Realease Your Guilt: 5 Reasons Why Taking Care of Ourselves Isn’t Selfish

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, & to make your happiness a priority.  It’s necessary.” ~Mandy Hale

Being a wife and mother, I put my husband & children ahead of myself.  I know that there are numerous parents out there who do the same.  It has been like this for as long as I remember. I always felt guilty of doing something for myself, because I could have done whatever it was for my family.  This year, in my efforts to take care of myself, I realized how that way of thinking is counter productive. In fact, it prohibited me to properly take care of myself.  We need to love ourselves enough to take care of our mind, body, & spirits.  If we don’t, who will?
Once you start taking care of yourself, the guilt we have all felt one time or another will fade.  I don’t feel guilty if I want to go to the gym instead of volunteering at my daughter’s school.  I know I do a lot already and that what I do is enough.  I don’t feel guilty when I go running, leaving my little ones with their brother.  I know they are in good hands & I’m only gone for a short period of time.  Still not convinced here are a few reasons why taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish……..

5 Reasons Why Taking Care of Ourselves Isn’t Selfish
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  1. Eating healthy is needed as fuel for our minds & body
    Supplying our body with the proper nutrients it needs to thrive is so important.  I can’t stress enough the importance of this.  The food I ate damaged my body more than I ever thought.  I didn’t realize how much till I cut those foods out of my diet.  Once you get over the initial hump, you’ll feel so much better.  And you’ll be thankful that you replaced the processed & junk food, for healthier options.  It truly does make a whole of difference.  Not convinced, try cutting something out for 3 weeks and see how you feel.
  2. Taking care of ourselves enables us take care of our loved ones
    If we aren’t in good shape, how will we be able to give our loved ones our 100%.  We can’t.  As sad as it is to admit, before I started taking care of myself, I didn’t have much energy to truly be present with my kids.  I didn’t play or engage with them, like I do now.  Because of how I’m making myself a priority, I’m able to give my loved ones so much more of me.
  3. Exercising regularly not only helps us keep in shape but it gives us energy needed throughout our day
    I’ve noticed over the last month, how much more energy I have because of exercising.  It’s interesting on the days I go to the gym or running how much better I feel compared to when I don’t.  I have lots more energy to get things done & I’m able to engage with my kids longer.
  4. Shows our kids how important it is….show by example
    Growing up, self care wasn’t a concept I knew.  My dad gave us his all and had nothing left for himself.  This is where my mommy guilt came in.  I thought be a good mother meant going without so my kids don’t.  But it doesn’t.  I didn’t realize the importance of self care.  By giving my kids an example to follow, I’m hoping they always take care of their whole self.
  5. Healthy mind, body, & spirit radiates love, compassion, & generosity
  6. Happiness is a side effect of self care
    Last week, I had lunch with my dad and he made an interesting comment about how much happier I seem.  I thought about this all the way home and realized just how right he was.  I have been a lot happier since I’ve started eating healthier & making exercising a priority.  Want more happiness in your life?  Start taking better care of yourself.

Now I’m not saying to go out and spend a ton of money on ourselves.  Just take a real hard look at yourself & your life.  Is self care an important part in your life?  Or is it needing some support?  If you’re like me and was really lacking, figure out ways to work on this, something realistic you could do a regularly and start making it a point to do it.  Stop making excuses and start implementing small ways to take better care of ourselves.  If we don’t who will?

Is self care important to you?  Or is it a new concept for you?  
Love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Denise Designed, My Soulful Home, Moms Small Victories, Create With Joy, Strangers & Pilgrims On Earth, Sew Crafty Angel, Creative Home Keeper,

8 Weight Loss Tips: From One Average Person To Another

I’ve been doing a lot of research online about weight loss and I’ve come to realize, that a lot of the information out there isn’t doable or realistic for the average person.  Those of us, who are out of shape, that want to get into shape can get easily discouraged when taking advice from the experts that don’t take into account that we are “average.”  We live an average life, make average money, live on an average budget, & must work with what we have.
It’s hard to weed through all the information out there. If you started now, 10 yrs down the road, you will still be weeding out the information.  It’s a never ending stream of advice.  What I’ve noticed about losing or maintaining your weight, is all about finding the proper equation that fits you.
Below are some tips that I have found that helps with weight loss.  By in no means am I an expert, I’m just an average Joe sharing tips that could make it easier for you to lose weight.  Any of these tips could help anyone, no matter where you are.
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Tip #1- Don’t Expect Results overnight or even in a few weeks
I knew this but when a few friends just dropped their weight, I assumed it would for me too.  But that’s unfortunately not the story.  It not only takes time but it take a lot of effort.  This journey has def opened my eyes to the whole weight loss world & the struggles people have.

