Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bright Line Eating

Learning of Bright Line Eating
I've promised to write this post for some time over on my personal Facebook page, and while I'm not quite to my goal yet, I want to share this journey with you. You might even want to start your own Bright Line journey.

My good friend, Hailie Wolfe, started this crazy "diet" called Bright Line Eating around the holidays last year, and all I really knew about it is that she "couldn't" eat flour or sugar. Well, I'm out. It sounded gimmicky and not something anyone could actually do long term. Surely no one is expected to give up those things forever and actually be happy!

Fast forward a few months, and Hailie and I were rooming together for a work event. She explained more of the details, which included no artificial sweetener (um, I've consumed Diet Mnt Dew for YEARS, all day every day). Again, I was not really interested, but more than that, I was FULL of excuses.

I was driving back to South Dakota at the end of that trip, and while sitting in a Whataburger drive-thru decided to download the Bright Line Eating book by Susan Pierce Thompson, Ph.D. on Audible. See the irony there? It was interesting from the very beginning, and while I continued listening, I'm pretty sure I polished off a bag of Ketchup Chips from my Canadian friend, Laurie McGowan, and a bag of DOTS pretzels on the 16-hour drive home.

Getting Started with BLE
I finished the book by the time I rolled into Rapid City and was sold. Scared? Heck yeah! I shared it with my husband, David, who finished it by the middle of the week. I had already ordered the few things we needed (mainly a food scale and the book in hard copy for reference), and while we waited for our packages from Amazon, we decided, why wait?

We've been on the plan for 20 weeks now, and David has "released" ("lost" implies that he's looking for it to keep it, which is definitely not the case!) over 53 pounds and I'm down 29.5 pounds. We are incredibly grateful that Hailie shared this with us, even though I must have acted like a fool with all my excuses. It truly has changed our lives.

David and I celebrating 20 weeks on Bright Line Eating

So what is Bright Line Eating?
This is where you'll think I'm insane, but trust me on this. There are 4 lines that we just don't cross. Ever.

1. No sugar, not even artificial sweeteners. No, not even Stevia.
2. No flour of any kind, including almond flour and the like.
3. We weigh all of our food.
4. We eat 3 meals a day, 4-6 hours apart, and no BLTs (Bites, Licks, or Tastes) in between.

Simple. Now, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and as such, have made covenants to not cross certain lines, including partaking of harmful substances, just as alcohol or cigarettes. The concept of bright lines has been a simple one for us. And I've never been good with the concept of moderation anyway. I'm either all in or all out. You know I've seen Tim McGraw 18 times in concert, right?

We started BLE by discovering where we are on the Food Susceptibility Scale, from 1-10. In other words, how severe is your food addiction? David and I were both 9s. We weren't surprised.

The Great Weight Gain
Mind if I back up about 3 years? In a very brief nutshell, someone who has never met me wrote a very damaging blog post about me, and it was widely shared. The individual who wrote it was discovered to be a liar in every way, but I have no idea if people realized it was the same person who wrote awful things about me. It was the most hurtful thing I've ever gone through. All of this took place at the exact time we learned we were moving to the Black Hills in SOUTH DAKOTA! David and I had a deal we'd never live north of I-20, and for those of you that don't know, Rapid City is on I-90! We packed up our beloved home in Texas and headed north. The first year was pretty rough. I ate my way through a lot of emotions and anxiety, putting on a lot of weight. I also dealt with some toxic work relationships over the next year or so. But by this Spring 2018, I was pretty sick of feeling this way and letting food have this much control over my life. I was ready to make real, positive changes.

Taken just days before I downloaded the book in April, I hated this picture of myself. This actually wasn't my heaviest though. I had gotten up to 12 pounds more than I was here. It was time for change. This screenshot kept me motivated in the early days on BLE.
What do we eat during the day?
Basically, here's the plan. The book really details things, so I suggest, if you really want to change your life, get the book.

This is how David and I do it. The actual breakdown of veggies is a little different in the book. This is much easier for us to figure on a day-to-day basis.

