Friday, October 18, 2013

Coming Clean; A Clean Eating Mommy Confession

When I started this blog back in the beginning of 2011, my main goal was to show that losing 100lbs and maintaining that loss could be done by the everyday mom and wife. That is still my main goal with my little corner of the internet. It also became a place to document new things I've tried, and things I think are of interest in the fitness world.

Since the beginning of last year, I have been eating about 80-100% clean. Minimal to no gluten, sugar, or processed foods. It's what's advertised as the best for us, right? It's what we're told we are supposed to eat and make for our kids. We see on Facebook and Pinterest these happy school age kids, smiling at the dinner table eating bell pepper strips and organic hummus. Let me confess something; those are not my kids. Something else? I hate hummus.

 These are my kids. Eating waffles for a snack, and making Halloween cake just because we like Halloween...and cake. No shame.

Over the past 6 months, I buckled down with my clean eating. I was 100% into it, eating everything clean. What I found was that I started binge eating. I said it. BINGE EATING. My body rebelled, and I craved sugar like no tomorrow. I was off balance, and I strived to find a happy medium. I was so tired of fighting with my body. Completely exhausted.

I found that the best thing for my body and my family...contrary to pop-fitness culture, is portion control. *Gasp* You know what? It works. Do my kids eat everything green? No way. My son's lunch box is more like a homemade lunch-able and I an totally okay with that. Some of you might shake your heads at me, but it's okay. I don't thrive on other people's opinions about my life. I don't strive to get the most "likes" on Facebook for my life choices. I do what is best for my family and myself.

So, what do I eat now, you ask? Pretty much what I was eating back when I was living in the US. I eat a healthy breakfast under 300 calories. I eat a 200 calorie lunch, then a 100 calorie snack. I eat what my family eats for dinner, just portioned out differently. Last night I had pasta, and it was uh-maz-ing! I had a small portion of that and a big portion of salad. I reversed my main course with my vegetable course. I eat 500 calories for dinner. My body is much more balanced now, and I stopped binge eating. I don't pressure myself anymore.

Not to mention, clean eating can get difficult, stressful, and very expensive depending on where you live. Over here in Okinawa, I can't always find the things I need for my clean meals. I'd search the markets, freezer areas, and even shopped online. It was getting ridiculous. I had to cut the stress. I had to give my self, and my body, a break.

I don't pressure my kids to eat clean meals, I make them a regular family dinner. They don't pig out on it, they just eat until they are full. Sometimes I make a dessert, and that's a real treat. We love to make cookies, muffins, and cake. My boys live for it. What's more? We even hit the drive-thru sometimes. Like I said, I'm totally okay with that. People don't expect that out of me, but I do it. We, as mothers, have to stop pressuring ourselves and other mothers. We are ALL in the same boat. We are ALL trying to do the best we can. YOU are a good mother, even when you bring home McDonalds for dinner! I am so sick of seeing mothers putting other mothers down for this. Going through the drive-thru or packing a lunch able in your child's backpack doesn't make you any different than the mother who packed veggie chips and hummus for their child.

I bust my ass 5 days a week running and doing Crossfit with my husband, and we love it. It's bonding time for us. We love working out together and we encourage each other. It's made our marriage better, and given us something to do together while building our relationship. It doesn't make us better, it's just what we choose to do because we like it. I still adore Bob, and I continue with his Crossfit schedule because it works for me.

I do not have a perfect, Pinterest looking family. I don't live for Facebook pats-on-the-back. I never stepped one foot in a gym since the beginning, and I don't post half-naked pictures of my new body on the internet. I don't feel the need to do that. I just do what works. This works for my family, works for my life. It can works for yours, too!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Workout Time!

"What is your routine?" seems to be one of the questions I'm asked the most. Since July, I have been using Bob Harper's Skinny Rules DVD set. It's amazing. There are 4 DVD's (The 4th isn't pictured below but you can get it on Amazon!) and you rotate them on his calendar online. It's enough to leave me drained, even after 4 months.

