I was about to share that lesson, nope. Remember earlier I mentioned it much easier to talk about what you are doing instead of what you aren’t, or what you should be doing. That’s what we are about to talk about this week. I could go on and on about intuitive eating, but you have no concept of what that is. What you do know about is mindless eating and if I’m gauging correctly most of you are pros at it. We mindlessly eat while watching tv, working, reading, or some other task that lets us have a free hand to use to shovel food in our faces. I’m going to spend a little time talking about mindless eating while watching tv since I believe that was a huge source of my problem. Total disclaimer- I watch too much tv. I binge watch Netflix like everyone else. I binge watch stuff I’ve saved on my DVR. You actually will rarely see me watching life tv. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is I don’t have patience for commercials and I want to fast forward. The second reason is commercials are sent from the food devils I’ve decided. This is not a real thing “food devils” so please don’t Google it.

There are a few shows that I watch live when they come on. All the NCIS series and anything that comes on after NCIS. I have no idea what it is about that series but they get me every time. I need to know what’s going on and I’m glued to the tv. I think its because they remind of of the older versions of Law and Order. The new Law and Order does nothing for me, maybe because I miss Jack McCoy. Plus I generally have an obsession with crime shows and anything that will eventually lead me to a killer I never suspected. The problem with this need to know addiction is I end up watching live, thus watching commercials. NCIS starts at 8pm on the East Coast. So I get myself ready for three hours of great tv, then I’m usually off to bed. This is where the problem comes in, test my theory if you don’t believe me.

Every commercial break there is an ad about food. It may be an ad about a food you need to try, a restaurant you need to go to, or lately the grocery store party you need to go be a part of. The newest grocery store ads in my area are these fun loving characters who are dancing in the store because the prices are so low. They ironically are dancing to a song that was originally talking about strippers who wore “apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur”. I would have loved to be in the room when the announcement of given regarding this song. I honestly would just like to see the Black peoples faces as the snippet played and the presentation was given. I’m guessing they stopped it right before the lyric came on “She turned around and gave that big booty a smack”. Sorry I digress.

My point is there are approximately four commercial breaks during a one hour show. To be fair we need to add the commercials before the show and after the show. That takes us to a total of six commercial breaks. Commercial breaks are about four minutes long give or take so with some quick math of six times four I end up watching 24 minutes of commercials for my hour long television show. If I watch three hours of tv we would only add the extra commercial at the beginning and end of my three hours stint, so that’s a total of 20 commercial breaks for a total of 80 minutes of commercials. I promise you this is the most math you will every see on my blog. There is a point to all these calculations. That is 80 minutes of someone trying to sell us something. that is over one hour of commercials for my three hour tv binge. There is usually at least one car commercial, one insurance commercial, one new drug commercial, and then there is food. Lots and lots of food.

For a person trying not to eat this becomes a nightmare. Even if you are full because you’ve just had a very nutritious meal and maybe even a snack how can you resist. They tell you about pizza, burgers, tacos, and chocolate you should try. Everyone looks to be having such a great time while eating. You also may see a diet commercial during this time, but pay close attention. Even in the diet commercials there is food. Weight Watchers shows you people eating gooey pizza. Nurtisystem show you people eating lasagna and chocolate cake. There is a reason for this. They are appealing to your desire to eat food and “enjoy it”. The problem is at 8pm I’m not getting ready to go out and enjoy food. I’m going to go downstairs and grab food I have. Currently there are several commercials with actors/celebrities eating chips. While you may not have the nice house, and the fancy clothes you do have the chips. Your brain for one quick seconds goes “hey I want chips”. Think that doesn’t happen? Think about the last food craving you had and why you had that craving. Go head, I’ll wait.

If you are stronger than most you can survive the food craving during the three hour stint, but advertisers then hit you with the one two punch. Towards the end of the night they no longer show food commercials about stuff you can eat now. They begin to show you commercials about what you can eat tomorrow. The commercials change from dinner to snacks, to breakfast. Don’t believe me? Turn to any channel and watch tv between 8pm-11pm. Let me know what channel you’re watching and what commercials you’ve seen. I’ve been hooked watching and HGTV binge and saw that same commercials I would see watching NCIS. The only difference is they pepper in a few Home Depot commercials.

What we have to realize is its their job to make us buy what they are selling. We don’t have a chance people. The deck is stacked against you. The only way to level the playing field is to have a plan, and I am going to tell you my plan. I plan to eat. I plan to snack. I know I’m going to fall victim so I don’t even try to fight. I have no willpower left at 8pm and I’m not trying to lie to myself and act like I will. Instead of mindlessly eating I mindfully pick a snack. If I want sweet I eat an apples with peanut butter and chocolate chips. If I want salty I have a mini bag of popcorn. If I want cake (cake gets its own category) I have a small piece already cut and on a plate ready to go. I usually make it through the 8pm hour, but around 9:15-9:30 is when the craving hits. I take myself downstairs and eat my snack. I would love to tell you I’m too lazy to go downstairs and get the snack, but that would be a lie. The only change I made in this whole situation was to be ready to eat. I didn’t believe that I could outsmart the advertisers. They are very good at what they do. What I did was acknowledge the sell and substitute it with something I already had on hand.

The key for this to work for you is to already have something ready. If you just go rummaging through your kitchen you are going to eat what you find. I typically find chips and Little Debbie cakes. When I plan a snack in advance I have no excuse to eat something else. I eat what I had planned. What’s great is if I am strong enough to not eat the snack, guess what? The snack is there for tomorrow when I battle the “food devils” again.

It would be easy for me to tell you to stop watching tv. We are in a pandemic. I’m not going to tell you to do much of anything. What I am going to tell you is be honest with yourself and have a plan in place. We have enough going on to not have to worry about getting sucked into buying crap food because the commercial told us too.

I lost my one pound this week. Maybe it was the extra calories I burned running up and down the stairs to get snacks. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t eat any more Hershey Nuggets. Whatever it was it got me semi back on track, and for that I was grateful. All we can do during this process is continue to make tiny changes to get us towards our goal. What snack are you going to have ready this week?