You Betta Check Yourself

14 Oct

Last night I posted a question to my facebook page:


My Fitness Pal is telling me I need to eat more. I don’t feel hungry. What should I do?

On this post I received wildly differing opinions.

  • You can actually gain weight by not consuming enough
  • If your goal is weight loss, under eating can definitely hinder you. Although I do believe its not all about calorie counting as much as what you’re eating! But honestly 1200 calories seems low for all the exercise you’re putting in.
  • Turn off the app and eat healthy foods until you’re satisfied. Numbers on a phone do not know what you need.
  • Don’t eat more!!
  • Eat nuts for snacks or fuller fat dairy. Easy peasy way to up calorie intake without eating more when you’re not hungry.
    You have to fuel your body for the work you’re making it do. You wouldn’t drive your car on E when driving all over creation, so you can’t do the same to your body. 

My Fitness Pal actually gives you a warning if you try and complete your food diary with a calorie deficit this large:

Based on your total calories consumed for today, you are likely not eating enough.

But if I don’t feel hungry, if I feel satisfied, must I eat more? About an hour later, I started to feel hungry.  After drinking some water to be sure it wasn’t boredom or thirst making me feel hungry I concluded that yes, I was actually hungry, so I ate some protein.  Would I have eaten a little bit of baby bell cheese had the app told me I had reached 1200 or 1500 or 2000 calories already, yes, I was actually hungry.  I knew what my body was telling me and I fueled my body.

I’m using the app to check myself before I wreck myself as the saying goes.  I am an over-eater, I binge eat, I can eat an entire bag of potato chips and not feel full or satisfied.  This is how, plus living a sedentary life, that I ended up in a size 24 pant and having a heart that skipped beats.  These numbers on an app help me regulate myself, yes, but also help me learn about my body.  For years I ate until I was stuffed and sick.  I’m nearly 40 and just now trying to learn what it truly feels like to be hungry, satisfied or full.  These are all feelings I didn’t know to feel – I just ate.

Now that I am working out and no longer living a sedentary life  (I did T25 by myself yesterday morning, then did it again in the afternoon with the kids and had a dance party with our little girl) I know I don’t want to eat an entire bag of potato chips but I am also struggling with how to fuel my body like an athlete.  I know that I am putting the proper fuel into my body but how much to put in is still a struggle.  I know that it’s ok to have a treat every now and then.  I am not depriving myself, I know I didn’t feel full. But I also know, like some of the comments said last night, that not eating enough will put me into starvation mode and my body will store the fuel I give it as fat.

I’ve read a million articles on the topic and while “less calories in vs more calories out = weightloss” is the only proven, nobody can seem to agree on the right amount of calories for optimal health and weight loss.  Remember a couple months ago when people were claiming that their “fitbit made them gain weight”, that’s what we don’t want happening here.

What are the best articles on this topic, fueling for weight loss?  I’d love your advice!

Sparkle On,


I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay. Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

Clean Cheap Recipes

9 Oct

Time after time, in friends facebook feeds, in conversations with friends – like real actual IN REAL LIFE conversations WHAT?, and in messages to me from followers I get asked “How much are you spending on groceries?”  We’re trying to cut back, what tips can you share? How do you eat healthy on a budget?

I have talked about this a couple of times and my girl Nica and I have talked about doing a youtube, vlog, podcast… something on this very topic.  I need much more confidence before I do any of THAT, but what I want to share are a couple of tips from someone who just doesn’t care to clip coupons.

aintnobodyHow I shop, is around the outside, finding the least expensive veggies and fruits (using my in store shopping card – Thank you Kroger!) and meats on sale to build my weekly meals around.  Peppers and ground turkey are both on sale – oh yeah, we’re doing stuffed peppers.  Italian Sausage on sale – we’re doing sausage and peppers.  Organic whole chickens are on sale, I’m buying a couple to roast and use the meat to shred and make chicken stock.  Apples, pumpkins, grapes, whatever is in season is typically what is going to be less expensive in the veggie aisle so I know to load up on those.

If you can subscribe to a CSA or Relay Foods so you have your local, in season, fruits and veggies on hand and use the grocery store to stock the pantry using 10 for $10 deals on items like rice, beans and pasta and other deals and coupons is you can find them on quinoa and spices.

All of this to be said, eating in season, knowing what meals you kind of want to make for the week, but being flexible when you get to the store and finding a great sale is important.  (Thank goodness for a data plan and pinterest on my phone, I can look up other ingredients I might need!)

