It has been a while since I have written here, time has been slipping away from me this summer just hanging out and enjoying my children.   I have noticed this summer I have been a lot more relaxed, a lot less stressed and just sort of 'going with the flow'.  By looking at me and talking to me, you would really think that life is just easy going right now, nothing major happening and all is good and really, all is great to me right now in my family, my life, and well yeah, I just can't seem to get phased by anything right now.  Which absolutely makes no sense with all the chaos of my husband's work, our financial uneasiness and whatever else there is in life that can go wrong. 

We are under an extreme amount of stress right now with money, income, work, you name it, however my husband and I are really feeling like we are protected from it all, so long story short, I have nothing to write about this summer because to spite what the world tells us we should be feeling, we are feeling great!  Our family is happy, healthy and strong.  Our children are having the time of their lives this summer and well, we are just hanging out enjoying our time together before we have to get back to reality in the fall.  So, for those of you who normally read me and are looking for something controversial or whatever else, not really going to get it here, at least not in this post. 

I will say, I think a lot of how I am feeling this summer has to do with the lifestyle change I have made as of late.  I started it in January as a quick way to lose some pounds before heading off to Florida for Spring Break and discovered a new way of eating for me that I really enjoy and I think my body is rewarding me for.    I started by wanting a quick fix to the excess weight I have been putting on over the past few years.  After discovering I was easily 40+ pounds over my normal weight, I felt it was time to do something about it.  I have 4 young children and the older three were often asking me if I was pregnant again because of the size of my belly.  The day I knew I needed to change was when my 7 year old daughter told me she knew I was lying because the only time a belly is THAT big is when there is a baby in there!  Yeah, that was the turning point.

So, I Googled, "How to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks."  Yep, I was going extreme.  I knew the celebrities all lost baby weight super fast, I knew there had to be a secret out there I didn't know about.  There was, now, I want you all to know something first, I did not starve myself, you only lose muscle and well, I couldn't afford to lose anymore muscle!  I discovered the raw diet.  I had no clue I would like it let alone end up doing it for almost 7 months now and really enjoy it!

I would say, eating mostly raw foods, has become fun and challenging and made me realize how much of my vitamins, and healthy stuff I was cooking away when I cooked all my foods.  We have these beautiful fruits and vegetables that grow in our gardens in these amazing colors and sizes and shapes and tastes yet, we tend to cook them to death until they lose their color, they lose much of their natural flavor and most of the healthy stuff we eat fruits and veggies for! 

I have discovered the yummy flavor of zucchini sticks, rediscovered carrots, I find myself eating cherries like they are candy and popping grapes like tic tacs.   It is fun, it is yummy and most of all, my children are seeing me eat lots of different kinds of fruits and vegetables and mostly fruits and vegetables and they are eating more because of it.  They have no clue I am 'dieting' which is truly a word I despise and don't use often, especially around children.  My children only know that mommy really likes her fruits and veggies and doesn't cook them because they are healthier the way God made them.  I do eat a small portion of something cooked with my family at dinner time, just because I really need to show my children that we all eat the same foods and most food is healthy, in moderation. 

I will say, eating raw, organic, and locally grown whenever possible is not only good for your body, it is good for your pocket book, good for our local economy and must be better for the environment since our garbage levels have gone from 2 sometimes 3 garbage bags a day to 1 or less a day due to less packaging.   I have a lot more energy, I don't feel overstuffed however, I am rarely hungry and my whole family benefits when mommy is healthy and happy!  Besides the best part is I have lost over 24 pounds since January and I am still going.  I am leaner, stronger, and more fit than I have been in years.

Add to that, our entire family started about 5 weeks ago doing 30 sit-ups and 30 push-ups every single day, including our 2 year old, yep, she is the crunch master at doing crunches plus, she is learning to count since we count outloud.  Which, a side note here, it took me starting sit-ups and push-ups with my family to realize that I had forgotten to teach our 2 year old (our 4th child) her ABC's and 123's!   I am a weak, weak, weak person in the upper body, so I do my push ups against my kitchen counter...yes, I am so weak, I can't even do knee push ups!  However, just a couple days ago, I did 15 knee push ups in a row for the first time in my life!  Yahoo! 

I don't know how many my husband is up to a day, but I am up to 40 sometimes 50 kitchen counter push ups and at least 50 sit-ups/crunches plus, a couple weeks ago I added in 30 leg lunges a day too.  While I don't have the 6-pack and probably never will, it is fun to do something as simple as eating healthy and working out with the entire family.    Losing weight doesn't have to be a chore and really doesn't need to be a diet.  If diets really worked there wouldn't be so many of them on the market and there wouldn't be so many Weight Watchers and health clubs around.  I think we have become a dieting nation and because of our constant diets we are actually getting fatter.    However if you chose healthier options in your daily life and stick with them you will see changes. 

You might not drop 24 pounds in 7 months, but I can tell you for sure you will feel better about yourself, your family will notice a difference and if you have children, why not try and be the best example of health you can be.  You don't need to be extreme.  You don't need to run marathons, lift tons of weight or only eat tuna and protein shakes.  You need to start with the basics, fruits and veggies and go from there.  Even if you cook them, eating more of them will make your body feel better and you might surprise yourself and discover you actually like them!   I challenge all of you for the rest of the summer to make a change with your entire family.  Start taking walks before dinner (it has been shown exercising before eating actually helps you to burn more calories and lose more weight), go on a family bike ride on one of our great bike trails, eat more raw foods whenever possible, make your family all juice smoothies and add just a bit of Hemp protein for some protein and lots of Omega's!  Whatever, just do something with your family.

You have just about 6 weeks of summer left, make a change that could change your family and your family's health for the long term.  I would love to hear what you all do with your family for fun to keep healthy and active!  All of the things I have done this summer has been things my friends have been doing with their families or on their own.

Good luck to all of you and get out there, hit one of our great local farmer's markets and try some new veggies you have never tried before, I hear raw beets shredded with some lettuce and/or cabbage in a salad is super yummy!  That is my next recipe I am going to try.

Blessings to you all, 

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