How To Wake Up Early For Your Morning Routine

A good morning routine will help you get your day started on the right foot. Follow these tips and you’ll be a morning person in no time.

How To Wake Up For Your Morning Routine

Why Make a Morning Routine?

Don’t you wish you could wake up each morning, ready to go and feeling rested? I’ve talked about the importance of sleep and how to get it in this post, but sleep is only part of the equation. You have to actually get out of bed the next morning.

Having a morning routine will make waking up easier, and you’ll feel more fulfilled when you complete your tasks to prep for your day. Knowing you’ve already completed a few tasks will get you going, and you can capitalize on that momentum for the rest of the day.

How To Get Up In The Morning

First things first, you have to start with sleep. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, but without a good night’s sleep you won’t meet your goals for the next day. Once you have the sleep part down, there’s just a few steps that will help you wake up when you want to.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and waking up consistently won’t happen overnight. Give yourself time to adjust, and be realistic about your goals.

Follow these steps and you’ll get there soon enough, just be patient.

Set Your Intentions The Night Before

This sounds cheesy, but I have found it to be immensely helpful for waking up in the morning. Set your intention the night before. Your mind is a powerful tool. That might sound a bit woo woo, but it’s true!

Have you ever had to wake up for an early flight? You know that if you don’t get up by X time, you’ll be running late and possibly miss your flight. Going to bed, you run over everything you’ve packed, what time you need to leave your house, etc. Then the next morning you spring out of bed right on time. It’s strange how that works!

Most of the time that scenario is driven by anxiety, but I promise you can harness the same process for your daily routine. Even if you don’t believe me, just give it a shot.

Tonight, as you’re lying in bed, close your eyes, and say, “Tomorrow I’m going to wake up at 6:00 am, when my alarm goes off, I’m going to feel rested, and I’m going to get out of bed and get going.” You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

Set your intentions and your mind will follow through in the morning.

Don’t Snooze Your Alarm

This one is tough to get used to at first: Don’t snooze your alarm. You do not get any meaningful sleep in the 9 minutes between your alarm and snoozing. You might think you do, but you really don’t. Tell yourself that it’s time to get up, and do it.

The key here is actually getting out of bed. If you decide not to snooze, but you lay in bed and think “5 more minutes”, you’ll quickly go back to sleep. Now you don’t have any alarm, so you’ll oversleep and be late to work.

How To Set Your Alarm

Now that you can’t snooze, it’s important to set your alarm the right way. You might be thinking “I just pick a time on my phone, right? How complicated is that?” It’s not complicated, but it does require a bit more thought.

Pick your time thoughtfully.

When you’re wanting to start a new morning routine it can be tempting to go all out and try to get up at 5 am. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you typically wake up at 7 am, 5 am isn’t going to happen.

Pick a time that’s realistic for you, but still pushing yourself a bit. Let’s say you do get up at 7 am but you want more time in the morning. Try 6:45 am for the first couple of days, then when that gets easy try 6:30 am. Keep gradually waking up earlier, and soon enough you’ll be waking up at 5 am like you want.

Make sure you’re going to bed with enough time to get your sleep in. Waking up earlier is going to be incredibly difficult if you didn’t go to bed at a good time. I made this post that explains why you need sleep and how to get it.

You’ve picked your time, now pick your alarm.

I like to wake up to music, and in particular I like something that starts with a bang. I Love It by Icona Pop was my go-to wakeup song for a long time. It starts LOUD and has a great energy to it.

If you don’t like waking up to music, you can always pick a preset from your phone. I would advise going with something louder rather than soft. I don’t know about you, but windchimes won’t wake me up in the morning.

There’s also a multitude of apps that you can use to wake yourself up. Some make you do puzzles or math problems before dismissing them. This would be a good option if you know you’re just going to dismiss it and roll over.

There’s also the good ole standby, an alarm clock. Some people prefer setting their alarm clock (or phone) across the room from where they sleep. That way they have to get up to turn it off.

Try a few different methods and find what works for you.

Get Out of Bed

Next step: get out of bed. Seems easy enough, but this is the hardest step of them all. When you feel snug as a bug in a rug, sleepy, and warm, you don’t want to get out of bed! Cue Veruca Salt stomping her foot.

Well you have to. This goes back to setting your intentions, but once that alarm goes off you’ve got to will yourself to get up.

There’s not a lot I can say on this one, because it’s all up to you. It’s straight willpower and determination. Picture Shia LeBeouf yelling “JUST DO IT” at you. Then do it, of course.