The workouts, in my opinion, are not for beginners. Meaning, back when I was 210lbs, this would have been damn near impossible for me...even doing the modified version of each movement. I consistently use a 10 or 15lb weight/kettlebell in each DVD. Each workout is about 15-20 minutes each, which is great because it's so fast!! It's over before you realize that you started sweating.

My routine begins early. I get up before my kids go to school, throw on my gear, and hit the treadmill for warm-up. I run 1.5 miles, log my time, and head down to throw in my Bob DVD. I love these workouts so much, I can't even express it. The best part?! Unlike that other brand (whose name shall not be mentioned on this blog)....I didn't pay $200 for this set. Gasp! I can't believe they charge that much for workouts. Blows my mind, honestly. Guess what? I paid $29 for this set, and it was worth every single penny. I've never paid more than $10 for ANY of Mr. Harper's DVDs, so I can sweat on a budget!

You can look up these DVD's on Amazon, they are called The Skinny Rules DVDs, which go with his Skinny Rules book. Many of the meals from that book are in my daily rotation still (and they ARE good!).

My running playlist:
1. "Boomin'"- tobyMac
2. "Ready or Not" -Britt Nicole feat. Lecrae
3. "Eye on It"- tobyMac
4. "Unstoppable" tobyMac
5. "Gold"- Britt Nicole
6. Press On- Mandisa
7. Overcomer- Mandisa

Get your sweat on!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Balance - A Work in Progress

Hi all!

So life has been busy. Extremely busy! I hit this awesome milestone:

I couldn't be prouder of hitting 500 miles! I bought this app (and started at 1) when I got my treadmill last Christmas, so it's been about 18 months, maybe a little more. Right now, I average 1.5 miles, 5 days a week. It's my "warm up" before I hit my Crossfit WOD for the day. I'm not a distance runner, and I know that. I don't like to run for distance, I like to run for speed. I  like to be quick and efficient.

I've upped my weights again, and now I'm working with 15lb weights. I started in the very beginning at 3lbs. I never thought I'd get this far. It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're constantly doing as many reps as possible in a short amount of's heavy. REALLY heavy.

As far as music, I've been listening to Mandisa's "Overcomer" album quite a bit, and Tobymac's new album "Eye on It". Tobymac has dominated my running playlist in the past 2 months, along with Britt Nicole & Lecrae. Check all of them out for an awesome & uplifting run!

My oldest has started Karate classes at the gym and is excelling, while my youngest is doing all kinds of toddler things here that blow my mind. I've learned the hard way that the second child does everything so much sooner than the first.

I've been working a lot lately, and feeling like I'm starting over my entire shop. Here's a secret...we're moving back to the United States in about 6 months! We don't know where yet, but I've had to prepare my shop for that. I started shipping orders to the United States recently, and marketing over in the US has taken up quite a bit of my time. It's exhausting at best. I love making wall decals though, and I've upgraded my entire shop. It's been a wild ride. I'm balancing being a working mom, wife, household duties, school, sports, and my fitness routine. There are days I want to tell Mr. Harper to shove it where the sun don't shine, but I can't slack. I respect myself more than that. I've lost friends, gained friends, and I've been on this journey to find myself and find this balance. It's all trial and error!

Shameless plug:
If you, or someone you know, would like a wall decal, check out my shop! I make removable wall decals for every room of your home, nursery decals, monogram decals, family name decals, tree decals, and even custom decals!

Come by my Etsy shop, just click here ----> Four Peas in a Pod Vinyl Boutique On Etsy

Check out a few of my designs right here!

I hope you can bookmark my site!

In other news, it's fall. I LOVE fall. I was born for this time of year. Pumpkin coffee is currently my favorite thing in the entire world. Okay....anything pumpkin is my favorite. It's sad. I have an addiction.

Until next time...never give up. Be an Overcomer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Meat & Potatas

I spent quite a bit of time at my grandparents house as a child. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood involve my grandmother. She taught me so many things, from how to properly make a "pallet", to taking care of your family. She was mainly a homemaker, and I wanted to be just like her. She took care of her husband and kids, and I watched her as a child taking care of my grandfather. She taught me that the way to a man's heart was through his arteries. My grandparents have a unique, but heartwarming relationship. They will scream like cats and dogs at each other, but the white flag will be raised when my grandmother peels a potato and salts it for my grandfather to eat. Yes, to answer your question, he eats it raw.
I grew up in a Meat & Poatas' family. At every meal, my grandmother would have some kind of luscious meat, some form of potato (my favorite being her fried potatoes), a veggie made Paula Deen style, and bread with butter. That was supper at my grandma's house. Still is, if I'm not mistaken. Watching her, I learned that cooking was how you took care of your family.