Tip #2- Know what your BMR is 
This is something my husband introduced me to recently.  BMR or Basal Metabolic rate is ” The amount of energy (in the form of calories) that the body needs to function while resting for 24 hours.  This number of calories reflects how much energy your body requires to support vital body functions if, hypothetically, you were resting in bed for an entire day.”  taken from Daily Burn.  Click on the link to read more about this.  And this site has a BMR calculator you can use to figure your calories out.

Tip #3- Use a calorie counter till you can do it on your own  
I’ve been using My Fitness pal app for a little bit but now I’m able to do calculate my food better without the app.  Just like with anything, the more you use it, the easier it will be figuring your calories & what type of foods are best for you.  One of the things I love about this app is how they break down your foods into different categories like fats, carbs, protein, & other nutrients.  And when you sign up, you get an email a few times a week with food ideas, recipes, exercises & more.

Tip #4- Not eating enough calories will stunt your metabolism & slow your weight loss
Most diets I’ve read about over the last few months, always used 1200 calories as there go to for losing weight.  So, I just assumed that’s what I had to do.  But it wasn’t helping me to lose weight, I just stayed at the same weight.  And I was always hungry.  After my husband told me about the BMR and proper amount of calories my body needs (which is 1623 but I aim for 1600), my hunger went away.  In fact, the last few days, I’ve had a hard time getting enough food into my body.  I do feel much better when I did switch.  The reason behind knowing how much calories your body needs & feeding it healthy foods is because if you are way under your calorie intake, you will end up slowing your metabolism down because your body will think it’s in starvation mode.  To read more about this click here Women’s Health

Tip#5- Don’t be embarrassed by your lack of progress or hitting a plateau  
This plagued me for almost a year.  I went from 148lbs. to 230lbs due to my medicines.  Then once I took myself off my meds, I dropped 32lbs. & hit 198.  There I stayed for yr.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t lose or gain.   It was ever so frustrating, embarrassing, & depressing.  Once I got over myself & how I was feeling, I began to make a plan which includes a gym a few times a week, walking as much as I can, eating better, & learning to love my body where I am now.  Once I started doing these regularly, I started losing weight, a little at a time.

Tip #6- One healthy condiment makes all the difference
I hate the taste of chicken.  Ever since I got food poisioning years ago, it grosses me out.  But it’s such a great food to eat so instead of cutting it out completely, I cover it in green salsa.  That is my go to condiment.  Find something you love, that isn’t full of sugar & other crap & use it as often as possible.  I use it on chicken, rice, beans, & eggs.  Plus, it adds a little more flavoring.

Tip #7- Get an encouragement buddy
I can’t stress enough how important this is.  If you don’t have anyone cheering you on, going the a similar journey, or supporting you, it will be hard to motivate yourself.  Having just one person in your corner, does make all the difference.  And it’s always fun to have company along the way.  Don’t have an encouragement buddy, look online.  There are so many different communities you could join.  Or even hit me up, I’m always looking for new buddies to help motivate me & encourage them.

Tip #8- You won’t lose weight till you’re really serious about it……..Whether you lose  or keep the weight on is all about your mental state & where you are in this moment
For me that year that I hit the plateau, I really wasn’t ready to commit myself to losing weight.  I wanted to but I didn’t want to do the work.  So I spent that year sabotaging myself.  It wasn’t till I quit drinking soda & caffeine that I was ready.  Once I did that huge step, I knew I was ready to work hard & get some of this weight off.  I might not be able to get where I want to be ideally, but I know I’ll be able to lose some & I’m ok with that.

Any advice or things that have worked
for you?

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Walking & Metabolism Go Hand In Hand

Before I started on my weight loss journey, I never really understood how walking could be life changing.  How just getting up off your butt and getting out the door matters a whole lot.  The hardest part of walking, is getting the motivation to start your journey, getting out the door.  But once you do, I am telling you, your whole world will change.  I underestimated the power of walking, which won’t happen again.

Woman walking in mountains in sport shoes

@ Inner body

When I 1st began walking I started out doing 2 miles, but I huffed and puffed most of the way.  Going up my steep hill, made me loose my breath, & felt chest pains for a few hours.  My heart rate at resting was 125 or so, but it has gotten as high as 140-152 at rest, when I was really sick .  I was a huge mess and I was scared of what would happen if I continued down this path.

Walking Kick Start My Metabolism: 

“Walking briskly on a daily basis not only results in calorie burning, it increases enzyme and metabolic activity that may result in increased calorie consumption for up to 12 hours after walking as little as 2 miles. The more deconditioned you are, the greater the metabolic effect of walking.