Pick Your Habits, Start Small

So now you’re up. You may not be happy about it, but you’re up. What’s next?

This part is up to you to decide. Why did you want to get up early in the first place? What habits are you wanting to form?

I would suggest picking 2-5 habits you want to do every day (or almost every day). Start small. Don’t have a whole checklist of 20 items you must do before you eat breakfast.

My routine looks like this:

  • Bathroom time (Wash my face, brush my teeth, etc.)
  • Quick stretch session
  • Get dressed
  • Take my meds
  • Make my coffee
  • Write in my planner

Pretty simple right? It’s what I’ve found works for me on an every day basis. I’m prepared for my day, and ready to get to it. After all that it’s time for me to wake up my kids, then the day really begins.

Some other ideas for your routine might include:

  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Doing a daily devotional
  • Journaling
  • Clearing your inbox

You probably have several of your own that you’re wanting to try, so start there and move forward.

A cup of coffee is a great way to start your morning routine.

Be Prepared For Your Morning Routine

If you’re planning on exercising in the morning, it’s important to put everything you need out the night before. This means having your shoes ready to go, your TV set up for the exercise video, or whatever else you might need.

Same with meditation or a devotional. Put whatever you’ll use out where you can easily get started without a lot of setup at the last minute.

Get Going

As a final note, make sure you aren’t putting too many items in your routine. Especially in the beginning. Start with one or two new ones, and go from there. As you wake up earlier, you’ll have more time, and therefore be able to do more of what you want.

Now you have several tips to help you wake up for your morning routine. It can be hard to start at first, and you’ll probably have to play around with what works for you, but it’ll be rewarding once you get the habit down.

How To Wake Up For Your Morning Routine

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

When people start a weight loss journey, the first question that comes to mind is: how often should I weigh myself? The answer is: it depends. No one method will work for everybody, so it might take some trial and error to figure out what’s best for you. Here’s what you need to know if you want to start weighing daily.

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

What’s the Right Way?

Everyone has a conflicting opinion. If you google it right now, you’ll find 15 articles with 15 different answers. There are a few schools of thought, though.

You can weigh:

Sporadically

Monthly

Weekly

Daily

Some people like setting a routine, so weighing sporadically isn’t for them. Other’s find weighing on a set schedule is restrictive and tedious. You might find that weighing daily stresses you out, but monthly doesn’t give you enough feedback.

Fluctuations and Accurate Results

Before picking how often you weigh, it’s important to talk about fluctuations. Fluctuations are small shifts in weight that are caused for a number of reasons. Most of the time they are within half a pound to a pound, but your weight can fluctuate up to 5 or 6 pounds in a day!

Some causes are: how much you eat, if you’re retaining water, where you are in your monthly cycle, how much you’ve exercised, or even if you’ve gone to the bathroom or not. The list goes on and on.

It can be discouraging to step on the scale and see a huge difference in the wrong direction, so it’s important to weigh at the same time of day. Most people (myself included) prefer to weigh in first thing in the morning, after going to the bathroom, and only in my birthday suit.

This method ensures the most accurate numbers. Some clothing is heavier than others (think of how heavy your jeans are), so fully nude (or just undies) is best. Going to the bathroom before you weigh in means your bladder is empty and you’re your lightest.

It’s also a good idea to invest in one scale to always use, as each scale can be calibrated differently. This can cause slight shifts and less accurate numbers. I use the FitTrack scale. It’s a little pricey, but I enjoy the Bluetooth syncing and the interface of the app.

How Often?

Okay, we’ve covered how to weigh in and fluctuations, so how often should you step on the scale? I said it before, but I like weighing daily.

If you only track your weight once a month, you might be retaining water on that one day. Same deal with weekly tracking. If your weight can fluctuate 5 to 6 pounds in a day, you never know what that one particular day holds for you.

Weighing daily gives you a good look at where you are every day. During my weight loss journey, I’ve found that weighing daily helps me be accountable and keeps me in check. If I’m updated each morning where I am now, I know how strict I have to be throughout the day.

When I go up a bit, I can run down my mental list of what I can do better on. Did I drink enough water? Maybe it was that cookie I ate? I also know if I stick to my good habits throughout the day, I can reverse that small gain.

The Downfalls of Daily Weighing

Stepping on the scale daily does have a few downfalls. The biggest one for me is the variability of each day. I go up some, drop down some, then I’m back up. It’s discouraging when you’ve done everything “right”, but you gain half a pound anyways!