The other tip is to have inexpensive recipes at the ready so I know where I can fill in meals.  My fellow blogger Julie at Grace, Lace and Iron has created a clean eating ebook that has PERFECT easy, inexpensive, recipes that you AND the family will love called “Clean Cheap Recipes”.  Julie shared the ebook with me because she knows how important easy, inexpensive meals are to me and all of you.  Thanks, Julie for the opportunity to review this for you!


Here’s a sample:

White Bean Chicken Chili
What you need:
– 3-4 cans of Cannellini beans, undrained – low-sodium (I picked these up, organic at Kroger on the 10 for $10 sale!)
-2-3 chicken breasts, cubed (Again, organic on sale) 
– 1 – 7 oz. can of chopped green chiles
– 1 tbsp. chili powder
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 1 red onion
– 2 tbsp olive oil
Cube chicken breast and saute with olive oil until browned. Add in red onion.Simmer until onion is soft and
add water to make broth. Place chicken and onions in a large crockpot. Add beans and green chiles and spices.
Cook in crockpot on med high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (I work outside the home, so I set this on low for two hours and then our crockpot switches to warm.To make it even easier, don’t cook anything, just throw it all in the crockpot, stir and set timer for 4 hours on low. Seriously, spend the $50 on a programmable crockpot.  It will change your life and save you SO MUCH TIME in the kitchen.)
1 serving = 8 – 10 oz. c.; 10-12 servings; 1 protein + 1 carb
This is making you 10 – 12 ONE CUP servings and completely filling you up.  You’ll have dinner tonight for a family of 4 and lunch tomorrow for under $10.00.  Add in some tortilla chips or a cheese quesadilla and you’re still under $12.00 for the entire family to eat a flavorful, filling, fiber packed healthy dinner!  Double the recipe, add in those celery stalks that are about to go bad and the handful of baby carrots that nobody is ever going to eat or whatever YOUR FAMILY has left lying around ready to rot in the crisper and store some for meals later in the week when you’re running late to kids sports, school programs or life. S
Stop stopping at the Drive Through and quit feeding the family pancakes and cereal for dinner because it’s all you have time for. Sorry I’m not lecturing… but I AM!  This is too easy and you have time for this!
If you’re looking for more ideas from Julie like Coconut Buffalo Chicken (OMG), how to make a whole chicken in the crockpot, and your own hummus order your own copy for only $3.99  and use the code eat2live to save 25%.
I’d love to hear some of your tips on how you save money at the grocery store without clipping coupons.
Don’t forget, if you aren’t following me on social media you might not know about our upcoming “Be Badass For the Holidays Challenge.”  We’ll be talking clean eating, staying on track with fitness goals AND we’re doing a squat challenge to lift that booty before the turkey and pie hit you.  Come join us!
Sparkle on,

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.
EatSmart Products did not pay me for this review, they simply provided me with the scale.  All opinions are my own. 

Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

To Weigh or Not To Weigh

6 Oct

To weigh or not to weigh, that is the question.

If you follow me over on my facebook page, you know I’m a strong believer in the NSV – the Non-Scale Victory.  You know the NSV, right?  Buying a new dress in a smaller size, having a wedding band that’s too loose, having someone who hasn’t seen you in awhile not recognize you…. You know – The NSV.

Well, for me, I learned that the NSV can only get me so far.  I need numbers.  I need to track.

I have friends that hate counting calories and for them it’s all about eating clean and eating to they are full.  To me, eating clean is a justification for a third helping of sweet potatoes and full means until my pants burst.  I need to track using an app on my phone like MyFitnessPal and I need to keep track of my weight. When I don’t track, when I allow my waistband to be my guide, when I only think I’m clean eating or one ‘cheat’ (I hate that word!) won’t hurt, it always derails me and I fall off course.

Recently, I was offered a chance to review a new scale.  HOORAY!  Because my old scale was crap and it didn’t make the move with us.  DOC made us leave it behind because he knew I was frustrated with it and he knew it wasn’t good for me.  Enter the EatSmart Products to my rescue. From the email inviting me to give it a try:

EatSmart Products, a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative healthcare products, would like to introduce an exciting addition to our bathroom scale line, the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale.

Why the MaxView? – Whether you are looking to gain or lose, this high-tech gadget is an essential tool in weight management. What makes the Precision MaxView different from other bathroom scales is the EXTRA LARGE DISPLAY. The oversized, well-lit, display makes it easy to see your weight and features one the of BIGGEST LCD screens on any bathroom scale available in the US market.