As you can see, I follow in her footsteps. That picture was taken at dinner time tonight. Yes, that's REAL chocolate cake right there. I believe there are over 4 sticks of butter in that cake, icing included. Now I know what you're thinking, "there's no way that you can eat like that!".

I get asked often about what I eat, and I'll give you a straight answer. I may fix food like this for my family, but I do not eat it. Didya hear that?! I don't eat food like that. My boys ate that for dinner tonight, and I made myself a tropical salad. I love to eat junk, but my poor system just cannot handle that much. I'd not only feel sluggish and tired all night, but I'd have buyers remorse about 5 minutes after I ate that meal. When I see food like that, my first thought is "how many miles will I have to run to burn it off?!" Don't think I don't ever eat high calorie foods though, because I do! You'd be kidding yourself to think I didn't steal a few bites of that cake as well. I do still taste them, you know, just in case it's poisonous.

I love cooking, and to me, it will always be a way of taking care of my boys. It doesn't mean that I can't have something else for dinner, though. I am always prepared to make myself a second meal. I usually have defrosted chicken breasts in my fridge, chopped veggies, and lots of things to put in a salad in case I need to have an alternate dinner. Ladies, our mother's are not at the table demanding we eat what's in front of us anymore! With a little planning and preparation, we can make dinners like these and not blow the entire week.

But have a bite of that cake. Seriously. One bite. It's from The Pioneer Woman, and it's amazing.

With love,

Sunday, May 26, 2013

JumpStart To Skinny: RESULTS!

This morning, I am ecstatic. I set out a goal for this program, and not only did I surpass it, but I hit a number I never thought I would see! I met my yearly body fat goal that I set in January, and I now have over two times more muscle on my body than fat.

I am so happy to say that I am through this program! Not because I couldn't hack it, but because I accepted and completed this challenge. I love anything that challenges me, whether it be my mind, my muscles, or my willpower. This program challenged all three of those areas, but my willpower was definitely challenged the most.

See all that food?! That's just a few days worth!

Three weeks ago, I was in a different place mentally. I found myself slipping back into old habits, fighting myself the entire time. I was nibbling on foods I knew were not good for me. Although I hadn't packed on the pounds, I knew it would be a matter of time before I did.

This program forced me into clean eating, 100%. Normally, I eat about 60-75% clean, so this was hard for me. No carbs after lunch, and all that baby spinach! Don't get me wrong, I love spinach, but this was a lot of spinach for me.
I was also faced with the fact that I still emotionally eat. A lot. I didn't realize how much until I wasn't allowed to snack anymore. I had to make a conscious decision to walk out of the kitchen when I was just wandering in there to nibble. Even with all I've learned about clean eating, working out, and facing my emotions head on, rather than eating them, I still want to turn to food when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I really started to break that habit with this program, and that is very freeing for me. I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits.
Although this program has it's own workout program to go along with it, it wasn't advanced enough for me, so I continued on with Bob's workout plan on his website, which is Bathing Suit Bootcamp right now, along with running. My workout habits didn't change, only my eating. I still worked out with high-intensity workouts 5 days a week (2 on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off), just as you are supposed to do with this program. I got in extra workouts when I could too, often running with my kids in tow to and from the elementary school my son attends.
My Final Numbers
-Pounds Lost: 7.5
-Inches Lost-waist: .5
-Inches Lost-hips: 2.5
-Body Fat: 2%
-Muscle Gain: .8%
 Three weeks isn't a lot of time, but I made incredible numbers in just 21 days. I am honestly shocked at how well my body responded to this program, and I will do this probably 1-2 times a year just to reset my system and keep myself on track. I'm drinking so much more water now, too, which is great!
Today, I won't totally wreck my system either by going out and having a big "splurge day", I don't feel right about it. I might have a healthy dessert, some creamer in my coffee, and nothing with spinach in it, though ;)
If you have the dedication, the drive, and the planning skills to give this program a try, I highly recommend picking up this book and trying it out! What do you have to lose (besides pounds?!)?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