It can also be stressful to know you have to face the numbers after a big night of eating. Every day is not going to be perfect, but nobody likes to see a gain.

Even if you just maintain your weight, it can be a bummer because you tried so hard and now you’ve got nothing to show for it. It’s nerve wracking!

A Solution

It doesn’t have to be frustrating, though. You just have to relax and stay calm.

Each day is a microscopic look at the big picture of your journey. The best way to get the full effect is to look at the trend line of your weight loss. What’s a trend line? For this example, a trend line is a line you put on a graph that shows the general direction of where the numbers are going.

When you put a trend line on a graph you can see an overall pattern. If you go up in weight for two days, down for 3 days, up one day, down two days, etc.; at the end of the cycle you’ll be down. It might not look like you’re losing weight, but over the whole week you’ve lost 1 pound.

Outside of daily fluctuations, there’s going to be days you gain. There will probably even be weeks you gain. That’s okay! It’s a process. Watching the trend line can remind you of where you started, and let you get back on track to where you want to go.

Happy Scale screen shot of my weights in September

If you look at my graph here, it shows my weight for the month of September. The dots represent the daily weight entries, and the line is the trend line of all of them. There are definitely some big spikes on there, but big drops as well. The trend line balances these spikes and drops to show the overall loss.

How to Find a Trend Line

There are a few ways to go about finding your trend line when you’re tracking daily. A lot of apps will calculate it for you when you input your weight. I use Happy Scale on IoS, but you’re just looking for an app that averages out the daily weights for you.

The Hacker’s Diet Online is a great option if you don’t want an app. The book linked on that page is also a great resource for a no nonsense look at diets. They also explain how you can chart your weights in excel or on paper, if that’s more your speed.

Is Weighing Daily Right For You?

Still though, weighing daily isn’t for everyone. Mentally it can be a lot to take on. If you’re the type of person that’s going to obsess over every small number or gain, you’ll probably want to avoid daily weighing.

A lot of people struggle with all or nothing thinking (I definitely do in some areas), and that can be a recipe for disaster when it’s mixed with a scale. Stepping on the scale and seeing a gain could lead you to just giving up on your diet, because “I might as well eat what I want if I’m going to gain”.

Seeing a plateau for a few days could cause you to think, “It’s not working so why am I even doing this”. When you make the decision to track your weight every day, you’ve got to get rid of the idea that each number matters.

You can’t give up just because it might appear it’s not working. The daily number is a very tiny part of the big picture. Definitely be honest with yourself, and watch yourself along the way.

There’s no right or wrong way to document your weight loss journey. You have to do what works for you, and that might not include daily weighing.

As a closing note I just want to give you one piece of advice: Never say you “only” lost x amount of weight. “Only” only applies to gaining, not losing or maintaining.

Weighing Daily, What You Need To Know

I hate the word “Healthy”, and you should too.

Health Defined

What does the word healthy mean? Merriam-Webster defines healthy as: Enjoying good health, beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state, or showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being.

Healthy Defined

Health is defined as: the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, or a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

Seems pretty innocuous right? Why would someone hate these words? Well gather round and I’ll break it down.

“Healthy”

When you imagine a healthy person, who do you see? Probably someone who has a fit body, lots of energy, and a happy disposition. The whole package. Now think of how many people you can name who fit those parameters? Any coming to mind?

Outside of social media influencers, you probably can’t think of anyone who fits that bill. And as we all know well; social media doesn’t show the whole picture. Posts on social media usually only show your best picture, not your struggles or shortcomings.

Instagram, Facebook, all of it.

If we’re hiding reality from our social media, we aren’t giving the full picture. There’s nothing wrong with only wanting to post your best angle, and it’s fine to only post the positives. We just need to keep in mind that it’s not the whole story.

Who is healthy?

Society puts an emphasis on health because that’s what we all strive to be, “healthy”. It defines your worth and place in life. Billboards and magazines feature skinny people as if that’s the average person.

In fact, the average size of an American woman is somewhere between a 16-20. The average size of an American man was harder to pin down, but most sites said a 40” waist was common. Now how often do you see that size of people in advertisements?

Advertisements don’t always display “healthy”.

There’s been a recent push to display different size bodies, which is amazing. Even with this push most clothing brands still max out at a size 16 or 18, though. You see even less representation for plus size men.