Innovative features include:

  • Utilizes OurStep-On Technology and Sensor Accuracy – get instant readings!
  • EXTRA LARGE 4.5″ LCD display w/ Accubright blue backlight – Easy to read in any light environment – One of the biggest on the market! 
  • 4 High Precision EatSmart Sensors – Consistent and accurate measurement up to 400 lbs or 180 kgs every time
  • Ultra thin, sleek design with high quality tempered glass platform
  • FREE EatSmart Body Tape Measure now included – Another great tool to monitor progress!
  • Auto Calibrated; Auto Power-Off; Runs on 2 AAA batteries (included); EatSmart 2 year warranty

An exceptional value at $29.95 on, the Precision MaxView reinforces the belief that weight management is not a quick fix but part of a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle.”

Well OF COURSE I’ll give it a try!





I really just love this scale!  It’s accurate.  It’s easy to use and best of all, it’s really got me back on track.  The old scale, you had to tap it about a million times, wait for it to calibrate, then hope it got your weight right.  The EatSmart Maxview scale, you just step on and BAM – your weight (I stayed on after the scale turned off for my privacy, here’s the real screen below).  And there is none of the wobble, the clack clack clack sound of you stepping on and off the scale like our old abandoned one.  For being lightweight and slim, this scale is very sturdy and doesn’t rock when you get on.  I don’t know why I find this so helpful – BUT I DO!  Really, I didn’t know how bad that old scale was at functioning but THIS scale is making me so happy!  Who gets happy over a scale?  THIS GIRL obviously.  (Why are y’all friends with me again?)


From Amazon

For me, the weight on the scale isn’t the only measure of my fitness success, that’s why I was thrilled when I opened the box to find a very useful tape measure.   It gave me the chance to talk to DOC about how it’s NOT just about the number on the scale, it’s how our bodies are changing through fitness.  “Muscle weighs more than fat, but you can see changes in your waist, thighs, hips, chest and arms, babe!”  When the number on the scale goes up, and I’ve been tracking to MyFitnessPal I can go back and look at the numbers and see where the change might be coming from – for example, ok, Friday night’s taco and CoronaRita bender might be to blame for an uptick.   Whatever the scale and tape measure say, because I track,  I know I can review my work and own my successes or setbacks.


From Amazon


What I do know over the course of the past three years is that I need to track both my weight and my food to have continued success.  My lifestyle isn’t a get fit quick scheme it’s a daily commitment to lifelong health and wellness.  If you’re a person that needs to track your weight to stay on course and you’d like the support of the tape measure to track your personal goals, the EatSmart Precision MaxView Digital Bathroom Scale is the perfect choice in any budget. at less than $30.

And I also know that a CoronaRita is not good for anyone’s health or wellness.  What were we thinking?

Sparkle On, Everybody!



I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some Amazon affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.
EatSmart Products did not pay me for this review, they simply provided me with the scale.  All opinions are my own. 

Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters! 

Spin Off

17 Sep

When I started this blog three years ago I had hoped that DOC would jump on here and write some himself.  The blog changed over time to my thoughts on life to more of fitness, wellness and parenting and DOC never really had a chance to share his opinions. Well, like all great sitcoms (seriously, NBC, where are you with my own show??) we have our first Spin Off.  He is the Laverne and Shirley to my Happy Days.  A Different World to my Cosby Show.  The Different Strokes to my Facts of Life.

DOC has started his own blog answering questions from his point of view called “What’s Up Black Dude“. Friends and family ask him questions and he tries to answer them as best he can.

With everything going on in the world today we have come to realize that we have very different points of view on social issues. There have been some VERY interesting points of view shared in our car rides on the way to work in the morning. If you were riding in our car, you’d think we were fighting – we’re just helping each other understand that based on our experiences how our opinions are shaped… in a sometimes loud and with lots of hand gestures manner.  Please don’t judge us at the traffic lights, ok?

The issues in Ferguson this summer really gave us a lot to debate and we were even asked to join our dear friends radio program to talk about our perspective on the issue as an interracial family, one having grown up black in the south and the other white from the north.  We have a lot to talk about, but sometimes, in the privacy of your own minivan you really talk about issues more openly than you can on radio or a blog.  We’re still trying to balance our beliefs and don’t feel ready to talk live and in living color, ya know, however, we do have a voice and we do have an opportunity to share our history and our beliefs that many of our friends might not understand because they are not a part of this culture.  I’m proud of DOC for lending his voice in this way on his blog and I hope you’ll pop over and ask him a question!


This week, with everything being talked about with the NFL, we’ve had plenty of debates.  When news broke that Adrian Peterson was arrested for hitting his child with a switch we honestly both laughed and figured every parent we knew would be in jail.  Heck, DOC had to go and “pick his own switch” for his grandmother.  After we saw the pictures our tune quickly changed.  Abuse and spanking are very different.  Those pictures showed abuse, something we could never accuse one of our parents of.  Growing up in the black south DOC’s grandparents reared him the way they were and the generations before them were – at the hand of a switch – that they more than likely learned from a slave owner.