Increased metabolism means more than simply BURNING CALORIES, it means that your body will be more likely to draw in nutrients from your food and supplements.” taken from


After walking 3-4 times per week for a month, I started noticing that I was losing weight a lot faster than most people.  I couldn’t understand why, till I looked into walking and realized that it helped kick start my metabolism.  Before I got sick, I had a crazy insane metabolism, where I couldn’t gain weight.  And before anyone asks, no I didn’t have a thyroid problems (I’ve been checked numerous times in my life), I just had a crazy insane metabolism.  It was something that I took for granted most of my life, because it was something that was always a part of me, something I didn’t need to work for or towards.

But when I got sick and was put on different medicines everything changed.  Weight kept increasing up to 90lbs., no matter what I ate.  Walking helped kick start my metabolism, which helped in turn to start losing more weight.  No matter where you are along your weight loss journey, make walking a top priority.  Walking does matter, no matter how much or how little.  So get out, move your butt, & start walking more.

How has walking benefited you?

Swiss Chard, Bacon, & Butternut Squash Soup (DF)

Soup, is something that I’ve been really into since I’ve decided to change my way of eating.  Eating healthier is much easier if you add soup to your meal list.  Soups are a great way of adding veggies & nutrients, and a great way to have leftovers, which is something that my house usually doesn’t have.
So, I searched Pinterest for awhile and didn’t find anything.  There are thousands of soup recipes on there, but nothing was sticking out to me.  Then I came across the recipe below & thought about how delicious it sounds.  Plus it’s dairy free so my little ones could eat this without worrying about their bellies hurting.
This recipe was easy to make, it just takes a bit since you have to cook your squash.  But even with cooking the squash, you can enjoy a delicious dinner with minimal effort.  And if you are looking for a great site, with delicious healthy food, check hers out.  I’m a new fan of it & love all her recipes.

**adapted from Anya Eats **

*1 small-medium butternut squash
*1 small onion, diced
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*5 pieces of turkey bacon, chopped
*1-2 TBSP olive oil
*3 C chicken broth
*1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
*salt & pepper
*crushed red pepper

*Preheat oven to 350-375 depending on your oven
*Cut butternut squash in half & place on baking sheet
*Bake 30-40 mins until soft
*In a skillet pan, add bacon & cook till it starts browning
*Add onions & cut together till the onion pieces are translucent
*Add garlic.
*Once all are cooked together, add in the coconut milk, chicken broth,  & swiss chard pieces
*Mix well.  Cook on low & let simmer
*Add cooked pieces of the butternut squash
*Add salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes to taste
*Simmer for about 15 mins
~And Enjoy~

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Motivation of the Day….February 2nd

I’m always looking for new ways to get more steps in my day.
One way to do this would be to walking my girls in the morning
& at pick.  I think school is about 1.5 miles one way.
Twice a day would give me 6 miles.  But since it’s still wintertime
& the mornings aren’t warm enough for the girls,
I will be adding in this walk once a day, in the afternoon,
weather permitting. Today, Thursday, & Friday will
be the only days I can do this, this week.  But that means
I got an extra 18 miles of walking in for my week.  So, I’ll
take what I can do.
What has motivated you

Moro de Habichuela (Dominican Rice n Beans)

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When I was younger, I stayed in an all Spanish community, where I was the only non-Spanish person around.  The lessons I learned from this experience was life changing.  The pieces of their culture that I fell in love with I took and incorporated it into my family’s daily life like their music, dancing, & food.  Plus it helps my two older ones (who are half Dominican) to connect with a part of their heritage.
True Dominican food is absolutely amazing.  If you haven’t tried it, you are really missing out.  The food is not only delicious but very frugal to make.  The 1st dish I’m sharing with you is a staple food that you can make many different ways depending on which beans you use.  It’s a simple delicious filling meal that feeds a crowd.

Moro de Habichuela 
adapted & taken from: Aunt Clara’s recipe


  • 4 cups white rice
  • 1 can 15.5 oz kidney beans (or any cooked beans of your choice)
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/4c chopped peppers ( i used sweet mini ones)
  • 1 pinch of Oregano
  • 1-2 tsp garlic minced
  • 3 fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 tsp chopped Cilantro
  • salt


  1. Heat half the oil (2.5 Tbsp) in an iron pot over low heat and add cilantro, garlic, thyme, celery, olives, oregano, cubanela, capers. Cook and stir for a minute, or until the ingredients release their aroma. Stir in the tomato paste.
  2. Add beans, also while stirring, add season with salt. Once heated through, add water and bring to the boil (try the mixture and add salt to taste before proceeding, bear in mind that the rice will absorb some of the salt, so don’t low-ball it).
  3. Stir in the rice and simmer stirring frequently to avoid excessive sticking. Make sure to remove the rice that sticks to the bottom.
  4. When the water has evaporated cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Wait 15 minutes, uncover, add the remaining oil and stir.
  5. Cover again another 5 minutes. After this the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes over very low heat (if at this point it looks too dry add ¼ cup of boiling water before stirring and covering.


Are you a fan of Dominican food?  What’s your favorite dish?

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