If we’re only seeing thin, “healthy” bodies, our definition of “normal” is skewed. Bodies of all sizes can be healthy, but plus sized bodies are not represented enough to make them normal.

Society

I keep saying “society”, who is society? Everyone around us; friends, family, strangers. They all judge to come level. Sometimes it’s just getting a few side eye’s when walking down the street. Maybe a few comments on social media, some family gossiping.

Sometimes it’s more sinister. The United States has a law in place that allows employers to pay a “subminimum” wage to people who are disabled or handicapped in some way. This lesser wage enforces the idea that disabled people are less productive and less valuable. And that’s just not right.

That’s just one example of how “unhealthy” people are judged to another standard.

There’s no rule saying you must tick all the boxes (physical, mental, and emotional) to be considered healthy. It’s not a report card. The problem is that once you don’t make the grade in one area, you’re falling behind and people’s opinions of you can change.

“Unhealthy”

We’ve talked a lot about size and appearances, but what about the things you can’t see?

Some people will always be “unhealthy”. 6 out of 10 American adults suffer from a chronic disease. That’s the majority of us! 4 out of 10 adults have 2 or more diseases.

CDC Chronic Disease Graphic

These chronic diseases can make it hard to maintain a lifestyle that would be classified as healthy. Let’s focus on chronic pain for a bit. Chronic pain makes it hard to exercise, eat right, and it saps you of your energy.

When you have a bad pain day you might not be able to get out of bed. Going to the grocery store is a struggle, so you can’t stock your pantry with food. Even if you had the food you don’t have the strength to cook it. That makes you more likely to buy fast food or order out. And forget about exercise.

If you’re depressed or struggling mentally, you’ll likely meet the same obstacles to get “healthy”.

With all of these conditions you’ll often be met with unsolicited advice. “Exercise can help lift your mood.” “You are what you eat, so you need to eat right.” Or my favorite, “I have an essential oil that can help.” People mean well, but unless someone asks for advice, don’t give it.

Other Roadblocks to “Healthy”

Without a chronic disease you can still struggle. Diet and exercise are a large part of how we judge health. If you’re eating whole foods and working out 3 times a week, you’re at least working towards being healthy. For some people that’s impossible.

Eating right costs time and money. A salad on the menu costs considerably more than french fries. The solution would be to just buy healthier foods, right? That’s a roadblock in and of itself. If you shop right you might be able to match the cost of a prepackage meal, but then you’ll have food that expires and needs to be cooked on a timeline. Cooking means you have to have the time and energy to prepare the food.

Someone who works a full-time job might be too exhausted to do more than microwave a meal. Someone on a lower income probably can’t buy the fresh produce in the first place.

So, exercise then? Most sources suggest exercising for 30 minutes, but what if you don’t even have that time? Exercising can also require equipment and space to do so, or you’ll have to search for resources to show you how to work out.

Only Judy Can Judge Me

Health might look different on everyone, but from the outside can you even tell? We definitely try to, by judging others for outward appearances.

A person with chronic pain can look completely “healthy” even when that might be far from the truth. A person with an eating disorder might look great, but you can’t tell their struggles from the outside. A depressed person can smile and put up a front, but is that a true picture of how they feel?

Conversely, someone who looks overweight can be a marathon runner and “healthy”, even if society would say otherwise. A disabled or chronically ill person can be just as “healthy” as someone who doesn’t have the same struggles.

So, if you can’t tell by looking, should you really be judging?

No.

It’s none of your business how someone else choses (or is forced) to live their life. Nobody is required to disclose their “health” to anyone unless they want to. We need to stop making assumptions based on looks.

The only people who need to know should be you and your doctor. You aren’t owed any more information than the person is willing to share.

“Health”

What about “health”? At the top of the post I defined “health” as: the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit, or a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

So, what does it mean if you’re not thriving? What if you’re not doing well?

I don’t know about you, but there are definitely days (many, many days) in which I’m just holding on to the wave. I have fewer thriving days than other days, but in my opinion that’s normal.

Love yourself.

It’s okay to just be okay. You aren’t less than for just riding along. Your worth isn’t defined by your health. We constantly beat ourselves up over the areas that we slack off, and that’s not okay. We need to get to a point of loving ourselves for our accomplishments, not our shortcomings.

Loving your body, no matter the state it’s in is an act of self-care. Acknowledging that you won’t always be perfect, with it, or completely “healthy” is to be expected.