I hope you’ll read DOC’s take on this and ask him a great question.  He hasn’t answered mine yet…. Why do some black men love big butts and why would they ever deny it?  It’s a great mystery of life.



Sparkle on,

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

In Honor of My Love Of Mud

15 Sep Comfort Zone

Just a quick recap today in honor of this weekend’s Pretty Muddy!  I am so excited to run my first mud run with our nine-year-old son this weekend!  Two of my girlfriends and their sons are running too.  I am so thankful for Pretty Muddy for selecting me as an ambassador for this event and for allowing me to run again this year but this time with my favorite little guy.

If you are running in a mud run this weekend here is a reminder of what to pack for a mud run:

And if you’re not convinced to run in Pretty Muddy Richmond yet, here’s a note about just how much I loved last year’s event. Seriously, ladies, let’s DO THIS!

Comfort Zone

I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Heart Breaker

10 Sep

This boy.  He slapped me into reality recently.


For those of you that don’t know, I am a special event fundraiser.  I plan, organize and execute special events to raise money for a non-profit organization.  There are three other people on my team that do similar work.  About three or four times a year we put on huge events and they are “all hands on deck” situations working 16-18 hour days – for three – four straight days.

I’m entitled to take some flex time but my own events need my attention so I decided I’d come back in.  I rarely take my flex time and I have a full bank of PTO time.  Recently, after one of those weekends, when I told the kids that I couldn’t take off and needed to come into work The Boy  looked a little sad but said “ok, mom.”  A half hour later a note slid out from under his bedroom door.

“Dear Mom,

Please don’t go to work tomorrow.  I need to spend time with you and I feel like I haven’t seen very much of you lately.

I love you,

‘the boy'”

Crushed heart.

Remember when we were young and all we wanted was to grow up, get kissed on a dining room table like Samantha in Sixteen Candles, drive fast, be grown-up.  Being a grown-up is not what it is cracked up to be. Samantha – stay on that table FOREVER.  Don’t grow up!  It’s hard out here!

I usually get up very early in the morning to better my health, the past two weeks I’ve been too exhausted to take care of my wellness the way that I want to, so I’m slipping in little mini workouts throughout the day and trying to eat as healthy as I can because I know I’m not working the calories off the way I should.  I’m hosting a “Back To You – Back To School” Challenge to help other women get some balance so they can focus on family, work and their own wellness, but, I’m not sure I’m taking the best care of my family and myself that I can.  I feel like a life in balance fraud.

Every day the women (I don’t think there are any men! WHAT THE WHAT?) in our little group inspire me.  They are all trying so hard and admitting their challenges, fears, successes.  I am so proud of them.  I wish I wasn’t beating myself up so hard.  Life IS about balance.  I know that.  One of my favorite quotes reminds me of that very fact:


It’s Wednesday.  I have my eyes focused on getting through a very hard day today and tomorrow for work and then I’m taking three full days off for them. Disconnected. While they’re in school Friday I will get the house organized and cleaned and yes, I’ll probably take a little nap before they get home.  I want this weekend to be about US 4 Carters.  Just us.  Family, football, food prep, naps and fun.  And naps.  Did I mention the naps?


Sparkle on,



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In The Beginning

3 Sep

Dear B2SB2U Beginners;

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! I truly feel that you are taking the first step here, joining a challenge group to start to take care of YOU. To learn from three women who have been in your shoes, who have been where you are. I know I was there. Know that we are here, that we’re taking the same painful steps as you, and that WE BELIEVE IN YOU – probably right now, more than you can believe in yourself. But WE believe. I BELIEVE.

I want to tell you how I started. The very very beginning. The first month of hope and hopelessness at the same time, desperate for a healthier life.

I woke up each morning and stepped up and down on the wii fit using the “Basic Step”. It is a game on that I could turn on to keep the beat of me stepping on and off the fit board. That is all I could do. I watched an early morning television program (Willie Geist, you cute thing you. You and me, every morning at 5:30 for “Way Too Early”.  It was magical.)  Jillian Michaels, grrrr, she says in the 30 day shred video that anyone, even 400 pound people, can do jumping jacks. She lies. I could NOT do more than 5 jumping jacks at nearly 300 pounds. But I could march in place for 30 minutes every day for 30 days.I started as slow as the beat would go and little by little I increased the speed over a month.  I was supposed to be training for a mud run and all I could do was march.  But march I did.

And then I started walking. And then I started lifting and doing body weight exercises. And then I started running. And I’m still trying to learn to run.  I’m still in the 200s and my body can do amazing things now.. But it all started with marching in place.


Me 7 months into my journey and this weekend.

I believe in you.

Sparkle on,



Like what you see?  I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

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