JumpStart to Skiny (70% through)

The warmer weather really snuck up on me this year. Between running my new home business, tending to my 2 kids, my husband being deployed, and my oldest in Kindergarten, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the calender a few weeks ago! I needed to make teacher gifts, prep my shop for summer, and prepare for beaches! It really goes to show you that the older you get, the faster time seems to go.

I announced on my Facebook page that I am doing the Jumpstart to Skinny program that Bob Harper just released. I wanted to give a first-hand review of this program. I haven't felt my physical best in the past six months or so. I balanced out a little, hit a plateau, and although I was still working out like crazy and eating right, nothing was happening anymore. I was in a slump, and that has never happened to me before. I needed something to help me feel my best for the summer! I looked into cleansing programs, fasting, juicing, you name it. I wanted something natural, that wasn't expensive, and that I could realistically do at home. Then...Bob announced his new Jumpstart program on Facebook! I almost did a cartwheel in my living room! He saved me again.

FYI: The Jumpstart To Skinny program is an introductory program to his other book, The Skinny Rules. It's intended to put you in place to start The Skinny Rules when you are finished, but it's not a "must". I personally already do most of the Skinny Rules already, so I'll transition quickly back into my routine, with a few modifications!

I downloaded the book immediately to my Kindle and read it all in a day. It's a very short read, because the back half of the book is all recipes and workout movements. I read all of the rules, I made a grocery list, and set a date to start. I like to start fresh on Monday's, so I started 2 weeks ago on Monday.

Now, as far as the's not going to be easy. This is a 3 week program. Of course, it's going to be hard. It will be even harder if you're used to eating very unhealthy foods. This program has been difficult for me, even, and I eat about 70% clean everyday. You have to cut back calories. I cut 1/3 of my daily intake for this program, but the great thing is, I've never eaten SO MUCH per meal!

Some great things about this program:
-I am never hungry. I leave the table after each meal more than satisfied, and most days, I end up saving a good portion of my lunch for later because I can't finish the rest of it.
-You can snack, as long as it is on the approved list of foods.
-Bob breaks it down to where there is no guessing, it's all right there.
-He tells you why each rule is in place, and why this program works.
-The workouts are easy, and he has a bunch of modifications for beginners to advanced.
-You can have coffee. I call that a win.

Personal Gains So Far:
-I've lost 5lbs so far, and almost 2% of my body fat.
-I'm leaner. I'm not bloated at all like I was.
-I no longer need or crave salt, or use coffee creamer. The sugar cravings I had are still there, but they are really dwindling.
-I have more energy!
-The first week alone, I lost about a .5lb every day!
-I got to try a bunch of new, clean meals that I actually like and will fit into my normal meal rotation. 
-I no longer snack on useless junk during the day, and no longer crave to do that. I replaced my "snack time" with something else and found that I really don't need that snack; I just think I do.
-The program has gotten me used to drinking my water! I was bad about that. I never drank enough, and now I make sure I get it in!

With the great results I've had, a close friend of mine decided to buckle down and give it a try too. She's down 4lbs after just 3 days! I am incredibly proud of her and her dedication! She has shown such progress in just a couple of days, and I've been talking her through some of her cravings. She has picked up a water bottle instead of a snack, and I know how incredibly hard that is. Way to go!

Is the Jumpstart program for you? I can't tell you that. What I can say is that if you're looking for a great program to get you on track for summer, try it!

Once I get my final results next week, I'll post again and let you all know my final numbers!

Consult your doctor first, and make sure you can do this program.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Week 1 Results

Week 1 is officially complete!
So, I'm sure you're wondering what my results are! I'll tell you. I have been maintaining 117lbs for a LONG time. I went down to 110, then slowly added muscle over the past year and a half. I have a scale that does a body scan to tell me how much fat, water, muscle, and bone percentage I have. It's an incredible tool to help me really see what my results are when I can't see them in the mirror or by a simple number on the scale.