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
1 oz uncooked grain or 4 oz cooked grain
6 oz fruit

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
10 oz veggies (cooked or raw)
6 oz fruit
1/2 oz fat

4 oz protein (6 oz for men or nursing mamas)
10 oz veggies (cooked or raw)
1/2 oz fat

You can't believe how much food we eat at meal time. Honestly, we really aren't hungry between meals. SPT (Susan Pierce Thompson) has a saying that has stuck with me when I do feel hungry:"Hunger is not an emergency." How often have I wolfed a meal down, thinking I was starving? Only to overeat and feel sick afterwards? All.the.time. I've found that if I just hang tight for 15 or 20 min, that feeling totally goes away. Life.changing.

Put on your bunny slippers and be kind to yourself. Twist my arm.
After the previous 3 years, I was digging this advice. The first few days were hard, but not as hard as you might think. SPT encourages you to be gentle on yourself, wearing figurative bunny slippers. No exercise (you'll have to read the book for all the explanations) until you can safely work it on, which may not be until you reach your "right sized body." David has walked about 10-20K steps this summer, but I have not. It's just been a normal summer for me, doing normal things. But I am super excited to hit the slopes again in my "old" ski pants!

What about traveling and special occasions?
Speaking of summer, we traveled a lot, spending a lot of time in the car. We love road trips! And we kept up with our BLE. We actually lost weight on our trips instead of gaining the usual 5-7 pounds! It's about preparation and dedication, plain and simple. You can get Bright Line foods in a gas station! We ate out (usually big salads or burgers without a bun and a salad). We have not sacrificed good food.

This doesn't look like suffering, does it?!

What keeps me dedicated to BLE? I've tried so many different diets but none of them were sustainable. They were focused on the goal but didn't offer much help afterwards. And the goal was to be achieved quickly. In BLE, there is focus on the journey, regardless of how long it takes. This is important. BLE is a lifestyle, not a diet.

Many of you know that I was a smoker many years ago. I quit in 1994, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I would quit and start up again, over and over. I thought I'd never be able to actually quit. At one point, I had quit for about 6 weeks and thought I had it licked. My best friend and I found a stale, yucky cigarette in the back of a drawer and smoked it. Later that night, we were buying more, and I was a full blown smoker for another 6 mos, doing the stop and start routine again. It was awful.

And so it is with food. I know myself. I am always one white cupcake away from being a full blown food addict again. So I don't eat one. The cravings really are gone anyway. When you are in the trenches of food addiction, it's hard to believe you'll ever be OK without sugar and flour, but you will.

I still have 21 pounds to release, but the best thing about BLE is that I know I'll get there. And I know I can maintain this lifestyle because it's completely sustainable. I am free of addiction and it is the best feeling ever!

I take pictures of lots of my food and thought I'd share some of my favorites here.

Buffalo tenderloin (we do live in SD!) with steamed veggies and 1/2 T of butter

Zucchini Pizzas

Sweet potato pancakes with ricotta cheese and mixed berries 

Eggs cups with veggies

I always have a veggie soup in the fridge. I add kidney or pinto beans and David prefers black beans. We eat this for a lot of lunches. Turkey burgers are amazing to throw into the soup instead of beans to mix it up.

Breakfast is our favorite meal because of things like this! This is 4 oz cooked steel cut oats, protein split between nut butter and walnuts or pecans, half a banana, and 3 oz mixed berries. Yum!

Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp

"Stir-fry" - Cauliflower rice (made each week and used for a number of dishes), stir-fry veggies, 4 oz shredded chicken, 6 oz mandarin oranges, pepitas (fat), and soy sauce (free)

We add this to lots of our fruit and veggies. 

3 rice cakes, nut butter, 1 banana

BLE lunch - sausage, fruit, veggies, hummus, cashews

Omelettes and fruit salad. For company, we've been doing omelette bars which has been so fun. We discovered NM red chile and pesto (not shown here) on top is about the best combination ever!

Egg over medium with green chile and cheese, grits, and 6 oz strawberries

We eat a lot of scrambled eggs and Triscuits for breakfast

As you can see, we eat all kinds of delicious foods and have gotten creative with it. I'm happy to answer any questions you have about Bright Line Eating. There is a 14-day Challenge as well as a Boot Camp, but David and I didn't do either. But I am immensely grateful that we've done this together and been each other's support. We are members of a Facebook group, We Eat Bright With Lines, which has been immensely helpful and motivating. You must read the book before joining the group.