Why I Hate The Word Healthy

Do You Need Sleep? One Big Mistake You’re Making

How did you sleep last night?

How many hours did you get? Do you feel rested today?

 The National Sleep Foundation says the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Is that what you got last night?

If not, then you are a part of the 1 in 3 Americans who get less than the optimum amount of sleep.

Sleep is important for you to function.

Why Does That Matter?

Sleep is important for a multitude of reasons. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, lowered immune system, and hunger pangs, to name a few.

When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make poor decisions, like grabbing that extra donut at work. I find that it’s easier to order out when I don’t have the energy to cook, but I don’t always make the best choices when I do so.

Not resting enough can also cause hunger pangs, and you’ll find yourself grabbing a late night snack when you should be in bed.

Sleep and Weight Loss

Did you know losing sleep can also cause your metabolism to get out of whack? The University of Chicago did a study on sleep, and found that not getting enough can cause your insulin levels to go off the rails.

When your insulin isn’t regulating properly, you end up holding on to fat cells that your body would otherwise let go of. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hold on to extra fat cells!

Sleep is also important for repairing muscles that you used while working out. And resting throughout the night is when your body works on digesting your food.

Sleep and Motivation

Ever feel super tired and you just don’t want to get that workout in? *Insert cheesy announcer voice* “Sleep can help!”

If you’re well rested, you’ll take the time to take care of your body. I mentioned eating out earlier, but if you have the energy, you’ll be more likely to cook healthy options at home.

 Staying on track with your goals is much easier when you have the energy to do so.

Tossing and turning all night? You need better sleep habits.

So, What’s My One Big Mistake?

You aren’t getting enough sleep!

How to tell if you need more sleep:

Do you wake up feeling groggy and can’t get going throughout the day.

You just HAVE to have that morning coffee, or the lunch and afternoon one too.

Find yourself needing your afternoon nap to function into the evening.

You feel “brain fog” while trying to keep up with your daily routine.

You’re just exhausted and lacking energy.

How Do I Get Good Sleep, and How Can You?

There are a few strategies I like for getting more sleep. They’ve always worked for me, and I believe they’ll help you too.

Beds are for sleeping.

My psychiatrist has always told his patients that “Beds are for sleeping, and “extra-curricular activities” only.” What does that mean?

Only use your bed for sleeping or sex. A lot of people like to wind down with a bit of TV time in the bedroom, but that can confuse your body. We don’t even have a TV in our bedroom!

When my body lays in bed it knows it’s time to sleep. Now this isn’t an option for everyone (some use their bedroom as the hub of the house), but I’ve found it immensely helpful to get the TV out and designate the bed for sleeping.

It’s also a good idea to make sure you enjoy your bed. Get yourself a nice pillow that’s comfortable, a set of good sheets, and darken the room as much as you can.

Put down the electronics.

This is one I still struggle with, but almost everyone will tell you to not use any electronics for the last hour before you sleep.

The blue light is stimulating for your mind. That stimulation makes it hard to shut down after you get wound up. It’s also been show to inhibit melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you sleep.

Some ways around this are to put your phone into a night mode (iPhones call it Night Shift and Androids call it Night Light), or buy blue light blocking glasses. I have a pair that I love, and I do remember to wear them most nights.

Watch your caffeine intake.

This one is not fun, but you have to watch how many of those tasty lattes you’re having. I try to limit myself to one 8 oz cup of coffee a day (I have a weakness for cold brew), but sometimes I need some pep in the afternoon and I’ll have another.

If you decide to have coffee in the afternoon, make sure you cut it off several hours before bed. I go down at 9:30 pm, so I make sure I don’t have caffeine later than 4 pm. Sodas and some teas count for caffeine as well, so be mindful of those.

Limiting your caffeine intake is a great way to drink more water!

Make yourself a sleep schedule.

This is the most important piece of advice I can give: set a schedule and stick to it.

For the past 10 years I have stuck to a fairly strict sleep schedule. Excluding a few variations, my schedule has stayed the same.

I go to bed every night at 9:30 pm. No matter what (within reason). There have been times I’ve peaced out on game nights just to get in bed at the right time. All of our friend’s just expect it now.

Going to bed at the same time each night almost guarantees that I wake up at 6:30 am. That’s a consistent 9 hours of sleep, which is my sweet spot.

I wake up feeling rested and refreshed, usually a couple minutes before my alarm. Some days I might wake up a bit slower than others. After a long day that’s to be expected.