Today I stepped on the scale, and to my surprise, I am down 2lbs! Not only that, but I lost 0.7% body fat, too! I'm extremely happy with those results. It's very difficult for me to lose any weight at this point, and God knows I've tried to get my body fat to go down for a while now, but this is the only thing that's worked!

I'm also still running in addition to Bob's program. As you all know, I love running, and I just can't give it up. I do Bob's daily workout, and then I hit the treadmill. Yesterday I ran twice, once after my Bob workout and again later in the morning with my toddler. We went on a run with my new jogging stroller! We tested it out and found this park about 1 mile from my house. Total, I ran almost 3 miles with the stroller yesterday, up and down major hills, in addition to the 1.5 mile run on the treadmill. My legs are just jello today!

He was having a little too much fun making faces! We had a lot of fun together at the park, and talked about things we saw along the way.

Once we got to the park, Jake ran around and played while I got in some extra lunges, squats, and pushups. You really can workout with kids around, if you are dedicated and creative enough. I know what some of you are saying to the computer screen right now..."But HarperGirl, you haven't met my crazy children! There is just no way..." Trust me. My boys are insane. They are all-boy, play in the mud, throw a screaming fit, power ranger impersonator, boys. If I can do it, you can do it. Just try it! Now that they are getting bigger, my toddler likes to try "Bob moves" <--his words with me when I workout. When he was smaller, I put him in the baby bouncer or jumperoo, or waited until nap time to workout. I.MADE.IT.WORK.

If you'd like to join this program, you can do it with just a few clicks of the mouse!
Head on over here ----CLICK ME----- and sign up today! My user name is, duh, HarperGirl.

Stay Strong


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Biggest Loser

Being HarperGirl, I am obviously obsessed with Bob Harper. I watch the Biggest Loser every week and people ask me all the time what I thought of the episodes. Does anyone else think that this might be Dolvette's last season? I never see much of him this season....This week was makeover week, and the nostalgia was so thick in the air for me that it was tangible. They got to have complete head-to-toe makeovers, which is amazing, and surprised their families after 10 weeks on the Ranch!

In April 2011, I had "that moment" in the dressing room. I still remember it. I was in a upscale secondhand store, Plato's Closet, with my mother who was visiting us in North Carolina before our big move to Japan. I needed to get clothes to take with me for this massive trip overseas, because lets face it; no one wants to shop at the BX for clothes. I had dropped so much weight, but I was afraid every time I went to try on something the next size down. I was afraid of that huge let down! The dressing room had never, ever been a friend of mine. When you're a size 20, squeezing into 18's, the dressing room becomes this horrible, frightening place of shame and regret.

            --My mom and I on that trip--
I was wearing a six 6 at that time, but I just wanted to try a 4 just to see how much work I had ahead of me. My mom grabbed a pair of Anne Taylor's with the tags still on them and I took them from her. I stared at them for a few minutes. I thought to myself "you know, this could crush your spirit and ruin your entire day if they don't fit", but I pushed it to the back of my mind. It would either be the best day of my entire year, or it would be a reminder that I had more work to do. I slipped them on, and they actually fit. I was jumping up and down! I was screaming! I could hear my mother outside the dressing room door to the sales people "it's okay, she just lost 100lbs and this is her moment!". I cried. My mom doesn't know that, but I cried in that tiny dressing room. I have never been that small, even in my teen years. I surpassed my lowest point in my entire adolescent years. It's something that I'll never forget.

Not only did I get the clothes, but I had my long hair chopped off and I went from brunette to blond. I had my own version of makeover week! My mom and I went to the spa, had was awesome.

So yes, makeover week is a BIG deal to the contestants. It's that point where you get to reinvent yourselves. I got to decide how I would look. I didn't have to pick out clothes from the Plus-Size section. I didn't have to find clothes that hid more of the fat I didn't want people to see. I got to wear clothes that showed off the nice hips I have. I got to style myself. I loved that shopping trip with my mom.

It was nice remembering that time today. It made me wish I could click my heels three times and be back home. It's been almost 2 years since I was in the United States. Sigh.

