A Puddle of Pickles

Just a normal abnormal life.

Challenging the Mind

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The past few months have been a period of lots of growth and change for me. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride, too. Ups and downs in business, mental health, life…so much that went through my mind that I wanted to write about but was too overwhelmed with the intensity of it all.

The end of this chapter, however, as always, brought nothing but good things and good lessons learned. All aspects of my life are stronger. My marriage, my family, my business, my faith, my hope, and just…me.

I struggled for a while with my self image. I felt pressure to look perfect. As a result, my nutrition suffered some as I focused TOO much on fitness. My depression worsened as did my anxiety and my stress. But I regained focus as God brought to light my true struggle. I realized I didn’t need to be ashamed of my struggles and my imperfections. What kind of Herbalife health coach would I be without them?

Since then, I have been working on my mind. My mind is my biggest challenge. I’m focusing on Philippians 4:8, which basically tells us to focus on positive things. As I’ve been working on this, I came up with a new challenge for myself. In terms of my nutrition, my biggest struggle has always been stress and comfort eating. I had been giving in to that again. So I came up with a challenge based off of our #21dayshakechallenge.

It takes 21 days to form a habit. In the shake challenge, we keep up with drinking our shakes for a straight 21 days. The accountability comes from posting pics of our shakes every day. Well, my challenge I am calling the “21dayMINDchallenge.” For a straight 21 days, I committed to no cheating.

The point of this was not to create a habit of not cheating, but of controlling my mind. To avoid cheating, I have to push out the thought “one time won’t hurt” or “just one little bite.” In doing this, I hoped to train my mind into some good self discipline.

What no cheating means for me is sticking to my goals on MyFitnessPal  (my screen name is picklepuddles if you’d like to add me). It means sticking to Ezekiel bread, quinoa, brown rice, whole grains, and oatmeal as my grains. Lean proteins. Low added sugars. Low saturated fats and no trans fats. No being a garbage disposal for my kids. No little bites of something as I prepare it. And, of course, no cheat meals or treats.

I did this challenge by myself from March 14 thru April 3. I was planning to take pics of all my food and blog regularly about it. However, time got away from me, and I couldn’t keep up with taking all the pics and everything. So I decided to share my overall experience.

I started out the first week prepping almost everything.

This consisted of snacks, some stuff for dinners, and, of course, my shakes.

It made things pretty stinking easy throughout the week except for the fact that some of the stuff with produce in it didn’t last the whole week. Started looking gross lol. So I gotta work on my prepping skills. I didn’t do much prepping after that, just mainly my meal and snack planning.

So the way I would plan was with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. For those who don’t know how it works, I took some screen shots of what it looks like. Usually the night before, I would go in and log what I planned to eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner (you can search for it or scan the bar code). After my workout each day, I would log the basics of what I did to get an estimation of how much I burned and needed to make up for.

Often what I did is that when I wasn’t yet close to my calorie goal, I would go to the “Nutrition” tab in the menu to look at what I still needed more of. I also would look at this throughout my planning to spread out when I was getting different nutrients like protein, carbs, and fats. Since I was only looking to lose a few pounds this time, I didn’t want to lose it too fast. So I tried to keep close to my calorie goal. There was tweaking done here and there each day in my diary, but the logging stuff ahead of time kept me more on track instead of standing there thinking, “hmm, what should I eat for a snack?” while I have my kids’ Goldfish crackers or pretzels in my view.

I pretty much always went way over my protein goal because it’s hard to get too much protein when you’re eating lean proteins.

Ok, so what did I eat you ask? Well, while I didn’t keep up with pictures of every single meal, I did take pictures of most of the different things I ate. I’ll give a look at my typical days.

My morning routine consists of devotions and prayer time and a workout. I usually got up 4:45-5 (shocker, I know) and was done by 7. So after this was my typical “breakfast.” It was my Herbalife Formula One (2 scoops) and my delicious Rebuild Strength. I liked having Dutch Chocolate with the Rebuild for a chocolate punch in the mouth. SOOOOOOOO GOOD. Definitely was a reward for working out. My breakfast I always also took my Herbalife tabs. They consisted of the multivitamin, Cell Activator, Cell-U-Loss, Aminogen, and Total Control.