Why?

My psychiatrist is the one who suggested a sleep schedule, and it’s a small part of Social Rhythm therapy. This therapy has been proven extremely effective for bipolar patients. The rest of the therapy is centered around taking your medications at the same times (I do) and eating meals at the same times (I can’t quite get that one down).

Even if you’re not bipolar, I can say with certainty that your body can benefit from a schedule. Humans are creatures of habit, and our circadian rhythm works best when it’s actually a rhythm!

I’ve had my kids on strict sleep schedules from almost birth, and they were both consistently sleeping through the night before 6 months old (my daughter at 10 weeks!). Bodies need a schedule, then they naturally know what to do.

You won’t get on a schedule overnight, and it might even take a while to adjust. There are also a few factors that can make a routine difficult (jobs, kids, social engagements), but trying to set one can be very beneficial in your journey.

Scheduling sleep will help you achieve your goals.

Setting A Schedule

Pick your times.

It’s easy to know what time you need to wake up, so count back from there and pick a time to go down. You might have to play around with how long you’ll need to sleep, but just feel it out and find out what works.

Start your routine with enough time to stay on schedule.

It takes me about 30 minutes to get ready for bed, so I start it at 9 pm. If you don’t leave yourself enough time for your routine, then you won’t get to sleep on time.

Get in bed and stay in bed.

The first few night of trying to fall asleep (and stay asleep) will probably be difficult. If you wake up in the middle of the night make sure you don’t turn to your phone or a book. You’ll just stimulate your mind further and have trouble falling back to sleep. If you really must do either of those, then make sure you get out of bed to do so. Bed = sleep only

Stay with it ALL the time.

This means no sleeping in on the weekends, I know it’s a bummer. You have to consistently follow the routine if you want your body to adjust. Soon enough you’ll find yourself popping out of bed on Sunday morning with no problem!

Go Forth and Sleep

So, we talked about the importance of sleep, we talked about how it can benefit you, and how to achieve it. I hope this post will help you out, and I hope you’ll feel more rested.

5 Tips To Help You Drink More Water

Why You Need More Water

Water is vital to life. Ask any weight loss/fitness enthusiast, and they’ll probably tell you that you aren’t drinking enough water.

Your body needs water to survive.
Your body needs water to survive.

Dehydration can happen on a daily basis. It can cause headaches, fatigue, and even dry skin.

Everyone agrees you need more water, but not everyone agrees on how much. If you take a few minutes to google how much you need, you’ll find a different answer on every page.

Some sources say you need half your body weight in ounces (that’s a lot at 300lbs). Others say it should be 8 cups (8oz each) of water.

Generally, it is agreed that women need 8-11.5 cups daily, and men need 8-13 cups.

If you sit back and add up how much you drink daily, it’s probably considerably less than that. Sugary drinks don’t really count towards your liquid intake, but some people will include teas and coffees that aren’t sweetened.

So, you need more water daily, how do you get there?

Before my weight loss journey, I barely drank water. In fact, I barely drank any liquids. I often had headaches with “no cause”, but looking back over the day I hadn’t had anything to drink except to take my meds. Obviously not good.

It was hard for me to adapt to drinking more, so here’s 5 tips that worked for me.

1) Pick A Water You Like

Confession time, I’m a water snob. I’m one of those people that will swear different brands of water taste different.

The fact is that they really do. Depending on the alkaline and pH it can have naturally different taste, but not everyone can differentiate between them.

Here’s a chart of different pH values in water. Find a brand you like and start there.

 There are certain brands of water that I flat out refuse to drink. I’ve often said, “I’d have to be dehydrated in the desert to consider drinking Aquafina.” Yes, I’m dramatic.

The biggest key for me was to find a water I enjoy drinking. I also have found that I prefer it to be room temperature. So, play around with that and see what you personally like.

If you despise the taste of your water, you won’t drink it. Period.

Try a variety of different brands. By googling my favorite brand (Evian), I was able to find brands with a similar pH. I’ve found that I prefer a pH of high 6-mid 7.

This led me to check out other brands with similar pH values. And voila, I found a water I enjoy.

2) Get A Bottle You Like

Again, this seems like an easy answer, but it made a big difference to me. Find a bottle you like, and you’ll drink more water!

Water bottles come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

I’ve bought a ton of different sizes and styles (I definitely have a weakness for bottles and coffee cups…) until I found what I like.