Stay Strong.

PS-I'll be posting week 1 results on Bob's new program. And yes, I DO have results already!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Running Playlist

I love running, if I haven't stated that before. There is something absolutely peaceful about being on the road, the wind in my face, and my mind clear. On the weekends I get to run outside on this beautiful island. The natural hills make a perfect running path for me. I zone out to the music in my ears and I just go. I don't think, I don't argue with myself, I just go.

I bought this T-shirt today :)

I get asked probably several times a week what music I like to run to. I switch up my playlist often, but here are my current favs:

1. Good Morning-Mandisa
2. Put Your Graffiti On Me- Kat Graham
3. Wanna Say- Kat Graham
4. CrushCrushCrush-Paramore
5. Catch My Breath-Kelly Clarkson
6. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together-Taylor Swift
7. Scream-Usher
8. So What-P!nk
9. Live While We're Young-One Direction
10. One Thing-One Direction
11. You Need Me, I Don't Need You-Ed Sheeran
12. Decoy-Paramore
13. Ho Hey-Lumineers
14. Little Bird-Ed Sheeran

Like my previous play lists, there is a little bit of everything in there. I love a wide variety of music, and right now these songs have really motivated me and help me keep pace on the treadmill and outside.

Have a wonderful day, everyone! Get outside and RUN!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Updates & New Program

It's been a while since I really sat down and wrote on my blog. I've been trying hard to find a balance between work, fitness, and family. I'm not going to lie, it's hard. I am a perfectionist, and I like to give 100% to everything that I do. I've been trying extremely hard to get a schedule that works for my family, but that allows me to have time to workout, spend time with my family, clean, and work in my shop.

I still get up at 4:45am to workout. That is something that I have to do. There is no way around getting up that early. My mind screams at me that early "are you KIDDING ME?!" but there's just no other way to get it done. Once I get out of my bed though, I'm all set. It's just the act of putting my feet on the floor...and not being tempted to look at Facebook on my phone in an attempt to stall.

I've had some stress in my life recently, but it's really fueled my workouts. I did something amazing a couple of weeks ago. I was really just stressed and I threw it into my run for the day. I took all that anger, all that stress, all the feelings I had and I used them.

I ran a 7:39 mile.

I normally run around a 9-10 minute mile, but recently I've gotten much faster. The past month I've been running about an 8 minute mile. Ever since that day, I realized that I could do it. If I really pushed myself, I could run that. I could let my body do amazing things.

I've been running more and more lately, and recently I ran this very scary hill that is beside my neighborhood. It's absolutely terrifying when you think about running it uphill. It's this thing I've wanted to do since we arrived here, but I've just chickened out every time. So last weekend I took it on head-first and just DID it. I ran by Marines on base who were jogging down it, and I smiled. I ran 2.5 miles before coming to the base of it. I stopped and looked up. I wanted to turn back and go the long way home, but I knew that I could handle it, and I did. I ran this hill from bottom to top without stopping once. Standing at the top looking down was absolutely empowering, and all I could think was "I did that".

<--Me, mid run a few weeks ago. I look like a mess,'s real.

Running and Crossfit. It's my fitness life. I absolutely love it. I changed my kettle bell recently as well and went up in weight with it. Changing up the weight really added a new dynamic to my workouts. Just ask my glutes.

So I cannot contain my excitement at all over this. I just can't.

Bob started a new 8-week program today on his site, that is ---> CLICK HERE

A pre-summer program to help kick our booty's back into shape just in time to get out the beach attire!

I have the type of personality that adores structure and routine, so this new system Bob has is right up my alley! It's 8 weeks full of workouts and he posts 1 week at a time, complete with a worksheet to organize your workouts. I did the first workout this morning (and I won't lie, I still ran 1.5 miles before I dove into the workout), and it was a 10 minute Crossfit AMRAP (as many reps/rounds as possible). It was killer!!! My arms and legs hurt still. I'll be a pile of mush in the morning, and I'll get up and do it all over again.

I also recently purchased a jogging stroller for my youngest so I can go run out during the day with him, too. I might be addicted to running.

Until next time,

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