Gotta do my faces ;).

Then there was my morning “snack.” This was usually around 9 or 9:30. This was more what you would call a breakfast, though, because I typically had breakfast food if I was home. It pretty much always consisted of two egg whites and one whole egg (usually over easy), a banana, and a piece of toast (Ezekiel bread) with natural peanut butter and a touch of agave nectar. We go through bananas like crazy in our house, though, so sometimes I would replace a banana with an apple or pear if we were out. I would also take a Snack Defense to try to help with any munchies that might try to creep in.

I seriously never get tired of this combination haha. I’m too much of a breakfast food lover :).

Around 12 was when I would have my lunch shake. I had the Orange Cream Formula One on hand during this challenge, so usually I had two scoops of that with one scoop of the vanilla Protein Drink Mix. I mixed this with 1/4 cup of almonds in my single serve blender. I don’t really like the Orange Cream by itself, but adding the almonds makes it quite tasty! One last thing I added to my lunch shake was the Prolessa Duo. I did this because it helps give more of a feeling of fullness. I usually tend to struggle the most in the afternoon with my cravings and getting hungry. Then I would take the same set of tablets from what I had with my morning shake.

Shakes somehow taste even better with a big fat straw.

Afternoon snack (usually around 2:30) varied based on what I was in the mood for. My first week I had prepped some avocado, spinach, and egg salad. I also had prepped some cucumber and tomato sandwiches with cream cheese. I did not continue these because these did not last the whole week haha. As far as prepping them anyways. By Thursday or Friday they were kinda gross. But this Avocado Egg Salad I found on Pinterest is delicious! I just added pureed spinach to it for the extra health kick. It is because of this recipe that I use lemon juice for flavoring so much now.

Anywho, most of the time I would have at least 12 grams of protein, a veggie, etc. Some examples here in the slideshow below are my avocado egg salad with the cucmber sandwiches (the smiley face one lol), avocado with tuna and grape tomatoes (and some salt, pepper, and lemon juice), v8 vegetable juice, and Herbalife’s delicious protein bars. I WOULD DIE WITHOUT THESE PROTEIN BARS!!! They are seriously like a candy bar. The Chocolate Peanut tastes like a Snickers. In one picture, you’ll see I had some Peach Tea with some lemon Niteworks. Niteworks has a lot of amazing detail behind it, which sometime I will share info on, but to briefly explain, it provides Nitric Oxide that is crucial to heart health. For any age. And, of course, I would again take the Snack Defense.

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I really liked getting creative with how I took my pics lol.

So next came dinner. Usually around 5 or 5:30. Soooooo many different things. The key here was getting in a good portion of lean protein, some colorful veggies, and a grain limited to quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain and Ezekiel bread. We also had a Bible study we went to once a week that we do a potluck for. One of the pictures represents the options I chose. Oh my gosh, so much good food at these Bible studies!! It was especially hard to say no to the desserts haha. But I did it.

These pictures in the slideshow below only represent some of my dinners, and I didn’t always remember to take pictures of some of my veggies haha. But a lot of these dinners had veggies mixed in them. I have captions with each photo describing them.

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I had many a yummy dinner despite my restrictions!

Something else I did on occasion was make Herbalife pancakes. With having the Orange Cream flavor, I did two scoops of that with one scoop vanilla PDM, an egg, and water to the desired consistency. The Orange Cream tasted good with some almonds and natural peanut butter on top. Oh and some honey. NOM.

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Ok, my workouts? Pretty simple. Pictured below is my gym. In my garage lol. So I alternated days working lower body and upper body with the stuff you see here, as well as some body weight exercises. I incorporated cardio in every day as well. Usually started and ended with it. I also would do my favorite DVD by Angie Gorr on occasion, too. I usually did something from it at least once a week. I share this with a lot of women because it is great for any woman at any stage. They have Angie plus three other ladies showing you the different levels you can do at your own pace. Plus, you can divide it up and do anywhere from just 5 minutes to the whole DVD. The weight exercises are awesome, too!

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Excuse the mess.