Currently I’m using the water bottle that came with my 2B Mindset by Beachbody (I’m not affiliated with BB). I like it because it holds 24 oz and has a straw top.

I’ve tried big jugs that hold a ton of water, but I found they were too big for me to carry around daily. Having my bottle close at hand is definitely a good way to remember to drink.

Treat yourself and buy a bottle or two. You don’t need an expensive one, just get one with the features you want.

As I said, I enjoy a bottle with a straw top and convenient size. I’ve found that a clear bottle helps me monitor how much I’m drinking. The Contigo bottles are really nice, plus they’re dishwasher safe!

 If you like cold water, you might want to get an insulate bottle like this one.

Bottles also come in a range of cool patterns and colors! There’s a ton of options out there.

The big takeaway should be to pick a bottle you’ll use. You’ll be carrying it around a lot, so make sure you’ll enjoy having it.

3) Set Reminders Throughout The Day

I don’t know about you, but my days get busy. And when I get busy, I forget to drink water.

You can’t chug all your water right before bed (I mean I guess you could…), so if you want to get your ounces in, you’ll need to spread your intake throughout the day.

The easiest way for me to do that is through reminders. There’s a couple of ways you can go about setting reminders.

Marked bottles are great for setting your goals throughout the day.

First, you can set a series of timers on your phone. This can be annoying for the initial setup, but is still effective.

Second (and my favorite), you can get an app to help remind you. There are a ton of choices out there, and most of them are free. A lot of water apps will help you track your ounces too, which is important to know if you’re meeting your goals.

Whichever method you do, you need to be consistent. If that alarm/notification goes off, grab your bottle and drink a bit.

You don’t have to sit there and chug it, but drinking a little at a time all throughout the day will help you reach your goal.

A lot of people say to start your morning with a full glass of water, but I just can’t do it. I get nauseous and it’s very hard for me to finish it. Set your reminders for times when you know you’ll want to drink.

Before meals is a great time to drink a bit extra. It’ll help fill your stomach so you feel more full after eating.

4) Start Small

The biggest mistake I’ve made when wanting to up my water intake is always trying to go for the full amount right off the bat. This is problematic for a few reasons.

You’ll be in the bathroom all day long. If your bladder isn’t accustomed to all the water you’re taking in, it just won’t work. You’ve got to build up slowly.

You’ll be miserable and dread drinking more. There’s an adjustment period to letting go of sugary drinks and teas, and mainly drinking water instead.

You’ll feel like it’s a chore, and quit before you hit your stride. Most habits have to be repeated for a few weeks to get them ingrained. Getting overwhelmed at the start is a sure fire way to get discouraged and give up.

5) Add Some Flavor

Finally, add some flavor! As I said before, it can be hard switching from sugary drinks and teas to plain water. So the key is to make it not plain.

Blueberries add a great flavor.

This will probably require some trial and error to find what you like, but there’s a multitude of options out there.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Cucumber
  • Berries
  • Sugar Free Flavor Packs (Crystal Light, Mio)
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Ginger

And there’s a ton more than that! Most fruits are great for flavor, and you can even mix and match some on the list. Ginger and lemon would be a good option, and mint and cucumber could be very refreshing.

Some water bottles have infuser baskets built in to them, but you can also add fruit to pretty much any bottle.

If you’re planning on adding flavors into your water, I would think about making sure your bottle is dishwasher safe.

Hope This Helps

I really hope these tips will help you drink water. Water is very important for overall well-being, fitness, and nutrition. Your body needs it, plain and simple.

Let me know in the comments what has helped you to drink more water!

My Weight Loss Journey: Losing 60 lbs in 6 months!

February 2020-August 2020 Weight Loss

Trigger warning: mentions of miscarriage, depression, binge eating, and of course weight loss.

Who Am I?

My name is Tessa, I’m 29 years old, I live in Arkansas with my husband and two children. There are a lot of words that describe me (mother, wife, daughter, kind, creative, unique), but today I want to focus on the big one:

STUBBORN

During my weight loss journey people have praised me for my dedication and determination.

I always laugh and say, “Really it’s just stubbornness.”

And it’s true! When I was little everyone knew I’d argue anyone on anything, and one time I sat in a hot car until I nearly passed out because my mom wouldn’t take us for ice cream (how my parents survived raising me I’ll never know). As an adult I have learned how to channel that stubbornness to get what I want, and namely to achieve my goals.