Here's to the next 21 pounds ... and a lifetime of Bright Line Eating!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Prepare For Your AMAZING Birth This Holiday Season

Need a Childbirth Class in Rapid City?
The Homebirth class is well underway with a private Comfort Measures class scheduled this weekend, too. And while I don't have something on the books until The 10-week Comprehensive Class starting Nov 9, I am always open to scheduling a private Reboot Refresher, Sibling Birth Prep Class, or Comfort Measures Workshop as the need arises.

10-week Holiday class - Because babies are still due in Jan and Feb!
This class is perfect if you are first-time parents, desiring a natural birth, or a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Enjoy the sparkling lights on 10 one-of-a-kind Friday date nights as you prepare for the birth of your little one during this holiday season. Class begins Friday, Nov 9 and wraps up Jan 11. Two more spots are available for this particular class.

I teach class in my home, about 5 min north of Johnson Siding, SD near Nemo and Norris Peak. It's a lovely drive.

Class runs from 6:30-9:00 each week.

$325 covers your class and workbook. This is your tribe as you become parents together. It's a special time, and I'm honored to walk you through this journey towards your own amazing birth experience.

To register, simply email me at donna @ or call/text 817.789.1207.

I look forward to working with you.

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Laundry Boot Camp" - Laundry in ONE Day!

This is the post you've been waiting your whole life to read. Let me tell you a bit how it got started. A few months ago I saw a meme on a friend's Facebook page about laundry going all week long and never really being finished. Everybody seemed to identify with it. It was one of those cases where you assume everyone does things the same way you do - until you realize they don't! I had no idea so few people do their laundry in one day. I've always done it in one day, even when I had 4 small children.

Back to my friend's thread, I detailed how I do laundry in one day and someone else (Shannon Sands, Birth Boot Camp Instructor in Omaha, NE) commented and said it was amazing and called it Laundry Boot Camp. At our Birth Boot Camp Be Amazing Retreat in April, I promised to write a blog post about it, and here it is! 

First, I've always done laundry in a day since I first started doing laundry as a young teen. Washed, dried, folded, hung, put away. If I had laundry going all week long, I imagine all of those steps would never be completed. It's a commitment, no doubt. But your life will be simpler, tidier, and more organized. You'll have extra time and more sanity, I promise.

Step by step to have your laundry done in a day:

Step 1: 
Pick a day and stick with it. You cannot run errands on laundry day. This is a day to stay put. I love laundry day. I get so much done on this one day.

The day you choose might change during different times of the year (soccer season, school year, summer, etc). My schedule revolves, largely, around our electric co-op. We are charged for the highest 30 min (and then multiplied) over each month between the hours of 5AM-9AM and 5PM-9PM from Oct 1 - May 31. From June 1 - Sept 30, we don't run laundry between 2PM-8PM. Crazy, huh? Weekends are a free-for-all, so that's when my kids do their laundry.

My laundry day is Monday. 

Step 2: 
Be sure your laundry room has everything you need. 
*  A pole to hang laundry and hangers
*  Hangers 
*  An extra place to hang drip-dry clothes
*  Detergents, etc are probably already in your laundry room

Detergents, etc
Pole and Hangers! A must have!

Step 3:
Start first thing in the morning.
In the summer, I start laundry, often, before I even make my bed. I need to get it all washed and dried before 2:00 because of the co-op. In the winter months, I have the laundry all sorted by 8:30. I do usually throw a cold wash in at 8:30 so I'm ready to start the dryer by 9:00.

Step 4:
When you sort, put your piles in the same place every week. 
This step may sound silly, but I can sort laundry super fast because I don't have to think about it. These are my piles: whites, blues, gray/olive, dark, jeans, reds, towels, and delicates. Sometimes there are 2 piles of whites and darks. I always have at least 7 loads per week, sometimes close to 10.