So here’s the big part. My results. The only picture I have unfortunately is just from after doing it for a week. Let’s face it, at the end of the challenge I started my period and felt too bloaty and gross to take a pic (ladies, you understand lol. And sorry, guys.) BUT after just one week, I was already toning up and feeling so much better!

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I know some might not really see much difference at all. But let me tell you, the difference was mostly inside. I was feeling more confident and even better than ever before.

In the end, I did end up losing those pounds I gained over the holidays. My cravings were mostly gone again. I didn’t feel a need to eat my feelings. I had gone a straight 21 days fighting MANY temptations of eating a piece of candy or eating the food my kids didn’t finish. I fought cakes, cookies, extra munchies, etc. Most of all, I fought my mind. And I won the battles.

Here is the biggest thing I learned through all of it. My whole concept on cheating has changed. I used to say, “Oh, I’m all about cheating on occasion!” While it’s still true that I believe that it is ok to cheat, my approach on this is different now. First, we do not need to go out of our way to cheat. I usually set a standard of cheating no more than once a week. You’ve done well all week, go ahead and have that slice of pizza (even though you might regret it lol). BUT this doesn’t mean that you think, “Oh, hey, I ate healthy all week. That means I can cheat today. Let’s order a pizza!!” If the opportunity to cheat brings itself to you, like you’re going out to eat, or you’re going to a party, whatever it may be, go for it! Cheat. However, this brings me to my next point.

Second, cheating does not mean we should overindulge ourselves. I learned this specifically after the challenge. That week that it ended was breakfast night at our Bible study. Breakfast food is my favorite and my weakness. I went CRAZY. I ate so much. It was all delicious! But the problem was that it was TOO much. I enjoyed it while I ate it. But I ended up feeling like crap into the next day, almost like I negated all the work I’d put into that challenge. I didn’t lol. But I felt like it, and I hated myself. That was where my big lesson was.

So to all my clients reading this, I’m sorry, but I’m no longer “all about” that cheat day lol. I am all about getting to the point wherecheating consists of just one piece of cake or one slice of pizza. Maybe 2.

Peeps, I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. And recently I was told I have a generalized mood disorder. For 21 days, I fought with my own mind and won. I won. I lost a battle I didn’t know I was fighting after and learned a huge lesson. The point is, if someone as “crazy” as me can do it, anyone can. YOU can survive without cheating at least for a while. I mean, I’m thinking about doing another challenge for even longer sometime. Crazy, huh? lol Anyways, we are always more capable of things than our head tells us. With God’s help especially. Never say “I don’t think I can.” The worst I will take is “Yeah I can totally do that, but just don’t want to right now.” lol I don’t want to hear I can’t. Because you can. If it’s worth enough to you for your own health and how you affect those around you and how the rest of your life plays out, you can do it. And you can find a way.

If you are interested in trying this challenge yourself, let me know. I don’t require a fee for it at this point as it is something brand new I came up with. However, I do want to add that I can help you the best if you are on a plan using the Herbalife products. Apart from the strength that God gave me through prayer, those products got me through and made it so much easier.

If you’re not ready for that, we have our next Facebook challenge starting May 2nd! You can at least commit to starting a healthier life with this 6 week challenge :). These challenges have been incredible! I’ve loved them simply for the resources and support they provide from coaches and participants alike. Get with me to get more info!

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So now my next goal? Personal development. Bettering myself so I might be a better coach, a better wife, a better mother, and just overall have a better life.

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As far as physical goals, I’m working hard to get rid of these love handles! My weight is great, and I feel healthy again. Getting some guns, too!! haha. But yeah. The love handles gotta go. They’re annoying me.

Now that I FINALLY have this blog post done (been working on it for a while), I’m also shooting to blog more regularly on my progress and life. Including videos. SHOOTING to lol. This is going to involve every aspect in my life as far as mental health, physical health, and even my music. Stay tuned, my loves! I see great things ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Mandy

I am an entrepreneur currently located in Texas. I am a previous military wife. I have two amazing little children alongside my wonderful husband, their father. I deal with anxiety, depression, and a mood disorder and have all my life. I also have a strong faith in God and trust in Him to help me through all of it. He's given me a passion of helping others through my gifts in the same way I have been helped. The purpose of this blog is to share my journeys in my mental health as a way to inspire and encourage those who read.

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