My History With Weight

Growing up I was always stick skinny, but right around 5th grade I started gaining weight. Everyone said I’d go through puberty, grow tall, and the weight would stretch out. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

When I was 18 I started a diet that basically operated like Keto, but you reached ketosis through medications (not a great idea). It was through a doctor, but right after stopping I gained the weight back.

In Love and Gaining Weight

I yoyoed for a few years, then I met my husband. They say you gain “love pounds” when you start a new relationship, and that was definitely true for us. He (being a guy) was able to drop that weight pretty quick, I on the other hand didn’t.

Look at those babies!

We got married on 11/12/13, and I said I was going to lose weight for the wedding (I didn’t), then lose weight to prepare for getting pregnant (again no weight lost).

Wedded Bliss… For A While

In the summer of 2014, we found out I was pregnant. We were both over the moon excited. Unfortunately, it ended in a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks. That loss led me into a deep depression. I was already suffering from Bipolar disorder before getting pregnant, and losing our baby just snapped something in me.

After the miscarriage I gained weight like crazy due to comfort eating. During this time I would even binge until I was so full, I would throw up. It was definitely a bad time in my life.

This Weight Has Gotta Give

Things changed in March of 2015. I was 304.6lbs, and I was exhausted. It was the heaviest weight in my life (at that point). I decided I was going to change this. Over the next year and a half, I lost 80lbs largely through Weight Watchers and playing tennis.

Weight loss for the first go around.

I was happy and full of energy. I felt great, I was meeting my goals, everything was perfect. We were still missing one thing though…

Baby On Board

In March of 2017 I fell pregnant with my son, who was born in December of 2017. During my pregnancy I gained 90lbs. Yup. Right back to where I started and then some.

My weight at the end of my son’s pregnancy.

After my son’s pregnancy I had a really hard time postpartum. Due to my Bipolar disorder, I got hit pretty hard with postpartum depression. It even got bad enough that I ended up in an inpatient behavioral health hospital. With their help and the tools I learned, I was able to pull myself together and I gained a new view on life.

Over 2018 I managed to not lose any of the weight I had gained in my pregnancy. Luckily though, I didn’t gain any extra either.

Another On The Way

My weight at the end of my daughter’s pregnancy.

In 2019 I got pregnant with my daughter, who was born January of 2020. I only gained 15lbs throughout the pregnancy, and 6 weeks postpartum it was already gone.

Here We Are

In February of 2020 I decided I was done being this heavy again. My weight was at 309.3lbs. I lost the weight once; I knew with enough perseverance I could do it again.

And as of August 2020, I have lost 60lbs. That’s 60lbs in 6 months! I’m not at my goal yet, but I know I’ll stick it out and get there soon. I don’t have a definite goal weight, but I’m wanting to lose about 40-60 more pounds. I’ll know when I get there. No one knows your number on the scale besides you and your doctor, so it doesn’t matter to me where I land.

So How Did I Do It?

Sorry to break it to you, but there’s no magic pill. No crazy secret. No quick fix. Can you guess how I did it?

STUBBORNNESS

No matter what method you settle on to lose weight or get fit, the most important part of all of it is determination. You have to make up your mind that you’re done with the way you’re living, and that you’ll do your best to change it.

If that’s the only thing you take away from my posts, then I’ll be happy having imparted that wisdom.

How Can You?

There are a bajillion and one methods for getting fit. Everyone will tell you that their method is the best, but really there’s no “one size fits all” routine.

What works for Jill might not work for Kathy.

So, what worked for me might not work for you. Lucky for you, I’ve tried a wide range of options during my weight loss journeys that I can give advice on, so I know at least one of them will help you out.  The main methods I’ve had success with are:

  • Calorie Counting
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Sleep
  • Water, Water, Water
  • Keeping myself centered

I’ll have posts on all of these topics in the future, as well as posts about recipes, meal planning, and general well-being. Your mental well-being is just as important as the physical side of things.

February 2020-August 2020 Weight Loss

You Can Do This

 Even though there isn’t a quick fix or easy route, I believe that you too can get to where you want to be. Whether that’s weight loss, getting fitter, or just achieving a better mental space. You have that same stubbornness within you, I know it. You’ve just got to harness it into dedication and perseverance. You’ve got this, and I’ll be here all along the way. I believe that you can achieve any goals you want to achieve.

I do need to say that I’m not a professional in any of these areas. Always consult with you doctor before beginning any type of diet or exercise program. I’m just sharing what I’ve found works for me.