Sorted laundry

Step 5:
Decide who you are doing laundry for. 
Of course, you'll decide what is right for your family. I've washed, dried, and hung laundry for my kids until the summer before high school. I know many families have their kids start doing their own laundry before this. Whatever works for you. I've only done laundry for 3 people for 3 years now. It's bliss! 

The night before laundry day, I have baskets and hangers brought to the laundry room or wherever I sort laundry. In this house, my bedroom and laundry room are side by side, so laundry gets sorted in my bedroom. If they don't bring their baskets and hangers before laundry gets under way, their laundry won't get done. I don't gather it for them. Trust me, it'll only happen once.

Step 6:
Stay nearby and aware of when your washer, and especially your dryer, stop. 
This doesn't mean you sit in front your washer all day, but you don't go do yard work either. I am upstairs most of the time anyway, but even in my other houses, I was just ... aware. When the dryer stops, DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and deal with laundry. You must keep it going.

Step 7:
Appropriately deal with the clothes from the dryer.
When taking clothes from the dryer, do not dump it all in the laundry basket. This is where the breakdown will occur if you let it. The clothes should still be warm and "fluffy." If you are removing something that would typically be ironed, hang it immediately, like the minute you pull it from the dryer. I do NOT iron, so this is crucial!

If it's not something that has to be hung right now, place it on top of the dryer. All folding laundry goes in the basket. 

Hang dress shirts, etc. immediately!

Folded laundry in basket; hanging laundry (t-shirts, etc) on the dryer

Step 8:
Start the washer for the next load.
I use Scentsy Washer Whiffs so I throw those in with my laundry detergent before adding clothes so they can dissolve. My washer fills for a few minutes so I make use of that time by hanging the clothes on top of the dryer. I always have enough time to do it, especially if I'm hanging clothes from just one load. Do not get behind on this! Resist the temptation to do something else while the washer fills. 

Some people put their clothes in first and then the detergent (my children included and they SUCK at getting their laundry done in a day!) so they don't have that "fill" time. If you do that, fine, but don't walk away until the clothes from the dryer are hung. Again, this is crucial is getting all the laundry done in one day. It won't be a big deal if you hang it now. If you wait to hang all your laundry at the end of the day, it really will be overwhelming.

Up next in the washer!

Step 9:
Be mindful of the time and what you are putting in next.
If I have to run to town to pick up a child (only one left without a drivers license!), I need to be sure that what sits in the dryer will be ok to sit and not need to be hung immediately. Perfect loads are jeans or towels. I am always calculating and looking at the time.

Step 10:
Delicates - two for one.
My delicates all wash together on a cold hand wash cycle and I hang everything to dry. I can easily get a load of delicates washed and hung and then another regular load washed in the time a load goes through the dryer. Again, watch your time and listen for the washer to stop if you have delicates in.

Step 11:
Folding laundry.
Once my kids were about 3 or 4, they started folding their own laundry. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I take that basket from the laundry room and dump it right in the middle of my bed. It actually sits there until most, if not all, of the laundry is through the washer and dryer. And then it's back to sorting. Each child had their spot on the bed. Well, my mental spot. I just sort and throw. I fold mine and David's laundry, as well as the towels AND THE SOCKS! The whole process takes about 15-20 min. All that is left on the bed are piles that others need to come get. I let them know when their "folded laundry" and "hanging laundry" is ready. Let's face it, they are terrible at folding laundry. I taught them. They know how, but they usually just pick it up, take it to their rooms, and stuff it in drawers. I don't care.

The pile of laundry to be sorted and folded

Step 12:
A few tips regarding hanging laundry.
If you are doing laundry for several people, have their "spot" on that laundry pole. I've had some laundry racks that had dividers, and I liked that a lot. It was easy to keep track for me and for them. I don't have that in this house, but since I'm only doing laundry for 3 people, it hasn't been a problem. I do find myself taking hanging laundry to the closet (mine and David's) a few times during laundry day so there continues to be enough room on the pole for items as they come out of the dryer. 

Step 13:
Put all the baskets away and enjoy your week! 
Congratulations on all that you got done today in addition to the laundry!

Empty baskets ready for the week!